Although Brinks is a household name in the alarm industry, it's not the same Brinks that we've known since the early 2000s. Through a licensing agreement in 2018, Moni and LiveWatch, two prominent alarm companies, merged and revived the Brinks brand. This allowed them to move on from their troubled pasts and start over as a revamped company while retaining their experience and expertise in the home security field. Alder, on the other hand, is a relatively young alarm company based in Utah that has been making headlines due to its fast growth. In just a decade, they've expanded their service area and now offer products and services all throughout the country. With these two companies showing great signs of upping their game, we've decided to compare them to see which one is better.
Brinks Pros & Cons
- Choice Between Brinks & Nest Secure Equipment
- Financing Options with 0% APR
- Affordable Monitoring Plans
- 3-Year Contracts
- Frequent Changes in Offers & Pricing
- MONI & LiveWatch's History of Poor 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
- Up and Coming Alarm Companies
- High-Tech Wireless Equipment
- Smartphone Access
- Standard Three-Year Contracts
- All-Inclusive Monitoring for Burglary, Fire, and Medical Emergencies
- Installation — Although both companies offer self-installed equipment, Alder provides optional professional installation while Brinks relies on local dealers for customers who want professional installation.
- Response Time — Alder is best known for their shorter-than-average response time of less than three seconds, while Brinks' response time averages at the industry standard 30 seconds.
- Equipment — You can set up service with Brinks using their equipment or a third-party system from Nest, while Alder only monitors security systems purchased from them.
- Return Period — Brinks has a 30-day return policy for all their equipment and services, while Alder doesn't have a clear policy regarding returns.
- Contracts — While three-year contracts are standard for both companies, Alder may bump up your contract length to five years if you avail special discounts or promotions.
Sales & Pricing Comparison
Brinks moves their products in several ways. Primarily, you can buy products online. They have several packages to choose from, and when it's time to set up service, Brinks will reach out to you to finalize your contract. You can also set up service by talking to a sales rep or by buying from an authorized local dealer like American Defense Systems. Alder prefers a more personalized approach. You can set up service by calling their support line or by talking personally to a sales rep. They are known to send door-to-door salespeople regularly.
Brinks' monthly rate ranges between $29 per month and $39 per month for monitoring Brinks equipment, while Nest Secure professional monitoring starts at $19 per month with a three-year contract or $29 per month with a month-to-month agreement. Alder is a bit more secretive with their pricing, but we estimate their monitoring plans to start at around $35 per month.
Brinks offers several options for buying their equipment packages. You can pay upfront, essentially lowering your monthly dues. You can also finance your equipment and pay it over a period of three years with zero interest. If you choose this option, Brinks will roll the equipment cost into your monthly fee. A standard package adds around $12 to the monthly rate. Alder, on the other hand, doesn't offer pre-built packages. You're allowed to customize your security system based on your specific security needs. They will then give you a quote and discuss how it is to be paid.
Brinks and Alder both offer security systems designed for self-installation. They will send the package to you and it's up to you to put it up in your home. However, you can also opt to have your system professionally installed by a technician for an extra fee. Alder will send the technician to you themselves, but with Brinks, the technician will likely come from one of their local dealers in your area.
Key Features & Tech
If you set up service with Brinks, you're required to purchase a standard equipment package. The Brinks starter package includes a touchscreen control panel, a motion sensor, and several door/window sensors. An additional indoor camera is also included if you choose the higher-tier monitoring plan, but it will cost you an additional $100. If you prefer Nest Secure, the base package includes a hub, two multi-sensors, and two RFID tags. With Alder, because there are no pre-built packages, the standard equipment varies per customer. However, Alder systems typically include a touchscreen control panel, motion sensors, and door/window sensors.
Brinks' home automation features revolve around the Brinks Home Security app. The app provides features such as automated scenes, schedules, and rules. Another vital part of their platform, with regards to home automation, are integrations. Brinks systems integrate with smart locks, lights, thermostats, garage door controllers, and more. Alder, on the other hand, is not as well-integrated. They've partnered with Amazon Alexa and Yale, but that's all.
Brinks and Alder both offer cameras as well as apps allowing you to monitor your cameras and review past recordings of events. Brinks offers a standard indoor camera, a premium indoor camera with extra features like a Bluetooth speaker and instant two-way talk, an outdoor camera, and video doorbells. Alder's cameras are from third-party manufacturers. They offer Xiaomi Yi as an indoor camera and Arlo Pro as a cord-free indoor/outdoor camera.
Brinks's app, Brinks Home Security, is free to use for all Brinks customers who are using a security system from Brinks. If you purchased a Nest Secure system, you'll be entitled to use the Nest app to control and monitor your security system. The Brinks Home Security currently holds a 3.9-star rating on Google Play and 3.6-star rating on iTunes. Alder's app is also free-to-use for all their customers. It holds a 2.9-star rating on Google Play and 3.5-star rating on iTunes.
Ever since they emerged as Brinks, the company has standardized cellular monitoring. This method uses cellular signal to send alerts to the monitoring center, and is the most secure and reliable monitoring method. Should it fail, the Brinks touchscreen control panel can also use your Wi-Fi. Alder also uses a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi/broadband monitoring.
Customer Service Experience
Brinks and Alder both require long-term contracts, unless you're a Nest Secure user willing to pay Brinks a higher monthly fee. Regular Brinks customers, however, are required to use their service for three-years. With Alder, contracts are also typically three years, but you might be asked to sign a five-year contract if you avail a special discount or promotion. The best thing you can do is check the printed contract before signing anything.
Once the contract is signed, you're obligated to pay for services until the end of the term. If you cancel service, you'll be charged a penalty that is dependent on the number of remaining months on your contract and your monthly rate. With Alder, you'll be on the hook for 100% of the remaining contract balance. With Brinks, you only have to pay 80% of the balance plus the remaining equipment cost if you financed your security system.
Fortunately, you have a certain number of days to take your security system for a spin and return it penalty-free if you end up not liking it. With Brinks, the trial period is 30 days after the signing of the contract. During that period, you can cancel the contract without any repercussion and get all your money back. While Alder doesn't have a clear policy regarding returns, you're protected by the three-day Right of Rescission in accordance with the U.S. federal law.
While you're not allowed to cancel service mid-contract, you can move your security system with you if you're relocating to a new home. Brinks and Alder are both companies available nationwide and their security systems are easy to uninstall and re-place in a new home. If your new house needs more security sensors and accessories, you can reach out to Brinks or Alder to possible strike a deal, get discounts on new equipment, or receive free products.
The Bottom Line: Who Wins?
After comparing Brinks and Alder side-by-side, we're convinced that Brinks is the better choice. They are transparent with their pricing, they have better products and features, and they have better policies than Alder. However, that doesn't mean that Alder is bad. Their pricing is competitive, they offer enough security features to protect most average homes, and they also have decent policies. You can find more information about the two companies, including an in-depth look at their products and services and real customer reviews, in our Brinks review and Alder review.
|NEST SECURE 36-MONTH
|HOME COMPLETE WITH VIDEO
|Features & Technolgy
|Ease of Use
|Professional or DIY
|zwave, Alexa, Google Home