ADT Home Security Review
ADT is the largest and probably the most well-known home security company in the U.S. The company has been around for over 140 years (fun fact: it was originally called American District Telegraph).
ADT offers security systems for homes and businesses, as well as health and senior safety devices. The company boasts over 7 million customers and 200 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
If you’re looking for an established business with a good reputation, ADT may be a good pick for you.
Nerd Rating: 4 / 5
ADT offers excellent options in customization, including smart home features. The equipment itself isn’t fancy, but it works.
Installation and customer service can vary in quality though.
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Here’s how we graded ADT:
- Hardware: 4 out of 5 stars. ADT equipment is pretty basic, especially in the traditional package, which uses the same push-button keypad the company has offered for years. Upgrade to a pricier package, and you’ll get a touchscreen command system that’s got a higher level of encryption, so it’s not hackable.
- Customer Service: 3 out of 5 stars. We’re not saying you’re not going to get great customer service from ADT. Problem is, because ADT uses third-party contractors, some people get excellent customer service and others don’t. That unpredictability caused our SecurityNerds to give it an average rating.
- Pricing: 3 out of 5 stars. ADT can be costly if you want to go above and beyond the traditional package and add on features, such as smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring, smart home features and additional door and window sensors.
- The Mobile App: 4 out of 5 stars. Both the iTunes and Google Play ADT Pulse apps get pretty good ratings on average. Most of the negative reviews cite delays and connectivity issues.
- SmartHome Capabilities: 4.5 out of 5 stars. ADT has recently introduced a pretty great new doorbell camera. It, and other smart home features, can be used with any package above the traditional one.
ADT Fees & Features
Our SecurityNerd spoke with an ADT representative who said ADT prices can change, and there are often promotions or deals when adding on features. So you’ll have to call to get a custom quote. To give you an idea of pricing, here’s what our SecurityNerd was quoted for four different ADT packages.
|Traditional Package||Remote Package||Video Package w/ 1 Camera||Video Package w/ Doorbell Camera|
|Installation Fee||$99 (includes equipment)||$129 (includes equipment)||$129 (includes equipment)||$229 (includes equipment)|
|Smoke and CO Monitoring||Add-On||Add-On||Add-On||Add-On|
|Medical Pendant||Available Seperately||Available Seperately||Available Seperately||Available Seperately|
|Smart Home Integration||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Contract Length||36 months||36 months||36 months||36 months|
|iTunes app rating||n/a||4.8 stars||4.8 stars||4.8 stars|
|Google Play app rating||n/a||4.1 stars||4.1 stars||4.1 stars|
ADT is a great choice if you’re concerned about trying something new. You’re not taking a big risk by going with this well-known company.
Customer service reviews for ADT are all over the board because the company uses third-party contractors. For this reason, our SecurityNerds can’t predict what your experience will be like, but it’s something to be aware of. We suggest talking to some local ADT customers to see how their experience with customer service has been.
Equipment available from ADT
Most tech-savvy homeowners are going to want to upgrade from the traditional ADT package, which has a push-button keypad and works through a landline, and get a package with a touchscreen command system, which is monitored through a cellular line and has the ability to be controlled remotely using the ADT Pulse app. Even with an upgraded package, you may want to add on safety and smart home features.
- Push button keypad (monitoring through landline)
- Window/door sensors
- Motion detector
- Key fob
- Yard signs and window decals
The ADT Mobile App
The ADT Pulse app has a:
- 4.1 rating in the Google Play Store
- 4.8 rating in the Apple App Store
Our SecurityNerds say the app is very easy to use. It has a lot of functionality, including:
- Ability to arm and disarm your security system
- Ability to view the cameras (indoor and outdoor) from anywhere in the world
- Ability to talk to someone at the front door, if you have the doorbell feature
- Receive push notifications when your alarm is triggered or when a family member enters the home
- Lock and unlock doors remotely, if you have smart locks
- Adjust the temperature of your home, if you have a smart thermostat
- Turn off smart appliances and/or turn on your lights, if you’ve chosen these smart home features
In the App store reviews, the biggest complaints were due to delays and connectivity issues. Note that ADT Pulse can’t be used on jailbroken and “rooted” devices because they pose a security risk.
ADT Smart Home Capabilities
The ADT Pulse mobile app can be buggy but it gets good ratings and is easy to use. You might want to take advantage of more of the capabilities the app has to offer. Here are some of the smart-home features available from ADT that can be controlled through the app:
- Door Lock: With smart door locks, you can lock and unlock doors from your app. Program your door to lock after 30 seconds of being unlocked, if you like. You can also set user access codes, so certain family members or friends can get in, and you can get alerts when people enter and exit the house.
- Garage Control: If you opt for garage door security, you will know (via the app) when your garage door is open or closed, and you can open and close the door from wherever you are.
- Thermostat: You can remotely access and control the temperature in your house. You can also set different temperatures during different times of the day, helping to reduce your energy bill. You can even set up separate settings for weekends or for vacation, for example.
- Light Control: Smart lights and smart bulbs allow you to turn on and off lights, even when you’re not home. This can be helpful if you want to make it look like you’re home, to deter burglars, or if you want your home to be lit when you get there.
- Video Doorbell: Answer your front door, even when you’re not there. With a doorbell camera that has two-way audio, you can see who’s ringing the bell and talk to them. Tell delivery persons where to leave your package, or make it seem like you’re home, even when you’re not.
- Alexa Integration: If you also have Alexa, you can integrate it into your app. Then, just talk to Alexa to control your ADT smart home features.
You do not need to get smart home capabilities through ADT. You can get some separately if you want, but not all smart home features can be controlled through the ADT app—there’s something convenient and streamlined about just having to rely on one app. Being able to control it all through Alexa is an added perk.
ADT Customer Service
There’s no doubt ADT is large company with established experience in home security monitoring, so you can feel good about knowing its team is on-call in case of emergency. Plus, it offers a six-month money-back guarantee. But know that installation and service are done by independent companies, some of which get great reviews and some not-so-much. Some customers recommend going through Protect Your Home, which is the largest ADT provider and an offer a slightly more predictable experience than going through a less established third party.
To test customer service, our SecurityNerd called to inquire about a potential security system. They found customer service to be very easy to reach. The representative was helpful and transparent about what was included in each package. They were unable to quote us specifically about add-on items though and said that would be part of the installation process. Shortly after the general call, a local security specialist called our SecurityNerd to follow up.
ADT covers the following areas
ADT pricing and packages
When purchasing a security system, here are the key costs to consider:
- Equipment costs: With ADT, the equipment costs are part of the installation fee.
- Installation costs: Professional installation can cost anywhere from $99 to $229, depending on which package and equipment you choose.
- Monthly costs: Monthly fees pay for monitoring and service. As of the date of publication, ADT fees range from $35.99 to $57.99 per month.
- Activation fee: Some security system companies charge activation fees. ADT does not.
- Taxes: Your state and local taxes may be applicable as well.
You can purchase additional equipment from ADT a la carte. Our SecurityNerds found that prices can vary depending on which package you’ve purchased and what promotions are going on at the time. You may choose to add on:
- Extra door and window sensors
- Outdoor camera
- Indoor camera
- Doorbell camera
- Carbon monoxide & smoke detectors
- Flood sensors
- Keyless door locks
- Light control
- Garage control
- Smart thermostats
- Automated switches and plugs
Nerd Rating: 4 / 5
ADT is a good choice for anyone wanting to keep their home secure. This reputable company may not have the most fancy equipment, but it works. And it does offer all the smart home features you could want, as well as professional installation that takes out any DIY guesswork. It’s definitely not cheap, especially if you want a lot of extras.
If you’re looking to compare other security systems to ADT, you might want to consider:
- Vivint: This fairly-newcomer also offers a lot of extras like ADT does but is still trying to develop a reputation. It works with some favorite smart home brands such as Nest, Ping and Google Home. Prices are similar to ADT but that all depends on which features you choose.
- SimpliSafe: This national, high-tech low-cost company could save you some money. With SimpliSafe, you typically install the service yourself, but get access to monitoring services.
ADT might be a bit pricier than some of the alternatives, but the top-notch monitoring and variety of smart home features make it worth it.
About the Author
Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer has written for Real Simple, Self, Good Housekeeping, Parents, The Knot, The Bump, and other publications. Elena is also a soccer mom, adjunct professor and taco enthusiast, who can be found antique shopping and singing in her kitchen. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two sons.