Pros, Cons & History of the Big Blue Giant ADT

Review Last updated: August 1, 2018. Before home security systems existed, ADT hired guards that securely transferred money for banks and businesses. Fast forward 130 years and they are now the largest home security company with over 7 million active customers. What do we like? ADT reviews have stayed true to their core business of home security while several others ventured off into the internet, solar or TV space.

What’s new for 2018? Better home automation and updates to their mobile control app.  They are staying on top of home automation and continuing to innovate in this space. They have also acquired Protection One and merged those customers into one brand.

Basic package shown including touch screen control panel

What Are the Features of ADT Home Security?

There is a wide range of home security system installed by Protect Your Home and monitored by ADT Home Security systems. Below are some of the ADT features:

Landline or Cellular

Many home alarm system and monitoring services only provide cellular connections for emergency monitoring. Although cellular is the most reliable, some signals are not available in some areas thus a solid backup is a necessity. ADT monitoring is one of the few industry leaders that monitors through cellular and landline.

Pet-Friendly Motion Sensor

ADT motion sensors detect indoor motion using infrared motion sensors. To prevent false alarms activated by pets, the motion sensors can be set to overlook weights up 50 pounds.

Flood, Fire, Water and Gas Leak Detection

For overall home safety, ADT offers monitoring devices that detect gas and water leaks, carbon monoxide, smoke, and excessive heat.

Video Surveillance

ADT Home Security cameras monitors can be used for indoor surveillance. With the ADT Pulse and Video, security videos can be live streamed to a smart mobile device using the ADT mobile app.

Automated Home System

ADT pulse interactive automated systems can help users lower energy costs and enhance security and convenience by automating thermostats, house lights, and door locks.

What to Consider When Buying ADT Home Security?

  • ADT does a hard credit check.
  • ADT Pulse is not a full Z-Wave implementation and only works with sensors and smoke detectors from ADT.
  • ADT rents out its equipment; its price is included in the ADT home security monthly cost.
  • ADT home security cost more than some of its competitions and locks a customer into a three-year contract.
  • It’s also best to directly deal with ADT or to an authorized dealer with a BBB seal. Do your research, read customer reviews regarding the product and the dealer because ADT customer support and features will vary.

Here’s a quick look at the good and the bad:

  • Best reputation in the industry
  • Move-with-you nationwide service
  • Reliable monitoring with over 150 locations
  • Professional installation
  • Great prices & promotions
  • Pulse can integrate with Ring security doorbell
  • Used and tested by millions
  • User-friendly smart home control app
  • Won’t upgrade you after 3 years unless you ask
  • Installation fee
  • Some reports of Pulse app being buggy upon new updates

To skip ahead in this review, click on a quick link to jump to that section: Prices, Equipment, Installation, Unique, History, Conclusion

 [alert type=”success” sc_id=”sc1529600631974″]Current ADT Deal: $850 in Equipment[/alert]

ADT Quick Facts

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Pricing & Packages

It’s not always about the moneyIs it?

Start-up costs are average ($99-199) with ADT; depending upon the amount of equipment and level of Pulse automation wanted.

(Current promotions shown – click for more details)

Installation cost: Standard. $99.

Activation: There is no activation fee or other hidden fees. Others may offer ‘free installation’ but then charge an activation fee of $99+ instead.

Monitoring fee: There are 3 plans to choose from:

  1. $36.99/mo. Basic plan or the starter kit comes with the essential home security system.
  2. $44.99/mo. Includes 2-way voice panel and cell-guard. You can use mobile control as well.
  3. $47.99+/mo. Pulse home automation. More starting equipment with the ability to add security cameras and other smart home features.

Starting Costs graph 36 Month Contract Length

Security Equipment

Equipment with an ADT-itude

All authorized dealers carry GE or Honeywell Brands. The home automation equipment is ADT Pulse.


The basic package is shown. Touchscreen panel available upon request.

Person using ADT Pulse app on iPad

Pulse app control is shown. Get alerts, turn on and off the alarm system and stream live video from the security cameras. Easy navigation and simple controls make for a good user experience.

ADT indoor

ADT security camera – one of three available

Security system essentials: They have wireless door sensors, window sensors, and motion detectors all with backup batteries and warranties. If large pets are kept in the house then a glass break sensor may be used in place of a motion detector. Depending on the location of a home, some users may use their flood or carbon monoxide sensors.

Home automation: This comes with the higher cost monitoring package but still very affordable. ADT pulse allows one to do things with a home that was once only available to the rich and the famous. Their free mobile app is available for iOS or Android. It controls everything from an arm and disarming the alarm to controlling the security camera. When testing the ADT Pulse app, we found some cool additional alerts you can set up based upon your area.

Controlling the ADT System through their free ‘Pulse’ smart app shown.

Personalized service: They aren’t sticklers about ‘A-B-C package’ comes with ‘1-2-3 equipment’. Let the sales rep know what is needed for your home and they will customize a security system package according to what is needed. And for added support, you can contact the ADT home security customer service.

Installation Process banner

Time to board up the house…

They can do the same or next day installation. They have licensed technicians across the nation.

1 – Schedule: Call 888-285-0760 to set a time for installation. They can come out to any home nationwide within 24 to 48 hours.

2 – Knock, knock: A certified technician arrives and sets the security system up. Expect 1-2 hours to complete.

3 – All Secured: Once set up, they show the customer how to run the ADT alarm after finishing. They will show how to use the free smartphone control app as well as set up a key-code and verbal password.

For most; $99 is worth saving the hassle of a D-I-Y installation. When doing burglar simulation tests, their monitoring always under 1 minute of the alarm going off.

Lightbult icon with what makes them unique text

What makes ADT different?

Here is what makes the Goliath of home security stand out from it’s competition.

ADT pulse: Simple yet advanced. It is there interactive mobile app. Access from your phone or tablet, this is a great way to control all your needs at home. Watch the babysitter on your date. Keep an eye on the house while on vacation etc.

ADT guarantees: They offer four different guarantees:

  1. Money-back guarantee (Up to six months).
  2. Theft protection guarantee. If a break-in happens, they will reimburse you up to a certain amount of the value of your stolen goods assuming you had the alarm system on and monitored at the time of the burglary.
  3. Relocation discount guarantee. When you move they will give you a discount to have the system installed into your new home.
  4. Homeowners discount. This is not special to just these guys. Any company you go with will save 2-25% off of your homeowners’ insurance.


states serviced by adt

150+ branches nationwide: In a city near you. Hands down the best company with the most monitoring stations. No other company has as many nationwide 24/7 monitoring centers. If a monitoring stations go out in a storm or fire you have dozens of backup stations to cover you.

The century of service: Over 100 years (yikes!) of continual growth.

Landline service: Remember the cord attached to phones? Not recommended but for the few people that still have a landline, you can get a cheaper monitoring rate by connecting through it.

History of Company

A long, long time ago…

ADT stands for American District Telegraph. They turn back the pages in our history books. They are the ‘backbone’ security company of America.

100+ Years History Badge

The story: Founded in 1874 by Edward Calahan. They started out as a messenger/alarm service but quickly added fire and local authorities. In 1909, they were purchased by AT&T (a name you surely recognize). Shortly thereafter, AT&T sold ADT again. Fast forward some years to 1969 and ADT went public. In 1984, the were renamed and ten years later passed their one-millionth customer. In 1997, Tyco International Ltd. bought them out and since then they have acquired dozens of Ma & Pa security companies as well as big ones such as Brinks and Broadview Security.

2018 update: Security giant Protection 1 has purchased ADT for yet another buyout. However, they will be keeping the brand name the same since it is such a big company. Protection 1 will be merging their residential customers over to ADT and use the Protection 1 brand for businesses and the ADT for residential. If you are a current customer do not worry, your monitoring fees and services are not going to change.

Boca Raton Florida Icon

Headquarters: Boca Raton, FL. They maintain an A+ BBB rating.

Dozens upon dozens of Awards: Too many to name!

Partners: A few of the lucky ones:

  1. Pulse™. Already mentioned, does their smart app control.
  2. General Electric. The name speaks for itself. Reliable security equipment, they have been partners for decades.
  3. NJPA, the National Joint Powers Alliance

120 great years in the home security industry is a huge accomplishment. They provide thousands of jobs and are an asset to America.

Final Thoughts on ADT Home Security

Will you be adding an ADT sign to your yard today?

All in all, it’s hard to go wrong with the trusted blue and white. Competitors still lack the brand name and good reputation that ADT has built over the past century. Being able to move anywhere in the USA and not pay a cancellation fee is a big plus. Great equipment, and a company that still installs the security system, they are our top recommendation for the average of a homeowner.

Want to see ADT go head to head against other companies? Check out ADT vs Vivint, ADT vs Protect America or ADT vs Frontpoint.

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For a Free Quote Call 888-285-0760

Pulse Disclaimer^ADT Disclaimer

Frequently Asked Questions | Short, Straight Answers

Is ADT really worth it?

For what it’s worth, ADT might have its share of flaws and a really high price tag, but at the end of the day, when you put everything into perspective, the brand really is worth a shot. Of course, we do have to stress out the fact that you need to be certain you can afford the service in the long run. You don’t want to end up running out of money when there are other, much cheaper options on the market.

Is the equipment offered by ADT really free?

As stated on the official ADT website, “your ADT monitoring package cost includes all equipment costs and fees. The monthly fees for the monitoring packages range from $27.99/month to $62.99/month. Aside from that, all you need to pay for is professional installation ($99 – $199 depending on your package).” – In short, no, the equipment on hand is not free. You are paying for it in semi-hidden installments.

Can ADT cameras be hacked?

Normally, ADT cameras shouldn’t be hackable unless your firmware is truly out of date. To prevent any possible hacking from taking place, we recommend you always install the latest updates so you can enjoy the highest possible security level. However, do note that any digital piece of equipment has its fair share of vulnerabilities, even if they have not been discovered yet. But the chances of some random hacker cracking a new update in due time are so low that you shouldn’t have to worry as long as you have turned on those automatic updates.

The Bottom Line

Given what you’ve seen in the ADT review above, you should now know for certain whether this brand and its offerings are a good match for your needs and wnts. We hope we have made it easier for you to decide.

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