Protect America vs Vivint
Pricing matters, especially when it comes to equipment and monitoring costs. Which is more affordable, Vivint or Protect America?
- Advanced smart home capabilities
- Professional installation
- Cellular monitoring
- Wireless, do-it-yourself installation
- Smart home features and integrations
- Low-cost professional monitoring plans
Update: Vivint now offers 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup for $39.99 a month plus $5 per camera for 14 days of cloud storage. Without this plan, your system will be a local alarm only. Also, Vivint’s professional installation is now free.
So you’ve narrowed it down to Protect America or Vivint for your home’s security system. I’m here to help make that decision even easier.
Protect America was founded in 1992 in the great city of Austin, Texas. By 2001, less than ten years later, they had installed $200,000 worth of security systems, the first with DIY installation! That’s a trend that’s blown up in the home security industry, so Protect America clearly knows what they’re doing.
Vivint, founded in 1999, currently has 1.3 million customers in the U.S and Canada. Now, I know that what’s popular isn’t always right, but sometimes there’s a correlation.
I’m ready to see whether Protect America or Vivint has a superior customized security system. In this review, I’ll review my two systems’ key similarities, key differences, installation processes, monitoring options, customer support, and apps. Let’s get started!
Before I go into too much detail, I want to tell you what Protect America and Vivint have in common.
Key Similarities of Protect America vs. Vivint
- System components: The customized systems I bought from each company are pretty similar to each other in terms of components.
- Long-term contracts: Protect America and Vivint require you to sign contracts with a minimum term length of three to a half years.
- Customer support reviews: Protect America and Vivint both have good overall ratings from Google.
Now the good stuff: the basic ways in which Protect America and Vivint differ.
Key Differences of Protect America vs. Vivint
- Installation: While you’ll install Protect America yourself, Vivint provides professional installation on the house.
- Professional monitoring: Vivint doesn’t require that you do professional monitoring, while Protect America includes it for free with all of its systems.
- App Ratings: The Vivint Smart Home app has good ratings, while the Protect America app was less well-received.
- Billing: You’ll pay for your Protect America system upfront and your Vivint system in monthly installments.
It’s finally time to open up my boxes and see what these systems are all about!
Protect America vs. Vivint System Components
|Recessed Door/Window Sensor||Yes||N/A|
|Garage Door Sensor||Yes||N/A|
|Smoke and CO Monitor||N/A||Yes|
At least physically, the customized kits I bought from Protect America and Vivint are pretty similar. Both include door/ window sensors, motion sensors, indoor security cameras, and control panels. Protect America also gave me recessed door and window sensors, meaning they’re not visible, and garage door sensors. Vivint threw in a smart lock, a video doorbell camera, and a smoke and CO monitor.
Keep in mind that you won’t pay for Vivint upfront. Instead, you’ll pay a monthly fee based on what equipment you have.
Vivint Package Offerings
|Eligible Products||Smart Security Service ($29.99/month)||Smart Home Service ($39.99/month)||Smart Home Video Service ($49.99/month for first two cameras)|
|Google Home Mini||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Recessed Door Sensor||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Glass Break Detector||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Garage Door Controller||No||Yes||Yes|
|Nest Thermostat E||No||Yes||Yes|
|Nest Learning Thermostat||No||Yes||Yes|
This can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. Personally, I’d rather pay for my equipment upfront, but maybe that’s just me.
Protect America vs. Vivint Installation
Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy, or do you prefer someone else to do it for you? If you’re the former, Protect America has DIY installation. If you’re the latter, Vivint requires professional installation. Let me elaborate.
Installing Protect America
As I said, Protect America has DIY installation, but you’re not completely alone: you’ll be on the phone with a customer support rep. In my case, Tiffany was knowledgeable, courteous, and patient with me as we set up and tested the system. I love that Protect America gives you this help as it feels like the best of both worlds— I get the know-how of a Protect America employee without having to pay out the wazoo for it. The only negative to installing Protect America? The camera’s field of view is only 60 degrees, making placement a bit challenging. The ethernet cable didn’t help much either. Overall, however, I had a great experience setting up Protect America, and what’s most important is that it was completely free!
Since Vivint requires professional installation, I didn’t have to do a lick of work to set up my system. All I had to do was let the technician in. My experience with him was good— he was definitely well-versed in setting up the system and was very courteous of my home. I especially appreciated how he wore little booties around his shoes to avoid tracking in the dirt! My white carpet is thankful. And the best part? I didn’t pay a dime.
Top System Installation
Whether you want DIY or professional installation is really going to determine who has the better installation for you. That’s why I’m taking the easy way out and declaring a tie for installation.
Protect America vs. Vivint Professional Monitoring
So you’ve installed your system and your home security is in the bag, right? Hold up— let’s talk monitoring. When it comes to monitoring your security system, you have two options. You can either self-monitor through your app or do 24/7 professional monitoring. In a nutshell, professional monitoring basically means that you’re not alone. In contrast, you’ll have a team of real-life humans monitoring your system, and they can help you in an emergency. They’re the ones who will check in if any of your alarms go off and contact emergency services for you if needed.
Protect America vs. Vivint Monitoring Options
Vivint Smart Home Video Service
|Number of Cameras||Monthly Price|
|Four (Maximum on One Account)||$59.99|
While Protect America includes professional monitoring with all of its systems for free, Vivint requires that you pay a monthly fee for professional monitoring. The fee is completely based on the number of cameras you have. If you don’t want another monthly fee on top of your equipment fee, you can self-monitor your system through the Vivint Smart Home app.
>> Learn More: See more info about Vivint’s Costs
Cellular backup is another important component of any home security system. It ensures that your system will stay on during a power outage. Protect America’s cellular backup costs aren’t so clear-cut, unfortunately. Instead, they’ll depend on your equipment and needs. Plans typically range from about $20 to $60 per month, and prices are negotiable. Finally, your hours watching Shark Tank will finally pay off! Vivint has cellular backup built into all of its home automation and voice control products, so the cost is included in your monthly equipment fee.
Protect America vs. Vivint Contracts
Protect America has three-year, binding contracts for its cellular backup. Of course, you’re not paying for professional monitoring, so there’s no contract to write! Vivint, on the other hand, makes you choose from a three-and-a-half or five-year contract for its monitoring. You can cancel anytime without a fee, but you would obviously need to pay for the remainder of your equipment. I’ll be honest: I’m not thrilled that neither company gives you a monthly contracting option. In short? Don’t expect much flexibility from Protect America and Vivint.
>> Learn More: About Protect America’s Pricing and Costs
Protect America vs. Vivint Moving Policies
Moving your Protect America system? No problem. Just let the company know and they’ll send you a relocation key and update your information, no fees required. Unfortunately, if you want to move your Vivint system, you’ll have to pay another $129 fee for professional installation. You can either move your panel and get new starter equipment or your system. Either way, the cost is the same.
Top System for Monitoring
You can’t do better than free, so I have to give Protect America the crown for its monitoring. Plus, it has a shorter term-length option than Vivint, which I appreciate.
Protect America vs. Vivint Customer Support
|Features||Info Online, Live Chat, Phone||Info Online, Live Chat, Phone|
WINNER: PROTECT AMERICA
If you’re having any issues at all, you can contact Protect America or Vivint’s customer support team through phone or live chat. Both companies also offer a database of knowledge on their websites, which is always a good first place to look for help.
I checked out their Google reviews to see what real customers thought of Protect America and Vivint’s customer support. Google basically takes all the reviews from the Internet and puts it in one convenient place, so it’s a great place to look for ratings. Protect America has a four-star rating on Google, while Vivint has a 3.8— both very impressive! Of course, I will not take these ratings at face value. I want to look at the reviews mentioning customer support specifically. Out of the 15 reviews mentioning Protect America’s customer support, 13 were positive, or about 87%!
“I had several questions for Protect America and instead of calling I used the chat feature. It worked very well. The customer service rep was very detailed, very courteous, and very knowledgeable,”
wrote Adriene Mitchell in a five-star review. People had great things to say about Vivint in the 817 reviews on Google. Whether you go with Vivint or Protect America, support-wise, you’re in pretty good hands.
Top System for Customer Support
Due to its higher overall rating, Protect America beats Vivint in customer support. So far, it’s two 2-0-1, Protect America to Vivint. Can Vivint redeem itself in our final category?
Protect America vs. Vivint App
|Protect America App||Vivint Smart Home App|
|Features||Arm or disarm your system, livestream your camera’s footage, & receive alerts if any of your alarms go off||Arm/disarm, control connected devices, speak to and see visitors through doorbell camera, get notifications, livestream footage|
|Google Play Rating||3.1||4.6|
|Apple Store Rating||2.4||4.5|
Finally, we have the systems’ respective apps. I’m looking for user-friendly, non-buggy apps that allow you to control and monitor your security system remotely. Are the Vivint and Protect America apps up to snuff?
>> Learn More: See our full in-depth Vivint Review
The Protect America App
From the Protect America app, you can arm or disarm your system, livestream footage, and receive notifications. The app didn’t do that great ratings-wise. It has a 3.1 rating from the Google Play store, which is about the lowest I can handle. Unfortunately, the Protect America app only has a 2.4 on the Apple store, making me question whether Protect America is a good security system for iPhone users.
>> Learn More: See our full in-depth Protect America Review
The Vivint Smart Home App
Vivint’s app is one of the highest-rated security apps around. From the Vivint app, you can arm or disarm your security system, control any connected devices you have, speak to and see visitors through your video doorbell, receive notifications, and livestream footage. With a 4.6 from Android users and a 4.5 from iPhone users, the Vivint Smart Home app definitely fits my very high standards.
Top System App
This one was easy, as Vivint has a much higher-rated app than Protect America! At least they got one category— it’s better than nothing!
Recap of Protect America vs. Vivint
I gave you my professional opinion, but I want to make sure I’m tailoring this review for you, you specifically. Let’s break it down even further.
Pick Protect America if you’d like…
- DIY installation: You’ll set up your Protect America system over the phone with customer support.
- Free 24/7 professional monitoring: Protect America includes 24/7 professional monitoring with all of its systems, completely on the house.
- Excellent customer support: Customers had great things to say about Protect America’s customer support system.
- Upfront payment: You’ll pay for all of your equipment at once.
Pick Vivint if you’d like…
- Professional installation: For $0, a professional will install your Vivint system.
- Option to self-monitor: Vivint doesn’t require that you pay for 24/7 professional monitoring.
- Highly-rated app: The Vivint Smart Home app has much higher ratings than the Protect America app.
- No cost for equipment upfront: Instead, you’ll pay for your Vivint equipment in monthly installments ranging from about $30 to $50.