Compare Which Security System Is Right For Your Home
According to the FBI’s most recent crime report, the average loss per burglary is $2,316. But if you’ve been a victim of burglary, we don’t have to tell you the emotional damage caused by a break-in can be much more devastating than any monetary loss. Even if nothing is stolen, a burglary can undermine your family’s peace of mind.
Fortunately, a home security system may help make your house less vulnerable to burglars, while making your loved ones feel comfortable and safe. But with so many home security systems on the market—and each claiming to be the best—choosing the right one isn’t always easy.
Being a trusted source for reliable home security and safety advice, we thoroughly research the companies we recommend. Time and again, we find ADT® and Frontpoint® are two of the best home security systems available. This in-depth review outlines the key features of both brands, discusses pros and cons, and suggests when and why one may be a better choice than the other.
ADT is by far the largest and most well-known home security company in the United States. With over 140 years of experience—much more than Frontpoint or any other brand—ADT boasts a lengthy track record of success. ADT is best known for its dependability and leading-edge technology.
Compared to ADT, Frontpoint Security is a relative newcomer to the home security market. It just launched in 2007, but it has quickly distinguished itself as an industry leader by being one of the first 100% cellular home security systems. Frontpoint has earned an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: Packages
Both ADT and Frontpoint security offer a nice selection of home security packages to choose from—and all come with 24/7 professional monitoring. Prices start in the mid-$30 range, with a required thirty-six-month contract. Shorter contracts may be available, but monthly fees will be higher. Activation fees vary by package, and early contract termination fees may apply.
ADT Packages ADT offers four home security packages: Basic, Basic Wireless, ADT Pulse®, and ADT Pulse® + Video. The Basic package requires landline security monitoring services. Equipment includes one wireless control panel, three wireless door/window sensors, one wireless pet-immune motion detector, and one window decal and yard sign.
ADT’s Basic Wireless package features wireless security monitoring. This plan provides everything the Basic plan does, plus one key fob and CellGuard®.
ADT Pulse® is one of the company’s most popular plans and offers wireless security monitoring. This plan also comes with mobile access and alerts. ADT Pulse includes the same equipment as the Basic Wireless plan.
ADT Pulse® + Video is the company’s most feature-rich package. Like ADT Pulse, this package comes with wireless security monitoring and mobile access and alerts. It also includes live video services. ADT Pulse + Video comes standard with all the equipment of ADT Pulse and the addition of video cameras.
Frontpoint Packages Compared to ADT, Frontpoint has fewer plans (only three)—but they’re a bit more affordable and potentially more robust. Frontpoint’s home security plans are the Protection Plan, the Interactive Plan, and the Ultimate Plan.
The Protection Plan is Frontpoint’s entry-level package. Like all the company’s plans, it’s 100% wireless and cellular. This plan also comes with fire, flood, and carbon dioxide protection. Equipment includes one wireless keypad and four door/window sensors. Flood sensors, garage door sensors, glass break sensors, or a panic pendant can be added to this plan for an additional cost.
The Interactive Plan, Frontpoint’s midlevel home security package, is its most popular. Services include everything you get with the Protection Plan, plus text and email alerts, remote access and control, lights control, and crash and smash protection. This plan comes with one wireless keypad, four door/window sensors, and one motion sensor. Flood sensors, garage door sensors, glass break sensors, or a panic pendant can be added to this plan for an additional cost.
The Ultimate Plan is Frontpoint’s top package. Services include everything offered with the Interactive Plan plus live video streaming and motion-activated video recording. Standard equipment includes everything offered with the Interactive Plan, plus the same add-on options. Video cameras, automated door locks, and a smart thermostat can be purchased for an additional charge.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: Satisfaction Guarantees
Frontpoint’s satisfaction guarantee is more consumer-friendly than ADT’s, but keep in mind that certain terms and restrictions may apply to both policies.
ADT If you’re unsatisfied with your ADT service during the first six months—after ADT has tried to resolve your concerns—you could qualify for a full refund on installation and monitoring fees.
Frontpoint Frontpoint offers a thirty-day, 100% risk-free trial. During this time, you can return your security system for a full refund, including shipping charges.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: Installation
ADT and Frontpoint take two very different approaches to installation. ADT is installed by an authorized technician, whereas Frontpoint is installed by the customer. Both installation processes have drawbacks and advantages.
ADT ADT charges a fee for installation, but you know your system will be installed properly. What’s more, the technician will show you how to use your home security system so you feel confident operating it from day one. They’ll also conduct a security evaluation of your home and suggest how to best situate and customize your security system to your needs. In some areas, Protect Your Home, an ADT Authorized Premier Provider, offers the convenience of same-day ADT installation.
You can’t take your ADT home security system with you if you move. But, ADT offers a Mover’s Security Guarantee which provides you with a free security system (restrictions apply) if you move more than two years after becoming an ADT customer.
Frontpoint is a DIY security solution and professional installation is not offered. DIY isn’t for everyone, but most reviewers say the process is relatively simple and generally takes less than an hour. There’s no drilling or wiring, and most components stick in place with adhesive.
A Frontpoint activation representative talks you through the installation process, plus Frontpoint offers video tutorials that show how to complete the initial setup step-by-step. If you move, you can easily uninstall the system and set it up in your new home. Best yet, your contract term won’t start over.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: Monitoring
All of ADT and Frontpoint’s plans come with year-round, 24/7 monitoring. Both companies also follow similar notification protocols. When an alarm is triggered, they’ll contact you to verify it’s not a false alarm before they notify the appropriate authority.
Comparing ADT and Frontpoint, we found that ADT owns its monitoring stations, while Frontpoint uses Rapid Response as its monitoring center. This may give ADT more control of the quality of services. ADT also has more monitoring stations than Frontpoint—but this advantage could be offset by the fact that they have a much larger customer base to serve.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: Mobile Access
Realizing many customers want to be able to control their home security systems on the go, both ADT and Frontpoint offer plans that come with mobile access.
ADT With the ADT Pulse® or ADT Pulse® + Video plans, you have the advantage of the ADT Pulse app. The app offers a wide range of helpful features, including being able to arm or disarm your security system from any internet-connected device. You can also receive notifications from your home security system via text or email, and even set up custom alerts.
If you have the ADT Pulse® + Video plan, you can view live and recorded video of your home. ADT Pulse also works with a huge assortment of IFTTT channels, a platform that lets you integrate your devices. This further increases the number of ways customers can use the app. ADT Pulse can be accessed from more than one device.
Frontpoint Based on our research, ADT provides users with a few more mobile access options than Frontpoint does. That said, Frontpoint’s Interactive and Ultimate plans still offer an impressive assortment of mobile features—starting with controlling your security system from your web-enabled device.
You can also access your alarm history and visitor activity, set up custom alerts, and remotely control your thermostat, lighting, and security cameras. If you have the Ultimate Plan, you can view live video and save video clips. Frontpoint uses Alarm.com as its mobile app provider, and just like ADT Pulse®, the app can be accessed from more than one device.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: What We Like and What Could Be Improved
Advantages of ADT
Over 140 years of home security experience
Convenient same-day installation in some areas
Powerful mobile app that integrates with IFTTT
Six monitoring centers, all owned by ADT
What Could Be Improved
ADT doesn’t offer a trial period, which could be a deterrent for customers who are on the fence about purchasing a home security system.
Frontpoint only offers a three-year equipment warranty. This could have some potential customers worried about the quality and longevity of the company’s home security devices.
ADT vs. Frontpoint: The Bottom Line
ADT With decades of success and an extensive, nationwide network of monitoring centers, it’s no wonder ADT is one of the most trusted names in home security. It might be the right choice for you if you own your home, don’t want to install the system yourself, and are looking for innovative features like the ADT Pulse® app.
Frontpoint Frontpoint may be the better choice if you’re on a budget and want transparent, easy-to-understand pricing. It’s also the preferred choice for DIYers and those who want the comfort of a trial period. Additionally, Frontpoint is the best choice if you rent or want removable equipment that’s easy to take with you if you move.
SafeWise recommends purchasing a home security system now—before you and your family experience the trauma of a break-in or a safety emergency. Learn more about ADT home security plans and Frontpoint home security plans, then choose the one that meets your needs and budget best.
Please note that packages, pricing, and services may change at any time.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more