ADT Home Security Review

Written by | Updated February 6, 2020

Overall Rating

3.9/5
  • Strong reputation
  • Cellular and landline Plans
  • Monitoring starts at $36.99

ADT Home Security: How It Stacks Up

ADT’s well-established reputation has made it one of the most trusted names in the industry. Between the six monitoring stations across the country, it’s no surprise ADT is a household name. With five plans, including a landline option, it isn’t hard to find equipment that fits what you’re looking for. 

Every plan comes with a keypad and alarm, contact sensors for your doors and windows, and a keychain to arm and disarm the system.

Compare ADT Prices and Packages

Package
Monthly Cost
Monitoring Type
Remote Access
Live Video
Smart Home Integration
Best For
Complete Monitoring Bundle Basic Security + Wireless Connect ADT Command Tier I Remote Access ADT Command Tier II Video Security ADT Command Tier III Video Security & Home Automation
$36.99 $44.99 $52.99 $58.99 $62.99
Landline Cellular Cellular Cellular Cellular

No
X

No
X
Yes
Yes
Yes

No
X

No
X

No
X
Yes
Yes
No
X
No
X
No
X
No
X
Yes
Rural homes Budget security Busy families Basic surveillance Smart homes
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages

Data effective 02/06/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

Pros

  • 140+ years of home security experience
  • Monitoring centers across the country
  • 24/7 professional monitoring for every plan

Cons

  • Long-term contracts
  • Pricey add-ons and upgrades
  • Installation fee

ADT Plan Similarities

All ADT monitored plans have a few things in common. They’re all professionally installed by trained technicians and come with an Essentials kit to lower upfront costs. You’ll also be locked into a 36-month contract with any of these plans.

The Essentials kit includes:

  • Keypad alarm with a backup battery
  • Contact sensor for doors or windows
  • Motion detector
  • Carbon monoxide detector (optional add-on)*
  • Smoke and heat detector (optional add-on)

*With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

ADT Plan Differences

Besides the Essentials kit, ADT monitored plans differ from tier to tier, each sweetening the deal with a new feature.

The Complete Monitoring Bundle is a basic landline-connected Essentials package. If you live in a rural area or want to protect a vacation home in the country, this is an affordable option for protection.

The Premium Bundle II is the same, but with a cellular connection. This connection allows your system to sync with your Amazon Echo, so you can control it through talking to Alexa. It also allows you to skip the wiring that comes with landline service. Hardwired systems take longer to install and can be clipped or damaged by intruders.

The ADT Command Tier I adds remote access into the mix through the ADT Control app. Remote access lets you monitor and control your system from your phone. Whether it’s an open window or a full-blown system alert, you’ll know. And for $6 more, you can add live video with the ADT Command Tier II.

Finally, the ADT Command Tier III comes with a steeper installation fee, but you’ll get smart home and automation features to make up for it. This system has the same equipment as the other plans—plus live video and a lamp module to add smart lighting to your system. Turn on the light from your mobile app to make your home seem occupied or to keep your pets company while you’re away.

ADT Contracts and Warranties

When it comes to contract terms, ADT isn’t doing anything differently than most other home alarm companies—tying people up for a minimum of 36 months. But the lack of any other options can make ADT a no-go for renters and others who may need to move within one to three years. We’d like to see more contract options available like the choices Link Interactive offers—12-month, 24-month, and 36-month contracts.

If you decide to cancel your service with ADT before the 36 months are over, you could be subject to a hefty cancellation fee. Generally, you can expect to shoulder 75% of the remaining contract if you decide to opt out of an ADT contract.

While ADT’s equipment and monitoring are high quality, we recommend reading the fine print before signing on with an ADT plan.

ADT Tech and Equipment

Each plan comes with an Essentials kit and different available add-ons.* In the kit, you’ll get a touchscreen control panel, contact sensor, and motion sensor. And depending on the plan you go with, you’ll get an ADT camera or the option for a video doorbell, smart thermostat, or lighting.

You’ll get the most out of the ADT touchscreen panel with a cellular connection and mobile compatibility. It connects with Alexa, so you can control it with your voice to arm, disarm, or make adjustments in the sensors or your smart equipment. It’s multi-lingual and connects to your other smart devices. We also like the 12 hours of battery backup that kicks in when the power goes out, keeping your home safe during storms or other power outages.

The top two plans offer video monitoring through the ADT camera. This indoor camera shoots in 720p HD video, so you can watch your home live or check recordings in the backlog. When the system’s sensors or camera detects motion, you’ll get a notification and be able to see what the camera sees. This helps you distinguish the dog moving around the house from a real emergency.

*With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

ADT touchscreen control panel

ADT Command Touchscreen Panel

ADT motion sensor

Motion Sensor

ADT contact sensors

Window and Door Sensor

ADT key fob

Keyfob

ADT Smart Home Features

While ADT doesn’t work with Google Assistant, it does with Alexa. With the cellular plans, your ADT security system can connect to your Amazon Echo for easy voice control. Use Alexa to arm and disarm your system, show you camera feed, change the thermostat temperature, or control lights.

ADT uses Z-Wave technology in all its smart security equipment. That means your ADT system can integrate with third-party smart home devices like a Nest Thermostat. You can get smart devices like smart thermostats, cameras, and lighting through ADT.

The downside is the price. You can’t get home automation with ADT’s basic security packages, so you’re looking at a base monthly monitoring rate of $62.99 per month. But broken down, that’s just over $2 per day for smart automation and professional monitoring.

Smart Home Compatibility

Smart Home Feature
Third-Party Compatibility
Voice controlAmazon Alexa

Climate control

Nest, Z-Wave devices

Lighting control

Z-Wave devices

Smart home hub

Amazon Alexa

ADT’s Six Monitoring Centers

Where ADT beats every other security company hands-down is its professional monitoring centers. ADT operates its own centers and it has more monitoring stations than any other security company.

This matters to you for two big reasons—well-trained operators and monitoring support redundancy. ADT trains all of its operators and has total control over how your call for help is handled. And with six monitoring centers you’ll never be stranded without help when you need it. If one center goes offline for any reason (think hurricanes, the polar vortex, etc.), monitoring will be automatically transferred to another center that’s still up and running.

ADT Customer Service

ADT gets mixed reviews when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. The company excels with a long-standing reputation and customer-first guarantees, but those don’t always translate to the company’s authorized retailers—making customer service hit-or-miss depending on who you’re dealing with.

Here’s a look at current ADT reviews and ratings for customer service and satisfaction.*

*Ratings as of January 2020.

There’s no denying that over 140 years of experience and the trust of more than six million customers is a solid endorsement of ADT’s home security systems. But quality equipment and stellar monitoring services can be overshadowed by mishandling from third-party dealers. On the plus side, there are a few things you can count on from ADT’s customer service:

  • Calls that are answered quickly
  • Short hold times
  • 24/7 customer service hours
  • Same-day installation in most areas for no added cost

ADT Installation

All ADT alarm systems come with professional installation, which means you don’t have to worry about the best place to install the control panel, window sensors, and other equipment. It also means you have to let a stranger into your home and arrange a time to meet them, which could add up to a half-day off work. Last but not least, you’ll pay an installation fee, starting at $99—and that has to be paid up front.

But we are talking about a high-end security system that you’re counting on to protect your home and family. When the stakes are that high, the time (and financial) commitment for a pro install is definitely justified.

The real cherry on top with an ADT installation is the comprehensive risk assessment. All of ADT’s installers are highly-trained security advisers. Every installation includes a whole-home risk assessment that identifies the best security solutions for your home.

Security advisers are trained to evaluate both the inside and outside of your home, so they can make recommendations that address all of your home’s security vulnerabilities. And they don’t recommend extra devices if you don’t need them—but they are obligated to point out all potential security risks so you can make the most informed decision.


Compare the Best Home Security Systems

Brand
Lowest Monthly Monitoring Price
Starter Equipment Price
Contract Required
Installation
Smart Home Compatibility
Learn More
$44.99 $29.99 $14.99 $36.99 $29.00 $19.99 $10.00 $30.99 $9.99 $19.00
$0 $599.00 $229.00 $0.00^ $299.00 $0.00* $199.00 $50.00 $279.00 $399.00
No No** No Yes Yes Yes No No** No No
DIY Pro DIY Pro DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Zigbee
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages

Data effective 02/06/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with contract.
**No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
˄With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

FAQs

For more ADT-specific questions, visit our page devoted to ADT customers’ frequently asked questions.

 

Why is ADT more expensive than other home security companies?

Like most home security companies, there are a number of ADT monitoring packages to choose from. In addition to monthly monitoring costs, you also need to consider equipment costs, activation fees, installation costs, and the extra expense of any upgrades you select. Because ADT offers so many options and upgrades, it’s easy to end up with a customized ADT package that is more expensive than its competitors. Just be sure to keep a tally as you work with an ADT security pro to put together the right package for your home. If budget constraints are a factor, let your representative know up front how much you can afford.

Is ADT worth the price?

ADT’s higher costs can be worth it if you’re looking for a security company with a long-standing reputation and track record. We consider ADT a luxury home security brand, but that’s not what everyone is looking for. For people on a budget or those thinking of moving within the next three years, the cost can be prohibitive.

Does ADT home security work for renters?

Yes. ADT offers wireless home security equipment that make it easy for renters because wireless security doesn’t require you to drill into walls. The best way to set up security if you’re renting is to schedule an in-person consultation where an ADT representative can assess your needs and propose a package designed specifically for your space.

But be aware that ADT’s control panel is usually wired into the wall. If that’s a deal-breaker for your landlord, you might want to look at other options like Link Interactive or SimpliSafe that are basically peel-and-stick.

Why does the number of monitoring centers matter?

Multiple monitoring centers means you get the benefit of “redundant monitoring.” Redundant monitoring means that if one center goes down due to a power outage or an extreme weather event, the homes monitored by that center are automatically transferred to another center. This means you’ll always have the protection of 24/7 monitoring even if something happens to take a monitoring center offline.

What happens if I cancel my contract early?

ADT requires a 36-month contract, and they do charge early termination fees if you cancel your service before the end of your term. If you drop ADT in the middle of your contract, you’ll owe the company 75% of the remaining balance of your contract.

Do I own my ADT equipment?

ADT leases its equipment, but the company doesn’t require customers to return equipment at the end of a contract. The price of equipment is included in your monthly payment; however, ADT is known to offer special deals that may eliminate the equipment cost when you sign a monitoring contract. Talk to a representative to find out what deals are available when you set up your ADT security system.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. 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

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