Finding the best home security system to protect your home and your family is a tall task that requires hours of research and lots of pondering.
We chose ADT as the best home security system for 2019. But should you take our word for it? Yes and no. Yes, because we've spent countless hours researching home security systems. We've even developed a unique system of rating home security providers based on a number of different criteria. However, each home is unique. So instead of just telling you that ADT is the best, below we've outlined the reasons why we picked ADT so you can see for yourself if what they offer will work for you.
Why We Chose ADT
ADT is our top-pick home security systems provider for 2019, but it's not just because they have the most experience in the alarm industry or because they have an extensive network of local dealers in almost every major city in the country. It's also not only because they offer one of the best pro-installation services and certainly not just because of their pricing. It's a combination of all that and then some, and after endless hours of research, we've determined that ADT has hit the sweet spot when it comes to offering the most ideal home security system to American homeowners.
Nothing Beats Experience
It is said that "Experience is the best teacher," and if that's true, then ADT is the best-taught home security system in the country, with the company's almost 150 years of experience in the field of home security.
It all started in 1874 with a nighttime break-in, which prompted ADT founder Edward Callahan to send a telegraph-based call for help. After that, he connected around 50 other homes in the neighborhood to create the first-ever residential security system network. However, this network only provided homeowners a way to report a crime after it happened. In 1890, ADT introduced 'Roundsmen' to make rounds of customer's homes each night. The goal is to prevent crime before it happens. Of course, that is still far from the concept of home security systems today. In 1920, ADT pioneered the concept of a Central Monitoring Station, where homes can be monitored 24/7 all-year-round. In 1940, they installed the first-ever automated burglar system and also introduced the first automated fire alarm system.
You see, ADT has almost single-handedly innovated the home security space and they continue to do so. It only shows that ADT is committed to making the lives of Americans safer and more secure.
ADT Is An All-in-One Provider
With all the competition available today and with the rapid advancement of home security tech, experience alone won't cut it. ADT has managed to stay on top by being an all-in-one provider of home security, fire protection, and life safety products and services.
Providing home security services remains ADT's top priority. They offer several home security systems and provide different levels of home protection services. All their security systems are monitored 24/7, 365 days a year, and any security violation is immediately reported and responded to by their Central Monitoring Station.
Unlike some alarm companies that offer home security and home security alone, ADT has added fire protection to their roster of services. This means you can get protection from home invasion and fire from the same company that you can trust. Better still, if you're a home security customer, they won't charge you an extra dime for adding fire protection services. All you need is the right smoke alarm equipment from them and they will monitor your home for fire for free.
If you're living with an aging loved one or someone with special medical needs, ADT can also help you ensure your loved one's safety. Although they charge a separate fee for medical monitoring, they use the same top-notch monitoring facilities to watch over your loved ones. They have medical alert systems with fall-detection capabilities and even mobile alert systems with GPS location capabilities.
ADT Guarantees Proper Equipment Installation
Another great thing about ADT is that they ensure proper equipment installation with the use of professional installation services. Sure, many alarm companies today offer DIY installation with no installation fees, but professional installation is still best if you want a system that works optimally.
Besides the fact that ADT technicians are well-trained and knowledgeable, thus ensuring proper device installation, they can help you get the most out of your security system. They will not only install your security system but also tell you where to best place sensors for maximum effectiveness and instruct you how to properly use your security system.
Money-Back Service Guarantee
Aside from ensuring proper equipment installation, ADT wants to make sure their customers are happy and satisfied with their security systems. To prove this, they have a six-month Money-Back Service Guarantee.
If you find yourself not satisfied with their installation or service within the first six months of your contract, you can take up your concerns to ADT's customer support. If it's a valid concern, ADT will first try to resolve the issue. However, if they can't fix it, they will give you a full refund of any service charges and monitoring fees.
ADT Guarantees & Warranties
Aside from the Money Back Service Guarantee, ADT has other guarantees and warranties that will make you glad you signed up with them.
Theft Protection Guarantee
ADT stands by their equipment and services, but in the unfortunate event that your home is burglarized or broken-into while under ADT's protection, ADT will provide you with up $500 of your insurance deductible. This is them putting their money where their mouth is. They are confident that their service is top-notch and that they know what they're doing. That said, certain restrictions apply. For starters, your system must have been armed during the break-in. Also, the system needs to be in good working order.
Homeowner's Insurance Certificate
ADT's proven track record of keeping homes safe can help you save on your homeowner's insurance. As soon as you sign up for service, ADT guarantees to provide a monitoring certificate, which you can show to your insurance agency. Some insurance companies may offer discounts on homeowner's insurance for homes secured by ADT.
ADT Mover's Guarantee
ADT also guarantees to help you make a smooth transition to a new home and a new phase of your family's life if you ever move from your ADT-protected home to a new house. If you've been with ADT for at least two years, they will provide you with a new security system to be installed in your new house for free. The value of the new system will be comparable to that of your old security system.
Additionally, if you're in good standing with ADT, they will reward you with a 25% discount on equipment upgrades, allowing you to save up to $749.
Quality Service Warranty
In addition to the limited warranty that comes with all their products, you have the option to get a Quality Service Warranty for a reasonable price. This warranty covers repairs in case of equipment malfunction or accidental equipment damage, alleviating the cost of unplanned repairs and maintenance services.
ADT Has Top-Notch Technology
ADT may be the oldest alarm company in existence, but their technology and features are far from outdated. In fact, their technology and services remain top-of-the-line and more than capable to match the younger pool of competition.
ADT started with wired devices, the kind that must be installed during construction. However, as wireless security systems gained in popularity, ADT has followed suit. Their wireless home security systems can now be installed post-construction. In addition, sensors and devices connect to the control panel wirelessly, so there should be no visible wires sticking out from your home security control box.
With wireless equipment, ADT is now also more efficient. There are no wires to cut, so intruders won't be able to easily disable your security system with a pair of wire cutters.
You have to consider, however, if a wireless security system is ideal for your living situation before investing in ADT. Wireless security systems are great for the average home. If you have a home over 4000 square feet, you might want to consider a wired system versus a wireless system. Or, you should really dig into the wireless range of the system you select before investing. For the rest of the world, wireless is ideal.
Landline & Cellular Monitoring
ADT also provides options when it comes to the communication method.
If you still have an active landline subscription, you can use ADT's landline monitoring plans. It uses your phone line to send alerts to ADT's central monitoring station. Although this communication method has flaws, like it's dependency on your landline connection, it's a cheaper way to add home security monitoring to your home.
If you want a faster and more reliable communication method, you can add cellular monitoring to your system. This uses wireless cellular signal to transmit alerts, the same type of signal used by cellular phones to place calls or send SMS. Cellular monitoring isn't dependent on anything besides the cellular signal availability in your area. You don't need to subscribe to a cellular subscription or get a data plan for your security system. We also recommend choosing this option because it's way more burglar-proof than landline monitoring. The only catch is that cellular monitoring plans have more expensive service fees than landline monitoring plans.
ADT has also managed to keep up with smart home technology. Besides using security and fire safety sensors to protect your home, you can now make your home safer using automated smart home products. This service is called ADT Pulse.
With ADT Pulse, you will gain access to the companion smartphone app that makes it possible for you to control your smart home products with your smartphone. ADT offers products like smart lights, smart locks, smart thermostats, garage door controllers, and appliance control modules.
Besides making your life easier, you can take advantage of ADT Pulse's features to make your home more secure. For example, you can program your door to lock automatically when you leave the house using ADT Pulse's geofencing capabilities. You can also schedule your lights to turn on at an exact time every day to make it seem like your home is occupied even though you're away.
ADT Pulse also works with third-party smart home brands to further make your home smart. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control as well as countless other Z-Wave products to expand your smart home system.
ADT Pulse remains one of ADT's flagship offers to home security customers.
Central Monitoring Station Redundancy
Another great thing about ADT is their top-notch central monitoring station. Unlike other companies that hire a third-party central station, ADT has their own in-house operated monitoring stations. On top of that, they have not just one, but six central monitoring stations all around the country.
Why six? Monitoring is important, and ADT wants to make sure that they can immediately respond no matter how many alerts come in simultaneously. The load is autonomously spread out evenly to their six monitoring centers to avoid overload and ensure smooth operation.
In addition, each monitoring center is a mirror of the other monitoring centers. This is called redundancy. If one of the monitoring stations is unable to operate due to any reason, the other monitoring stations can take over. This is also why the monitoring stations are spread out all over the country. If calamity hits where one of the central stations is located, the others can continue to function.
Individually, ADT's monitoring centers are also top-of-the-line. Each station is manned by trained operators who continually go through certifications and refresher training. They also receive special training to help them be more efficient during emergencies. On top of that, each monitoring facility is equipped with backup generators, uninterruptible power supplies, and backup communication lines and servers.
You Get What You Pay For With ADT
If you compare pricing online, you'll see that ADT is not the cheapest of the bunch. In fact, their pricing is a little higher than the average cost of alarm systems. Does that mean that they are overpriced? Not really.
ADT's service fees covers premium features, so even though you might end up paying more, the security value you'll receive is worth it. ADT does not underdeliver. If they promise premium security features, you'll get premium security features. If they promise you smart home features, they'll deliver a real smart home experience.
You should also note that ADT offers free security systems as part of their monitoring packages. You will get a starter kit inclusive of a touchscreen control panel, motion sensor, and door/window sensors. These devices should be enough to protect a small family home. You only need to buy products from them if you need additional features like fire protection, home automation, and video monitoring.
ADT Protects You Outside Your Home
In these days, protection within the home is not enough, which is why ADT has also launched a new mobile app called ADT Go. The goal of ADT Go is to extend you and your family's protection outside the four walls of your home. It's a family safety app that you can download and use for free as long as you're an ADT home security customer.
First, the app provides user tracking features. You, as your home's administrator, can track and receive alerts if your family members get to their destinations safely. All you need is to download the app to your kids and family members' smartphones and then set up notification parameters.
ADT Go also has premium features that you can access for a reasonable price. If you pay $9.99 per month, you will receive roadside assistance, traffic emergency alerts, and most importantly, a digital SOS button within the app that you can use to call for help wherever you are. For example, if you're walking all alone at night and you're feeling unsafe, simply get the app ready. If something happens, just press the SOS button for several seconds and ADT's central monitoring station will call you. If assistance is needed, your app's location will help emergency responders locate you.
ADT is one of the very few alarm companies that offers extended protection outside your home.
If you search ADT online, you might find a number of negative, even scathing reviews. We understand how concerning that is, but if you search for other alarm companies, we guarantee that you'll find negative reviews of them as well. We're not saying that it's okay for an alarm company to have bad customer service just because that's the norm. We're all for good customer service. However, the fact of the matter is that regardless of how good a company is, they can't please everybody.
So what's the truth about ADT's customer service? ADT is a big corporation, and as such, they have strict customer policies. Most of these policies are pro-customers, such as ADT's guarantees and warranties as mentioned above. However, there are things that you might find not in your favor. The key is to lower your expectations and understand each and every one of these policies so you can be fully aware of you what are getting into. Below are some of the things we suggest you look into before setting up service.
Contracts are standard in the alarm industry and are required by almost all alarm companies including ADT. The contract is a legally binding document requiring you to use their service for a certain number of months. In ADT's case, the contract has a 36-month or three-year term.
Because of the contract, we recommend ADT only to those with long-term security needs. If you're looking to protect your home for a few months, you're better off with contract-free alarm companies, although we warn you that the upfront cost of such companies are usually much higher.
There is also an early-termination fee to be paid if you choose to not finish your contract. The fee depends on the number of months remaining on your contract term. Generally, ADT charges 75% of the remaining contract balance, which is still pretty good considering that most alarm companies will charge you a higher percentage if not the entire contract balance.
One of the things ADT lacks is a decent return policy, so before signing up, you must be absolutely sure that their products and services are for you. Some alarm companies give their customers two weeks or even an entire month to test out their security system. If the system is not for them, they can return the equipment, get their money back, and cancel the contract without penalties. With ADT, you don't have that luxury. Once you sign the contract, the full terms of it is already in place, including the early termination penalty. The only guarantee you have is the Money Back Service Guarantee as mentioned above.
ADT is not Renter-Friendly
ADT is also not ideal for renters. In fact, you might not be eligible for their service if you're renting. This is because ADT's security system installation is permanent and if you move to a new house, you will not be able to take your system with you. As explained above, ADT will give you a new security system for free, but the old system will remain in your house. If your landlord doesn't approve this setup, then ADT might not be the best option for you.
Is ADT A Match For You?
After everything you've learned about ADT, it's now time to determine whether ADT is a match for you or not. If you think ADT is for you, then we recommend getting in touch with them or reading our ADT review to find out more about what they offer.
If you're not sure if ADT is the one for you or if you think their service is not for you, we can help you compare other alarm companies. For starters, you should understand your unique security needs first by answering these five guideline questions.
The Questions To Ask Yourself When Comparing Alarm Companies
1. What are you protecting?
First things first: What needs protecting? Do you own specific valuables or are you simply seeking peace of mind for your family? How many entry ways does your home have? What are your home's weak points? Is there a particular area that you want to watch over, perhaps your garage or the room where you keep your valuables?
2. What’s your concern?
Do you live on the first floor? Do you live in a high crime area? Was there a recent string of burglaries in your area?
3. How much security do you want?
Are you looking for something simple that sounds when there is a break in, actively monitors using sensors and cameras, or something more advanced that you can control when you are not home?
4. What do you already own?
Do you already have security system hardware? Some providers allow you to use your existing system. What smart home devices do you want to integrate? Do you want to control your system from a computer, tablet, or smartphone?
5. How much are you willing to spend for that protection?
Of course, you want the best security out there—but you also want it for the best price you can get. Your price is determined by a number of factors like equipment choice, type of connection, selection of monitoring, and more. What’s your budget and flexibility level? Ultimately, what is the security you are seeking worth to you?
Things To Keep In Mind When Comparing Alarm Companies To ADT
If you want to dig deeper and find a more suitable alarm company for yourself, we applaud your dedication. Not many consumers do enough research to find what's really best for them, which usually ends in them settling for a less-than-ideal security system.
Before you dig into comparisons, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Can The System Grow With You?
One of our favorite things about ADT is that it's expandable, and if you're looking for an ADT alternative, we recommend you find one that can grow with you. You might not be ready for home automation or video monitoring now, but you might desire these features in the future. Can you add additional equipment and expand your system's features? Is it easy to do so?
Keep in mind that some companies like AT&T Digital Life will restart the clock on your contract if you make any upgrades. You don't want that. You should be able to upgrade your security system without having to commit more years to their service.
A security company may also say that they offer home automation, but that doesn't mean they do everything. For example, SimpliSafe only offers security cameras and lacks real home automation devices. You should look for a company like ADT with real smart home devices and capable of providing home automation features.
Will They Try To Upsell You?
It is very common for alarm companies to lure in customers with low introductory prices, and then try to upsell them by offering additional services that will cost you more in the long run. Take note that these "additional" services are often the same features included in the entry-level monitoring plan of companies with higher monthly rates, so really, what they're doing is offering you a sub-optimal service for a low price. We don't like this tactic. It's not fair to you and to other alarm companies, so when comparing alarm companies, don't just rely on their introductory rates. Compare their monthly rates by looking at all their monitoring plans and finding out what it would cost you to get decent service that includes features like smartphone access, all-inclusive monitoring, and wireless equipment.
Are They Lying To You?
Lying is a strong word, but unfortunately, there are still alarm companies that employ misleading sales tactics to trick customers into signing up. It's good to talk to a sales rep of an alarm company before signing up, but you should also trust your guts. If you think their offer is too good to be true, you're most likely right. To verify your suspicions, we recommend reading actual customer reviews or asking the opinion of people you trust who are using their service.
Can They Protect You From Risks Other Than Burglary/Intrusion?
Not all alarm companies are like ADT that can protect you from property and violent crime as well as fire and medical emergencies. When comparing alarm companies, you have to make sure that they are capable of protecting you from other risks besides burglary and intrusion. Also, take note that some companies might charge you an extra fee if you add fire protection or medical emergency monitoring.
Do They Have A Good Reputation?
Finally, you must consider how well they treat their customers before signing up with any alarm company. Do they have a customer support? Are they easily accessible in case you need help with your system? Also, how well is the company performing? Do not make the mistake others do by selecting startups with too good features. Most of the time, they are the ones that go belly up, leaving their customers confused or worse, unprotected. It's almost always best to choose an alarm company with a solid reputation and proven track record.
Helpful Side-by-Side Comparisons
To help you get started on your journey, here are a few side-by-side comparisons we've put together between ADT and other top-ranking alarm companies:
ADT vs. Frontpoint vs. Link Interactive vs. SimpliSafe vs. Brinks
- Why We Chose ADT
- Nothing Beats Experience
- ADT Is An All-in-One Provider
- ADT Guarantees Proper Equipment Installation
- ADT Guarantees & Warranties
- ADT Has Top-Notch Technology
- You Get What You Pay For With ADT
- ADT Protects You Outside Your Home
- Is ADT A Match For You?
- Things To Keep In Mind When Comparing Alarm Companies To ADT
- ADT vs. Frontpoint vs. Link Interactive vs. SimpliSafe vs. Brinks