ADT’s reputation makes it one of the most trusted names in the industry. Add in the company’s nine monitoring centers—more than any other home security brand-and it’s no surprise ADT is a household name.
Plus, ADT offers 24/7 professional monitoring whether you live in the city or out in the boondocks.
And ADT’s prices aren’t outrageous, but if you want all the perks (video monitoring, smart home control, and mobile app access) you could end up paying more than $60 a month.
140+ years of home security experience
Monitoring centers across the country
Landline and cellular monitoring
Professional installation and security consultation
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 committed to 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
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.
Did you know?
ADT's monthly fee includes your equipment costs and over the course of a 36-month contract, you'll still pay less than what you'd lose if you had a break-in. ADT's most expensive plan comes out to about $2,400 over three years—the average loss from a burglary is $2,800.
What makes each ADT plan different?
Besides the Essentials kit, ADT monitored plans differ from tier to tier, each sweetening the deal with new features or equipment options.
The Essential Plan includes the basic Essentials kit and standard, landline monitoring. What’s missing is the Quality Service Plan that offers extended warranty protection and a deal on any service calls you may need during your contract. This plan also misses out on the 6-month money-back guarantee.
The Complete Monitoring Bundle is a basic landline-connected Essentials package plus the Quality Service Plan. If you live in a rural area or want to protect a vacation home in the country, this is an affordable option that comes with extra warranty and service protection.
The Premium Bundle II is the same, but with a cellular connection. This connection allows for some nice perks, like voice control with Amazon 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 starts with the same equipment as the other plans-plus live video (when you add a security camera) 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 is sticking to a long-held home security tradition-tying people up for a minimum of 36 months. It’s contract-only approach 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.
How to get ADT protection without a contract
If you like ADT’s reputation but aren’t sure about a contract, check out Blue by ADT. This is a new DIY brand that comes with all the convenience of a boxed security system plus ADT’s 140+ years of home security experience. Read our full Blue by ADT review.
ADT's Customer-First Guarantees
We've always been fans of guarantees that put customers first, and ADT has two that stand out.
The Mover's Package Guarantee makes it affordable for you to take your ADT system with you if you move after being a customer for 24 months.
The 6-Month Service Guarantee offers you a full refund of all service fees paid if you are displeased with ADT's service (and they can't make it right) within the first 180 days of your contract.
Quality Service Plan
All of the ADT plans we reviewed (except the Essential plan) come with the Quality Service Plan (QSP) at no extra charge.
This is basically the company’s equipment warranty. With the QSP, you don’t have to worry about extra costs for service calls or paying to replace broken equipment.
Depending on the ADT authorized dealer where you purchased your ADT equipment, there may be extra monthly fees charged for the QSP.
ADT tech and equipment
As noted earlier, 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.
ADT touchscreen panel
You’ll get the most out of the ADT touchscreen panel with a cellular connection and mobile compatibility. It connects with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can control it with your voice to arm, disarm, or make adjustments in the sensors or your smart equipment.
The panel is multi-lingual and connects to your other smart home devices. We also like the 12 hours of battery backup that kick in when the power goes out, keeping your home safe during storms or other power outages.
The top two plans offer video monitoring with ADT security cameras. The indoor camera shoots in 720p HD video, and you can watch your home live or check recordings in the backlog.
When the system’s sensors or cameras detect motion, you’ll get a notification so you can tune in and see what the camera sees. This way you can tell if it’s just your pooch prowling around the house or 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 Command touchscreen panel
Window and door sensor
ADT smart home features
You can tell your ADT home security system what to do when you add voice control with Amazon Alexaor Google Assistant.
With ADT’s cellular plans, you use Alexa or Google to arm and disarm your system, display your camera feed, change the thermostat temperature, or control lights.
ADT and Z-Wave
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.
And ADT makes it really simple by offering compatible smart home devices along with its security equipment—so you can get all your smart security shopping done at once.
Smart home costs
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 when you break it all down, that’s just over $2 per day for smart home automation and professional monitoring.
Smart home compatibility
Smart Home Feature
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Nest, Z-Wave devices
Smart home hub
Amazon Alexa, Google Home
ADT’s nine 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 nine 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 August 17, 2020. † Rating for ADT authorized dealer SafeStreets.
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
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 alarm 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.
Free risk assessment
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 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’re not supposed to 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.
We suggest being prepared in advance for a bit of a sales presentation along with the risk assessment. Just make sure you know what your budget is and stick to it.
Data effective 09/30/2020. Offers and availability subject to change. *$0 due up-front with consumer financing. **With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions. ˄No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
† Professional monitoring provided by Brinks Home Security.
‡ Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)
The bottom line
Depending on the package you choose, ADT’s perks come with a higher price tag—and no matter what, you’ll be locked into a 36-month contract.
ADT is definitely high-end full-service home security, but the monthly fees and long-term contract can be a turn-off for some.
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:
Upgrades you want (like cameras, medical alert, etc.)
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 makes 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 InteractiveSimpliSafe (or the new DIY Blue by ADT system) 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 home security system.
‡ ADT $27.99 Essential package: $99.00 Customer Installation Charge. 36-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $27.99 per month ($1,007.64). 24-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $27.99 per month ($671.76) for California. Form of payment must be by credit card or electronic charge to your checking or savings account. Offer applies to homeowners only. Local permit fees may be required. Satisfactory credit history required. Certain restrictions may apply. Offer valid for new ADT Authorized Dealer customers only and not on purchases from ADT LLC. Other rate plans available. Cannot be combined with any other offer. The $27.99 Offer does not include the 6-month guarantee or the Quality Service Plan (QSP). Quality Service Plan (QSP) is ADT’s Extended Limited Warranty. Landline monitoring only.
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 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