Vivint vs. Ring: Which security system is better?

We compare Vivint and Ring to see which security system has the best prices, features, and equipment.
Winner
Vivint
Vivint
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
Starts at
$29.99
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Professional installation
  • Icon Pros  Light
    App in every plan
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Requires contract
Runner up
Ring
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starts at
$20.00
/mo
  • Icon Pros  Light
    DIY installation
  • Icon Pros  Light
    App in every plan
  • Icon Pros  Light
    No contract

Amazon.com list price as of 09/30/2021 at 10:26 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Vivint and Ring take different approaches to home security. Vivint is a premium system that commands high prices but stands out for its effortless (on your part) professional installation and innovative smart home devices. Ring shares the same essential functions, but you install the equipment yourself—making it much more affordable for equipment and monitoring.

While we lean toward Vivint's pro installation as the definitive way to experience a home security system, Ring's DIY system isn't far behind either. Learn about these top security companies in our head-to-head review.



Vivint pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Quality equipment, advanced security features
Pro Bullet Month-to-month contract option
Pro Bullet Pro install, maintenance, repairs
Pro Bullet Mobile app with every plan
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Limited third-party smart home integration
Con Bullet 5-year contract when financing equipment
Con Bullet Higher overall costs

Vivint is best for professional installation and high-quality equipment

If you want professional installation, Vivint is the best option in the industry. It's more affordable than its main professional installation competitor, ADT, and stands out for quality equipment with a strong emphasis on the smart home. The level of polish in Vivint systems gives Ring a formidable opponent.

Read our Vivint review to learn more.

Ring pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Tons of cameras and doorbells
Pro Bullet Affordable price
Pro Bullet Self-monitoring available
Pro Bullet Mobile app with every plan
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Few sensors in starting package
Con Bullet Confusing keypad
Con Bullet Tough features to reset

Ring Alarm is best for cameras and your budget

If you want a camera for almost every environment, Ring's selection and quality are obvious choices. It's more budget-friendly than Vivint—with lower monitoring and equipment costs to boot. Ring's down-to-earth prices and DIY installation make Vivint seem like a luxury by comparison.

Read our Ring Alarm review to learn more.

How Vivint and Ring compare

Company
Star rating
Lowest monitoring price
Self- monitoring option
Contract length
Learn more
Best smart security system
Vivint
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.75
$29.99
/mo
Icon No  LightNo
5 years *
Best budget system
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
$20.00
/mo
Icon Yes  LightYes
No contract

Amazon.com list price as of 10/11/2021 at 10:26 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

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Vivint vs. Ring similarities

The similarities between Vivint and Ring come down to basic features included in many home security systems. The brands' user-friendly apps are certainly a bonus.

  • Professional monitoring: Vivint and Ring both use professional monitoring to watch your security system for alarms. An alarm event sends a signal to the monitoring center when a sensor detects a fire or intruder. They'll contact you first to confirm the alarm is real (or if there's no answer) and then send emergency assistance from your local fire and police departments.
  • Cellular connection: These security systems use cellular radios to connect to the monitoring station. This means your system works independently of an internet connection. There are also battery backups in each system in case of power outages.
  • Mobile apps: Vivint and Ring include mobile app access with every plan—unlike competitors SimpliSafe and ADT—so you can control your system with a mobile device for no extra charge. This means you can arm the alarm if you forget before a long trip or disarm for extra convenience after finishing a grocery run.

Vivint vs. Ring differences

Because Vivint and Ring have different approaches to home security, it's easy to find differences in installation, contracts, warranties, customer service, monitoring costs, and equipment.

  • Contracts: Vivint's contract lasts five years, longer than a typical security system monitoring agreement. You can skip the contract by paying for equipment up front—but that'll cost you at least $600. In contrast, Ring doesn't require a contract, but you shoulder all of the equipment costs from the start. Ring's a clear winner here.
  • Warranties: Ring includes a lifetime warranty with its Protect Plus plan, which is better than Vivint's four-month warranty. After four months, Vivint charges a fee if you need a house call to fix equipment.
  • Trial periods: These brands’ timelines for equipment returns and contract cancellations aren’t the best compared to the 60 days offered by SimpliSafe and Cove. Still, Ring's 30-day trial is a whole lot better than Vivint's complete and utter lack of a trial in any form. (Well, it gives you three days to cancel, but that's hardly enough.)
  • Customer service: Vivint customer service is a better experience since you can contact the company 24/7, and the professional installation helps prevent problems in the first place. Ring's customer support is almost as practical, but the hours are more limited. While you likely won't need to fix your system at 3 a.m., the leeway is nice if a problem arises.

Monitoring costs

Although Vivint's prices are better than a few years ago, it's still a premium system that costs more than an average burglar alarm. Still, we're glad that the entry-level plan is cheaper than the industry average of $32. Ring's professional monitoring costs a two-thirds as much as Vivint's, giving it a big advantage.

Here's a quick breakdown of the plans Vivint and Ring offer. We don't include Ring's three cheapest plans since they lack professional monitoring, but they're a great option for folks wanting to self-monitor their system.

Compare Vivint vs. Ring plans

Plan
Plan cost
Smart home integration
Security cameras
Learn more
Vivint Package 1
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Vivint Package 2
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Vivint Package 3
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Ring Protect Pro
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of 10/11/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The biggest difference in the plans is that Ring includes smart home and security camera functionality in every plan. Vivint has these features too but adds them using tiered pricing. Vivint's monitoring costs don't go down if you pay for equipment up front, but the total cost of your system comes out to around the same price.

Equipment and smart home

If there's one area where Vivint handily beats Ring, it's equipment. Vivint spends the big bucks to develop attractive and innovative equipment. While Vivint's equipment is much pricier, its cohesive security system runs like a dream from the Vivint app.

Vivint is better for smart home devices

man installing Vivint smart thermostat

We're big fans of the minimalist Vivint smart thermostat, which offers a lot of the same smarts as the Nest Learning Thermostat but in a Vivint-centric smart home. Vivint's smart home prowess extends into sensors, Vivint Car Guard, Vivint Doorbell Camera, and the intuitive Vivint Smart Hub touchscreen control panel.

Vivint cameras are pretty good compared to most security systems, but they stand out for a feature Vivint calls "lurker detection." When a Vivint Outdoor Camera spots someone, it whistles to tell the person they're on camera. This is a clever way to deter uninvited guests.

The Vivint security system also works with third-party smart home devices thanks to compatibility with major platforms:

Although Ring also works with Alexa and Z-Wave, it doesn't work with Google Assistant because its parent company, Amazon, doesn't get along with Google.

Learn more in our Vivint equipment guide.

Ring is better for security cameras

Ring Spotlight Security Camera product image

If you want a heavy focus on security cameras, Ring is the better option. Even though we like Vivint's cameras, Ring's camera and video doorbell selection is one of the best among security cameras in general. The sheer number of Ring camera options that you can install in almost any scenario dwarfs Vivint's relatively meager list.

Ring (and Amazon, by extension) is content to focus on home security but doesn't offer many first-party home automation devices like smart locks, thermostats, or smoke detectors. Still, linking an Amazon Echo smart speaker to your Ring Alarm system is seamless.

Learn more in our Ring equipment guide.

Installation

ring doorbell installation

There's no clear winner in this category. Professional and DIY installs are so different that it comes down to whether you want to put in the effort or spend the extra cash.

Vivint sends professional installers to your home (for a modest $49 fee). This is great for folks who want a system without spending a few hours installing sensors around the house—and second-guessing their work. Still, you need an appointment, which can disrupt your schedule.

With Ring Alarm, you install the equipment yourself, which saves money but not as much time. (Installation time ultimately depends on how large your system is—small systems are easier to set up.) The Ring app walks you through the entire DIY installation process. While the occasional Ring device requires screws and power cables, many install with a simple adhesive pad in seconds.

Although a Ring system doesn't require professional installation like Vivint, it makes the option available through a partnership with OnTech. Still, Ring's pro install is not a great deal since you pay on a per-device basis compared to Vivint's all-encompassing installation. We recommend sticking with DIY if you choose Ring.

Winner: Vivint pulls ahead of Ring

Although Vivint is pricier than Ring, it makes up for the drawbacks with outstanding equipment, customer support, and professional installation. Plus, there's just enough flexibility with Vivint's weakest traits—its price and contract—that you come out ahead of other high-end security brands like ADT and Frontpoint.

If money's the only thing that matters, Ring Alarm is a solid alternative to a Vivint system. It keeps up with Vivint's slick smart home devices with its own innovative gear. You'll save a ton with Ring's monitoring, so you can upgrade your entire system for less.

How we decided: Vivint vs. Ring

We used a systematic approach to compare everything we know about Vivint and Ring. This meant burying ourselves in user reviews, pricing tables, contract terms, equipment specs, and customer support resources to find the most valuable points of comparison. Learn more about how we evaluate security companies in our full methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest Secure, Google Assistant and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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