When you're looking for a new home security system, hundreds of security providers are to consider. ADT is a reliable, well-known provider with 140 years of service. AT&T provides phone service and is perhaps equally notable, but the Digital Life security service is less prominent. Like ADT, the brand offers 24/7 monitoring and professional installation.
ADT vs. AT&T Digital Life: What are the similarities?
- Professional monitoring: You'll be under the watchful eye of professional monitoring centers 24/7, giving you peace of mind in an emergency.
- Mobile app: Their mobile apps offer similar functionality, with push notifications and remote arm/disarming of your alarm system.
- Professional installation: You won't be able to complete DIY installation with these providers - pro install only.
- Customer service: AT&T has always had a spotty reputation in customer service, and ADT does too, thanks to ADT's habit of outsourcing customer support services to other offices operating under the ADT brand.
- Environmental sensors: Environmental sensors can save you thousands of dollars in an emergency.
- Long-term contracts: You'll need to take out a minimum of a 24-month contract to enjoy services with either provider. Long-term contracts can be quite a hassle due to early termination fees.
ADT vs. AT&T Digital Life: What are the differences?
- Smart home integration: AT&T offers a smart door lock, but there's little else in smart home devices. AT&T explicitly prevents Alexa from controlling cameras, garage door openers, and alarm system control via voice control despite advertising compatibility with Amazon's Alexa. ADT has full functionality with Alexa and other third-party integrations.
- Reputation: ADT has a much stronger security industry reputation, with over 140 years in the industry and key, unique benefits.
- Limited service area: ADT covers all of North America and several other countries. AT&T's digital life has a limited and confusing service range.
ADT: What you need to know
ADT Home Security is one of the best home security systems with multiple monitoring centers across the USA - but it comes at a price. ADT is an international household name, providing services globally. ADT rates well for home automation, equipment quality, and more. Let's take an in-depth look at what ADT has to offer.
While you can't install your system yourself, installation is included in your cost. You have nothing to worry about; an ADT representative will come to your home to discuss your installation and walk you through everything to ensure you fully understand your new system.
The precise equipment you'll have will vary, but the basic traditional security system comprises:
- A landline monitored the push-button keypad
- Window sensors
- Motion sensors
- Door sensors
- Key fob
- Window decals
- Yard signs
However, you can buy extras such as security cameras on an a la carte basis.
- Touchscreen management system (monitoring through cellular service)
- Outdoor camera
- Keyless door lock
- Light control
- Garage control
- Window sensors
- Smart thermostats
- Automated switches and plugs
- Indoor camera
- Doorbell camera
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Flood sensors
- Glass break sensors
ADT offers a range of home automation products. Still, it's also compatible with some third-party products such as Z-wave, IFTTT products, smart locks, Nest thermostats, garage door control, smart lights, and voice control via Alexa integration.
You'll have several key costs to consider when purchasing a security system. You should consider:
- Equipment costs: With ADT, the equipment costs are included in the upfront costs.
- Installation costs: Depending on your package, the initial outlay will be $99-$229.
- Monthly costs: Monthly monitoring fees range from $35.99 to $57.99 per month.
- Reputation: ADT is one of the largest security firms in the world, implying that you won't be leaping into the unknown.
- Easy installation: You won't have any installation worries. An experienced technician will complete it for you, and your at-home consultation will help you understand exactly what you need.
- Customer service inconsistencies: ADT may be known for excellent customer service, but the third-party companies they outsource to aren't, which results in inconsistent customer support experiences.
- Add-on extras: The base package for ADT is affordable, but extras can mount fast.
- Mobile app issues: Customers have reported losing connectivity or seeing delays with the app from time to time, which can become an annoying issue.
AT&T Digital Life: What you need to know
AT&T is a popular name, best known for providing telephone services to most of America. They also offer smooth installation and expert consultations to those wanting to sign up for the Digital Life service. Unfortunately, they don't fare so well in the home automation space, and monitoring fees and customer service also have a poor reputation.
Their setup is perhaps the best part of the process - when you sign up, an expert will visit your home and arrange the straightforward, professional install process. The technician can also review any home security weaknesses and discuss your security needs.
AT&T offers technically advanced equipment with a lifetime warranty. The basic package consists of:
- Contact sensors x2
- Window sensors x4
- Control panel x1
- Motion sensor x1
- Indoor siren x1
But you can buy additional extras for a more comprehensive system.
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Glass break sensor
- Video doorbell
- Indoor cameras
- Outdoor cameras
AT&T is reasonably basic in the home automation sphere; you should consider ADT if you're looking for smart lights and thermostats. You can integrate your system with Alexa - to a limited degree and use a smart door lock, but that is the limit of AT&T's functionality.
AT&T has less transparent pricing, but costs seem to be:
- Equipment costs: The basic alarm system costs $549.99, but additional items can be added. A la carte pricing is not openly available.
- Installation costs: AT&T does not charge an activation or installation fee.
- Monthly costs: AT&T requires a two-year contract for new customers with a monthly fee of $39.99.
- Well-known company: They're a trusted company that most people rely on for telephone service.
- Free professional install: Professional installation is available for free.
- Unclear availability: AT&T Digital Life will ask you to check the service availability before you purchase; when asked where the services are offered, support said nationwide but refused to clarify further.
- Confusing website: The AT&T Digital Life site displays various products; however, purchasing them is challenging. Our SecurityNerd was able to access some information, such as that AT&T does offer indoor and outdoor cameras, but we couldn't find further information on making a purchase.
- Poor customer support: Our SecurityNerd tried to call AT&T multiple times, and nobody would take the call. While there is a live chat option, the stilted answers and bad grammar clarify that you're talking to a bot.
ADT or AT&T?
If you're looking for a traditional home security company, it's easy to see how you've stumbled upon these two. AT&T is very well known, and ADT has an unmatched reputation. They offer similar security solutions with excellent monitoring services and video cameras. However, AT&T's poor customer service, confusing service area, high cost, and low home automation options mean that our SecurityNerd rated ADT better, so you should consider ADT for your home security needs.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.