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.
With your equipment in place, ADT monitors via six different UL listed monitoring centers. All of the centers are manned by professional operators who can notify you and the local authorities in the event of an emergency. Monitoring is offered via broadband, cellular, or a landline connection. Without a doubt, cellular monitoring is the safest option as it doesn’t rely on cables or wires; however, the option comes with a higher price.

The Fortress S1 WiFi system combines the persistence of your home WiFi network as well as the versatility of a GSM cellular connection to protect you home, office, RV, storage unit, and more. In the event of an alarm, the S1 is able to send a push notifications directly to your smartphone via the MyFortress app while also being able to call or text up to 6 phone numbers using the GSM SIM card. The S1 can send email notifications to you as well as communicate with your Amazon Alexa compatible device.
Even though ADT offers home automation, it’s only included with the Premium Protection with Pulse package. This can be frustrating since home automation is a major selling point for most home security providers. The Premium Protection with Pulse package’s starting price is also pretty costly. And, on top of the monthly rate, you’ll have to purchase smart devices like locks, cameras and lights separately.
The company’s long history in the industry and 24/7 customer support are a great incentive to customers looking for a reliable home security system. Additionally, ADT’s six monitoring centers ensure that in the event that a center goes offline for any reason, the call for help is automatically routed to the next available center. Thus, your family will always be protected.
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.
Thanks to advances in wireless connectivity and camera sensors, interior security cameras are more and more affordable for those with a small budget. Better still, many budget cameras have a small form factor to keep them out of the way from prying, unwanted eyes that may enter into your home. The EZVIZ Mini O combines a quality 720p with two-way talk feature all for a very low price.
ADT offers unparalleled 24/7 cellular, broadband, and landline professional monitoring from six different monitoring centers located across the country. The physical equipment is provided by Protect Your Home and includes police, fire department, and medical dispatch options and their equipment comes with a 2-way intercom that allows you to contact one of their fast responders anytime you need assistance.
Most outdoor cameras, like our current top pick, the Netgear Arlo Pro 2, offer motion detection with push and email notifications, night vision, and cloud storage for event-triggered video, and some, like the Ring Floodlight Cam, pull double duty as floodlights or porch lights. Some models can even tell the difference between a passing car, an animal, and a person. Look for an outdoor camera that will integrate with other smart home devices such as garage door openers, external sirens, and smart switches.
I have been a loyal ADT customer for over 20 years. On December 13, 2016, my alarm went off early in the morning. It freaked me out BIG time. Never happened over the 20 years til now, the intruder most likely left before fully coming into my house. I have this alarm system to thank for keeping us safe. I didn't get evidence of the intruder so didn't have anything to pursue with. Glad I kept it over all the dull years to protect me during the one time it was needed.
Most outdoor cameras, like our current top pick, the Netgear Arlo Pro 2, offer motion detection with push and email notifications, night vision, and cloud storage for event-triggered video, and some, like the Ring Floodlight Cam, pull double duty as floodlights or porch lights. Some models can even tell the difference between a passing car, an animal, and a person. Look for an outdoor camera that will integrate with other smart home devices such as garage door openers, external sirens, and smart switches.
ADT offers 24/7 professional monitoring of your home security system 365 days a year. Beyond its most basic equipment package and monitoring plan that look like the rigorous security systems of the latter part of the 20th century, ADT now also offers home automation through its app, ADT Pulse. This includes a control panel with Z-Wave compatibility, giving you the flexibility to add whatever smart home devices you’ve already got in play, from lights and locks to appliances.
×