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ADT Home Security Review 2022
Is the ADT security system all it’s cracked up to be?
Is ADT right for you?
People trust ADT. It’s been around forever, so it’s definitely one of the best-known and most experienced home security companies out there.
But with that popularity and experience comes a massive price tag. Is it worth it? After scouring through ADT’s offerings and customer reviews, we think it can be if you value its benefits enough. In this ADT review, we’ll talk about why we recommend ADT for users who want tried-and-true home security but not for users who want to save money.
- Video recording
- Landline packages
- Long contracts
- Limited app access
|24/7 professional monitoring|
|Mobile app access|
|Smart home integrations|
|Text or email alerts|
|Environmental monitoring (smoke, flood, etc.)|
|Details||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 09/01/2022. Offers subject to change.
We recommend the Video plan
If you’re going to go with ADT, you’ll get better value with one of the more expensive plans. We suggest, at the very least, getting the Video plan. That way, you’ll have app access with your ADT alarm.
But if home automation is a deal-breaker for you and you have money to spare, we recommend going for the highest plan. With the Complete plan, you’ll gain video storage with your monitoring service. (That includes 24/7 video recording, which is arguably ADT’s best feature.)
With Complete, you’ll get mobile access, video storage, and home automation. That means you can add smart devices to your ADT security devices.
ADT pricing and monitoring
ADT has some of the priciest home security packages on the market, which is a thumbs down. The prices are a lot, and so are some of the monitoring plans.
But the company also has a money-back guarantee for cancellations made 6 months after purchase, which is a thumbs up. However, they can only provide a money-back guarantee if the system or equipment issue cannot be solved by ADT.**
We won’t lie: overall, ADT charges a lot more than most of its competitors. But if you want that brand name recognition, it comes at a premium.
ADT is probably the most trusted name in home security, and with good reason. It’s been around for over 147 years, and it offers professional monitoring with multiple monitoring centers.
The typical ADT contract is 36 months, which is the market standard right now. Unless you’re in California—then you only need to commit to ADT for 24 months. More on that later.
Once you install ADT, you have six months to confirm the system and equipment work well for you. If you want to cancel at any time during those six months, ADT will refund your money only after attempting to solve system-related issues.
Without any systemic issues, you have to pay 75% of your remaining contract as a cancellation fee.** That’s a pretty standard industry cancellation policy, but it’s still a huge barrier if you need to get out of your contract (especially if you’re canceling for financial reasons).
ADT security equipment
ADT doesn’t make its own equipment but has a good selection.
Data effective 09/15/2022. Offers subject to change.
What equipment ADT offers
ADT has a not-insignificant range of equipment, including the following:
- Control panel
- Doorbell camera
- Indoor camera
- Outdoor camera
- Glass break sensor
- Shock sensor
- Motion sensor
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Smoke detector
- Smoke/carbon monoxide detector combo
- Smart lock
- Remote smart light module
- Remote smart thermostat
- Garage door controller
- Smart LED light bulb
Your ADT equipment isn’t proprietary. It’s made by a third party, like Alarm.com or Honeywell. On the one hand, it’s annoying to pay so much for generic pieces. But on the other hand, you may be able to reuse them with another monitoring company after your ADT contract ends.
With that in mind, let’s take a close look at some of ADT's most unique equipment offerings.
ADT equipment security features
ADT shock sensor
This sensor shocks anyone who tries to break into your house. Okay, no, that sounds cool, but it’s not true.
The shock sensor detects shock waves a.k.a. any impact against your window or door. If someone tries to break glass or use a battering ram, you’ll know.
If you’re wondering, “How does that differ from a glass break or window sensor?” the answer is: it doesn’t really. It gets pretty much the same results, but with a different approach.
ADT smoke detector
Most smoke detectors tend to be pretty basic, so we’re really digging ADT's smart detector. When it goes off, it does the following:
- Sends you notifications
- Calls the ADT monitoring team
- Sounds a siren
- Shines lights
It’s also tamper protected and works in a large range of temperatures and humidity. Things don’t get much safer than that.
A lot of home security companies love to highlight their cameras. ADT isn’t one of those, and we understand why. To all appearances, ADT cameras aren’t bad, but they’re not groundbreaking either.
ADT offers indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras. With a camera and one of the two ADT Security plans, you can enjoy remote viewing, cloud storage, and 24/7 professional video recording. And if you're a fan of Nest indoor, outdoor, or doorbell cameras, ADT is now promoting Nest equipment.
ADT home automation
You get good home automation with ADT with a higher-tier package.
ADT’s compatible with Alexa, Google, and the Z-Wave protocol, so it will connect with most smart home devices.
If you just want to say, “Alexa, arm ADT,” then you can do that with your Echo, no sweat. But if you hope to open up the ADT app and control your lights, locks, and thermostat from there, then you’ll put at least $49.99 in ADT’s cash register every month.
Speaking of the app …
ADT mobile app (ADT Command, formerly ADT Pulse)
We’ve tried an old-fashioned ADT system that didn’t use Command. It wasn’t a bad experience, but the app would have made things a lot more convenient. It was hard to keep tabs on whether the alarm was armed or disarmed without physically walking over to it. And when we weren’t at home, we couldn’t check to see if we remembered to set the security.
Therefore, in our opinion, it’s better to have the app. But, also in our opinion, it’s not cool that you have to pay at least $50 a month to use it.
That’s right, folks. You can’t use the ADT Command app without at least a Smart plan. And that plan, in case you forgot, costs $49.99.
It’s not typical to charge for app access in the home security industry, and to be honest, we find it offputting. App access seems like something that should be included with all packages.
ADT requires a professional’s touch.
ADT systems are all professionally installed. (Blue by ADT, which is self-installed, is a whole other service.)
You don’t have to lift a finger during the actual installation process, but you do have to block out a time to be home when the techs arrive (and pay the installation fees).
ADT doesn't have a moving policy on its corporate website. Based on customer experiences, it sounds like you can buy out your contract, transfer it to the new homeowners, or move your service to a new dwelling. But even if you take your service with you, ADT may require you to pay off your old equipment in full and/or pay for upgrades at the new place.
ADT customer experience
Your level of customer service will rely heavily on the dealer you buy from.
Don’t get us wrong. A lot of ADT customers are happy with their service. But like with any company, there are some things ADT could do better.
According to Consumer Affairs and the BBB, one of the biggest roadblocks of using an ADT dealer is the business model.
ADT doesn’t work like McDonald’s franchises. ADT dealers don’t always have strong, centralized leadership to keep things consistent.
Instead, they use fragmented approaches to selling, equipment packages, and installation. That makes the customer experience far from consistent, and therein lies a lot of potential for frustration.
We’ve heard of alarm companies that pretend to be ADT dealers but aren’t. If you didn’t reach out to ADT yet ADT salespeople show up on your doorstep, hold off on signing anything until you do more research. Those folks may not be from ADT.
Speaking of frustration, we see the following main complaints against multiple dealers:
- Unexplained fees
- Unexpected charges
- Misrepresented services
We don’t love that the same types of complaints pop up repeatedly. It’s not a good look for any security company.
How does ADT compare to other companies?
ADT is one of the most expensive national home security companies. Only Vivint comes close in price.
But ADT also has a longstanding reputation that makes its prices worth it for those who want a guaranteed security brand.
|$28.99–$59.99/mo.||Professional||3 years||View Plans|
|$29.99-$44.99/mo.||Professional||No contract or 5 years||View Plans|
|$17.99-$27.99/mo.||DIY||No contract||View Plans|
|$49.99/mo.||DIY||No contract||View Plans|
|$39.99–$49.99/mo.||Professional and DIY||3 years||View Plans|
Data effective 05/04/2022. Offers subject to change.
Recap: Is ADT a good security system?
ADT solutions fill a lot of needs if you’re willing to pay the price.
ADT is familiar to people. It’s synonymous with home security. And if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, or if you don’t mind paying extra to access them, then you’re going to be satisfied with ADT.
Let’s walk through what you can expect with ADT one more time.
- Pricing: ADT’s prices are sky high if you want anything other than a landline system.
- Equipment: ADT equipment is fairly generic and might be reusable for another monitoring company.
- Home automation: The ADT system is compatible with most major smart home devices. You just have to pay extra for app use and full automation.
- Installation: Sit back and relax while the professionals do all the installation work.
- Customer experience: Your customer experience will largely depend on the dealer you use (if you choose not to go with ADT corporate).
But if you’re tired of paying a ton of money for home security, or if you want a DIY system, or if you’re just looking for something different, ADT isn’t the end-all-be-all. Check out our best home security recommendations for plenty of other options.
When rating home security services, we frequently consider the following points
- Smart home integrations
- Security cameras
- Customer experience
For this particular review, we also heavily considered installation type and video storage. We also lived with an ADT security system for a few weeks to get a more detailed experience.
ADT has a long history and tons of past and present customers, so there’s a lot to talk about.
We wish we knew why Californians get a shorter ADT commitment! We haven’t found a reliable source that can clarify this.
Our best guess? California’s housing market is wild, so people may not be willing to commit to a security service for more than two years. But that’s just our speculation. If we get a better answer, we’ll let you know.
Based on the customer feedback we’ve seen, there’s a very real possibility that ADT will raise your prices at some point. Before signing up, you may want to ask about a price lock policy. Otherwise, you could find yourself unexpectedly paying even more in the future.
ADT has six monitoring centers. Last we checked, ADT had more monitoring centers than any other company, making it the monitoring king.
Video recording = You will be able to keep an eye on your camera feeds, too, not just your home security system.
Just as a reminder, video recording and video storage are separate from the standard professional system monitoring. It’s only included in ADT’s top-tier packages.
If you’re a renter, you probably shouldn’t get ADT. And that’s okay.
ADT’s long-term contracts and more permanent installation methods make it a bad fit for most renters. But hey, there are lots of other security systems designed for you.
And don't forget about ADT's DIY security system option: Blue by ADT. With no term contracts, Blue by ADT is a convenient (and cheaper) option for renters.
Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should.
If you’re wondering if you can buy ADT signs, you may have had this brainchild: “Ah-ha! I can capitalize on ADT’s reputation by getting a sign but no equipment.”
We don’t recommend using a security sign for a company you aren’t using, but if you choose to do so, we suggest you at least have some kind of security system in place. An experienced burglar will be able to tell that there’s no system, despite what the sign says.
Saving money, mostly.
You’ll also get unique equipment over the more generic items that ADT uses. Plus there’s something to be said for moving away from the giant monolith of historic security systems and trying a smaller service.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to picking the smaller, self-monitored service. You won’t have as many features or access to some equipment, like the ADT medical alert.
According to Waves.com, Reel ADT is a track recording technique, Reel Artificial Double Tracking. This technique was apparently invented by the Beatles, which is cool, but it doesn’t have anything to do with home security. If searching for “reel adt” brought you here, you’re on the wrong page!
** ADT Money-Back Guarantee: Money back guarantee only applies after ADT has made attempts to resolve a system related issue and has not been able to resolve that issue within the first 6 months of your contract. Equipment must be fully removed before a refund will be processed. Conditions preventing normal system operation cannot be caused by the customer.
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