Renters and homeowners alike are increasingly turning to home security systems.
If you're looking for the best home security system, you have a lot to consider. Every system and provider has its pros and cons. Vivint is a large security provider offering services to almost 1.5 million homes across North America.
Canary is a fledgling company supported by a Kickstarter initiative; while still new to the home security scene, they're making a name for themselves as a reliable but flexible provider. Canary provides nationwide service and is available in other countries such as France and the UK. Let's compare the two side-by-side to see how they can help you.
Vivint vs. Canary Security - What are their similarities?
- HD cameras: You can purchase excellent quality security cameras with both. Their cameras have similar functionalities, too. For example, both can use night vision and two-way audio. Two-way talk is a great way to give instructions to delivery people or make it seem like you’re home when you're not.
- Smart home integration: While Vivint offers a little more in this section (such as smart locks), both providers are Z-wave compatible, meaning you can integrate Amazon's Alexa and other popular products.
- Mobile app: You'll have the option to monitor, arm/disarm, and receive push notifications regarding any changes to your system via a handy mobile app.
Vivint vs. Canary Security - What are their differences?
- Flexibility: Vivint requires long-term contracts, but Canary's brand is built on flexibility. Vivint is much closer to the traditional security model, which isn't a terrible thing (depending on what you're looking for).
- Professional monitoring: Vivint requires you to take out a monthly monitoring contract, but Canary doesn't offer any professional monitoring.
- Environmental sensors: Canary mainly focuses on security devices such as home security cameras; it doesn't go much further. With Vivint, you can purchase flood/freeze sensors which can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a crisis.
- Customer service: Canary's customer support was good - but it was very slow. It took several days for our SecurityNerd to get a response to simple questions about smart home devices.
- DIY installation: Canary's installation is DIY only, unlike Vivint, which only offers professional installation.
Vivint: What you need to know
Vivint provides secure, reliable monitoring services, convenient installation, and an array of smart home options, including Z-wave compatibility. In addition to this, they provide high-quality equipment for live video surveillance.
A qualified Vivint technician will come to your home and deal with everything for you. The only drawback is that they are paid partly on a commission, leading to upselling attempts.
Vivint offers an array of complete security packages, but you can also buy equipment on an individual basis. Equipment includes:
- Smart home devices
- Indoor cameras
- Outdoor cameras
- Window sensors
- Door sensors
- Carbon monoxide alarms
- Doorbell cameras
- Smoke alarms
- Motion sensors
- Smoke detectors
- Motion detectors
- Freeze and flood detectors
- Garage door sensor
- Panic pendants
- Secondary keypad
- Glass break sensors
Your home security system will be compatible with dedicated smart home features, including smart locks, video doorbells, and garage door sensors. Still, you'll also be able to integrate it with Z-wave products such as Nest's Thermostat, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant.
- Equipment costs: You'll pay for your system every month; once your equipment is paid off, you'll have lower monthly costs. You should contact Vivint for an up-to-date quote, but a basic system will usually cost you $10 per month.
- Installation costs: Vivint told us that installation costs $100 but mentioned that promotions are occasionally offered for free installation. Before you purchase a system, double-check active promotions.
- Monthly costs: Professional monitoring is available and will cost between $39.99 to $59.99 per month, depending on whether you have video surveillance or multiple cameras.
- Customization: You can customize your security bundle and add extras as you need them. You can also ask your technician for further advice but be mindful of upselling.
- Smart home options: You'll have an extensive collection of smart home options from smart door locks to smart thermostats and more, with Z-wave compatibility increasing the integrations available.
- Price: The price is relatively high; if you're looking for a cheaper system, the DIY approach offered by Canary is probably ideal for you.
- No satisfaction guarantee: Some companies offer a warranty or moneyback guarantee, but Vivint only offers a three-day return window. You may be unable to experience how it works for you in such little time.
Canary Security - What you need to know
Canary is a disrupter to the security industry, launched in 2013 following a successful Kickstarter initiative. They've quickly made a name for themselves as a flexible, reliable provider with growing home automation options. You’ll be required to self-monitor with this system.
The installation process is straightforward; you don't need to drill any holes, and it won't require any technical skills. There are troubleshooting options online if you have any issues, and each of the three mounts is easy to install.
At this time, Canary only offers cameras and mounts in their home security line.
Basic security system
- Canary Pro
- Canary View
- Canary Flex
- Twist mount
- Secure mount
- Stake mount
Canary could do better in this category. There are no smart lock or light integration options yet; here are the available options:
- Amazon's Alexa
- Google Assistant
You'll have several costs to consider when purchasing your new Canary system:
- Equipment costs: You can get a great deal by subscribing to a 12 or 24-month plan.
- Monthly costs: If you only want basic service and to purchase your equipment upfront, there are no monthly costs. If you want to buy the membership for a premium service, your monthly fees will be $99/year or $9.99/month. This is reduced to $7.42 per month or $89 per year for a two-year membership.
- Money-back guarantee: Canary has a very generous trial period; if you don't like your Canary equipment after 60-days, you can return it for a full refund.
- Price: Canary is very cheap overall, especially when compared with Vivint. The most expensive product, the Canary Flex, comes in at $129, which is great for a weatherproof indoor and outdoor camera. It's also very affordable if you want to become a premium member and unlock higher-tier features such as extra cloud storage.
- Unique features: Canary cameras offer excellent features such as AI technology. We like that AI technology can automatically arm/disarm your camera based on who it sees leaving the house.
- No door or window sensors: While Canary does offer great motion detection, it can't alert you about what it can't see, and without door and window sensors, you're left particularly vulnerable.
- No monitoring services: Canary doesn't offer any monitoring services.
Vivint or Canary?
Vivint and Canary are both worthy providers with great security solutions, but it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Canary is a great provider if you're looking for flexibility and security camera coverage, but it's not so great if you want smart home security or a complete security system. The lack of door/window sensors in particular is quite problematic.
Vivint is a great provider that can offer you total coverage in that sense, but it will be very costly. However, you should weigh up the cost against the benefit of professional installation and monitoring.
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.