(Last updated on April 21st, 2020)

ADT vs Protect America, which is a better option in 2020?

Read this detailed ADT versus Protect America comparison to make a smart decision.

You wouldn’t leave your home in the morning and leave the front door wide open, or unlocked. Obviously, you want to protect your possessions, and firmly locking the door to your home is one of those basic things you do to protect yourself against theft or vandalism. 

Security systems used to be expensive luxuries. Insurance companies might demand them for high value homes, but few apartment owners or renters invested in a system. Automated security systems were simply too expensive – unlike a front door key which cost a few dollars.

Now, developments in technology have pushed down the cost of home security systems. The internet, cellphones, and broadband have put better security within the means of every homeowner, and let you monitor your home even when you’re miles away, at work or on vacation. Many such systems can help protect you against fire, smoke, and other hazards, and even integrate with home automation systems.

Having a system installed can help deter theft. According to research from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 60% of burglars will choose another house to burglarize if they see their intended target home has an alarm system. So if no one ever breaks in, your alarm system may still have done its job! 

However, there is a huge choice of systems on the market. That makes research vital so you can select the best system for your needs. ADT and Protect America both have a lot going for them, but which is right for you? 

To make the process of researching the right system easier and less confusing, we’ve assessed how they stack up under a number of headings – not just cost, but also installation, customer service, and different features. 

We’ve declared a winner in each category, so you can cut to the chase and check out which company does best in the areas that matter most to you. And if you’re really in a hurry, you can just look at the infographic and short verdict below.

So, let’s get into the detail and see how these two companies compare on each separate criterion. First of all, let’s see what each company includes in its monitoring packages.

What’s Included in ADT’s Monitoring Packages?

ADT offers one of the most complex bundles of services on the market, from basic traditional home security systems to fully integrated home automation and security packages using third party as well as ADT devices. It offers three levels of monitoring coverage: Traditional, Control, and Video.

1. Traditional

Traditional is a basic home security system. It includes:

  • 24/7 professional monitoring over a cellular connection using ADT’s multiple, redundant control centers.
  • Four door and window sensors, with options to upgrade.
  • Fire, CO2 and floor monitoring.
  • Wireless keypad entry.

2. Control

Control adds home automation to the mix. In addition to what’s offered by the Traditional package, this plan offers:

  • Remote web and mobile access, enabling the homeowner to manage access, arming the alarm, and temperature control remotely.
  • Email and text notifications of security triggers.

3. Video

Video includes all the products and services offered by the Control package, and in addition includes:

  • Remote Secure Video, allowing remote access to the video stream from the home cameras. This is particularly useful for homeowners with pets or children.
  • None of the plans include installation costs or the cost of extra equipment, whether that’s more sensors, CO2 sensors, garage door openers, or video doorbells. 
ADT Low Costs Monitoring Plans

What’s Included in Protect America’s Monitoring Packages?

Protect America has three levels of service, the ‘Copper’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Platinum’ packages. Each successive package adds further sensors to the mix, so that ‘Copper’ would be more suitable for an apartment or small house, ‘Platinum’ for a larger property with several different entry doors.

1. Copper package

The Copper package is the most basic level of protection offered. It includes: 

  • A standard control panel, three door or window sensors and a motion detector, as well as a yard sign and door and window stickers. This is similar to ADT’s Essentials package, but it is self-installed. (Professional installation costs $199 extra.)
  • 24/7 professional monitoring by Protect America staff.
  • Either landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring.
  • A lifetime warranty on all equipment.

2. Silver package

The Silver package is the most commonly purchased of the three, and includes:

  • Up to 9 door/window sensors, in addition to the other equipment included in the Copper package.
  • 24/7 professional monitoring by Protect America staff.
  • Either landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring.
  • A lifetime warranty on all equipment.

3. Platinum package

The Platinum package is the top of the range and includes

  • Up to 9 door/window sensors, in addition to the other equipment included in the Copper and Silver packages. It still only includes a single motion detector.
  • 24/7 professional monitoring by Protect America staff.
  • Either landline, broadband, or cellular monitoring.
  • A lifetime warranty on all equipment.
Protect America Plans

Winner: ADT

ADT Vs. Protect America: Which Company is Better in terms of Pricing?

What does ADT Charge for its Service?

Each of ADT’s packages has a different monthly cost ranging from the Traditional plan’s $28.99 to the Video plan’s $52.99. 

PackageMonthly cost
Traditional$28.99
Control$36.99
Video$52.99

However, the monthly monitoring cost is not the only bill that ADT customers will have to pay. There is also an equipment cost of $125 payable upfront, as well as an activation fee of $99-199 depending on the configuration of the system installed. 

It should also be noted that the Quality Service Plan, which pays for parts and labor if the system needs fixing, comes extra. (On a major ADT Pulse installation it can cost $11 a month.)

Offsetting these extra costs, customers of many insurance companies can claim a discount on their homeowner’s insurance with an ADT insurance certificate. That’s an additional benefit of the contract that reduces the effective price of the service.

What does Protect America Charge for its Service?

Protect America’s pricing is slightly complicated, since there is a 3×3 pricing grid, depending on which package is selected but also on the technology used to deliver it. For instance, the basic $19.99 a month covers landline-based systems; Copper customers using broadband or cellular systems pay $41.99 a month. 

Protect America Technology

While the landline service is very attractively priced, the cellular/broadband versions are less so, and the Platinum packages don’t compare particularly well with ADT’s monthly pricing.

PackageLandline Cellular Broadband
Copper $19.99 $41.99 $41.99
Silver $37.99 $49.99 $49.99
Platinum $42.99 $54.99 $54.99

Unlike ADT, Protect America doesn’t install its devices, so there’s no installation fee to pay. There’s no activation fee, and there’s no rental to pay, either. In terms of pricing, what you see is exactly what you get. Protect America also gives a lifetime warranty on all equipment, at no cost.

Winner: Protect America

ADT Vs. Protect America: Which Company is Better in terms of Ease of Installation?

Protect America doesn’t install systems. The company sends out the equipment, and it’s a DIY installation. Professional installation is available, but not in all areas, and costs $199.

However, the equipment has been designed to need minimal installation; no cabling is required, and the door/window sensors attach with sticky pads rather than being screwed on. The online instructions are clear, with a worksheet provided to record each sensor’s location; the company provides a live assistance line and web chat, too.

Protect America DIY

Renters should note that because there’s no cabling to run and the sensor attachments don’t require screwing in, the system can be installed with minimum fuss and no damage to the property.

ADT requires professional installation; there’s no DIY option. While Protect America allows customers to pick a standard package from the website, ADT’s sales process involves an initial consultation, then an installation visit once the system has been planned.

Its installers have an excellent reputation; since the company offers customized solutions, they have experience of installing many different systems and devices and integrating a number of third party devices. It is also easy to add to an existing system, if required.

ADT Installation

That’s one reason ADT’s upfront costs are relatively high. A PCMag article looking at a highly complex and customized Pulse installation with a number of third party devices to be integrated quoted $3,000 installation costs, though that is atypical.

Winner: Protect America

ADT Vs. Protect America: Which Company is Better in terms of Customer Service?

ADT’s high quality installation capability is matched by excellent customer service. With multiple call centers and 6 monitoring centers nationwide, it provides true 24/7 emergency service. 

ADT is a multi-affiliate business, so non-emergency services depend on which local office is being used, but offices are generally open long hours both on weekdays and at weekends. Support is highly responsive, and support staff are reportedly good at problem-solving.

However, there are reports that ADT customers who move house have had difficulty getting their contracts canceled. This seems to be a common problem, and it’s the major reason ADT gets an alarmingly low one-star average on Trustpilot.

Protect America doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service. But it provides phone support from 8am to 9pm in the week, and 9am to 7pm at weekends, and online chat extends weekday support to 7-11. 

Because its products are designed for self-install, maintenance is simple to provide; replacements for equipment that has failed are simply mailed out for DIY installation by the customer. Response is generally fast. 

But, like ADT, Protect America has received poor reviews for its pushy salespeople and for difficulties that customers have encountered when trying to cancel their contracts. Still, two stars on Yelp probably beats one on Trustpilot. 

Winner: ADT (by a sliver)

ADT Vs. Protect America: Which Company is Better in terms of Contracts?

Both ADT and Protect America base their businesses on long term contracts. ADT’s initial contract is three years. If a customer discontinues the service during the initial contract period, they are responsible for paying 75% of the remaining contracted subscription.

However, ADT offers a package of discounts to home movers if they sign up to an ADT contract at their new home, which reduces the pain.

ADT also offers a six month money back guarantee (though some costs are not covered by this). Additionally, it offers up to $500 payments against a customer’s home insurance deductible is the property is burglarized while the security system is armed.

ADT Guarantees
ADT Guarantees

Protect America, like ADT, has a 3 year initial contract period. It offers a 14 day free trial; however, customers who cancel after that have to pay off 100% of the balance of the contract. That is significantly less lenient than ADT. It’s worth noting, though, that while the initial contract is 3 years, the average Protect America customer apparently stays for 8 years, so this is something that affects a minority of those taking up the service.

Protect America Contract
Protect America Contract

Because of the long initial period, we’d suggest neither of these companies is a good choice for renters who may move properties in the near future.

Winner: ADT

ADT Vs. Protect America: Which Company is Better in terms of Technology?

Protect America offers a good, solid service with robust equipment that is easy for non-experts to install. However, that means it can’t really offer cutting edge technology, or much integration with third party products, compared to some of its competitors. 

Till recently, it didn’t integrate with a smoke alarm or CO2 alarm, which are crucial to protect homeowners against the risk of asphyxiation if a fire breaks out in the home. That said, Protect America is now able to integrate many home automation products which can be controlled through its touch screen control panel. 

It offers video cameras (a limited range) and glass break sensors (useful if you have large areas of plate glass) as well as August Smart Lock Pro, which allows home owners to activate their door locks remotely (for instance to let in cleaners or maintenance staff).  It also integrates with Z-Wave’s lights and appliances module. 

ADT has a reputation for continuous technological innovation. Recently, it launched the ADT Go app (free to existing customers) which allows families to share location check-ins and alerts, and driving activity (particularly useful for those with teenage drivers in the family). This is a freemium product; the paid version also includes roadside assistance and emergency response features.

ADT has a broader range of additional products than Protect America, including video doorbells, thermostats, and night vision cameras. It has also developed greater functionality for its control software; for instance alarms can be activated and deactivated via a mobile app, and email and text alerts can be sent by the system. 

The control panel can be programmed with a series of different codes to deliver different functions, such as a chime whenever an external door is opened. Pulse even stores video footage in the cloud for 30 days, so that in the event of a break-in being discovered on return from vacation, for instance, the video can be made available for police.

While most of the more sophisticated functionality is available in ADT Pulse, some of these capabilities are also shared with the less expensive packages.

Winner: ADT

Protect America Vs. ADT: Which Company Is Better Established?

Both these companies are long standing competitors in the home security market. Protect America was founded in 1992, and has installed more than half a million systems over the years. It has over 400,000 customers and around 300 employees, and operates across North America, including 50 US states and Canada.

But ADT is even older and bigger. It started 140 years ago, with a security system that employed Morse code, and now employs 18,000 staff. We estimate it has a one-third share of the entire home security market in the USA, bigger than any of its competitors, and it has immense brand awareness.

Winner: ADT

Final thoughts

With ADT the winner of almost all categories, you might think this is an open and shut case. However, a lot will depend on exactly what you want out of your home security system.

If you want a basic security system at an attractive price, Protect America has a lot to offer. You’ll need to be happy to do your own installation, and the most attractive offer is the landline system, which does have a certain vulnerability – if a thief can easily cut your phone wires, your alarm will no longer operate. Protect America also seems to have done a good deal over the past couple of years to help customers integrate home automation and third party devices.

If you want a more complex broadband or mobile based system, on the other hand, ADT looks the better choice – though you need to budget for the installation costs. Its installation and technical support is well reputed, and with 18,000 staff across North America and multiple monitoring and call centers, it has the resources to support customers extremely well.

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