ADT vs Nest Secure

A home security system is quickly becoming a necessity, but there are dozens of home security companies promising you the earth. It can be not easy to know who to trust. On the one hand, you have veterans such as ADT who've been in the industry for more than 140 years and offer dedicated professional monitoring services and HD security cameras.

Nest is newer but made its name with the Nest thermostat before branching out into more products. Nest is a flexible DIY provider with optional professional monitoring services and excellent home automation products. Let's see what they have to offer.

ADT vs Nest Secure: What do they have in common?

  • Professional monitoring: You can access professional monitoring services via both, though Nest's services are optional and provided via Brinks on a third-party basis.
  • Mobile app: You'll have access to an easy-to-use mobile app that allows you to remotely arm/disarm your system and receive alerts and notifications.
  • Equipment quality: Equipment is high quality with both providers.
  • Video doorbell: You can purchase doorbell cameras via ADT and Nest.
  • Smart locks: Smart door locks are included in several Nest packages and many ADT system packages.

ADT vs Nest Secure: What are the differences?

  • Smart home security: Our Security Nerd rated Nest 5/5 for smart home options thanks to its compatibility with smart home devices and a dedicated line of devices.
  • Installation: ADT only offers security equipment on a professionally installed basis. Nest only offers DIY installation.
  • Pricing: Nest is cheaper, but you'll need to pay upfront for your Nest secure system; on the other hand, ADT requires a three-year contract, and you'll pay monthly for your services.
  • Z-wave compatibility: ADT offers more products with Z-wave compatibility; only the Nest thermostat will reliably work with Z-wave products.
  • Flexibility: Nest doesn't require a contract.
  • Reputation: ADT has been in business for almost 150 years, whereas Nest was founded in 2010.

ADT: What you need to know

ADT offers some of the fastest response times in the industry, with multiple monitoring centers throughout the USA. But they also provide excellent equipment, installation options, and more. The familiar blue logo is a common feature worldwide, and very few security systems enjoy the same reputation as ADT.


It's not feasible to have a DIY ADT system - you'll need to pay $99-$299 for an ADT agent to come to your residence and complete a consultation before arranging your professional installation. You'll also be guided through how your new system works - you can ask any questions during this time, so you're fully confident in how it all works.


You can choose from lots of equipment, but the basic system comprises:

  • Motion detectors
  • Key fob
  • Window decals
  • Yard signs
  • Alarm
  • Keypad

However, you can buy individual add-on equipment, such as security cameras, on an a la carte basis.

  • Light control
  • Smart thermostats
  • Touchscreen control panel
  • Outdoor security cameras
  • Smart door locks
  • Garage control
  • Automated plugs
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Flood sensors
  • Glass break sensors

Home automation

Like Nest, ADT will offer you an array of home automation tools, including safety equipment, smart door locks, smart thermostats, and more. ADT also has Z-wave compatibility, though Nest Secure limits this.


If you choose ADT, you'll have several costs to consider, including:

  • Equipment costs: Equipment costs aren't paid upfront with ADT, they're worked into your monthly fee, but the cheapest system costs $850.
  • Installation costs: Installation costs start at $99 but maybe more for more complex installations.
  • Monthly costs: The monitoring fees will set you back $35.99-$57.99 a month.

Nerd Pros:

  • Reputation: ADT is one of the most popular providers globally, with an excellent reputation. You have the peace of mind of being in safe hands.
  • Easy installation: If you'd rather not DIY, ADT could be for you.

Nerd Cons:

  • Customer service inconsistencies: ADT has enjoyed an excellent reputation based partly on its superb customer support, but customer service can be inconsistent since third-party companies now operate under the ADT brand.
  • Add-on extras: The main packages are unexpectedly inexpensive, but they can quickly become unaffordable if you buy several add-ons.
  • Mobile app issues: The app glitches sometimes, which is disappointing. A company of this size should have a better app.

Nest Secure - What you need to know

Nest Secure is pretty new on the home security scene, somewhat of an industry disrupter started by ex-Google employees. They provide simple, practical solutions for home security, and you can purchase cost-effective professional monitoring for a low fee.


This alarm system is designed for DIY installation - you shouldn't need professional assistance, but you can contact the customer service line if you need to. The system is easy-to-assemble and requires minimal DIY knowledge.


The cheapest package comprises the Nest Guard, two entry sensors, and key fobs (for arming/disarming). This base package comes in at $399. You can buy individual add-ons or a more extensive package. A la carte add-ons include:

  • Indoor cameras
  • Outdoor cameras
  • Doorbell cameras
  • Door locks
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Smoke detectors
  • Yard signs and decals

Home automation

Nest Secure's most significant selling point is the home automation options - you can integrate Nest smoothly with several convenient products and manage it remotely. You can create the ultimate smart home ecosystem with a few purchases. For example:

  • Your Nest video doorbell can tell you if someone is at the door
  • Security cameras will notify you if motion is detected
  • Smoke detectors can send you notifications if triggered
  • You can disarm the security system using the Nest smart lock
  • Adjust your home's climate from your phone
  • Adjust lights


Pricing is as follows:

  • Basic security package: $399
  • Basic alarm package (outdoor camera add-on): $598
  • Alarm package with smart lock: $633.
  • Monitoring costs: You can purchase professional monitoring for $29 per month (without contract) or $19 per month (3-year contract).
  • Outage protection: You can buy a cellular backup for $5 a month. A cellular connection will keep you safe in the case of an outage or tampering.

Nerd Pros

  • Customization: You can purchase an affordable base package and buy add-ons such as smart products, Nest tags, smart thermostats, CO2 detectors, and other Nest products.
  • Easy install: WiFi-capable systems are the simplest to install with backup, sold for $5 a month - though this is optional. Customer support can assist you if you have any issues.

Nerd Cons

  • Price: For a DIY system, the price could be offputting, but next to ADT, it's an affordable option.
  • Limited monitoring options: Nest Secure has restricted professional monitoring provided; they're outsourced to a third-party (Brinks Security). This professional monitoring only works with alarm products, including door and window sensors.

ADT or Nest Secure?

ADT home security is one of the best home security providers, with a large global presence and excellent equipment. Their main selling points are professional monitoring and an extensive reputation, but comparing them to Nest is like comparing apples and oranges. Nest is known for being a reliable, flexible home security provider with a great money-back guarantee, smart home options, and customer service. Overall, ADT is the strongest contender, but Nest is great for a DIY system or if you want to save some money by paying upfront.

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.