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Brinks vs ADT: A Comprehensive Comparison of Features and Technology

Brinks vs ADT: A Comprehensive Comparison of Features and Technology February 19, 2024


Brinks and ADT are two of the most well-known and largest home security companies in the U.S. Both companies have been around for decades, with Brinks starting in 1859 and ADT beginning in 1874. They offer professionally monitored home security systems installed by technicians as well as DIY options. Brinks ...

Brinks and ADT are two of the most well-known and largest home security companies in the U.S. Both companies have been around for decades, with Brinks starting in 1859 and ADT beginning in 1874. They offer professionally monitored home security systems installed by technicians as well as DIY options.

Brinks Home Security was originally founded as Brinks Inc. and was best known as an armored transport service before expanding into home security in the 1990s. ADT likewise started by providing burglary and fire alarm systems to businesses before moving into home security. Now they are two of the leaders in smart home security systems and technology.

With their longstanding history and experience, both Brinks and ADT have built reputations for providing reliable monitoring and home protection. However, they differ in their service offerings, equipment, monitoring plans, and pricing. This comprehensive comparison will go over the key features and differences between Brinks and ADT to help consumers make the right choice for their home security needs.

 

History

 

Brinks was founded in 1859 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Perry Brink. It started as a transportation security company focused on protecting valuables being shipped. Over the decades, it expanded into home security services. 

ADT was founded in 1874 by Edward Calahan. Originally named American District Telegraph, it provided telegraph delivery and messenger services. In the 1960s-70s it evolved into a residential and commercial security provider.

So both companies have long histories, with Brinks being older by 15 years. However, ADT has been solely focused on security services for a longer period, especially in the home security domain. This gives them an edge when it comes to experience in residential security systems.

 

Services Offered

 

Both Brinks and ADT offer a range of home security services and options to meet customers’ needs. 

Monitoring Services

 

Brinks offers basic monitoring services starting at $29 per month for burglary and equipment malfunction monitoring. This covers monitoring by professional security agents 24/7 as well as dispatch to emergency services if an alarm is triggered. Upgrades are available for fire, carbon monoxide, flood and temperature monitoring. 

ADT’s basic monitoring service starts at $36.99 per month and includes 24/7 monitoring by professional security agents, alarm response and dispatch services for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide and other emergencies. Additional monitoring options are available for medical alert services.

 

Equipment  

 

Brinks offers a range of security equipment from sensors and motion detectors to control panels, smoke detectors, security cameras and smart locks. Their basic packages include a combination of door/window sensors, motion detectors, key fobs and yard signs depending on the size of the home. Higher tier packages include additional equipment like glass break sensors, smoke alarms and security cameras.

ADT offers a similar range of security equipment from control panels, motion sensors, security cameras to glass break detectors, smoke/CO detectors and flood sensors. Their basic packages come with a control panel, keypad, motion sensor, entry sensors and yard sign. Higher tier packages add extra equipment like security cameras, glass break sensors and smoke detectors.

 

Smart Home Technology

 

Brinks integrates with smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest and Samsung SmartThings. This allows customers to arm, disarm and monitor their system using voice commands or a smart home app. Brinks’ higher tier packages come with home automation capabilities like smart lighting, locks and thermostats.

ADT offers extensive smart home integration through their ADT Pulse platform. This enables control of the security system via voice assistants, smartphones, tablets and other smart devices. ADT also partners with major smart home brands to allow added security like smart locks, lights, thermostats and garage door openers. Higher tier ADT packages include automation and control of smart home devices.

 

Equipment and Technology 

 

Both Brinks and ADT offer comprehensive security systems to protect homes and businesses. Here is a comparison of some of their key equipment and technology: 

 

Security Systems

 

– Brinks systems use cellular monitoring and cloud backup of data, instead of relying solely on traditional landline monitoring. This ensures security continues even if the landline is cut.

– ADT offers a range of traditional hardwired systems and also cellular ones called Safe & Smart. Their equipment options are more robust, including control panels and peripherals from well-known brands like GE and Honeywell.

– For professional installation and monitoring, Brinks contracts licensed technicians while ADT has its own employed technicians. This allows ADT to ensure more standardized training and service.

 

Cameras 

 

– ADT’s security camera offering is more extensive. Options range from indoor and outdoor HD cameras to doorbell cameras and advanced pan/tilt/zoom cameras with 360° views. All video feeds integrate with the ADT mobile app.

– Brinks has fewer camera choices but does offer HD indoor/outdoor, doorbell, and pan/tilt zoom cameras. Their indoor cameras are more limited and lack pan/tilt/zoom. But cameras integrate with the Brinks app.

– Both companies provide video storage with their packages, with ADT offering more storage overall across their various plans.

 

Sensors and Detectors

 

– Standard sensors are available from both companies for doors, windows, motion, smoke, carbon monoxide, glass break, flood, temperature changes and more.

– ADT offers advanced options like invisible beam sensors for open concept rooms, long-range motion detectors, and tamper-resistant contacts. This provides more flexibility, especially for large homes.

– Brinks sensors are sufficient for typical needs but lack some of the more advanced sensor capabilities that ADT offers.

Overall, ADT has a technological advantage over Brinks when it comes to equipment options and advanced systems. But Brinks still provides adequate technology for most residential and small business security monitoring.

 

Monitoring Centers

 

ADT and Brinks operate multiple monitoring centers across the United States to provide monitoring services for customers. 

ADT has 6 monitoring centers located in California, Florida, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. The multiple locations allow for redundancy so if one center experiences an outage, the others can take over monitoring responsibilities. The monitoring centers have extensive backup power supplies and generators to maintain operations in the event of power failures.

Brinks has 3 main monitoring centers located in Texas, Florida, and Ohio. These centers also have redundancy built in so that monitoring capabilities are not disrupted if one center goes down. Uninterruptible power supply systems and generators provide backup electricity in case of grid outages. 

The use of multiple, strategically placed monitoring centers with robust backup power by both ADT and Brinks ensures that home security systems can be monitored at all times without disruption. While Brinks operates fewer centers, both companies’ footprints cover large swaths of the country to maintain monitoring capabilities for customers even in disastrous situations that could knock out power regionally. Overall, the monitoring networks are extensive for both providers.

 

Mobile Apps

 

Both Brinks and ADT offer mobile apps for iOS and Android that allow users to monitor and control their home security system from a smartphone or tablet. 

The Brinks Home Security app enables users to arm and disarm their system, view live video feeds, receive alerts and notifications, create custom modes and rules, and control smart home devices like lights and locks. Key features include:

– Live video streaming from security cameras

– Push notifications for system events and alarms  

– Ability to sound alarm and contact emergency services  

– Remote arming and disarming of system

– Door lock and lighting controls for compatible smart devices

– Custom modes and rules to automate system actions

The ADT Pulse app provides similar capabilities to control security systems and smart home devices. Users can view status, receive alerts, arm/disarm security, adjust lighting and temperature, and lock doors. Notable features include:

 

– Real-time video monitoring

– Custom alerts for security, environmental and activity notifications  

– Geo-services to arm/disarm based on location  

– Voice control integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

– Automation for lighting, door locks, thermostats

– Easy access to emergency services

Both apps provide robust mobile access and controls for home security and automation systems. Brinks app may offer more flexibility for custom modes and rules. ADT Pulse has tighter smart home integration. But both provide convenient mobile access for modern home security needs.

 

Smart Home Integration

 

Both Brinks and ADT offer integration with popular smart home platforms and devices. This allows customers to control their security systems and other smart devices from a single app.

Brinks is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Nest, and Samsung SmartThings. You can use voice commands to arm and disarm your Brinks system, lock doors, turn lights on/off, and more. Brinks also works with smart thermostats, doorbell cameras, switches, and sensors from top brands.  

ADT also works with Google Assistant, Alexa, and SmartThings. Additionally, ADT offers native integration with Honeywell Total Connect smart home devices like thermostats, lights, locks, and cameras. Control4 home automation systems are compatible with ADT security as well. You can create customized smart home routines like turning on lights and adjusting your thermostat when the alarm is disarmed.

In terms of breadth of integration, Brinks and ADT support all the major smart home platforms. ADT offers a bit more native integration out-of-the-box with brands like Honeywell and Control4. But both systems allow robust smart home control and automation when paired with leading smart devices.

 

Monitoring Plans  

 

When it comes to monitoring plans, Brinks and ADT offer some similarities as well as some key differences.

 

Cost

 

The monthly monitoring costs for Brinks start at $29.99/month for basic monitoring. They also offer a step-up plan at $39.99/month. 

ADT’s monitoring plans start at $28.99/month for their basic Total Home plan. They also offer a step-up plan called ADT Command for $52.99/month.

So at the basic level, costs are very comparable. ADT has a slight edge at $1/month cheaper for basic monitoring. But at the premium level, Brinks is more affordable at $39.99 vs $52.99 for ADT.

 

Terms

 

Brinks typically requires a 3-year monitoring contract. ADT also has a 3-year contract for their basic plan, but offers more flexibility with a 1-year contract option on their premium plan.

So ADT has a bit of an advantage when it comes to contract terms.

 

Features

 

The Brinks basic plan includes monitoring for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, emergency medical dispatch, and smart home automation.

The ADT basic plan monitoring covers burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, emergency medical dispatch. Their premium plan adds video monitoring and home automation control.

For the most part, the plans are similar in terms of core features covered. ADT offers a few more advanced features like video monitoring at the premium tier.

 

Equipment

 

The equipment cost for Brinks averages $500-$600 depending on the system package.

ADT’s equipment costs more, averaging $850-$1,300+ depending on equipment chosen.

So Brinks has a clear advantage when it comes to upfront equipment costs and fees. Their hardware is much more affordable for customers.

 

Installation

 

Brinks provides free professional installation on all their monitoring packages.

ADT also offers free installation for hardwired systems, however wireless systems incur an installation charge.

For hardwired systems, installation fees are a wash. But Brinks edges out ADT for those wanting wireless setups.

So in summary for monitoring plans:

– Costs are comparable at the basic level, ADT has a slight edge

– Brinks offers better value at the premium tier  

– ADT offers more contract flexibility

– Core features are largely similar, ADT has some advanced add-ons

– Brinks hardware costs much less upfront

– Installation fees favor Brinks slightly

Overall it’s very close, with the biggest differentiators being lower equipment costs with Brinks and advanced features with ADT. But for most basic needs, the two providers have very similar monitoring plans and pricing.

 

Customer Satisfaction

 

When it comes to customer satisfaction, reviews and ratings for Brinks and ADT reveal some key differences between the two companies. 

Brinks generally receives mixed reviews from customers. On third-party review sites like ConsumerAffairs and the Better Business Bureau, Brinks averages around 1.5-2 stars out of 5. The most common complaints focus on poor customer service, unexpected fees, and unreliable equipment. Many customers felt Brinks did not deliver the level of service advertised.

ADT fares significantly better for customer satisfaction, earning 3.5-4 stars out of 5 on average. While ADT does receive some complaints about pricing and contracts, the majority of customers seem pleased with the reliability and performance of the systems. ADT also scores higher for helpful customer support. 

Looking at direct customer reviews and third-party ratings, ADT appears to edge out Brinks when it comes to keeping customers happy. Factors like customer service and equipment functionality seem to be stronger areas for ADT. However, both companies receive a mix of positive and negative feedback. Doing thorough research before choosing a home security provider is advised.

 

Conclusions

 

When comparing Brinks and ADT, both companies offer similar home security services and equipment. However, there are some key differences between the two providers:

– Brinks tend to be more affordable, especially for basic monitoring services, whereas ADT is on the pricier side. ADT does offer more flexibility with higher tiers of monitoring and home automation.  

– ADT has a longer history and larger customer base, while Brinks is a smaller company that’s been gaining ground more recently. Both have strong brand recognition.

– For equipment and technology, ADT offers a wider range of options including control panels and home automation. Brinks has a more limited selection focused on security basics.

– ADT provides professional installation and higher levels of customer service. Brinks is mostly DIY install and has faced some criticism for customer support.

– ADT works with a fully owned monitoring network while Brinks uses third party monitoring centers. Both meet industry standards.

Overall, ADT is the better choice for a full smart home security system with extra features and customization. But Brinks provides solid basic monitoring at lower prices, so it can be ideal for budget-focused customers. Understanding these key differences allows consumers to select the provider that best fits their home security needs and priorities.

 

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