ADT Review

This company has stood the test of time and now offers smart home automation

* Editor's Rating

  • Professional installation on all systems
  • Monitoring centers
  • 145+ years of home security innovation
Last Updated on Jan 13, 2020

ADT is one of the most recognized names in the security world, with more than 140 years of experience. Their products and services have changed over the years, but their commitment to home security remains as strong as ever. The company has over 18,000 employees throughout North America and serve 7 million customers. ADT has several home security systems available, along with home automation options. They have a customer-centric approach that shows through in fast response times and helpful representatives who could advise you on what to do in emergency situations.

Equipment & Tech

Base ADT Security Package

Every ADT security system comes with an excellent starter kit of all the equipment you need to handle basic home security, and you can add-on extras from there:

  • Digital Keypad: The digital keypad is the hub of the ADT system. You arm and disarm the home security system through this panel. If you need to talk to ADT monitoring dispatchers, it has two-way audio that makes it simple to communicate with them, even if you don’t have your phone on you. You have three quick response buttons for police, the fire department, or medical professionals.
  • Wireless Keychain Remote: You can arm and disarm your ADT home security system with this convenient remote, rather than heading to the keypad every time.
  • Entryway sensors: Protect your windows and doors from people trying to break in.
  • Motion Detector: The motion detector picks up people, not pets – it’s designed so that animals under 80 pounds won’t trigger it, which is a lot better than many other security systems (that only work with pets below 40 pounds). When the security system is unarmed, you can also use the motion sensor to trigger smart home automation, such as lights.
  • Yard Signs and Decals: Deter criminals before they even step onto your property with ADT signage.
  • Backup Battery: The power might go out, but your ADT system will continue functioning for 12 hours, which provides plenty of time for power to get restored.
  • 24/7 Monitoring: The professional monitoring services that ADT offers have an exceptional staff that goes above and beyond in keeping you safe.

Here is the add-on hardware that’s available from ADT:

  • Flood Detector: Get instant notifications if water is detected near this sensor. They’re small and battery powered so they can fit into tight spaces.
  • Smart Locks: Your smartphone turns into your house keys with these connected smart Plus, you can send signals to remotely lock and unlock your door as needed.
  • Indoor Cameras: This 720p camera records clips during motion detection and supplies a live feed when you access it through the ADT Pulse application. It also has night vision capabilities, so you don’t need lights on in the room or hallway to get your eyes on the situation.
  • Outdoor Cameras: This motion activated weatherproof camera records and streams video in 720P HD quality. Whenever something sets off the camera, you receive clips so you can look at what’s going on. You can access the clips through your mobile phone. One excellent feature is that it has a built-in heater, so even in cold temperatures it operates in its ideal range.
  • Smoke Detector: This monitored fire protection device ensures that you receive help quickly from the fire department and emergency services. The system has LED and sound notifications that let you know that it’s in good working order. It’s a connected smart device, so it can send a notification to your phone, open the doors for the fire department and even have the HVAC system turn off to limit the air flow in the house.
  • Panic Button: This is a wearable button that immediately triggers the alarm and alerts the monitoring center that you’re in danger. It’s weather resistant so you can take it with you during walks and other time spent out of the house.
  • Smart Lights: Remote control of these lights help make your home safer and more convenient.
  • Smart Thermostat: Get just the right temperature with a thermostat that knows your routines and adjusts everything to match.
  • Smart Garage Door: Your garage door just got a whole lot smarter, with remote control over opening and closing it.
  • Smart Video Doorbell Camera: Get notifications when someone is at your front door and discover exactly who it is, even if you’re at work or on vacation. Two-way audio functionality allows you to greet your visitors, and it’s convenient to check what’s going on from your smartphone. The video quality is 720P and it uses de-warping technology to give you a clear view without distortion. The viewing angle is 180 degrees and it supports night vision. You don’t need existing doorbell wiring to install this device.
  • Smart Plugs/Switches: You don’t have to replace all your light fixtures and appliances to make them smart. These plugs and switches open remote-control potential for your current hardware.
  • Z-Wave Devices: The ADT smart home functionality is compatible with Z-Wave third-party devices, as well as popular equipment such as Amazon Alexa and Nest smart
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector: This environmental sensor monitors the air and alerts you if CO2 is detected, allowing you to get out of the house and address the leak quickly. It’s a smart device, so it can communicate with smart locks and smart thermostats to limit the harm that it can cause and allow entry to the area. You have wireless and hard-wired versions of this detector available.

Monitoring & Features

In addition to home security and smart home features, ADT also has a mobile safety app called ADT Go. This service is designed to protect you and your family when you’re away from home. You have family location sharing through real-time GPS updates, one button SOS emergency response, and car crash detection. It also provides a drive report, which is excellent for parents of teenagers. 24/7 roadside assistance is also available in case you run into problems on the road. Worried about whether an area is safe to visit? Local crime data gives you the information you need to make the right decision. You can add this service to your ADT home security plan for $9.99 per month plus taxes.

ADT Pulse

The ADT Pulse application opens up a world of possibilities for your ADT home security system. You can harness the power of smart home automation, as well as easily checking in on your video cameras, sensors, and other connected devices. It’s simple to switch your view between your indoor and outdoor cameras, arm and disarm the system, lock your doors, open up the garage, change your light and thermostat settings, and set up automation routines that trigger based on your location or the time of day.

Custom alerts and notifications keep you informed about the status of your home, whether you need to look at events that are happening, and if alarms go off from the home security system.

ADT integrates with Amazon Alexa products, so you can tell your system what you want it to do rather than controlling it through your smartphone. Of course, with the functionality of ADT Pulse, you can set up full automated routines that adjust everything to your preferences.

24/7 Professional Monitoring

ADT’s response team is available every day of the year, no matter what the time. You don’t have to wait for more than a few rings before you’re talking to someone live on the phone or over your security panel.

Z-Wave Integration

ADT has a solid selection of its own smart home devices available, but you always have the choice of bringing in third-party hardware that uses Z-Wave for connectivity. Compatible devices can be controlled through ADT Pulse, so you don’t need to use multiple applications to configure your home equipment.

Installation & Usability

ADT sends out professional, certified technicians to install the system and ensure that all the devices and sensors are placed in the best possible spot. During the installation process, they thoroughly test the system and answer any questions you may have about operating it.

ADT home security systems have a lot of functionality so it can be overwhelming when it first gets installed. The installer takes you step by step through each part of the system, and the ADT Pulse app is clear and easy to understand. When you get a lot of smart home devices connected to your ADT security system, it can take some time to get used to where they all show up in the app.

Customer Support

ADT invests heavily in training its agents and it shows. They have good customer satisfaction ratings and the emergency response is fast, professional, and calming. When you’re facing a possible home intrusion or another emergency, having a knowledgeable person on the line with you while the emergency services are on their way is an immense help.

If you run into problems with your home security hardware, ADT gets a technician out to you the same day or the next day in most cases.

Employees have a long tenure at ADT, and the average technician has had 11 years with the company. They know the systems they support very well and can troubleshoot your equipment and perform repairs or replacements without delay.

The ADT Help Center gives you a number of self-service resources if you want to access the manuals for any of your devices or learn more about how to set up advanced features, like custom notifications and alerts.

Cost & Pricing

ADT is not transparent with its pricing, so you must request a free quote before learning exactly what it’s going to cost you per month. Since each home security package is custom built to the customer’s needs, the monthly cost can range from quite affordable to high-end. Equipment costs are typically rolled into the 36-month contract, so you don’t pay upfront equipment fees. The amount you pay also depends on whether you’re going through ADT directly or working with an authorized reseller.

ADT also has a theft protection guarantee. The company covers $500 of the homeowner’s insurance deductible if a burglary happens while your ADT system is armed.

There are three plans you choose between:

  • Traditional: This basic home security package has a complete suite of devices that keep your home safe. It comes with the control panel keypad, entry sensors, a loud alarm, signage, and a cellular connection for the home alarm system.
  • Control: This package adds access to the ADT Pulse app so you can remotely control and configure your security system and smart home devices.
  • Video: This top-tier home security package from ADT gives you the capability to watch indoor and outdoor video camera footage. You can stream it live from the cameras or check out automatically created clips.

ADT is more suitable for homeowners than renters, as it requires professional installation and you incur costs if you’re moving and you want to continue using ADT at your new location.

Our Conclusion

ADT hasn’t gotten to its position in the home security market without doing a lot of things right. While it’s not the most technologically advanced system on the market, it’s affordable, backed by amazing support and response agents, and has reliable equipment for major security and automation categories.