Data effective 11/23/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.
Is Vivint right for you?
When we call Vivint a high-end, full-service home security system, we’re not kidding around. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get from a Vivint home security system:
24/7 professional monitoring
Total customization to fit your home
Personal introduction to the system and the Vivint app
One mobile app to control everything
Smart security cameras with advanced safety features
Professional maintenance and repairs
Lifetime equipment warranty
Multiple contract options
Even though Vivint has made big improvements to its customer policies, including a $0 down financing option and the chance to go contract-free with an outright equipment purchase, it’s still one of the pricier security systems out there. To take full advantage of Vivint’s advanced tech and high-end security features, you’ll pay upwards of $40 a month, compared to the average cost of pro monitoring (around $31.00 a month) among the security systems we’ve tested and reviewed.
That said, we think this is a case of “you get what you pay for”—and with Vivint, you get a whole lot of security innovation and quality service for your monthly fee.
If you’ve got room in your security budget and you want the extra reassurance that comes with professional installation and cutting-edge home security equipment, Vivint should be at the top of your list.
Vivint vs. Frontpoint
Did you know Vivint's top-tier monitoring plan costs the same per month as Frontpoint's entry-level plan? The good news is you get 24/7 monitoring and mobile app control with both $44.99 plans, but Vivint is the only one that also delivers smart home automation and professional installation at that price.
Data effective 11/23/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing. **With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions. ˄No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
‡ Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)
Vivint pricing and contracts
Vivint’s going to cost you more overall—that’s a fact. But you get what you pay for, and Vivint is one of the only home security companies that’s constantly innovating and adding new bells and whistles to its equipment and app offerings.
Instead of delivering the same white-label equipment and cookie-cutter app that many other companies do, Vivint has made its own. This is a big reason why we think the company’s higher prices are worth it.
And the addition of a no-contract option for professional monitoring shows that Vivint’s listening—and responding—to the demands of home security customers.
Payment and contract options
Vivint offers a few payment options. You can choose Vivint Flex Pay and finance the cost of equipment (which will be on top of your monthly monitoring fee), or you can pay for your equipment up front and pick up monitoring on a month-to-month basis. If you go the contract route, you’re looking at a commitment of 42 or 60 months. (That’s five years!)
But Vivint recently told us that you can put $0 down when you choose to finance so that long-term contract might be worth it for little to nothing due up front.
If you pick the no-contract option, the up-front equipment cost can run you upwards of $1,000 to outfit your home with the basics. That’s a lot of sticker shock, especially when you look at DIY security companies like SimpliSafe that offer basic equipment packages starting under $300.
Vivint isn’t going to be a cheap home security option, and we think that’s okay. It’s more of a luxury brand, along with ADT, that offers you a full-service home security experience—it’s perfect if you have a larger home or want complete customization.
For homes with multiple points of entry or busy households with lots of people going in and out the extra security provided by smart locks and alerts makes a lot of sense. Plus, Vivint’s smart thermostat can help cut down on energy costs—especially if your home’s got a never-ending stream of traffic that hikes up your heating and cooling bills.
Vivint home security tech and equipment
Rather than employing a third-party distributor, Vivint designs most of its own equipment. All devices function using Z-Wave and are wireless (including cameras and smart thermostats), which makes the equipment transportable.
Equipment that moves with you
That means you can take your Vivint equipment with you if you move. Or you can reconfigure your sensors without leaving giant craters in the walls.
Not all home security systems that are as comprehensive and high-tech as Vivint are that easy to move—with ADT you usually have to leave all of your equipment behind and start over if you change your address. And because you own your Vivint equipment, you only pay for it once, which makes a big difference over the lifetime of your security system.
Vivint home security is 100% cellular, which is one of the most effective and secure connections for any security system. But without a Wi-Fi or landline backup (like SimpliSafe), the cellular connection limits availability if you live in a rural area or somewhere else with little to no cell service.
Another caveat is the company’s insistence on professional installation. This ensures that your system is set up properly, but if you prefer a DIY solution like Frontpoint, this might make Vivint a less appealing option.
Stay safe during an in-home visit
During the pandemic, we're all being more cautious about having people in our homes. Here are some tips to keep you and the tech installing your Vivint system safe during COVID-19.
Talk about it. Let technicians know your household's exposure to the coronavirus and ask about theirs.
Go contactless. Find out if things like payments and signatures can be provided electronically.
Ask about precautions. Will the tech be wearing a face mask and gloves? Do they want your household members to do the same? Work these details out in advance so everyone's prepared.
Keep it separated. If you have multiple people at home, corral them into one room during the visit, if possible.
Provide protection. Have soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant at the ready. Invite the installer to wash their hands before and after their work, and disinfect the faucet and basin after they leave.
Vivint smart home equipment
Vivint Indoor Camera
Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
Automatic door lock
Door and window sensor
Vivint Smart Hub
Vivint Smart thermostat
Vivint tech and equipment standouts
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and Video Doorbell Pro
Vivint’s latest security camera offerings are smarter—and more proactive—than most other security cameras we’ve seen.
We got a private demonstration of these cameras in action, and we were impressed. The coolest new feature is how these cameras use sound and light to help scare off prowlers before they do their damage. The feature is called Smart Deter and Vivint has created it to detect “lurkers” who are up to no good. When the lurker is detected, the camera will make an audible sound—like a whistle—to shoo away the potential intruder.
It may seem simple, but this idea is genius. And seeing it in action was delightful. It was surprising to see how startled the lurkers were and how quickly they ran off after Smart Deter went into action.
This is the type of tech that works to prevent a burglary before it happens. Because that’s the main goal of any security system, we like how fresh and effective this new feature seems to be.
Vivint Smart Hub
For years, Vivint was a standout with its innovative Vivint SkyControl Panel that was the first to offer built-in two-way voice communication. And now Vivint is making smart home and security history again with its new Smart Hub that acts as a smart home hub and can support up to six security cameras.
The most impressive part is that Vivint has solved the problem of multiple cameras bogging down your home Wi-Fi connection. Because security cameras use Wi-Fi to stream live video, the more cameras you have, the slower your Wi-Fi gets.
But the Vivint Smart Hub has technology that lets you set up all the cameras you need to keep an eye on your home without eating up all your bandwidth.
Vivint mobile app
The Vivint Sky app is now called the Vivint app. The Vivint app is an easy way to keep tabs on your home 24/7 no matter where you are. You can check the live video feed from your home’s security cameras or remotely arm and disarm the alarm system from your phone.
The app is comparable to the navigation you’ll find on the control panel, which makes flip-flopping between the two a bit easier. Plus, Vivint told us they have a whole team dedicated to keeping its app user-friendly, easy to use, and packed with features that boost both your home’s security and its smart home automation.
Proprietary products (which make up the bulk of Vivint’s offerings) like the original Vivint Ping Camera (now called the Vivint Indoor Camera) come with upgraded features like two-way voice and motion-sensing capabilities.
For busy families, Vivint’s smart home capabilities can do everything from increasing face time after school (thanks to Vivint’s interactive smart cameras), to cutting down on wasted electricity with a smart thermostat that can be programmed to routines or adjusted remotely via the Vivint app.
No matter how busy you are, Vivint’s forward-thinking smart home tech gives you the ability to manage (and protect) your home from anywhere and at any time. Because Vivint home security has integrated smart home with home security, all the different pieces work together—without having to buy different devices from a multitude of companies (and crossing your fingers that they’ll work together).
Here’s a rundown of the smart home perks that make Vivint stand out in the field of home security and home automation.
Watch and listen from anywhere. All of Vivint’s smart security cameras use motion detection, two-way communication, night vision, and instant alerts to keep you in the know both inside and outside your home. Plus, the new Smart Deter feature catches “lurkers” in the act and shoos them away with sound and light.
Keep things locked up tight. With smart locks, you can control access to your home even if you’re across town (or at the beach). Whether you have kids coming home after school or need to let in the pet sitter, you can skip making copies of keys thanks to easy keyless entry.
Save money and cut down on waste. The Vivint Smart Thermostat (formerly the Element smart thermostat) can help you save money every month. The thermostat learns your habits and adapts to your needs. If you usually turn up the heat before settling in to binge on your latest Netflix obsession, this thermostat might click on before you can grab a blankie.
Never leave the garage door open again. Vivint’s Garage Door Controller lets you know if you drove away without putting the door down—and you don’t have to turn around to go home and close it. You can use remote control to close the garage door from the gym, the grocery store, or your office.
Vivint smart home compatibility
Surprisingly, Vivint home security has limited compatibility with third-party brands, but they make up for it with their full suite of proprietary smart home products.
The downside is if you’ve already started down the smart home path you might be disappointed to find out you need to buy duplicate items because the Vivint system isn’t compatible with what you’ve already got.
On a broad scale, Vivint is currently compatible with only Google Nest and Amazon Echo smart speakers.
Smart home feature
Smart home hub
Amazon Alexa, Google Home
Vivint Smart Thermostat
Amazon Alexa, Google Home
Smart Home Panel
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest
Vivint Smart Locks Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
Amazon Alexa, Google Home
Vivint customer service
This used to be one of Vivint’s weaker points. The company got off to a bumpy start when it first hit the home security scene, but it’s made big strides in this area over the past few years.
Vivint told us that customer feedback is a top priority and the company works hard to implement recommended changes. Those efforts seem to be paying off in accolades and higher ratings from both third-party sources and Vivint customers.
Trustpilot rating: 3.7 stars out of 5, Average
Vivint Smart Home app on Google Play: 4.5 stars out of 5
Vivint Smart Home app on Apple App Store: 4.6 stars out of 5
*Ratings as of November 24, 2020
It’s nice to see customers rating their satisfaction higher, but Vivint doesn’t have a lot of customer-first policies. It doesn’t offer a trial period, and although you can get out of a long contract if you buy your equipment outright, Vivint’s contract terms are strict.
Unlike most other home security companies that require a 36-month contract, Vivint’s contracts range from 42 to 60 months—that’s five years.
And its pricing is confusing. Vivint home security advertises a starting monthly monitoring fee of $29.99, but the fine print says there’s a required minimum service contract of $49.99 per month. It looks like the lowest monitoring price is only for those who purchase equipment up front.
It’s confusing information like this that leads to people feeling misled and can result in the type of customer dissatisfaction that’s hounded Vivint over the years.
Professional installation is your only choice with Vivint. But we think that’s a good thing, especially when you’re dealing with this level of home security technology and smart home integration.
We like that you get to see exactly what’s happening, and the added perk of a personal training session on how to operate your new home security system is a valuable bonus.
The biggest downside of pro installation is the time commitment—and if you work full time that could mean using up precious PTO hours. Vivint doesn’t have the best track record for quick installs, either.
Depending on where you live, you could wait up to a week to get your system installed. That’s a long time for people who are eager to have their home and property protected after a break-in or buying a new house.
Vivint’s installation fees used to run from $99 up to $199. But Vivint recently changed its installation pricing to a flat $49 fee no matter which monitoring plan you choose or the amount of equipment installed. We’re not sure if this is a permanent change, so be sure to verify your installation costs when you schedule your installation appointment.
Vivint’s in-home security consultation
Vivint Home Security is one of just a few companies that provides a complementary security consultation. As part of its top-tier offerings, a Vivint security technician conducts an assessment that identifies security risks and offers solutions.
The consultation ensures you have all the equipment you need to protect your home. And it makes sure that equipment (like window, door, and motion sensors) is installed in the right location to maximize your home’s security.
The assessment takes place in tandem with your professional installation. The plus side is that you can add equipment you overlooked or eliminate extras you don’t really need. But the biggest drawback is that this opportunity for positive customer interaction can come across as salesy, which makes it hard for some customers to trust the recommendations.
Other home security options
If you’re still wondering if Vivint is the right choice to protect your home, here are some more options to consider. We can help you dig deeper into how Vivint compares to other top security brands—we already pitted them against one another.
To evaluate Vivint, we got our hands on Vivint equipment, went through demos with Vivint technical experts, visited Vivint’s headquarters for a behind-the-scenes look at how Vivint tech is developed, and participated in multiple interviews with Vivint representatives. We also dove into dozens of expert reviews and hundreds of customer reviews. Some of the top points of comparison we used to evaluate Vivint are listed below.
Equipment and monitoring costs
Smart home features and compatibility
Mobile app control and functions
Learn more about how we rate and rank home security services in our full methodology.
Does Vivint have a money-back guarantee?
No—unlike many of its competitors, Vivint does not have a money-back guarantee. To find out more, visit our page devoted to FAQs about Vivint.
Does Vivint have an equipment warranty?
Yes. Vivint has a 120-day warranty for its professional installation, but equipment has a lifetime warranty as long as you’re a Vivint customer. Vivint will repair or replace equipment after the warranty period for a service charge (around $45).
And you can elect a Premium Service Plan, which extends the warranty for as long as you’re using Vivint to protect your home. If you purchase a third-party device that works with your Vivint system (like a Google Nest thermostat), the brand’s warranty will apply.
Does Vivint have an activation fee?
There isn’t an activation fee, but you will be charged a $49 installation fee.
Does Vivint have cloud storage?
Yes—it’s called Vivint Smart Drive. This convenient service, once known as Space Monkey, provides secure storage much like an external hard drive. It allows you to stream and seamlessly upload all security camera clips with little to no effort. So you can forget about losing any important security recordings or even family photos once a device has kicked the bucket.
If you're worried about video footage being uploaded to the cloud, Vivint has you covered. We asked them how they protect customers' privacy.
“Vivint does not track data from customer’s video footage. Video footage is encrypted from the Vivint Smart Hub all the way to the cloud and back. Only customers can decide who is allowed to access their Vivint system, including their video feeds.”
Is Vivint’s mobile app easy to use?
Yes. According to customer reviews, the Vivint smart home app is very user friendly and offers an intuitive feel. Both iOS and Android users rate the app high, which isn’t always the case.
Is Vivint’s tech compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa?
Yes. Vivint is compatible with both Nest and Amazon Echo products. When you pair your Vivint security system with one of these smart speakers you can use voice commands to check in on your system and control some features.
Do Vivint’s home security plans come with yard signs?
Yes. But some customers have reported that the Vivint sign seems smaller than other home security signs. Vivint assures us its signs are the same size as most other home security yard signs, but we recommend using a solar or battery-powered light to keep any home security sign visible at night as well as during the day.
Does Vivint have a smart garage door opener?
Yes. This is another security feature you can tack onto your alarm monitoring plan. Smart garage door openers can increase your home’s value and safeguard your valuables from thieves.
Can I control lights remotely with Vivint?
Yes—again, one of the company’s strongest selling points is the home automation capabilities.
Can I cancel my plan at any time?
If you choose to pay Vivint up front for the entire cost of your equipment, you’re automatically eligible for Vivint’s month-to-month contract and professional alarm monitoring. With this plan, you can cancel at any point in time. But if you don’t buy the equipment outright, you’re locked into a contract that could last up to five years.
Is Vivint also a solar energy company?
Yes and no. Vivint Solar is the second-largest solar installer in the US, but it’s a completely separate company from Vivint home security. They may share a name (and their beginnings) but both Vivint entities are independent companies that offer different services to homeowners.
Vivint lets you take the wheel when it comes to putting together the right security system for your needs. Everything is 100% customizable, and you won’t find a smarter home security solution. But Vivint’s high-end equipment comes at a price and requires the expertise of professional installers.
Thankfully, the company has brought its monthly monitoring fees in line with industry standards, so you’re not going to pay much more for 24/7 protection from Vivint. Even so, DIYers and budget-constrained folks may want to look elsewhere for the right home security solution.
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 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