ADT vs Canary Security

If you're looking for a new home security system, it's no surprise that you've come across these two. ADT is one of the oldest security providers, known for providing excellent smart home security and professional monitoring services. ADT is also one of the most senior providers in the industry.

Canary is also a great provider but is essentially the opposite of ADT.

Canary is a new (2013) provider known for its flexibility and self-monitoring. Canary has great customer reviews and has several key benefits. In this security review, we'll be looking at them side by side to see what they offer.

ADT and Canary Security: What do they have in common?

  • Z-wave compatibility: ADT and Canary Security offer Z-wave compatibility; you can use your system with Nest Thermostat, Google Assistant, Alexa, and more.
  • 1080p HD cameras: You can purchase and use high-quality HD cameras with both security systems.
  • Mobile app: You'll be able to monitor and receive push notifications regarding any changes to your system via an easy-to-use mobile app. Arming your system remotely is also possible.
  • Night vision: The outdoor cameras offered by both service providers can use night vision.
  • Video doorbells: Both service providers offer similar doorbell cameras, with two-way talk enabled. Two-way audio is a handy tool that allows you to give instructions to a delivery person or act as though you're home (even if you're not).
  • Warranty: Both providers offer extended warranty.

ADT and Canary Security: What are the differences?

  • Professional monitoring: ADT only offers professionally monitored alarm systems, but Canary only offers self-monitored systems.
  • Add-ons: Canary only offers essential security equipment; ADT offers a more comprehensive service, including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and motion sensors.
  • Reputation: ADT has been in the industry for over 100 years, but Canary Security has scarcely been around for a decade.
  • Costs: Canary is much cheaper than ADT. Canary doesn't charge for installation (DIY only), and monthly costs aren't required.
  • Window sensors: While Canary has impressive person detection and other great features, they don't have window sensors (or door sensors), meaning that they are severely limited as a security company.
  • Professional installation: Canary doesn't offer professional installation. ADT only offers professional installation.

Canary Security - What you need to know

Canary is an industry disrupter that launched in 2013 following a Kickstarter campaign. They're becoming known for being an affordable, flexible provider with growing home automation options, high-quality HD video cameras, and a 90-decibel siren. All of the systems on offer are DIY home security systems.


Homeowners will find self-installation a breeze; you don't need to drill any holes or have any special technical skills. Each mount is easy to install, and the security cameras rely on Wi-Fi so that you won't need an ethernet connection. Reviews report that installation takes less than 10 minutes.


Canary offers several home security cameras and mounts in their home security line.

Basic security system 

  • Canary Pro
  • Canary View
  • Canary Flex

Canary accessories

  • Twist mount
  • Secure mount
  • Stake mount

Canary doesn't offer as much equipment as other providers do.

Home Automation

Canary isn't the best provider for home automation and, unlike ADT, doesn't provide smart lights, garage control, or locks. But they do have a few options, which include:

  • If This Then That (IFTTT)
  • Amazon's Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Wink


When you purchase a new Canary system, you'll have a few costs to consider

  • Equipment costs: Equipment costs start from just $99, though you can get a better deal by subscribing to a longer-term plan (12 or 24-months).
  • Monthly costs: If you don't want additional services such as video storage (included in premium membership) and purchase your equipment upfront, you won't have to pay a monthly fee. If you do want premium services, monthly costs start from $9.99. You can get a discount with a 2-year contract.

Nerd Pros

  • Money-back guarantee: Canary has an excellent guarantee; if you don't think Canary is for you, you can return your equipment within 60-days for a full refund.
  • Price: Canary is an affordable provider, particularly compared to security giant ADT. The most expensive product, Canary Flex, comes in at $129, which is excellent for a weatherproof outdoor/indoor camera. It's also affordable to unlock extra cloud storage and other benefits.
  • Unique features: Canary cameras offer facial recognition and AI features that can arm/disarm your camera based on who's leaving the house.

Nerd Cons

  • No door or window sensors: While Canary offers enhanced motion detection, it can't detect breaches as it doesn't have window/door sensors.
  • No monitoring services: There are no monitoring services available with Canary.

ADT: What you need to know

ADT has been in the business for almost 150 years and has become a household name. You know you can trust ADT and the blue logo is a familiar sight worldwide. But, ADT is inflexible with long contracts and a high price.


Unlike Canary, you can't have a self-monitor or DIY system with ADT. You'll need professional installation. Professional installation is necessary and costs at least $99; there's no way to have ADT services on a DIY basis. Professional installation costs at least $99, and you'll have an ADT representative install your new system and walk you through it to ensure you understand how it works.


The basic system consists of:

  • Motion detectors (window and door)
  • Key fob
  • Yard signs and decals
  • Push-button keypad

You can buy extras individually, including:

  • Flood and freeze detectors
  • Touchscreen control system
  • Outdoor cameras
  • Smart locks
  • Light control garage control
  • Automated smart switches and plugs

Home automation

Your ADT equipment will be compatible with various third-party integrations; options include Z-wave and IFTTT equipment such as Google Assistant, Nest Thermostat, and Alexa. ADT also has a range of smart lights, locks, and a video doorbell. Canary doesn't include any dedicated automation.


The costs to consider when you purchase are as follows:

  • Equipment costs: You won't pay upfront for your equipment; it's incorporated into your monthly costs.
  • Installation fee: Installation fees vary from $99 to $299, depending on the system's complexity.
  • Monthly fees: Monthly costs start at $35.99 and go up to $57.99.

Nerd Pros:

  • Reputation: ADT enjoys an excellent reputation with longevity that other providers can only dream of - you can be confident with ADT by your side.
  • Hardware: ADT has the best equipment in the industry - there's no risk of flimsy plastic equipment here.
  • Professional installation:  Someone from ADT will help you decide your security needs, install your new system and walk you through your new security system.

Nerd Cons:

  • Customer service inconsistencies: ADT has enjoyed an excellent reputation for years, but there have been issues since beginning to outsource customer support to third-party companies. This is apparent when looking at ADT's reviews.
  • Add-on extras: Nobody is surprised by ADT's price - they are a premium provider. Surprisingly, the basic packages are affordable, but your bill can get expensive fast if you choose too many extras.
  • Mobile app issues: The mobile app is basic with several glitches. Such a large company should have a much smoother app.

Canary Security or ADT?

These security providers are both excellent, but they don't have many similarities - it's like comparing apples and oranges.

You should consider an ADT system if you're looking for a traditional security provider with professional installation, add-ons, monitoring, and smart security devices. However, if you want a cheaper DIY system with enhanced cameras and don't mind more basic functionality, you can take a chance on Canary Security.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James 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.