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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.
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*.
This means the company you use to get your ADT system could be different than someone who lives in the 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.
*Our ADT links take you to SafeStreets, which is an authorized reseller for ADT.
- 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
- 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
- Among the most expensive compared to its competitors
- May charge 75% of the remaining contract if you cancel early
- 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+ 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 connects your monitoring to your home automation controls.
- ADT Pulse app lets 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.
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.
Below are typical functions you can control within a home security app. The included column lists those supported by the ADT app. Please know that to use some of the features you must have certain equipment. For example, you cannot lock/unlock doors unless you have smart locks in place that are compatible with your security system.
Function Included Arm/Disarm System Smart Plug Control Lock/Unlock Smart Doors View Camera Live Stream Camera Controls (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) View Recorded Video View Doorbell Camera Image Sensor Images Event History Weather Smart Thermostat Controls Control Lights Create Programs/Schedules Garage Door Control Geofencing Multi-Factor Authentication
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 a security packages:
- Digital keypad
- Door/window sensors
- Motion sensors
- Wireless keychain remote
- Indoor and outdoor cameras
- Smoke detectors
- CO detectors
- Flood detectors
- Panic button remotes
- Door locks
- Garage door sensor
- Video doorbell camera
- Switches and plugs
Equipment options and monthly prices can vary depending on the ADT reseller you choose. The equipment and pricing we have 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.
Basic Security Basic Security w/ Equipment Service Protection Basic Security + Wireless Connect ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video ADT Pulse Monitoring + Smart Home Connect Price Per Month $27.99 $36.99 $48.99 $58.99 $59.99 Control Panel Door/Window & Motion Sensors Capable Wireless Keychain Remote Landline Monitoring Equipment Service Protection Safety Detection Device Capable Cellular Monitoring Remote Control w/ Cell Phone Indoor Camera Capable Smart Home Capable
My care representative- (name redacted) – gave me the most outstanding customer service I have received in many years, from any business. He spent several hours with me patiently explaining options and pricing, and was incredibly professional throughout. I haven’t been that impressed with service in a while. (Name redacted) deserves a promotion! – Hannah S., BBB 4/18/2019
(Name redacted), the technician, was very professional and friendly. He took the time to describe the different options available to me and make sure I understood. There was a problem with AT & T for new customer set up when he began my installation. That caused my appointment to continue to a second and third day. (Name redacted) kept me posted about any progress or lack of progress being made. Should I add anything in the future to my system, I would welcome (name redacted) back to my home to perform the work. – Denise G., BBB 8/9/2019
THIS company is a SCAM and have put me in collections over an account that was downgraded and supposed to be cancelled due to the technician “loosing paperwork” I just talked to (names redacted) but were extremely rude and condescending. I dont even know what to do at this point the collections agency said I have to take it up wth them but Defenders is refusing any help – Kristy B., BBB 5/6/2019
I was living in an apartment complex back in 2016, and they came on hard and fast with what was seemingly a good deal. Only problem was there were constant issues that were NEVER addressed, yet I kept making the payments to avoid issues. We moved out in June 2017 to a home, and told them we no longer needed their system. I offered for them to come take their equipment, and they stated better of factly that they did not want the equipment. They since referred me to collection. Ironically the collection agency stated they receive so many complaints about them. Beware of them before you get scammed. Definitely not worth the aggravation and crappy service. – Stuart M., BBB 5/9/2019
See what the key differences are between ADT and other leading home security companies.
- ADT uses authorized resellers, so customer service can vary. Meanwhile, Frontpoint is known for its outstanding customer service and it is 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 a DIY installation.
- 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 a DIY installation.
- All of SimpliSafe’s plans use cellular monitoring while ADT requires you to upgrade for cellular monitoring.
- 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.
ADT is widely available across the United States. It offers reliable monitoring and professional installation and can be installed as quickly as 1-2 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 top home security providers comparison. We’ve ranked the top 3 companies and reviewed over a dozen with pros, cons, and user feedback for each.
Are you considering ADT for your home security needs?
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