ByMeg Cannistra Contributor

Meg Cannistra is a former senior editor for She has researched and written about everything from smart homes to streaming to the safest cities in America.

ADT Home Security Systems Review

ADT is one of the most well-known providers in the home security industry and it’s clear why. The company’s 24/7 professional monitoring and six dedicated command centers also help it stand out among competitors who sometimes outsource monitoring to third parties. Plus, its home automation features are a great add-on for those who want a little more control over their homes. With more than a century of expertise and millions of customers, ADT has built a reputation as an authority on home protection.

The Claim

ADT is America’s No. 1 choice for home security monitoring.

Is It True?

Yes. ADT provides home security to around eight million customers across North America, making it one of the largest companies in the industry. With 17,000 employees (technicians, dispatchers, customer service representatives, etc.) in both the U.S. and Canada, it’s clear ADT has the extensive coverage many of its competitors don’t.

It’s also the oldest home security provider with over 140 years in the business. This means ADT customers get more than a century’s worth of dedicated experience. Plus, ADT’s legacy in the industry carries a lot of weight — its yard signs and window decals are an instant indication that a home is protected.

ADT Pros

✓ Great for homeowners who want dedicated, 24/7 monitoring.
✓ Dedicated, 24/7 monitoring
✓ Theft protection guarantee of up to $500
✓ Possible homeowners insurance discounts

ADT Cons

✗ Not great for renters who cannot commit to a long contract.
✗ Base packages require a landline
✗ Home automation-compatible package is expensive


Starting price
Contract term
36 months
24/7 professional monitoring Yes
Number of plans 3
Professional installation fee
Starts at $99
Number of monitoring locations Six across North America
Early termination fee
75% of the total remaining monthly charges in your contract
Home automation Yes
Theft protection guarantee
ADT will help refund up to $500 of your insurance deductible in the event of a burglary while your system is armed

*Pricing is for basic package. Please note that pricing will vary based on customization, package tiers and fees.

Home automation

One of the biggest features for any home security system is the ability to sync it with your other smart home devices. With ADT Pulse, you can pair your system with gadgets like smart locks, smart thermostats and video cameras. The biggest benefit is that you can control all of these devices right from your smartphone with ADT Pulse’s app. You won’t stress about whether or not you forgot to lock the front door before heading out — you can lock it on the go with the push of a button.

Dedicated monitoring centers

While some providers outsource their monitoring to third-party dispatch centers, ADT guarantees its monitoring is done in its six dedicated command centers. Keeping monitoring in-house helps control for quality and promises the dispatchers have an understanding of your security equipment. Command centers are located nationwide and employ thousands of trained dispatch operators. And, they monitor around the clock, ensuring your home remains safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Homeowner’s insurance certificate

It pays to protect your home. Installing a home security system could make you eligible for a discount of 20% on your homeowner’s insurance. ADT provides a certificate you can bring to your insurer who will then let you know if your system qualifies you for savings.

Hazard detectors

ADT doesn’t just monitor for potential break-ins, it also safeguards against hazards like carbon monoxide, fires and floods. Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and flood sensors can be added to your security system to monitor for hazardous conditions. The company even offers a variety of panic buttons that can be worn or placed in your home and pushed to alert first responders. Wearable and key fob panic buttons are also accessible when you’re away from your home.

Money-back guarantee

A security system is a steep investment and sometimes it might not be a good fit for your home. Fortunately, ADT offers a six-month money-back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with service, the company will refund installation and monitoring fees without question.

Possible Drawbacks

Landline required for base packages

ADT’s Essentials and Essentials Plus security packages require a landline to hardwire into your home. According to NPR, more than half of all households are cellphone-only homes and don’t have landlines. If you don’t want to pay for home phone service just to get a security system, you can upgrade to a more expensive package that connects to the ADT monitoring network via a cellular system.

Home automation only available with most expensive package

Even though ADT offers home automation, it’s only included with the Premium Protection with Pulse package. This can be frustrating since home automation is a major selling point for most home security providers. The Premium Protection with Pulse package’s starting price is also pretty costly. And, on top of the monthly rate, you’ll have to purchase smart devices like locks, cameras and lights separately.

The Competition






Professional installation


Professional monitoring

In-house monitoring

Home automation

Contract length


No contract

Money-back guarantee

*Pricing is for basic packages. Please note that pricing will vary based on customization, package tiers and fees.

ADT vs. Vivint

Known for its innovative home automation features, Vivint offers professional 24/7 monitoring to homes across the U.S. Vivint’s cutting-edge technology includes add-ons like an intuitive smart thermostat, an indoor camera with two-way communication and a garage door control that lets you close it from your smartphone. One major pain point is that Vivint requires long contracts, which can be a problem if you don’t want to be locked into a long-term commitment. But, if you’re fine with a four- or five-year contract, Vivint’s worth a look.

ADT vs. Frontpoint

Unlike ADT and Vivint, FrontPoint home security systems are do-it-yourself installation. This means the company will send you the equipment to install on your own. DIY installation is easy and Frontpoint has a personalized website that will walk you through the process. And customer service reps are available should something go wrong. Like other top home security providers, Frontpoint also offers home automation and professional monitoring. However, only one Frontpoint package comes with video surveillance. But if you’re interested in Frontpoint, you could use a third-party security camera in conjunction with your Frontpoint system.

ADT vs. GetSafe

GetSafe is another home security system that allows for DIY installation. Setup is easy since sensors are peel and stick, meaning no special tools are needed. One of GetSafe’s biggest perks is the contract flexibility. The company offers 24/7 professional monitoring on a month-to-month basis, 12-month contract and 36-month contract. So, if you’re a renter who wants a security system, but can’t commit to a lengthy term agreement, GetSafe is a great option. The downside to choosing a month-to-month plan is that you do have to pay for your equipment upfront, which can be expensive. If you can afford to do so, though, GetSafe is worth considering.

ADT Home Security FAQs

What’s the difference between professional and DIY monitoring?

Professional monitoring means that, if an alarm is triggered, your system will send an alert to a command center and a trained dispatcher will assess the situation, alerting local emergency professionals if needed. With DIY monitoring, there’s no command center connected to your system. Your security system will send any alerts to your smart device for you to determine if emergency professionals should be called.

Can you get ADT without a phone line?

Yes. Certain ADT home security packages don’t require a phone line to connect to the command center. Safewatch Cellguard is a cellular network that directs alarm signals to ADT command centers. A wireless signal can be used as backup, but Safewatch Cellguard is also available as the main communication method between your home and the command center.

What is ADT Pulse?

ADT Pulse is ADT’s home automation component. With ADT Pulse, you can control smart devices like locks, lights and cameras through your ADT smartphone app. You can also use the ADT app to arm and disarm your security system while on the go. It also connects with Amazon Alexa, so you can also use voice commands to control your system.

Do wireless security cameras need batteries?

No. Wireless security cameras typically run on AC power and will need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to stay up and running. When cameras are advertised as wireless, this means they connect to the main security system via Wi-Fi.

The Bottom Line

ADT is the face of home security, thanks to over a century’s worth of experience and millions of customers across North America. Add-on hazard sensors for floods, carbon monoxide and fires seamlessly integrate with ADT security systems and give extra peace of mind. Plus, ADT Pulse’s innovative tech make it a nice upgrade if you love home automation gadgets. With dedicated professional monitoring, advanced technology and a long legacy of protecting homes, ADT is a safe bet for a high-quality home security system.

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