ADT vs NorthStar Alarm Security

Millions of homeowners seek the security of an alarm system. If you're looking for a home security system, it's no surprise that you've come across ADT. With over 140 years in the business, millions of customers, and a global presence, it would be a shock if you hadn't heard of ADT. But you may not have come across lesser-known Northstar Alarm Security.

Northstar Alarm Services is a mid-sized security company based in Orem, Utah. It serves around 50,000 customers and offers smart home automation and flexible home security services.

ADT vs Northstar: What do they have in common?

  • Lifetime warranty: Regardless of the alarm company you choose, a lifetime warranty will cover your security equipment.
  • Professional installation: Some companies will give you the opportunity to DIY install your system to save money - these two won't offer the same options. You can only have professional installation.
  • Mobile app: You can use a mobile app to arm, disarm, and monitor your security system remotely. You'll also receive push notifications if your system is tripped.
  • Long-term contracts: You'll need to subscribe to a 36-month contract with ADT or a five-year contract with Northstar Home Security. A downside to long-term contracts is an early termination fee.
  • Security equipment: ADT and Northstar offer similar security equipment; though Northstar outsources to Honeywell, the security cameras and equipment are of comparable quality.
  • Smart door locks: You can unlock/lock your home remotely with smart locks.

ADT vs Northstar: What are their differences?

  • Activation fee: While Northstar and ADT both charge an activation fee, ADT charges just $99 while Northstar charges $199.
  • Service area: Northstar Security covers 30 states, but ADT offers services all over the USA and beyond.
  • Monthly fees: Northstar has higher monthly payments than ADT - ADT's monthly fees start at $35.99, but Northstar starts from $54.99.
  • Reputation: ADT is renowned worldwide and has millions of customers with over 140 years in the business. Northstar is much smaller and has less of a reach, with only 50,000 customers.

NorthStar Alarm Security - What you need to know

Northstar is a small/mid-sized security provider with an array of equipment sold by helpful sales representatives. Northstar offers flexible security packages and can arrange professional installation for you.


Northstar's professional installation cost is $199, irrespective of the package you choose, but this may be discounted to $99 via a promotion.

A Northstar employee will visit your home to complete your installation.


As an approved dealer of Honeywell security products, they offer reliable equipment that is easy to use and compatible with third-party smart home devices; packages may be built on a points-based system, for example:

  • Window sensors: 1 point
  • Door sensors: 1 point
  • Motion sensor: 2 points
  • Glass break sensor: 2 points
  • Smoke detector: 2 points
  • Medical pendant: 1 point
  • Keychain remote: 1 point

Home automation 

The mobile app is compatible with a small collection of smart home tools; you can also buy additional products for your package. Equipment offered includes:

  • Smart thermostat
  • Smart locks
  • Smart garage control
  • Smart lights
  • Voice control


Your equipment is technically free, installation costs $199 (or less with a promo), and monthly costs begin at $54.99. The one-off activation fee is $199. You’ll need at least a 5-year contract.

Nerd pros 

  • Flexible packages: Each package is fully customizable (using a points-based system) and unique.
  • Lifetime warranty: Northstar, like ADT, offers a lifetime warranty.

Nerd cons 

  • Pricing: Even when compared to ADT, Northstar is expensive. The monitoring service is very costly, and the activation fee is $199.
  • Limited service area: Currently, NorthStar serves 30 states: Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, District of Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Delaware.
  • Contract length:  Northstar is relatively inflexible, offering only long-term contracts. You must sign up for a 60-month contract and can't easily change or cancel.

ADT: What you need to know

ADT is one of the best home security companies with a long-running reputation and over 140 years in the industry. In addition to longevity, they provide excellent equipment, an installation by professionals, and more. They are known globally, and very few companies can compete with them, but it comes at a price.


You can't install an ADT system yourself - you'll need to pay at least $99 for ADT to come and install it for you. You'll be guided through your new security system and be allowed to ask questions about it if you need to. You'll be left with peace of mind afterward.


ADT offers an extensive array of equipment; the essential bundle consists of:

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

However, you can buy additional components as add-ons, including:

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

Home automation

As with Northstar, you'll have a decent selection of home automation equipment; ADT goes a step further by offering you Z-wave compatibility to use Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and other popular third-party smart home features.


When you buy a new security system, there are several costs to consider. For ADT, those costs are:

  • Equipment costs: Equipment costs are paid monthly rather than upfront; the cheapest equipment bundle is $850.
  • Installation costs: Installation costs start at $99 but can be more expensive for a more complex installation.
  • Monthly costs: The monthly 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'll have the peace of mind that comes with being in safe hands.
  • Easy installation: ADT will walk you through your new security system and install it for you; you won't have to worry about anything.

Nerd cons:

  • Customer service: They've earned plenty of good standing based partly on great customer support, but customer service can be unpredictable since third-party companies currently operate under the ADT brand.
  • Add-on extras: The main packages are quite inexpensive, but they can become unaffordable with purchasing extras.
  • Mobile app issues: The app is known to glitch occasionally, which is disappointing. Such a well-known company shouldn't have a subpar app.

ADT or Northstar?

ADT and Northstar offer many of the same benefits, but there are key differences too. ADT has more to offer for a more affordable price and shorter contracts. Despite providing more limited coverage and third-party equipment, Northstar charges higher fees than ADT does. On balance, ADT is a better option.

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.