Contract (Winner: ADT)
Although Vivint offers different contract options that range from 1–60 months, most of the time if you want a reasonable monthly fee, you'll have to sign the full five-year contract. ADT still requires a long-term contract of three years, but that is significantly shorter than Vivint's five-year agreement.
Equipment Warranty (Winner: Vivint)
All of Vivint's security systems come with a lifetime equipment warranty. This means that if any of your Vivint equipment malfunctions or breaks, the company will repair or replace it free of charge.
ADT does not offer a free equipment warranty. Instead, the company has a Quality Service Plan. This plan gives you extended limited warranty protection but for a price. Unlike Vivint who offers equipment protection for free, you have to pay for an equipment warranty with ADT. However, ADT does not list any pricing online or note how long this warranty lasts, so you'll need to talk with a service representative to get more information.
Money-Back Guarantee (Winner: ADT)
ADT offers a six-month money-back guarantee on all of its products and services. If you decide within six months that you no longer want ADT as your home security provider, the company will refund your monitoring fees and installation fee.
Vivint does not mention a risk-free trial on its website, so it is unclear whether or not its security systems include one. However, that is typically something companies make known upfront, so we assume Vivint security does not offer this guarantee.
Monthly Monitoring Cost (Winner: ADT)
ADT's monthly monitoring fee starts at $28.99 for ADT's Traditional Plan. This includes 24/7 monitoring, basic security equipment, professional installation, and monitored fire, flood, and carbon monoxide detection. For ADT's more advanced packages that includes smart home automation and video surveillance, you'll be paying closer to $50 per month.
Vivint's monthly monitoring cost starts at $39.99 for its basic security package that includes one touchscreen control panel, two sensors (you have your choice between door and window sensors), and one motion sensor. Vivint's basic security package is less robust than ADT's, and Vivint's also costs more.
Upfront Fees (Winner: Vivint)
Vivint does not charge any upfront fees for equipment or alarm installation. ADT, on the other hand, charges a $99 upfront fee.
Security Packages (Winner: ADT)
ADT and Vivint are not transparent online with what the companies include in their security packages. They list their offered systems and equipment, but it is unclear what specific equipment is included in what package.
Although we don't know everything that is included in Vivint's packages, ADT is a bit more transparent with the basic features it offers with each package. Both companies require you to request a quote and reach out to a service representative for more information.
Here's what we know about ADT's three main security packages:
- 24/7 alarm monitoring
- Security monitoring equipment
- Monitored fire, flood, and carbon monoxide detection
- Professional installation'
- Everything included in the Traditional Package
- Remote arm and disarm of security system
- Smart home controls, such as smart locks and smart thermostats
- Customizable alerts and schedules
- Everything included in the Control Package
- Video surveillance
- Live stream from mobile devices
- Recordings and saved video clips from cloud storage
Equipment Quality and Home Automation (Winner: Vivint and ADT)
ADT and Vivint offer high-tech security equipment and smart home devices. Both ADT's and Vivint's smart home security offerings are on par with other competitors in the industry in regards to the quality of equipment and variety of products.
- Smart thermostat — a smart thermostat allows you to control your house temperature remotely as well as set preferred settings that will adjust the temperature when you're home and when you're out of the house to conserve energy.
- Remote garage door — The remote garage door control lets you open and close your garage door whether you're at home or away. Whether you were in a rush and forgot to shut the garage door or if you need to let someone inside while you're not home, the remote garage door control allows you to do so.
- Smart door locks — Smart locks are automatic door locks that are synched with your home security system. They allow you to remotely lock and unlock your doors and to be notified of entry. You can also set daily timers to lock or unlock the door at certain times of the day and night.
- Video doorbell camera — This camera is placed near your doorbell and allows you to monitor who is at the door as well as other things, such as package deliveries. The camera includes two-way audio that lets you communicate with the people at your door. You can access live video of this through ADT's and Vivint's mobile app.
- Indoor camera — Indoor cameras are a way to monitor the inside of your home. Whether you want them primarily for peace of mind in case your home is broken into or just to check on your kids when you're away from home, indoor security cameras make sure you know what's going on in your home. You can also check live video feed as well as access video clips.
- Outdoor camera — Whether you purchase one or multiple outdoor cameras, this allows you to monitor the outside of the home, including your backyard, front yard, and other vulnerable areas. You can tap into live video feed as well as look through saved video clips.
- Mobile app — Vivint and ADT both have their own smart home app that allows you to manage your home security and home automation capabilities in one place. You can arm and disarm your home security, create custom alerts and notifications, check live video feed from your security cameras, talk through your cameras with two-way communication, and more.
- Smart lights/switches/plugs — ADT also offers smart lights, switches, and plugs with its smart home security to help with energy efficiency and to remotely control your home's lighting. Vivint does not offer these home automation capabilities.
Customer Reviews (Winner: Neither)
Considering customer reviews, we suggest researching other home security providers that have better, more positive reviews. With hundreds of customer reviews each, Vivint and ADT have low star ratings from consumers, the majority of customer feedback being negative and highlighting misleading prices, defective equipment, poor customer service and sales practices, and more.
However, when comparing Vivint vs ADT, ADT customers give the company a higher star rating than Vivint customers do.
Online Transparency (Winner: Neither)
Both Vivint and ADT have poor transparency on their websites. For either company, you have to request a quote online or over the phone in order to access pricing and other security package details. Even if you request a quote online, you will still not receive further information until a sales representative calls you back. Not having additional information online makes it difficult to research the companies with ease.
Vivint vs ADT: Which is the Better Option?
Vivint and ADT are similar when it comes to equipment quality, home automation capabilities, and poor customer reviews.
Vivint has a better equipment warranty that you do not have to pay for and a cheaper upfront cost, as the company offers 0$ activation and does not charge for equipment if you sign a long-term contract (up to five years).
ADT has a more reasonable contract of three years, while Vivint's often lasts up to five years. ADT also has a six-month money-back guarantee and a cheaper monthly monitoring cost.
If you're looking for a cheaper monthly fee, a shorter contract, and a money-back guarantee, ADT is the better company for you.
If you're looking for a cheaper upfront cost, a free lifetime equipment warranty, and you don't mind a long-term contract close to five years, Vivint is the best option.
Because both companies have poor customer feedback and are not transparent with pricing and their offer details, we suggest looking into other trusted and top-rated home security providers.