ADT vs. Ring Home Security

We tried, compared, and researched ADT and Ring. We chose ADT for its reliability and trustworthiness.
Best cameras
Ring
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starts at
$20.00
/mo
  • pro
    High-quality camera video
  • pro
    Solar equipment options
  • con
    Up-front equipment costs
Best pro monitoring
ADT Shield
ADT
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$28.99
/mo
  • pro
    Easy-to-use base station
  • pro
    Wired equipment options
  • con
    Expensive monitoring

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

ADT is a top pick for reliability, trustworthiness, and professional installation. It offers quality systems, no up-front equipment costs, and outstanding customer protection. Ring is more affordable with DIY installation with no contracts and excellent camera options, including video doorbells.



ADT Pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro 6 monitoring centers
pro No up-front equipment costs
pro Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
pro Wired options
pro 147 years of experience
con
Cons
con Expensive monitoring
con 3-year contract
con No solar options

Who ADT is best for

ADT is the best pick for folks that want someone else to deal with installing and setting up equipment. (You’re busy. We understand.) It's also a good choice if you want a quality security system without paying up front for equipment and are willing to pay a little extra for monthly professional monitoring and an installation fee.

Ring Pros and cons

pro
Pros
pro Inexpensive monitoring
pro Professional and DIY installation
pro No contracts
pro Solar options
con
Cons
con One monitoring center
con Confusing base station
con Privacy concerns
con No wired options

Who Ring is best for

Ring Alarm is a solid choice if you want your monthly professional monitoring fees to be as low as possible and don’t want to be weighed down by a contract. Ring also has better security cameras and even solar options.

ADT vs Ring top features

Lowest monitoring price
Contract length
Installation
Monitoring types
Learn more
$20.00
/mo
None Professional, DIY Professional, DIY
$28.99
/mo
3 years Professional, DIYProfessional

Amazon.com price as of 10/08/21 at 12:00 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer

Similarities

While on the surface these two security systems seem like comparing apples to oranges, they have a few similarities.  First, they have Flexible equipment packages. Second, they offer money-back guarantees.

Flexible equipment packages

The biggest thing that ADT and Ring have in common is flexibility. Want a security system that covers your entire home and yard, from video surveillance to smart lighting? No problem. Just want a system with a few sensors and a keypad? You can get that too.

Money-back guarantee

Nothing takes the worry out of a purchase like a money-back guarantee, so we’re happy to report that ADT and Ring both offer one.

ADT's money-back guarantee gives you a whopping six months. But note that this only applies if something goes wrong with your system in the first 180 days and ADT is unable to resolve the problem. If so, they'll give you back your installation and professional monitoring fees.

Ring only gives you 30 days to make a return. We’re bummed out by that paltry time allowance. It can take a while to get used to a new system. And you can’t determine if you like a system until after the learning period is complete. You can cancel the monitoring at any time, though.

Disclaimer: ADT Money-Back Guarantee. Money-back guarantee only applies after ADT has made attempts to resolve a system related issue and has not been able to resolve that issue within the first six (6) months of your contract. Equipment must be fully removed before a refund will be processed. Conditions preventing normal system operation cannot be caused by the customer.

bullet
ADT Self Setup

Like the idea of DIY home security systems, but also want the dependability and trustworthiness that comes with ADT? You can have both with ADT Self Setup. Read our ADT Self Setup review to learn more.

Differences

The biggest difference between ADT and Ring is longevity and trustworthiness. ADT has 147 years of home security experience. This comes with nationwide coverage through six monitoring centers.

These centers have redundancy plans that keep their customers serviced, even if one center goes down. If there’s a power outage, these centers also have generators to keep everything going. If that’s not reliability, we don’t know what is.

Ring Alarm is relatively new and has only one monitoring center. While Ring has some cool features and systems, the fact that there are no other centers as backup is a big red flag.

Beyond that, ADT and Ring have six major distinctions that set them apart:

Monthly fees

First, let’s take a look at prices. At just $20 a month for Ring Protect, it really can’t be beat. And that’s Ring’s most expensive plan. If you like, you can self-monitor for free too.

ADT, on the other hand, has multiple monitoring plans that run from $28.99 to $62.99. Let’s compare the lowest and highest packages from each brand.

ADT monitoring plans

Cost
Monitoring type
Remote access
Live video
Smart home integration
Learn more
BasicLandline
bulletNo
bulletNo
bulletNo
ADT Command Tier IICellular
bulletYes
bulletYes
bulletYes

Ring monitoring plans

Cost
Emergency response
Cellular backup
Video storage
Learn more
Self-monitoring
bulletNo
bulletNo
bulletNo
Protect Pro
bulletYes
bulletYes
bulletYes

Contracts

Let’s cut to the chase: when you sign up for an ADT system, you must sign a three-year contract. With Ring, you don’t need to worry about contracts. There aren’t any.

Contracts can be a good and bad thing. With ADT, you don’t have to pay any up-front costs on equipment when you sign the contract. So you don’t need to worry about shelling out a stack to get your home security system going.

The downside is you’re locked in for three years. If you opt out of your contract, you’ll need to pay a hefty fee of 75% of whatever you still owe.

DIY installation vs. professional installation

If you’re the type of person that wants everything, from installation to monitoring, done for you, then an ADT system is a good pick. No fuss, no muss. We do a deeper dive into DIY vs. professional installation in this guide.

If you’re the do-it-yourself type who likes the hands-on approach, then you’ll probably like Ring better since they offer a DIY option as well as professional installation. Renters also like DIY because the components are often easier to install without much damage. And with Ring, you’ll also skip installation fees and pay less for monitoring.

Power capabilities

Both ADT and Ring offer wireless security systems, but they also have other options. ADT also offers wired security systems, while Ring has solar options. For example, you can get a solar mount to power your Ring Video Doorbell.

Equipment quality

Another thing that sets these security systems apart is inconsistent quality when it comes to being reliable and well made.

The most important device in a security system is the base station. You want it to work well in an emergency since every second counts. ADT’s base station is easy to use. Disappointingly, Ring’s base station is confusing and highly frustrating. For example, it’s hard to tell if you’ve armed or disarmed the system.

Another example is security cameras. Both ADT security cameras and Ring security cameras offer useful features like two-way talk, app controls, and motion detection. But ADT cameras have 720p resolution. That’s not great if you want crystal-clear video. All of Ring’s cameras, including the Ring Video Doorbell camera, come in at the industry standard of 1080p HD.

Compatibility for smart home automation

We love security systems that play nice with your smart home automation, so we’re happy that you can use both ADT and Ring with with Alexa and Google Assistant. If you’re a Google Assistant fan, ADT goes one step farther. ADT not only works with Google Assistant; it also sells Google Nest products along with its own devices. You can have the Nest devices installed by a professional too.

Beyond that, Ring and ADT are compatible with many smart devices through their apps.

bullet
Ring privacy concerns

Over the past few years Ring has been called out for sharing customers’ videos with law enforcement. In 2021, Ring attempted to make the process more transparent by requiring authorities to request footage publicly through the Neighbors app.

Ring: best cameras

Ring:

  • No contract
  • More affordable monitoring
  • DIY installation options
  • Better security cameras

Still undecided? Read our full ADT and Ring reviews to learn more or take a look at our top picks for home security systems.

ADT: best professional monitoring

The biggest reason ADT is awesome is that it has 147 years of home security experience. This longevity brings perks, like reliable equipment and multiple nationwide monitoring centers. We also love that ADT is compatible with smart home assistants, offers a six-month money-back guarantee, and has a user-friendly base station.

ADT:

  • Reliable service
  • No up-front equipment costs
  • Easy-to-use base station
  • Six-month money-back guarantee

How we decided: ADT vs. Ring

For our ADT vs. Ring review,  we used hundreds of hours of hands-on research and testing, plus dozens of years of safety experience to choose the best home security system. We also considered customer reviews and the opinions of other security professionals.

To learn more about how we review products and services, see our Safewise methodology page.

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Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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