Vivint vs ADT: Two Industry Giants, Head To Head

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Vivint app and ADT yard sign (text in image: Vivint vs ADT)At first, Vivint and ADT look pretty similar in their offerings. Both companies offer home security and automation equipment and apps to monitor your systems. But one of them has shorter contracts and is typically less expensive than the other; find out which in our comprehensive head-to-head comparison.

Customer Service & Reputation

Vivint has an F rating from the BBB and is not accredited. This is pretty rare in the home security industry. It isn’t necessarily a red flag to not be accredited since some companies choose not to seek accreditation. However, if the lack of accreditation is a result of Vivint failing to meet BBB standards (which include “a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints”), then there’s reason for concern.

The fact that a company the size of Vivint is not accredited (regardless of the reason), combined with their F rating doesn’t make them look good.

Meanwhile, ADT’s corporate entity has an A+ rating from the BBB and is accredited, but it’s important to note that you won’t be getting service from the corporate entity.

Authorized Dealer vs DIY Installation

Professionally installed systems, like those provided by ADT, tend to be outsourced to local authorized dealers. This means your installation and customer service experience may vary greatly depending on whom your local ADT provider is. The ADT reseller we link to in this article, Protect Your Home, is not yet rated, which means the BBB is still evaluating.

Vivint Complaints

Complaints about Vivint include:

  • Unhelpful tech support and customer service.
  • Equipment malfunctions, which spirals into many other complaints including:
    • Scheduling tech visits.
    • Paying for tech visits.
    • Missing work because you have to be home for the tech.
  • Cameras not staying connected and going offline.
  • A lengthy installation process that often has hiccups.

ADT Complaints

Keep in mind that your experience with ADT can vary because it uses several authorized dealers. Complaints about ADT include:

  • Extra charges on bills.
  • Incomplete installations.
  • High-pressure sales tactics.
  • Refusal to cancel service.
  • Lack of customer support when issues arise.
  • Customers being told contradictory information regarding contracts.

Guarantees

Vivint doesn’t offer any guarantees, but ADT has many:

  • Money Back Service Guarantee – If you are unsatisfied during the first 6 months, ADT will refund installation and monitoring fees.
  • Theft Protection Guarantee – If your home is robbed or broken into while your system is armed, ADT will give you up to $500 of your insurance deductible (restrictions apply).
  • Mover’s Guarantee – If you have been a customer for at least 24 months, you can get a free security system of comparable price for your new home (restrictions apply).

Cancellations

If you want to terminate your Vivint service early, you must provide written notice 30 days before your desired cancellation date. You can either find a qualified candidate to take over the remainder of your agreement, or you must pay the remaining balance in full.

Early termination for your ADT system can result in ADT charging you 75% of the monthly service charges due for the balance of the initial contract term.

Vivint offers phone, live chat, email and FAQs as customer support options, while ADT only offers phone and FAQs. In the end, neither company has stellar customer service. ADT provides more guarantees and has a slightly better cancellation policy, which is why it is the winner here.ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Winner: ADT

Equipment

Below is a table of the types of security equipment offered by each company.

 VivintADT
Additional KeypadCheckmark
Keychain RemoteCheckmarkCheckmark
Door/Window SensorCheckmarkCheckmark
Motion SensorCheckmarkCheckmark
Indoor CameraCheckmarkCheckmark
Outdoor CameraCheckmarkCheckmark
Doorbell CameraCheckmarkCheckmark
Glass Break SensorCheckmarkCheckmark
Panic ButtonCheckmarkCheckmark
Smoke DetectorCheckmarkCheckmark
CO DetectorCheckmarkCheckmark
Freeze SensorCheckmark
Water SensorCheckmarkCheckmark
Additional SirenCheckmark
Smart SwitchCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Door LockCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Light BulbCheckmark
Garage Door ControllerCheckmark
Garage Door SensorCheckmark
Compatible Smart ThermostatCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart DriveCheckmark

Vivint doesn’t have an additional keypad, additional siren, smart light bulbs or a garage door sensor. ADT doesn’t have a freeze sensor, garage door controller or smart drive (a way to store your photos, video recordings and more). None of this equipment is going to be a deal breaker necessarily, but if you have your heart set on a system with one of these pieces of equipment, it may sway your decision to choose one company over another.

Technical Specifications

Vivint manufactures its own wireless equipment. ADT has wired and wireless equipment manufactured by other companies, like Ademco, DSC, Honeywell and Interlogix.

Warranties

If you opt for Premium Service through Vivint, you have a lifetime warranty without any service charges. If you decline Premium Service, you have a 120-day warranty. After those 120 days, the replacement/repair on equipment is free, but you must pay a service charge.

ADT offers a similar thing called a Quality Service Plan. During the first 90 days after your installation, any service needed for defective equipment will incur you no fees. Without the Quality Service Plan, after those 90 days, you’ll be charged a service fee.

These two companies are pretty comparable in terms of warranties, but if you want a wired security system, then ADT is the company for you. If wireless is fine with you, then you can go with either Vivint or ADT. However, Vivint has slightly more complaints about its equipment not always working as expected, so ADT has the edge here.ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Winner: ADT

Technology

Most of us want the most advanced and up-to-date equipment options. Both companies offer home automation integrations.

Vivint & ADT Compatibilities

ADT is also compatible with smart bulbs.

Battery Backup

If you lose power (during a storm or by a burglar cutting wires), a battery backup will keep your system online for a set amount of time until power is restored. ADT has a 24-hour battery backup, while Vivint’s is only 4 hours.

Cellular vs Broadband vs Landline Monitoring

Cellular monitoring is more secure than broadband (internet) and landline because there’s no concern about a burglar cutting your wires. All of Vivint’s plans have cellular monitoring, while ADT’s starting plans have landline (phone) monitoring. You must upgrade for cellular.

App Features

FunctionVivintADT
Arm/Disarm SystemCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Plug ControlCheckmarkCheckmark
Lock/Unlock Smart DoorsCheckmarkCheckmark
View Camera Live StreamCheckmarkCheckmark
Camera Controls (Pan, Tilt, Zoom)Checkmark
View Recorded VideoCheckmarkCheckmark
View Doorbell CameraCheckmarkCheckmark
Image Sensor Images
Event HistoryCheckmarkCheckmark
WeatherCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Thermostat ControlsCheckmarkCheckmark
Control LightsCheckmarkCheckmark
Create Programs/SchedulesCheckmarkCheckmark
Garage Door ControlCheckmarkCheckmark
GeofencingCheckmarkCheckmark
Multi-Factor AuthenticationCheckmark

App Performance & Ratings

We combined Apple App Store and Google Play Store ratings and averaged them to give you an idea of what readers think of each company’s respective app. (Please know that there were more than 482,000 reviews for ADT and only about 68,000 for Vivint.)

Vivint App Complaints

  • App is slow, freezes or crashes.
  • Cameras not updating in the app.

ADT App Complaints

  • Cameras not staying connected to it.
  • System status being unavailable.
  • Devices not responding to commands.

Both Vivint and ADT have many home automation options and integrations. Vivint is known for its home automation features, but ADT is keeping up with them. Both apps have some of the best ratings we’ve seen. What we don’t like is that Vivint’s panel only has a 4-hour battery backup. The standard for most companies is 24 hours (which ADT has), and because Vivint lacks this feature, we give ADT the nod.ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Winner: ADT

Value

To see how these two would compare in a real-world situation, let’s go over an example of a common configuration in a household with the equipment below:

  • 8 door/window sensors
  • 1 keypad
  • 1 motion sensor
  • 1 keychain remote

You’ll additionally want to know that Vivint locks you into a 42 or 60-month contract, while ADT requires a 36-month commitment. Here’s an example of how much it would cost you through Vivint and ADT.

 VivintADT
Equipment$774.94$0
Installation$49 - $199$99
Professional Monitoring$39.99/month
(cellular)
$48.99/month
(cellular)
Minimum Contract Requirement4 years3 years
Total Spent After Minimum Contract$2,503.52 - $2,653.52$1,862.64

There’s more of an upfront cost to Vivint’s system since you have to pay for the equipment and you have to keep service for an extra year at least (or pay a cancellation fee if you don’t like it), but the monitoring is almost $10 less than ADT’s. ADT has 10 monitoring stations, while Vivint has 2. Monitoring is provided by the companies themselves, which is not recommended as you’ll learn in our guide to professional monitoring.ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Winner: ADT

Ease Of Use

 VivintADT
Wireless EquipmentCheckmarkCheckmark
Wired EquipmentCheckmark
InstallationProfessionalProfessional
Easily Relocate

Neither company stands out here. Both require professional installation, and if you want to relocate the system to a new home, you’ll need a professional’s assistance.Vivint & ADT logos

Winner: Vivint & ADT (Tie)

Who Is The Top Pick?

Both Vivint and ADT have professional installation, advanced integrations for home automation equipment, extensive equipment options and longterm commitments. However, ADT has slightly shorter contract lengths and doesn’t charge a hefty equipment price.ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Overall Winner: ADT

If you’d like to learn more about these companies, read our individual reviews on Vivint and ADT, which include pros, cons, key features and customer testimonials. You can also see who, out of over a dozen companies reviewed, took the #1 spot in our home security company comparison.

Which company are you leaning towards?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services.

Kimberly has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering subjects such as home security and automation, identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. In 2018, she had her first child, and that opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

Security is a passion of hers, and she knows it isn’t a one size fits all category. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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