Frontpoint vs. Vivint Smart Home

If you want a secure and fully automated smart home, then Vivint makes pretty impressive technology. But Frontpoint gives you a DIY alternative.

Overview

Vivint and Frontpoint are both pretty good choices for home security providers that give you professional monitoring and home automation perks. Both of these companies can secure your home—and they support so many smart devices that your house will practically be a robot. As for which one we like better, it depends on what kind of system you need.

Vivint is known for being a bit pricey, but it’s also known for having the best, most innovative technology you’ll see from a monitored security system. Frontpoint, on the other hand, offers pretty standard equipment you can install yourself—but unlike Vivint, you skip the installation fee and pay a bit less for equipment.

Vivint vs. Frontpoint—Overall comparison

ProviderMonitoring priceContract lengthInstallation typeLearn more
Vivint$29.99–$49.99/mo.None OR 42–60 mos.ProfessionalSee plans
Frontpoint$39.99–$49.99-mo.1–3 yrs.DIYSee plans

Both Vivint and Frontpoint can give you top-notch home security and automation. It just depends on what kind of equipment you want, how you want it installed, and—of course—how much you want to pay.

Vivint vs. Frontpoint—quick comparison

Vivint gives you well-designed equipment with innovative features, while Frontpoint gives you standard equipment for less money.

Vivint SkyControl Panel

Vivint and Frontpoint aren’t incredibly different. They keep an eye on your house through 24/7 professional monitoring (as part of the monthly plan you choose), and like most big-brand security companies, they both offer multi-year contracts.

But all things considered, Vivint gives home security a unique twist. It doesn’t make you sign a contract (as long as you buy all your equipment up front), and it goes out of its way to create stand-out equipment with smart features, like a control panel with two-way talk or an indoor camera with video calling.

That said, Vivint’s equipment tends to be more expensive than Frontpoint’s. And Vivint requires professional installation (plus an installation fee), while Frontpoint sends you everything in a box and you install all the equipment yourself.

Frontpoint control panel

Frontpoint works best for renters or people with smaller houses who want a reliable company and equipment without the hassle of having a professional installer come out and set everything up. If you need to secure only a front door and a couple of windows, then you might as well install everything yourself.

Vivint’s professional installation approach works best if you have a a large house or property and you want to know everything is installed properly.

Professional installation is also nice because you can consult with the installer about the exact equipment you need and how to keep your property safe. Frontpoint can do that for you over the phone, but it’s not quite the same as an in-person meeting.

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Remember

Vivint charges a $49.99 fee for professional installation.

How do Vivint and Frontpoint prices compare?

Frontpoint’s equipment tends to be cheaper. Vivint has more expensive equipment, but it includes all its best features. 

Vivint is not the most expensive security company on the market. (That prize actually goes to ADT for its ADT Pulse® system.) But it is slightly more expensive than Frontpoint—which is to say that Frontpoint has one monthly monitoring plan that costs less than Vivint’s, and Vivint’s equipment tends to be more expensive.

Be aware that if you want video support for either Vivint or Frontpoint, you have to subscribe to the highest-priced plans, which are both $49.99 per month. That’s the way it works with most security companies out there—if you want cameras, you pay more each month for cloud storage and mobile alerts.

Vivint and Frontpoint monitoring plans comparison

Vivint monitoring plans

Plan nameProfessional monitoringMobile controlHome automationPriceLearn more
Vivint Smart SecurityYesYesNo$29.99/mo.View plan
Vivint Smart HomeYesYesYes$39.99/mo.View plan
Vivint Smart Home VideoYesYesYes$49.99/mo.View plan

Frontpoint monitoring plans

Plan nameProfessional monitoringMobile controlHome automationPriceLearn more
Frontpoint ProtectionYesNoNo$34.99/mo.View plan
Frontpoint InteractiveYesNoNo$44.99/mo.View plan
Frontpoint UltimateYesYesYes$49.99/mo.View plan

Frontpoint might seem like it gives you a less expensive plan option, but here’s the catch: Frontpoint doesn’t give you mobile control or home automation features unless you pay for its most expensive monthly monitoring plan. That means even though Vivint’s equipment is more expensive, its service plans offer a better value.

You get mobile control and full home automation capabilities with two of Vivint’s monitoring plans. And you have to get the more expensive one only if you want video support.

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Tip

If you just want security cameras to keep an eye on kids or pets and you don’t need a whole system, then you might be better off with a standalone camera from a company like Ring, Nest, or Logitech. See our security camera recommendations.

Contracts

Frontpoint requires you to sign a contract to maintain service. On the other hand, Vivint lets you pay month to month if you want to—although you have to buy all your equipment up front first, which can be quite pricey. You also have to buy Vivint’s starter equipment pack, which costs $549.99.

Vivint basic equipment package:

  • Vivint SkyControl panel
  • 2–4 door/window sensors
  • 1 motion sensor

Total cost: $549.99

You can add on whatever equipment you want after the starter pack, but that initial cost is a given. Frontpoint, on the other hand, lets you choose exactly what equipment you want. Although you will need a control panel and at least one door or window sensor, no matter what other equipment you want.

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Note

Although Vivint’s starter kit is definitely expensive, DIY systems aren’t always cheaper. DIY systems like Nest Secure and the Samsung SmartThings ADT Kit cost almost as much as Vivint for about the same amount of equipment.

If you do sign a contract with Vivint, prepare to be in it for the long haul. Its contract options are either 42 or 60 months. That’s either 3.5 or 5 years. Frontpoint keeps things shorter and lets you choose from a 1- or 3-year contract. It also gives you equipment discounts for signing the longer contract, which can knock some serious money off your equipment bill. You won’t get that with Vivint.

Most people keep their same security systems for longer than five years, but even so, it’s a long time to commit to a monthly plan. If you have the cash, we think it’s worth it to pay up front for Vivint’s equipment and then pay month to month for a monitoring plan. If you don’t have that much money on hand, Vivint is still a good choice, but maybe not a first pick if you’re a renter or if you move a lot.

Which has better equipment and integrations, Vivint or Frontpoint?

Both companies have Z-Wave technology and work with IFTTT, but Vivint can integrate with Nest.

If you want the best-looking equipment with the latest features, then Vivint will almost always be our first choice. While Frontpoint’s equipment is reliable, it’s also standard. You can get the same thing from a provider like ADT or Protect America, so it’s harder for Frontpoint to stand out from the crowd.

That said, both Vivint and Frontpoint use Z-Wave technology, which lets you add a bunch of third-party smart devices into your existing security system. You can find lights, locks, smart outlets, and more that work with Z-Wave and are easy to install, so you can automate everything from your porch lights to your air conditioner.

However, Vivint has an integration perk Frontpoint does not: Nest. Frontpoint doesn’t work directly with things like Nest smart thermostats, but Vivint does. If you already have Nest devices, it’s easy to integrate Vivint’s system in with them.

You can make Frontpoint (and Vivint, for that matter) communicate with other smart devices (including Nest’s) through the IFTTT app. IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That,” and the IFTTT app lets you add in various devices and create recipes to make them work together.

For example, you can create a recipe that tells your house to turn on the living room lights if your security system’s motion detector senses movement there.

Frontpoint can work with Nest through the IFTTT app, but it means you have to use a separate app and go through the trouble of creating specific recipes for the two systems. That’s why when it comes to home automation, Vivint still takes the gold.

Recap

  • Vivint and Frontpoint both offer reliable security equipment with home automation options, but Vivint has better-designed equipment with more home automation features than Frontpoint.
  • Frontpoint requires a contract while Vivint offers a no-contract option—although it means a much higher up-front cost.
  • Frontpoint requires you to sign on to its highest-priced monitoring plan before you get mobile control or home automation capabilities. Vivint gives you both these features with both its monitoring plans.
  • Vivint and Frontpoint have similar monitoring plan prices, but Vivint’s equipment is more expensive.
  • Vivint wins our overall recommendations for its superior technology and better value in its monitoring plans.
  • Frontpoint works best for renters and people with smaller homes or apartments, while Vivint works well in larger houses.

Frontpoint is a decent choice for home security and home automation, but Vivint gives you better technology and more choices at a similar price (and a better monthly value).