Cox Homelife vs. ADT Review

Spoiler: in most instances, we’d pick ADT over Cox Homelife.
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For whatever reason, you’re stuck between Cox Homelife 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 Homelife to ADT’s offerings.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT comparison
CompanyCox HomelifeADT
Monitoring price range$54.99/mo.$27.99–$62.99/mo.
Installation typeProfessionalProfessional
Contract 24 mos.36 mos.
Smart home integrations

None

Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Mobile app control

Yes

Yes
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 08/19/2020. Offers subject to change.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT pricing, contracts, and fees

Surprisingly, ADT is the more affordable option.

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.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT comparison
CompanyCox HomelifeADT
Monitoring price range$54.99/mo.$27.99–$62.99/mo.
Contract 24 mos. (probably)36 mos.
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 08/19/2020. Offers subject to change.

Cox Homelife pricing

So here’s an interesting thing about Cox Homelife. 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.

But you can get Cox Homelife bundled with Cox internet and TV, which may bring your home service costs down overall. How much you save will depend on the package you choose.

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 pricing

It’s rare for us to say ADT is less expensive than anything. But this time, ADT is the cheaper option, unless you go for one of the ADT Command Tier II packages.

Notice that you can pay a minimum of $27.99, with ADT, but don’t get too excited. That’s for a landline-connected system only. If you want a cellular system, you’ll be paying at the higher end. The more features you add, the more expensive the monitoring will be.

ADT doesn’t have a clear standard equipment package price.

You’ll also pay an installation fee of $99 minimum.

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Cancellation fees
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. (Luckily, you have six months to cancel ADT, no charge, if you don’t like it.)

Cox Homelife vs. ADT equipment

Both companies have expensive equipment but decent selections.

Cox and ADT have a lot of similar security equipment, while ADT has a lot more smart home devices.

Cox Homelife equipment

Cox Homelife Hub

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 Homelife.

Be prepared to pay a lot, though. Cox charges $150 for a glass break sensor. A similar sensor would cost $34.99 with SimpliSafe and $44.99 with Frontpoint.

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Cox cameras
While Cox Homelife 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.

ADT equipment

ADT Equipment

Ironically, even though Cox Homelife 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. But ADT tends to run expensive, so the prices probably aren’t much better.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT home automation

ADT has much better home automation than Cox.

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 Homelife vs. ADT comparison
CompanyCox HomelifeADT
Smart home integrations

None

Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Cox Homelife 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 Homelife vs. ADT installation

Both these systems come with professional 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.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT installation
CompanyCox HomelifeADT
Installation typeProfessionalProfessional
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Cox Homelife installation

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 installation

ADT’s process is similar. You call to buy, and they’ll set you up with an installation date and time.

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Blue by ADT
ADT now offers a DIY option called Blue by ADT. Check out our review here.

Cox Homelife vs. ADT customer experience

Cox lags with customer service, though ADT isn’t squeaky clean either.

ADT doesn’t always measure up favorably when it comes to customer service, but next to Cox, it looks terrific.

Cox Homelife customer experience

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a positive Cox Homelife 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.

Recap: Which system is better?

Unless you have an existing Cox service, go with ADT.

With its high prices, low automation, and questionable customer service, we don’t recommend Homelife 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.

To learn more, read our Cox Homelife and ADT Command reviews. And take a look at our best home security system recommendations while you’re at it.