ADT Security ReviewBy - 01/04/2017
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
ADT Equipment & Protection
I probably don’t need to tell you that ADT is one of the oldest and most well-known home security providers. That said, I’ll skip the introduction and head straight to the details.
ADT’s service is made of up equipment backed by monitoring. Their equipment is primarily made by Honeywell and DSC, two of the largest home security equipment manufacturers. The base of the system is the control panel; ADT typically uses the DCS PC 1500RK keypad or a PC 1500. The control panel communicates with sensors which are organized into zones and can protect different areas of your home. They offer PIR motion detectors, smoke detectors, heat sensors, glass break detectors, external sirens, indoor sounders, home security cameras, reed switches, and more. One of the most convenient devices is the key fob, which allows you to arm and disarm your home security system with the click of a button. The High-Decibel Alarm Siren is also worth mentioning; it signals not only threats from intruders but also fire and carbon monoxide.
Though ADT has made great strides in expanding the equipment they offer, they still go old school when it comes to installation. ADT requires professional installation. The cost of installation can range from $99 to thousands of dollars, depending on the desired package.
With your equipment in place, ADT monitors via six different UL listed monitoring centers. All of the centers are manned by professional operators who can notify you and the local authorities in the event of an emergency. Monitoring is offered via broadband, cellular, or a landline connection. Without a doubt, cellular monitoring is the safest option as it doesn’t rely on cables or wires; however, the option comes with a higher price.
Go Cellular with ADT Cellguard
ADT has recognized that with advances in technology, landline monitoring is no longer the best option for all homes. To help solve this problem, ADT offers Cellguard.
With cellular monitoring, your system is wireless. No more lines to cut for burglars, and you will never have to deal with disrupted landlines due to power outages or other issues. Surprisingly, cellular monitoring can protect over 98% of the US’ population. It’s a misconception that cellular security systems require a strong cellular signal; they don’t. In fact, you can potentially have a cellular alarm system in a home where you can’t make cellular calls. The system works like your cell phone but doesn’t depend on your cell phone. It also doesn’t interfere with your cellular network and doesn’t require an internet connection.
What is Cellguard?
Cellguard is not a single product, but a series of components. First is the security panel. You may be able to use an existing ADT panel, or you may need a newer model with a cellular chip. Once you have a panel with a cellular chip, your system is ready to communicate with the monitoring center through a wireless cellular network. Cellular can be your sole means of communication with the monitoring center, or if you don’t want to ditch your landline, Cellguard can be used as a backup form of communication. In this case, Cellguard stays “switched off” so long as the landline is active, but if your landline is disrupted or disconnected, it automatically “switches on”.
If you are looking into a new monitoring system with Cellguard, want to upgrade your system and go wireless, or simply want to add Cellguard as your backup system, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost you. The cost depends on the package, and Cellguard is offered in three ADT security system packages.
Total Protection Plan
At $44.99 a month with a one-time fee for installation and equipment, you can get ADT’s basic wireless system. This includes three entryway contacts and a PIR motion sensor that is monitored 24/7 by ADT’s monitoring centers. It also includes accessories like a keychain remote control, a digital keypad, high-decibel alarm, yard and window signs, and battery backup.
Cellguard + 2-Way Voice
Cellguard + 2-Way is a little more expensive than the previous package, but it includes 2-way voice – which allows you to communicate through the panel to the central monitoring center. It costs $47.99 per month plus installation and equipment fees.
In summary, ADT offers:
- Wired and Wireless Options
- Professional Installation (Required)
- 24/7 Fire and Burglary Monitoring
How Does ADT Compare Side-by-Side with Our Top-Rated System?
|Monitoring Cost Per Month||$44.99||$49.99|
|Rate Subject to Change|
|Installation||Easy DIY||In-home Technician|
|Minimum Contract||12 months||36 months|
|Crash and Smash Protection|
|Return Policy||30 Days||0 Days|
|Equipment Warranty||36 Months||Fee Based|
|Move For Free||Limited|
|Our Review||Frontpoint Review||You Are Here|
|Learn More||Visit Site||Visit Site|
ADT has branded their most popular home automation offer “ADT Pulse.” If you’ve read any ADT reviews online, you’re probably familiar with this option already. Customers can choose between four different Pulse packages with a monthly subscription fee that starts at around $50 per month. Packages are expandable and give customers the ability to control appliances from different locations, as well as giving you home security.
ADT Pulse is home security plus convenience. In a $49.99 Pulse package, you get all the basic home security coverage you need. You also get to control your system with a tablet, smartphone, or via a web portal. With the ability to remotely arm/disarm your system, set up email and text alerts, and create rules, ADT Pulse makes life easier.
The backbone of Pulse is home automation, and this is made possible through Z-Wave technology. However, not all Z-Wave devices will work with the system. The system works with a small selection of approved Z-Wave devices including Jasco light automation devices, Kwikset Deadbolt Locks, and RCS Digital Thermostats.
The system also works with an automated Garage Door Controller made by Nortek, though ADT sells it under their own brand. The Z-Wave controller includes a fast response, simple setup, and works even when the opener is in “vacation” mode to protect against scanning devices and stolen remotes.
Unfortunately, ADT lacks some basic home automation devices like smart bulbs. Instead, light automation must be performed using a switch or an appliance module.
Pulse Works With Ring, Amazon Alexa, and More
To make up for this, ADT has started adding third-party devices to the mix. The system is compatible with the Ring Video Doorbell for one. Customers can self-install or have their doorbell professionally installed. Of course, the integration works both ways. In addition to controlling your Ring doorbell through ADT Pulse, you can control ADT Pulse through the Ring app.
The Pulse app is downloadable via the Google Play Store for Android devices and iTunes for iPhones and iPads. The app can be used to view your system’s status, arm/disarm the system, check motion sensors, turn off lights, and lock doors. It displays a status alert when the alarm system is tripped, and a message is sent to the monitoring center who notifies the police if needed. Those with a Pulse system can also use the app to view surveillance footage of their home in real-time. There is also an ADT Pulse® Voice app. With this app, you can control your home’s smart devices with your voice.
Another third-party integration coming soon is Amazon Alexa. Expanding on voice control, Alexa also allows you to control your Pulse system with your voice. You can arm and disarm your system as well as control your connected smart devices. Disarming a security system with your voice can possibly be a security risk, but ADT has safe-proofed this feature by requiring a verbal four-digit pin. Using Alexa requires an Alexa-enabled device such as Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.
ADT is branching out via ADT Anywhere. ADT Anywhere is a family safety service and mobile app. It provides family location and messaging services through a partnership with Life360. It also provides 24/7 crash detection, local crime alerts, roadside assistance, and emergency response from ADT.
Though geofencing, you will also be able to set up notifications to let you know who is where. For example, you can receive a notification when your kids make it to school or when they make it home.
ADT Anywhere is a standalone offer and does not require the purchase of equipment or other services. However, it does integrate with ADT Pulse. ADT Anywhere is compatible with ADT’s smart home products.
ADT Pulse offers:
- Temperature, Appliance, and Lock Automation
- Video Surveillance
- Remote Arm/Disarm
- Voice App and Amazon Alexa for Voice Control.
ADT is officially ready to protect you using ADT Canopy. This option is contract-free and offers the option of self-installing equipment. The first available integrations include LG’s Smart Security, Samsung’s Gear S2, and Gear S3 smart watches
LG All-In-One Security System
The LG All-In-One Security System is available via ADT Canopy. The main component of the device is a camera. I was able to experience the camera first-hand during CES, and it does live up to its FHD promise. It also includes a 152-degree wide-angle field of view, two-way audio, home health sensors, a 5-megapixel image sensor, digital zooming, a built-in 100-decibel siren, and a motion sensor. It uses an algorithm to help it decipher between natural movements and things that shouldn’t be happening to help reduce false alarms.
The LG Smart Security Wireless Camera can be monitored by ADT using their contract-free Canopy option, or you can receive alerts directly which are set up through the mobile app. The device can send smartphone notifications or email alerts through a feature called Smart Detection Alerts. Through the mobile app, you can also watch live streaming video or recorded video. Video is recorded through an optional DVR-style video storage setup. By adding Canopy service, you can access 24/7 support, monitoring, and cloud storage. They offer plans for both 7 days ($9.99/month) and 30 days ($29.99/month) of recordings.
Finally, the device will ship with an Amazon Alexa integration allowing for connection to other smart home devices and skills.
The LG Smart device is currently pre-selling for $199.
Coming Soon to Canopy
ADT is working on other integrations, but they’re purposefully taking their time. They want to make sure they select the right partners for the best experience.
At CES, I was told that they are considering partners like Ring, SmartThings, Arlo, August, Wink, Roost, Glympse, and more. Also, you will be able to control Canopy with your voice through its own Amazon Alexa Skill, the skill is not limited to the LG Smart Security device.
Pricing on Canopy will depend on what service you choose. In general, it’s significantly less expensive than other ADT options. Through a hands-on experience at CES, I learned that their Panic Response service will be the cheapest Canopy option starting at $10 per month.
The Canopy Mobile Panic service will work differently with different products. If you pair the service with a Ring Doorbell, you will still be responsible for monitoring the device, but will have ADT’s support. For example, let’s say someone rings your Ring. You check out the event, you don’t like what you see, you press the panic button, and ADT will call the police on your behalf. If you connect the Panic Response Service to your Samsung Gear S Smartwatch, you can use the watch app to press a panic button at any time to be connected to the ADT monitoring center.
More expensive services will pair with smart home hubs. Right now, ADT has plans to work with both SmartThings and Wink. Using the hubs, you outfit your home with sensors that connect to your chosen hub. You can monitor your smart home on your own, or add professional monitoring services through ADT as needed. Contract-free monitoring for burglaries will start at $19.99 per month.
- Canopy is Contract-Free
- Works with Self-Installed Smart Home Devices
- Service Options Range From Panic Response to Monitoring
ADT Customer Service & Support
ADT offers customer support via phone and email. If the system begins to malfunction, customers are urged to call and set an appointment with a company technician, but it will cost you. If you don’t want to pay for support, there is a handbook that shows you how to test the system, but the process can be tedious. ADT security reviews online indicate most customers avoid the trouble of DIY support and opt to pay the monthly maintenance fee.
New service phone calls to the company may result in a transfer to a company known as Protection 1. Earlier in 2016, ADT announced its acquisition by asset management company Apollo which also owns Protection 1. The two companies, in essence, are now “merged”. Protection 1 serves customers out of ADT’s service region, and vice versa. However, ADT may not mention this relationship before transferring you.
ADT is an international company with a number of different locations, making ADT a good choice if your family plans to move in the near future. Customers who have had a system for at least two years are eligible for a free security system when they move and given a discount off the total installation price. This is not great news for customers who need to move before the two year period.
Another downside to ADT’s service is that they reserve the right to increase monthly fees after the first year. Although ADT is BBB accredited and holds an A+ rating, there have been over 4,000 complaints in the last 3 years.
- Relocation guarantee
- Service calls are priced depending on system configuration.
- Auto Renew Policy Warning
- A+ BBB Rating
- Theft Protection guarantee