Sure, ADT is the biggest name in the home security industry, but does that mean it’s the best? Not necessarily.
Both ADT and Frontpoint offer decent security systems backed by professional monitoring. But with Frontpoint, you can install the system yourself and pay less than you would for any ADT monitoring plan.
ADT vs. Frontpoint—Overall comparison
|Provider||Monitoring price||Contract length||Installation type||Learn more|
|Frontpoint||$34.99–$49.99 /mo.||1 or 3 years||DIY||See plans|
|ADT||$36.99–$58.99 /mo.||3 years||Professional||See plans|
*Does not include price of equipment
ADT vs. Frontpoint—quick comparison
The low down on ADT
ADT gives you lots of options for home security. You can choose a basic landline connection with a button keypad or go high-tech with ADT’s Pulse plans and equipment.
But more choices can also mean more confusion for you, the buyer. ADT uses multiple providers and distributors across the country. It’s hard to know in advance what type of equipment you’ll get or even how much you’ll pay for it,
It’s 2018. Home security shouldn’t be that complicated. We want to know exactly what equipment we’re getting, exactly how much it will cost, and exactly who we’re getting it from.
In ADT’s defense, it does have more monitoring centers across North America than Frontpoint (or any other provider). Even if one center goes down, it has multiple backups so someone always has an eye on your system.
What about Frontpoint?
Frontpoint keeps things much simpler. You can call in to order if you want, or you can shop online. You know what equipment you’ll get, and our experience with its customer service rep was great.
All of Frontpoint’s equipment works via a cellular connection, which is the type we recommend. And while ADT’s systems require a professional to come out and install them, Frontpoint just sends you everything in a box, and you put it up yourself.
Professional installation is not necessarily a downside. Who wouldn’t rather sit back and let someone else do the work? Plus, that way you know you didn’t put a sensor on upside down or mess up the wiring on your doorbell camera.
But we think the DIY installation is easy enough, and we like not having to wait around for someone to show up. Frontpoint includes pretty good tutorials, and we got our test system up and running with no problems, minus some confusion on wiring our doorbell camera.
For the most part, Frontpoint’s installation process is peel-and-stick, and the equipment package comes with paper instructions if you don’t feel like pulling them up online. From start to finish, our system installation took us about an hour.
Plus, DIY installation is free. ADT charges a $99 installation fee.
ADT’s Pulse plans offer equipment with some of the latest technology and functionality, but Frontpoint’s good customer service and lower monthly price gave it the win.
How do ADT and Frontpoint pricing compare?
As far security providers go, ADT is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. While its basic equipment prices are about the same as Frontpoint’s, ADT’s monthly monitoring plans are substantially higher.
And not just higher than Frontpoint—ADT’s Pulse + Video plan is more expensive than almost every other provider we’ve reviewed.
ADT monitoring plans
|Plan name||Monthly price||Connection type||Learn more|
|Basic Wireless||$48.99||Cellular||View plan|
|ADT Pulse||$52.99||Cellular||View plan|
|ADT Pulse + Video||$58.99||Cellular||View plan|
The Pulse plans give you the best technology and home automation features ADT offers—but clearly it comes at a price. And if you want to control your security system through a mobile app, you must have either ADT Pulse or ADT Pulse + Video.
Otherwise, ADT will still let you pay your bills through an app, but you have no mobile system control whatsoever.
Frontpoint also makes you subscribe to a higher-priced plan to get mobile control, but even then it’s cheaper than ADT.
Frontpoint monitoring plans
|Plan name||Monthly price||Learn more|
If you want mobile control with Frontpoint, you need the Interactive plan or above.
We don’t like when any provider requires a high monthly subscription cost for mobile control. Newer security providers like Nest and Abode give you full access to their mobile app, and mobile control of the system, even if you have no monthly plan at all—let alone an expensive one.
But as far as more traditional providers like ADT and Frontpoint go, Frontpoint gives you the better deal.
Both ADT and Frontpoint require you to sign a contract.
Nobody (us included) really likes signing a multi-year contract for a service. And a number of newer security companies (like SimpliSafe, Scout, and the aforementioned Nest and Abode) have abandoned them entirely. Even Vivint no longer requires a contract if you buy all of your equipment up front.
But considering most people keep their same security systems for around a decade, a contract isn’t that big of a deal. Contracts can also get you some big discounts on equipment so you don’t have to shell out a bunch of money to buy all the pieces in one go.
ADT contract length: 3 years
Frontpoint contract length: 1–3 years
Frontpoint does give you the choice to sign a shorter one-year contract. But if you go for the three-year, you get some significant discounts on equipment. (We got $300 off for signing a 3-year contract.)
Frontpoint and ADT equipment cost about the same, but Frontpoint’s monitoring plans are cheaper—especially if you compare them to ADT Pulse.
Which has better equipment and integrations, ADT or Frontpoint?
If what you want is the sleekest equipment alongside home automation support, we recommend ADT Pulse.
ADT Pulse and home automation
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If what you really want is the best technology, then we actually recommend Vivint over ADT Pulse.
The ADT Pulse mobile app also makes it easy to arm and disarm your system no matter where you are, and you can set specific rules for home automation. For example, if you want the lights to turn on when you arrive home from work, the system can do that for you.
Frontpoint and home automation
Frontpoint’s equipment does not look as high-tech as ADT Pulse devices, especially if you opt for the standard button keypad over the touchscreen control panel. However, Frontpoint does have Z-Wave capability, so you can add in the same third-party smart devices you can with ADT Pulse.
Frontpoint also gives you full mobile control via the app (if you subscribe to the Interactive or Ultimate plan), and you can set similar rules for smart home devices as you can with ADT Pulse.
ADT Pulse is undeniably impressive. But Frontpoint still gives you full home automation capabilities.
- ADT and Frontpoint have similar security equipment, although ADT’s buying process makes it difficult to tell exactly which equipment you’ll get.
- Both ADT and Frontpoint offer home automation capabilities and have Z-Wave functionality.
- ADT is substantially more expensive than Frontpoint, especially for its ADT Pulse plans.
- Frontpoint lets you install the system yourself, while ADT requires professional installation.
- Both ADT and Frontpoint require contracts, although Frontpoint has a shorter option.
- Frontpoint wins our overall recommendation because of its lower prices, good customer service, and reliable equipment.
ADT Pulse has impressive equipment and home automation functionality, but Frontpoint gives you a much lower monthly price. If you’re really invested in having the top technology, then ADT Pulse might be worth it to you, but even then, it’s not our top tech pick.
If all you want is a decent security system with home automation options, Frontpoint wins the day.