2021 In-Depth Review: ADT Home Security

ADT review

For over 100 years, ADT has been the biggest brand for home defense. And there’s a reason for the hype: ADT services, like 24/7 skilled monitoring and smart home support, have a long history of quality operation.

But don’t presume it’s all flowers and sunshine just yet. ADT is a big organization that manufactures, installs, and manages its alarm systems through a network of third-party contractors, so you never know exactly what kind of customer service you’re going to get. Plus, it’s fairly pricey with its smart home and camera surveillance plans.

Tip #1:

It can get a little confusing because ADT uses several contractors to sell its service and equipment. We recommend, personally, going through SafeStreets. When you order your device and have it mounted, we think it’s your best bet for top-notch customer service.

Monitoring and Pricing

Anything beyond the simple landline option of ADT is getting pretty costly. But the monitoring by ADT is super accurate.

There is competent supervision of all ADT systems. This means that if anyone breaks into your home, or if your child has unexpectedly learned how to operate a deadbolt, a professional can respond to something that activates your device and, if necessary, call the police (or fire department, or paramedic).

You have two different forms of connection to choose from landline and cellular. We really suggest cellular plus smart home service, which implies that you subscribe to an ADT Command package. And as cellular plans go, the base price of ADT Command is just as costly as it comes.

Tip #2

Landline links can be very easily removed. (The connection with a pair of scissors could be cut by a possible burglar.) Cellular communications are quicker and more stable. Plus, smart home integrations including smart locks and smart lightbulbs are offered via cellular connections.

The top plans at ADT are pricey. For a skilled monitoring package, the average price is less than $40 per month. The plans for ADT’s Command start at $52.99 a month.

Before you get on board, you can pay more for an ADT Command plan than you will for similar plans from other top security providers, such as Vivint or Xfinity Home Security, so make sure it has the features you want. ADT throws some free starter equipment in, but it is difficult to tell if it is enough to cover the high base price because ADT hides the price of its equipment.

Tip #3

If you want a protection brand to be known by individuals, but you don’t want to pay ADT rates, then check out SimpliSafe. It is the most popular home protection system for DIY, and it costs a fraction of what an entire ADT system would cost. Some home automation features can make you lose out, but at least you don’t have to sign a contract.

Contracts

ADT needs you to sign a 36-month contract, unlike some flashy new no-contract security systems out there. That used to be the industry standard, but it is becoming less common for contracts. We would love to see more flexible contract solutions provided by ADT, such as Vivint, Connect Interactive, Frontpoint, and a dozen other systems.

On the up side, once all your equipment is up and in position, you don’t have to sign on the dotted line until the end of your installation day. And you don’t have to think about signing up for a machine that isn’t in your house yet, either. Just bear in mind that these installation days can also upsell ADT possibilities, so keep an eye on your number.

Technology and Equipment

ADT has a wide range of sensors for basic security and smart home options.
ADT doesn’t have any sort of fancy, exclusive equipment for the most part. It uses a lot of the same basic sensors from a dozen other security firms that we’ve used. That said, you get full home automation options and control if you opt for one of the ADT Command packages.

Basic Equipment for Security

ADT has the equipment you need, whether you only want to protect your doors and windows or you want a fully armed fortress complete with flood sensors and smart lights. The only drawback is that it’s a game of wondering how much it’ll cost at the end of the day.

ADT does not list its equipment prices online, for that matter, or anywhere else. That’s because, for all we know, the prices will vary depending on the area, your installation specifics, which contractor installs your device, and possibly the color of your left foot. Transparency isn’t a strong point for ADT.

Tip #4

Some homeowner insurance providers are providing security systems discounts or rewards. To see if yours is one of them, review your policy.

Up to your installation date, you won’t find out the total cost of the equipment you order. We don’t like that you have to wait to know for so long, but it does make your installation very flexible. You can nix it from your final kit if you decide you don’t want the third indoor camera or the fourth flood sensor.

Cameras

If you want the best cameras around, we have to admit, then ADT isn’t our first choice. If you want an ADT system primarily for cameras, then we’d suggest that we’re going to go for another system altogether. Yeah, you’re going to get simple features like night vision, but we’ve seen cheaper cameras from companies like Arlo and Nest, as well as from complete systems like Vivint, with better specs.

That said, a few different cameras are available from ADT, including an indoor model, an outdoor option, and a doorbell cam.

The outdoor cameras are good, but some of the top features we’ve seen in other independent cameras are missing. They’re not bad, they just lack the dazzle that you get from Vivint cameras, an Arlo Ultra, or a Nest Cam IQ Outdoor.

All of the ADT cameras are capable of In 1080p HD recording and come with two-way audio, motion detection, and night vision infrared. But don’t expect AI characteristics like facial recognition or identification of packages. In some other models, such as built-in sirens or spotlights, ADT cameras also skip the nice extras you find. (Check out the Arlo Pro 3 if you want stuff like that.)

Doorbell Camera

One of a variety of choices on the market is ADT’s video doorbell. You have professionally built options, such as the Nest Hello, the SimpliSafe doorbell cam, the Arlo Video Doorbell, the Vivint Doorbell Cam Pro and DIY options. We can give you more options…

As for the offer of ADT, it gives you HD recording but lacks smart features such as individual detection and warning for parcels. It gives you basics such as two-way audio, so you can tell the Amazon delivery person behind the potted plant to cover your new Nintendo Switch.

Tip #5

We suggest Blue by ADT if you want the ADT brand, but with better quality cameras. The Blue cameras have features that ADT hasn’t yet gotten around to having in their standard versions, and on your yard sign you still get the ADT tag. SafeStreets, our favorite ADT dealer, offers the Blue device as well.

Home Automation

On this one, we will send it to ADT. It has complete capabilities for home automation. Z-Wave is supported by the system and you can install smart locks, cameras, thermostats and so on. But there’s a caveat: you need to subscribe to a plan for the ADT Command. (Previously known as ADT Pulse.)

Anyway, we suggest ADT Command over your other choices, but it is necessary to remember that ADT Command is not cheap. You’ll pay more for a Command plan than you would for Link Interactive, Vivint, or Frontpoint’s similar plan (to name a few).

That said, you get access to cooler facilities, more functionality, and better integrations from ADT Command than the lower-priced plans. If you’re on an ADT scheme, then we think it’s worth the Command Plan.

Features of ADT Command

– Mobile connection and battery back-up
– Have complete control of smart home devices
– You can access it through a mobile app that let you control every part of your security system anywhere
– You can integrate it with Alexa and Google Assistant
– Camera Support and live video streaming

Mobile App

As we said, to get access to ADT’s Control mobile app, you’ll need an ADT Command plan. But the mobile app lets you control your whole security system and all your smart home devices once you have it.

You can watch live streams from anywhere on your camera (if you have a video plan). Before you left work, you should turn on your house’s air conditioner. With just your voice and your Amazon Echo, you can even arm your security system (or Google Home).

If you really want the full experience of a smart home, then you will certainly need the Control app.

Installation

These days, DIY home surveillance devices are all the rage. Like the famous children at a boring high school dance, Abode and Ring Alarm are. But sometimes you just want the experts to do the job for you, and that’s exactly what the ADT does.

You’ll set up an installation date for a specialist to come out and set it up when you order your ADT alarm device. Then they’ll put up your yard sign and mount your control panel first when the tech gets there, and then go with you around your house and find any places that could use a little security love.

Benefits of having professional installation:

– They will do it for you!
– You don’t have to second guess which one is which and where to put them
– You are surely not going to mess things up.

Drawbacks of having professional installation:

– It’s going to cost you money
– You need to be at home
– You don’t exactly know how many equipment you’ll going to end up having.

Before installing all the new appliances, the contractor will go over the final price with you (except the keypad). Nothing you don’t like you don’t have to sign off on. That said, not knowing beforehand how much you’re going to have to pay can be frustrating.

So, what’s new with ADT?

Customer Experience

The client experience of ADT is volatile because it incorporates so many different retailers. SafeStreets we suggest.

Much like Forrest Gump’s line about the chocolate box, you never know exactly what customer experience you’re going to get with ADT. Because several third-party contractors are used by the organization, the customer experience depends on one of those contractors you are using.

We’re going to make it a little simpler for you: use SafeStreets. ADT itself does not receive outstanding customer service ratings, but on the whole, SafeStreets receives glowing endorsements. Plus, you know you’ll get installation techs for SafeStreets, which makes things a little more predictable.

Overall Assessment:

The top ADT systems aren’t inexpensive, but for that extra money, you get tons of extra features.

ADT has a long history of delivering accurate security solutions backed up by skilled tracking. But for you, is it the right alarm system?

Basic Equipment:

The equipment from ADT isn’t the most thrilling stuff we’ve seen, but it does the job. If you just want the good stuff, then go for an ADT Command plan that provides you with a touchscreen keyboard and mobile app access.

Cameras:

Cameras with ADT are okay. They’re HD and offer features such as vision at night. But they don’t give some features, like smart notifications, that we expect from top cameras. We’ve seen better.

Home automation integrations:

As long as you sign up with smart home support for an ADT Command plan, then ADT has a lot of different integrations for home automation. From locks to electrical outlets, you can monitor anything.

Installation:

ADT only do professional install. Your installation technician will work for you to protect your home properly, but that means it’s harder to predict the equipment you’re going to end up with (and how much you’re going to pay for it).

Monitoring:

If you sign up to a plan for a landline or broadband, then the price of ADT is par for the course. But we prefer cellular command plans from ADT, which cost substantially more (even compared to competitors).

Customer Support:

Since ADT uses different contractors for anything from sales to installation, the customer experience is a little unpredictable. (Which is why we suggest going through SafeStreets. It receives outstanding reviews of customer service.)

For some reason, ADT security services are the best-known in home security but bear in mind that if you want access to all of its best features, then you will certainly pay for them.