Frontpoint rolled out a bunch of customer-first changes that forced us to reconsider how the DIY home security company stands up to traditional favorite ADT. See if ADT's still on top in our updated comparison.
We know it’s a crowded field out there in the world of home security. That’s why we’re lining up the best providers side by side to see how they stack up when it comes to price, contract, features, customer service, monitoring experience, and more.
Our in-depth comparison of Frontpoint and ADT security systems confirmed why these two companies stand out as home security leaders. But we also identified the weaknesses in each company’s armor.
When it comes to reputation, both companies garner a lot of praise, but there’s no way Frontpoint can beat ADT’s 140+ years of experience. On the other hand, Frontpoint dominates when it comes to keeping customers happy.
One significant place where these two diverge is installation. Frontpoint is a DIY home security system, while ADT requires professional installation. And both security companies are on the higher end when it comes to pricing.
See which company prevails as we dig into all of these issues and more in our comparison below.
Both home security companies offer a robust selection of home security equipment and professional monitoring packages. And across the board, those packages come with monitoring fees that are on the higher end.
Both ADT and Frontpoint provide a reliable cellular connection to established monitoring centers, plus home automation integration and mobile apps. Here’s a breakdown of the similarities we think matter most:
Wireless home security options
Home automation compatibility
Secure cellular connection
Video monitoring upgrades
Mobile app available
High monthly monitoring fees
Here Are the Main Differences between Frontpoint and ADT
As much as these companies have in common, they also have quite a lot that makes them different. Most apparent is installation methods—ADT offers 100% professional installation, but Frontpoint doesn’t give customers a professional install option.
ADT requires a contract and Frontpoint does not. But ADT does have the most monitoring centers of any home security company. And thanks to multiple connection options, ADT is more accessible to people who live in rural areas. Check out our rundown of crucial differences below.
Number of monitoring centers
Years of experience
Frontpoint has repeatedly topped our best home alarm systems list, and customers echo our praise. Frontpoint’s simple, DIY installation and outstanding reputation for customer service make it an easy home security company to like.
But Frontpoint’s monthly monitoring fees are pricey, and you only have one connection option—cellular.
The company offers customizable equipment packages, and you can move with your Frontpoint equipment without any fees or interruption to your service (as long as you let them know your new address in a timely manner!).
Best of all, Frontpoint recently dropped its required 36-month contract. That makes those steep monitoring fees (starting at $44.99) more palatable.
“Frontpoint is on the higher end of price, but it’s capabilities and the customer service justify the price. I’ve contacted them a few times and tested the system, and I have never had a problem getting in touch….Very happy with my decision..”
ADT is practically synonymous with reliable home security. This alarm company has more than 140 years of experience and operates the largest number of monitoring centers in the country.
ADT delivers reliable, trusted protection that millions of people have relied on over the years. But that reputation and experience come at a price, and that is ADT’s main Achilles’ heel.
The company has spendy monthly fees, and it requires a lot of add-ons for things like fire protection and video monitoring. Its landline monitoring starts at $27.99 per month, but if you upgrade to cellular monitoring, the cheapest option is $48.99.
ADT has done a great job of evolving, though. The company now has smart home compatibility, wireless equipment options, and even offers security solutions for renters.
“I feel very safe in my home when I’m there and very confident that my home is monitored when I’m away. Tremendously thankful for a wonderful alarm system and helpful staff.”
Determining a clear victor between Frontpoint and ADT is a little trickier than we anticipated. Both of these companies top different lists—Frontpoint is our Best Overall Home Security System, and ADT is always our top choice when it comes to professional monitoring and reputation.
Each has a lot of strengths including reliable connections, good track records, cutting-edge equipment, and customer-friendly policies and practices.
On top of that, they are fairly comparable when it comes to price—especially when you compare the cost of cellular monitoring. ADT’s lowest monitoring package starts at $27.99, while Frontpoint’s lowest-tier plan starts at $44.99. But ADT’s lower price doesn’t include a cellular connection—it’s landline only. ADT’s cheapest cellular plan is $48.99, barely more than what you’ll pay with Frontpoint.
Until recently, each alarm company required a three-year contract that you can’t get out of without a buyout. But in November 2019, Frontpoint dropped its contract requirement in favor of month-to-month monitoring plans.
We like that Frontpoint includes life and environmental safety monitoring (smoke and CO detectors) in all of its plans, but it doesn’t offer medical alert monitoring like ADT. Both companies raise the rates if you want video monitoring, but that’s business as usual in the home security industry.
And it’s hard to ignore ADT’s years of experience—Frontpoint hit the scene in 2007, whereas ADT has been around for more than 140 years. Here’s a look at whether or not those years make a difference when we compare specifics like price, service, and features.
Price and Contract
ADT used to be our winner here, but thanks to radical changes at Frontpoint, we have to give it to the newcomer.
Frontpoint discontinued its long contracts that were tricky to get out of—but ADT still requires a three-year contract that comes with pricey termination fees (75% of your remaining contract).
And although Frontpoint offers a 30-day money-back trial period, ADT has lower starting monthly fees (for landline monitoring) plus a six-month money-back service guarantee. Cellular monitoring plans start at $44.99 for Frontpoint and $48.99 with ADT. That seems like a nominal difference, but it adds up to an extra $144 out of your pocket over the lifetime of ADT’s 36-month contract.
Where Frontpoint really pulls out the win is with its no-contract monthly monitoring. That means you can stop and start your monitoring at-will—without any extra fees or penalties.
Frontpoint is the winner here. Although ADT has made giant leaps forward in this area, there are some negative experiences out there that mar the company’s reputation. ADT uses third-party retailers, which puts a lot of customer service out of the company’s control.
And we can’t deny how impressed we are with Frontpoint’s quick response to customer input. In 2019 the company fundamentally changed the way it does business, and customers were the driving force. From an online store that saves you from having to talk to a salesperson to the abolition of long-term contracts, Frontpoint is making big moves to do right by customers.
Equipment and Features
This is a tough one to call. Both companies offer state-of-the-art equipment that comes with home automation capabilities and works with third-party smart home devices.
But Frontpoint includes smoke and carbon monoxide protection in all packages and makes it easy for customers to move with their equipment. Frontpoint also includes its mobile app in all packages. That’s a perk you have to pay more for with ADT.
But we like that ADT gives every customer a free in-home security assessment. ADT also provides expert installation that ensures that all of your security equipment and features work properly from the get-go.
Plus, you can get ADT protection no matter where you live thanks to its landline monitoring option. Greater accessibility and expert guidance tip ADT over the top in this category.
Overall Winner: Frontpoint
Although it’s neck and neck between these two home security giants, at the end of the day we had to give it to Frontpoint.
Customer-first practices like no contracts, online shopping flow, mobile app included in every plan, and Crash & Smash protection help Frontpoint stand out as a home security leader. The company also offers equipment for no money down and doesn’t hit your credit with a check when you use its consumer financing program.
Frontpoint turned nearly all of its negatives into positives over the course of 2019, which makes it easy for us to give this home security company our full endorsement.
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. ou 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