Bottom line: ADT’s DIY solution comes with all the perks and none of the hassle
ADT is probably the most well-known name in full-service, professionally-installed home security. Now, this security standby is making a play to join the more accessible, pared-down ranks of DIY alarm systems.
After acquiring DIY security brand LifeShield in 2019, ADT merged its years of home security experience with LifeShield’s simple, user-friendly offerings.
The outcome is a brand new security brand—Blue by ADT—that comes with tried-and-true home security equipment and monitoring experience.
We like that an industry behemoth like ADT finally got into the DIY game—and best of all, you finally have a way to get ADT’s pro monitoring without a three-year contract.
Affordable price point
Stand-alone security cameras
Pricey smart camera add-ons
No online chat option
Glitchy mobile app
How we reviewed
On top of online research and conversations with ADT representatives, we got to check out Blue by ADT at CES in Las Vegas this year. Because the system is so new, we haven’t yet completed a full in-home test. But 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:
Smart home compatibility
Blue by ADT pricing
When it comes to professional monitoring, it doesn’t get much simpler than Blue by ADT. There’s only one plan, and it’s a straightforward $19.99 per month. Here’s a look at what that $20 gets you.
Our favorite thing about Blue by ADT’s 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.
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.
Right now you get 30 days to try out professional monitoring without dropping an extra cent. After the 30 days, you can either lose the perks of the plan (and opt for self-monitoring) or keep it at the $19.99 per month price.
Tech and equipment
Blue by ADT 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 Blue by ADT app—whether you opt for the monitoring plan or not.
The wireless DIY setup also makes ADT an option for renters or others who may move before the end of a 36-month contract.
Compare Blue by ADT equipment packages
All Blue by ADT security system packages come with a base, entry keypad, yard sign, four window stickers, and full access to the Blue by ADT mobile app.
Take a look at the equipment that’s included in most Blue by ADT system packages.
The base is the brains of your security system. It connects all the sensors and links you to the monitoring center if you choose pro monitoring.
The entry keypad offers another way to arm and disarm your system without having to access the app.
This battery-operated contact sensor alerts you whenever a door is opened or closed.
The window sensor lets you know if a window has been opened or closed. If a room has two or more windows, Blue by ADT suggests using a motion sensor instead.
Blue by ADT features a pet-friendly motion sensor that won’t trigger every time your furry housemates (under 40 lbs.) are on the move.
Fire safety sensor
This sensor listens for your smoke alarm, and lets you (or the monitoring center) know if your alarm goes off.
Blue by ADT security cameras
One of the coolest things that Blue offers is the option to buy its security cameras without a full security system.
I especially love this option because, depending on the size of your home or your primary security concerns, one solid security camera may be all you need to feel safe.
My tiny apartment doesn’t need more than an indoor security camera to keep an eye on everything that matters to me. And a lone camera is perfect to greet the kids when they get home from school or chat with the delivery folks when they drop off a package.
If you like the idea of extra security but don’t think you need a full-blown system, Blue by ADT’s stand-alone camera options are an ideal solution. But first, a warning: Blue’s cameras aren’t the cheapest ones out there (or the cutest), but they do come with the added heft of ADT’s name and reputation.
This outdoor camera kit 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 Blue or LifeShield security system. If monitoring isn’t a deal breaker for you, here’s what you get in the camera kit.
Blue by ADT mobile app
The Blue by ADT app
Get full control over your Blue by ADT security system and cameras with this free mobile app that’s available to every ADT Blue customer. The Blue by 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 Blue by ADT throw out that practice.
Whether or not you add 24/7 monitoring to your Blue security system, you can take full advantage of everything the mobile app has to offer.
Remote arm and disarm
Live video streaming
Saved media archive
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. An update was released on April 6 that aims 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
Blue by ADT 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 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 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 Blue’s app to be more reliable.
Smart home brands that work with Blue by ADT
In addition to IFTTT and Z-Wave Plus compatibility, Blue by ADT is compatible with many home automation brands.
Blue reports that Apple HomeKit compatibility is in the works for Blue security cameras.
Because we haven’t finished our in-home test of Blue by ADT, we don’t have a full report about how Blue is 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 Blue by ADT, 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.
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!).
If the online resources just don’t cut it for you, you can call 877-464-7437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org get personal assistance.
One thing that’s missing is an online chat option. 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), so the absence of this option is disappointing.
LifeShield customer reviews
Because Blue by ADT is the DIY security system formerly known as LifeShield, we found a lot of online reviews and customer ratings for the brand. But we think Blue is different enough from LifeShield, so we take these with a grain of salt.
In a few months, we think there will be a better online assessment from customers about how Blue by ADT is performing.
Info current as of 05/01/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *No upfront equipment cost with consumer financing.
Blue by ADT 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, Blue is your solution. Here’s a recap of our favorite perks.
Stand-alone security cameras
ADT Monitoring for just $19.99 per month
Free mobile app
But the brand is still new (even though it’s an evolution from LifeShield), so the jury is out on a few things. Here’s where we’d like to see Blue continue to improve.
Address mobile app bugs
Gather Blue by ADT customer reviews (not LifeShield)
Work on smart camera pricing
Implement Apple HomeKit compatibility
Can I still use my LifeShield security system?
Yes. When ADT and LifeShield merged, 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.
Does Blue by ADT work with my LifeShield equipment?
Yes. You can add to your current LifeShield security system with Blue by ADT devices and cameras.
If I buy stand-alone Blue smart cameras, can I add a full security system later?
Yes. Blue 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.
Can I get professional monitoring if I buy only security cameras?
No. Right now, you need either a LifeShield or Blue by ADT security system to add professional monitoring to your cameras.
How much video storage do I get with Blue by ADT security cameras?
Your cameras come with 24 hours of free cloud storage through the Blue by ADT app. If you want more, there is an option (through the app) to add 60 days of storage for around $3 per month.
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 six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more