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Saturday, September 18, 2021

ADT vs. Vivint: Which professional home security system is better? – CNET

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If you’ve been looking at professionally installed home security systems, odds are at some point you’re going to narrow your choices down to ADT versus Vivint — two of the biggest names in the industry. Chances are, too, you have some preconceived notions about these companies, and you’re wondering if your intuition is right or wrong.

For example, you’ve probably noticed ADT’s blue octagonal yard signs your whole life, so you know the company’s been around quite a while, but you wonder — has it kept up with the times? Vivint’s bright, bold orange signs have been popping up in trendier neighborhoods more and more lately — its entire ad campaign feels fresh and new — but does the quality of Vivint’s service match its marketing hype?

When comparing ADT with Vivint, there are surprises aplenty. Yes, at 100-plus years old, ADT is the longest-established home security firm in the biz, but that reputation has allowed it to keep pace with innovations in the market — wireless sensors, smart speakers and what have you. Vivint is indeed a relative newcomer, but with emphasis on the word relative — Vivint has actually been around for over 20 years now — almost as long as CNET, in fact.

And yet, when it comes down to deciding which service we’d recommend over the other, the difference between “old school” and “new school” turns out to be the make-or-break factor. We’ll explain in a bit, but first let’s take a look at each company, starting with the (relatively) new kid in town.

Conclusion: Vivint is better than ADT, but there are even better options

The winner this round is Vivint. It’s less expensive for the same (or similar) equipment, offers a better user experience and requires no contracts. But there are a lot of conditions we want to point out before you call the number on your neighbor’s bright orange yard sign to start service in your own home. 

First, our favorite professionally installed security system is Xfinity, so you should look to see if that’s available in your area (you can read our Xfinity versus Vivint article for even more insights). 

But unless you’re just so busy making money that you simply have no time whatsoever (even on the weekends) to install your own smart home devices, you should at least consider DIY options. For most products, the installation process is simple enough that you don’t need much know-how — or for that matter, much time — to do it yourself.

You can save yourself hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars, DIYing it, and, once you’ve signed up for a professional monitoring service from Ring, which has a $30 per month service, or Simplisafe, which charges $25 per month for its best service, your experience will be fairly similar to someone who paid much, much more for their home security system.

But if you have the money to spend on a professionally installed security system — and fiddling with smart home security gadgets isn’t your idea of a fun and interesting weekend — and Xfinity doesn’t service the area where you live, we think you’ll be perfectly happy with home security service from Vivint.  

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