ADS Security ReviewBy - 09/21/2016
Total Score: 6.73 / 10
All the right technology backed by superior customer support
They only support customers in the Southeast
The Bottom Line
If you live in the Southeast and don’t plan to move you should consider ADS. Keep in mind that they may require a 60 month contract = OUCH!
ADS Protection & Equipment 7/10
ADS is a full-service home security company that uses Honeywell Equipment. They provide 24/7 monitoring through a top notch monitoring station. In fact, their monitoring station is a UL-listed, CSAA Five Diamond Monitoring Center. While this may sound like a crazy long award that they made up, it’s not. It is a coveted security distinction and a distinction that less than 1% of monitoring facilities in the US achieve.
Through their monitoring center, ADS provides professional monitoring for burglaries, fires, and carbon monoxide. But that’s not all. They can do so much more through the use of connected sensors and their control panel. They use the Honeywell LYNX Touch 5200 control panel. While I’ve not used the panel in my home, I was able to go hands-on with the device at a tradeshow. It is a colored touch-screen panel that communicates with the monitoring center through a cellular signal. It also controls connected sensors and Z-Wave home automation products.
It’s difficult to find information on the equipment sold by ADS. It’s impossible to find pricing. Like ADT, they want to come into your home for a face-to-face sales meeting. Without one, don’t expect to receive pricing. A lack of pricing transparency does not appeal to me and the industry as a whole is moving away from this obsolete business model. In talking to an ADS rep at the trade show, later on the phone, and through online research, I was able to gather some inside scoop. ADS sells the following pieces of equipment:
- motion detectors
- glass break sensors
- panic buttons
- medical alert pendants
- dual sensors (detects smoke and heat)
- carbon monoxide detectors
- contact sensors (door/window sensors)
- smart home equipment (more on that later)
- and more
|Smart Security Essentials||Smart Security Interactive||Smart Security Complete|
|Free Equipment (If Qualified)||$300||$300||$300|
|Mobile App Access||YES||YES||YES|
|Light, Lock, Thermostat Automation||NO||YES||YES|
|Garage Door and Small Appliance Automation||NO||YES||YES|
|Environmental Monitoring (Water Valves)||NO||YES||YES|
|Remote Video (Live and Clips)||NO||NO||YES|
Monitoring through ADS is not guaranteed to be 100% wireless. Though they do offer landline monitoring, most of the systems they install use a cellular signal. I’ve seen conflicting facts online, but I confirmed with the ADS rep I spoke to that they do indeed use a cell signal.
Cellular is the most secure form of monitoring. Your monthly fee will be influenced by your equipment choice, contract length, and also by your monitoring choice. Cellular will be more expensive than landline monitoring. The monthly monitoring fee for landline service runs around $30.95 per month.
In addition to the plans they offer for monitoring service, they also offer a takeover option. If you have existing equipment, they will take over the equipment and monitor it for you. While new monitoring plans require a longer contract, bringing your own equipment requires a shorter one-year agreement. Of course, the equipment must be compatible. I would also caution that security equipment is technology, it isn’t meant to last forever. Sometimes, signing up for a new plan and getting new equipment is the best option.
Summary of ADS Monitoring and Equipment:
- 24/7 Monitoring for Burglaries and Fires
- Packages Start at $43.00 per month
- Installation Starts at $99.99
- UL-Listed, CSAAA Five Diamond Monitoring Station
- Cellular Monitoring Possible
- LCD Touch Screen Keypad
- In-Home Sales Process
ADS Home Automation 9.5/10
ADS uses the Total Connect app for iOS and an Android app; you can control your system from your smartphone, tablet, or by using the LYNX Touch 5200. Moving between the two options is rather easy as they have a matching interface. They’ve also added a feature called ADS Aniware®. Aniware allows users to setup and receive instant email or text alerts to let users know of home events. Through Aniware, you can check in on things remotely by viewing live video and receiving video clips (with the right package) via text or email when your system is disarmed or motion has been detected. The ADS Aniware virtual keypad can be easily accessed via the internet or through the iPhone, Android or Blackberry supported app.
You can also use all of these options to control your smart home, arm or disarm your alarm, and set rules for your smart appliances. Depending on what package you choose, you will have access to different features and equipment. In addition to the security equipment already discussed, ADS sells smart home equipment.
- smart locks
- indoor home security camera
- PAWS pet camera
- smart thermostat
- smart lighting
Home Security Cameras
At the trade show, I was able to go hands-on with ADS’ Honeywell Home Security Camera. They demonstrated the video quality on a TV screen. I was able to view four simultaneous feeds at once but was told that you can view up to six cameras from multiple locations.
Though the camera is wireless, it does not share the same cellular signal used by the alarm system. Instead, the camera uses broadband (wireless or Ethernet). If you prefer, ADS can install a camera without a security system, though they refused to share pricing for this service. The bad news is that the camera itself is pretty basic, and they only have one indoor camera option. The camera (iPCAM-WI2) can pan and tilt, has a 480p resolution, streams up to 30 FPS, and sells online for around $150. Would I recommend this camera? No. What good is 480p? The good news is that the other cameras are better.
ADS also sells an Outdoor Security camera with a higher resolution. The camera can record in HD 720p. You can use it view live video; view stored video, and they sell the weatherproof camera in both a dome and bullet style.
Last, but not least, is the doorbell camera. Like so many other security companies, ADS uses the Skybell HD. Of all the cameras, this is the one to own. The Skybell requires WiFi but will connect to your smartphone no matter where you are. It will let you know if motion is detected or if someone rings your doorbell. You can even answer your doorbell from anywhere. If you have a connected lock, you can unlock the door if it’s a guest you recognize. Again, no pricing on the doorbell camera but typically home security companies sell it for less than you can find online as they provide the cloud storage for the device.
- Total Connect cameras
- up to six cameras supported per account
- multi-camera view
- event notifications
- video storage of up to 100MB of video clips
Smart Locks, Lights, and Thermostats
ADS offers a full suite of home automation options like small appliance control, lock automation, temperature, and light automation. Through the use of their mobile app, you can control all of this from your personal device.
Save thousands on costly water damage repairs with automated water valves that allow you to turn the water in your home on or off from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Customize automatic water shut-off schedules to fit your needs. Water can be automatically turned off when integrated water sensors detect water.
Summary of ADS’ Smart Home Offer:
- Video Surveillance
- Remote Arm/Disarm
- Temperature Control
- Lock/Unlock Doors
- Light Automation
- Small Appliance Automation
ADS Customer Service & Support 3.7/10
ADS has held and maintained an A+ rating with the BBB for several years. Their customer care department can be reached by phone or by email, and they also provide customers with a self-service online account.
One of our largest concerns with ADS is that they currently have limited regional support with offices in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. This may not be a problem for some, but it does limit your ability when you are locked into a contract. If you plan to move out of their region, it might be wise to look into other top rated national companies like Frontpoint. On the other hand, we recommend ADS over other Nashville based companies like SDS.
While regional service is our largest concern, there are secondary concerns. First of all, they provide fast, local service. However, it’s been rumored that they charge for service. Service call fees are in the $75 range and depending on the age of your equipment; you might have to pay to replace the hardware as well. One ADS customer shared that he was asked to pay for the cellular chip twice. He claims that he was charged $300 per chip. Also, their standard contract length is 60 months, much longer than the industry average of 36 months. In researching, I found some customers who were able to sign a 36-month contract with ADS. In speaking to an ADS rep, I found out that they offer both options. If you sign the longer contract, you will be offered a cheaper upfront cost. If you are willing to pay more, you can get away with 36-month contract. Will they raise your rate during that time? I don’t know the answer, but if you plan to choose ADS I urge you to ask.
Finally, ADS has a very short return period. In fact, they don’t have one at all. Your purchase will be protected by the 3-day Federal Cooling Off rule, nothing more.
- Regional Services Focused on the Southeast
- A+ Reputation with the BBB
- Professional Installation Required
- 60 Month Contracts
- Cancelling service, even if moving, is expensive.