With a founding date of 1874, ADT is probably the most mature player in the smart home security market. While it's still building the home automation portion of its services portfolio, its Pulse system is both secure and sophisticated. But while the company does a great job treating its customers well on a service front, it's important to note that the Pulse system is neither DIY or cheap.
We have had only problems with ADT services for our business. Their response time to an actual burglary seems to be in excess of an hour or more. When confronted with an issue with their services, they make up any excuse to not be held accountable. Also claims to have a six-month money back guarantee. ADT provides poor customer service and acts with negligence.

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The story: Founded in 1874 by Edward Calahan. They started out as a messenger/alarm service but quickly added fire and local authorities. In 1909, they were purchased by AT&T (a name you surely recognize). Shortly thereafter, AT&T sold ADT again. Fast forward some years to 1969 and ADT went public. In 1984, the were renamed and ten years later passed their one-millionth customer. In 1997, Tyco International Ltd. bought them out and since then they have acquired dozens of Ma & Pa security companies as well as big ones such as Brinks and Broadview Security.
Use to have the system at my other house. A few times I forgot the code or put it in wrong and I received a phone call. If you give them a secret code then they will call off the police for you. May be they should have 2 secret codes one for when you are in danger (like maybe if there is a person standing beside you with a gun forcing you give the correct code) and one for when you are not in danger.
Every home is different, and so is every homeowner’s security needs. Like most technical services, you can pay for professionals to craft your home security system or you can take matters into your own hands. DIY home security means you customize your device kit, self-install, and then monitor alerts from your sensors and video feed. Self-monitoring is the common difference between DIY and traditional security, but there are plenty of companies that strike a happy medium between both. We looked at providers offering pure DIY as well as those offering professional monitoring, either de facto or as an upgrade.
Known for its innovative home automation features, Vivint offers professional 24/7 monitoring to homes across the U.S. Vivint’s cutting-edge technology includes add-ons like an intuitive smart thermostat, an indoor camera with two-way communication and a garage door control that lets you close it from your smartphone. One major pain point is that Vivint requires long contracts, which can be a problem if you don’t want to be locked into a long-term commitment. But, if you’re fine with a four- or five-year contract, Vivint’s worth a look.
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.

Very happy with ADT. I bought an investment property and decided to get an alarm system installed during the five months the property was being renovated. After talking to an ADT representative, I decided to go with them. Things were a little different getting it setup since it wasn't my primary residence but they were able to secure it. It was nice not having to worry about someone breaking in and stealing tools or doing damage to it while it was being renovated.


ADT’s long-standing presence on the home security scene is worthy of the accolades and recognition they’ve garnered over the years. ADT is the largest security company on the market, offering notable features like the ADT Pulse® app for mobile access and alerts, and CellGuard® wireless monitoring, which connects to the monitoring center without a landline. Combine this with Protect Your Home’s wireless system that uses radio waves to connect the sensors and cameras to the control panel, and you’re home is completely free of wires and cables. Protect Your Home, an ADT Authorized Premier Provider, only offers professional installation at this time, but can do same-day installation in most areas.
My home was broken into and burglarized some years ago . I decided that I had enough and got a security system from ADT. It was the best decision I’ve ever made . I got great service for a good price . I finally could leave my house knowing it would be okay . I rent now out in the country and have no problems .I plan to buy a home soon and I will definitely use ADT again! Home security is all about having peace of mind . In this day and age it’s a must !
That being said, if you opt for ADT Monitored home security solutions remember to read the contract thoroughly before you commit. The equipment for these services is provided by Protect Your Home. Overall, the combination is reasonably priced and offers a wide range of dependable products and services that clients can customize to meet their needs.
Like any product that connects to the internet and uses wireless technology, smart home security systems are vulnerable to hacking, particularly systems that lack encryption. Hackers can sit outside your home and use a laptop and software to intercept wireless signals coming from your system that allow them to suppress alarms and disable sensors. Other devices allow hackers to generate radio noise that can jam communications between the sensors and the hub.
We have had an ADT monitored security system in our home for more than 5 years now. We live in a relatively safe area, but I like being able to know that the house is safe when I am home alone with our young son or when we are out of town for a long weekend. The system itself is easy to activate and de-activate and we love turning the chime feature on to know whenever any door in the house is open. Some of the cons of using ADT are that if there is an issue with the system (a bad battery back up or weird beeping – which happened to us after a lengthy power outage) there can be a delay in getting a service technician to the house.
I have been with ADT for 4 years now. In the beginning I had some minor issues but things got better fast. I love being able to see what is going on from my phone, we have Z Wave setup so as I drive into the zone area with my phone it triggers the alarm to turn off. I setup my light automation and everything with them all for the same cost of Vivint's base package. Even though it was a slower start, I am one satisfied customer.
While most providers give you the option to add both indoor and outdoor cameras to your security package, SimpliSafe’s selection is limited to one indoor surveillance camera. The camera includes features like free streamable HD video and audio, 30-day storage, and night vision, but it doesn’t take snapshots of activity and can’t pan or move — basic features found on most surveillance cameras.
My family had ADT quite a few years back. I remember setting off the alarm on more than one occasion. First came a phone call asking for the password. As long as you could provide the password, ADT figured you belonged there. But don’t answer the phone or not remember the password, and the cops would be there in minutes. I’m not sure if someone was trying to kill me, the cops would get there fast enough, but they would probably catch a burglar. I would love to have them now, but the service is just too expensive for us.

GetSafe offers excellent customer support both during and after the purchasing process. Customer reviews note that customer service reps are helpful when explaining products and packages, as well as quick to troubleshoot equipment issues. Along with great service, SimpliSafe also includes regular software updates and enhancements, so you can rest easy knowing your equipment is up to date.
Vivint has been around since 1999 and is known for its cutting-edge technology. We like the company’s automation features in particular. All of the systems we considered offer some basic features, but Vivint’s were the easiest to use. With the SkyControl panel, Glance display, or mobile app, you can change the temperature on your thermostat, turn your lights on or off, and even have two-way conversations through your security cameras.

When I called and got ADT installed I was impressed that they stayed around to individually test each sensor for me and make sure I was good to go. I don't think I would have been able to do this on a self installation package that other companies offer. We tested that it was connected to their monitoring station and my local authorities -- a true peace of mind!

Other things to consider when building out your DIY system include placement of the hub and any security cameras. The main hub usually requires a wired connection to your router, although there are wireless systems out here. Either way, it should be in close proximity to your router for optimal connectivity. If you're installing a system with a touch-screen panel, make sure there's a power outlet nearby. Most indoor and outdoor security cameras run on AC power and will require access to a wall outlet. While this isn't much of an issue with indoor cameras, outdoor camera placement will largely depend on accessibility to a power supply. If you don't have a GFCI outlet nearby, you'll have to install one or be prepared to drill a hole in your house to snake a power cable through to an indoor outlet.
If you live in a small apartment and want to keep tabs on things when you're not home, a security camera can get the job done for a lot less money than what you'll pay for a full security system. Nearly all standalone security cameras connect to your home's Wi-Fi so you can see what's going on from your phone or tablet, and most have built-in sensors that detect motion and sound and will send push and email notifications when those sensors are triggered. You can usually tweak the camera's motion sensitivity to prevent false alarms due to pet activity or passing cars if the camera is near a window, and you can create a schedule that turns the sensors on and off during certain hours of the day.
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We appreciate SimpliSafe’s confidence in its own equipment and service. The company offers a 60-day money-back guarantee and a three-year warranty on equipment. To prevent triggering a false alarm, SimpliSafe Home Security provides additional sensor settings: High, Medium, and Low. This allows you to adjust your sensor settings to keep you from accidentally triggering a motion sensor.

If there is a lightning storm I found out ADT's security system still works for 7-10 days if the power goes out. I didn't find this out until it happened in my area but it made me happy I was with them! Luckily our power was out only 2 days but there was a lot of break ins throughout the city in those 2 days. I also learned when I called them during this time that if one of their monitoring stations goes out in a lightning storm that it automatically reroutes your monitoring to another station.


Alex Colon is the managing editor of PCMag's consumer electronics team. He previously covered mobile technology for PCMag and Gigaom. Though he does the majority of his reading and writing on various digital displays, Alex still loves to sit down with a good, old-fashioned, paper and ink book in his free time. (Not that there's anything wrong wit... See Full Bio
Over ten years service and I upgraded to their new Pulse system. Because I've been a customer for so long they didn't put up a fight when I wanted a whole new wireless system. I was able to get it and have a few camera's, key remotes and things we have been missing out on for the past few years. ADT is the clear winner in my books, I hear horror stories of other companies jumping up the rate, going out of service or having 5 year agreements. You don't have to worry about any of this with the ol' White and Blue.
Bad customer service. Be careful when you sign the contract with this company. It’s a bait, always overcharge. You want to cancel! No way! You will pay for the cancel fee. A lot money. I will tell to all my friends, my family friend and the world. Don’t trust and don’t use this company. I’m sure I will never stay with this company after my contract. Liar and cheaters!
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.
Average contracts: Customers sometimes complain that the 36-month contracts for ADT monitoring are too long. We should point out that a 36-month contract is fairly standard in the home security industry. However, customers who care about shorter contracts with more flexibility could look into other companies. For example, Vivint customers who pay for all their security equipment up front don’t need monthly contracts, and Link Interactive offers shorter contract options (starting at 12 months).

Installation starts at $199. Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert monitoring requires purchase and/or activation of an ADT security system with monitored Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert devices. Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert services are an additional charge. Quality Service Plan (QSP) is ADT’s Extended Limited Warranty. 36-month monitoring contract required from $49.99 per month, ($1,871.64), including Quality Service Plan (QSP). Additional charges may apply in areas that require guard response service for municipal alarm verification. Prices subject to change. Prices may vary by market. Some insurance companies offer discounts on Homeowner’s Insurance. Please consult your insurance company. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Additional monitoring fees required for some services. Photos are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the exact product/service actually provided.
As far as home automation goes, ADT Pulse helps you automate lights, thermostats, and door locks. The ADT system integrates with Alexa and Nest. Alexa integration lets you use voice commands to arm and disarm your system, control lights, lock and unlocking doors, while Nest integration allows you to control your thermostat. You can also adjust the temperature manually using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

My family has been using ADT for home security for two years now. I always feel safer at night when I turn on the system. We set it as away when we leave for trips, and I know that if there were a break-in, it would be handled extremely quick! We accidentally set the alarm off ourselves once and someone called us within a minute. Definitely worth it.


The morning of 3/15 i noticed my ADT app and camera were not working, later after I had gotten home from work I called ADT customer service. After spending 55 minutes troubleshooting with customer service they decided to send a tech out to fix. 3 minutes after i hung up the phone someone kicked in my front door. Yes they did call me and call the police but the camera was no working and I was unable to see what was going on through my phone. The camera would have gotten a video of the criminal. I called ADT and told them what happened they expedited someone to come out and fix the issue. The tech came on 3/16 and after about two hours was unable to fix the issue. I have it on recording where the tech admitted the hardware had failed. It has only been 15 months and the hardware failed. I had to take off today 3/20 for the tech to come back out and fix it, the tech was able to fix it but now my key fob does not work and they have to send a tech out again and i have to take another day off from work. I called the company multiple times and complained that their equipment failed me when i needed them and i wanted to cancel my contract, they told me i would have to pay all termination fees. I should not have to pay fees because they did not hold up their end of the contract i pay extra for the app and camera and it failed me. I do not want money or anything i just want out of my contract. I have to get a lawyer now and get the BBB involved.
Worst business i have ever dealt with. From the start, i was lied to by the installation guy who said there is a grace period of a month to cancel the contact without a termination fee. When i called in a week later to cancel, ADT advised it was an incorrrect information which was given by an outsourced contractor so they can not be responsible for it. So i was stuck with them for two years. When i called to cancel the account after the two year contract was over, ADT required 30days cancelltaion period which meant they will simply collect a payment for an extra month for just wanting to cancel their ridiculous service which i want no part of ever again. From start to finish, this company is a borderline fraud.
I tested ADT Pulse (starting at $28.99 per month plus components and installation), which combines the company's alarm and security service with home automation and monitored surveillance. ADT easily rivals its top competitors, including Vivint Smart Home, in functionality, though if you opt for the top of its service tiers as I did, you might want to prep yourself for sticker shock. Even so, ADT Pulse earns our Editors' Choice for home security systems.
Do not use ADT! The salesman was a fast-talking con artist. My husband and I felt pressured to sign a contract without having time to read it. The salesman lied and told us we could cancel anytime. The contract is for 36 months, and if you try to cancel, you have to pay an incredibly large sum of money! Customer service is rude and antagonistic, and the actual alarm service itself is defective. Please don’t make the mistake that we did!
Ideal for small homes and apartments, Canary keeps home security simple, anchoring it in one unassuming, but feature-packed tower: the Canary View All-in-One. The tower hosts a 1080p streaming camera with high-quality night vision (the best IP camera we encountered), a motion sensor, an air quality sensor, and a crazy-loud, 90-decibel siren. It’s like starting a lawn-mower next to your face.
There are many points at which a home security company can disappoint its customers. This may account for the large number of critical comments about ADT security systems. Customers complain about undisclosed fees, prices that are sharply higher than quoted, punitive cancellation policies, relentless upselling, incompetent technicians, malfunctioning and obsolete equipment, and poor customer service. A minority of commenting customers, however, are very satisfied with the service.
Bernadette, wow! We are so relieved to hear no was hurt, and on Christmas morning! That is exactly what ADT is here for. Our first priority will always be your safety. We could not be happier to hear this amazing story from you, Bernadette. You are very welcome. Our team of highly trained representatives will always be a speedy phone call away 24/7 if any disturbances takes place in your home. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. Take care, Bernadette! Have a safe and great day! -Katie
Additionally, devices that connect via Wi-Fi, such as security cameras and smart door locks, can be hacked to gain access to your home network. A skilled hacker can then use your Wi-Fi devices and other network resources to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against larger networks. Perhaps even more disturbing is the idea of some stranger monitoring video from your indoor and outdoor security cameras.
As you can see, the control panel isn't as pretty as Vivint's, but Vivint expects you to do more with its panel than ADT does. The Safewatch has a monochrome touch screen and a somewhat arcane menu structure. You can select zones to be disarmed while leaving other zones armed (though I didn't enable this in my house). Key system functions are performed with a four-digit security code in addition to a menu command so the system isn't vulnerable to just anyone standing in front of it. The panel has a lot of other functionality, including the ability to adjust your lighting and appliances from its menu and even check weather, traffic, or news. But in the end you'll likely use it mainly for getting in and out of your house. The menu system is rich, but the ADT master web portal and the Pulse mobile app are far easier tools to use for working with your system. You won't even need to punch in your alarm code if you opt for one of the Safewatch's bundled fobs.

Scout doesn’t have as many extra features as some other alarm systems, but if you currently have a Nest Learning Thermostat or a Nest Cam, you’ll love this new, modern take on home security. Scout offers the lowest monthly monitoring price we’ve seen for cellular monitoring at $9.99 a month, but keep in mind that it’s not connected to a professional monitoring center unless you upgrade to $19.99.


Even if we didn't get a military discount (I'm in services) I still would have gone for ADT. Almost all of my fellow comrades are using ADT in their houses and they don't have any complaints yet. Though obviously military discount is always sweet. It goes on to show how caring and patriotic a company is towards their nation. No home security company I know of does that I think.
ADT Pulse + Video. Installation starts at $399. Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert monitoring requires purchase and/or activation of an ADT security system with monitored Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert devices. Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Medical Alert services are an additional charge. Quality Service Plan (QSP) is ADT's Extended Limited Warranty. 36-month monitoring contract required from $58.99 per month, ($2,123.64), including Quality Service Plan (QSP). Additional charges may apply in areas that require guard response service for municipal alarm verification. Prices subject to change. Prices may vary by market. Some insurance companies offer discounts on Homeowner's Insurance. Please consult your insurance company. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Additional monitoring fees required for some services. Photos are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the exact product/service actually provided.
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