Deciding between Ring and ADT home security systems? They’re both great choices—and your decision will depend on your own needs and preferences. Ring is an Amazon line of products, probably best known for its video doorbell. It includes a Ring Alarm Security System, a DIY-installed system that includes a range of security and smart home features that can be bought a la cart. ADT is a more traditional security company—in fact, it’s been around for over 150 years. ADT is professionally installed and includes a wide range of security and smart home features. It’s definitely a pricier option but may be worth it for the brand’s long-standing reputation, high quality monitoring and well-made equipment with a wide range of products.
Our Pick: ADT
|Smart Home Capabilities||3||4.5|
|Monthly Monitoring Cost||$10||$35.99 - $57.99|
|Upfront Cost||$199 and up||$99 and up|
|MoneyBack Guarantee||30 days||6 months|
|Contract Length||None||3 years|
|Basic Equipment||$199 and up||$99 and up|
Here, we’ll cover both Ring and ADT alarm systems, their common and different features, as well as what you’ll need to know about each of them before plunking any money down. This info should help you decide whether Ring or ADT is better for your own home security needs.
Ring and ADT: What do they have in common?
Ring and ADT are vastly different companies, but they do have some similarities. They include:
- Good quality security equipment. Both companies offer durable security equipment that works well. ADT’s base package and Ring Alarm each come with a basic push-button keypad. But if you get an upgraded package from ADT, you’ll get a touchscreen pad, which has a higher level of encryption and feels much fancier to use.
- More advanced options. With both ADT and Ring Alarm, you can either go basic—a system with just door and window sensors and a motion detector or two—or get fancy with security extras such as a video doorbell, indoor and outdoor cameras, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, flood sensors and/or more.
- Smart home features. With Ring and ADT, you can add smart home features onto your security system. Both companies offer smart lighting. ADT does offer some proprietary smart home features that Ring doesn’t, including keyless door locks and garage door controls. But Ring is compatible with equipment from some other brands’ smart home products, so you may be able to integrate those functions in a more piecemeal fashion, by buying some items that aren’t made by Ring.
- Easy-to-use app. Ring and ADT both have corresponding apps that allow you to control features of their security systems remotely. They can also control smart home features you can choose to add to you your system.
- Alexa integration. With both ADT and Ring, you can integrate your Amazon Alexa, so you can control some features of the security system using your voice.
Ring and ADT: What are the differences?
Like we said, there are lots of differences to note when considering these two companies. They include:
- Professional vs. DIY installation. This is one of the main differences between the two security companies. While ADT requires a professional to come out to your home to install your equipment, Ring is made to be DIYed. However, you can pay extra to have a pro do the honors with Ring, if you’d prefer that. If you’re looking at both of these companies, this is the question to start with — do you want something that is DIY or professionally installed?
- Monitoring options. With ADT, professional monitoring is part of the deal—and it’s not cheap ($35.99 to $57.99 per month). With Ring, you have the option to go unmonitored for free (you just monitor it yourself through the app), unmonitored with video recording ($3 per month or $30 per year) or professionally monitored 24/7 ($10 per month or $100 per year). So another big difference is the cost of monitoring and flexibility.
- Upfront equipment purchase vs. payoff over time. If you’re going to purchase a Ring system, you’ll buy the entire system’s equipment upfront. With ADT, your equipment balance becomes part of your monthly payment instead. You’re paying for the equipment either way, it just depends on which way you prefer to pay.
- Contracts. The option to pay off your equipment over time comes with a contract. In other words, with ADT, you’ll be committed to three years (36 months). But with Ring, there’s no contract, so you’re free to quit at any time.
Ring: What you need to know
The choice to go with Ring is a good one. However, there are some pros and cons you should consider first.
- Price. A five-piece alarm kit is just $199, which is a hard price to beat. That includes a base station, contact sensor, motion detector, keypad and range extender. Additional equipment features are sold a la carte.
- Easy installation. Yes, it’s a DIY system, but Ring stands by its claim that it’s easy to install. Everything needed is included in the system kit, including instructions. The app also includes an installation walk-through.
- No long-term contract. Sure, you’ll have to shell out for the equipment upfront, but there’s no obligation after that, since Ring monitoring doesn’t require a contract.
- Low-tech control pad. The push-button Ring keypad is kind of a downer compared to the touch-screen panel available with some ADT packages, as well as those offered by some other home security companies.
- No smart thermostat. Ring doesn’t have a smart thermostat (yet), which is something many customers expect when they’re adding smart home features to their security systems.
- Sensor glitches. Some customers report problems with the sensors working properly at times.
- Separate yard signs and window stickers. Yard signs and window stickers are separate purchases with Ring, while with traditional companies like ADT, they’re part of the package deal.
ADT: What you need to know
With ADT, you’ve got experience and reputation on your side. Here are some pros and cons of this security company.
- Established brand. You’re really not taking a big risk by going with ADT. This company has been around for so long, it has the home security game down pat.
- Professional installation. Don’t want to DIY? ADT sends a pro to your home to install the whole system, which is a great perk if you’re not into handling it yourself.
- Smart home capabilities. You probably can’t find a smart home feature that’s not available or compatible with ADT.
- Variable customer service. Because ADT uses third-party contractors, customer service can vary. Some customers report good service but others don’t have as good experiences.
- Price for extras. ADT does offer a lot of security and smart home extras, but all of them come with a price tag. The more you buy, the higher your bill will become.
- Monthly monitoring cost. You really can’t deny that the monthly costs for ADT ($35.99 to $57.99 per month) are high compared to the $10 per month for Ring monitoring. Just remember that ADT’s monthly fees include the initial cost of equipment and may include installation fees as well.
ADT or Ring?
We picked ADT because of its longtime reputation and all the choices it offers—really, there’s nothing lacking in your home security and smart home options.
But, you’ll definitely pay for all the ADT perks. Ring is also a strong choice because of its affordability, as well as its seamless integration with an Amazon Alexa system and other Ring products. The equipment with both companies is good quality, but ADT offers a touchscreen option that Ring doesn’t.
In the end, your decision will come down to whether or not you’d prefer to pay the bulk of your home security costs upfront or monthly over a three-year period, and whether you’d prefer to install your system yourself or have a professional take care of it. We suggest you get a personalized estimate from ADT and also create a cart with Ring to find out exactly how much each will cost you for the specific products you want and need. Both are really good choices, so cost and features may be your biggest factors in deciding between Ring or ADT.
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.