ADT Self Setup Review

We think ADT Self Setup holds its own in the DIY space

ADT Shield
ADT Self Setup
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Reasonably priced
  • pro
    Option for self-monitoring
  • con
    Pricey cameras
Brianne Sandorf
Feb 13, 2023
Icon Time To Read7 min read

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ADT's DIY system, ADT Self Setup, is a respectable addition to the DIY space. And with its self-setup, self-monitoring, and no-contract approach, it’s also a step in the right direction for ADT.

While we think ADT Self Setup could do more to make itself shine against its DIY competitors, overall, this is a well-priced system with attractive equipment.

Why the different rating?
Bullhorn

Last spring, we were all agog about ADT Self Setup. We loved how ADT—a company we think could innovate a little more to keep their edge in the market—put out this super affordable and user-friendly system with unique, interesting equipment.

Unfortunately, since then, a lot of changes have been made to ADT Self Setup. While it’s still satisfactory DIY security, it’s not the same system we were raving over last year.

ADT Self Setup plans and pricing overview
Company
Monitoring price range
Contract
Home automation integrations
Learn more
ADT Self Setup

$0.00–$19.99/mo.

Icon No  DarkNone
Icon Yes  DarkAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave Plus, IFTTT

Data effective 2/13/2023. Offers subject to change.

ADT Self Setup pricing, contracts, and fees

When you go DIY, you have no contracts and no installation, moving, or cancellation fees

We never thought we’d say this about an ADT product, but you can self-monitor your ADT Self Setup system, and it’s free. If you don’t want to do that, you can pay just $19.99 a month for professional monitoring.

You can self-monitor your ADT Self Setup system.

Happily, the professional monitoring runs on a month-to-month basis, so you won’t have an ongoing contract. That also means you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee if you want to end the monitoring services. And because it’s all DIY (which means no installation fees), you can move it yourself (which means no moving/reinstallation fees).

ADT Self Setup plans and pricing overview
Company
Price
Contract length
Learn more

Self-monitoring

$0.00/mo.

No contract

Professional monitoring

$19.99/mo.

No contract

Data effective 02/13/2023. Offers subject to change.

If you get a video doorbell camera, you need to get a separate cloud storage plan (more on that later).

Speaking of video doorbell cameras, how much does ADT Self Setup equipment cost? Since our last review, the prices of ADT Self Setup packages have gone up while the equipment amount is severely winnowed. But while they aren’t as good of a deal compared to their old iterations, they’re okay when stacked against some Ring, SimpliSafe, and Abode packages.

For instance, with ADT Self Setup, you can use the Build Your Own System deal to get the base station with its keypad, one motion sensor, and one door or window sensor for about $220.

In contrast, Ring’s five-piece system includes a base station, a separate keypad, a door/window sensor, a motion detection, and a range extender to increase the base’s connectivity for $199.99. SimpliSafe offers a base station, keypad, motion sensor, door/window sensor, a yard sign, and two window stickers for $229. And Abode sells its hub, a key fob, a motion sensor, and a mini door/window sensor for $229 as well.

So the most minimal ADT Self Setup system is a slightly better deal than the Abode Smart Security Kit, but it isn’t quite as good as the basic Ring and SimpliSafe offerings.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy devices à la carte, you’ll find that the individual pieces of equipment have market prices or, shockingly, better. ($14.99 door and window sensors, anyone?)

ADT Self Setup equipment

ADT Self Setup appears to use proprietary equipment over Alarm.com stuff.

Unlike regular ADT equipment, Self Setup’s equipment seems to be proprietary.

Like tons of other big-box home security companies, ADT outsources its equipment production to Alarm.com and similar providers. That means that, while the products are ADT branded, they’re the same as other major players’ equipment.

In contrast, ADT Self Setup’s equipment is unique. Some or all of it seems to be created specifically for the system. Plus, the devices look like a million bucks. They’re all gray or white, with soft, rounded edges—definitely less austere than the home appliances of yesteryear.

Where did ADT Self Setup come from?
Pin

If you’re familiar with LifeShield, you’ll recognize the ADT Self Setup DIY system. Before ADT took over, LifeShield sold the system. And LifeShield was previously known as InGrid. So if you’re looking for other ADT Self Setup system reviews and you’re not finding them, try looking under those other companies’ names.

ADT Self Setup equipment:

  • Hub (with integrated keypad)
  • Door sensors
  • Window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Flood sensors
  • Extender
  • Indoor camera
  • Outdoor camera
  • Doorbell camera
  • Wireless outdoor camera battery pack
  • Window stickers
  • Yard signs

If you read our previous review, you’ll notice that ADT Self Setup no longer sells the fire safety sensor or keychain remote. We’re pretty sad about that; we thought both of those were nice touches. Hopefully the security company brings them back or replaces them with something equally awesome soon.

You can also buy a Google Nest Mini straight from ADT Self Setup. ADT Self Setup's selling it for $49, which is about the regular retail price. So you won’t get a deal, but if you’ve been thinking of going Google Nest, this is a good excuse to get started.

Packages

Let’s break down the ADT Self Setup security packages.

ADT Self Setup packages overview
ADT Self Setup package
Basics
Sensors
Price
Learn more

Build Your Own System

1 base station with integrated entry keypad
Mobile app access

None

$179.99 + cost of any additional equipment

Starter System

1 base station with integrated entry keypad
1 yard sign
4 window stickers
Mobile app access

2 door/window sensors

$219.99

Starter Plus System

1 base station with integrated entry keypad
1 yard sign
4 window stickers
Mobile app access

4 door/window sensors/2 motion sensors

$299.99

Premium System

1 base station with integrated entry keypad
1 yard sign
4 window stickers
Mobile app access

6 door/window sensors/2 motion sensors

$419.99

Data effective 02/13/2023. Offers subject to change.

When it comes to DIY security, we recommend starting with at least one motion sensor and one door or window sensor. Our suggestion would be to either build your own system with one of each or spend about $80 more to get a plethora of sensors with the Starter Plus System.

ADT Self Setup cameras

Blue outdoor camera

We love the way these cameras look. You might be able to deter burglars simply because they’ll be too mesmerized by the pearl-gray or graphite hardware to strike.

We also love how many features these cameras have at the relatively modest (for a security camera) $200 price point.  For instance, all of ADT Self Setup's cameras come with facial recognition, which some of the leading camera brands are still waiting to incorporate.

And while ADT Self Setup previously advertised cloud storage for the video doorbell only, it appears that you can use cloud storage with any camera. You’ll get 30 days of free storage up front, but after that, you’ll pay if you want clips to be stored longer than 24 hours.

ADT Self Setup has one of the lowest-cost camera plans on the market. You’ll pay $2.99 per camera per month for standard storage and $12.99 per camera per month for the premier option. Unfortunately, we aren’t sure what separates the standard and premier plans other than price.

ADT Self Setup camera specs
FeatureSelf Setup indoor cameraSelf Setup outdoor cameraSelf Setup doorbell camera
Prices$199.99$199.99$199.99
Two-way talk
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Night vision
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Facial recognition
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Motion detection
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Fire/CO siren detector
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Push notifications
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Local storage
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Cloud storage
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Rechargeable batteries
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
NA
Learn more

Data effective 02/13/2023. Offers subject to change.

So, how do these cameras perform?

We tested both the indoor and outdoor cameras. The indoor camera performed perfectly except for an inability to properly recognize faces.

The outdoor camera didn’t perform so well. It had a hard time staying connected, which normally we would chalk up to an error on our end, but we aren’t the only reviewers who struggled with the device.

Still, while we would recommend being cautious with the outdoor camera, we wouldn’t rule out the indoor camera when you’re shopping. Especially the indoor camera. If ADT Self Setup could just perfect the facial-recognition technology, the indoor option would be gangbusters.

ADT Self Setup video doorbell camera

Self Setup also offers a video doorbell camera.

Blue doorbell camera

Like the indoor and outdoor security cameras, the Self Setup doorbell camera features night vision, facial recognition, two-way talk, motion detection, and push notifications. It doesn’t have most of the latest doorbell camera features, like package, vehicle, or people detection, making it a little overpriced for what it is. But like the indoor and outdoor cameras, it looks nice, and that facial recognition is super useful if you can get it to work correctly.

All of these cameras can be used without a ADT Self Setup system. So if you want just a security camera, and one of these sounds like a good fit for you, go for it.

Extender and chime

Graphite Blue by ADT extender

If you choose to get a ADT Self Setup camera, it’s worth looking at the Extender + Chime device.

The extender offers the following benefits:

  • Extends Wi-Fi signal for cameras
  • Extends outdoor camera battery life
  • Plays doorbell chime for doorbell camera
  • Offers custom sounds for doorbell events
  • Sounds additional alarm for security system users

That’s quite a bit for a single extender.

The device is plug-in, so it shouldn’t be challenging to set up if you decide you want to give it a try. You’ll just have to cough up $49.99.

ADT Self Setup home automation and mobile control

Self Setup has multiple compatibility options and can be controlled remotely.

You might have noticed that ADT Self Setup is light on the smart home equipment (read: there’s none). But don’t despair. You can still get your home automated.

Some ADT Self Setup equipment is already compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave Plus, and IFTTT. Other integrations, such as HomeKit compatibility, are pending.

That’s good news for smart home geeks, because with this compatibility list, you can directly or indirectly connect a ADT Self Setup home security system with almost anything.

Mobile app

Blue by ADT app

Source: LifeShield

The ADT Self Setup app has high ratings on both the App Store and Google Play. Word on the street is that the app is just LifeShield’s original security software with a new skin. Still, people seem to like it.

You can use the mobile app to check on and control the system remotely. It’s also your number-one tool for installing your system.

ADT Self Setup installation

Installation is in your hands.

ADT Self Setup is, like most DIY systems, designed to be installed by the buyer. The company shows you how to install your cameras on its YouTube channel, but you don't get that extra help if you have the full security suite.

As we mentioned, there’s no installation fee. Unless, of course, you (a) hire someone else to install it for you or (b) reward yourself with a bonus for your hard work. (You deserve it.)

ADT Self Setup customer experience

When you buy ADT Self Setup, you’re not dealing with ADT’s customer service

We won’t bust out an overview of ADT’s customer service because ADT Self Setup has its own service department.

If you need help with your system, you’ll contact a separate ADT Self Setup support center that, as far as we can tell, has no crossover to ADT’s customer service resources.

That means, if you have one property with regular ADT and one with Self Setup, you have to make separate phone calls to troubleshoot your systems. Or send separate emails or write separate angry letters . . . you get the idea.

ADT Self Setup’s customer service reviews are pretty mixed. Sounds like the type of service you get depends on the circumstances. However, a lot of the reviews for ADT Self Setup are actually for regular ADT (there’s a lot of commentary about contracts and installations), making it hard to get as accurate of a read as we would like.

Recap: Is ADT Self Setup good though?

ADT Self Setup is a solid DIY option

ADT Self Setup really isn’t bad as far as DIY goes. It’s affordable, and it has sound equipment and flexible monitoring options.

Pricing: ADT Self Setup’s professional monitoring is very affordable, and its self-monitoring is free. Some of the equipment value isn’t entirely up to snuff, but it’s not highway robbery either.

Equipment: ADT Self Setup equipment is proprietary, and we like the way it looks, but the outdoor camera has some connectivity issues.

Home automation: ADT Self Setup is compatible with several different protocols, making it a good fixture for a smart home.

Installation: You’ll install ADT Self Setup yourself.

Customer experience: ADT Self Setup’s customer service is relatively new, so the quality is still up in the air.

If you’re still not sure about Self Setup, though, you have other options. Feel free to check out our best cheap security systems, best no-contract security systems, or best self-monitored security systems. We think those options are most comparable to ADT Self Setup, although you can check out our regular best security systems page as well.

Is your house ready for ADT Self Setup?

To take full advantage of ADT Self Setup, you need a good internet connection. Sure, Self Setup sells wireless extenders. But it’s kind of pointless to buy an extender if you don’t have good internet in the first place. Here are the internet plans we recommend for ADT Self Setup systems.

Recommended internet plans

You want plenty of bandwidth, especially if you get those ADT Self Setup cameras. Here are our suggestions for good internet plans with lots of Mbps.

Recommend plans for ADT Self Setup
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Details
Fast$50/mo.*Up to 400 Mbps
Internet 500/500$69.99/mo.500 Mbps
* For 24 months. No term contract. Taxes not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. Not available in all areas. Prices may vary by location.
Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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