Different home security companies will have different approaches to producing, distributing, installing, and monitoring their systems. For the sake of this comparison, Best Company took two well-known home security companies that have different approaches and compared their services according to our criteria. Here's what you need to know:
Vivint is well-known for teams of orange-clad representatives canvassing neighborhoods, pitching potential clients on security systems that will protect their homes while offering robust smart home features. When you sign a Vivint contract, the representative will set an appointment to have a professional installer come to your home. From that point on, your home is professionally monitored 24/7 for burglars, fires, floods, and carbon monoxide.
On the other hand, Protect America doesn't have any of these door-to-door representatives or in-person professional installers. Instead, you select a package from the company's website and the company mails the system directly to your door. From that point, you're free to install the system yourself or call a customer service representative to walk you through the process. Protect America systems also feature the same professional 24/7 monitoring as Vivint.
Clearly, these companies have different approaches to distribution and installation, but what about everything else?
Vivint prefers to quote you a monthly price, but the company website does indicate that monthly fees start at $39.99. However, this is a little high compared to some of the top-ranked companies in the industry. When you want to add home automation features, it'll cost you extra.
Protect America features packages that start at $19.99 per month for any consumer—one of the lowest price tags in the industry. This package is the most basic of systems with just a few door/window sensors and a landline connection, but this may be acceptable for consumers who just want the basics.
Neither Vivint nor Protect America feature any installation or activation fees. This is encouraging, considering that many home security companies will charge hundreds of dollars in activation and installation fees.
Vivint features a 60-month contract, so make sure you've read every inch of the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. If you need to move your system within the contract length, Vivint also charges a hefty move fee. On the other hand, Protect America works on a 36-month contract. If you want to cancel your services before the expiration date on the contract, you must pay the remaining balance upfront with both companies.
For any reputable home security company, your system will be monitored day and night by certified staff through a landline, broadband, or cellular connection. However, not all companies offer all of these options.
Vivint only operates based on a wireless/broadband connection. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if the internet goes down at your house, so does your home security system. If you're considering installing a security system at your remote cabin in the woods, Vivint might not be your best option.
Protect America features packages in all three of these monitoring options. The landline packages are the least expensive, but broadband and cellular options are available at about $20/month extra, and these are the plans that feature home automation options. Depending on whether you want just the bare basics or the extra goodies, you'll pay a different fee.
Protect America Features:
As you can see, the biggest difference is that Vivint's features are arguably more robust, but Protect America features very similar applications at a slightly lower price tag. Vivint will definitely win in this category, but that's only if you decide you want all the bells and whistles and not just the bells.
Unfortunately, Vivint customer feedback is plagued with dissatisfaction. Most customer reviews reflect experiences involving pushy sales reps and lackluster customer service, especially when it comes to canceling services or relocating your system. There are plenty of reviews that speak highly of the customer service and the quality of the systems, so it appears as though positive experiences with Vivint Home Security are hit-and-miss depending on the representative you work with. As of the time this article is being written, Vivint has a customer score of 3.7 out of 10 based on 87 customer reviews.
On the other hand, Protect America's customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Based on over 700 reviews, the company has an overall score of 8.8 out of 10. Many customers comment on the easily-installed system, low prices, and helpful customer representatives.
The Vivint Breakdown:
The Protect America Breakdown:
The deciding factors in this comparison are prices, customer service, installation, and home automation features. Protect America clearly has the upper hand when it comes to pricing; its basic system costs half the price of Vivint's basic system and still features professional monitoring. However, Vivint has a slightly wider array of home automation features, if you're willing to pay the difference. Protect America's installation is do-it-yourself and features helpful customer reps to help you through the process, but Vivint will take care of the entire installation process for you. Lastly, Protect America's customer service experiences are noticeably better than Vivint's, even if service is hardly ever in person.
For a list of the best home security companies operating in your state, click here.