Security Systems

Vivint vs ADT: Security Systems And Smart Home Automation Compared

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Vivint app and ADT yard sign (Caption: 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

The BBB (Better Business Bureau) can be a reliable indicator of how a company handles consumer complaints. How did our two companies fare?

  • Vivint: F (not accredited), with marketplace alerts on business conduct
  • ADT: we encourage you to look up the rating for your local authorized reseller, since the corporate profile does not indicate the level of service you will receive.

Not being accredited by the BBB 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 C+ rating doesn’t make them look good.

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, SafeStreets, 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.


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).


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


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

Vivint ADT
Additional Keypad Checkmark
Keychain Remote Checkmark Checkmark
Door/Window Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Motion Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Indoor Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Outdoor Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Doorbell Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Glass Break Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Panic Button Checkmark Checkmark
Smoke Detector Checkmark Checkmark
CO Detector Checkmark Checkmark
Freeze Sensor Checkmark
Water Sensor Checkmark Checkmark
Additional Siren Checkmark
Smart Switch Checkmark Checkmark
Smart Door Lock Checkmark Checkmark
Smart Light Bulb Checkmark
Garage Door Controller Checkmark
Garage Door Sensor Checkmark
Compatible Smart Thermostat Checkmark Checkmark
Smart Drive Checkmark

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.


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


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 some 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

Function Vivint ADT
Arm/Disarm System Checkmark Checkmark
Smart Plug Control Checkmark Checkmark
Lock/Unlock Smart Doors Checkmark Checkmark
View Camera Live Stream Checkmark Checkmark
Camera Controls (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) Checkmark
View Recorded Video Checkmark Checkmark
View Doorbell Camera Checkmark Checkmark
Image Sensor Images
Event History Checkmark Checkmark
Weather Checkmark Checkmark
Smart Thermostat Controls Checkmark Checkmark
Control Lights Checkmark Checkmark
Create Programs/Schedules Checkmark Checkmark
Garage Door Control Checkmark Checkmark
Geofencing Checkmark Checkmark
Multi-Factor Authentication Checkmark

App Performance & Ratings

Below are the Apple App Store and Google Play Store ratings and number of reviews to give you an idea of what readers think of each company’s respective app.

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


To see how these two 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.

Vivint ADT
Equipment $774.94 $0
Installation $49 – $199 $99
Professional Monitoring $39.99/month
Minimum Contract Requirement 4 years 3 years
Total Spent After Minimum Contract $2,503.52 – $2,653.52 $1,718.64

There’s more of an upfront cost with Vivint’s system since you have to pay for the equipment and keep service for an extra year at least (or pay a cancellation fee if you don’t like it). But Vivint’s monthly monitoring price 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 (learn more in our guide to professional monitoring).ADT Authorized Dealer logo

Winner: ADT

Ease Of Use

Vivint ADT
Wireless Equipment Checkmark Checkmark
Wired Equipment Checkmark
Installation Professional Professional
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.

Kimberly Alt

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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