Vivint is our pick of the two, but they have some surprising similarities
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint Home Security Review 2023
ADT Self Setup and Vivint have more in common than you might think. They both use unique devices you won't get with other systems, and neither requires a contract. But they're worlds apart in pricing and installation.
All things considered, we recommend Vivint over ADT Self Setup for most home security needs.
|Company||ADT Self Setup||Vivint|
|Monitoring price range|
|Contract||No contract||No contract or 60 mos.|
|Smart home integrations||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave Plus, IFTTT||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave|
|Starter kit price|| |
|Mobile app control|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 09/26/2022. Offers subject to change.
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint pricing, contracts, and fees
In terms of affordability, there’s no doubt that ADT Self Setup is the winner. However, though Vivint costs a small fortune, you’ll definitely get a lot for your dollar.
Data effective 09/26/2022. Offers subject to change.
ADT Self Setup pricing
To get started with ADT Self Setup, you’ll need a minimum of $220 of starter equipment. Then, if you choose to get professional monitoring, you’ll pay an extra $19.99 a month. While the equipment cost isn’t the best value we’ve seen for what you get, the professional monitoring is very affordable compared to systems like Vivint.
Finally, if you get a ADT Self Setup video storage plan, it will cost anywhere from $2.99 to $12.99 per camera per month. That’s an okay price for video storage, though it could be better.
Contracts and fees
ADT Self Setup doesn’t offer contracts, so you don’t have to worry about cancellation fees. And the system is self-installed, which means no moving fees either.
Vivint’s equipment is quite pricey. We’re talking $600 just for the basics! That price tag doesn’t even include the mandatory monthly monitoring cost or the extra cost of adding more cameras to your system.
But Vivint devices and its app do have some neat functions, like the Car Guard that tracks your vehicle’s locations and maintenance needs. These smart features make Vivint’s equipment higher in value, which in turn makes the stratospheric prices worth it for some.
Contracts and fees
You don’t have to get a contract with Vivint—for a price. More specifically, the price of your equipment.
If you pay off the Vivint devices up front, you’re free to cancel at any time you like. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck paying off your equipment loan over time, and you’ll have to pay cancellation fees too.
Vivint also requires installation and moving fees to cover the costs of sending professionals to your home.
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint equipment
Both these companies make their own equipment, which causes them to stand out among other security providers. Still, Vivint definitely offers a lot more options. Plus its equipment is more tested and true from years of experience on the market.
ADT Self Setup equipment
Source: ADT Self Setup
ADT Self Setup devices are some of the more attractive security equipment out there. All the pieces come in unassuming shades of white or gray with rounded corners.
But ADT Self Setup’s equipment selection is far from innovative, and there are no smart home devices in the lineup. You’ll have to do some piecemeal shopping if you want a complete smart home or security suite.
The most impressive ADT Self Setup feature is probably the facial recognition in its security cameras. Unfortunately, we tested the facial recognition, and it couldn’t consistently recognize us.
Vivint has a big equipment selection, including smoke detectors, lights, and locks. And most of Vivint’s devices are smarter than the average home security stuff.
For instance, Vivint’s video doorbell has package, person, vehicle, and lurker detection. It also has a Deter feature to scare off porch pirates and other intruders.
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint home automation
ADT Self Setup and Vivint both have better-than-average home automation. But unlike Vivint, ADT Self Setup has IFTTT, which is a real plus. Through IFTTT, you can indirectly connect hundreds, maybe even thousands of smart home devices to your DIY home security system.
On the other hand, Vivint offers more proprietary smart home devices. And it has an in-app function that performs similarly to IFTTT, just with Vivint-compatible products.
ADT Self Setup home automation
With Alexa, Google, Z-Wave, and IFTTT compatibility, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a smart device that you can’t indirectly connect to your ADT Self Setup system.
If ADT Self Setup connected directly to smart home devices, you’d be able to control them from the ADT Self Setup app. Instead, most of ADT Self Setup’s connections are indirect. That means you can link the system to other devices either through those devices’ apps or through third-party apps and equipment.
The IFTTT connection is an especially big boon. You can use the power of cause-and-effect to create chains. For instance, you could make a chain where your thermostat adjusts and your lights turn on when you disarm your security system.
Vivint home automation
Vivint has a lot of the same compatibility as ADT Self Setup, but it doesn’t have IFTTT. Though the app does have a similar function built into it. You’ll just be limited to Vivint-compatible devices.
Luckily, Vivint offers a lot of smart home devices that will sync right up with your system, no extra connectivity required. And Z-Wave devices that are directly compatible with the security system can also be accessed through the Vivint app. Those include Nest thermostats and smart locks.
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint installation
When it comes to installing, these systems take opposite approaches. The ADT Self Setup system installation is typically quick and easy, but you have to do it yourself. The Vivint installation is more complicated and time-consuming, though a professional will install it for you.
ADT Self Setup installation
ADT Self Setup alarm equipment is designed to be self-installed. The devices come with double-sided tape for easy sticking (and easy removal for all you renters out there).
We tried setting up some ADT Self Setup security cameras, and it was a fairly smooth process. If you’re at least somewhat familiar with tech, especially smartphones, then installing a ADT Self Setup system shouldn’t be a problem for you.
But if you haven’t spent much time with technology, you might be better off getting a friend or professional to install your system in your stead.
The Vivint system is easy to set up in that you don't have to install it yourself! Vivint will send a professional straight to your home to take care of everything for you.
There is a catch though. Vivint requires an installation fee of $99. And when we had a Vivint system installed at a test site, the process took about four hours. That’s quite a bit longer than we’ve ever spent setting up a DIY system.
You don’t have to follow the Vivint installer around and micromanage them, but you should be at home during the entire installation, just to be safe. So you’ll essentially need to clear an entire morning or afternoon to stick around your house.
ADT Self Setup vs. Vivint customer experience
Both ADT Self Setup and Vivint Smart Home get mixed commentary from customers.
ADT Self Setup customer experience
ADT Self Setup hasn’t been around very long at all, so the quality of its customer service is still up for debate.
Its customer service department is completely separate from the normal ADT customer service, and some people have gotten confused and left ADT reviews for ADT Self Setup. But even subtracting negative ADT reviews from the equation, ADT Self Setup’s customer reception is pretty mixed.
Vivint customer experience
For several years, Vivint's customer experience has been under intense scrutiny. It's known that the company representatives use confusing—even sometimes deceptive—tactics with customers.
Things seem to have gotten better over the last few years. But Vivint still has poor ratings on many customer review sites. We suspect the company has a way to go before it’s truly in the public’s good graces.
What happens if you don’t like your home security system? You can return your ADT Self Setup alarm, no questions asked, within the first 30 days of service. After that, although you can cancel your service at any time, you can’t return the system.
That’s in sharp contrast to Vivint, a company that gives you only three days to cancel without being subject to cancellation fees.
Recap: Which system is better?
ADT Self Setup and Vivint are surprisingly similar, with no contracts, lots of automation, and equally lackluster customer histories. But in most areas, Vivint has an edge over the DIY system.
Let’s quickly review the comparison points.
- Pricing: ADT Self Setup is much less expensive than Vivint. However, the value isn’t as good with ADT Self Setup.
- Equipment: Both home security companies make their equipment, though Vivint’s is more cutting-edge.
- Home automation: You’ll get more automation overall with ADT Self Setup, but you’ll get more direct automation with a Vivint system.
- Installation: You'll install ADT Self Setup on your own, while professionals install Vivint.
- Customer experience: Neither of these services has glowing reviews, but ADT Self Setup is still starting off, while Vivint has an established track record of customer dissatisfaction.
Overall, we’d suggest Vivint for most security system users. But if you really want a DIY system, home automation isn’t top priority for you, or you’ve already had a bad experience with Vivint Smart Home, then ADT Self Setup is the better choice.