Written by | Updated October 12, 2018
ADT expert speaks to family

General Capabilities

Do ADT Cameras Record?

Yes, ADT cameras record and they come with a variety of options. You can choose from outdoor cameras with 360-degree viewing, indoor color cameras, or doorbell cameras. The company even provides a wireless camera option. However, you’ll have to upgrade to ADT’s Video service level to take advantage of this feature.

Do ADT Signs Deter Burglars?

It’s hard to say if ADT signs specifically deter burglars, but, in general, it seems that security signs could keep intruders away. Burglaries are usually crimes of opportunity, meaning if a burglar sees a house that looks unoccupied, they will seize the opportunity to break in.

But, if they see a house that could have an alarm system, their risk of getting caught goes up, so it’s likely to deter them. According to ADT, “83% of convicted burglars said they try to determine whether an alarm system is present before attempting a burglary.” Either way, it’s better to be safe by purchasing a security system.

Can the System Detect Gas Leaks or Smoke?

This depends on the type of ADT service level and package you select or customize. If you go with the Traditional service level, you can add smoke and CO monitoring for an additional cost. If you decide to go with ADT’s Remote or Video service levels, then you’ll have access to everything provided in the Traditional package along with fire, smoke, and CO monitoring; water detection; and temperature control.

Will ADT Dispatch for Fire, Smoke, and CO?

In the case of an emergency due to fire, smoke, or CO, an alarm will go off, and ADT will contact you as well as the authorities to ensure your safety.

Does the System Work if the Power Goes Out?

In the event of a power outage, your ADT security system will still work. Every ADT control panel comes with a 24-hour backup battery in case of a power interruption. However, ADT advises that you keep the backup battery fully charged so your alarm system still works if the power goes out. When the backup battery starts to get low, the monitoring center will receive a signal and alert you.

Does ADT’s System Require Manual Resetting in the Event of a Power Failure?

In the event of power failure, ADT will reboot your system with your saved settings. According to ADT’s representatives, you won’t need to manually reset the system.

How Long Does It Take for My Security System to Notify ADT of an Intrusion?

Response time varies based on a slew of factors, including your location, how busy the authorities are, and the monitoring center’s call volume. From what we’ve seen, ADT’s average response time is around forty-five seconds, which is within the acceptable standard.

Does ADT Offer Systems with Advanced Safety Features?

The ADT service level you select will determine your security system’s feature capabilities. If you go with the Remote or Video service levels, you’ll be able to take advantage of high-end safety features. The Remote level will give you access to control your security system from your phone or other device, whether you’re at home or on the go. With the Video service level, you can set up video surveillance as well as customized home automation commands like having your lights turn on at a certain time and arming your system when the lights are off.

Does ADT Security Require a Landline?

This will depend on which option you choose. We were able to find that most, but not all, ADT packages require a landline. For an added cost, you can have the ADT Cellular Guard technology monitoring package with Remote and Video service levels. Basically, your control panel will be equipped with a cellular chip. You won’t have to choose either a landline or cellular connection—you can simply have the cellular as a backup in case something happens to your landline.

When we contacted an ADT representative via chat, they were not able to give us any specific information. The only way to get a clear answer is to set up an appointment for an ADT technician to come to your house.

Can ADT be Installed in an Apartment?

Yes. ADT can create customized solutions for renters. However, we were unable to get any specifics over the phone. ADT requires that you set up an in-person appointment for someone to assess your apartment before the company can put a package together.

Does ADT Work with VoIP?

It depends. ADT works with certain VoIP providers, but the company recommends that you call it at 1-800-ADT-ASAP before setting up the service to find out which providers meet its criteria. You can also find the list of approved providers in ADT’s policy. However, because VoIP providers are not 100% reliable, ADT recommends that you have a backup connection in place.

According to ADT, the company requires that one of the following methods is used to transmit an alarm signal to the monitoring centers.

  • Landline telephone service
  • Cellular communication service such as CellGuard®
  • Phone service provided by a qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN) provider
ADT equipment on table


Am I Getting the Newest and Most Up-to-Date Equipment?

All of ADTs equipment is brand new right out of the box. ADT doesn’t provide previously rented or refurbished equipment.

Do I Own or Lease the Home Security System?

With ADT, you lease the equipment. The price of the equipment is rolled into your monthly monitoring payment. When we spoke with an agent from ADT, they said that once the contract is up, they will not take their equipment back—so you can either leave it in the home or throw it out. However, on the ADT FAQ page, the company states that once your service is disconnected, you’ll receive a prepaid return box and instructions on how to return the equipment.

Does ADT Service Its Equipment?

Yes, ADT services its equipment, but depending on your plan, there might be a fee associated with the service. After speaking to an ADT representative, we learned that we could choose to design our system—by picking out the equipment we need—with a warranty or without. According to ADT,  there is a fee attached to the service without the warranty. Either way, the good news is that the company has technicians available 24/7.

How Often Does ADT Check Its Systems?

ADT has technical support available 24/7, so no matter what goes wrong, there’s always someone there to help. The company recommends that you check your system once a month to ensure that everything functions correctly. You can do the test yourself or call the support line, and a technician will walk through the process. The customer service representative told us that it’s best to call the technician because they can ping the device directly.

Are Batteries Required?

ADT’s equipment requires batteries. Most of the batteries are easy to replace and can be found online or at a local grocery store. To make it simple, ADT provides a list of devices and the batteries they take so you know exactly what you need. One thing to note: ADT advises placing your security system in test mode before changing your control panel battery to prevent any false alarms.

Can I Take My Security System with Me When I Move?

ADT allows you to move with your security system. However, there is usually a fee attached. The company offers a Mover’s Discount Guarantee to help with some of the expenses of moving, but you’ll have to be a customer for at least two years.

Is the Service Transferrable?

You might be able to use ADT’s equipment with another company if the new security provider’s technology works with ADT’s equipment.

Man using phone

Device Capabilities

Can I Control My Home Security from My Phone?

ADT offers remote home security access depending on the package or level of service you select. The ADT Pulse package comes with remote access capabilities, including arming and disarming your system as well as getting email and alert notifications.

Is There a Mobile App?

Yes, ADT’s mobile app is called ADT Pulse. The app allows you to control your home while you’re on the go with a tablet or smartphone. The ADT mobile app includes several features.

  • Arming and disarming your system and checking the status of your sensors
  • Viewing live and recorded video to see what’s happening around your home
  • Using voice commands to control your system
  • Automating lights, locks, the thermostat, and more around your home
  • Receiving alerts via text or email about break-ins and other events

Can the ADT App Be Accessed from More Than One Device?

Yes. You can control your ADT mobile app from most smartphones and web-enabled devices.

Nest thermostat

Integration Capabilities 

Does the ADT System Integrate with ZigBee, Z-Wave, or Wi-Fi Devices?

ADT doesn’t support ZigBee devices. However, ADT works with Z-Wave compatible devices to control various aspects of your home that you can purchase through its site. If you decide to purchase your own Z-Wave devices, ADT doesn’t guarantee that they will work with its system.

Does the Hardware Sync with Other Security Systems?

According to ADT, whether the company’s hardware will sync with another system depends on the encryption. Some companies might use the same encryption as ADT, but its technicians will have to test for compatibility.

Can I Mix and Match the Components?

You might be able to mix and match some components with ADT’s security system, but the company would have to test the equipment first to see if it’s a good fit with its system.

Does ADT Integrate with Other Smart Home Platforms and Devices?

Yes, ADT integrates with Alexa and Nest.

Alexa Integration

With Alexa’s assistance, ADT lets you use voice commands to control your security system. You can do everything from arming and disarming your home and turning lights on and off to locking and unlocking doors and much more.

Nest Integration

ADT integrates with Nest, allowing you to control your thermostat. Nest will learn your activities and adjust to your schedule over time. And if you want to adjust the temperature manually, you can do so using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Couple testing new security system

Alarm Capabilities

How Does the ADT Alarm System Work?

The ADT alarm system will activate when triggered. A trigger can occur for a variety of reasons from glass breaking and high carbon monoxide levels to motion detection and more. Once the alarm is tripped, a signal will be sent to your control panel, which will alert the monitoring center.

The monitoring center will contact you as well as the authorities to see if you need help. ADT has 24/7 monitoring and six interconnected monitoring centers, so there’s always someone available to help.

What Do I Do in the Event of a False Alarm?

We contacted ADT to see what happens in case of a false alarm. The representative we spoke with said that ADT will call you to verify that the alarm is an actual emergency before contacting authorities. ADT also offers some tips to minimize or prevent false alarms: train security system users, secure doors and windows before arming your system, and service your system to ensure it’s running properly.

Does the ADT Alarm System Connect to a TV?

Yes, ADT connects with Samsung Smart TVs, allowing you to view live and recorded footage and stream video of your home.

Will the Police Automatically Be Notified if My Alarm Is Triggered?

Before police are contacted, the ADT monitoring center will call you to verify that the alarm is a true emergency. This is mandated by law in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of authorities responding to false alarms.

Does the ADT Alarm Sound a Siren When Activated by an Intruder?

Yes. ADT’s system sounds an alarm siren when it’s triggered. The loud sound is meant to alert you, the people around you, and the police that something’s wrong and you need help.

What Happens If I Need Help after Hours with My Alarm System?

ADT technicians are available 24/7 with live support. So, no matter when an alarm system issue arises, there will always be someone available to help you. If they’re unable to resolve your issue over the phone, you’ll have to schedule an in-person appointment, which could result in a fee, depending on your package.

Will My Children Be Able to Operate the ADT Alarm System?

When we spoke to a representative from ADT, they told us that the system is simple enough that anyone can use it. They also said that customers can create a child’s user account, so children can have access to the security system as well.

Will I Be Provided with Alarm Yard Signs and Decals to put up around My Home?

Yes, every ADT package comes with yard signs and decals. ADT doesn’t specify how many signs and decals come with the different packages, but they’re relatively inexpensive if you’re looking to add a few extra around your house.

Couple greeting ADT consultant at their door

Monitoring Capabilities

Who Does Professional Monitoring Call First?

By law, professional monitoring has to call the homeowner first to verify the alarm. The alarm has to be verified because there are many false alarms, which use up valuable police resources. Once the monitoring center has confirmed the emergency, it will notify first responders.

If I Have an Emergency, Who Should I Call First?

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s always a good idea to call 911 first, even if your security system has been triggered and you know help is on the way.

Will Somebody Be Monitoring My Home at all Times?

Yes, ADT has 24/7 monitoring 365 days a year, so as long as your alarm system is armed, help will be on the way. The company has six monitoring stations—four in the US and two in Canada—enabling it to quickly answer a high number of calls.

Who Monitors ADT’s Security Systems?

Unlike some security companies that partner with independent monitoring centers, ADT owns its six monitoring stations—four in the US and two in Canada. Having ownership over the monitoring station gives ADT more power to set high standards and ensure operational excellence.

What Are My Monitoring Options?

ADT provides customers with 24/7 monitoring regardless of the package you select. In general, there are two ways to monitor your home: independently or professionally. If you decide to monitor your home on your own, you’ll be responsible for contacting authorities if something goes wrong. With ADT’s professional monitoring, you’ll have a whole team ready to respond in case of an emergency.

Man getting money out of wallet


How Much Does ADT Cost?

It’s hard to nail down exactly how much ADT costs because the company won’t give specific information until it’s had someone come out to your house and assess your specific needs. The company advertises that you can start for $28.99 a month; however, the cost will vary depending on the equipment you select and other factors.

Does ADT Offer Automatic Payments and Paperless Billing?

Yes, ADT offers both automatic payments and paperless billing. The company’s automatic payment service, EasyPay, lets you set up a bank account or credit card to make payments. And you can go paperless by selecting the paperless option in your billing statements.

What Additional Fees Does ADT Charge?

All of ADT’s service levels come with three-year contracts. According to ADT, the service and installation fees depend on the level of service and equipment that you choose. There’s also an additional $25 activation fee to get started.

ADT doesn’t offer any kind of trial period. By law, you have three days to back out of a contract, and after that you’ll face a cancellation fee that’s 75% of the remainder of your contract. ADT also states that additional charges may apply if your area requires guard response or municipal permits.

Does ADT Charge Early Termination Fees if I Cancel?

Yes, if you terminate your contract early, ADT will charge 75% of your contract’s remaining balance.

Can ADT’s System Qualify Me for a Homeowners Insurance Discount?

Yes, ADT can qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount because having a security system makes your home safer. In some cases, the discount can be as high as 20%. However, the discount will depend on your insurance company and level of home security protection. Basically, the more security features you have, the more likely it is that your discount will be higher.

Will I Be Provided with a Certificate to Show My Homeowners Insurance Company?

Yes. Once you sign up with ADT, it will provide you with a certificate. To get a certificate to show your homeowners insurance company, simply sign in to and click on the Alarm Activity page.

Does ADT Require a Contract?

From what we’ve seen, all of ADT’s service levels come with three-year contracts. However, the company doesn’t offer a lot of information about its contracts online. Once you decide if ADT is right for you, take a close look at the contract specifics before signing on the dotted line.

Do ADT Security Systems Come with a Warranty or Guarantee?

ADT offers warranties with all of its packages that have a Quality Service Plan (QSP). With this plan, there will be no charge to replace or fix faulty equipment in the first ninety days after installation. After ninety days, you’ll continue to receive free replacement parts and repairs as long as you continue to have the QSP as part of your service.

However, there will be a service trip charge of around $25 (depending on your location). Even with the Quality Service Plan, there are a few things that are not included, such as if equipment is damaged by lightning, electrical surges, external causes, and acts of God.

ADT does not cover equipment replacement or repairs if you don’t have the Quality Service Plan. And as the company states, without the QSP, “service calls will cost between $400 and $500 for the replacement of just one part.”

Does ADT Offer Free Installation?

ADT doesn’t offer free installation. The installation charge may vary depending on the security system package you select. ADT does offer specials on installation from time to time. The company suggests asking about available offers when you speak to a representative.

Does ADT Offer a Referral Program?

ADT no longer accepts new referrals. The company states that referrals submitted before March 3 and installed and paid by June 1, 2018, will follow the normal referral payment process.