Vivint Home Security Review 2021

Vivint’s super smarts keep it at the top of our professionally installed system recommendations
Vivint Logo
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Proprietary smart home and alarm equipment
No contract required
Expensive
Recent Updates: Less than 6 months

Vivint lawsuit

In spring of 2021, Vivint settled a $20 million lawsuit for continued deceptive customer service practices. As part of the court order, Vivint needs to instate an employee monitoring program to avoid similar problems in the future. Read the court order here.

We're disappointed that Vivint has been so lax with its salespeople behavior. In the meantime, if you still wish to buy a Vivint system, we strongly recommend calling on the phone instead of dealing with the door-to-door sales.

Vivint has top-notch smart home equipment and a no-contract option. It also has top-tier prices and a sometimes questionable customer service reputation. But overall, if you’re looking for the smartest system possible, we think it’s worth it to say yes to Vivint.

To get the most accurate review possible, we tested a Vivint system that includes all cameras, a Smart Drive, a flood sensor, a lamp module, and Car Guard.

Vivint home security overview
CompanyMonitoring price rangeContractSmart home integrationsLearn more
Vivint Logo$29.99–$44.99/mo.None or 60 mos.

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave
View Plans

Data effective 09/03/2021. Offers subject to change.

Vivint pricing, contracts, and fees

Vivint costs add up quickly

Vivint home security monitoring service starts at about $30 a month. If you want smart home integration (which we recommend), you’ll pay $40. And if you want video, you’ll pay a starting price of $45 a month. Oh, and for every camera you add to your system after the first one, it’s an extra $5 every month.

If you reach the six-camera maximum, that pushes you up to almost $70, which is more than ADT’s most expensive plan. And ADT’s no slouch when it comes to prices.

That’s not even counting the equipment costs, which typically start at around $599. We’ll dive more into the equipment a little later.

Vivint monitoring plan costs
PlanPriceSmart home supportSecurity camera supportLearn more
Smart Security$29.99/mo.

No


No
View Plans
Smart Home$39.99/mo.

Yes


No
View Plans
Smart Home Video$44.99/mo.

Yes


Yes
View Plans

Data effective 09/03/2021. Offers subject to change.

Light Bulb icon
Top feature: mobile app access
We really like that Vivint still gives you access to the mobile app on its lowest-level plan. App access should be an automatic thing, but some companies make you subscribe to higher-level plans before they’ll give it to you. (Lookin’ at you, ADT.)

Contracts

Happily, Vivint is one of the only professionally installed systems that doesn’t require a contract.

To our understanding, when you go the non-contract route with Vivint, you can cancel at any time, with no fees or penalties. The cancellation requires 30 days to take effect, so you’ll likely have one final bill to pay after you’ve formally canceled. But altogether, it seems like a relatively painless process.

However! You can only get the non-contract option if you pay for all of your equipment at the start. That means you’re looking at shelling out $600+ right off the bat.

If you can’t afford that, you must take a loan through Vivint and repay it over a five-year contract (in addition to the cost of your monthly monitoring fees). And yes, that’s two years longer than the average industry contract, which is a pain.

Fees

Five years is a long time, and you might need to cancel your contract. Last we heard, Vivint takes 100% of your remaining equipment and monitoring costs as a cancellation fee, unless you have extenuating circumstances.

Info Box icon
What are extenuating circumstances?
With Vivint, “extenuating circumstances” covers some emergencies, like deaths and military moves. It typically doesn’t cover other situations, like losing a job or moving to another city for a civilian job. In those cases, you’ll need to pay off your contract, move your contract to your new residence, or get the person buying your home to assume your Vivint obligations.

Read How Much Does Vivint Cost? to get a fuller financial picture.

Vivint equipment

Vivint has a lot of unique smart home equipment

Vivint excels at smart home products.

Most home security companies focus on, well, home security. In contrast, Vivint excels at smart home products.

That doesn’t mean that its security system is bad. We’ve used it for about six weeks, and we think it’s a perfectly good system. But to get the best use of Vivint, you need to go for a full-on smart home setup. So if smart home functionality doesn’t matter to you, a Vivint alarm isn’t your best fit.

Vivint also stands out because it makes the majority of its own equipment. Systems like ADT and local providers buy devices from third-party manufacturers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you’re paying sky-high prices for security, it’s nice to get something special.

Vivint control panel

Image source: Reviews.org

Let’s take a look at Vivint’s equipment roster.

Vivint equipment:

  • Vivint Smart Panel (control panel)
  • Door sensor
  • Security sensor
  • Motion detector
  • Flood sensor
  • Freeze sensor
  • Glass break detector
  • Smoke detector
  • Indoor camera
  • Outdoor camera
  • Doorbell camera
  • Vivint Smart Drive
  • Smart lock
  • Smart garage door opener
  • Smart thermostat
  • Smartbulb
  • Smart plug
  • Lamp module
  • Vivint Car Guard

Vivint tends to offer customized packages, but their basic offering typically includes the control panel, two door sensors, a flood sensor, and a motion detector.

Vivint cameras

We cover the Vivint cameras pretty thoroughly in our Vivint cameras review, so we won’t get too deep into that here. But we did want to call out that Vivint has all three camera staples: an indoor, outdoor, and doorbell camera.

Vivint camera comparison
FeaturesVivint Indoor Camera (previously Indoor Ping)Vivint Outdoor Camera ProVivint Doorbell Camera Pro
Inside/outsideInsideOutsideOutside
Resolution1080p1080p1080p
Field of vision155º140º180º
4K image sensor

No

Yes

No
Pool Alert

No

Yes

No
Person detection

No

Yes

Yes
Lurker detection

No

Yes

Yes
Package detection

No

No

Yes
Two-way talk

No

Yes

Yes
Siren

Yes

Yes

Yes
Night vision

Yes

Yes

Yes
Outbound call function

Yes

No

No
Learn moreView PlansView PlansView Plans

Data effective 09/03/2021. Offers subject to change.

Spoiler alert: the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro is our favorite Vivint camera. It has people and package detection, a super-wide field of view, and a feature for protecting your mail from porch pirates. Vivint also just barely started selling the doorbell as a standalone device, so you don’t have to get a full Vivint system to use it.

Vivint Video Doorbell Pro

Image source: Reviews.org

Pin icon
What’s Pool Alert?
This newer feature for the Outdoor Camera Pro allows you to create a motion zone specifically designated for your pool. When someone enters that zone, you’ll receive a special notification.

You can also use the feature for another area on your property you especially want to monitor, like a pond or outbuilding.

Vivint Smart Drive

If you’re thinking of getting a Vivint camera or two, it’s worth considering the Vivint Smart Drive.

The smart drive is basically a DVR for your cameras. It allows you to store security footage longer, which is helpful. But the real virtue is the continuous recording.

That’s right! With the Smart Drive, your cameras will record all the time, not just when a motion event sets them off. That way, the cameras won’t accidentally miss something (which, sadly, happens with even the best security camera brands).

As far as we can tell, even when you have the Smart Drive, you have to pay the monthly per-camera fee. So the drive won’t save you any money, especially since you have to pay for it along with your other equipment, but it’s still useful.

Vivint Car Guard

Car Guard home screen

We’re crazy about the Vivint Car Guard! Seriously, this is probably our favorite thing from Vivint.

Once we installed the Car Guard in Marco, our test Honda, the device gave us the following info:

  • Notifications any time the Honda left a location
  • Notifications when the Honda was disturbed
  • Information about recalls for the Honda’s parts
  • Information about maintenance needs
  • Battery level reports
  • Fuel level reports
  • Vehicle trip history

Basically, any time anything happened with the vehicle, we immediately knew.

We loved the security we felt in knowing that if the car got damaged or stolen, we’d, one,  immediately be notified and, two, be able to track its location. Not to mention the convenient maintenance info!

Vivint home automation

In addition to its proprietary smart home devices, Vivint has quite a bit of compatibility

Vivint works with both Alexa and Google.

With Alexa, you need to download two different skills to get full command of the smart home and security system, whereas Google requires just one integration with the system.

In both cases, though, you’ll have to practice specific wording to get the systems to do what you want. And note that while you can arm your Vivint system with voice control, you can’t disarm it without physically entering your code.

Vivint also works with most Z-Wave devices, which allows it to connect to some of the leading smart home brands.

While we’d also love to see some IFTTT or Zigbee compatibility, you’ll be able to get most smart home functionality with Vivint’s existing connectivity.

Mobile app

The Vivint app (once known as the Vivint Sky app) comes with every level of professional Vivint monitoring. With the app, you can arm and disarm your system, turn your smart devices on and off, look at your camera feeds, and check on your car (if you have Car Guard).

Most app functions can also be performed with the Vivint Smart Panel.

You can also use the app to set up smart home chains, similar to the ones you create with IFTTT. For instance, you can create a setting so that when your car arrives at your home address, the lights turn on and the door unlocks. This is the kind of functionality that sets Vivint Smart Home apart compared to other security offerings.

Vivint installation

Vivint is installed by professionals

You won’t have to use a screwdriver or wire a camera to get Vivint in your home. But you will have to set aside a good amount of time.

Vivint offers consultations with a professional.

Vivint offers consultations with a professional who will decide what equipment you need and where. We didn’t follow the usual consultation process, but to our understanding, the consultation and installation are done separately.

We did go through the typical installation process. Vivint told us our tech would arrive somewhere between 8 a.m. and noon. After the tech arrived, installation took another four-ish hours.

Luckily, the tech showed up close to the beginning of the window. If he’d arrived on the noonish side of things, the installation process would have eaten up a whole workday. That’s not great news if you have an inflexible schedule!

Overall, the installation process went pretty smoothly. The technician took most of our concerns into account when placing the equipment. But he was adamant about installing the outdoor camera in a location where we already had cameras instead of placing it in an area without camera coverage we’d picked out. And while he may have had a good reason for that, he didn’t clearly explain it.

Vivint customer experience

Vivint’s had a lot of ups and downs over the years

Vivint’s had something of a rocky reputation for a while.

When customers have good experiences with Vivint, they seem to be extremely good. But when they have bad experiences . . . let’s just say the pendulum swings severely in the opposite direction.

As discussed in this Vivint review, the alarm system is very smart and relatively easy to use, and users love that. But Vivint suffers from repeated complaints about the following:

  • Deceptive sales tactics, such as inaccurate initial estimates or misrepresentations of Vivint’s contract terms
  • Contract confusion, such as contracts being renewed without the user’s express permission

Vivint has taken considerable strides in improving its reputation, and we commend the company for that. But we still see complaints about these issues more often than we would like to.

In-house customer service

We will say this for Vivint’s customer service—it’s done by actual Vivint staff.

That seems like it should be a given. But a lot of security companies outsource their customer service centers, so the person you’re talking to doesn’t even work for the security company.

Everyone at Vivint—from the installation techs to the customer service reps to the monitoring staff—actually does work for Vivint, which should make things a bit more cohesive.

If you went with a company like ADT, it’s really hard to tell who the person you’re talking to works for or who’s doing your installation. (Most of the time, it’s not ADT itself.)

Recap: Is Vivint good?

Vivint is good most of the time

There’s a reason Vivint is one of our top-recommended systems.

While it costs a lot and has some work to do to improve its customers’ buying experience, it has excellent equipment and smart home compatibility.

Vivint Home Security
Monthly price:
$29.99$44.99
Contract Length:
0-60 mos.
Smart Home Integrations:
Yes
Starting at $29.99 a month

Pricing: Vivint’s proprietary equipment, monitoring, and smart home functionality all add up to quite a bit. To get the best value for your dollar, you need to be all in with a full security and smart home setup.

Equipment: Vivint has some of the best equipment on the market. The proprietary products and their smart functions are what make Vivint a top system.

Home automation: Vivint offers tons of smart home devices, and it integrates with even more.

Installation: A Vivint representative will install your system for you.

Customer experience: Vivint’s reputation with customers is a little bumpy due to some questionable past events, but it’s slowly improving itself.

If you’re still not sure about Vivint, check out our best home security systems.

Is your house ready for Vivint?

Smart homes can’t be smart without internet and mobile phone access. To enjoy Vivint’s security and smart home products, you’ll need both.

Recommended internet plans

We don’t recommend Vivint for anyone with a slow internet connection. If you’re interested in Vivint but your Wi-Fi’s on the struggle bus, consider upgrading your package.

Recommended internet plans for Vivint
ServicePlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Xfinity Internet - WestBlast! Pro Plus$74.99*400 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios Home InternetInternet 400/400$64.99/mo.400 MbpsView Plans
AT&T FiberAT&T Internet 1000$60/mo.940 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/04/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
Ltd. avail/areas for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. Autopay & Paperless Bill req'd. $10/mo equip. fee applies

Recommended mobile plans

To get the most from a Vivint system, you’ll want a reliable phone with a reliable phone plan. We think unlimited data is the way to go with a smart security system, and we have some suggestions if you don’t have an unlimited plan.

Vivint FAQ

Get answers to your lingering Vivint questions.

Can I get Vivint Solar with my Vivint Smart Home system?

Our understanding is that you can have Vivint Solar, and you can have Vivint Smart Home. But they’re separate entities, so you can’t get them bundled together.

In short, if you were hoping for a smart home system with solar attached, sorry. You’ll have to reach out directly to Vivint Solar if you want to power your smart home with energy from the sun.

Will my Vivint equipment work without paying monthly fees?

You won’t be able to reuse your Vivint equipment with another security service. And if you choose to stop subscribing to Vivint services, you won’t be able to use the equipment on its own either. Our research suggests that includes the proprietary smart devices, not just the alarm stuff.

Yeah, you paid for that equipment, so it’s a shame that it won’t work independently. But that’s typically how it rolls with these services.

There’s an exception, though. Vivint sells and installs some devices from other companies, like Kwikset smart locks, Nest thermostats, and Philips Hue smart bulbs. That equipment will work fine on its own without Vivint services. You’ll just have to use their branded apps, not the Vivint app.

What’s the benefit of professional monitoring?

Using the Vivint home security system monitoring service makes monitoring oh-so-easy. Vivint monitoring specialists will contact the authorities for you when an intruder breaks in or your smoke alarm goes off.

Professional monitoring doesn’t cross into the smart home realm, though. If you leave your door lock unlocked or a water sensor picks up on flooding, Vivint won’t respond to that. That’s your job.

Which home security system is the best?

The Vivint security system is at the top of our list because of its super-smartness. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s one of the best, if not the very best.

You can watch this video to learn more about how Vivint compares to other systems.

  • Terry H

    What a horrible experience with this company. My uncle has this system. He has been unable to use the 24 hour recording feature of this system since it was installed in July 2016. They have sent out someone to work on it 3 times. Each times they said it works great but he had his life threatened and called cops to show them the video and there’s no video. There’s no way it ever worked because I fixed it today in 5 minutes. The smart drive was plugged into the wrong piece of equipment. After talking to support he finds out that he is down for a 42 month contact instead 24. He was offered a credit of $15 after talking to numerous people. After over an hour on the phone he was refunded more money he is still stuff with the contract he did not agree too.

  • Anastasia Lordes

    Seriously. I thought I did my due diligence in researching, and figured that the reviews couldn’t be legit. I was wrong. Run…run…run. I’m stuck with over $2500 worth of equipment, and have spent hours on the phone with support. If you’re reading this…run..run..run to a more reputable company with a history in home security. Their equipment may not be as up to date as vivint…but vivints equipment sucks, and their customer service is a pure joke. I’m actually looking into a class action suit against this company…enough is enough.

  • Lamar Pacley

    I agree with everyone, this is an absolutely horrible company. Outside of the ridiculous contract length they were supposed to be sending me a rep to discuss options they had for new installation. After taking off work I waited for hours for a technician to show up for a noon appointment. He did not show up and at 430 they said we don’t know if anyone called you but he had personal problems and couldn’t make it. I then tell them I don’t want to see anything if I want anything else i will buy it off the web. The end up billing me $700 for equipment and panels that they didn’t install and never even had permission or clearance for. I have to call like 3 times and when they finally connect me they tell me it will take a couple of days for the refund but when I call after 3 days they tell me oh its 5 business days. I am so sick of this company and I do not not recommend them to anyone. Avoid them like the plague.

  • Abbie Myers

    I will start off by saying this is the worst security company ever. When we moved into our home in 2017, I got Vivint and got the basic system, no cameras, etc and didnt have issues. 2 years later, we had a technician come to our door and offered an upgrade for the same monthly price. They added cameras, garage control from our phones, etc. Then came the nightmare. I started being double charged. I contacted 3 customer service reps and was told to email my bank statements, I did that and no one ever answered me. I finally got a rep to care enough to find out that my old account was never cancelled with my so called upgrade so thats why i was being charged twice a month. On to my next issue, since my “upgrade” the system never works. The panel constantly disconnects from WiFI, I know my WiFi isn’t the issue being as i have 3 smart TVs in my home and they all stay connected to the WFI. I can never view my live footage on my cameras or use the garage feature. So in conclusion, they have horrible customer service, they get your business and after that, they do not care. I am paying double for a system to never work. I am now stuck in a contract with a system that doesn’t work and I am wasting money.

  • Abbie Myers

    Totally agree with this review

  • Katy Johnston

    I had no idea to not trust sales reps… I am sure they’re not all bad! But the one we got really screwed us over…
    My husband and I just bought a house, we were not interested in Vivint- we wanted to purchase our own system that we manage. A rep came by and said he could give us a free quote. When we got a quote for the security system, the sales rep promised us (verbally) over and over that we could have a 30 day free trial so we decided to give it a shot, but 13 days in we decided we didn’t want it. We tried contacting the rep (Drew M) multiple times, but he was conveniently “too sick to talk on the phone” to us, and we were also told by their customer service line that Drew will not answer the phone either… It has now been 5 days with no response.
    Because of the fact that Drew failed to tell us that the normal protocol for a free trial is 3 days, he did not write his consents down, and verbally gave us promises he apparently refuses to keep- so now it is our word verses his and Vivint will not grant us the 30 day free trial. Therefore we are now screwed into paying $55 a month to hear our doors open and close… I am sure the products are great if you have extra money to spend per month, but for a family who does not I wouldn’t trust anyone at this company unless you are 100% committed. I hate that one bad rep but a horrible taste in my mouth for sales and this entire company.

  • Timothy Cook

    After reading the comments on this page I went to Armorax’s site to see what they offered; they’ve partnered with another security company and their starter package I believe starts at $0 down. The panel and sensors are Qolsys, so that’s good. Monitoring is priced well too, so all in all a great deal.

  • Moe Brown

    This has to be the worst company out here. Before signing up they make you do a video basically promoting them. I started having problems about a month after they left. It’s been malfunctioning every since (a year and a half). You can forget about any technical support coming to help. Just run from this company. Not to mention anytime a situation happened the cameras are down at the very moment its needed but back up and running every time the situation is over. Imagine your cameras running perfectly fine every single day until a break in.. now the camera down for maintence. Smh

  • Brad Elder

    Absolutely terrible company. They hit our street hard with the heavy sales pitch and sucked in my wife, locked in several others for a 5 year contract!!!!….that you cannot get out of! The product is crap, support is awful and again the 5 year contract. Top it off, i cancelled my service with them early out of pure frustration, paid my contract out in full. Now i am fighting with them as they are still billing me my monthly fee. This is after numerous phone calls and an email confirmation. These guys are bandits, choose anyone else…..STAY AWAY.

  • Pelparkboy

    After being a Vivint customer for over 8 years I think my patients has run out. I’ve had numerous problems and after a tech has come to my home on numerous occasions, the final answer was “WE ARE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM AND WE ARE WORKING ON IT”. Well, it has been months and they are still working on it. Whenever they wanted me to pay for an add on to my system they quickly mailed it to me and I had to instal it. Now, I only need a security panel battery because mine stopped holding a charge, but they told me, “they can’t ship that to me”. The only reason is because they want me to commit to a 5 year contract and I said NO. If I commit, they said they would dispatch a tech to my home. I asked if they have any certification of their health (because f what we are all going through) their answer was the techs were all healthy,but with no proof, masks on or gloves when they arrive, but they asked me on the phone if I and my families members have been home and healthy before they would come to my home. Am I missing something here? I told them I have not left my home for over two weeks, but their techs are in and out of homes, in and around possibly dozens of customers homes without any proof of their health other than their word that their techs are “HEALTHY”. Time to get a new security company, NOT VIVINT.

  • Jamie Cherry

    A few VERY IMPORTANT TRUTHS may need to be added in order to allow readers to make a fully informed decision about their personal and property security.

    This security company’s commitment is to its ability to collect from you while hiding the fact that your doors randomly unlock with no alert to make you aware. And it’s so committed to maximizing earnings on those collections in full that it hasn’t managed to prioritize the “glitch” fix in development in over a year, at minimum.

    Vivint, if pressed firmly will admit in carefully scripted language the following “software glitches” currently actively exist:
    – If Remote Assist is enabled (i.e. ANY functionality to control ANY part of the system from the mobile App) any door locks operating on the system randomly unlock themselves. Example: we pay >$100/month for home security through Vivint and discovered ON OUR OWN that our primary entry door was RANDOMLY UNLOCKING ITSELF. I spent over 6 hours on the phone with various levels of customer support and software development and had to very firmly demand explanations to get the truth about this undisclosed major security flaw. Which incidentally, the only monetary concession offered for unlocking doors is to turn off Remote Assist and discontinue the additional $5/month charge for that functionality.
    – Same supposed cause, using the Remote Assist App, also causes all cameras operating on the system to randomly NOT RECORD incidents as programmed. Another undisclosed major monitoring flaw.
    So proceed with caution.