ADT Self Setup Review

ADT knocks it out of the park with an affordable, no-contract DIY security system (finally!).
Most experienced security brand
ADT Shield
ADT Self Setup
4 out of 5 stars
4
Monitoring starts at
$24.99
/mo
  • pro
    DIY installation
  • pro
    No contract
  • pro
    Excellent professional monitoring
  • pro
    Self-monitoring option

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Rebecca Edwards
Aug 17, 2023
bullet8 min read

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 Self Setup (formerly Blue by ADT) offers a rare combo of free home security self-monitoring with total app access. And if you decide you want the pros to keep an eye on your system for a while, you get to hand the reins to ADT's monitoring centers without signing a contract.

But ADT's Self Setup equipment selection falls short. If you want smart home automation features or environmental sensors, you'll have to find a compatible third-party brand.

We've got the full scoop on what else you can expect with ADT Self Setup.

pro
Pros
pro Trusted name
pro DIY installation
pro No contracts
pro Self-monitoring option
pro Affordable price point
con
Cons
con Pricey smart camera add-ons

How much does ADT Self Setup cost?

When it comes to professional monitoring, it doesn’t get much simpler than ADT Self Setup. There’s only one plan, and it’s a straightforward $24.99 per month—or $34.99 if you add security cameras. Here’s a look at what you get.

Compare ADT Self Setup plans

Plan
Monthly price
24/7 pro monitoring
Type of monitoring
Mobile app access
Two-way audio
Video storage
Learn more
$24.99/mo.
bulletYes
Cellular,
Wi-Fi
bulletYes
bulletYes
None
$34.99/mo.
bulletYes
Cellular,
Wi-Fi
bulletYes
bulletYes
30 days
$0.00/mo.
bulletNo
Wi-Fi
bulletYes
bulletNo
None

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Our favorite thing about ADT’s Self Setup professional monitoring plan is that you can get it on a month-to-month basis. This is a big game changer for ADT.

Up until now, your only option with any ADT home security system was a three-year commitment that required you to pay 75% of the total contract no matter what. That means you’d still end up paying for the service—even if you cancelled ADT.

We’re glad to see ADT giving consumers another option that provides the reassurance of a well-known security brand without tying you to a long, expensive contract.

To dig into the differences between these two offerings, check out our ADT vs. ADT Self Setup review.

Video: How ADT's DIY Security Brand Stacks Up

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Is ADT Self Setup right for you?

If you're looking for something ultra simple and affordable but backed by a trustworthy and stable monitoring company, ADT Self Setup is an excellent option.

Compare ADT Self Setup to other home security brands

Brand
Best for
Monthly cost bullet
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibility bullet
Learn more
Read review
Best professional security$599.00No *Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Best DIY security$245.00NoAmazon,
Google
Most trusted security brand$0.00YesAmazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Budget pick$199.99NoAmazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Quality DIY pick$129.00No Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Most gadgets$99.99NoAmazon,
Google
Best sensors$199.99NoAmazon,
Google,
Apple
Best customer ratingQuote requiredNo *Amazon,
Google

Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
Full ADT disclaimer

ADT Self Setup vs. the competition

ADT Self Setup doesn't tend to rank highly in our best-of lists compared to brands like Vivint, SimpliSafe, or Frontpoint. The difference comes down to a lack of features and equipment on ADT Self Setups part. "Bare bones" is the best way to describe this system and the monitoring perks, but its price reflects that. 

ADT's Self Setup professional monitoring price (about $25/mo.) is fairly affordable—especially now that other brands have increased their prices. We've seen incremental price increases from SimpliSafe, Frontpoint, Cove, Ring Alarm, Abode, and Wyze Home Monitoring over the last year or two, and ADT Self Setup's price recently increased as well. 

ADT Self Setup vs. traditional ADT

ADT's DIY option is the exact opposite of traditional full-service ADT in nearly every way except the monitoring professionals—they're the same experienced folks who monitor traditional ADT security systems. 

  • Whereas ADT requires professional hardwired installation, Self Setup is DIY and wireless.
  • Traditional ADT requires contracts, but Self Setup customers pay month-to-month with no cancellation fees.
  • Traditional ADT stipulates that you must own your home—Self Setup is renter-friendly. 
  • Traditional ADT equipment is virtually useless without a monitoring contract, but Self Setup's equipment can be self-monitored.

Another significant difference is that ADT Self Setup offers fewer equipment options than you'll find in a traditional ADT system—or most of its competitors. For example, there's no smart lock, garage door controller, extra siren, glass break sensor, CO detector, or smart home devices like smart thermostats or smart plugs. But thanks to Self Setup's Z-Wave compatibility, you can purchase third-party products that integrate with the system. It's just a little more of a hassle and a gamble versus getting everything from the same company.

Video: ADT vs. ADT Self Setup: What's the difference?

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ADT Self Setup tech and equipment

ADT Self Setup doesn’t offer anything too fancy when it comes to equipment, but we like the multiple camera options and the fact that everyone gets full access to the ADT+ app—whether you opt for the monitoring plan or not.

The wireless DIY setup also makes ADT a useful home security system option for renters or others who may move before the end of a 36-month contract.

Compare ADT Self Setup equipment packages

All ADT Self Setup security system packages come with a base station, an ADT yard sign, four window stickers, and full access to the ADT+ mobile app.

Package
Price
Door and window sensors
Motion sensor
Google Nest Doorbell
Google Nest Hub
Learn more
Starts at
$194.98
1Add-onAdd-onAdd-on
Starts at
$479.99
421 Add-on
Starts at
$579.98
4 2 1 1

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Here’s what you get in an ADT Self Setup system

Take a look at the ADT Self Setup equipment that’s included in most system packages. 

ADT Self Setup Smart Home Hub

Smart Home Hub

The Smart Home Hub is the brains of your security system. It connects all the sensors and links you to the monitoring center if you choose pro monitoring.

ADT Self Setup Keypad

Keypad

The Keypad offers another way to arm and disarm your system without having to access the app or dart inside the house to use the Smart Home Hub's keypad.

ADT Self Setup Door and Window Sensor

Door/window sensor

This battery-operated contact sensor alerts you whenever a door or window is opened or closed. If a room has two or more windows, ADT suggests using a motion sensor instead.

ADT Self Setup Motion Sensor

Motion sensor

ADT Self Setup Smoke Detector

Smoke detector

This smoke alarm triggers the base station's alarm and sends notifications to the ADT+ mobile app. 

ADT Self Setup Flood and Temperature Sensor

Flood and temperature sensor

It's not much to look at, but this flood and temperature sensor can alert you to water leaks and almost-freezing conditions before too much damage occurs.

You can also buy some Google Nest products at the same time, like the Nest Mini or the Nest Hub. Because ADT allows you to disarm your system with a voice command and PIN code, it's one of our favorite Google-compatible home security systems.

ADT Self Setup security cameras

One of the coolest things about ADT Self Setup is its native support for Google Nest cameras. ADT is the only company with this functionality, which is a powerful addition to an already stellar DIY security system.

Using Google Nest cameras with your system requires a Nest Aware plan in addition to professional monitoring ($35/mo.), at least if you buy your cameras from ADT. However, we're not sure how this works for folks who already own Nest cameras when signing up.

Compare security cameras

Camera
Price
Two-way audio
Facial recognition
Camera type
Learn more
bulletYes
bulletYes
Indoor,
wired
bulletYes
bulletYes
Indoor/outdoor,
wired/wireless
bulletYes
bulletYes
Outdoor,
wired/wireless

Info current as of post date Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Outdoor security camera

The Google Nest Cam (Battery) keeps you on top of what’s happening around your property. Whether it’s an escape-artist pooch or pesky porch pirates, these cameras add the extra eyes you need to keep everyone (and everything) safe.

The only drawback is that you can’t add ADT monitoring without a full security system. You can use this as a standalone camera, but it's best to buy from a different vendor than ADT if you're not planning to use it with ADT.

The ADT+ app

Get full control over your ADT Self Setup security system and cameras with this free mobile app that’s available to every ADT Self Setup customer. The ADT+ app is where you can add and remove smart home devices and control your connected gadgets.

Other security systems (including ADT’s professionally installed systems) force you to upgrade if you want remote access to your system via an app. We were delighted to see ADT Self Setup throw out that practice.

Whether or not you add 24/7 monitoring to your Self Setup security system, you can take full advantage of everything the mobile app has to offer.

  • Remote arm and disarm
  • Live video watching
  • Saved media archive
  • Push notifications
  • Two-way talk (with compatible equipment)
  • Smart home controls
  • Area crime map

But, as with any new venture, users have reported a slew of glitches and bugs in the app.

Some folks keep getting logged out of the app, so every time they want to check in on their house or get an alert, they’re required to log in. Those few seconds can make a difference when you’re talking about the security of your home.

Other issues include lots of freezing and a buggy user interface that covers up the buttons you need to use the app. Updates have been released that aim to address a lot of these issues.

We definitely like the claims about what you can do in the app. The next step will be more positive reports that those features actually work consistently.

Smart home features and compatibility

ADT Self Setup is fully IFTTT compatible and works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Until now, smart home limitations have been a consistent disappointment with ADT’s professionally installed security systems. To get home automation, you had to upgrade to the more expensive (now defunct) ADT Pulse plan.

We’re happy to see a new ADT option with built-in smart home compatibility at an entry-level price.

Thanks to Z-Wave Plus and IFTTT compatibility, you can connect your Blue security system to everything from the porch light to the smart thermostat. That’s especially convenient if you’ve been controlling your smart home gadgets in a number of different apps.

Having one place for home automation to live makes it easier to set up routines and maximize your household (and lifestyle) convenience and efficiency. The only caveat is waiting for the app to be more reliable.

Smart home brands that work with ADT Self Setup

In addition to IFTTT and Z-Wave Plus compatibility, Self Setup is compatible with many home automation brands.

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant and Nest
  • Philips Hue
  • Lutron
  • Sonos
  • iRobot

Customer service

Because we haven’t finished our in-home test of ADT's DIY option, we don’t have a full report about how it's performing when it comes to taking care of customers. But here are a few important things we’ve discovered so far.

Easy online shopping

To get ADT Self Setup, all you have to do is pick the equipment you want, add it to your cart, and click "Buy Now." This is a stark contrast from ADT’s traditional sales process that requires both a phone call and an in-home security consultation. (Though the company's improving on this front as well.)

If you like to shop with as little human interaction as possible (I feel you), now you can—no need to make a new best friend in the process (woot!).

Robust online support

ADT Self Setup has an impressive collection of help articles and videos that walk you through installation, troubleshooting, and commonly asked questions. In addition, there’s a separate support portal that offers even more options for help.

Email and phone support

If the online resources just don’t cut it for you, you can contact ADT for personal assistance:

There's even an online chat option in the ADT Support Center. We like the option to do a quick chat with a tech or customer service representative (instead of waiting on an email or getting involved in a phone call).

Final word

ADT Self Setup is a breath of fresh air from security stalwart ADT. If you’ve wanted ADT home security but the long contracts and expensive monitoring made you gunshy, this DIY offering is your solution. Here’s a recap of our favorite perks:

  • No contracts
  • Self-monitoring option
  • Excellent security cameras
  • ADT Monitoring for just $24.99 per month
  • Free mobile app
  • Human-free purchase process

Here’s where we’d like to see Self Setup continue to improve:

  • Address mobile app bugs
  • Work on smart camera pricing
  • Implement Apple HomeKit compatibility

ADT Self Setup FAQ

If you don't see your question below, check out our full ADT Self Setup FAQ page.

Yes. When ADT and LifeShield merged to form Blue by ADT (now ADT Self Setup), ADT continued to support existing LifeShield customers. If you have a LifeShield security system, you will continue to get the same support and monitoring services.

Yes. ADT Self Setup security systems are totally customizable. You can start out with as much or as little equipment as you want, and add to it over time.

No. Right now, you need a complete security system to add professional monitoring to your cameras.

Adding cameras automatically enrolls you in the $35/mo. plan, which includes 30 days of video storage.

 

How we reviewed ADT Self Setup

On top of online research and conversations with ADT representatives, we got to check out all of ADT's offerings at CES in Las Vegas. We lined up what we know about this DIY offering from ADT against all the other systems we’ve tested to give you a comprehensive overview.

The key factors we compared include:

  • Price
  • Overall value
  • Reputation
  • Smart home compatibility
  • Quality
  • Features

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Disclaimers

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.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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