What this service contract, termination clause, and pricing structure really tell me is that ADT isn't for apartment dwellers. If you're operating on a lease and your lifestyle means you'll be hopping residences for the foreseeable future, I don't think ADT is your best bet. I'd use Vivint or SimpliSafe, or one of the better DIY security kits, like iSmartAlarm Premium. But if you own your home and your professional life is stable enough to keep you where you are, then the termination clause really isn't an issue, and it's more about service quality as well as security and automation functionality, which are areas where ADT excels.
The Blink cameras are equipped with built-in sensors that are triggered by motion. When they detect an intruder's movement, the alarm goes off, an alert is sent to your smartphone, and a short video clip of the alarm event uploads to Blink’s cloud storage so you can see what set it off. The best part: You get all this security goodness for no monthly fee.
Ultimately, we wanted systems that could integrate seamlessly into our homes and improve our quality of life. To find which fit the bill, we spent a day outfitting a 1,900 square-foot home with the equipment of our finalists. We appraised the installation process, the ease and clarity of registering and syncing, the app experience, and functionality. We were pleased to find we could get most systems up in less than half an hour, but the quality of both hardware and software differed. We docked points for flimsy or easy-to-knock-over physical elements and slow or disfunctional cyber ones. Effective home security offers crisp and quick app interfaces (preferably with practical perks like customized sensor names and facial recognition) and instantaneous notifications.
ADT made some changes to the Pulse app in early 2018. While the UI seems to have gotten a little friendlier, which is always welcome, it temporarily removed one important feature that I missed: cloud storage for my camera view. The camera doesn't have a great track record of performance (see below), but when it worked, I liked having the 30-second clips of whatever video it took available for viewing through the Pulse app. That's been moved to an easily-missed "Clips" button, so be careful to examine the UI closely as new features come out or get deprecated. What you miss might not actually be gone.
ADT’s use of local vendors creates some inconsistencies with customer experience. Not every area will have the same equipment or pricing options, and local vendors vary greatly with transparency of pricing and other information. However, even with these inconsistencies, millions of people still choose ADT to protect their homes because it has a long track record of keeping people safe.
- I did notice a randomly occurring discrepancy where the SmartThings iOS app will, at times, say that there aren't any monitorable devices under Home Security, while other times the app will tell me the system is 'ready to arm'. Both the app and the security hub have up-to-date software so I'm not sure what's going on there. This doesn't appear to impact functionality as the security hub touchscreen will allow arming/disarming of the system in either scenario.
You shouldn’t have to drain your bank account to safeguard your home. Fortress Security Store has created several wireless and wallet-friendly DIY systems that make protecting your home a cinch. Our favorite is the Fortress S02 that uses a landline or VOIP connection (think Google Voice combined with an OBi box, Vonage or a voice service from a cable TV company) to dial up to six different phone numbers when the alarm is triggered. Since the company doesn’t offer 24/7 professional monitoring, there are no monthly fees or contracts.
This would not be an issue if the reset time wasn’t so RIDICULOUS; 5 minutes!?! This might be acceptable for a cheap stand-alone camera, but ADT is supposed to be a SECURITY vendor. Its widely known any time you see a camera and an ADT logo on the house, you just need to toss something in front of the camera, and then come back 30 seconds later. You now have 4:30s to do whatever you want, and if that’s not enough time, just repeat the same process. How embarrassing to say the least.
While my daughter was visiting she took too long to disarm the system one early morning since she was sleeping. The alarm was in the “instant” mode so when I opened the door it went off and I attempted to silence the alarm with my FOB while my daughter put in the code. ADT took approx 10 minutes to call my house! In this time if it were a real emergency me or my daughter could have been robbed or killed if a true intruder was in the house! This is unacceptable!
DIY monitoring or self-monitoring means that when a sensor is tripped, it’s your responsibility to gauge the alert’s importance and contact the authorities. This could be potentially dangerous if you sleep through an alert that turns out to be a serious threat, but it’s generally less expensive than professional monitoring. Some home security companies like SimpliSafe offer both professional and DIY monitoring plans. If you’re interested in DIY home security, check out our favorite DIY home security systems.
ADT formed in the 1800s as American District Telegraph, the world’s first telegraph-based alert system. Now America’s largest provider of hardwired and wireless home security equipment and monitoring, it’s one of the oldest security companies in the country and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. With highly customizable packages and monitoring plans, it’s easy to make upgrades or keep your system simple.