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Vivint vs. ADT Security System Comparison

When it comes to home security, it pays to do your research in order to ensure that your most valuable people and possessions stay safe. With the influx of new home security brands on the market, it can be difficult to tell them apart and know which is best.

Today, we’re diving into a head-to-head match up of Vivint vs. ADT.

Vivint
  • Price: $29.99+ / mo.
  • Contract: 0-60 months
  • Cameras: Yes, indoor & outdoor
  • Install: DIY or Pro
  • Refund: 30 days
ADT
  • Price: $36+ / mo.
  • Contract: 36 months
  • Cameras: Yes, indoor & outdoor
  • Install: Pro Only
  • Refund: 180 days

Let’s see how the two brands match up when comparing each camera in their system. There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Vivint vs. ADT Home Security Cameras

Vivint Cameras

Vivint offers three different cameras as a part of its home security package. The current models include:

  • 720p Doorbell Camera
  • Ping Indoor 1080p Wi-Fi Security Camera
  • Outdoor 1080p Wi-Fi Security Camera
Vivent doorbell camera
Vivint doorbell camera
Vivint indoor camera
Vivint indoor camera
Vivint outdoor camera
Vivint outdoor camera

Vivint also offers a selection of various sensors, smart thermostats, locks, and remotes for a fully integrated smart home.

ADT Cameras

ADT offers three different cameras as well. The designs look a bit different, but the jobs are similar. The current ADT models include:

  • Indoor 1080p Wi-Fi Security Camera
  • Outdoor 720p Wi-Fi Security Camera
  • 720p Doorbell Camera
ADT doorbell camera
ADT doorbell camera
ADT indoor camera
ADT indoor camera
ADT outdoor camera
ADT outdoor camera

NOTE: Not all camera styles may be shown. There are two collections of ADT cameras — ADT Command and ADT Pulse. ADT Command offer 1080p resolution.

In addition to cameras, ADT also offers entryway sensors, sirens, wireless keychain remote, digital panel, motion detectors, yard signs & window decals, as well as 24/7 monitoring and surveillance.

RELATED See our home security camera tests and reviews here

Vivint vs. ADT Design

Vivint vs ADT: Doorbell Camera

Comparing the design of the doorbell cameras, both models are similar.

The Vivint doorbell camera has a rectangular body with silver sides and a black glossy front. The front has the large camera with a dark lens and the actual doorbell button is located at the bottom.

Vivint home security - doorbell camera
Vivint doorbell security camera

Similarly, the ADT doorbell camera also has a rectangular body, but it has a rounded bottom to mimic the shape of the well. The bottom and sides are silver and the top portion which houses the camera is black.

ADT doorbell camera installed
ADT doorbell security camera

Vivint vs ADT: Indoor Camera

The Vivint indoor camera has a matte white body and 1080p video resolution. It has softened round edges with a short stem and a round disc base. This camera is not wireless.

Vivint home security - ping indoor camera
Vivint indoor security camera

The ADT indoor camera has a black body with a square camera and rounded edges. The base is rounded and uses a modern cantilever design to provide stability.

ADT indoor security camera
ADT indoor security camera

Vivint vs. ADT: Outdoor Camera

The outdoor camera for Vivint, has a white body with a rectangular base. The white base and shell can provide a sharp contrast from dark-colored facades, or blend in seamlessly, when installed on white exteriors.

The face of the camera is black to blend in the with the lens for a modern look. When activated the camera has a glowing red ring to deter suspicious activity and / or loitering.

Vivint home security - outdoor camera
Vivint home security – outdoor camera

Similarly to the Vivint system, the ADT outdoor camera also has a white base and shell with a black front. The base on both of these models allows the camera to be installed parallel with the wall (as shown on Vivint above) or perpendicular with the wall (as shown on ADT below).

ADT outdoor security camera
ADT outdoor security camera

Vivint vs. ADT Size

All of the cameras in this lineup are similar in size. They are small enough to be discreet if you prefer to install them in an inconspicuous place, or large enough to get attention if you want them to be noticed.

RELATED: We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes

Membership Fees

A security system is only as good as it’s monthly fees… or is it? Below is a quick breakdown of what exactly you get with each package tier and how Vivint vs. ADT stack up when it comes to subscription fees.

Vivint Packages

Vivint can build custom quotes based on the specific needs in your home. Prior to providing a quote, Vivint will ask you questions, like:

“How many doors and windows do you have that are easily accessible from the outside without a ladder?”

Based on your answers, they will provide a custom quote with an assortment of smart home security tools to meet your specific needs.

Although, Vivint is hesitant to list exact packages, we were able to dig up some information. Bear in mind, the exact price for these packages will vary based on the number of cameras, controls, sensors, or other premium features you may decide to add.

Three basic packages that Vivint offers includes:

  1. Smart Security
  2. Smart Home
  3. Total Home

Here’s what you’ll get with each tier:

Smart Security

  • $29.99 / mo
  • Mobile app access

Smart Home

  • $39.99 / mo
  • Mobile app access
  • Home automation support

Total Home

  • $44.99 / mo
  • Mobile app access
  • Home automation support
  • Security camera support

Vivint offers customization within each tier to build the system that best suites your needs, but the guide above is a great starting point.

The Vivint monitoring mobile app is free for all membership levels of home security.

ADT Packages

With ADT, you can also build custom packages based on your needs.

The three packages that ADT offers includes:

  1. Essentials
  2. Total Protection
  3. Premier Protection

Essentials

  • $36 / mo
  • 24-HR Alarm Monitoring
  • Digital Keypad
  • Keypad 3 Door / Window Sensors
  • Infrared Motion Detector
  • High-Decibel Alarm Siren
  • Backup Battery
  • Wireless Keychain Remote
  • Yard Sign & Window Decals

Total Protection

  • $44 / mo
  • 24-HR Alarm Monitoring
  • Digital Keypad
  • Keypad 3 Door / Window Sensors
  • Infrared Motion Detector
  • High-Decibel Alarm Siren
  • Backup Battery
  • Wireless Keychain Remote
  • Yard Sign & Window Decals
  • CellGuard®

Premium Protection

  • $56 / mo
  • 24-HR Alarm Monitoring
  • Digital Keypad
  • Keypad 3 Door / Window Sensors
  • Infrared Motion Detector
  • High-Decibel Alarm Siren
  • Backup Battery
  • Wireless Keychain Remote
  • Yard Sign & Window Decals
  • CellGuard®
  • ADT Pulse®

NOTE: If your home already has a security system from another homeowner, you can get started with ADT for as low as $19.99 / mo and use the system already in place.

What is CellGuard?

CellGuard lets you connect your monitoring system to ADT monitoring centers without the use of a landline.

What is ADT Pulse?

ADT Pulse connects your security monitoring to your home automation allowing you to monitor and manage your system and smart devices from virtually anywhere with the ADT Pulse® app.

The ADT monitoring mobile app is free for all membership levels of home security.

Contract Length

Vivint

0-60 months

ADT

36 month min.

There are differences in the structure of the contract between Vivint and ADT. With Vivint, you pay a cost for the equipment. If you decide to pay that entire balance up front, you would have no contract fee.

With Vivint, contract length is based on what percent of the total cost you put down at install.

With ADT, there is no option to pre-pay for the equipment so the contract is in place to ensure that the equipment is paid for. You are required to sign a 36-month minimum contract (unless you live in California, where the minimum is only 24 months).

If you cancel your ADT contract early, they may charge you 75% of the monthly service charge for the remainder of the initial contract.

Also, please be aware that your ADT contract will renew automatically if you don’t cancel prior to the end of your contract. But keep in mind, you can’t cancel your service online, ADT requires you to call and talk to them about your cancellation before they will actually cancel your contract for you.

What if you move?

Moving can be a confusing topic when it comes to home security. These systems can be expensive and are wired into the house.

Here’s how Vivint vs. ADT compare when it comes to packing up.

  • Vivint: Within the first 120 days, it is free to move a Vivint system. A service tech will come to your property and move it for you. After 120 days, it will be $130 to move the equipment to a new location.
  • ADT: ADT cannot move an existing ADT system, but does offers a Mover’s Savings Package, which allows you to purchase a system for your new house at a reduced rate.

Can I activate an existing system?

If you move into a house that already has a security system, how does Vivint and ADT compare?

  • Vivint: has limited compatibility when it comes to existing systems. They may be able to use the same contact sensors and some of the smart home equipment that uses z-wave technology.

[A Vivint] technician can test for compatibility when they go out. But you will need to get a new security panel from [Vivint] to use it and only [Vivint] cameras are compatible with the system.

Vivint Customer Service
  • ADT: allows you to activate and existing system, even if it’s not ADT equipment. You can be up and armed for as low as $19 / mo and save yourself the hassle and cost of installation.

Home Security & Monitoring

One feature that many people like to consider when choosing a home security system is the ability to monitor the video.

Here’s how Vivint and ADT compare when it comes to home security and monitoring:

Vivint Video Monitoring

With the Vivint camera, you can monitor the video feed directly from your smartphone using the app. If

Vivint offers a DVR package that will allow your cameras to record 24 hours a day 7 days a week whether there’s motion or not. Vivint also offers a rolling 30 days of video history.

Without the DVR option, it will only record when there’s motion in front of them and only keep 14 days of history.

Keep in mind, this feature isn’t free.

The DVR monitoring and dispatch packages range from $29.99–$44.99 / mo.

What if the alarm goes off?

In the instance of a sound alarm, Vivint will take the following actions:

  1. Call you to notify you of the alarm.
  2. If you answer, they will request a password for security purposes.
  3. However, if you don’t answer (or if the password is wrong), Vivint will listen in for anything suspicious.)
  4. If suspicious activity is suspected, local police will be dispatched to check it out.

NOTE: Vivint uses cell chip service to notify first-responders of an emergency. If you have poor cell service, it is possible that an emergency call would not get through.

ADT Video Monitoring

ADT prides itself on the 24/7 monitoring service that is offered with their home security plans. Now for clarification, this doesn’t mean that ADT is constantly monitoring the feed of your cameras.

ADT alarms can be triggered by a number of factors, environmental or malicious in nature. This could include things like carbon dioxide, smoke, glass break, or other forced entry.

What if the alarm goes off?

In the instance of a sound alarm, ADT will take the following actions:

  1. Call you to notify you of the alarm. (usually calls 1-2 numbers on file to avoid potential false alarms).
  2. If you answer, they will request a password for security purposes.
  3. If you don’t answer or if you answer and confirm the emergency, local police will be dispatched to check it out.

This means that a home security professional is ready at any moment to respond to any alerts they receive, from intrusion to environmental hazards. If any activity triggers a sensor, the person monitoring your system will contact emergency responders, who will be dispatched to your home.

NOTE: ADT can use cell chip service or go through a landline. While cell chip technology is the most secure, the option of landline use provides a wider service for ADT customers. As in the movies, landline-based emergency control is subject to criminal tampering which could disarm the alert system.

Vivint vs. ADT Features

Here’s a quick head-to-head comparison of the different features offered with Vivint and ADT.

SpecificationsVivintADT
Prices start at$29.99/mo$36/mo
Upfront CostsYes; variesYes; varies
CamerasDoorbell, Indoor, OutdoorDoorbell, Indoor, Outdoor
Contract Length0-60 months36 months (24 mo. for CA residents)
InstallationPro or DIYPro Only
Smart Home CompatibleYesYes
24/7 MonitoringYes; standard featureYes; standard feature
App ControlYes; standard featureYes; standard feature
30-day 24/7 RecordingYes; premium featureYes; premium feature
Money-Back Guarantee30 days6 months
View PackagesView PackagesView Packages
Moving PolicyWill move your system for free within the first 120 days; $130 if later than thatCannot move system; but offers "Movers Savings" discount on new system
Theft Protection PolicyApplies if system fails, not if responders fail to arrive quick enoughApplies as long as system was armed at the time of burglary ($500 insurance deductible)

Setup & Usability

Setup of Vivint and ADT require a field technician pro to come out and install the system. Costs for initial install vary based on the specs of your system, but bear in mind, there will be install costs associated.

Vivint does offer a few basic DIY packages that you can install yourself, but those just consist of a panel and a few sensors and there is minimal support in installing it if you chose DIY.

Vivint Customer Support

If an ADT system is already installed at your residence from a previous owner, you can use the system without a contract. But remember, if the alarm goes off and you aren’t currently paying for an active membership, local authorities will not be notified.

What’s the better value?

So between Vivint and ADT, which is the better bang for your buck? Unfortunately, this isn’t a black and white issue, as needs may be different for each property.

Both Vivint and ADT offer value-priced packages as well as total smart home packages.

Vivint has the lowest price to get up and running – $29.99/mo for the basic package.

The one exception is if you have a home with an existing system, you can get up and running with ADT for only $19.99/mo (with a 36-month contract).

You can get set up with Vivint without a contract, but you’ll pay higher initial costs.

Both Vivint and ADT offer smart home compatibility, a mobile app, 24/7 monitoring, indoor, outdoor, and doorbell camera, as well as moving-friendly policies.

Depending on what exactly you’re looking for in a home security system, the value of each provider will be different.

Should you buy the Vivint or ADT?

Alright, that’s a lot of specs and features thrown your way. Bottom line — which smart security systems should you buy? Let’s narrow it down.

The Vivint may be best if you want the following features in a security camera system:

  • Easy moving: If you plan on moving soon, Vivint will move the system for free (as long as you do it within the first 120 days). If it’s after 120 days, they charge $130.
  • Contract free: If you have cash to spare, you can get started with Vivint without a contract. This would just require you paying for the equipment up front. If you want to keep the mobile app viewing and 24/7 monitoring, that would require you to pay a monthly service charge.
  • Seamless smart home integration: The Vivint systems pride themselves on seamless smart home integration and work well with a variety of smart home items. The control center acts as a smart hub and allows you to easily see all of the smart home items in one place.

To learn more or to buy the Vivint security camera, check out packages here.

The ADT may be best if you want the following features in a security camera system:

  • Theft Protection Guarantee: ADT will cover up to $500 of your insurance deductible if a burglary occurs while your monitored home security system is armed.
  • Live in a rural location: Vivint sends alerts through chip data using cellular service. If your home has poor cell service, alerts may not get out. ADT offers connection via cell chip or a landline, which provides a wider service area.
  • Want the lowest startup: If your home already has an existing system, ADT can use that to drastically reduce start up costs. You’ll still need to pay the contract fees, but system monitoring can get you armed and ready for as low as $19.99 / mo.

To learn more or to buy the ADT security camera, check out on packages here.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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