The company

ADT

When in 1874 American District Telegraph was born thanks to the affiliation of 57 district telegraph delivery companies, no one could imagine that eventually, over 140 years later, ADT Inc., would become one of the worldwide leaders in home and business security.

When in 1874 American District Telegraph was born thanks to the affiliation of 57 district telegraph delivery companies, no one could imagine that eventually, over 140 years later, ADT Inc., would become one of the worldwide leaders in home and business security. In those 140 years a lot happened to this company as ADT was, back in the beginning of the 20th century, incorporated first into Western Union and later into AT&T. In the meanwhile, the company started to work on security and fire alarms systems and finally in the 60s ADT became a publicly traded company.

While the company controlled most of the market for several years, it was found guilty of being a monopoly as in some cities such as New York they were the only provider; something that ADT was able to accomplish by forcing other competitors out of business by using non fair strategies such as offering services below cost in those areas where they weren’t the sole provider. The company was eventually forced to adopt a national price list and had to pay several, huge, fines.

During the next forty years ADT was bought and purchased by different companies (such as Tyco in 1997) before finally being acquired, in 2014 by Apollo Global Management, and merged with another security firm called Protection 1.

Nowadays ADT serves over 8 million customers across USA and Canada, making it the largest security company in both markets. Tim Whall and Jim DeVries are the CEO and President of a company that employs over 18000 people. The company, in order to evolve into the right direction and capture the millennials’ attention is known for collaborating with firms such as Google and Amazon, showing that no matter how old you are in the security market you can always find ways to improve and capture a new segment of the market.

The good and the bad

Positives

  • Experience of over 140 years in the market
  • 6 month money back guarantee
  • Home automation
  • 6 monitoring stations
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Free installation for all but traditional plan
  • Nest Thermostat available for some plans
  • 24/7 customer support
  • When cancelling before the end of the contract you pay 75% of the remaining charges

Negatives

  • Contract length is 36 months
  • DIY installation not available
  • Traditional plan has no free installation
  • Each dealer offers a different price for equipment
  • Monthly fee is higher than competitors

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The tech

We can expect only state of the art equipment from ADT as it is the oldest and more experienced alarm security company in the country. The design might not be the company’s forte, but every piece does its job extremely well and are made by two of the largest home security equipment manufacturers like Honeywell and DSC. The equipment included in the basic home security plan consists of a control panel, a keychain remote, three entry sensors, one infrared motion sensor, a high-decibel siren, a backup battery, a yard sign and window decals. Nevertheless, we recommend some upgraded plans as even if they are more expensive, they offer many other features such as carbon monoxide detectors, smoke and heat sensors, water leak/flood sensors, cameras and the possibility of using the Nest Thermostat when you have ADT Pulse.

Let’s take a look with more detail to some of the most popular devices offered by ADT:

Equipment

ADT Pulse HD Video touchscreen panel

The HSS 301-1ADNAS is designed by Netgear for ADT and is the best Keypad ADT Pulse can offer in its package. The touchscreen allows you to view HD camera images. You will be able to control the alarm system, thermostat and more through this panel. To make it work with the ADT equipment already in your home you will need the ADT Pulse gateway or the ADT TS Base Station.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $299

ADT TS Keypad

This is the standard keypad you will get with most of the plans. It is very straightforward, with clear numbers and easy to use. This panel supports many life safety and home automation devices simultaneously so you can customize it to fit your needs

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $200

Keypad from ADT
Electro sensor for doors and windows from ADT

Door/Window Sensor

When your system is armed and someone opens a door or window, you will be immediately notified via text. You can set them in order to activate a camera when the sensor is triggered, something that we really like and that is not very common among security companies.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $60

Motion sensor

This pet friendly sensor (up to 40lbs or 80lbs, depending on the one you get) is able to cover a large area of your home (35’ x 40’). When it detects movement, it will trigger a high decibel alarm siren and will also send a signal to one of the monitoring stations ADT has.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $60

Motion sensor from ADT
Glass break sensor from ADT

Glass Break Sensor

This glass break sensor has a 25-foot range and it will send a signal to your mobile device when activated. In order to work properly, the sensor needs to be installed near the window and with no object between the device and the glass.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $120

Key Fob

This device is useful in order to arm and disarm your alarm system from remotely. It also serves as a panic button for those moments when you feel in danger at home as it will alert ADT’s monitoring centers. Very easy to use like most of the devices of this kind.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $60

Key fob from ADT
Carbon monoxide detector from ADT

Carbon Monoxide Detector

This device is equipped with an electrochemical detector designed to identify elevated levels of carbon monoxide quicker (70 PPM) than what a usual detector of this kind can. With a built-in 85dB alarm, you will know immediately if something is wrong. On top of this, the device is connected to the central panel and communicates with the monitoring center in order to be assisted if necessary.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $120

Smoke Detector

With a life of 10 years, this Smoke Detector is what you need to prevent any possible fire in your place. With a built-in alarm, it will let you know when something is not as it is supposed to be in your home. You can have the wireless or the wired version of this device. Be sure to ask your dealer which one might fit your needs best.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $120

Smoke detector from ADT

Flood sensor

This device will send you an alarm when it detects a leak. The Flood sensor can be placed near anything that might cause a leak as well as in your basement in case you feel like that is a place subject to a possible flood. These detectors can help you minimize water damage.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $120

Indoor Security Camera

This camera has built-in infrared LED’s in order to provide illumination even in the dark. It’s easy to set up on your wireless network and has a 90-degree field of view. You will be able to watch on your smart device what is going on in your home through this camera and you and your family will feel safer. 

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $199-299

Indoor wireless security camera from ADT
Outdoor wireless security camera by ADT

Outdoor Security Camera

The OC835 is an outdoor camera with HD resolution. This device provides a 95-degree view and is equipped with infrared night vision. When motion is detected, you will receive video clips automatically on your smart device.   

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $250-399

Ring Video Doorbell

With this amazing Ring Video Doorbell, you will be able to communicate with someone that is at your door thanks to the 2-way audio device installed in it. It has motion sensor so it will be activated when someone is approaching your door and has night vision technology. Compatible with iOS, Mac, Android and Windows 10, you will be able to spot and speak to someone through your smart device.

Cost if bought outside the equipment pack: $199

Video doorbell from ADT

Other equipment

Consult with an ADT agent in order to see what is best for your home and what suits your needs as other products might be available for your home security.

The Tech outside the Equipment

What else does Frontpoint offer?

Control centers

One of the great things about being a company with over 140 years of experience, is that you can only find a way to innovate and to grow bigger. ADT is the home security company with more monitoring centers in the country. The main one is located in Aurora, Colorado. The monitoring centers are able to take over 6,000 duress, fire or burglary calls, 7,500 schedule-related alarms and 6,000 customer service calls each day. With an average of 335 call stations in each facility, there’s always trained personnel ready to help you in case of necessity. The system ADT uses allows for complete communication among the centers, and in the eventuality of a shutdown of one of these centers due to weather conditions, a customer won’t be affected at all and his home will be monitored as always.       

ADT Pulse

ADT Pulse is probably the most interesting thing ADT has to offer. The Pulse system offers you the possibility to take more control over your house even if you are away (as the company advertises), and this is thanks to the Z-Wave technology that is incorporated in most of the devices provided by ADT.

Thanks to the ADT Pulse App, you will be able to arm and disarm your alarm, lock and unlock your door, watch live video transmission from your camera and control home automation devices such as thermostats; everything remotely.

Strategic partnerships

It’s no secret that ADT is working with Google and Amazon (Nest Thermostat and Amazon Alexa are just two examples of the products that can be paired with ADT Pulse) in order to optimize home automation and home security, showing that their tech is always improving and investments in this field are flowing constantly.

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The Packs

Five are the packs offered by ADT to their customers and while you can add features to all of them, it is worth saying that the basic price of every package is a little bit over the similar offer from competitors. Nevertheless, the two main packages are for sure state of the art when it comes to home security and when you know you will be guarded by a 140 years old company with many different monitoring centers and experience in the field, you know that you pay for what you get. Let’s take a look at the packages offered by ADT: Essentials, Essentials plus, Total Protection, Total Protection Plus, Premium Protection

Prices, Contracts and Equipment Packages

As we stated at the beginning, DIY installation is not available and where you can see a negative thing, you can see also a positive as the installation will be performed by a trained technician that will take the time to go with you through every device. So it is worth the visit at your place. The installation cost is $99 for every plan and all contracts have a length of 36 months (24 for California). If you are not satisfied in the first 6 months, you can ask for your money back including the fees you could have paid until the cancellation. This says a lot by ADT as they show confidence that with their service they can give complete satisfaction to a client.

Choose your plan

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Essentials

$ 36
99 Per Month
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Motion detection
  • Pet friendly
  • Alert via landline

Essentials Plus

$ 42
99 Per Month
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Motion detection
  • Pet friendly
  • Alert via landline
  • Two way voice communication

Total Protection

44
99
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Motion detection
  • Pet friendly
  • Alert via cellular radio

Total Protection Plus

$ 47
99 Per Month
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Motion detection
  • Pet friendly
  • Alert via cellular radio
  • Two way voice communication

Premium Protection

$ 52
99 Per Month
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Motion detection
  • Pet friendly
  • Alert via cellular radio
  • Two way voice communication
  • Support cameras

Those five packages are the usual pricing model: the more you pay, the more you get. In this case the main difference is that for the first two packages the connection with the monitoring center is via landline, while for the other three packages the connection is cellular (and uses landline as a backup).

Cellular is by far more secure than landline as this one can’t be cut out from the outside by intruders and it takes less time for the alert signal, under normal circumstances, to reach the monitoring center. The Premium Protection packages also has the plus of supporting cameras, something that we really like when it comes to home security.

Essentials Wireless Control Panel, Window Decal and Yard Sign (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Infrared Motion Sensor (x1), Wireless Keychain Remote (x1)
Essentials Plus Wireless Control Panel, Window Decal and Yard Sign (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Infrared Motion Sensor (x1), Wireless Keychain Remote (x1), Two Way Voice.
Total Protection Wireless Control Panel, Window Decal and Yard Sign (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Infrared Motion Sensor (x1), Wireless Keychain Remote (x1), SafeWatch, CellGuard.
Total Protection Plus Wireless Control Panel, Window Decal and Yard Sign (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Infrared Motion Sensor (x1), Wireless Keychain Remote (x1), Two Way Voice, SafeWatch, CellGuard.
Premium Protection Wireless Control Panel, Window Decal and Yard Sign (x1), Door/Windows Sensors (x3), Infrared Motion Sensor (x1), Wireless Keychain Remote (x1), Two Way Voice, SafeWatch, CellGuard, ADT Pulse.

As you can see every plan comes with the basic equipment. The main difference is the two main packages support a variety of equipment you can purchase outside of the packages that can make your experience and your home security experience a huge improvement. While we stated before the main plan is more expensive when compared to the competition, we also are aware that the features that ADT Pulse has to offer, at the moment, have no rival.

Our recommendation is, if you decide to go with ADT, to spend a few more bucks a month and to get the Premium Protection. If you can afford it also go for at least one camera and a Ring Video Doorbell.

Our review

There is little to say when it comes to a company that has been on the market for over 140 years. They keep improving year after year and investing in new technology while partnering with some of the most recognized companies in the home automation sector. It is true that the competition has more competitive prices, but it is also true that no one offers so many monitoring stations with immediate response and a Customer Support that is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

While we think you can find a more advanced, technologically speaking, security system in Vivint, it is also true that ADT offers the right combination of tech, monitoring and pricing. It might seem a little bit above when you check the competitors, but you are really paying for what you get.

Customers reviews (from consumeraffairs.com)

What people say

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