ADT Home Security Review

We tested ADT, talked to reps, and visited a technician training center to review this security mainstay.
Pro monitoring pick
ADT
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Strong reputation
  • Cellular and landline plans
  • Monitoring starts at $27.99
Rebecca Edwards
Security Expert, Safety & Tech Reporter
Read More
Published on May 27, 2021

ADT's reputation makes it one of the most trusted names in the industry. Add in the company's nine 24/7 monitoring centers—more than any other home security brand—and it's no surprise ADT is a household name.

But all that quality comes at a cost. 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 140+ years of home security experience
Pro Bullet Monitoring centers across the country
Pro Bullet Landline and cellular monitoring
Pro Bullet Professional installation and security consultation
Pro Bullet Smart home control available
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Long-term contracts
Con Bullet Pricey add-ons and upgrades
Con Bullet Installation fee

Compare ADT costs

Starter pickLandline pick Budget pick On-the-go pickVideo pick Top pick
PackageEssentialComplete Monitoring Bundle Basic Security + Wireless Connect ADT Command Tier I Remote Access ADT Command Tier II Video SecurityADT Command Tier III Video Security & Home Automation
Monthly cost
Monitoring typeLandlineLandline Cellular CellularCellular Cellular
Remote access
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Live video
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Smart home integration
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightYes
Learn more

Info current as of 06/10/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Full ADT disclaimer

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.

Is ADT right for you?

If you're looking for tried-and-true home security monitoring and want the pros to handle installation, ADT is for you. You'll pay more for setup and monitoring, but you won't have to lift a finger after making the initial phone call.

Light Bulb
ADT costs less than a potential break-in

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.

ADT vs. other security brands

Luxury smart home pickReader favoriteWhole-property pickPro monitoring pickNo-contract DIY pick
Brand
VivintVivint
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
FrontpointFrontpoint
ADTADT
blue by adt logoBlue by ADT
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price$599.00$229.00$294.30$0.00$199.15
Contract required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon No  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightNo
InstallationProDIYDIYProDIY
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  DarkAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, GoogleAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Learn more
Read review

Info current as of 06/10/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Full ADT disclaimer

ADT contracts and warranties

ADT is a bit old-fashioned when it comes to contract terms: its contracts are a minimum of 36 months. ADT'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.

Compare ADT's cancellation policies with other major home security companies on our cancellation policy page.

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.

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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

What’s included in all ADT packages?

All ADT equipment packages are professionally installed by trained technicians and come with an Essentials kit to lower up-front costs. 

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.

Thumbs Up
ADT + Google Nest

ADT and Google have partnered up to offer ADT customers Google Nest​ products and greater integration. You can now purchase Google Nest products through ADT and have them installed by a technician.

ADT Command and Control customers can also use voice commands through connected Nest products to control their ADT system.

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.

Video monitoring

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.

Get all the details in our ADT security cameras guide.

*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

ADT Command touchscreen panel

adt motion sensor

Window and door sensor

adt window and door sensor

Motion sensor

adt key fob

Keyfob

ADT smart home features

Voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

You can tell your ADT home security system what to do when you add voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

With ADT's smart home 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 featureThird-party compatibility
Voice control

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Climate control

Nest, Z-Wave devices

Lighting control

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 that contact police or other emergency responders, 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 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. But the authorized dealer we recommend, SafeStreets, scores high marks.

Here's a look at current ADT reviews and ratings for customer service and satisfaction:

Ratings as of April 29, 2021

There's no denying that over 140 years of experience and the trust of more than 6 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

Pro 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 to get your ADT system installed, 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.

Is ADT worth getting?

When you're shopping for security, you're really looking for a company that you can trust in an emergency, and ADT has a proven track record. ADT’s higher costs can be worth it if you’re looking for a security company with a long-standing reputation.

We consider ADT a luxury home security brand, but that’s not what everyone is looking for. If you want ADT without the contract, give Blue by ADT a look.

How we reviewed ADT

To review of ADT, we dug into the company's history, reputation, pricing, equipment, customer service, and smart home capabilities.

To evaluate each of these areas, our team did the following:

  • Conducted hands-on testing
  • Met with ADT for demonstrations and to ask questions
  • Visited an ADT technician training center
  • Talked to current and past ADT customers
  • Read hundreds of customer and expert reviews

Learn more about how we review and rank security brands and products in our full methodology.

FAQ

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

Why is ADT so expensive?

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
  • 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.

Does ADT home security work for renters?

Sometimes. 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. And its contracts are a minimum of three years, so you'll need to stick around your current place if you don't want to deal with cancellation fees.

If either of those reasons are deal-breakers, you might want to look at other options like SimpliSafe, the new DIY Blue by ADT system, or Link Interactive 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.

Related pages on SafeWise


Disclaimer

†Google, Google Nest, Google Nest Mini, Google Home and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

‡ 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.

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 eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety 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 TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.
  • Ano

    Worst customer service!!!!
    I called them to get some information about ADT and they started chasing me everywhere to buy their service. I said that I am interested in their product and one of the supervisor is not ready to accept that on call and started pushing with his words to buy the service. I disconnected the call that day but still they tried calling and I didn’t answer the call. Finally a guy claiming himself to be the territory manager of my area stopped by at my address around 7pm and started offering ADT service. he wore the mask below his nose (not even taking any precautions in this covid situation) and again started explaining about his offers. I told him I am not interested right now and I am in between a meeting but no! he is not ready to listen anything and kept self inviting himself for next day to talk about the ADT service. I told that if I am interested then I will call and talk to you guys but I don’t allow any face to face conversation in this pandemic with anyone. still started pushing with his self invitation. Finally he left his no. and want me to call him and talk about it! I don’t know if there’s a block option for these guys! if someone says no then it’s a no! don’t push yourself too hard!!!!!!!

  • Jay SG

    I want to warn people about this company. They 6 years ago I signed up for what I thought was a monthly plan. I had no idea they committed me to a contract.

    I decided to cancel recently, only to discover that I had $612 remaining on a contract I didn’t even know existed.

    I spent nearly 2 hours on customer service. I was placed on hold numerous times and transferred at least a dozen times to different customer “service” agents.

    I pleaded with them to be reasonable, considering I have been a customer for 6 years. None of that mattered, and in the end I paid the $612 to get rid of this scam company.

    Bottom line up front: If you are considering this company, know that they are contract based and will deceive you into signing up for a big contract that you can’t get out of unless you pay the remaining balance.

    There are other security options like Arlo and Ring, that you can easily install yourself (unlike ADT, which will charge you hundreds of dollars for installation fees), and you are NOT committed to any contract.

    I signed up for Ring. I paid a one time fee of $30 for the year. With that I get real time alerts on my phone and can watch footage any time on the app. If I see someone suspicious or receive an alert, I can call police immediately. The time it would take for me to review the live footage and call police using Ring services is less than the time that an ADT agent would be notified that your alarm went off, then call you to verify if is a false alarm or not, and then call police if it is not a false alarm.

    I have never been so livid about a piss-poor company like ADT. If you are a current customer who is paying a monthly rate, you might want to know that you are under a contract and committed to this lousy company until your hefty balance is paid off.

    If you’re not a customer, avoid this company like the Covid.

  • eastcastle007 gore

    Very informative review, detailed and accurate. Yes, the biggest negative with ADT is the 3year contract. Not sure why the company tries to prevent customers from leaving by doing so, if its services are really good. Or, it is just a ripoff of customers for its 140y of reputation? The truth is that it should do just the opposite if it’s truly a reputed, quality Co. Therefore, its “customer first” pledge seems merely an empty slogan – from a ADT cstomer