PROS / ADT offers a variety of professionally installed, state-of-the-art security devices.
CONS / Upgrades and add-ons can increase the monitoring fee.
VERDICT / ADT is a good choice for a comprehensive, whole-house security system, but you must meet with a company representative for a consultation.
Editor's note: On May 2, 2016, ADT announced the completion of a merger with Protection 1. Although the two companies currently operate independently, both will eventually operate exclusively under the ADT brand. When ADT and Protection 1 complete this brand integration, we will update our home security reviews to reflect that information.
ADT is the largest security company in the United States. In fact, it is common for other home security monitoring companies to compare themselves directly with ADT because of its dominance in the market. You can choose from a variety of fine-quality security devices, and there are six monitoring stations across the country. You also must have a technician come to your home for a consultation before you can sign up. ADT provides an excellent service and its basic home monitoring plan is competitive, which is one of reasons it earns the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for home security monitoring.
Fees & Policies
There are a few things in ADT's contract and fee structure worth noting. The company offers an industry-standard three-year contract. If you choose to cancel this contract, you only have to pay 75 percent of what you still owe for monitoring services. While this is still a large amount, your contractual obligation is much higher than most other home security monitoring companies, which typically charge anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent upon early cancellation. Furthermore, few companies offer better early cancellation terms. ADT is one of few home security companies that publishes a full copy of its contract online for prospective customers to view before purchase.
ADT refunds all account charges within six months of the start of your contract if the system fails to meet your expectations. Not only is this guarantee longer than those of most home security companies, but it returns the monitoring fees charged to your account.
Few companies offer so complete a return policy as ADT does, which we found unique. The company does not offer any set equipment package, electing instead to send a technician to make sure you get a personalized system specific to your home. As such, ADT's monitoring and equipment prices on our site, while competitive, aren't as accurate as those from other companies.
ADT offers monitoring over landline and cellular connections, especially if you choose to have ADT Pulse equipment added to your system. The company offers three monitoring plans that add varying levels or equipment and service to your home: Traditional, Remote and Video. If you want to use existing home security equipment in your home, ADT offers takeover monitoring, which can cut costs due to reduced or non-existent equipment prices. ADT also offers a full suite of business security systems.
One of the company's latest innovations is ADT Pulse, which gives you interactive control over your home security monitoring system and allows for home automation. With the ADT Pulse phone app, you can program and remotely monitor all of your devices. You can also install programmable lighting and security cameras that can be activated and monitored right from your phone.
Using this system, you can set a schedule for lights to turn on automatically, or you can integrate a security camera with a motion sensor that records when it detects movement between certain hours. For example, you can set the system up to record your children coming home from school every day by programming your camera to record motion between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. This is great for parents who can't be there when their kids get home but want to know they made it home safely.
Today, ADT Pulse works with the Nest Learning Thermostat to control temperature levels in your house, saving you money on heating and cooling bills. Nest tracks the temperature adjustments you make, and within a week, it can automatically program the heating and cooling for you.
Installation & Support
ADT offers a wide range of security devices, from very simple systems to complex, comprehensive networks. When you sign up for a new ADT system, a technician comes to your home to identify vulnerable areas and discuss your security goals. The technician then recommends a set of devices to fit your needs. The system covers home-intrusion protection and fire safety, and you can also choose medical and environmental tools.
This home security monitoring company offers customer support by phone or email. If any of your devices malfunction and need repairs, you can set up an appointment with a repair technician by phone. As with most security systems, your ADT system comes with an optional maintenance plan. The plan costs extra monthly, but if your system needs repairs, you get a discount on the cost of the repair technician.
ADT can install lighting and other high-voltage devices that some other security companies do not offer. Even if you opt for the simplest standard system offered, it provides you with peace of mind and solid protection. ADT offers comprehensive security systems, but you must meet with a technician in your home to discuss options before you sign up for service or have any equipment installed.