Alder hasn't been around for long, but they're one of the fastest growing alarm companies in the country right now. Vivint, on the other hand, has established itself as a reliable and innovative alarm company. Over the years, they've evolved their products and integrated smart home technology with their security systems. When comparing the two companies, however, we looked at more than just their background and reputation. This comparison guide will help you answer the question of who's better in terms of pricing, features, and customer service.
Alder Pros & Cons
- All-Inclusive Monitoring For Burglary, Fire, & Medical Emergency
- Average Response Time Exceeds Industry Standard
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Three to Five-Year Contracts That Auto-Renews
- Limited Smart Home Offer
- History of Misleading Sales Tactics
Vivint Pros & Cons
- Highly Innovative Equipment
- Heavy Smart Home Focus
- They Offer Equipment Financing
- Four to Five-Year Contracts
- You Can't Buy Equipment Online
- History of Poor Customer Service
- Wireless Equipment
- Long-Term Contracts
- History of Controversies
- Smartphone Access
- All-Inclusive Monitoring for Burglar, Fire, and Medical Emergencies
- Home Automation — Vivint is smart home-focused, while Alder has a limited smart home offer.
- Installation — Alder's equipment is designed for self-installation with optional professional installation. Vivint requires professional installation.
- Innovation — Although both companies offer high-tech equipment, Vivint is way ahead of the curve, even incorporating AI technology to their cameras.
- Response Time — Alder is best known for their fast response time that exceeds industry standard. Vivint's response time is average.
Sales & Pricing Comparison
Alder and Vivint are both aggressive when it comes to marketing. They are known to send door-to-door salesmen to offer their products and services, and the only way to set up service with either company is to speak to a sales rep whether personally or through phone. An in-home visit to assess your security needs is also to be expected.
Both companies are also pretty secretive about their pricing, but we managed to get an estimate. We estimate Alder's monthly monitoring rates to start at $35 and Vivint's rates at $39.99. This is just an estimate, and their pricing varies depending on location and the type of service you're looking to set up. The best way to find out their pricing is to call their sales hotline and ask what's the best they can offer. Doing so might also land you discounts and promotions such as free equipment. Vivint is also keen to offer good deals online, while Alder is only ever known to provide special discounts directly to inquiring customers.
Because both companies capitalize on customizing their security system for each user, the cost of a system varies per customer. They don't offer packages. Instead, they will help you pick out a system designed for your specific needs and then give you a quote of how much it will cost you. They might also throw in free products to entice you to sign up. While we don't know the exact cost of equipment, we do know that Vivint offers the option to pay the equipment upfront or pay it in 48 monthly payments. If you choose the latter, you're required to sign a four or five-year contract. If you pay upfront, you might be given the option to use their service contract-free.
One key difference between Alder and Vivint is the system installation. Vivint requires professional installation, which naturally comes with a fee. The flat rate is $99, but the fee might increase if your system includes cameras and other special equipment like smart thermostats. With Alder, you can opt to have a technician install the system for you or perform the installation yourself. They recommend professional installation to ensure that your system is properly set up, but their security systems are easy enough to install in a DIY fashion if you want to skip the installation fee.
Key Features & Tech
Although neither Alder nor Vivint offers equipment packages, all their customers are given the same standard equipment choices. Alder's security systems are built around a wireless, touchscreen control panel, that is then backed up by security sensors (door/window sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, etc.), life safety sensors, and cameras. Vivint has a wider range of equipment that also includes smart cameras and smart home products.
In the area of home automation, Alder and Vivint are worlds apart. Alder has a limited number of integrations that includes Amazon Echo and Yale smart locks. Their control panel also supports Z-Wave, but they don't have an official list of Z-Wave products that can work with their system. Vivint, on the other hand, offers a proprietary smart thermostat and their smart security system supports a wide array of smart home features. They also have integrations with smart locks, smart lights, garage door controllers, and many more.
Alder and Vivint both offer indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, and video doorbells. The difference is the technology. Alder's cameras have standard features, live recording, motion detection, and live streaming. Vivint, on the other hand, incorporated smart technology to their cameras, even adding AI to their outdoor camera to detect unusual and suspicious activity on your property.
Both companies have smartphone apps designed to help the user manage their security system. Vivint's app, Vivint Smart Home, has racked up high ratings from Android and iOS users. The app is free for all Vivint customers. Alder's app, Alder Security, has a slight lower rating than Vivint Smart Home, but access to it is also free for all Alder customers.
Alder uses cellular monitoring only, wherein alarm signals are sent to their monitoring center via cellular transmission. This method is currently regarded by many, including HomeAlarmReport, as the most reliable and secure monitoring method. Vivint also uses cellular monitoring, but as backup, you can connect your Vivint control panel to your Wi-Fi. In case cellular reception becomes lost, the control panel will use your internet connection to send alerts.
Customer Service Experience
Alder and Vivint are both ideal for those with long-term security needs because of the contract requirement. If you set up service with them, you're obligated to use their service for several years, depending on your agreement with them. With Alder, customers are typically required to sign a three-year or five-year contract. Five-year contracts are generally given to those who are offered free equipment or discounts. With Vivint, contracts are longer. Typically, customers are asked to sign a four-year or five-year agreement. If you purchase your security system upfront, however, you might be offered the option to sign a month-to-month agreement, wherein the service is auto-renewed every month until you cancel it.
Because of the contract, you won't be able to cancel service without repercussions. If you terminate the service prior to the end of contract, you will be required to pay a penalty. With Alder, the penalty is equivalent to your monthly rate multiplied by the number of unused months. Essentially, you'll be paying for the service whether you use it or not. The same is true with Vivint, but if you financed your equipment, you'll have to pay for that, too. However, Vivint has a more lenient cancellation policy offered towards seniors and military families.
Fortunately, you are given a few days after installation of your system to try out their service. If you don't like it, you can get your money back. Vivint gives their users a Right of Rescission period, which is three days according to U.S. federal law. During this period, you can return the system without facing penalties. Alder, on the other hand, has no official documentation regarding their return policy. If they really don't have one, you're still protected by the Right of Rescission.
Finally, if you have to relocate while using Alder or Vivint's services, you have the option to take your system with you. Both companies have customer-friendly moving policies. However, your situation must be assessed by them first, so a call to their customer support is necessary.
The Bottom Line: Who Wins?
Alder and Vivint are great alarm companies and they both have our seal of approval. That said, each company is unique and the only way to tell which of them better is by assessing your own security needs. If you prefer a company that is less corporate and more customer friendly, we believe Alder is the right choice. Despite their rocky past, they are now branding themselves as a customer-centered company that cares and provides help when needed. On the other hand, Vivint is the stronger option if you're looking for a more high-tech, smart home focused security systems. Vivint has a more solid equipment lineup and they also have a reliable smart home platform.
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