ADT Home Security System Review

ADT is the oldest security company in the industry, and all those years in business aren’t for nothing—it’s a super reliable security option.
Mindy Woodall
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
More experience than any other security company
Multiple monitoring centers
Pricey monitoring plans

If you’ve never heard of ADT, then we’re not sure where you’ve been the last 100+ years because that’s how long ADT’s been the biggest name in home security. And there’s a reason for the hype: ADT systems have a long history of reliable service.

But don’t think it’s all sunshine and roses just yet. ADT is a huge company that uses a network of third-party contractors to sell, install, and maintain its systems, so you never know quite what kind of customer experience you’re gonna get.

ADT Protect Your Home plans and pricing overview
CompanyMonitoring price rangeContractHome automation integrationsLearn more
ADT$27.99–$59.99/mo.36 mos.YesView packages
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Pro tip
Because ADT uses multiple contractors to sell its service and equipment, it can get a bit confusing. Personally, we recommend going through Protect Your Home. It’s the only one that gets the fancy title of ADT’s “Authorized Premier Provider” and we think it’s your best bet for top-notch customer service when you order your system and get it installed.

ADT Protect Your Home monitoring and pricing

Anything above ADT’s landline option gets pretty pricey. But its multiple monitoring centers mean you can count on a quick response.

All ADT systems are professionally monitored. That means if someone breaks into your house, or if your toddler has suddenly learned how to work a doorknob, a professional will respond to anything that triggers your system and call the police (or fire department, or paramedic) if they need to.

ADT Protect Your Home prices and packages
PlanPriceConnection typeLearn more
Basic Security$27.99/mo.LandlineView plan
Basic Security with Equipment$36.99/mo.LandlineView plan
Basic Security + Wireless Connect$48.99/mo.BroadbandView plan
ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video$58.99/mo.CellularView plan
ADT Pulse Monitoring + Smart Home Connect$59.99/mo.CellularView plan

You get to choose from a few different connection types, including landline and broadband. But we really recommend cellular—which means subscribing to an ADT Pulse plan.

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Why are we so big on cellular?
Landline and broadband connections can be disabled if your neighborhood’s power goes out or your internet goes down. Cellular connections are faster and more secure.

ADT’s top plans are expensive. You’ll pay more for an ADT Pulse plan than you would for similar plans from other top security companies, so be sure it has the features you want before you jump on board.

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Fun fact
ADT has six different monitoring centers. So if a natural disaster strikes and takes down one monitoring center, there are five other places still watching your system.

Contracts

Ah, contracts . . . we meet again. Unlike some flashy new contractless security systems out there, ADT does require you to sign a 36-month contract. That’s pretty much the industry standard. (Not that that makes it any less annoying.)

On the bright side, you don’t have to sign until the end of your installation day, after all your equipment is up and in place. So you don’t have to worry that you’ll be signing on for something you don’t want.

ADT Protect Your Home technology and equipment

ADT uses third-party equipment, but they have a full range of basic security sensors and smart home options.

ADT doesn’t have some kind of fancy exclusive equipment. It uses the same standard control panels and sensors we’ve seen from a dozen other security companies. That said, if you opt for one of the ADT Pulse packages, you get full home automation options and control.

Basic security equipment

Whether you just want to secure your doors and windows or you want a fully armed fortress complete with flood sensors and smart lights, ADT has the equipment you need. The only downside is it’s a guessing game how much it will cost at the end of the day.

ADT doesn’t list its equipment prices online, or anywhere else for that matter. That’s because the prices can change depending on where you live, the details of your installation, which contractor installs your system—and probably the color of your left shoe, for all we know.

You won’t find out the total cost of the equipment you order until your installation date. We don’t love that lack of transparency, but your installation is also pretty flexible. If you decide you don’t want that third indoor camera or that fourth flood sensor, you can nix it from your final package.

Cameras

We gotta say, if you want the best cameras around, then ADT is not our first pick. It offers a few different cameras, including an indoor model, an outdoor model, and a doorbell cam. (The doorbell cam is pretty new.)

Source: ADT

The indoor and outdoor cameras are a bit, dare we say, meh. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just missing that razzle dazzle you get from a Vivint Ping camera or a Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

Both cameras record in HD, but it’s 720p, not 1080p. And neither seems to have a two-way audio function, which means you can’t use the camera to yell at your Labradoodle for jumping on the sofa.

Source: ADT

On the bright side, the indoor camera is wireless, so you can put it wherever you want without having to MacGyver a cord across rooms or up bookshelves.

ADT doorbell camera

Source: ADT

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for . . . *drumroll* . . . an ADT doorbell cam! The Vivint doorbell camera has been showing ADT up for years, not to mention DIY options like the Ring Video Doorbell, the Nest Hello, the SimpliSafe doorbell cam . . . we could go on.

Suffice it to say, we’re glad ADT offers a doorbell cam now. It gives you HD recording (although it’s still 720p. We have yet to break the 1080p barrier with ADT). It also gives you two-way audio, so you can tell the Amazon delivery person to hide your new Nintendo Switch behind the potted begonia.

Home automation

We’ll give it to ADT on this one—it has full home automation capabilities. But there’s a caveat: you have to subscribe to an ADT Pulse plan.

We recommend ADT Pulse over your other options anyway, but it’s important to note because ADT Pulse doesn’t come cheap. You’ll pay more for a Pulse plan than you would for a similar plan from Link Interactive, Vivint, or Frontpoint (to name a few).

That said, ADT Pulse gives you access to cooler equipment, more features, and better integrations than the lower-priced plan. If you’re set on an ADT system, then we think a Pulse plan is worth it.

ADT Pulse features:

  • Cellular connection and battery back-up (more secure than broadband or landline connections).
  • Complete control of smart home devices (like lights, locks, thermostats, smart outlets, and garage door openers).
  • Access to the ADT Pulse mobile app, which lets you control every aspect of your security system and smart home from anywhere.
  • Integration with Amazon Alexa.
  • Camera support and live video streaming. (If you want security cameras, then you’ll need a Pulse plan.)
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Want to learn more about ADT Pulse?
Check out our full ADT Pulse review

Mobile app

Source: ADT

Like we said, you’ll need an ADT Pulse plan to get access to ADT’s Pulse mobile app. But once you have it, the mobile app lets you control your whole security system and all smart home devices.

You can check your cameras live streams from anywhere. You can turn on your air conditioner before you even leave work. You can even arm your security system with just your voice and your Amazon Echo.

If you want the full smart home experience, then you’re definitely gonna need the Pulse app.

Installation

DIY home security systems are all the rage these days. Abode and Ring Alarm are like the popular new kids at a boring high school dance. But sometimes you just want the professionals to do the work for you, and that’s exactly what ADT does.

When you order your ADT system, you’ll set up an installation date for a professional to come out and set everything up. Then, when the tech gets there, they’ll put up your yard sign and install your control panel first, and then go through your house with you and identify any areas that could use a little security love.

There are a few benefits to the whole professional installation deal:

  1. You don’t have to do it yourself. Score!
  2. You don’t have to guess which windows need sensors or where just a motion detector will get the job done. These people are trained to know what should go where.
  3. You’re not gonna mess it up. Your system will be up and running smoothly without you lifting a finger.

But what about the drawbacks of professional installation? There are a few of those, too:

  1. It costs a bit extra. (ADT’s installation fee is $99.)
  2. You have to be home and available for the contractor, which might mean taking some time off work or finding someone else to entertain your kids. (The installation process usually takes 2–4 hours.)
  3. You don’t know how much equipment you’re going to end up with. (Which means you don’t know how much it will cost.)

The contractor will go over the final price with you before they install all your new equipment (except the control panel). You don’t have to sign off on anything you don’t want. That said, it can be frustrating to not know beforehand how much you’re going to have to pay.

ADT Protect Your Home customer experience

ADT’s customer experience is unpredictable because it uses so many different retailers. We recommend Protect Your Home.

Just like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, with ADT, you never know quite what customer experience you’re gonna get. Because the company uses multiple third-party contractors, your customer experience depends on which of those contractors you use.

We’ll make things a little easier for you: use Protect Your Home. It’s the biggest ADT provider and it keeps everything in-house. You’ll get Protect Your Home installation techs and Protect Your Home customer service reps, which makes things a little more predictable.

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Keep in mind
Even if you go with Protect Your Home right from the start, ADT has a bit of a mixed record1, 2 when it comes to customer service and experience. Make sure you understand all the fine print in your contract and know exactly what you’ll be paying up front and each month before you sign on the dotted line.

Recap

ADT’s top systems don’t come cheap—but you get loads of extra features for that extra money.

ADT has a long history of providing reliable security systems with reliable professional monitoring. But is it the best system for you?

Basic security equipment: ADT’s equipment isn’t the fanciest or the most exciting we’ve seen, but it gets the job done. If you really want the good stuff, then spring for an ADT Pulse plan that gives you a touchscreen control panel and access to the mobile app.

Cameras: ADT cameras are okay. They’re still HD, but they record in 720p, and they don’t offer some features we expect from top cameras, like two-way audio. (The doorbell camera does have two-way audio, though.)

Home automation integrations: As long as you subscribe to an ADT Pulse plan, ADT has a ton of different home automation integrations. You can control everything from locks to electrical outlets.

Installation: ADT is strictly professional installation. Your installation tech will work with you to properly secure your home, but that does mean it’s harder to predict which equipment you’ll end up with (and how much you’ll pay for it).

Monitoring: If you subscribe to a landline or broadband plan, then ADT pricing is par for the course. But we recommend ADT’s cellular plans, which cost considerably more (even compared to competitors).

Customer experience: Customer experience is a little unpredictable because ADT uses multiple contractors (which is why we recommend going through its biggest provider: Protect Your Home). Even then, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

ADT is the biggest name in home security for a reason, but keep in mind that if you want access to all its best features, then you’re definitely going to pay for them.

Do you have an ADT system? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments!

Sources

  1. Better Business Bureau, “DEFENDERS d/b/a Protect Your Home
  2. Trustpilot, “Protect Your Home – ADT Authorized Dealer
  • John

    Untrue, ADT auth dealers literally tell you its a contract when they run the credit. They go over it again with you at the end. So phone call you are told twice alone, not to mention confirm of appt email told me.

  • Andy R

    As a new home owner, I made the mistake of letting myself get talked into buying a home security system by an ADT sales representative who came to my door. I am writing this review in the hope of preventing others from making the same mistake I did. The contract I now find myself in and the monthly payments I will need to make for three years is completely my own fault for making a poor decision as a consumer. I have found my ADT service to be over priced and unnecessary. My advice for new home owners: When an ADT sales representative comes to your house, don’t worry yourself over talk of bumper keys and burglaries, different contract options, and taking advantage of the new home owner “deal” before it is too late — simply don’t answer the door.

  • Richard Jesse

    Wow What a joke!!! Horrible do not sign with these people they are crooks and should be investigated!

  • Bill

    This is the worst company around . Very poor service fought with them for over 2 weeks to transfer to new place. They set appointments then never show up. This started April 21 they finally showed up April 30 to remove the system put it in a plastic bag handed it to me said I will be back at 9 AM May 1 to install at new house. For the 4 time it was a no show. Finally showed up May 10 and half ass installed it. As of today we still up able to use it. I also found they charged my account. Whatever you do not use this worthless company unless you want all your stuff stolen due to ADT not being able to provide a good service of protecting you home and family. ADT you are more then welcome to call me you have the number but you will not like the conversation. I give the same respect you give to me. So you know that it going to be a crappy conversation to match your crappy company service.

  • Danny

    I was told by moving we did not extend our contract. After moving a 2nd time I learned it was renewed without my notice. I signed a waiver of installation but it was changed to a contract magically. We pay for security when in fact we are paying the thieves. Absolutely no integrity about ADT whatsoever. No punishment for the representative who lied either. Probably promoted for a good steal

  • Ethan

    Do not go with ADT. They are the epitome of bait and switch con artists and are not the least bit transparent with their sales, service, or promises.
    After doing quite a bit of research into home security systems I was referred to ADT. After speaking with a sales representative and being completely up front and honest on my end, the sales person completely lied about the equipment that would be provided, the cost of the monitoring service, AND even the offer of the referral and gifts cards with their deal.
    First off, they will charge you an up front $99 to install, plus charge tax on that, even before you get a technician to conduct the review to set up the system. Then, the promise of equipment – they promise “pre-wired” door and window sensors, however this only actually applies if you have an existing security system and all sensors are wireless anyway, so really they offer 7 wireless sensors ($129 per additional sensor). They will bait you on by saying “a manager is on and will work with you to approve this” – don’t believe it, as you’ll never hear from that manager ever again, even when you have his/her manager id number.
    Then there’s the monitoring service – they offer $27.99/mo but that’s only if you have a land phone line in your home. Including the warranty on the equipment that is supposed to be $36.99, but again they claim it’s only if you have a land line. I know others who have the service without a land line paying $36.99 no problem, yet ADT claims they don’t do that. Total garbage and lies. So now the monthly monitoring fee is up to $48.99 for wireless. However if you speak with their customer service, they will bring that down to $44.99/month and offer $300 in gift cards to make up the difference between the $48.99 and the $36.99 as promised. It’s all such a set up.
    The next lie is the $100 gifts cards. They offered:
    – $100 to offset the installation (which installation cost $104.94 with tax so there’s lie number 1)
    – $300 to offset the $48.99 to $36.99 monthly monitoring service (as mentioned above)
    – $100 referral for the person who referred us
    Here’s where the lies come in – they charge you $4.95 per card in “shipping and handling fees” as they say it’s for the tracking to make sure it arrives properly. Furthermore, they reneged on the referral card as they said I had reached the maximum of $400 in gift cards. Lies, lies, and more lies.
    DO NOT USE ADT to protect your home. There are better services out there who will be transparent from the start. I’m beyond disappointed in ADT – for a company that has been around as long as they have you would think they would want to keep a good name rather than tarnish it. Oh well. When my contract is up in 3 years, I’ll be promptly cancelling and there will likely be better solutions on the market.

  • cvanriley

    I typically prefer to expend efforts on positive reviews, but after such a bad experience with ADT, I feel an obligation to share my experience with anyone who might be considering a home security system.

    We originally used ADT in a former home, and eventually switched to a different provider after a false alarm occurred while we were out of the country. Upon our return, ADT technicians were never able to determine the root cause of the issue. The new provider that we used wasn’t perfect either, but I felt that their customer service and the technology were far better than our collective experience with ADT.

    Last year, we relocated to a new home and decided to give ADT another chance since the prior homeowner had used ADT and there was some existing equipment that we hoped to re-use. In addition to the existing equipment (sensors, etc) that we re-used, we opted to add internal and external cameras, in addition to the garage door automation feature. Shortly after installation, we encountered a few issues which, individually, weren’t a big deal and could have been shaken off if they were the only issues. We also realized that the technology was cumbersome and NOT user-friendly. For example, the internal and external cameras are on different systems and need to be accessed using two different apps. We had trouble with the app for the external cameras, and when asking if there was a way to access the cameras via an internet browser on a computer, we were informed that the app was the only means for viewing. When inquiring as to how we could view the external camera activity if the app wasn’t working, they indicated that we should hook up a monitor to the DVR system (the equipment that powers the external cameras). When installing our system, we were never advised that we should hook up a monitor to this system so that we could view activity. Additionally, this solution doesn’t solve the problem if we are attempting to view the external camera activity from a remote location. I recognize that integrating this type of technology is complicated, but the other security system provider that we had previously used was able to combine all cameras into one system which could be viewed either via app or internet browser.

    Again, all of the issues that we encountered in the first few months were frustrating, but taken individually (or even collectively), these issues wouldn’t necessarily compel me to persuade consumers to NOT use ADT since most of the technicians and customer service agents which whom I interacted generally appeared to have good intentions to help customers and to provide good customer service.

    It was the most recent technical problem that convinced me that using ADT was a big mistake. When we installed our system, we added a new feature to automate the garage doors (this was brand new and NOT using any of the old equipment left by the prior homeowners). After about 3 months, one of the garage doors went “offline” and couldn’t be reset. The technician that was sent out replaced the associated equipment, and iit started working again. A few weeks later, the second garage door went offline and couldn’t be reset. This time, the technician that was sent out informed me that my garage door opener brand is incompatible with ADT equipment and will continue to short circuit and burn out as a result. There was no recommended fix for this problem, and that ADT only learned of this issue about a year ago. However, this equipment had been installed only a 3 or 4 months prior, so I do not understand why ADT would have allowed this installation if they knew about this issue. Nobody has been able to explain why they moved forward with the installation, so my conclusion is that it resulted from ADT’s inability to communicate with their sales force and technicians (keep in mind that the technician that came out to service garage door #1 wasn’t aware of this situation, while the technician that serviced garage door #2 DID know).

    After many hours spent trying to contact the right people within ADT to solve this problem, one of the customer service supervisors provided me with a statement credit and indicated that the manager at the local ADT office advised me to purchase a particular type of garage door opener (at my own expense), which should then work with ADT equipment. When I attempted to directly contact this local office manager in order to determine the exact equipment model to purchase, I left three voicemails, none of which were returned. I exchanged an email with someone at ADT (corporate, presumably) about the frustrating situation, but when I inquired about HOW to get the local office manager to call me back, she also stopped responding (I tried sending the email twice). When I tried calling the customer service supervisor who originally gave me a statement credit and advised me about the local office manager’s recommendation, that call also went unreturned.

    At the end of the day, I believe that ADT wants to provide a good product and customer service, however, communication system is disjointed, broken and ineffective. The most disappointing thing is the fact that three different parties in different parts of their organization have gone completely cold in response to my attempts to determine how to fix my problem. I can only assume that they are completely incapable of addressing situations that are outside of the norm, especially when the issue is something that they should have informed me about before the equipment was installed. This is not only a disgrace from a customer service perspective, but completely insulting to a consumer who has a choice when selecting a home security service.

  • Frank Wakelin

    Not specifically to do with the cameras, more the system it is attached to, but generally speaking you are only able to record a single 30s clip every 5 minutes. That’s a game-changer and should be enough to avoid ADT completely. I have a little “trick” in place which will allow me to record 1:30 (3 contiguous 30s clips) after motion is detected which is messy, but better that 30s.

    This would not be an issue if the reset time wasn’t so RIDICULOUS; 5 minutes!?! This might be acceptable for a cheap stand-alone camera, but ADT is supposed to be a SECURITY vendor. Its widely known any time you see a camera and an ADT logo on the house, you just need to toss something in front of the camera, and then come back 30 seconds later. You now have 4:30s to do whatever you want, and if that’s not enough time, just repeat the same process. How embarrassing to say the least.

  • Alberto A.

    Though ADT Alarm may make most of their customers happy, they did
    not do so with this 1. I continue to pay for a system that does not
    work. And I continue to get the runaround to get it fixed. My advice: Be
    aware and shop around. And stay away from contracts. I’m stuck for 2
    years

  • Leslie

    When my contract with ADT expired, I contacted the company to disconnect my service, which they did, but they continued taking the monthly payment from my checking account. When I contacted the company, they advised that they owed me $424.23, and that they would reimburse. That was EIGHT years ago, and I haven’t gotten a cent. I’ve contacted the company numerous times, and they give me different stories each time. They’ll tell me that they sent the money to Illinois unclaimed funds- which they hadn’t, I checked. Recently, I spoke with a representative of ADT, followed up by a manager. The rep stated that she has numerous notes showing my attempts to get MY money back. The manager basically said that I was owed the money, and after a brief hold, advised that they owed me nothing. It’s been 8 years!! I think I’ve been more than accommodating. I’ve also kept notes, recording dates, times, names, and the info discussed. ADT you’re the theif that I need protection from.

  • http://www.angelaengel.com/ Angela Engel

    ADT is the worst purchasing experience I’ve ever had. I
    contacted the company after an intruder vandalized my mother’s home. She had passed
    away and the home was vacant, newly listed on the market. The intruder(s)
    returned the following evening and attempted to make entry again. So when I
    called ADT on a Thursday I expressed that in order to sign the contract I would
    need assurance that installation could be done within a few days. The original
    Customer Care Manager promised me it would be done the next day. It wasn’t until
    after three hours on the phone all day Friday that another Manager scheduled
    installation for Sat. In the late evening before the apt. I received a
    voicemail that the branch manager had cancelled the appointment. The third
    appointment was scheduled for the following Tues. I explained how I was
    reluctant to schedule a third time since it was a four hour commute time and I
    had to reschedule several meetings. That Monday, with no explanation, the
    branch manager again cancelled the install. ADT has three major problems that
    potential buyers should be aware of:

    1)
    There is no accountability in the company structure.
    When I asked to speak to someone at the top of the organization chart, they
    could never identify anyone and I was not allowed to speak to a supervisor.
    When I asked to log a company complaint, they told me they can’t even make
    outgoing calls. When I finally did receive a phone call after cancelling the
    contract, the number I was given, went directly to voice mail. I tried that
    person five times!

    2)
    There is poor coordination between the sales
    office and installation branches. Customer care Manager’s are great at saying
    all of the right things: “I’m working for a solution for you. Your safety is my
    number one priority. I’ll make sure and get this taken care of.” The reality is
    that the sales office can make the promises but the branch offices operate
    independently and don’t have to adhere to any of the commitments made by the
    sales representatives.

    3)
    Throughout the seven days of trying to get the
    installation scheduled, I had to speak to a half dozen managers, and most of
    that time was spent on hold. ADT should assign one customer care manager to
    each case and they should be able to follow up until the problem is resolved.
    One manager would communicate something and the next representative would have
    to apologize for me being “misinformed.”

    To add insult to injury, ADT tried to blame
    me for the cancellations. I spoke to eight customer care managers and was on
    the phone for more than 5.5 hours over the course of four days trying to get
    installer scheduled. The branch officer would cancel the install even after I
    received the automated confirmation calls. When I asked to speak directly to the
    branch officers, I was told, “They can’t speak directly to customers.” So after
    three cancelled installations, I jumped ship. In the end we purchased a $100
    motion sensor activated home security system that connects to our phone line
    and calls when there is an attempted break in. We installed it ourselves. I
    would have preferred ADT but if they weren’t responsive to me, I can’t imagine
    how they would respond in the case of an intruder. Buyers beware, I’ve never
    dealt with such a frustrating company.