Vivint response time

Vivint response time DEFAULT

Vivint FAQs

How Does the Vivint Alarm System Work?

The Vivint alarm system has three primary parts: the control panel, the sensors and detectors, and the monitoring station. Once a sensor is tripped, it will signal the control panel that will, in turn contact the monitoring station. At this point, you’ll receive a call from the monitoring station to verify that you need help.

Am I Getting the Newest and Most Up-to-Date Equipment?

Yes, with Vivint you’ll always get the most up-to-date equipment when you sign up with the service.

Do I Own or Lease Vivint’s Home Security System?

You own the equipment. You can either pay for all the equipment up front or pay for it over the course of a few years. If you decide to pay for it over time, Vivint offers 0% APR so there’s no added interest.

Does Vivint Service Its Equipment?

Yes, Vivint services its equipment. If you sign up for Vivint’s Premium Service, the company will repair and replace and parts of the security system free of charge.

If you decline the Premium Service, you’ll have 120 days of warranty on your equipment. After that period, the replacement and repair on equipment will be free, but you’ll incur a service charge. Vivint also states that the warranty doesn’t cover repairs for accidents, acts of God, or any other reason except defective equipment.

How Often Does Vivint Check Its Systems?

Vivint’s system does an automatic self-check every 255 seconds. This is a set ping time that checks the signal to ensure everything operates correctly.

Yes, Vivint’s security equipment requires batteries. The only device that doesn’t need battery replacement is the control panel. This battery automatically charges when your panel is plugged in. However, if for some reason the battery is bad, simply contact customer support for assistance.

Below is a list of Vivint’s equipment and the batteries it takes.

  • The smart thermostat uses four AA batteries.
  • The smoke detector uses three AAA batteries.
  • The carbon monoxide (CO) detector uses a R123A or DL123A battery.
  • The door locks use four AA batteries.
  • The door and window sensor uses two CR2032 batteries.
  • The glass break sensor uses two CR123A batteries.
  • The motion sensor uses a CR123A battery.
  • The recessed door sensor uses a CR2 battery.

Can I Take My Vivint Security System with Me When I Move?

Yes, Vivint allows you to take your security system with you when you move. If you’ve been a customer with Vivint for a year and sign a new contract when moving, the company will waive the moving fee. If you choose to keep your current contract or have been a customer for less than a year, the company will charge you a $99 moving fee.

Is Vivint’s Service Transferrable?

Yes, Vivint allows you to transfer your service, as long as the person you’re transferring it to is a qualified candidate. If the person signs a new agreement, the transfer is free. If they don’t sign a new agreement and instead finish out your contract, then there’s a $99 transfer fee. If you’re interested in transferring your service, call Vivint’s Customer Loyalty team at 1-800-216-5232 ext. 5025.

Can Vivint’s System Detect Gas Leaks or Smoke?

Yes, Vivint has detectors for both gas and smoke.

Will Vivint Dispatch for Fire, Smoke, and CO?

If Vivint’s fire, smoke, or CO detectors sense danger, they will send a signal to the monitoring station. The monitoring station will then contact you to verify the emergency and send help if needed.

Does Vivint’s System Work If the Power Goes Out?

Yes, if the power goes out, Vivint’s 24-hour backup control panel battery will kick in.

Does Vivint’s System Require Manual Resetting in the Event of a Power Failure?

Vivint’s control panel doesn’t require a manual resetting if the power failure lasts for more than twenty-four hours. Your settings will automatically reboot and reconnect to your smart devices.

How Long Is Vivint’s Response Time?

Response times can vary widely. And although there’s no response time guarantee, Vivint boasts average response times of less than ten seconds.

Does Vivint Offer Systems with Advanced Safety Features?

Yes, Vivint has a lot of advanced safety features, including two-way voice communication, tamper sensors, and a duress code that allows you to put in a different code to stop your alarm while letting Vivint know that you need help.

Do I Need a Landline Phone to Use Vivint’s System?

No, you won’t need a landline to use Vivint’s home security system. Vivint uses a wireless connection to communicate with its monitoring centers.

Can I Control Vivint’s Home Security from My Phone?

Yes. The Vivint Smart Home app lets you control your home from anywhere and at any time. You can arm and disarm your home, receive alerts and notifications, and adjust temperature, locks, and lights right from your phone. Vivint’s app works with iOS and Android devices.

Nest smart thermostat on wall

Does Vivint’s System Integrate with Z-Wave Devices?

Yes, Vivint’s security system integrates with Z-Wave devices. With Vivint’s Z-Wave devices, you can control your lights, locks, thermostat, and appliances. The SkyControl panel will learn your habits over time and automatically adjust settings to suit your preference.

Does Vivint’s Hardware Sync with Other Security Systems?

Vivint’s equipment does have the capability to sync with other systems. However, according to the company’s customer service representatives, how well equipment syncs will depend on your new provider.

Can I Mix and Match the Components?

Vivint allows you to mix and match components, depending on the equipment you want to add and what company manufactures the devices.

Does Vivint Integrate with Other Smart Home Platforms and Devices?

Yes, Vivint integrates with Nest and Amazon Echo. With Amazon Echo, you can use voice commands to lock your doors, turn off your lights, adjust the temperature, and arm your security system. And with the Nest integration, not only can you adjust the temperature from your mobile app, but also the thermostat knows when you’re away and adjusts accordingly to save you money.

Does Vivint Charge for False Alarms?

According to Vivint, some cities charge a false alarm fee. For more detailed information about false alarm fees, give Vivint’s Customer Care team a call at 855-298-7730.

What Do I Do in the Event of a False Alarm?

If you accidentally set off a false alarm, enter your code to turn it off. Also, make sure to have your verbal passcode ready when Vivint’s monitoring station gives you a call to verify that it’s a false alarm. You can also give them a call at 800-216-5232 with your code to let them know it’s not a true emergency.

Can Vivint’s Alarm System Connect to a TV?

Vivint doesn’t currently have an app that allows you to hook up to a TV. But you could log in to the internet using your TV to access your system.

Will the Police Automatically Be Notified if My Alarm Is Triggered?

Before the monitoring center notifies the police of an emergency, it will contact you to verify that it’s not a false alarm. If you verify that you’re in trouble or if you don’t respond when the monitoring center tries to contact you, the police will be dispatched to your home.

Does Vivint’s Alarm Sound a Siren When Activated by an Intruder?

Yes, if a sensor or detector is triggered, an alarm will sound to let you and your family know that there’s an emergency.

What Happens If I Need Help with My Alarm System After Hours?

Vivint provides customers with 24/7 technical support so no matter when something happens, there will always be someone there to help. And if you have a defective device, Vivint will replace it under the Premium Service Plan.

Will My Children Be Able to Operate the Alarm System?

Whether or not your children are able to use the alarm system will depend on their ages. Vivint’s representative assured us that the system has a very simple interface with touchscreen features for ease of use.

Will I Be Provided Alarm Yard Signs and Decals to Put Up around My Home?

Vivint provides a yard sign and window decals to customers. The number of decals will vary depending on your house needs.

Who Does Professional Monitoring Call First?

Professional monitoring always calls you first to verify the emergency. Once a representative has made contact with you or if you don’t pick up the phone, they’ll call the police if you’re in danger.

If I Have an Emergency, Who Should I Call First?

Whether you have a security system or not, it’s always advised to call 911 for help in an emergency.

Will Somebody Be Monitoring My Home at All Times?

Vivint monitors your home 24/7 and 365 days a year, so there’s never a time where you’ll be without monitoring protection.

Who Monitors Vivint’s Security Systems?

Unlike some security companies that outsource monitoring centers, Vivint has its own proprietary monitoring centers.

What Are My Monitoring Options?

Vivint is 100% cellular, so you won’t have a broadband or a landline option. Cellular connections are considered to be the fastest and safest, and they’re quickly becoming the industry standard.

How Long Does It Take for My Security System to Notify Vivint of an Intrusion?

Vivint will usually receive an alarm within seconds and contact you within about ten seconds after your alarm has gone off.

$100 bills in hand

How Much Does Vivint Cost?

Vivint’s Smart Home Security package starts at $39.99 per month and includes 24/7 monitoring, customizable equipment options, remote access to your security system, and automation features.

Vivint’s Smart Home with Video starts at $49.99 per month and includes everything the Smart Home Security package has plus video monitoring options.

Does Vivint Offer Automatic Payments and Paperless Billing?

Vivint offers both automatic payments and paperless billing. If you set up automatic payments, you can see the amount due and when the payment is being processed by logging in to your account. If you want to opt out of automatic payments, you’ll need to contact Vivint’s customer support via chat, email, or phone.

What Additional Fees Does Vivint Charge?

Vivint charges a monthly monitoring fee, service fee, and cancellation fee. The service fee can be waived if you sign up for Vivint’s Premium Service. If you want to cancel your service, you can email, mail, or fax a written notice that includes the date, the service number, an explanation that you want to cancel, and your signature.

Does Vivint Charge Early Termination Fees If I Cancel?

Yes, if you cancel before your contract is up, you’ll have to pay off the remainder of the balance. However, Vivint does offer a special cancellation service that allows you to be released from your contract early for unfortunate and unexpected circumstances, such as a death in the family, filing bankruptcy, and more. Vivint requires that you provide proof to qualify for this policy. The company also states that each cancellation is reviewed on an individual basis.

Does Vivint Offer Any Customer Discounts or Services When I Move?

Vivint doesn’t offer any discounts for moving. However, if you sign a new agreement with the company when you move, the moving fee will be waived. If you decide to keep your current contract or have been a customer for less than a year, you’ll be charged a $99 moving fee.

Can Vivint’s System Qualify Me for a Homeowners Insurance Discount?

Yes, most home insurance companies will offer a discount for having a security system. However, how much of a discount you receive will depend on the insurance company as well as your security features.

Will I Be Provided with a Certificate to Show My Home Insurance Company?

Vivint makes it easy to obtain a certificate that proves you have a home security system installed. Simply log in to your account, go to the resource page, and download your Insurance Certificate.

What Contract Lengths Does Vivint Offer?

Vivint’s contracts range from forty-two months to sixty months. The company also allows you to pay for your equipment up front if you want to avoid a long-term contract.

Do Vivint Security Systems Come with a Warranty or Guarantee?

Yes, Vivint offers a lifetime guarantee on its equipment. As long as you’re a Vivint customer and have signed up for the Premium Service plan, the company will cover your repair and service for any defective equipment.

Does Vivint Offer a Referral Program?

Yes, Vivint offers a referral program: The referrer as well as the new customer both receive $50 toward their bills after the Vivint system has been fully installed for fifteen days in the new customer’s home. There’s a referral limit of twelve people per year.


Vivint vs. ADT | Compare Security Giants

skip to main content

Vivint and ADT are two of the most popular home security system companies out there. In most situations, Vivint’s got ADT beat, but it’s not perfect for everyone. Below you can dig into how Vivint and ADT compare so you can pick the one that works for you.

August 13, 2020

Icon Last Updated  Dark

Last Updated: several months ago

We regularly review our articles for accuracy. This go around, we updated ADT's plans and prices.

Compare Vivint vs. ADT

Security systemVivintADT
Lowest monitoring cost*
Installation & activation fees$99$99 minimum
Contract lengthNo contract† or 42, 60 mo.36 mo.
Home automation ratingCutting-edgeStandard
View plans

View Plans

View Plans

Learn moreRead full reviewRead full review

Data effective 08/13/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

* ADT’s entry-level package offers only landline monitoring while Vivint’s base package includes cellular monitoring. If you want cellular monitoring from ADT, it will cost at least $44.99 per month.

† Vivint’s contract-free option requires the purchase of all equipment up front.

Vivint and ADT pros and cons



  • Con BulletHigh up-front equipment costs
  • Con BulletLong contracts (if opting for a contract)



  • Con BulletExpensive monitoring plans
  • Con BulletLimited mobile app control

Notable similarities


Both Vivint and ADT require a professional installation with a fee of at least $99 attached. You’ll have to make an appointment and be home when the installer arrives, which may mean taking time off work. That’s not super convenient, but that way, you can oversee the installation yourself. And it gives you a chance to talk to a security expert during installation without calling a brand customer service department.

Features and equipment

Vivint Equipment

Vivint equipment

A D T Equipment

ADT equipment

ADT and Vivint both offer high-end security system features like smartphone control through a mobile app and home automation integration, but those features cost more with ADT than with Vivint.

Vivint also leads the security industry when it comes to equipment, though ADT isn’t far behind.

Customer service

ADT and Vivint are both ahead of security competitors when it comes to customer service availability. Both companies offer 24/7 support over the phone and through chat. ADT also offers email support.

Both companies also have some critical online reviews, just for different reasons. We’ll go into those more in individual brand review sections later.

What if I have to move?


Both Vivint and ADT will reinstall your home security system in your new home for a fee. If you don’t take your system with you, you’re still responsible for either buying out your contract or continuing to pay monthly fees—even with the security system not in use. Vivint will waive the fee if you’re moving for military deployment though.

Major differences

Monthly costs

How much is Vivint? The lowest package is $29.99 a month. Similarly, the cheapest ADT-monitored package is landline monitoring at $27.99 a month. But it doesn’t offer cellular monitoring until the $44.99-per-month package.

That means Vivint’s monitoring costs are lower than ADT’s, particularly if you want a plan that supports video monitoring or home automation integration. The exception is if you want landline monitoring.

While we recommend cellular monitoring in most cases, landline monitoring does have the benefit of a stable wired connection. Landline monitoring’s especially useful if your area has sketchy cell service reception. You can’t get it from Vivint, so you’ll need to pay the $27.99 to ADT.

Overall, though, compared to ADT, Vivint’s plans give you more security features at a lower price point. For one thing, every Vivint plan comes with mobile access. ADT, on the other hand, charges over $50 before providing that kind of convenience. That’s $23 more than what you pay with Vivint’s base plan and $8 more than what you pay with Vivint’s top-tier plan.

Compare Vivint and ADT security systems cost

Base plan
Midlevel plan
Top-tier plan$44.99/mo. (additional $5/mo. per camera)$62.99/mo.
Learn more

View Plans

View Plans

Data effective 08/13/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

Equipment costs

Conversely, ADT is usually less expensive than Vivint for equipment. ADT doesn’t advertise its pricing, so it’s hard to keep track of exact numbers, but we’ve generally found the prices to be more affordable than Vivint’s.

SafeStreets, the ADT authorized provider we recommend, includes an essential security equipment kit at no extra cost at every monitoring level, which could mean hundreds of dollars in savings. If you choose Vivint, you have to either pay for equipment up front or spread out the cost of equipment by paying extra each month (on top of the monitoring price) and signing a 42- or 60-month contract.

ADT is usually less expensive than Vivint for equipment.


Vivint designs and offers a lot of its own equipment—even smart home devices. This means easy compatibility. For example, Vivint sells an award-winning doorbell camera with night vision and two-way communication. You can pair it with a Vivint smart lock to see who’s there and unlock the door for them remotely.

Proprietary designs also mean the brand responds directly to issues or improvements. There’s nothing more frustrating than contacting the company that sold you a device only to learn that it didn’t make the merchandise and can’t help you fix the issue.

ADT, on the other hand, uses equipment made by third parties like, Honeywell, and DSC. The third-party equipment isn’t quite as impressive as Vivint’s proprietary gear, but and Honeywell both make reliable and easy-to-use equipment.

One thing to note: Vivint offers a larger selection of equipment than ADT, especially if you’re looking for cameras or home automation devices.

Installation costs

Both ADT and Vivint have $99 installation fees for basic and midlevel plans. But the top-tier ADT-monitored plan from SafeStreets costs $199 to install, while Vivint’s still costs $99.

Customer service

The differences between customer service with the two companies mostly come down to installation, contracts, trial period, and cancellation.

Installation timing:As we mentioned, both companies professionally install your equipment and help you understand how it works. But our preferred ADT provider, SafeStreets, can usually install your system fairly quickly, possibly even the day you order. It may take longer to get a Vivint installation scheduled.

Contracts: Vivint gives you more flexibility by offering a no-contract option if you pay for your equipment up front. ADT requires you to sign a contract no matter what. However, if you do sign a Vivint contract, it will be longer than the contract required by ADT.

Vivint verbal contract renewal

Our Experience

Vivint has an unusual system for renewing contracts, according to customer reviews. A Vivint service representative may ask if the customer’s satisfied with their service and, if they say yes, offer a contract extension at a reduced rate. The Vivint rep then reads aloud a disclaimer that states the user is committing to a contract renewal. However, many Vivint customers don’t seem to remember hearing the disclaimer, so we wanted to point it out.1

Trial period: Vivint gives you a three-day trial period, while ADT offers an unrivaled six-month trial period (certain restrictions apply). Trying out a new security system and having only three days to decide whether to keep it is . . . not good. If the three days fall during a busy week, you may not even be around to observe the system’s effectiveness.

Cancellation: ADT has one of the most lenient cancellation policies in the security systems industry. If you cancel your ADT contract, you have to pay 75% of your remaining balance. Vivint, on the other hand, requires 100%.

Vivint security systems review



Our rating:

4.5 out of 5.0

4.5 out of 5 stars4.5

Customer service

4.3 out of 5 stars4.3


4.3 out of 5 stars4.3

Features & equipment

4.3 out of 5 stars4.3

Plans starting at 



Compare Vivint plan prices

PackageSmart SecuritySmart HomeSmart Home Video
Monthly price$29.99$39.99$44.99 (additional $5/mo. per camera)
Installation fee$99$99$99
Mobile access
Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Smoke and CO monitoring
Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Medical pendant
Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Video monitoring
Table X


Table X


Table Check


Smart home integration
Table X


Table Check


Table Check


Learn more

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

Data effective 08/13/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

We like that these plans range from standard to comprehensive video coverage. They cover the sliding scale of needs from users who just want a basic home security system to those who want it all. Vivint also provides mobile monitoring with every single plan, which is a huge plus.

All three plans offer a medical alert pendant, which is perfect for anyone with medical needs. And even when the monthly monitoring costs go up, the installation costs don’t.

Vivint pricing structure


Remember, you do have to pay for the security equipment and the alarm monitoring. You can pay for it up front or over an extended period of time. When you choose the extended period of time, this means you’re being “financed,” or essentially getting a loan. If you arrange to cancel the service before the equipment is paid off, you may still have equipment payment obligations even after the monitoring bills stop.


Vivint equipment includes the following:*

  • SmartHub Panel: $549.99
  • Door and window sensors: $50.00
  • Recessed door sensors: $34.99
  • Motion sensors: $100.00
  • Tilt sensors: $34.99
  • Glass break detectors: $100.00
  • Key fobs: $34.99
  • Medical pendants: $34.99
  • Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms: $100.00
  • Smoke detectors/alarms: $100.00
  • Temperature/flood sensors: $50.00
  • Lamp modules: $50.00
  • Vivint Doorbell Cameras (with two-way voice): $249.99
  • Indoor cameras: $199.99
  • Thermostats: $169.00
  • Dead locks/deadbolts: $100.00
  • Garage door controllers: $99.00
  • Outdoor cameras: $299.99
  • Vivint Smart Drives: $249.00

*Not every Vivint price is readily available to customers.

Customer service

Vivint used to get a bad rap for its customer service. We’ve seen a lot of improvement, and Vivint reps are available 24/7 through phone, email, and chat to resolve issues. There are tons of compliments about the customer service of the company salespeople, installers, and service agents.

That said, some notable items keep coming up in customer reviews. One is the verbal contract confusion we called out earlier. Reviews suggested that customers are more likely to cancel in frustration from repeated verbal contract renewals than because of problems with the equipment itself.

Another issue is that some customers contend that Vivint ran a hard credit check without permission or copied their electronic signature to contracts other than the ones they signed.

APX Alarm Security Solutions

Our Choice

Vivint was founded in 1999 as APX Alarm Security Solutions. The company rebranded as Vivint, Inc. in 2011.2

>>Read more in our Vivint review.

ADT security systems review



Our rating:

3.7 out of 5.0

3.7 out of 5 stars3.7

Customer Service

4.3 out of 5 stars4.3


3 out of 5 stars3.0

Features & equipment

3.8 out of 5 stars3.8

Plans starting at 



Compare ADT plan prices

PlanEssentials Plan Complete Monitoring Bundle Premium Bundle II+ CellguardADT Command Tier I Remote AccessADT Command Tier II Video SecurityADT Command Tier III Video Security + Home Automation
Monthly price
Installation fee
Monitoring typeLandlineLandlineCellular Cellular Cellular Cellular
Mobile access
Table X


Table X


Table X


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Smoke and CO monitoring
Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Video monitoring
Table X


Table X


Table X


Table X


Table Check


Table Check


Smart home integration
Table X


Table X


Table X


Table X


Table X


Table Check


Lifetime equipment warranty*
Table X


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Table Check


Learn more

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

Data effective 08/13/2020. Offers and availability subject to change.

*Lifetime equipment warranty is valid only if you have an ADT Quality Service Plan. This isn't included in the base-level ADT plan.

The biggest added value of the high ADT costs is the lifetime equipment warranty. Otherwise, ADT monitoring costs are at a premium.

The two ADT top-tier options have really only one difference between them: smart home integration. If you have any other smart home products, it’s more than worth it to spend four dollars more to integrate your system.

The telegraph alert system

Case Study

ADT started life in 1874 as a telegraph company that eventually started sending alerts through its system. The name’s short for American District Telegraph.3


ADT equipment includes the following*

  • Digital control panels
  • Entryway contacts (door and window sensors)
  • Wireless keychain remotes
  • Motion sensors
  • Smoke detectors/alarms: $199.00
  • Carbon monoxide detectors/alarms: $229.00
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide combo: $229.00
  • Flood sensors
  • Glass break sensors: $199.00
  • Shock sensors: $149.00
  • Indoor cameras
  • Video doorbell cameras
  • Outdoor cameras
  • Smart locks: $62.99
  • Garage door sensors
  • Remote light modules: $62.99
  • Remote thermostats: $62.99

*Not every ADT price is readily available to customers.

Customer service

Like Vivint, ADT’s customer service has 24/7 availability. And you can call, email, or contact them through web chat.

Also like Vivint, ADT has customer criticism for unauthorized credit checks and electronic contract signatures. But the big issue most customers have is the third-party dealers.

ADT does all the monitoring, but it contracts with multiple third-party dealers who sell and install the equipment. This sometimes makes it difficult for customers to get a consistent experience.

ADT contract cancellation


Some of ADT’s responses to customer reviews indicating that the brand’s policy requires customers to accept three ADT technician visits for a problem before accepting contract cancellation requests.

Personally, we like ADT dealer SafeStreets for both purchase and installation. You can save a lot of money through getting its basic security equipment kit.

>>Read more in our ADT review.

Our recommendation

ADT and Vivint security systems both offer quality equipment and dependable monitoring, but in most cases we recommend Vivint because you get more features for your money.

If you’re looking for a contract-free option or lots of home automation support, Vivint’s the company for you. You can get a system with or without a contract, use your phone to check on your home, and choose from a great selection of high-end equipment. To learn more about Vivint, read our full review.

>>View Vivint Plans

ADT and Vivint both offer quality equipment and dependable security monitoring.

If you want a super fast system setup or a set of starter equipment, you’re probably best off with ADT. It has tons of security experience and some of the most reliable monitoring in the industry. Check out our full review to learn more about ADT’s plans.

>>View ADT Plans

  1. Spider in spanish
  2. Cyrano agency eng sub
  3. Odot blue sheets

If you've been considering getting a professionally installed home security system, chances are at some point you're going to narrow down your choices to ADT versus Vivint -- two of the biggest names in the industry. Odds are, too, you have some preconceived notions about these companies and you're wondering if your intuition is correct or completely off-base.

For instance, you've probably noticed ADT's blue octagonal yard signs your whole life, so you know the security company has been around quite a while, but you wonder -- has it kept up with the times? Vivint's bright, bold orange signs have been popping up in trendier neighborhoods more and more lately -- its entire ad campaign feels new and fresh -- but does the quality of its service match its marketing hype?

Get the CNET Home newsletter

Modernize your home with the latest news on smart home products and trends. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays.

When comparing ADT with Vivint, there are surprises aplenty. Yes, at 100-plus years old, ADT is the longest-established home security company in the biz, but that reputation has allowed it to keep pace with innovations in the market -- wireless sensors, smart speakers and what have you. Vivint is indeed a relative newcomer, but with emphasis on the word relative -- Vivint has actually been around for over 20 years now -- almost as long as CNET, in fact.

And yet, when it comes down to deciding which service we'd recommend over the other, the difference between "old school" and "new school" turns out to be the make-or-break factor. We'll explain in a bit, but first let's take a look at each home security company, starting with the (relatively) new kid in town.

Vivint Home Security

Big smart home brains, but an even bigger bill

Ry Crist/CNET

If you're looking for the biggest names and biggest brains in smart home automation, Vivint easily fits the bill. The question is, however, does the bill you'll end up getting from Vivint for all these cutting-edge technologies fit you and your budget?

Everything you can get with Vivint -- door and window sensors, a smart door lock, doorbell camera, smart thermostat, etc. -- you can buy a la carte from Amazon and other retailers. Some gadgets, like the Nest Learning Thermostat or the Kwikset Smart Lock, are the exact same ones available for sale elsewhere (usually for much cheaper, thanks to Vivint's steep markup). Others, like Vivint's smart display home hub, are easily replaceable with other, better mainstream alternatives (like the Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max) that are, again, often a lot less expensive when purchased elsewhere. 

So, what do you get for all the extra money Vivint charges?

Simple answer -- convenience. You don't have to install any of it, you don't have to connect it all to each other, and if something goes haywire, there's a toll-free number you can call and Vivint will send someone out to diagnose and fix the problem. In other words, you never have to tinker.

If that sounds like something you're willing to pay for, you should be perfectly happy with Vivint's offerings. (If not, perhaps you should consider DIY home security alternatives.)

Vivint says the average installation package costs $2,400 for new customers -- back-of-the-napkin math says you could get a similar setup for about half that if you installed everything yourself. Vivint also offers a professional monitoring service for $30 per month, which is about par for the course for pro systems. 

Vivint will let you spread out the cost of installation over payments, but -- and here's the real kicker -- Vivint doesn't require any kind of contract. If and when you're ready to terminate service, if you still have a remaining balance, just pay it off and voilà. You're done. 

If only we could say the same about the other big name in home security…

Read our full review of Vivint Home Security.

ADT home security

The granddaddy of home security systems (and it shows)

David Priest/CNET

The one area where you could think ADT might be slacking, it's very much not -- ADT's technology is as state-of-the-art as any on the market. Even though the company was founded in the 1800s, it's very much kept up with the times. Where once the ADT system monitored doors and windows with wired connections (run behind walls and under kickplates), these days everything is wireless. 

You can get all the same (or similar) gadgets and gizmos with ADT as you can with Vivint or any other brand -- smart locks, doorbell cameras, security cams, a connected thermostat. And ADT will now integrate with the Google Nest line of smart speakers, smart displays and connected cameras. 

ADT's pricing is on the high side of competitive with Vivint's -- most of its devices cost about the same or a little more than comparable devices from Vivint. A few cost a little less. Its monthly monitoring service is a bit overpriced -- $39 per month for basic service ($9 more than Vivint); $60 if you want to set up automations like turning the lights on when your deadbolt unlocks, for example. That's $15 more than Vivint charges for a comparable service.

But beyond the security equipment itself is where ADT's service starts to break down -- and fast.

First, there's the system for controlling all that gear. Vivint has a smart display that serves as a hub, as well as a mobile app and website -- but all three work in glorious harmony with one another, letting you control any part of the system from any one and all of them.

ADT's setup, however, is a bit more… disjointed. ADT also has a hub, an app and a website, but unlike with Vivint, you can't do everything on any one of them. For example, the control panel (aka hub) lets you arm and disarm the system and check security camera feeds and device settings. But if you want to set up a routine or access more specific device settings, you have to move over to the ADT Pulse app. To create more complex home automations, however, you have to move over to the web portal, which means you have to use a laptop or desktop computer (and not everyone has one of those handy all the time). 

Not only is it frustrating and confusing to have to use different tools to accomplish different tasks, the user interface and experience is subpar on all of the above -- as you might expect from a company that cut its teeth during the early days of the automobile.

But where ADT really falls out of step with modernity is with its contract. You read that right: ADT still requires a contract for service. And the company includes positively punishing terms if ADT customers want to get out early. Even if you pay for all the hardware up front, the contract will still lock you in for 12 to 60 months (depending on the region), and cancellation can cost up to 75% of the remaining balance of the entire contract.

With few (if any) advantages over other professionally installed systems, the required contract is the last nail in the coffin, placing ADT at the bottom of our list of favorite home security companies. 

Read our full review of ADT home security.

Conclusion: Vivint is better than ADT, but there are even better options

The winner this round is Vivint. It's less expensive for the same or similar equipment, offers a better user experience and requires no contracts. But there are a lot of conditions we want to point out before you call the number on your neighbor's bright orange yard sign to start service in your own home. 

First, our favorite professionally installed security system is Xfinity, so you should look to see if that's available in your area (you can read our Xfinity versus Vivint article for even more insights). 

But unless you're just so busy making money that you simply have no time whatsoever (even on the weekends) to install your own smart home devices, you should at least consider DIY options. For most products, the DIY installation process is simple enough that you don't need much know-how -- or for that matter, much time -- to do it yourself.

You can save yourself hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars, DIYing it, and, once you've signed up for a professional monitoring service from Ring, which has a $30 per month service, or SimpliSafe, which charges $25 per month for its best service, your experience will be fairly similar to someone who paid much, much more for their home security system.

But if you have the money to spend on a professionally installed security system -- and fiddling with smart home security gadgets isn't your idea of a fun and interesting weekend -- and Xfinity doesn't service the area where you live, we think you'll be perfectly happy with home security service from Vivint.

Why Vivint

Compare Vivint vs. ADT Home Security Home Security Systems

Key Facts

Smart Home Security System | $0 Activation
  • High-quality home security, environmental safety, and energy-saving features
  • Free quote 
  • Free Professional Installation
  • No activation fee
  • 4.5 stars on The App Store and 4.4 stars on Google Play
  • Residential and commercial systems available

$100 ADT Visa Reward Card, FREE*


  • Six million customers in North America
  • Monitoring services backed by 140+ years of security experience
  • Professional installation through ADT professional installers
  • Smoke, flood, and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Industry-leading reputation




*Requires 36-month monitoring contract. Landline req'd. Early term. and installation fees apply. Taxes addt'l. For full terms and pricing visit

There is no doubt that the home security and automation industry has grown throughout the years.

More and more people are looking for ways to make their homes safer, and with such a demand, companies have to do their best to stand out.

If you are unsure about which company is right for you, you need to assess two things as a customer: your home’s security needs, and the budget you have to meet them.

Once you have this information, you can confidently browse and get quotes from multiple companies to see which fits your needs best.

In the case of Vivint vs. ADT Monitoring, both are well-renowned companies in the home security business, providing similar services and devices, yet differing on aspects like pricing, contract length, and equipment manufacturing.

Vivint has been in service since 1999, offering their self-designed home security and automation devices to customers wanting high-quality security and connectivity for their homes.

Vivint’s devices are interconnectable, meaning that after customers choose a specific plan, they can customize their service by adding other devices they want.

Their pricing is on the high end, meaning customers have to care not to overstep on their budget when choosing a plan and adding extra devices.

On the other hand, ADT Monitoring has been in the security industry for more than140 years, offering families and businesses protection and automated devices backed by quality services.

ADT’s devices are installed by company technicians for a one-time fee, but the equipment is included at no additional cost.

ADT’s pricing is also on the high end, meaning customers will need a medium to high budget to accommodate their services.

Both companies are strong-but costly- options for customers looking for home security.

If you are considering ADT Monitoring vs. Vivint, we’ve done the research for you, so all you have to do is read on, weigh in and decide.

To help you on your informed decision, we look at the following crucial company elements: equipment, monitoring, reputation, contract and price, and technology integration.


 VivintADT Home Security
Monitoring Options and Technology4.5/55.0/5
Contract Flexibility4.5/54.5/5

Home Security Basics

In 2017, there were 7.7 million property crimes in the United States, and of those, 1.4 million were burglaries. 

To protect your home from these burglaries, it is important to pick the company that best suits your needs. 

Being two of the biggest home security companies in the United States, Vivint vs. ADT Monitoring offer similar home security products at average to high prices, but they differ in package structure, services, and on equipment development.

The equipment sold by both companies require professional installation, meaning that DIY is not an option, and that some drilling is required.

If you plan on moving, both companies have relocating policies for their devices, but they come at additional fees and costs.

Additionally, both companies can integrate smartphone devices you already own, and unlike ADT, Vivint’s devices are proprietary.

All of ADT’s services come with a wireless control panel, 3 wireless door/window sensors, 24/7 security monitoring, event-triggered alarms, and fire, flood and carbon monoxide detection, although additional charges may apply for the latter features.

Other features include the ADT Go Family Locator App, and customers with the Control package get remote access and the ADT Pulse app.

ADT’s Video package is their most comprehensive, adding a security camera with live video that customers can monitor through their smartphones.

All of ADT packages come with a 6-month money-back guarantee, but this is subjected to some restrictions.

Finally, there is no lifetime warranty for ADT equipment, although their devices come with a 90 day warranty, and you can pay a $7 monthly fee to extend it.

On the other hand, Vivint lets customers build their own packages, and their security system is centered on their SkyControl Panel, a touch-screen wireless device designed to swiftly integrate with any added home security or automation device you add.

All of Vivint’s packages come with 24/7 monitoring, the SkyControl Panel, Sky app, and a number of devices that depend on the buyer’s particular needs.

For an extra cost, you can add other Vivint devices to your plan, such as a doorbell camera, element thermostat, smart lock, ping camera, garage door control, and Google Home.

Vivint also has premium options available, including Outdoor camera and 24/7 continuous recording.

In terms of warranty, Vivint offers a 120 day warranty from the day they complete installation, and premium service members can extend it for $10 a month.

Vivint’s normal warranty length is longer than ADT’s, but their warranty extension is more expensive.

Sensor & Device Comparison

Sensors are of upmost importance when shopping for home security, since they detect if any suspicious or dangerous irregularities occur in your home or business.

It is important that a company provide diverse types of sensors that adapt to your residence or business, since this gives you the option to customize the company’s services to your needs.

Thankfully ADT and Vivint offer the same types of sensor devices, so no matter the company you choose, you needs will be covered.

These sensors include motion, door, recessed door, garage door and window sensors, as well as glass break, and crash/smash protection.

To guarantee that sensors are placed efficiently, both ADT and Vivint employ professional technicians that inspect your home and advice the best locations to place them, based on the particularities of your home or business.

ADT’s basic plan has 1 wireless motion detector, door and window sensor as standard, meaning that additional types of sensors come as add-ons.

For Vivint, depending on your personalized package, some will come as standard while others can be added for an additional price.

In terms of surveillance, Vivint vs. ADT Monitoring have the same type of camera options, including tilt and pan, indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras.

Some of these cameras can be added to your plan, while others, like Vivint’s outdoor camera, come as premium options.

Also, both companies offer carbon monoxide, flood, temperature change, and smoke sensors, and they also have panic button and medical alerts integrated on their system or sold as an optional, separate device. 

For example, Vivint and ADT’s system panels come with an integrated panic button, but you might not be able to reach it in time in the case of an emergency.

This is where Vivint’s panic alert pendant and ADT’s pendant system come into play, helping you get the help you need no matter the situation you find yourself in.

This service is particularly helpful to elderly, disabled, or ailing customers, so it is great to know that both companies offer it.


ADT Home Security


ADT Home Security


ADT Home Security


ADT Home Security

How do their monitoring services compare?

It’s important to know how quickly and efficiently a company handles threats or emergencies, since a slow response hinders the company’s promise of providing help when you need it most.

On average, response time takes from 5 seconds to one minute, although this varies depending on location and situation.

It is good to know a company’s average response time, since this gives you an idea of how fast they will assess your situation and dispatch emergency services.

For ADT, the response time of both companies average in 15 seconds or less, meaning their representative will assist you in little to no time.

This is due to the use of cellular networks for their devices, although ADT offers cellular as standard or as a backup network.

This response does not include the time police or medical services arrive on scene, which many factors can affect, averaging in around 7 minutes.

It is also important to know if a company owns its monitoring centers or if it outsources them, and the types of failsafes they have to secure your security.

While it is more common for smaller companies to employ other companies for their monitoring services, most large companies own their monitoring centers, focusing on their own devices and customers.

Being two of the largest home security providers in the United States, ADT and Vivint have their own monitoring centers, although ADT has the advantage in terms of quantity, with 6 monitoring centers, compared to Vivint’s 2 centers in Provo, Utah and Eagan, Minnesota.

This doesn’t mean ADT has better quality service, but it does give ADT an advantage in terms of failsafe and redundant monitoring.

Failsafe features and redundant monitoring are other important characteristics to look for when shopping for home security companies, since they makes sure you will get a response no matter the situation.

Failsafe features make sure your home security devices don’t lose power in the case of a blackout, and redundant monitoring assures that if your local monitoring center is unable to respond, another center will take your call in its place.

Both ADT and Vivint have backup battery for their security panels, meaning that losing electricity won’t hinder your ability to ask for help, and their monitoring centers have redundant protection, meaning that you will get a prompt response from their call centers no matter the situation.

Pricing & Cost Comparison

What technology integrations are available?

It’s important for home security companies to offer systems that allow third-party device integration, since it gives you the flexibility to add compatible security or home automation devices without having to worry about buying the same device again for the sake of compatibility.

This is also important because technology is constantly evolving, and companies need to offer flexible devices that adapt to these needs.

A flexible company in terms of technology integration means that you have greater access to security and automation devices, and that you have a greater control as a customer.

Also, in a world of smartphones, companies have adapted so that home monitoring and automation can be done as quickly as opening an app and tapping on the screen.

Not all companies have this feature, but those that do stand out in the market.

When it comes to ADT Monitoring vs. Vivint, both companies allow third-party device integration, ADT through their Pulse system and Vivint through their SkyControl panel.

Device integration range from security equipment, such as cameras and sensors, to home automation devices, such as thermostat, light switches, smart plugs, smart locks, and garage door controls.

In their mobile app, both ADT and Vivint give you the option to arm or disarm your security system remotely, and lets you control any smart device you have installed in your home.

For example, you can turn lights on or off, lock or unlock doors, set room temperatures through a smart thermostat, you can monitor all available cameras and save video clips, and even see and speak to visitors who are on your front door through a doorbell camera.

Vivint’s Smart Home app and ADT’s Pulse app have solid reviews on the Apple App Store and Google Play, meaning that they are great choices for smartphone users.

Finally, Vivint and ADT allows you to integrate home digital assistants to your system. ADT and Vivint support Amazon Alexa and Google Home.


ADT Home Security


ADT Home Security

How do their reputations compare?

It is important for a home security to hold a solid reputation with certification agencies and with its customers, since it shows that they are committed to industry standards and with helping you if there is ever a problem with their devices or services.

In the case of Vivint vs. ADT Monitoring, Vivint has strong ratings from various certification companies, including the Central Station Alarm Association, the Underwriter’s Laboratory, and the Electronic Security Association.

The company holds an average C rating with the Better Business Bureau, and a strong score of 7.1 with Trustpilot. Positive reviews praise their friendly and knowledgeable technicians, their excellence in online services, and the efficiency of their devices.

Negative reviews mention problems with setting appointments, cancellation procedures, and with customer support.

On the other hand, ADT also has bee certified by a variety of industry associations, including the Underwriter’s Laboratory, Factory Mutual, Electronic Security Association, and the New York City Fire Department.

The company holds a solid A+ score with the Better Business Bureau, although it has 200 negative reviews, a number that is lower than Vivint’s amount of 485.

The company has a very low score of 2.2 on Trustpilot, although this score is based on 22 reviews.

Negative reviews comment on problems transferring ADT services to new homes, problems with customer service, and problems with service cancellation, while positive reviews mention their response promptness, knowledgeability of their representatives, and amiability of their technicians.

It’s very important to note that, although Vivint and ADT have a good amount of negative reviews in their BBB profile and in Trustpilot, this is not necessarily a cause for concern.

These are large companies that have been in service for decades and have grown through the years, meaning that there will always be negative reviews on record.

It’s always important for customers to search for the specifics in those reviews, since in many cases, the companies address these reviews personally and help their customers solve their problems.


ADT Home Security

Contact & Additional Information

Final Verdict

ADT Home Security has a higher overall rating than Vivint Home Security. ADT Home Security scores better than Vivint across: Monitoring Options and Technology, Reputation, and Technology Integration. Both companies score similarly on Equipment, Value, and Contract Flexibility.

Customer Comments & Reviews

ADT Home Security review

We got new windows and the window people ripped out our ADT devices. We consulted ADT about getting new equipment and they quoted us something like $2,000 for the whole house (granted this is a large house). Then we ended up going with another security monitoring company. I had to call ADT to cancel the service and they literally kept me on the phone for 15 minutes tying to get me to stay. Needless to say it was a very annoying experience.

ADT Home Security review

My mother lives in Puerto Rico and decided to get the ADT alarm system. She has had many problems with this system and when she calls the company for service they answer from Texas and the customer service reps tell her that she has to buy the parts out of pocket. I have tried to find the power supply online and I can't find it. I told her to stop paying the bill. I'm sure they'll reach out quick asking for the payment but no service.

Vivint Home Security review

we have had Vivint for 4 years and moved once. from Ohio to NC. they had to call the police twice . when we have a question , they are always there to answer 24/7

Vivint Home Security review

Best decision I made was to install Vivint home security in my home..about 9 months later I was confined to bed for four months. I was able to monitor the system from my bed using my IPHONE AND IPAD. How comforting to be able to turn my arm my system, control my thermostat, turn lights on and off, and answer my doorbell from my bed. I am up and walking now and ordered more door locks and garage opener today. It will be installed on Tuesday. Can’t wait.

Vivint Home Security review

AMAZING!!! Love the service, love the system, love everything!

Vivint Home Security review

keep up the good work

ADT Home Security review

Love it!

ADT Home Security review



Response time vivint

Vivint Smart Home Security Review

We spent nearly two months testing the Vivint home security system and found it to be the best option currently on the market today. And we feel this way for a few reasons. First and foremost, the Vivint system is effective and has rock-solid connectivity. Secondly, its control panel and mobile apps are user-friendly and fun to use. And it doesn't hurt that a dedication to the customer experience guides Vivint’s selection of devices—the suite of components you need for a complete solution of home security and automation.

We spent nearly two months testing the Vivint home security system and found it to be the best option currently on the market today.

The slight downside is that the higher quality comes with a steeper price. Vivint is more expensive than competing professionally installed systems—although not by much even when compared to DIY solutions with less quality. Fortunately, you can spread the payments over 42 or 60 months with zero interest. Vivint also allows you to pay off equipment costs in a lump sum to reduce monthly bills and avoid getting locked into a long-term contract.

With that said, take a look at our full review of the service below, from ordering, to installation, to functionality and more to see how it all works.


Buying a Vivint system typically begins with a phone call about your security goals. A sales representative will also inquire about the layout of your home and your desire for automated features such as a smart lock, thermostat, and controllable lighting. That’s when you’ll make a preliminary selection of sensors, devices, and a monthly monitoring plan.

You can also ask Vivint to send a “Smart Home Pro” to your house for a free in-person consultation. This allows you to follow a thoughtful planning process to select the necessary equipment. Be advised that the Vivint phone agent and the Smart Home Pro earn commissions. Customers have three days after installation to return the entire system and 30 days after installation to return individual products.

You should also know that Vivint supplements its salesforce with authorized dealers. However, Vivint dealers sell equipment and services at the same price as what’s offered directly by the company. And in a major distinction from other security companies, Vivint is always solely responsible for the lifetime customer relationship, including installation, service, support, and professional monitoring.


On the scheduled day of the installation, the technician arrived at about 15 minutes early. He took an entire hour to walk us through the process of installing the selected equipment. “My job is to secure your home,” he said. “Let’s put in security first and the toys afterward,” referring to optional smart locks and voice assistants.

We walked through each room to confirm which doors, windows, and hallways should be protected. The installer advised us about what he called “a smart second line of defense,” such as placement of a glass-break sensor where someone might smash a window rather than prying open a door.

Vivint technicians—who are employees of the company, not contractors—go through a rigorous education process.

Vivint technicians—who are employees of the company, not contractors—go through a rigorous education process.

Vivint’s components have solid construction. Their design is attractive. Our sole gripe was that the door sensors are only available in white. We would have preferred a color to blend in with our natural wood. Smart door locks come in bronze, satin nickel, and polished brass.

Vivint purposefully does not offer an expansive catalog of hundreds of sensors, cameras, locks, and thermostat. It’s what Jeremy Warren, Vivint’s Chief Technology Officer, told us is a “curated ecosystem” for tight integration and quality control.

The installer led me through the process of naming each device (e.g., bedroom sliding door, dining room light, etc.) and he provided a tutorial for how everything works. But the lion’s share of his time was spent conducting diagnostics to ensure that the control hub, sensors, cameras, devices, and the smart lock have robust communications to one another. 

In a mature, formal procedure, Vivint assigns a score to the system’s multiple radio frequencies, Wi-Fi, and cell signals. The hub offers further diagnostics and self-testing tools, so you know everything is working. Over two months, we received several app notifications when a device needed to have a battery replaced or went offline for other reasons. (We find these messages reassuring because we’ve read many horror stories about consumers finding out that an alarm system isn’t working only after an intrusion.)

The installation, which costs $99, took six hours. Vivint often waives the fee during promotions, which is paid upfront. 

We believe that lighting is an essential part of home security. While Vivint sells a plug-in device to control outlets, as well as Hue smart light bulbs, these devices stop working if an appliance’s switch (or the wall control) is inadvertently turned off. The solution is to replace your current light control with a smart switch from Lutron, Wink, or Wemo. However, Vivint technicians are not licensed electricians. So while they can drill holes and mount cameras and doorbells, they do not change in-wall switches—leaving it to an electrician or DIY consumer to make the upgrade.

How It Works

There are two primary ways that users interact with a Vivint system—the Smart Hub and a smartphone mobile app. Some users prefer a control panel placed near the front door, while others like using the phone app. The choice is up to you.

In both the control panel and app, the home screen is labeled “Security.” From a glance, you can see if the system is set to Disarmed, Armed Staying, or Armed Away. The home screen also provides a status of any doors or windows that are open. That gives you the option to walk around the house, closing everything—until you get a message reading, “Everything looks good. Your home is ready to arm.” Or you can decide to set the alarm to bypass any open door or window for the duration of that armed session. The home screen also allows you to see the status of smart locks—and with a single touch, lock, or unlock doors.

The Security screen on the app offers a way to sound the alarm immediately. And a similar “+” button on the hub provides a way to trigger panic, emergency, or fire immediately.

By holding the Fire button down for two seconds, the monitoring center immediately dispatches the fire department. Holding down the Panic button sounds the Smart Hub siren and contacts the monitoring center—while the Emergency button contacts the monitoring center without sounding the siren.

We were advised by Vivint to use the Emergency button to evaluate the monitoring center’s response time. We conducted this test twice. In each case, we were speaking with the monitoring center via the hub in about 10 to 15 seconds. (Don't worry, we explained that it was a false alarm to the representative.)

The next navigation icon is Cameras, allowing you to see live and recorded video events—and to turn privacy mode on and off. A clock icon for Activity links to a running log of every activity—doors opening and closing, motion sensors picking up movement, and people detected walking in front of the house.

The hub allows you to individually customize the notification sound for every action—with a door chime, piano riff, or other sound effects. So you know which door opened without looking up. Similarly, a subtle green light is emitted from the bottom of the hub when all the doors and windows are closed, and the system is ready to arm.

The hub allows you to individually customize the notification sound for every action—with a door chime, piano riff, or other sound effects.

The power (and fun) of the Vivint system comes from setting up “Custom Actions” that connect one device to another. Here are examples of functions you can set up:

  • Turn on specified lights when entering the house.
  • Automatically disarm the system after punching in the code to the smart lock.
  • Alarm or disarm the system at a specific time or sunset/sunrise.
  • Enable privacy mode on indoor cameras when the system is disarmed (or armed in stay mode).

One of the smartest applications of a custom action is to use the siren built into an outdoor camera when an alarm is triggered. So in addition to sounding the hub’s 85-decibel siren inside your house, the outdoor camera’s siren will blast a warning to the neighborhood. It’s one of many examples of how multiple devices can combine with one another. And Vivint recently started selling a Car Guard that easily plugs into a car’s dashboard port. If Car Guard detects the car being disturbed in your driveway, it can tell your outdoor camera to start recording.

Again, these “custom actions” are built-in. Therefore, they don’t require a complicated if-this-then-that equation. They are powerful but can be set up quickly and easily.

Perhaps the highest praise for Vivint’s system is how quickly its operation becomes second nature.

Best Features

Reliable Communications: When you’re shopping for a home security system, it’s easy to get distracted by things such as voice assistants, Bluetooth speakers, and automated rainbow-colored light shows. But none of it matters for security if you don’t have reliable, lightning-fast connections between your devices and the monitoring center.

That’s why our favorite Vivint feature is the company’s underlying, redundant communications strategy. Many competing systems use your existing Wi-Fi network as the backbone. But Vivint goes several steps further. But how? Vivint added extra ports to our router, including one for a Power Line Communications (PLC) connection between the Internet and the Vivint Smart Hub. PLC uses a home’s electrical wiring to send data. The outdoor camera also ties into PLC, essentially creating a wired system for devices far away from the hub. 

In some cases, Vivint uses Ethernet connections to reduce interference for cameras placed on the edge of a home. Other added ports created hard links to the 24/7 hard-drive for video recordings and a bridge for Philips Hue lightbulbs. And critically, the Vivint Smart Hub uses its own dedicated Wi-Fi network rather than piggybacking on yours.

Here’s why these steps matter. A few weeks after the installation, we discovered locking or unlocking our Kwikset smart lock took about 20 seconds to work. So the Vivint technician returned to add signal repeaters for both the hub’s main 345-MHz radio signals and the 908-MHz Z-Wave network, the protocol used for connecting many third-party devices. Based on these strategies, the response time on the smart lock was reduced to about one second. On the same visit, he updated the firmware of the Vivint Outdoor camera, which sped up the talk function for more effortless conversations with people at the door.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and AI-Based Smart Sentry:

In April 2019, Vivint introduced a new outdoor camera—and it’s fantastic. It has 4K Ultra HD capability, with high dynamic range and 40 feet of night vision. The field of view is 140 degrees. With a pinch, we were able to zoom into the scene with minimal loss in detail. Two far-field microphones with echo canceling provided clear audio. It’s was also equipped with two-way talk and a siren.

The camera offers a Smart Sentry function that sends a smartphone notification when it detects somebody lurking in the driveway. To avoid false alarms, we used the app to draw boundaries to establish where I want the camera to look or disregard. The camera’s built-in intelligence can differentiate between a human being and a passing car or swaying tree. If it detects a person, a sound is emitted, and a ring of red light illuminates around the lens. The effect is that intruders look up just in time for a photo to be snapped and sent to our phone.

The camera offers a Smart Sentry function that sends a smartphone notification when it detects somebody lurking in the driveway.

When we clicked on the notification, we were brought into the camera section of the app. And because we had the Smart Drive, we were able to rewind the footage to see the entire scene of a person approaching and leaving. Each detected action is marked on the timeline with a little white dot for easy identification. Without the Smart Drive, you get 14 days of clip storage per camera in Vivint’s cloud. The clip length for the Vivint Outdoor Camera is up to 90 seconds. Clips from the doorbell camera and Ping indoors are 30 and 20 seconds respectively.

Price and Fees

The Vivint starter kit costs $599. It includes the Vivint Smart Hub, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, and a credit for $100 worth of additional sensors. For our system, we added this list of security gear:

  • 7 additional door/window sensors: $350 ($50 each)
  • 1 additional motion detector: $100
  • 2 glass break detectors: $200 ($100 each)
  • Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro: $399

If we had left our order there, it would be about $1,650—similar to an average Vivint order. But we went a little crazy, pushing our order to $3,173 with these items:

  • 2 Vivint Ping indoor cameras: $398 ($199 each)
  • Vivint Doorbell Camera: $249
  • Vivint Smart Drive: $249
  • 1 CO detector: $100
  • 1 additional water sensor: $50
  • 1 smoke detector: $100
  • Kwikset smart door lock: $179
  • 4 lamp modules: $200 ($50 each)

The Vivint Smart Home monthly service plan is $39.99 plus $5 per camera, which includes 14 days of clip storage per camera. If you have a Vivint Smart Drive, the same pricing per camera provides 24/7 recording of up to four cameras. We recommend the Smart Drive, even at a relatively pricey $249, because it provides a quick experience of viewing and rewinding.

Vivint also offers a monthly Smart Security service for $29.99. It’s for a basic system that does not include cameras or home automation. Vivint says that only about five percent of its customers choose this option.

The Competition: Vivint vs. ADT

Vivint is a professionally installed security system. Therefore, it should only be compared to other full-service systems like ADT, Brinks, and Xfinity Home—rather than DIY products. Unlike ADT, the most popular home-security service, Vivint designs and makes nearly every product that it sells, resulting in a consistently higher-quality product and service. ADT bundles equipment with its services, so in most cases a relatively high monthly fee is charged indefinitely. On the other hand, Vivint separates the cost of equipment to reduce the monthly expense after the gear is fully purchased.

Final Verdict

One of the best systems to use to protect your home.

Vivint is the no-brainer choice for the most reliable, trustworthy, and full-featured home security system and monitoring service. With smart features, custom security actions such as being able to sound alarms from exterior cameras, and near fail-proof power line communication between the Internet and the Hub, Vivint offers worry-free protection for your home.


  • Product Name Vivint Smart Home
  • Price $39.99
  • Base Price $599 for hub, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, and a $100 credit for more sensors
  • Monthly Fees Vivint Smart Home monthly service plan is $39.99 plus $5 per camera. Monthly Smart Security plan for $29.99 does not include cameras or home automation.
  • Installation Cost $99
  • Plan Lock-In 42 or 60 months if the equipment is financed (with zero percent). Or month-to-month with no lock-in if the equipment is paid upfront.
  • Return Policy Three days after installation to return the entire system and 30 days after installation to return individual products
  • Warranty Fully warranted for the first 120 days after installation. After 120 days, service calls are $49
  • Available Smart-Home Products (Partial) Smart lock, lamp modules, smart lightbulbs, voice assistants
  • Available Cameras Outdoor, indoor, doorbell camera
Vivint Smart Thermostat - Custom Action For Healthy Air Circulation


You will also like:


110 111 112 113 114