For many, ADT is synonymous with home security, and for most of its 140+ year history, ADT had a lock on the market. Even today, the security giant claims 25 percent of the home security market, appealing to homeowners who want a professionally installed system from a recognized brand.
The company has detractors who claim contracts and service is inconsistent among the 400+ authorized ADT dealers across the nation. Customers may not know if they’re signing agreements with ADT corporate or with a local dealer who is managing the account. Considering the size of the company, ADT does well at keeping pace with technological advances in the industry as we can see from their numerous ADT Pulse packages. And because their dealer network is nationwide, homeowners anywhere in the country can have access to a professionally installed security system.
What Makes ADT Stand Out
ADT’s been around for 140+ years and knows the security space inside and out.
ADT partners with IFTTT (If This Then That), a home automation platform that utilizes Z-Wave technology to support equipment and devices from many different companies, including the Nest Learning Thermostat and Samsung’s SmartThings.
ADT has 6 central monitoring stations, more than any other alarm company, located in CO, NE, NY, MO, and FL.
ADT Packages and Prices
Until you’re ready to sign, it’s hard to determine what your ADT home security system will cost. While standard equipment is included in their pre-configured packages, additional sensors or devices may need to be purchased. Depending on what you want to be included in your system, you can end up spending hundreds of dollars to maximize your security system’s capabilities.
ADT offers three home security system packages, all of which can be customized with additional equipment to meet your needs. The Secure Home plan starting at $45.99/month, the Smart Home plan for $49.99/month, and the Video & Smart Home plan for $59.99/month.
All packages include the following basics: a digital control panel with touchscreen, three door/window alarms, a motion detector, 24/7 alarm monitoring and professional installation.
- Warranty: ADT offers a Quality Service Plan that covers all newly installed equipment for as long as you’re an ADT customer. Some packages have this cost built into the monthly monitoring rate.
- Risk-Free Trial: If ADT is unable to provide a solution to your problem within 6 months of installation, they will refund the system installation price and pay all monitoring fees after they have attempted to resolve the concerns you have.
- Theft Protection Guarantee: ADT pays your insurance deductible — up to $500 — in the event of a burglary.
ADT’s Equipment & ADT Pulse Cameras
ADT uses a hardwired home security system which communicates with the monitoring station through a landline telephone connection. However, customers can also add a cellular backup to a hardwired system or pay an additional fee to use cellular communication as the primary monitoring. ADT maintains six monitoring centers in different regions of the country. With multiple co-locations and system redundancies, ensuring uninterrupted monitoring in the event of any individual facility outages.
ADT offers a wide selection of security equipment and devices. ADT Pulse provides additional equipment and services to support advanced security functions as well as home automation. The control panel uses the Z-Wave platform for wireless communication with sensors and smart devices. ADT Pulse is also compatible with IFTTT (If This Then That) and integrates with Nest Learning Thermostat. The company also offers a Smart Voice Sounder that calls out “fire” or “intruder” based on what sensor has sounded the alarm, and temperature and flood sensors that can protect against water damage from burst pipes. Its ADT Pulse, Smart Home offerings include remote door locks, appliance control, and cameras.
These devices allow homeowners and other authorized users to manage and control their home security system while home and away. The control panel is the primary hub for the system, communicating with the various sensors in your home as well as connecting your system to the central monitoring station.
Wireless control panel that supports up to 250 sensors and devices. Features Two-way voice communication letting users speak with ADT operators through the panel in an emergency.
Interactive Touch Screen [Pulse]
Arm and disarm your system, view live video and control lights, locks and thermostats easily. The intuitive user interface features large icons as well as weather, traffic and news alerts.
ADT Pulse Voice
An app that controls your home remotely, allowing users to arm/disarm their system, lock and unlock doors, control lights, and adjust temperature all with the sound of their voice.
This remote fits on a keychain and controls your system from up to 75 feet away from the digital keypad.
Smart Voice Sounder
Allows users to enhance their system’s alert during emergencies by calling out “fire” or “intruder” when a sensor is triggered.
The first line of defense against unauthorized attempts to gain entry in your home. These sensors are installed at every potential entry point to your home. If a door or window is opened or broken, the sensor will signal the control panel and begin immediately contacting the monitoring station with an alarm alert.
Wireless Motion Detector
Infrared sensor that scans large areas – foyer, hallway or room filled with valuables – and detects when an object over 40 lbs enters a protected area.
Wireless Door/Window Sensor
Peel & stick sensors that connect wirelessly to your keypad and activate an alarm if triggered. If the system isn’t armed, sensors trigger a chime from the panel.
Glass Break Sensor
Detects the sound frequency and pattern of breaking glass from up to 25 feet away and triggers the alarm. Ideal for sliding glass doors or rooms with many windows that remain closed.
Recessed Door/Window Sensor
Concealed sensor can be set flush and mounted so they are not visible when the door is closed. Ideal for those looking to discretely monitor an entry point.
Environmental & Life Safety Sensors
Complete home security includes adding sensors to monitor and alert you and other family members to threats other than burglary, including water leaks, fire, carbon monoxide, and other potential safety risks.
Fire & Smoke Alarm
Advanced sensor monitors for both smoke and heat and will alert the central station when triggered to help protect your family and home from when you’re home and when you’re away.
Carbon Monoxide Sensor
Designed to detect increased levels of carbon monoxide gas, the sensor will sound an alarm and alert the monitoring center if CO reaches unsafe levels.
Flood Detection Sensor
Protects against water leaks and is typically placed in basements to send an alert when a water leak is detected and help prevent costly water damage.
Prevents burst pipes by monitoring your home’s temperature and sending alerts when temperatures fall dangerously low.
Waterproof pendants worn around your wrist or neck that detect cries for help up to 300 feet away. These pendants are available with Medical Alert Plus and On-The-Go emergency response.
Two-Way Voice Intercom
Pressing the button of the wristband or pendant will immediately connect the user to a professional operator using ADT’s two-way voice intercom.
ADT Pulse Security Cameras
Keep eyes on your home and family even when you are away with the addition of a home security video camera. Useful to check in at home as well as collect useful images of intruders should your home be burglarized.
Wireless Outdoor Camera
Outdoor wireless cameras allowing homeowners to remotely view activity outside their home through their smartphone or any web-enabled device.
Wireless Day/Night Camera
Indoor wireless camera with infrared technology captures clear video even in the dark. Live video can be viewed from web-enabled devices, and users receive notifications when motion is detected.
ADT Pulse Home Automation
ADT Pulse’s advanced equipment and platform provide homeowners with the ability to remotely access and control their security system and smart devices for home automation.
Improve your home’s energy efficiency with pre-programmed settings and the ability to remotely adjust the temperature while you’re away.
ADT Pulse Door Locks
Lock and unlock doors remotely and receive alerts when someone enters or exits your home with this stylish, dependable remote deadbolt lock.
Control lighting remotely to create the mood or setting before you come home, or use this smart device to control other small appliances to conserve energy.
In-Wall On/Off Switch
Garage Door Controller
Remotely open & close your garage door. You also receive alerts to your mobile phone if you leave home with the garage door still open with this device.
High Voltage Switch
Remotely control and manage large home appliances such as water heaters, sprinkler systems, pool pumps and more from any web enabled device.
Allows your ADT Pulse wireless network to cover a larger service area for your home and adds advanced encryption to your wireless data.
This device expands the range of the Pulse wireless network in your home, allowing you to connect and control devices beyond the standard signal range.
The iHub is used to wirelessly support and control ADT Pulse sensors, thermostats, cameras, door locks and other home automation devices.
ADT Security Reviews
As the largest and most well-known brand in home security, ADT has a lot to offer homeowners looking for a professionally installed security solution from a company that has been part of the industry since the beginning. They continue to innovate and improve, taking advantage of technological advances and evolving their product offering to meet the needs of modern homeowners.
ADT has recently made significant strides in the connected home space as the home automation market continues to expand. ADT’s Canopy® is a new professional monitoring service designed to support their partnerships and integrations with smart home devices and ecosystems such as Samsung’s SmartThings, Nest and LG. ADT Pulse Home security also continues to evolve with the addition of voice command capabilities and the company’s partnership with IFTTT allows ADT Pulse users even more ways to interact and control their home environment and security system.
With six co-located, fully redundant monitoring centers in different regions of the country, the ability to overtake monitoring almost every other security system and with all the industry accolades and accreditations possible, ADT continues to be a great option for many. It’s important to make sure you fully understand the system you are getting and who you are working with. Whether it’s ADT corporate or Protect Your Home, their largest and most successful and widely recommended authorized dealer, be sure you understand exactly what you are getting, what you will be paying, and what the terms of your agreement mean.
ADT Customer Reviews
ADT utilizes a nationwide network of authorized dealers as well as their own personnel to sell, install and support ADT security systems. The dealer network allows ADT to maintain a local presence for their customers while providing the stability and service capabilities of a large, national security provider. However, it can also lead to an inconsistent experience for customers and negative customer reviews. Online customer reviews typically revolve around issues with local dealers and include missed appointments, aggressive upselling and misrepresentation.
On review websites such as Yelp and PissedConsumer, ADT average customer review is less than two stars out of five. Are you an ADT customer? Have you had an ADT security consultation?
What ADT Employees Are Saying
ADT is a large, growing organization with hundreds of local branch offices and a network of authorized dealers with their own employees, culture and approach. Work environment and culture can vary, sometimes significantly, between the corporate entity and each dealer. Not surprisingly, employee satisfaction is varied across online reviews.
Overall, only 32% of ADT employees reporting on Glassdoor would recommend working at ADT to a friend. Sale reps often complain about pay (100% commission based) and a scarcity of leads. Happy employees, however, applaud ADT benefits, like a 401(k) match, medical, dental and vision coverage, and as a New York emergency dispatch operator said, “an awesome break room with tea, coffee and cocoa.”
What Indeed Says About ADT
- 3.2 stars (out of 5)
- Top Kudos: Job culture and training.
- Top Complaints: Lots of prospecting, few company-generated leads, little selling.
Past Legal Issues
The Federal Trade Commission charged ADT with misrepresenting paid endorsements from safety and technology experts and the company is now prohibited from misrepresenting paid endorsements as independent reviews in the future. A group of ADT customers filed a federal class action suit aimed at the company’s early termination penalties and increased monitoring fees. Another suit claims ADT knows its wireless systems are easily hacked and engages in” deceptive and misleading marketing statements.” Additionally, some ADT dealers had sued the corporate claiming breached of contracts when dealers were informed in August 2002 that ADT was limiting the number of qualified accounts it would purchase.
The security industry is well regulated with significant government oversight making it easy to identify companies with legal issues as well as those with clean records like Frontpoint. If ADT’s track record concerns you we recommend learning more about Frontpoint security reviews or exploring all our home security company reviews.
About ADT Home Security
ADT started life in 1867 when Edward A. Calahan, inventor of the stock ticker tape, created the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company and developed a messenger system to deliver instructions to and from the stock exchange. Three years later, company president Elisha Andrews awoke to a burglar in his home, which inspired him to develop a telegraph-based alert system that connected neighborhood homes to a central monitoring station. The idea immediately caught on and over 50 home alert companies popped up throughout New York City almost immediately. In 1874, Calahan consolidated them into American District Telegraph.
In 1997, Tyco purchased ADT in a reverse takeover. When Tyco split into three companies in 2010, ADT became an independent company again and, two years later, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Today, ADT services 6.6 million customers, reportedly 25 percent of the home security market. (The next largest is Protection 1, which claims just 1.5 million customers). ADT maintains six monitoring stations with 2,000 dispatch operators throughout the country – far more than any other security company — and it employs 16,000 workers overall.
Many ADT home security systems are actually sold, installed and serviced by a nationwide network of authorized dealers, which may not maintain the same professional standards or offer the same equipment and deals as ADT corporate. It’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re buying a system from corporate or a dealer. ADT corporate websites include the logo, “ADT Always There,” whereas authorized dealers, like security giant Defender, ADT’s largest dealer markets ADT under the brand “Protect Your Home”. Dealers such as Defender, Security Choice and ADS Security Inc. will display an “ADT Authorized Dealer” logo on their website, but some consumers may not notice the difference from ADT’s corporate logo.
ADT appeals to middle-income families interested in a professionally installed security system from a well-known brand with all the necessary accreditations: UL-listed, FM-approved, CSAA 5 Diamond certified, and DoD security clearance. ADT topped SDM’s Top 100 list of security companies in 2014.
Recently announced and pending government approval, ADT is acquired by Apollo Global Management for $6.9 billion in 2016. Apollo also owns Protection1.
Where ADT Is Headed
Since announcing their relationship in August 2014, IFTTT and ADT have been working on creating a channel that connects an ADT Pulse-enabled home with more than 100 existing IFTTT channels that can adjust thermostats during a snowstorm or disarm the system when GPS data indicates you’re getting close to home. Additionally ADT has announced partnerships with Samsung on SmartThings/ Smart Watch integration and LG on a standalone security device. Soon with ADT Canopy, a monitoring service focused on these partnerships will allow users to add monitoring services to their smart devices.
Cool Stuff on the Horizon
- ADT Pulse Voice: A mobile app that enables users to control their ADT Pulse security system as well as their home automation devices with voice commands.
- Personal Security Services: ADT’s Canopy™ mobile app enables users to communicate with friends and family members in a designated virtual circle with ADT monitoring professionals to extend the reach of your security and notify others of alarm events.
- Online Security: ADT and McAfee LiveSafe are working together to bridge the worlds of digital and physical security by exploring ways to connect a user’s home security system to data security technology and authentication services.
- Health Services: ADT continues to collaborate with Ideal Life to offer real-time health management solutions and monitoring services, which differentiates ADT from other home automation and security providers.
- On-The-Go Emergency Response System: A device to detect a person’s fall and connect directly to ADT’s 24/7 monitoring center, so an operator can determine if emergency responders or caregivers should be contacted and dispatched whether the customer is in their kitchen or miles away from home.
What to Expect When You Call
ADT’s sales number routes you to a receptionist who will ask for your address before transferring you to a sales consultant. The consultant will typically look to sell you ADT’s standard security package or schedule an appointment for an in-home assessment of your security needs.
If you do provide your address to the receptionist, the sales consultant will work to put together a security package and schedule a technician’s on-site visit. During this walk-through, the technician will provide recommendations on ways to improve your security solution with additional features. These upgrades and additions fall outside of the initial price of the system, so carefully consider the additional cost and value to you before signing the agreement. Once the paperwork is complete and you’ve signed ADT’s three-year service contract, the technician will install your system. After the initial 3-year period, your contract will renew on a month-to-month basis. To cancel, you will need to provide a 30-day notice of intent to terminate.
What’s In the Contract:
- After the first year of service, ADT can increase the monitoring fee anytime and as frequently– as it wants. However, if you provide written notice of your objection to the price increase within 30 days or receipt of notice, ADT may either reconsider the adjustment or allow you to terminate the contract without paying cancellation fees. Changes in monitoring rates do happen, but they are not common and infrequent.
- If you choose to cancel the contract before the initial term, you must immediately pay 75% of the total remaining monthly fees.
- ADT’s Quality Service Plan (QSP) is not standard with all agreements. Be sure to find out if it is included in yours.
After installation, if something goes wrong with your system, call customer care or chat online with an operator. If ADT can’t troubleshoot remotely, a technician will be sent within five days to service your system