ADT Security Review: Is It Worth the Investment?

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ADT yard sign in front yard of home
ADT is protecting this home. But how much are they paying? Are there better options out there?

ADT is one of the oldest and possibly the most well-known home security company. With more than 140 years of experience, ADT is a household name. But does being around so long also mean it’s the best at securing your home? We lift the hood and find out in our comprehensive review.

Visit ADT Website | 833-276-1428

ADT Command Vs Control Vs Pulse

You’ll come across these three terms often when researching ADT products and services. So what’s the difference?

ADT Command

ADT Command is the latest incarnation of the ADT smart home security system as a whole. It includes their newest touchscreen control panel, devices, home automation, smartphone app, and more.

Integrations

ADT Command integrates with the following smart home protocols and devices. This means if you have a device that is compatible with one of these technologies, it should also work with your ADT Command system.

ADT Control

ADT Control is the newest iteration of ADT’s smart home control. It comes in the form of an app that gives you comprehensive control over your ADT system.

ADT Pulse

ADT Pulse was ADT’s first iteration of smart home technology. While it is no longer being issued to new customers (the newer Control is instead), there are still millions of Pulse users, so it is still being supported as of this writing.

Learn more about ADT Control Vs Pulse in our comprehensive review.

Is Everyone’s ADT Experience The Same?

You’ve probably seen ADT signs in front of some pretty impressive structures — everything from stars’ homes in Hollywood to embassies and consulates. But does that mean you as a consumer will get that same level of service?

In fact, each ADT customer’s experience will vary because ADT security systems are sold through authorized resellers. Our ADT links take you to SafeStreets, our recommended provider.

This means the company you use to get your ADT system could be different than someone who lives in a neighboring county. Therefore, your costs and customer service will vary, even when the equipment, contracts and general installation tend to be similar.

For this reason, we’ve taken a look at user feedback from across the nation and come up with patterns and commonalities across the network of larger ADT resellers to leverage across our review.

ADT Review

ADT Logo

Product Name: ADT

Product Description: ADT is one of the oldest and possibly the most well-known home security company. With more than 140 years of experience, ADT is a household name. But does being around so long also mean it’s the best at securing your home? We lift the hood and find out in our comprehensive review.

Summary

ADT was one of the first security companies, and while its equipment used to be outdated compared to newer DIY offerings, it has caught up. However, it still uses an authorized reseller model, which means your experience could vary depending on whom installs your equipment. And if our reader feedback is any indication, things aren’t going too well for ADT in the customer service department.

Overall Score

3.1
  • Customer Service
  • Technology
  • Ease Of Use
  • Overall Value

Pros

  • Has 10 monitoring stations
  • 6-month guarantee
  • Can be professionally installed in your home within 1-2 days after ordering in most cases
  • Includes basic equipment at no additional cost
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home

Cons

  • 3-year monitoring contract required
  • Requires a technician to visit your home and install
  • Cameras have 720p resolution, not 1080p
  • Many customer service complaints for ADT including extra charges on bills, incomplete installations, high-pressure sales tactics and more
  • Total cost of contract makes it pricier than a DIY solution
  • May charge 75% of the remaining contract if you cancel early

Consumer ADT Alarm Reviews

1 1 vote
Reader Rating

This is the aggregate score of reader reviews we’ve received. Have a good or bad experience with ADT? Feel free to leave your own review in the comments. Please note that only ratings with valid review content will be published and counted.

Our ADT Home Security Review

Here you’ll find our in-depth personal experience with the ADT alarm system, which was professionally installed for us.

Ordering ADT’s Alarm System

The ordering process was fairly straightforward, although we did have to reschedule our installation appointment once and the technician showed up about a half hour late to our appointment. Note that since ADT uses an authorized reseller system to sell its product, your experience will depend on the quality of your local provider.

 The Installation Process & Fees

Installation was fairly straightforward – the technician clearly has installed dozens if not hundreds of these and had specific locations in mind as far as motion sensors for best coverage, and since our house has a LOT of windows, which windows he felt needed coverage and which did not. We had our own input but for the most part this part of the installation was straightforward and taken care of by ADT for us.

There was a bit of an upsell for some fancy new sensors and equipment but we declined and decided to stick with our base package installation.

Blue By ADT – DIY With No Install Fees

The installation cost and fees vary by provider, but are generally around $150. Now there is a new DIY ADT product called Blue By ADT where you install your own sensors and pay no installation fees.

Devices Offered By ADT

The basic ADT system comprises a base station/keypad, door and window contact sensors, and motion sensors. The base system can be extended with everything from doorbell cameras to environmental sensors such as smoke and carbon dioxide, which we discuss below.

Digital Panel

The ADT Digital Panel is the brains of the system. It’s a touchscreen interface on which you can command and control your system. The functionality offered here is similar to the functionality in the ADT app.

Keychain Remote

With the ADT keychain remote you can arm and disarm your system at the touch of a button. We use to find these helpful before the ADT app, and kept one in our nightstand so we wouldn’t have to walk to the main panel – but now it feels like a superfluous gadget.

Contact Sensors

ADT contact sensors work as the name suggests – they consist of two pieces, which when close together indicate a “closed” state, and when pulled apart an “open” state. In this manner, doors and windows can be protected and you’ll be notified when they open and close.

Pro Tip
Window sensors won’t get triggered if a burglar smashes the window glass to gain entry. But if you have either a glass break detector, or a motion sensor covering the area behind the window, you’ll be notified if there’s a break-in.

Glass Break Sensors

ADT glass break sensors work by detecting the specific frequency sound of glass breaking. Place them near windows to detect when glass is smashed. They are useful companions to window contact sensors, because if the window glass is broken, the glass break detector will still notify you of an intrusion.

Motion Detector

ADT motion detectors work by detecting motion within a specified area. In our opinion, these are the most valuable sensor, because they can cover large areas (think multiple windows) and reduce the need for having contact sensors on every window.

Pro Tip
Instead of disabling all motion sensors in “Home” mode when you sleep at night, disable the ones in bedrooms, and keep the ones in hallways and common areas turned on to detect night-time intrusions. To prevent false alarms, make sure everyone is aware of your motion sensor schedule if you do this.

Doorbell Camera

The ADT doorbell camera features two-way audio and 720p HD video. It’s a solid doorbell camera, but pales in comparison to those offered by Ring Alarm.

Outdoor Camera

The ADT outdoor security cameras feature 1080p HD video, two-way audio, and video analytics that can differentiate pets and cars and send you smart alerts based on zones (areas of detection) you set.

Indoor Camera

The ADT indoor camera has the same stats as the outdoor camera, but is designed for indoor use (i.e. not weatherproof).

Carbon Monoxide Detector

The ADT CO detector is available in wired or wireless form. Your installation professional can help you pick the best install locations. Since the detector is monitored, help can be dispatched to your residence even if you are not home or not alert.

Smoke Detector

The ADT smoke detector can not only detect smoke, but rapidly rising temperatures, which can be indicative of fire conditions. It also has false alarm detection, which can help minimize cooking smoke alarms. And just like the CO detector, since the detector is monitored, the fire fighters can respond to a fire at your home even if you are not there.

Flood Sensor

The ADT flood sensor instantly detects water leaks. It’s best installed in your basement, near your washing machine, dish washer, clothes washer, or any other area where flooding could occur. Your installation professional can help you decide on the best location for your flood sensors.

Home Automation

ADT was one of the last home security providers to jump on the home automation bandwagon, but now that they’re here, they’ve caught up with an investment in a large array of smart home technologies. Your ADT system integrates with your app, sensors, and monitoring station in a way that lets you not only control your sensors from afar, but offers smart ways for your system to automatically detect events on your behalf.

Alternatives To ADT

Don’t like the score you’re seeing? Our home security experts have reviewed over a dozen home security providers, and in our best home security systems showdown, you can see our top three and category winners for this year.

ADT equipment from left to right: smoke detector, door/window sensor, security camera, touchscreen control panel, smartphone app, doorbell camera, secondary panel, and motion sensor.
ADT equipment from left to right: smoke detector, door/window sensor, security camera, touchscreen control panel, smartphone app, doorbell camera, secondary panel, and motion sensor.

Key Features

  • 10 monitoring stations that are interconnected, so if one goes down (e.g., due to a natural disaster), another is there as a backup.
  • Landline and cellular monitoring available:
    • Must upgrade to the higher-tier plans for cellular monitoring, which is more secure than landline since the connection is more reliable and less vulnerable.
  • Customer service options: live chat, phone, email and help center are available.
  • BBB rating: A+: and they are accredited (this is for the corporate entity (we suggest you look up your local provider for their rating)).
  • Motion sensor weight adjustment – ability to set motion sensors to ignore weights up to 50 pounds so small to medium-sized pets won’t set off sensors.
  • SafeWatch CellGuard uses cellular technology to connect your system to ADT monitoring centers (not included with all plans).
  • ADT Pulse and Control apps let you arm and disarm your system, control smart gadgets and keep tabs on your home from anywhere.
  • Z-Wave connectivity – a wireless communication protocol that lets you connect your home automation equipment to your ADT system.
  • Up to $500 theft protection guarantee goes towards your insurance deductible if your home is burglarized while your ADT system is armed.
  • Lifetime equipment warranty through the Quality Service Plan.
  • ADT also offers a DIY option called Blue by ADT.

Battery Backup

If the power goes out in your home, battery backup will keep your ADT system on and your home protected. ADT has a 24-hour battery backup, which is the standard in home security.

Equipment Options

ADT Equipment white background

You can choose to have wireless or hardwired equipment. The equipment is professionally installed as early as 1-2 days after ordering. Here are the various pieces of equipment found in security packages:

  • Digital keypad
  • Door/window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Wireless keychain remote
  • Indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Smoke detectors
  • CO detectors
  • Flood detectors
  • Sirens
  • Panic button remotes

Home Automation

Pricing & Plans

Equipment options and monthly prices can vary depending on the ADT reseller you choose. The equipment and pricing we’ve listed below are from an authorized reseller we recommend. If you’re interested in ADT, use this link to get a custom quote for your home.

Consumer Feedback

Praise

Honestly, a lot of these complaints at bogus and just because customers are ****** they are not getting their way. First of all, ADT is the company who has many authorized Dealers. Sometimes these dealers lie to make the sale but if you would pay attention to the Welcome Call and contract you sign then most of the time, the customer just trying to pull a fast one. I ordered my service through America’s Security, one of their reps knocked on my door and helped me protect my home. He doesn’t work for ADT, he works for America’s Security… Just to make it clear … Antoine fulfilled everything promised, his technician Humberto was excellent. I’m sure there are bad apples out there, but I am also sure that if you pay attention to what you are doing you will have a happy ending. Thank you America’s Security/ADT.

Allen L., BBB 1/3/2020

I was in need of a security system. I looked up information from Consumer Affairs and saw the high ratings and contacted ADT. They promptly answered my call. The installer came out explained every detail and took time to help me understand how to operate my new system. I feel safe already.

Clarissa, Consumer Affairs 1/19/2020

Complaints

ADT, is a horrible business. Had service for my new business and had to close due to COVID19 in Mid March as per Government officials, its mid May and I’m still not allowed to reopen. Made the decision to close our business as we don’t have an open date and cant afford to stay closed with all the fees that come along with owning a new business. Called ADT to cancel service and was told we could not cancel and would be charged full amount, when I asked if there was some form of relief from COVID19 I was told NOTHING could be done. I would never recommend ADT to anyone!! I don’t know how any business can run this way. I don’t even want to give a star rating but have to give something so I will only give a 1 star!!!

Brigitte H., BBB 5/14/2020

I was unavailable when they arrived my home, they met my husband. Not sure what transpired. Before I knew they had installed their monitor. I was coerced me to signing the contract and not given time to think things through. I am trying to cancel 3 weeks into the contract and they want me to pay 75% of the total cost for 3 years. Unbelievable! Be very careful before you SIGN a contract with them. I could have given them zero star if that were an option.

Pamela, Consumer Affairs 5/14/2020

ADT App Review

Android App | iOS App

See the ADT apps in action and learn about all of its capabilities. You’ll find a video of the interface, features compared to other home security apps, pros/cons by users and more in our ADT app review.

ADT Camera Reviews

We review ADT’s camera offerings, which include doorbell cameras, an indoor camera and outdoor cameras.

ADT has its own branded Pulse doorbell camera as well as the SkyBell Trim Plus, which is used by many other home security companies like FrontpointNest and Link Interactive.

The indoor camera can be added to your system after the initial installation of your security system if you want. It doesn’t require a professional’s help and we’ve got the installation and setup process all covered to help you get it up and running smoothly.

Lastly, the outdoor cameras can also be setup by you without the help of a professional. Everything from tech specs to installation setup and pros/cons of each outdoor camera are included in the article.

All of the cameras integrate with the ADT system, which means you’ll be able to view, record and schedule camera actions and video feeds in the app or portal.

ADT vs Other Companies

See the key differences between ADT and other leading home security companies.

ADT vs Frontpoint

  • ADT uses authorized resellers, so customer service can vary. Meanwhile, Frontpoint is known for its outstanding customer service and it’s consistent.
  • Frontpoint uses cellular for all of its monitoring plans. ADT requires you to upgrade plans for cellular monitoring.
  • ADT has no equipment fees for introductory systems but requires professional installation with a fee. Frontpoint charges for its equipment and has DIY installation.

Compare ADT and Frontpoint

ADT vs SimpliSafe

  • ADT offers a wider variety of equipment than SimpliSafe, including an outdoor camera.
  • ADT has no equipment fees for introductory systems but requires professional installation with a fee. SimpliSafe charges for its equipment and has DIY installation.
  • All of SimpliSafe’s plans use cellular monitoring, while ADT requires you to upgrade for cellular monitoring.

Compare ADT and SimpliSafe

ADT vs Vivint

  • Vivint’s control panel has only 4 hours of battery backup, while ADT’s has 24 hours.
  • All of Vivint’s plans use cellular monitoring, while ADT requires you to upgrade for cellular monitoring.
  • Vivint requires a minimum 4-year contract (ADT’s is the standard 3 years) and has higher equipment fees than ADT.

Compare ADT and Vivint

Timeline Of ADT & Its History

ADT has been around for more than a century, and it’s fascinating to see where it started and how much it’s evolved since it was founded.

  • 1874 – American District Telegraph (ADT) founder, Edward Callahan, created the first residential security system network.
  • 1890–1920 – ADT employed “Roundsmen” to make rounds each night to help prevent crime before it happened at customers’ homes.
  • 1920–1940 – ADT enabled customers to link to a central monitoring center for 24/7/365 monitoring and protection.
  • 1940–1989 – ADT pioneered the first automated burglar system, which allowed immediate response to fire.
  • 2010 – ADT Pulse app launched, which allows customers to remotely access and control their home security and automation systems.
  • 2017 – Combined with Protection 1 and services more than a combined 6 million customers.
  • 2023 – ADT enters into a partnership with Costco to sell 2 professionally installed home security system packages to its members. Both the 9-piece and 13-piece options come with Google Nest products and ADT smart monitoring (as well as professional installation).

ADT’s parent company is Apollo Global Management. More than 17,000 professionals are employed by ADT in over 200 locations within the U.S.

Can I Trust ADT With My Home?

Visit ADT Website | 833-276-1428

ADT is widely available across the United States. It offers reliable monitoring and professional installation and can be installed as quickly as one to two days from ordering. However, ADT can be expensive (cellular monitoring requires a plan upgrade), and it has a history of customer service complaints.

If you want a less expensive security system with better customer service, you may want to consider another company. See how ADT compares to other home security providers in our home security systems reviews. We’ve ranked the top three companies and reviewed over a dozen with pros, cons and user feedback for each.

Our Methodology

Our team has been involved in the home security industry for a combined 75+ years. We conduct in-depth research by industry professionals, fact check our information and gather consumer feedback to give our readers the most comprehensive picture possible. At least half a dozen people partake in the editorial process, which takes around 2-3 months of work on average. We also conduct regular audits that verify the information in our articles is as up to date as possible.

  1. Our experts conduct in-depth research to uncover all of the details needed to make better decisions. This includes mystery shopping, anonymous phone call and contact (email, chat) inquiries to companies, feedback from our readers via social media, emails and comments, general social media chatter and posts on review sites and forums from established sources such as Yelp, Amazon, Better Business Bureau, etc.
  2. When necessary, especially for topics that address sensitive data, we consult credentialed industry professionals.
  3. Then we pair the data with first-hand customer experiences, reader feedback and testimonials.
  4. Before publishing, our rigorous team fact-checks each article, as well as reader-submitted input, for accuracy.

For more on our review methodology, visit our review process.

Think you’ll try ADT or go with an alternate provider? Let us know in the comments!

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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