Frontpoint vs Vivint Home Security Review

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Frontpoint vs Vivint Home Security Review

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Leading security companies Frontpoint and Vivint both offer home automation options with their top-tier security packages. But are Vivint and the technology behind its Vivint smart home system enough to take on Frontpoint?

How the monthly plans compare

Frontpoint offers three plans, starting at $34.99. Vivint, on the other hand, offers only two plans—Smart Home and Smart Home Video. Below is a quick comparison of the two companies side by side.

Monitoring plan comparison

Companyfrontpoint logofrontpoint logofrontpoint logo
Plan NameProtectionInteractiveUltimateSmart HomeSmart Home Video
Visit WebsiteView PlansView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
Monthly Fee$34.99$44.99$49.99$39.99$49.99
Contract length12–48 months12–48 months12–48 monthsMonth-to-month, 42, or 60 monthsMonth-to-month, 42, or 60 months
Installation Fee$0$0$0$49.99$49.99
Equipment and Activation Fee$99.00$199.93$199.93$549.99$549.99
Mobile App Support
Intrusion Alerts
Environmental Monitoring
Medical Alert
Home Automation OfferingsNoneLight controlsLight controls. Additional equipment available at an additional cost.Various. All equipment available for additional cost.Various. All equipment available for additional cost.
Live video streaming
Two-way voice
Energy Management
Hard drive & cloud storage
Visit WebsiteView PlansView PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
Plan Name
Visit Website
Monthly Fee
Contract length
Installation Fee
Equipment and Activation Fee
Mobile App Support
Intrusion Alerts
Environmental Monitoring
Medical Alert
Home Automation Offerings
Live video streaming
Two-way voice
Energy Management
Hard drive & cloud storage
Visit Website
frontpoint logo frontpoint logo frontpoint logo
Protection Interactive Ultimate Smart Home Smart Home Video
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans
$34.99 $44.99 $49.99 $39.99 $49.99
12–48 months 12–48 months 12–48 months Month-to-month, 42, or 60 months Month-to-month, 42, or 60 months
$0 $0 $0 $49.99 $49.99
$99.00 $199.93 $199.93 $549.99 $549.99
None Light controls Light controls. Additional equipment available at an additional cost. Various. All equipment available for additional cost. Various. All equipment available for additional cost.
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Frontpoint, Vivint, and home automation

What sets Vivint apart is that it designs and manufactures its own security and home automation products, so your entire system will work together seamlessly. Most other security companies’ home automation options, including Frontpoint’s, are limited to third-party equipment that results in having to use a number of different apps to control everything.

Vivint Sky provides one app to control everything in Vivint’s system—from home automation to security features. Additionally, with Vivint you have the option of voice control through the Vivint interface with Amazon Echo, plus 1TB of automated storage through Space Monkey for $249.99 with its top-tier monthly package.

Frontpoint has similar home automation options, but they are not designed or manufactured by Frontpoint. If you’re looking for total integration with one app and voice control, Vivint is the better choice. Just remember that you will pay for the privilege of the more advanced technology and that both Vivint and Frontpoint only offer home automation options with their higher-tier monitoring packages.

Equipment comparison

Both companies offer a wide range of equipment. Frontpoint offers pre-selected equipment packages to pair with your chosen monitoring plan, or you have the option to customize your system. Vivint has a base equipment package that all new customers must purchase for $549, which includes a touch control panel,  two door/window sensors, and a motion sensor. After that, you have the ability to choose any additional equipment you want (as long as it is compatible with your chosen monitoring plan—meaning you can only select home automation equipment if you have opted for the Smart Home monitoring package).

Vivint equipment

vivint elements thermostatAs mentioned, Vivint has created its own line of equipment, designed to work together via one simple app. Each item has a sleek, modern look and blends into almost any home decor. The Elements thermostat even won the prestigious Red Dot award for product design.

Vivint offers a full range of equipment, including a new doorbell camera, an HD outdoor camera (which enables you to see real-time events through the Vivint Sky app), smart locks, and garage door sensors, in addition to the normal intrusion and environmental sensors. Additionally, Vivint allows you to purchase this equipment up front and only have a month-to-month monitoring contract, or you have the option to finance any equipment you purchase (at 0% APR) over the course of a 42- or 60-month contract. The cost of the equipment over the contract length will simply be added to your base monitoring rate for the term of your contract. After that your monthly payment will go down and include only the monitoring price and you will be able to go to a month-to-month contract.

Frontpoint equipment

frontpoint equipment in boxFrontpoint equipment, on the other hand, is supplied by and can feel dated compared to Vivint’s cutting-edge technology and design.

But that doesn’t mean Frontpoint’s equipment options are lacking. It provides similar equipment offerings to Vivint, like intrusion sensors, a touch screen control panel, image sensors, and environmental sensors, plus additional home automation features like garage door sensors, smart locks, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, light controls, and a selection of Z-Wave thermostats.

You can read an in-depth review of all of Frontpoint’s equipment offerings in our full equipment breakdown that goes over functionalities and costs.

Given that both companies offer similar pieces of equipment, Vivint’s edge in the equipment category comes from its proprietary design and technology and the aesthetics of its hardware, in addition to its Flex Pay model, which allows you to finance the cost of the equipment—at no interest—over the length of your contract.


Installation is an area where Frontpoint and Vivint are vastly different. If you choose Vivint, your system must be installed by one of the company’s subcontracted technicians. Although the system is 100% wireless, the control panel is usually mounted on a wall, which requires drilling, and the same applies to the outdoor video camera. Installation takes between three and four hours and requires you to be home, but there is no additional fees for this professional installation, unless you purchase an outdoor camera. There is a one-time installation fee for $99 for your Vivint outdoor camera.

One last thing to note is that many of the complaints about Vivint revolve around its installation and customer service—something I will address in the customer service section.

Alternatively, when you purchase a Frontpoint system, it is delivered to your door the next day and you install it yourself with no professional technician required. You mount equipment using self-adhesive mounting pads, which makes this an ideal system for renters because it can be moved easily and doesn’t require drilling into the walls.

You can read our complete review of the Frontpoint installation process, but here’s the short version:

If you can peel and place stickers and dial a phone, you can set up Frontpoint.


Vivint monitoring plans

Vivint has recently revamped its entire payment model. It now offers two monitoring packages: Smart Home ($39.99), which offers primarily home security-related features, but offers home automation as well; and Smart Home Video ($49.99), which includes all the features you get with the Smart Home package and adds video surveillance options.

For either monitoring plan you will have to get the base equipment package ($549) which includes a touch control panel, four door/window sensors (only 2 for Smart Home Video), and a motion sensor. From there, you are able to customize your system to include any additional pieces of equipment you would like. The only catch is that if you want to purchase home automation equipment, like Vivint’s award-winning thermostat or its sleek video doorbell, you will have to opt for the Smart Home monitoring plan.

Some examples of pricing for equipment are as follows

  • CO detector: $69.99
  • Doorbell camera: $199.99
  • Garage door controller: $99.99
  • Deadbolt door lock: $159.99
  • Vivint Element thermostat: $149.99
  • Motion sensor: $69.99
  • Flood/freeze/heat sensor: $69.99

The unique thing about Vivint’s new payment model is that once you have determined what equipment you would like to include in your system, you have the option to either pay for it all up front and only have a month-to-month monitoring contract; or finance the equipment at 0% APR for either 42 or 60 months—meaning you are locked into your monitoring plan for that length of time. Keep in mind that the cost of your equipment will be added to your base monitoring cost—if you finance equipment instead of paying for it up front, your monthly fee is going to be higher than the base $39.99 or $49.99 monitoring fees. To read more about Vivint’s Flex Pay model, check out our Vivint review. 

Frontpoint monitoring plans

The base-level Protection plan from Frontpoint is $34.99 and monitors your intrusion sensors as well as fire, smoke, CO, flood, and freeze sensors.

Moving up to the mid-level Interactive plan for $39.99 per month, you get everything from the Protection plan plus Crash and Smash Protection, email and text alerts, remote access and control, and geo-location services. In addition, if you purchase light controls or image sensors, they are supported by this plan.

Finally, there is the top-level Ultimate plan, which, for $49.99 a month, gives you everything in the Interactive plan plus energy management, and—if you have purchased the equipment—automated door locks, live video streaming, motion-activated video recording, and HD video with night vision.

Customer service & company reputation

Customer service, complaints, and the general reputation of the company are the areas where Vivint and Frontpoint diverge the most.

Quick company customer service comparison chart

Companyfrontpoint logo
Visit WebsiteView PlansView Plans
Return/ cancellation period3o days3 days
Time in business9 years19 years (under different names)
# of customers1,100,000970,000
BBB complaints in last 3 years733656
Government legal actionsNone10
Visit WebsiteView PlansView Plans
Visit Website
Return/ cancellation period
Time in business
# of customers
BBB complaints in last 3 years
Government legal actions
Visit Website
frontpoint logo
View Plans View Plans
3o days 3 days
9 years 19 years (under different names)
1,100,000 970,000
73 3656
None 10
View Plans View Plans

Vivint’s reputation

Across all of the major consumer sites, Vivint has multiple complaints about high-pressure sales tactics, allegedly misleading potential customers, and unprofessional salespeople. It also has many complaints about botched installations and an unresponsive customer service department.

Additionally, I found ten different government legal actions against Vivint for its sales tactics and other offenses against consumer legislation.

Vivint has, however, recently tried to reinvent itself through philanthropic initiatives like Vivint Gives Back in order to shed a bad image. It has also introduced its Flex Pay model, which addresses many of the concerns (contract lengths, installation fees) customers have expressed. It is an exciting time to see how the next year goes for Vivint as it continues to improve its customer service and offerings.

Frontpoint’s reputation

Frontpoint’s reputation is much different from Vivint’s. With a much, much lower number of customer complaints and no government legal actions on record, it sends the message that your signature on a contract is the beginning of your relationship with Frontpoint, not the end of a sales exercise.

In fact, Frontpoint offers a no questions asked, 30-day money-back guarantee. While Vivint has a three-day cooling-off period for its contract, that doesn’t really give you time to come to grips with your new system, try it out, and see if it works for you and your family in a range of circumstances. Frontpoint, however, lets you try its system out for over four weeks and will even pay the cost of returning it if you are unhappy in any way.

Frontpoint’s customer service has a deserved reputation for being supportive at every step of the sales, installation, and monitoring processes with hundreds of highly satisfied customer reviews online. Additionally, Frontpoint makes a point of reaching out to customers who have complaints and attempting to resolve their issues favorably. In fact, Frontpoint frequently asks consumers with complaints to email its customer service department. Conversely, Vivint encourages consumers with complaints to email its legal department.

Overall, the small number of complaints about Frontpoint mostly appear to be about one-off problems, whereas Vivint has numerous complaints focused on installation, sales tactics, and a lack of customer service during the sales process.

Who would I trust to protect my family?

Vivint has an amazing range of equipment designed from the ground up to work as an integrated smart home system. Its design is appealing, and the range of equipment it offers is impressive. However, with high-pressure sales tactics and the history of refusing to take responsibility for botched installations and damage to homes, its customer service falls far below that of Frontpoint. Its recent changes to pricing and contract lengths, however, indicates that the company is really making an effort to respond positively to its customers’ concerns and is working to provide better service going forward.

Frontpoint, on the other hand, may not have an equally seamless smart home system or as impressive technological offerings, but it does have an impeccable customer service reputation, and for me that counts for a whole lot more. It also offers a wide range of similar—if not as sleek—home automation equipment, lots of custom features, and a simple DIY installation process.

Which would you choose—the seamless technology or the customer service and support? Let us know below which is more important to you.