Vivint Security Reviews: Smart Home, Camera, Customer Reviews, Home Automation, Thermostat, App, And More

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Vivint control panel in kitchen (text in image: Vivint Review)Vivint is known for its home automation features and has a great app to go along with it. But is it worth the equipment prices, potential financing you’ll need and extra long contract lengths?

Visit Vivint’s Website | 833-277-6361

Article Overview

Vivint

2.75 / 5
Vivint
Customer Service & Reputation 1.0
Equipment 4.0
Technology 3.0
Value 2.0
Ease Of Use 3.8

Pros

  • Has two monitoring stations
  • All plans have cellular monitoring
  • Excellent home automation options
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • If you pay for the equipment upfront, a month-to-month monitoring plan is available

Cons

  • Requires professional installation
  • 3.5 to 5-year contracts if you finance equipment
  • If you want cameras, you must purchase the highest monitoring plan
  • Expensive
  • Four-hour battery backup
  • Has one of the shortest equipment warranties we've seen (only 120 days)
  • Must provide written notice 30 days prior to your desired cancellation date, and you're responsible for paying the remaining balance in full

Burglar breaking into home (Caption: Best Home Security Systems)Alternatives To Vivint

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.

Vivint EquipmentKey Features

  • Two monitoring stations, so if one goes down (e.g., due to a natural disaster), another is there as a backup
  • Cellular monitoring for all plans with broadband (internet) as a backup
  • Customer service options: phone, live chat, email and FAQs
  • BBB rating: F
    • Not accredited by the BBB, which is rare since most competitors are. There’s most likely one of two reasons for this:
      1. Vivint has not sought out accreditation, or
      2. Vivint does not meet BBB standards
    • 4/29/21 – Settlement reached with the FTC.
  • Vivint app is one of the best and lets you monitor your system while away
  • Z-Wave connectivity (a wireless communication protocol) to home automation equipment
  • Equipment is under warranty as long as you have a monitoring plan
  • You can get a medical alert system through Vivint (or consider one of these third party medical alert providers we review)
  • Cancellation policy
    • Must provide written notice 30 days before your desired cancellation date
    • You can find a qualified candidate to take over the remainder of your agreement, or you must pay the remaining balance in full
  • Vivint Car Guard can be installed on your dashboard and will let you know if someone is trying to steal your car
  • Vivint Smart Drive (previously known as Space Monkey) is a way to store your photos, video recordings and more

Battery Backup

If the power goes out in your home, battery backup will keep your Vivint system on and your home protected. However, Vivint’s battery backup only lasts four hours, which is drastically less than the standard 24 hours most home security companies have.

Vivint sends you a notification when there’s a power outage. The backup battery is rechargeable, so once power is restored, the battery will recharge back to four hours, so it’s ready for any future needs.

Vivint’s four-hour battery backup is the worst we’ve seen. It’s not uncommon for homes to be without power for greater than four hours, especially when a natural disaster is the cause.

Price

Note that you pay the equipment cost monthly until you pay off the balance. It was difficult to find transparent Vivint pricing, so we recommend you confirm before you purchase.

 SkyControl Starter KitHome Security SystemSmart Home ControlVideo SecuritySmart Complete
Price Per Month (Total)$10.00 ($599.99)$11.83 ($709.98)$17.50 ($1,049.95)$23.00 ($1,379.95)$29.83 ($1,789.92)
SkyControl Panel
$399.99
CheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Door/Window Sensors
$34.99
44444
Motion Detector
$69.99
11111
Smoke Detector
$69.99
Checkmark
Garage Door Controller/Sensor
$99.99
CheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Door Lock
$159.99
CheckmarkCheckmark
Element Thermostat
$169.99
CheckmarkCheckmark
Doorbell Camera
$249.99
CheckmarkCheckmark
Ping Camera
$199.99
CheckmarkCheckmark
Outdoor Camera
$299.99
CheckmarkCheckmark

Additional Equipment

Cameras:

  • Smart Drive $249.99

Home Security:

  • Recessed Door Sensor $34.99 | Tilt Sensor $34.99 | Glass Break Sensor $69.99 | Key Fob $34.99

Life Safety:

  • CO Detector $69.99 | Temperature/Flood Sensor $69.99 | Panic Pendant $34.99

Monitoring Plans

After you’ve chosen all of your equipment, you can then choose your monitoring plan.

 Smart SecuritySmart HomeSmart Home Video
Price Per Month$29.99$39.99$44.99
$49-$199 Installation FeeCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
24/7 Professional MonitoringCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Entry, Smoke & CO DetectionCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Medical Pendant SupportCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Smart Home IntegrationCheckmarkCheckmark
Live Video FeedCheckmark
14 Days Storage Of 30-Second Clips For Up To 2 CamerasCheckmark

If you have more than 2 security cameras, you’ll have to pay an additional $5 per month for the camera monitoring (3 cameras = +$5/month, 4 cameras = +$10/month, etc.).

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from Vivint.

What Do People Think Of Vivint?

Positive Reviews

He was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and quick. He explained everything. He took time to answer all our questions. And explained carefully and thoroughly the system. All in all, it was a very professional installation. – Mary Sue, Consumer Affairs 5/19/2020

Vivint is the most HELPFUL company ever. They always meet my needs, and the quality of the video are amazing. Everyone should sign up for Vivint. If you have a problem with a contract… Buy upfront! I was able to go month-month doing that. – Savannah D., BBB 5/15/2020

Negative Reviews

DO NOT GET TRICKED!!! I was tricked into the agreement which I specifically asked the salesperson if there will be any early termination fee or penalty fee, he said NO. I decide to cancel the services due to horrible experiences, months later, I received a collection letter for ~ $2.5k. I called collection company A, made arrangements, paid whatever they wanted, and again, I received ANOTHER collection letter which for an additional $1.3K from collection company B!!! I have no clue how many hidden fees they have and want me to pay off!!! I called into Vivint, they don’t have an answer, they blame everything on the collection companies. There are two different collection companies and this customer services person has been repeating on the same one I have made the payment, not the one I called in about. Horrible services, DO NOT RECOMMEND!! DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! – Angel, Consumer Affairs 5/20/2020

Worst company I have ever dealt with. Predatory business practices, especially with the elderly. If I had read these reviews prior to having Vivint’s services, I would have stayed away.  Sent a salesman at 8:00 p.m. to talk me out of cancelling – scary. Very poor customer service, five-year contracts only agreed upon by “phone call”. I can’t say enough about their predatory practices.  Stay away.  There are many other home security companies that are less expensive, secure, and do not scam people. – Marcia W., Yelp 5/26/2020

Thorough Home Automation Lineup

Vivint is known for its home automation equipment. See how you can integrate it all into your home.

Vivint App Review

Man holding iPhone with Vivint App on screen (caption: Vivint Smart Home App Review)The Vivint Smart Home app lets you connect all of your Vivint smart home and security devices directly to your smartphone or tablet so you can remotely monitor and manage your entire system.

Vivint’s latest app works with the SkyControl Panel as well as their newest panel model, the Smart Hub Panel. The original app, Vivint Classic, is still available for users who have the Go!Control Panel.

Visit Vivint’s Website | Android App | iOS App

Features

Vivint Smart Home App screenshots

The Vivint Smart Home App has several features that allow you to get the most out of Vivint technology.

  • View video: View live and recorded video at your convenience. You will need additional equipment to store recorded video since Vivint cameras record 24/7, vs other providers like Ring that only record motion-activated footage.
  • Customize routines: Create routines by linking devices. You can set timers for lights and locks and sync your security alarm to turn lights on/off and lock doors.
  • Two-way audio: You can use the two-way audio feature of your cameras directly through the app.
  • Multiple users: Create up to 6 user accounts and set them up with specific limits and permissions unique to each person’s user needs.
  • Alerts: Security alerts go to your app. You can also set up customized alerts for other devices such as smoke detectors and locks.
  • System control: You can connect and access all of your security and smart home devices through the app.

What’s The Vivint Smart Drive?

There’s been a lot of confusion about the Vivint Smart Drive. Originally called the Space Monkey, this Vivint DVR was rebranded in 2018 as the Smart Drive. It also originally had it’s own app, the smart drive app, which is no longer available.

Currently, the Smart Drive is an external storage device that, for an additional fee, is used to record all of your cameras’ video for the last 30 days. You can use the Playback feature on the Smart Home app to retrieve all the videos that the Smart Drive records.

Below are functions you can control within the Vivint home security 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.

System

  • Arm/disarm entire system or individual sensors
  • Geo-services, which automatically adjusts your security and automation equipment after you’ve left a set radius of your home or “geo-fence”
  • View detailed event history and alerts
  • Updated weather forecast

Smart/Remote Controls

  • Lock/unlock doors (including opening/closing garage door)
  • Control thermostat
  • Control and schedule lights

Cameras

  • Remote control cameras, including pan/tilt/zoom (if supported by camera)
  • View live stream
  • View recorded video
  • View doorbell camera

Pros

Cons

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Dependable
  • More advanced than competitors’ apps
  • Not compatible with Vivint Go!Control Panel
  • Additional equipment needed for some features
  • May use location when app isn’t open and can drain battery

What Do People Think Of The Vivint Smart Home App?

Vivint Smart Home app users seem generally pleased with the app. The app averages 4.45/5.00 stars with more than 85,000 reviews and 1 million downloads.

Positive Reviews

I love this app. It is always working work no lag time or glitches. The options that are available are very helpful and there are dozens to choose from. I can leave the house for the night or weekend and know exactly when my mom comes and goes, out of which door and that she’s home safe when she sets the alarm. I think the best option on the app is the setting to arm and disarm the system automatically on specific days and specific times. We don’t ever have to worry about the alarm being set when we’re home at night if we forget to set it manually. And there’s no more panicking when we’re not fully awake yet in the morning if we open a door and forget to disarm the system first, because it’s already disarmed when we are ready to leave the house for the day! Thank you so very much VIVINT, your security system and app gives us one less thing to have to worry about! – PennyLaneCook, App Store 01/26/2020

Fabulous so convenient and easy I love how quick i get notifications when someone’s at the front door and the picture pops up on my phone in love door absolutely wonderful experience! – Master Will, Google Play 3/28/2020

Negative Reviews

I’ve intentionally held back from leaving a review for months just so I could fully evaluate this app. I got their service in January. So, now let me share my experience. The app and cameras go offline every 1-2 hours per day. I’m very tech savvy, but my experience thus far takes the cake. I’m not impressed and I spend more time I. The phone troubleshooting the issue. Only to discover that I end up with a solution vs the reps. You guys have to hire a more competent staff and fix this app!!! Goodness, it’s so unstable. I can’t even look at the live view after updating to the percentage buffer when the video is loading via my doorbell. I met with constant error messages. Do more testing or get better beta testers to ensure the app will work before releasing it. This is ridiculous. I’m beyond annoyed at this point!!! – Sey Wha?!, App Store 11/02/2019

This app is trash. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t. When my doorbell detects a visitor, it takes at least 20 seconds for the camera to load. By this time the visitor is gone. This happens on all of the cameras, by the way. The thermostat option sucks as well, not changing when we want it to. When we change it from the wall thermostat, it still shows the previous temp or mode on the app. – K Cross, Google Play 3/26/2020

Compatible Devices

  • iPhone
  • iTouch
  • iPad
  • iWatchOS 4.0 or later
  • Android phones and tablets

See The App In Action

This quick video from Vivint shows you what the app looks like and some of the features too.

Vivint vs Other Companies

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

Vivint vs ADT

  • Vivint’s control panel has only four 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 four-year contract (ADT’s is the standard three years) and has higher equipment fees than ADT.

Compare Vivint and ADT

Vivint vs SimpliSafe

  • SimpliSafe has a DIY installation, and Vivint’s installation requires a professional.
  • Vivint has a more extensive list of equipment options with more advanced technology than SimpliSafe has.
  • Vivint requires a 4-year contract, and SimpliSafe has no longterm commitments.

Compare Vivint and SimpliSafe

About Vivint & Its History

Keith Nellesen and Todd Pedersen founded APX Alarm Security Solutions in 1999. In 2011, APX Alarm Security Solutions rebranded as Vivint. Also in 2011, Vivint Solar launched, a solar energy company.

In 2012, The Blackstone Group acquired Vivint for more than $2 billion. Vivint acquired Smartrove and began wireless broadband in 2013. In 2020, the company merged with Mosaic Acquisition Corp. to be a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

How Important Is Home Automation?

Visit Vivint’s Website | 833-277-6361

Home security app (caption: Home Security Systems Reviews)If you spend a lot of time away from your home and want ways to automate your home, Vivint is among the best. The app has some of the best reviews we’ve seen from its users, and the equipment lineup is extensive. With the appropriate equipment in place, you can adjust the thermostat, lock doors, view camera footage and more through the Vivint app.

However, if you just want security and don’t plan on using any home automation equipment, there are other companies with lower prices and great reputations. Read our home security systems reviews to see which company comes out on top.

How important is smart home functionality to you?

About The Author:

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family.

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.

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