ADT is our top pick for its reliability, trustworthiness, and better home security experience. While it isn’t as affordable as Ring, and doesn’t have DIY installation or monitoring, ADT offers quality systems, no up-front equipment costs, and outstanding customer protection.
ADT vs. Ring Home Security
ADT vs. Ring at a glance
ADT Pros and cons
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
Who Ring is best for
Ring 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.
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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.
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 gives you a whopping six months to decide if you like your new system. If not, and they can’t make you happy, they will give you back your installation and professional monitoring fees if it’s within the first 180 days of your contract.
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.
The biggest difference between ADT and Ring is longevity and trustworthiness. ADT has 140+ years of home security experience. This comes with nationwide coverage through nine 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:
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 $27.99 to $62.99. Let’s compare the lowest and highest packages from each brand.
ADT monitoring plans
Ring monitoring plans
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.
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 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.
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.
Winner: ADT beats Ring
The biggest reason ADT is awesome is that it has 140+ 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 Alexa and Google Assistant, offers a six-month money-back guarantee, and has a user-friendly base station.
- Reliable service
- No up-front equipment costs
- Easy-to-use base station
- Six-month money-back guarantee
- No contract
- More affordable monitoring
- DIY installation options
- Better security cameras
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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