Vivint Flex Pay gives you the option to purchase your equipment up front with no added monthly cost—and no contract—or to finance the equipment interest-free over a 42- or 60-month contract. We think it’s awesome that Vivint gives you multiple options, but you should know that even though choosing a contract means you pay less upfront, you’ll have to pay 100% of the remaining contract if you cancel early.
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
ADT offers customer support via phone and email. If the system begins to malfunction, customers are urged to call and set an appointment with a company technician, but it will cost you. If you don’t want to pay for support, there is a handbook that shows you how to test the system, but the process can be tedious. ADT security reviews online indicate most customers avoid the trouble of DIY support and opt to pay the monthly maintenance fee.
He is slow and dumpy and from the beginning he acted like he did not want to be there. The job was really quite simple, simply install 2 cameras. I wanted to discuss the plans for installation but as we discussed the job, Mr. Lee got really impatient and rude. Soon he SNAPPED and Mr Lee WALKED OFF THE JOB!!! on the way out the door Mr Lee told me to "SHUT UP!" Really! I could not believe it. Mr. Lee wasted another hour on the phone in his truck and then drove all the way back to the East Bay.
Nest Secure offers an innovative twist on common security sensors, packing multiple functions into its Nest Detect sticks that serve as both door and window sensors and motion detectors in one. These devices also add nifty features like Quiet Open—where you can deactivate a single door to let the dog out—and Pathlight motion sensor lights. It’s pretty pricey as far as starter kit security systems go at $499, but if you’re already heavily invested in the Nest ecosystem, this might be the perfect flexible security system.
An outdoor camera is ideal for keeping an eye on what's happening outside of your home. These devices are weatherproof and typically require a nearby GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet to supply power, although there are a handful of battery-powered models out there. As with their indoor counterparts, outdoor cameras connect to your Wi-Fi network and allow you to view live video from your phone. They are fairly easy to install, but if you're not familiar or comfortable with electrical wiring, you may want to have a professional electrician do the job.
Home automation refers to anything that you can control indirectly, either by remote control, mobile app, or IFTTT automation. (“If This, Then That” is a formulaic programming approach, i.e. “if I open my garage door, then turn on my living room lights and set my thermostat to 72 degrees.”) While some of this can seem a little convoluted or overboard with custom options, most operations are simple to set up.

Frontpoint’s commitment to customer satisfaction was clear at every stage, starting with our initial phone call. We were impressed with the sales rep’s attention to detail. She asked our tester to describe the layout of each room in her home, listened to her safety concerns, and answered questions about all kinds of package options. When our tester told her she needed more time to shop around, the rep was understanding and didn’t press the issue.

Vivint outranked every other home security system in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction evaluation; it was the only company to earn five out of five Power Circles. According to the report, “Vivint Smart Home performs well in high-importance attributes: effectiveness of securing my home; ease of using the system; timeliness of resolving problem, question or request; and clarity of information provided for customer service.”
The ADT Pulse control panel is an effort to compete with Vivint, which solely uses proprietary gear—a fact that has historically separated Vivint from the rest of the pack. While we find no problem with the standard equipment from most providers, we do like to see proprietary equipment designed with the whole system in mind, plus they look a bit more sleek. The ADT Pulse is definitely easy on the eyes compared to the standard panels, but is it any better?
Glenn Kurtzrock, a criminal defense attorney and former homicide prosecutor, told us that based on his experience, most burglars “go for the master bedroom and won’t waste time in rooms like a kid’s room.” He explained that “burglars don’t like to spend a lot of time in a house regardless of whether there’s a security system” so will prioritize the rooms most likely to have cash, jewelry, or small electronics. Having a video camera that films the entrance to your master bedroom can help provide video evidence for the police should a crime occur.
Abode sells a lot of its own devices (which are competitively priced), but it also supports a slew of third-party Z-Wave and ZigBee devices, including all the home automation basics: smart lights, deadbolts, outlets, wall switches. Whether you want to deck out your smart home with convenient automation or fortify it with access sensors and flood detectors, a third-party compatible security system gives you freedom to customize.
Many of ADT’s higher-end home automation offerings are customizable (although this will affect your final price). There’s a vacation mode that arms the system, keeps a steady temperature, and turns lights on and off to suggest that someone’s home. You can also set up situational operations. For example, if the sensor detects a fire, you can automate doors to unlock and the air conditioner to shut off, slowing the circulation of smoke.
When it comes to home security, ADT monitoring doesn’t sacrifice quality. No matter what package you choose, rest assured that your monitored home security system will be professionally installed by a qualified technician. The best part? If you’re looking for more convenient monitoring features, you have the option to upgrade your package at any time.
Regardless of if you choose a month-to-month professional monitoring plan or opt to self-monitor your home, SimpliSafe requires you to purchase its equipment upfront. Though it’s less expensive than our other picks, packages start at a couple hundred dollars and go up from there. On the plus side, purchasing your equipment upfront does give you the flexibility to move or cancel your system at any time.
I have been an ADT customer for 15 years and 2 weeks ago I found out my alarm was not communicating with them so I called for repair. They told me nothing was available for 2 weeks so I set a date and was told someone had to be home from noon until 5PM. Appointment day at 4:14PM I call them and ask where the tech is. They have no clue and tell me they will reschedule for another 2 weeks out. I tell them to cancel my service and then they tell me I WILL OWE THEM FOR 30 MORE DAYS OF MONITORING after shut off. It doesn’t work – they fail to honor the appointment they set up and they want me to pay for 30 more days? Of course there is no supervisor available to talk to me but they could have one call me back in 24 to 48 hours. What an unethical unresponsive company. Never do business with them.
If for any reason you’re unhappy, you’ll get a full, hassle-free refund* on installation and monitoring. *Subject to certain restrictions If during the six months following installation ADT is unable to resolve any installation/service-related concern, you may receive a refund of the installation price and all monitoring fees you paid within the first six months. Certain restrictions apply.
SimpliSafe’s wireless security system makes for a painless DIY installation. The keypad and sensors, for instance, are mounted with sticky pads, eliminating the need for drilling. Its step-by-step guide walks you through the entire process, making it relatively simple to follow along and get your system running in no time. And, if you get stuck during your installation, a customer service rep is only a phone call away.
My rating is 8.5/10. I have been with them for over 5 years and just renewed my contract to get a couple of their security cameras. They've always called me each time my alarm goes off which is good for me as I am both a Mother and work a full time job. I'm loving these new mobile controls and being able to see what's going on in my home from work within the Pulse app.
I have tried to resolve my issues through customer service. No luck. I was quoted that my monthly bill would be 29.99 per month. It turns out that because I received cameras and access to ADT PULSE my monthly bill is $70 per month. HUGE difference and ADT was unwilling to do anything about it except to come and uninstall my equipment. I should have been told this information from the beginning. I was also told that if I paid the $105 installation fee that I would receive a $100 gift card in the mail. After a few months I called in to see why I haven't received it.
I know that ADT is one of the best companies out there but I swear it has gone to their heads. I had used their service in the late 90's before losing my first home. Years later, I come back to them after being a customer with them for 9 years and they treated me like crap. The man I spoke to on the phone kept cutting me off when I was trying to ask questions, and long story short I over paid for something I didn't even want because the rep failed to listen to me. Could just be a rep issue??
November 6th 2018, I had the worst experience with a customer service manager who works for account management in Jacksonville, Florida. She was so nasty with me and spoke to me with so much attitude and no respect. She was not polite, nor did she mention her name when asked. I had to get her name from another representative the next day. I also asked her to read her notes so that she can familiarize herself with my situations and how many times I have been in contact with her department and she refused to do so. Porsha Fisher abruptly hung up on me out of frustration and also sent me a bill for over 1000$ out of frustration and threatened to send me to the debt collection agency.
ADT uses the latest in technology to protect your home. The company has invested in upgrading to the latest wireless technology to help protect your home and keep the installation process as streamlined as possible. Like the newest systems, ADT wireless security system relies on radio waves to connect your home’s cameras and sensors to the control panel.
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.
My rating is 8.5/10. I have been with them for over 5 years and just renewed my contract to get a couple of their security cameras. They've always called me each time my alarm goes off which is good for me as I am both a Mother and work a full time job. I'm loving these new mobile controls and being able to see what's going on in my home from work within the Pulse app.
The ADT outdoor IP video camera over the garage works well, supports night vision, and is activated automatically via a motion sensor, though you can also log into your Pulse web portal or mobile app and get a live view at any time. However, I experienced several instances where the Pulse software refused to connect to the camera. A technician's visit didn't cure the problem, though he did install a weatherproof sleeve that was overlooked during the initial installation and seemed to reduce the problem somewhat. The ADT Pulse mobile software was updated during my first three months with the system, and since that's happened I've only experienced one outage that was cured by my logging out and back in again.
ADT backs their self-branded devices with third-party devices. For starters, Pulse is compatible with the Ring Video Doorbell. Customers can self-install or have their doorbell professionally installed. Of course, the integration works both ways. In addition to controlling your Ring doorbell through ADT Pulse, you can control ADT Pulse through the Ring app.
 On average, a basic installation will cost up to $2 per square foot of your property. Monitoring charges are between $25 and $40 per month, with around $10 extra for intercom communication. For pet-friendly devices, an extra $50 to $300 may need adding on, while fire protection features tend to be $5 extra a month. For a remote control, you’ll probably have to pay a one-off fee of up to $100. Fees shouldn’t be charged to connect you with the central monitoring station – this should be included as standard.
Licenses: AZ ROC-260776(dba:ADS Security); CA ACO6051; GA LVA004409; TX B-16117; CA Home Security Alarm Company operators are licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Security & Investigative Services Dept of Consumer Affairs. Certain content is the property of ADT and used under license. The ADT and ADT Authorized Dealer logos are registered trademarks of ADT LLC. and are used under license.
ADT’s Control Package offers its basic coverage and more. It also starts with a $125 upfront equipment fee, but with a monthly monitoring fee of $36.99, it adds home automation, giving you more control over the features and systems within your home regardless of whether you’re on site. In addition to remote web and mobile access, you can receive email and text notifications for various security triggers.
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