As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of t... See Full Bio
We had ADT come to give us a quote on their equipment for home security. We already have a different system installed in our home. The salesman told us he had to connect ADT's keypad to see if we had enough juice to operate their system. He proceeded to take our existing keypad off the way and put his on. When all was done we decided not to go with the ADT system because it was too expensive for us.
ADT’s alert procedure is straightforward—when an event is triggered, the security center contacts you or other trusted contact’s phone numbers first, then determines the appropriate first responders to contact. Some claim that adding too many numbers is a bad idea because ADT will try to contact your entire list before calling the authorities if no obvious danger is present (i.e. a single upper-level window alarm going off as opposed to multiple sensors).
At that point I went through ADT's PR department and was put in touch with a different representative who was unaware of my initial outreach as just another customer. What impressed me later, however, was that even though I went through the consultation twice, both were equally thorough, professional, and both representatives recommended similar core security capabilities.
I’ve called ADT for service or explaination of certain items, can say that I was pleased with the rep or the reasoning for why the issue is what it is but I have to be opened minded to quidelines and policies of a structured company. We give the rep a hard time because we want stella service be “customer is always right” but we can be horrible consumers then the rep rebuttal is on the deffensive so we will not meet that common ground.
With my setup, there are two external IP video cameras, namely the single unit from ADT that came with my system and is mounted above the garage, and the video cam installed in the Ring Video Doorbell, which the ADT technicians deliberately placed in such a way not just to record anyone in front of the door, but also to let it act as a backup viewing angle to the one mounted over the garage, just from the other side of the yard.
One of the main reasons SimpliSafe took first place is that while you don’t have to sign up for professional monitoring, you have the option if you want it. There aren’t any contracts, so you can turn on the alarm monitoring for one month if you’ll be going on a long vacation and turn it back off when you get back. SimpliSafe also makes it easy to customize your system. You can always add new equipment to your setup if you decide you want more motion sensors or an extra wireless keypad for your garage.
ADT offers pretty much everything in the realm of home security, so just about anybody could find want they want from the company. If you need a simple setup, we suggest getting your doors and windows alarmed with Basic Wireless. If you want something to make your life a little easier (and cooler), we recommend the ADT Pulse setup so you can control just about everything in your house. If you want to be absolutely secure, it’s worth investing in ADT security cameras and video surveillance on top of the basic package.
Security Camera Surveillance: You can choose to add a video camera and monitor to your system so you can catch thieves in the act if they do choose to break into your home. Or, you may want to up the ante by installing a complex closed circuit television (CCTV) which features digital recorders, multiple operators, and several cameras. Some systems will also alert you by text if they detect anything, allowing you to log in on your smartphone to view the footage.
"Have only had system for 2 weeks. Easy to use and effective. Only problem is when in "Away" mode the motion sensor picked up our 13 pound cat jumping up on a desk close by...THREE times! Needs sensitivity adjustment. Police, however, did come each time, so it does indeed work. Not sure why I needed a motion sensor if none of the door/window connections were broken???"
When we purchased our system it was for peace of mind for our home. Never would we have thought that it would be what saves our daughter. Thanks to ADT when her ex-boyfriend came through the front door they alerted the police of the intruder alert and just almost a mins after police showed and he was found trying to kidnapp my daughter. The quick response of alerting the police is what makes me stay and will forever be a ADT customer. Forever grateful.
Rather than restrict control to a physical hub hung on your wall, Abode puts control where you actually need it: in the palm of your hand. Abode’s security dashboard is accessible by any internet-connected device and gives you enough information to take action from wherever you are. When Abode’s motion sensors are triggered, it snaps a photo to show you what triggered it. The smart key fob and its three buttons — away, standby/disarm, and home — allow you to disarm as you walk towards the front door. We found that a lot more convenient than racing inside to beat the alarm’s 30-second window, particularly if you have an armful of groceries or a baby on your hip.
Anything connected to the Z-Wave hub can be controlled via the mobile app. Lights can be turned on and off, smart locks can be activated or unlocked, and thermostats can be set on the fly. You can give as many people as you want access to your Pulse app, each with their own access code, though there will be only one primary user who has total access to all functionality via the Pulse web portal. You can also give different users varying levels of access to which systems they can control and even when they can get into your home.
I contacted ADT twice. The first time simply as a customer, since I'd just moved into a new house and wanted a full home security system. ADT sales recommended its Remote tier, and I agreed, though there are other tiers to be had (see below). I also investigated SimpliSafe, but had a not-great experience with its customer service, and was heading back to ADT when the opportunity arose to review the Pulse system for PCMag.
When I lived at home with my mother we had the ADT system and never had a problem, no break-ins, and no potential break-ins either. Unfortunately, I did not follow suit and get the system when I moved out on my own and my apartment was burglarized this past year. I feel like if I would have had the system there is NO WAY my apartment would have been broken in to. These systems really do thwart robbers from entering.