Spoiler: in most instances, we’d pick ADT over Cox.
Cox vs. ADT Review
For whatever reason, you’re stuck between Cox Security and ADT. Maybe they’re the best options for home security in your area; maybe they’re the two top recommendations your friends gave you. And now you need to pick one.
To make your choice easier, we’ve laid out a quick comparison of Cox to ADT’s offerings.
Data effective 8/29/2022. Offers subject to change.
Cox vs. ADT pricing, contracts, and fees
You can tell at first glance that these two offerings are pretty different. They both require professional monitoring and installation, but the pricing and contract structures have little in common.
Data effective 09/01/2022. Offers subject to change.
So here’s an interesting thing about Cox. It’s more of a smart home subscription with home security added in the highest tier. That means that the home security features cost $54.99 per month, to be exact. And that’s not counting equipment costs.
As far as up-front costs go, Cox offers multiple equipment options. Right now, the company has both a free security and automation starter package and a $200 option. But that’s before activation and installation fees. (Activation fee is $49; installation fee is unknown to us at this time.)
Cox’s contracts are supposedly about two years, although we weren’t able to verify that for certain. We’ve also heard that there may be a possibility of going month to month after the contract ends, but don’t take that as gospel.
ADT is one of the most expensive home security providers we've covered, and that's still the case here.
You have to pay a cancellation fee to early-terminate contract with either Cox or ADT. We couldn’t pin down the Cox fee, but the ADT fee is around 75% of your remaining contract.
Cox vs. ADT equipment
Cox and ADT have a lot of similar security equipment, while ADT has a lot more smart home devices.
Cox’s equipment selection isn’t half-bad. You can get most security equipment and even smart home extras (lights, plugs, locks, thermostats) with Cox.
Be prepared to pay a lot, though. Last time Cox displayed its prices, the company was charging $150 for a glass break sensor. A similar sensor would cost $34.99 with SimpliSafe and $44.99 with Frontpoint.
While Cox home security has you covered if you want a door lock or smart thermostat, its camera selection is underwhelming. Cox has one HD camera that doubles as indoor and outdoor. There’s no doorbell camera.
Ironically, even though Cox focuses on smart homes, ADT offers more smart equipment. That includes bulbs, plugs, locks, thermostats, switches, and garage door openers, for starters.
ADT’s a lot cagier about its equipment prices than Cox because ADT's equipment cost is included in its monitoring and installation price, but the individual price of devices is unclear. ADT tends to run expensive, so the prices probably aren’t much better.
Cox vs. ADT home automation
When it comes to home automation, it’s clear that ADT is the better choice if you want to connect to other smart products.
Cox home automation
Cox has no home automation that we know of. That means you can’t connect it to your favorite smart assistant or use cheaper equipment to supplement your Cox purchases.
ADT home automation
ADT’s compatible with Alexa and Google. It also works with the Z-Wave protocol.
Cox vs. ADT installation
While we like DIY systems, there are advantages to a professionally installed system. You don’t have to do any wiring or mounting.
Both Cox and ADT’s systems are professionally installed, saving you the effort of installing a system yourself.
When you buy your Cox home security system online, you make an appointment for a professional installer to pay you a visit.
One exception: there are a few Cox items (like lights, locks, plugs, and cameras) that you can set up yourself. So if you order some devices à la carte, you may not need the professionals.
ADT’s process is similar. You call to buy, or purchase directly from the website, and they’ll set you up with an installation date and time as well as a more thorough cost breakdown.
Cox vs. ADT customer experience
ADT doesn’t always measure up favorably when it comes to customer service, but next to Cox, it looks terrific.
Cox customer experience
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a positive Cox customer experience. Most Cox customers are underwhelmed by the service they get, and it’s not uncommon to see complaints about contract and billing issues.
ADT customer experience
We’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of ADT. Have you ever watched five rom-coms on a lazy Saturday and the same guy’s in three of them? ADT is that guy but in home security.
Despite ADT being so prolific (or maybe because of; mo’ customers mo’ problems), it has its issues. Its prices are some of the highest in the industry, and the quality of service you get from its dealers varies wildly. But though we have our hang-ups about ADT, it has much better customer reviews than Cox home security.
Recap: Which system is better?
With its high prices, low automation, and questionable customer service, we don’t recommend Cox to people who aren’t existing Cox Communications customers. If you’re looking for the best in home security, we’d go with ADT over Cox any day.