When most people think of home security, they think ADT. And if you’ve ever talked to one of their sales reps you might have been led to believe that there is no other “safe” choice. That statement simply isn’t true. There are lots of options, so many that the process of selecting a company can be daunting. Today we’re going to make that process a little easier by comparing three options for you: ADT, Frontpoint, and Vivint.
ADT Pros & Cons
- Well-Established Company
- Smart Home Integrations with ADT Pulse
- Expert Installation and Repairs
- Customer Service Complaints
- High Monthly Monitoring Costs
- High Cancellation Fees
Frontpoint Pros & Cons
- High-Quality Customer Service
- Best-in-Class Technology
- Tested & Recommended
- No Landline/Broadband Monitoring
- Frequent Pricing/Deals Change
Vivint Pros & Cons
- Highly Innovative Equipment
- Flexible Contracts for Military Families & Seniors
- Financing is Available
- Long-Term Contracts
- Negative Consumer Reviews
- You Must Request a Quote via Phone or Online
- They are available nationwide and in Canada.
- They offer professional monitoring services for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
- They all require monitoring contracts.
- They use wireless equipment.
- They offer home automation equipment and security cameras.
- They offer free consultation and customized quotes.
- Contract Length: Frontpoint offers 1-year and 3-year contracts; ADT offers 3-year contracts, Vivint offers 4-year to 5-year contracts or month-to-month contracts if you pay the equipment upfront.
- Installation: ADT and Vivint requires professional installation; Frontpoint's equipment is DIY installed.
- Sales Process: ADT and Vivint require that you get a quote from a sales rep; Frontpoint also offers free customized quotes, but their products are also available online.
- Monitoring Method: ADT uses landline or cellular monitoring; Frontpoint & Vivint solely offer cellular monitoring with broadband backup.
- Return Period: Frontpoint has a 30-day return policy; ADT and Vivint only honor their customers' 3-day Right of Rescission.
- Pricing Transparency: Frontpoint's pricing structure is clearly laid out on their website; ADT and Vivint are not as transparent.
Sales & Pricing Comparison
ADT and Vivint share a lot in common with regards to the sales process because both companies require that you request a quote either online or via phone. They don't have an online shop where you can buy products directly. Frontpoint also gives free quotes online and over the phone, but you can also buy your system and setup service online.
ADT's pricing is contingent to the type of the system you want. Systems that use landline for sending alerts typically cost less, but those that use cellular signal and broadband are more expensive. Landline plans start at $36.99. Vivint is a little more expensive, given that they only offer broadband and cellular plans. Rates start at $39.99. Frontpoint has standardized cellular plans, with rates starting at $34.99 per month. Frontpoint is the least expensive option among the three.
If you setup service with ADT, a free equipment package is included that is enough for you to set up a basic security system. Additional equipment can be purchased as needed. With Vivint, a small upfront fee must be paid in order to acquire a basic equipment package. Additional devices can also be purchased. With Frontpoint, the equipment cost is separate from the monitoring cost. You can buy packages for as low as $99, which reflects a $300 discount as long as you agree to sign a three-year contract.
ADT and Vivint both require professional installation, which means an installation fee must be paid. With Frontpoint, the entire system is wireless, allowing you to install the system yourself and skip the installation fee. Should you need professional help, you can always call Frontpoint's tech support and get assistance.
Key Features & Tech
ADT's standard equipment includes a control panel, security sensors, and life safety sensors, all of which are connected to ADT's monitoring center. Additionally, you can purchase cameras and home automation products. Vivint offers the same type of equipment, but they've standardized a touchscreen control panel, making it easier to control your security system using the built-in interface. Frontpoint's standard equipment revolves around the Frontpoint Hub. It's a central device without a screen responsible for generating and sending alerts. Aside from the hub, Frontpoint offers security sensors and life safety sensors.
With the three companies, you can upgrade your security system to include home automation products and features, essentially making it possible to smarten up your home. ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint all offer smart lights, locks, thermostats, and other essential home automation products. The primary difference is to whom do they offer home automation. With ADT, home automation is possible with the mid-tier plan. With Vivint, all users have access to home automation. With Frontpoint, only the Interactive and Ultimate plans, which are the mid-tier and high-end plans, include home automation.
With regards to cameras, all three companies offer indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and video doorbells, although the model and make of the cameras they offer vary. Adding cameras is only possible if you're on the highest tier plan with either ADT, Vivint, or Frontpoint. However, Frontpoint customers have the added option to self-monitor their cameras for $14.99 per month without affecting their existing monitoring rate.
Most alarm companies nowadays offer smartphone access, including ADT, Frontpoint, and Vivint. With ADT, smartphone access via the ADT Pulse app is only possible if you have a cellular monitoring plan. In addition to ADT Pulse, ADT offers the ADT Go app for free to all ADT customers. ADT Go is a family safety tracker app. Frontpoint's app is also free-to-use, but only for those who are on the mid-tier plan (Interactive). The app allows easy access to the security system as well as remote control capabilities. Vivint's app is available to all users regardless of which monitoring plan they are on.
Frontpoint was one of the first to standardize cellular monitoring, which is considered the most secure and reliable monitoring method compared to landline and broadband monitoring. Vivint also followed suit, although their systems still use broadband monitoring with cellular backup. ADT also offers cellular monitoring, but their entry-level monitoring plan still uses landline monitoring.
Customer Service Experience
Among the three companies, Vivint has the longest contracts. Typically, customers are required to sign a four-year or five-year service agreement. The contract terms, however, are more lenient to military families and seniors. ADT comes second, as all customers are required to sign a three-year contract. Frontpoint gives customers options between a one-year contract or a three-year agreement.
ADT allows their customers to relocate and take their security system with them, but the catch is that you might be required to renew your contract term to another three years. With Vivint, you have the option to take the system with you or leave it for the new owners of the house and get a new security system at a discounted price. The contract will also most likely renew. With Frontpoint, you can move anytime without penalties or contract auto-renewal. They will even send you a free mover's kit that includes adhesive tapes for the re-installation of sensors.
ADT and Vivint both lack a formal return policy, but their customers are protected by the three-day Right of Rescission. Frontpoint gives their customers 30 days to try their system and services, during which they can return the system and get a full refund. Frontpoint will even take care of the return shipping.
After the initial return period, or three-day Right of Rescission in the case of ADT and Vivint, customers can't cancel their contracts without incurring an early-termination penalty upon themselves. With ADT, the penalty is equivalent to 75% of your contract balance. Frontpoint's early-termination penalty is slightly higher at 80% of your balance. With Vivint, you must pay the entire balance in order to clear your records.
The Bottom Line: Who Wins?
After carefully considering ADT, Frontpoint, and Vivint's pricing, features, and customer service, we've come to the conclusion that Frontpoint is the strongest option among the three companies. Although ADT and Vivint are both solid options, Frontpoint has a huge advantage over them in the customer service department. They are also competitive when it comes to sales and pricing and the features they offer are top-of-the-line.
|Plan||Price||Promo Price||Contract Length|
|Total Protection||$42.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Premium Protection||$52.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Plan||Price||Promo Price||Contract Length|
|Protection Plan||$34.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Interactive Plan||$44.99/mo||-||36 mo|
|Ultimate Plan||$49.99/mo||-||36 mo|