As the bar for quality home security gets higher, it’s tougher to tell what makes one security company better than another. To help you figure it out, we’re facing off our top security systems against one another. Vivint is well-established as the one to watch when it comes to combining home security and home automation. But Frontpoint hasn’t let the smart home trend pass them by and they don’t require a contract.
If you’re trying to decide between these two home security giants, here’s a breakdown of what makes each company stand out, and where they could improve.
42 or 60 months None with up-front equipment purchase
Wireless control panel
Door and window sensors
Glass break sensor
Smoke and CO detector
Vivint SkyControl panel
Home Automation Features
Live video streaming
Frontpoint mobile app
Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Z-Wave
Vivint Sky app
Compatible with Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Z-Wave
Crash & Smash protection
Smart energy management
*Data as of 11/18/19. Offers and availability subject to change.
What Do Frontpoint and Vivint Have in Common?
Vivint and Frontpoint have more in common than not. Both security companies have strong reputations, 24/7 professional monitoring services, and advanced technology. Plus you can get environmental safety monitoring (like smoke detectors and flood sensors) along with security measures. Here’s a breakdown of other ways Vivint and Frontpoint are similar:
Included home automation features
Free mobile app
Monthly monitoring costs
Live video streaming available
Compatibility with third-party home automation devices
What Makes Vivint and Frontpoint Different?
Where Frontpoint and Vivint most diverge is installation and contract options. Frontpoint is a DIY-only system and Vivint requires professional installation. We’ll look more closely at the impact that difference makes below, but another disparity is contract length.
Vivint has a no-contract option like Frontpoint, but you have to pay for everything at once. While Frontpoint lets you put $0 for a month-to-month deal. If you want to finance with Vivint, you could potentially get locked into a five-year contract.
Before we dive deeper, here’s a summary of Vivint’s and Frontpoint’s significant distinctions:
Portability of equipment
Frontpoint Home Security at a Glance
Frontpoint has been a home security frontrunner for a number of years and delivers reliable, standard home security. From its contract terms to its monthly monitoring fees, Frontpoint remains a solid choice that conforms to industry standards.
Frontpoint Monthly Plans
*Data as of 11/18/19. Offers and availability subject to change.
Contracts and Warranties
Unlike Vivint, Frontpoint doesn’t require a contract and includes a three-year warranty on its equipment. If you don’t want to pay upfront for your equipment, you can finance it for $0 down. This results in a month-to-month deal with a little more freedom for renters and frequent movers.
This company puts customers first, which is evident in ongoing customer feedback.¹ Frontpoint consistently ranks four stars or higher on customer reviews, and the company boasts that “96% of new customers would recommend Frontpoint.”
Beyond customer service, Frontpoint stands out with its DIY installation. This type of install is usually associated with more stripped-down home security systems like Scout or SimpliSafe. But Frontpoint manages to provide robust home security that is still simple for a homeowner (or renter) to install on their own. And all the equipment comes pre-programmed, so all you have to do is power up the devices and they’re ready to go.
This is one of Frontpoint’s best features—equipment that’s easy to pick up and take with you if you move while still under contract. Unlike other companies (like ADT) that make you start over with new equipment, you can uninstall your Frontpoint security devices and reinstall in them in your new digs. All you need to do is inform the company of your new address so they know where to send help if you need it.
Who Frontpoint Is Best For
Even though Frontpoint is a solid home security choice for anyone, we think its DIY installation and wireless equipment are the perfect match for renters and those with smaller homes and properties. Because it’s a self-installed system, it can get complicated to set up multiple sensors, cameras, etc. on different floors and across a larger property—especially if you’re not a seasoned DIY-er.
It’s also tough to know exactly how much security is right for your situation. Because Frontpoint’s security experts work with you over the phone (instead of in person), it’s harder to know if you’ve got everything covered. But if all you need is straightforward security for a small- to medium-sized home, Frontpoint can be an easy solution. And if you might move in the next three years, Frontpoint’s portable equipment is ideal.
Vivint is probably the biggest home security innovator in the industry. This company has married home automation and security to transform our idea of what home security can do. Vivint’s modern twist on traditional home security can make your life more secure and convenient—all at once.
Vivint Monthly Plans
Vivint Smart Security
Vivint Smart Home
Vivint Smart Home Video
*Data as of 11/06/18. Offers and availability subject to change.
Contracts and Warranties
Vivint is unique in that you can start out with a month-to-month contract if you buy your home security equipment outright. This option is rare when it comes to full-fledged, professionally-monitored alarm systems. But if you’d rather not fork over hundreds of dollars up front, you can finance your equipment. If you finance, you’re looking at a 42- or 60-month contract, which is much longer than the industry standard of 36 months. And if you cancel early, you’re on the hook for 100% of the remainder of the contract.
In regard to warranties, Vivint equipment comes with a 120-day warranty, but if you get premium service, Vivint will repair or replace faulty equipment as long as you have Vivint service. But you can get repair and replacement service outside the 120-day window (or without premium service)—you just have to pay for the service call.
This is an area where Vivint struggled—especially when they first hit the scene. But the company’s response to customer feedback was swift and sustained. Vivint has recovered significantly from its initial poor reputation to become a company that’s been awarded for its outstanding service, both in-house (how it treats its employees) and in the world.²
Vivint shines for its customized approach to installation. Not only do you get a pro who knows exactly what they’re doing, but Vivint includes a home security assessment as well. That means you’ll get an expert determination of your home’s security vulnerabilities along with a thorough recommendation of what security measures make the most sense. The only downsides are having to wait around for the installer and welcoming a stranger into your home.
High-Tech Security Equipment
Vivint has been acknowledged as a home security and home automation innovator by experts and trade associations.³ When you bring Vivint’s AI system (called Sky) into your home, you get a smart home system that not only follows your commands but also learns your habits and preferences automatically. Vivint’s seamless integration of smart home tech and home security tech is like having a sentry that looks out for danger and works hard to make you as comfortable as possible.
Who Vivint Is Best For
If you love technology and dig the idea of having the smartest home on the block, then Vivint is a standout option for home security. It’s also a good match for those who aren’t into DIY or those who have a larger home or property that needs protection.
Even though Vivint may seem more expensive than Frontpoint (when it comes to initial equipment), if you have a big house or a large yard, you’ll need to add on a lot of extras with Frontpoint. By the time you’re done, you’ll be in the same neighborhood (cost-wise) or higher than Vivint. And you’ll have to set up all those components yourself. Plus, if you’re able to pay for equipment up front, you won’t be tied to a contract.
No contract option
More affordable monitoring options
Advanced home automation tech
Professional install with security assessment
Steep termination fees
Long contracts without up-front equipment purchase
It’s hard to see a clear-cut winner between Frontpoint and Vivint. A lot of it depends on your circumstances and security needs—and both companies deliver diligent home security that you can rely on to keep your home and family safe. But we think that when you throw Vivint in the ring you have to emphasize home automation and other technical specs. In that regard, we put Vivint on top.
But there are still plenty of valid considerations that impact whether Vivint or Frontpoint is the best home security choice for you.
Price and Contract: While there are some differences between these two—Vivint has a cheaper entry-level plan (but neither company offers full home automation at lower price points), but Frontpoint doesn’t require a contract. But when you line it all up, the disparities come out in the wash, so this one is a draw.
Customer Service: Frontpoint takes this category. Even though Vivint has made huge strides in this area, it just doesn’t have the longstanding reputation for great service that Frontpoint enjoys.
Features and Tech: Vivint is the clear winner here. Although Frontpoint offers more home automation tech and compatibility than many security companies, it just doesn’t compare to Vivint’s innovation. And because Vivint provides an in-home assessment, the company does a better job covering both security and smart home needs.
Overall Winner: Vivint
For customized home security that integrates seamlessly with home automation, Vivint is the clear choice.
More Smart Home Security Options
If you still feel like shopping around, here are some other home security options that deliver professional monitoring along with home automation options.
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