ADT vs. Vivint

Both ADT and Vivint are high-end home security companies providing professional installation for homeowners who don’t want to worry about going the DIY route. Both companies offer 24/7 monitoring and similar pricing models along with home automation and other customization tools. For us, Vivint edged ahead of ADT, but just barely. Both Vivint and ADT are known for providing excellent home security products and customer service.

ADT is the largest and most established home security option in America, with 140 years in business. With over 7 million customers and 200 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, you’re in good company choosing this time-tested brand.

Vivint was established two decades ago, and serves over 1.4 million customers in the U.S. and Canada. Although it offers higher end equipment, the company is also big on customization, creating a unique package for each homeowner rather than relying on predetermined bundles.

While both companies have great reputations, similar price points and functionalities, there are many differences a consumer should consider before making a decision to go with either ADT or Vivint.

Hardware4 out of 54 out of 5
Customer Service3 out of 53 out of 5
Pricing3 out of 53 out of 5
Mobile App4 out of 54 out of 5
Smart Home Capabilities4.5 out of 55 out of 5
Monthly Monitoring Cost$35.99-$57.99/month
Upfront CostInstallation (cost varies)Installation (cost varies), equipment if you don't want a contract
MoneyBack Guarantee6 months (must have unresolved service issue)3 days
Contract Length3 yearsNo contract or 3-5 year contract
Basic EquipmentKeypad, window/door sensors, motion detector, key fob, signageSmart Hub, door/window sensors, motion sensor, signage

ADT and Vivint: What do they have in common?

The common ground shared between ADT and Vivint includes:

  • Professional in-home consultations: Both companies will send a professional to your home to figure out the equipment you need and come up with the best game plan for installation.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: Choosing either of these companies will provide you professional monitoring around the clock.
  • Wireless home security: Both ADT and Vivint provide wireless home security systems as opposed to traditional hardwired options only.
  • Professional installation: You can take the guesswork out of home security with both of these companies. You’ll have a technician installing the equipment in your home for you — you’ll also be paying a fee for it in both cases.
  • Home automation: Both ADT and Vivint give customers plenty of smart home options throughout their home.
  • Reputation: Both companies score high marks in reputation and customer service, which is why many customers choose to go with ADT or Vivint despite both companies coming in at higher prices than DIY or smaller companies.
  • Mobile apps: ADT and Vivint allow you to control your home security system from the convenience of your smartphone.

ADT and Vivint: What are the differences?

While both companies are pretty similar, there are some specific differences that may help you decide to choose one over the other. They include:

  • Contracts: ADT requires you to sign a contract, while Vivint allows you to go contract free if you purchase your equipment up front. But if you choose not to purchase your equipment from Vivint up front, you will be required to choose either a 3 or 5-year contract. The bottom line here is that Vivint gives you the option of going month to month, while ADT does not.
  • Plans and packages: ADT offers prepackaged bundles to choose from, while Vivint creates your security system from scratch based on what equipment you need.
  • Equipment: With Vivint, you are purchasing the equipment to own while ADT leases the equipment. If you want to be able to take your equipment with you if you move, this is something to consider when making your choice.
  • Landline options: Vivint only offers wireless coverage, while ADT offers landline in addition to its wireless coverage. If you’re in a more rural area or have spotty cell coverage, you should consider that you may be better off going with a landline option for your home security system.
  • Trial periods: ADT offers a 6-month window for you to get out of your contract and return your equipment if you have a service issue that ADT can’t fix. Vivint offers only a 3-day money back guarantee, but makes some exceptions for active military, according to its website.

ADT: What you need to know

ADT offers customers a reliable and time-tested home security model that can easily be customized for your smart home needs. Customers lease the equipment and sign a contract based on predetermined packages, but can also request add-ons like environmental monitoring. Prices can vary, and so can customer service experiences because of the many third-party companies operating under the ADT name.

Nerd Pros:

  • Reputation: ADT is the name at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to home security systems. Customers know ADT is quality, which is why many are willing to pay more to get it. You won’t be taking a chance on an unknown if you go with ADT.
  • Easy installation: You don’t have to worry about installing your own equipment and wondering whether it will work or not. A pro will do it for you, making the process a lot easier. They’ll also give you an in-home consultation to help you figure out what kind of equipment you need.
  • Smart home customization: ADT gives you options to remotely control anything from your thermostat to locks using your smartphone.
  • Money back guarantee: ADT has the most generous money back guarantee of any security company, but it must be a service-related issue that ADT can’t fix, such as cellular service coverage.

Nerd Cons:

  • Customer Service inconsistencies: ADT is known for great customer service, but third party companies operate under the ADT name in some areas, causing varying experiences for customers including our own Security Nerd. If you’re considering ADT, it’s worth it to talk to some locals who already have it to see what their experiences have been like.
  • Add-on extras: The base packages for ADT are priced well, but extras like carbon monoxide detectors can start to quickly put a dent in your pocketbook.
  • Mobile app issues: Customers have reported losing connectivity or seeing delays with the app from time to time, which can become an annoying issue.

Vivint: What you need to know

Vivint offers the high-quality service that customers come to expect with higher priced companies, but also some of the benefits that you typically see from the smaller DIY home security companies such as a no-contract option and customized bundles. You can pay for your equipment up front and go contract free or opt to go with a contract until your equipment is paid off. Vivint offers a user-friendly mobile app and consistently gets high marks in customer service.

Nerd Pros:

  • Flexibility: Getting a home security system without a lengthy contract is a big plus for customers who may not want to commit to a contract that spans several years. The ability to do this with a well-known and high quality company is a big plus in Vivint’s favor.
  • Customization: With Vivint, you are creating a security system based on exactly what you need instead of picking from a bundle that may not cover all your bases or include features that you won’t use.
  • Smart home options: Vivint is probably the most forward thinking home security company when it comes to smart home options. From video doorbells to lights, Vivint gives you the opportunity to turn your home into a smart home.
  • Easy installation: Forget trying to figure out how to install new equipment into your home. Vivint will do the heavy lifting for you and, like ADT, they will also provide you with an in-home consult first.

Nerd Cons:

  • Trial period: Many security companies will give you a 30-day money back guarantee if you don’t like your service. Vivint only gives customers 3 days to return everything and get out of the contract; that’s hardly enough time to figure out if you like something.
  • No landline option: If you don’t have great cellular coverage, there are no landline options with Vivint.
  • Price: While Vivint can give you flexibility like DIY companies, you are definitely paying more money for services. Vivint is similarly priced to ADT.

Vivint or ADT?

ADT and Vivint are similar companies with some specific differences and, though we’re recommending Vivint over ADT, it really comes down to what is important to you and what your specific situation is. If flexibility and cost are big selling points for you, Security Nerd heartily recommends Vivint over ADT. Additionally, if you are looking for a company that offers a contract-free option, you want Vivint over ADT. Vivint also provides a more customized equipment package — you buy only what you need.

While Vivint finished ahead of ADT in our comparison, ADT may still be a better choice for some customers. If you are confident you can sign a long-term contract and aren’t worried about flexibility with your equipment, ADT’s reputation and stellar track record is hard to turn down. Plus, if you have spotty cell phone coverage, wireless services might not be your best bet. ADT has a landline coverage option, something Vivint lacks.

You can’t go wrong with either company, but having an idea of what will work best for your home will help you make the right choice when it comes to Vivint vs. ADT.

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.