Updated June 10, 2019

Vivint Review: Is Smart Home Security Worth It?

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Vivint offers high-tech features that set it apart. But is this home security system worth the cost? Read this review to see if it's good.

Vivint
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Overall Score

4.2

Discount

3.0

Home Security

5.0

Customer Service

4.0

Equipment

5.0

Mobile App

5.0

Packages

4.0

Cancellation

3.0

Installation

4.0

Yard Sign

4.0

Home Automation

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • High-tech system
  • Professional installation
  • Comprehensive features
  • Pricey equipment

Bottom Line

Best high-tech home security and automation

WHO VIVINT IS GOOD FOR

  • If you want home automation along with monitoring. Vivint really shines in home automation. There are a ton of devices you can pick to build a complete customized smart home that you can control with your phone or even voice.

  • If you don't mind higher prices. Vivint's prices are on the higher side. If you want a complete smart home, it could be quite a splurge - costing over a thousand in equipment, plus the monitoring fee.

  • If you want to own your equipment. Vivint gives you options to either finance your equipment or buy it all upfront. Either way, you will have to buy the equipment (whereas some other companies include equipment rental in the monitoring package).

Vivint At A Glance:

  • Starts at $29.99/month (based on negotiation with sales rep)
  • 42 or 60 month service agreement
  • Free activation
  • $199 installation fee (can be financed)
  • SkyControl Panel and base sensors included
  • 24-hour professional monitoring
  • Smart home automation options
  • Option to finance equipment or purchase upfront

REASONS TO GET VIVINT

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  1. Touchscreen control panel. All customers get a 7" HD touchscreen panel to control your system. It has instant two-way talk so you can talk with family, visitors, or monitoring agents through their panel. This is more advanced than the keypads you'd get with many other security providers.

  2. Advanced home automation. Vivint is top-notch when it comes to home automation features. For additional costs, you can add on doorbell cameras, smart thermostats, and other smart devices. See our run down of equipment options.

    Even though Vivint is priced higher than other home security systems, its advanced equipment and rich array of features may justify the cost for you.

  3. Wireless system. The whole system is wireless, which means no holes drilled in your walls. And when you move, the equipment can move with you.

    Vivint is a U.S. nationwide service, meaning you don't need a particular cellular or landline provider to use the service. It's also available in Canada. However, you may have to pay a relocation fee.

  4. 24-hour professional monitoring: Vivint provides around-the-clock monitoring and will alert the police if your system detects a break-in or environmental hazard.

  5. Highly rated mobile app. The highly rated Vivint Smart Home app is available to all customers. It allows you to control your entire system through your phone. You can receive security alerts, set the thermostat, see video footage, lock/unlock doors, etc.

  6. Professional installation: After signing the contract, a professional installer will visit your home to perform the full setup for you. They will integrate the devices with your smart home system. There's no DIY installation option with Vivint.

  7. Playback DVR. For customers who use video recording, you get the option to subscribe to Vivint Smart Drive (for an extra cost). This gives you 1TB of video storage. You can save a month's worth of footage from up to 4 cameras.

Vivint isn't as large as ADT in terms of home security companies, but it's still a large company. It has the financial backing of private equity firm Blackstone Group, which purchased Vivint in 2012, so you don't have to worry about Vivint suddenly folding and leaving you without service.

DOWNSIDES

  • Long service agreement. Your contract length depends on the financing option you choose, and it can go up to 5 years. Other 24-hour monitoring companies offer shorter contracts, and some DIY systems don't even require a contract.

    Tip: If you purchase all equipment upfront, then you can go month-to-month with no contract.

  • Pricey equipment. Vivint pretty much forces you to buy your equipment and it's not cheap. The basic Starter Kit costs $599.99. And all other cool equipment like smoke sensors and doorbell cameras cost extra. There may also be installation costs for some of the equipment.

  • Poor cancellation policy. Vivint's contract cancellation policy is not very flexible, as you may only have a few days to cancel the contract. It depends on where you live. Some other providers give you as long as a six-month money-back guarantee.

VIVINT PLANS & PRICING

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Your total cost includes two parts: 1) the monthly monitoring service fee, and 2) the equipment fee.

Vivint offers 2 package options:

  1. Smart Security: starts at $29.99/month
    This package provides basic home security devices. It provides 24/7 monitoring to keep your home safe from break-ins and environmental hazards. The Starter Kit costs $599.99 and you get:

    • SkyControl touchscreen panel
    • 2 smart sensors and 1 motion sensor
    • Vivint Smart Home app
    • 24/7 professional monitoring
    • Options to add smoke/fire alarms, carbon monoxide detector, flood sensor, and glass break sensors (extra cost).

  2. Smart Home: starts at $34.99/month
    This package allows you to automate your home and add video monitoring ($5/month per camera). You get everything above, including options to integrate smart home devices, such as:

    • Doorbell camera
    • Remote thermostat
    • Garage door control
    • Smart locks on doors
    • Indoor and outdoor cameras

Since every house is unique, it's recommended that you speak with a representative for detailed equipment and package custom pricing.

Vivint Premium Service:
Vivint offers a Premium Service for an additional $10/month. This gives you a lifetime warranty on equipment and free service visits and related expenses.

Without Premium Service, your equipment only has a warranty of 120 days after installation. After 120 days, you will have to pay for service repairs.

CONTRACT OPTIONS

Previously, Vivint customers paid for monthly monitoring but did not own the equipment. Now, you pretty much have to buy Vivint's equipment to use their monitoring service.

There are two options:

  1. Flex Pay. This program lets you finance the equipment over 42 months or 60 months. This option will lock you into either a 42- or 60-month service agreement.

    Based on your credit, you can be approved for a loan of up to $4,000. You can customize your equipment package within your loan amount. There is no money down.

    The equipment payment plan and service plan will be two separate payments. Some qualified customers may even be eligible for 0% financing.

  2. No contract. If you purchase all your equipment upfront, then you can get just the monitoring service on a month-to-month basis.

EQUIPMENT OPTIONS

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Vivint is known for offering more advanced equipment. Some of the add-ons include:

  • Doorbell camera. This discrete camera is also a functioning doorbell and lets you see who's on your doorstep. Two-way talk allows you to talk with them - even when you're away.

  • Element Thermostat. A wireless thermostat you can control from your Vivint Smart Home app. The Smart Assistant can auto-adjust to your preferences and automatically conserves energy when you're not home.

  • Kwikset Smart Locks. Lock and unlock your doors even when you're not home. You'll be notified when doors are left unlocked. When set up with the doorbell camera, you can see who's at your door and let in people you know.

  • Ping camera. An indoor camera with two-way talk. You can talk to your family when you're away from home. This is great for keeping an eye on kids, pets, and babysitters.

  • Garage door control. Open and close your garage door straight from your app. When set up with the doorbell camera, you can open the garage and tell the postman to put your package inside.

  • Voice commands. You can integrate Vivint with Google Home or Amazon Echo. This will allow you to ask questions and control your home with voice commands.

  • Outdoor camera. The outdoor camera is built for all weather conditions and has infrared LED night vision. When it detects any motion, it'll automatically start recording. You can also view a live feed on your Vivint Smart Home app.

THE VIVINT APP

Vivint's mobile app is highly rated with 4.5 stars.

It allows you to control the entire system remotely. For customers on the home automation plan, you'll also be able to control aspects of your home that are on the smart network, such as keyless locks and a smart thermostat.

Some things you can do on the app include:

  • Arm your home security system from anywhere
  • Set up and adjust temperature controls
  • Remotely lock and unlock doors with Smart Locks
  • See and talk to visitors with the Doorbell Camera
  • Operate garage doors with the garage door control
  • Keep an eye on your family with Ping Camera
  • Watch the live feed from your cameras
  • Watch recorded footage with Vivint Playback
  • Set up custom rules and actions
  • Receive notifications whenever something is detected
  • Set up multiple user accounts for each family member and create permissions for each user.

HOW VIVINT COMPARES

ADT: ADT has been around longer than Vivint, and its services (minus the cutting-edge tech offerings) are comparable, with 24/7 monitoring and calls to the local police station if there are signs of a problem. The biggest difference is that basic equipment is included in ADT's monitored packages. All you pay is the installation cost and monitoring service.

Vivint may win you over for its high-tech features. Because of the contract terms and the fact that both need to be professionally installed, neither ADT nor Vivint makes perfect sense for renters (DIY services are a better bet and tend to have more flexible terms). But generally, it's easier to move your system from one home to the next with Vivint.

 Vivint
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Vivint

ADT

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Benefits and Features

Home SecurityPlans start from $29.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring, remote access, and touchscreen control panel. Smart Home Service starts at $39.99/month and Smart Home Video Service starts at $49.99/month.Plans start from $28.99/month to $58.99/month. All plans include 24/7 monitoring for burglary.
$58.99 ADT Pulse Video Plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
Customer Service
24/7
24/7 customer support and monitoring.
Warranty
Lifetime Warranty
After 90 days, there is a charge for servicing broken equipment. Or you can choose to pay a monthly fee for equipment warranty
EquipmentSome basic equipment included, with minimum of $99 equipment activation fee
Basic equipment included
Mobile AppVivint SkyControl Mobile App allows you to arm/disarm your system remotely, lock/unlock doors, adjust thermostat settings, view live and recorded video, and manage lights.ADT Pulse app allows you to activate alarm, check sensors, watch live video feeds, control lights and appliances, adjust thermostats and view history of home activities. Available on App Store and Google Play.
Contract
3.5 to 5 years
3 year contract
Installation
Professional Installation
Professional installation available.
Yard Sign
ADT-branded yard sign
Home Automation
ADT Pulse allows you to arm/disarm your house, control your lights and thermostats remotely.
Control Panel
ADT Pulse touchscreen control panel allows you to know alarm status, arm/disarm your alarm, control lights, check weather, and view live video from security cameras. Also allows you to quickly send an immediate alarm (medical, fire, or police).
Door Lock
ADT Pulse door locks allow you to remotely lock/unlock your door from any internet-connected device.
Door Sensor
Wired and wireless door sensors. Wireless door sensors can be installed yourself with no drilling or hardwiring necessary.
Glass Break Sensor
Detects if a pane of glass is shattered
Lowest Monthly Price
38.99
$28.99
Motion Sensor
Outdoor Camera
Security Camera
Thermostat
Touch Screen
Water Flood Monitoring
Window Sensor
Z-Wave
 Visit SiteLearn More

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Vivint: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

ADT: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on January 8, 2016 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Xfinity: Vivint is more expensive than the basic Xfinity home security service from Comcast, although when you start adding features to the basic tier of the Xfinity service, its price will go up quickly. But Xfinity does include basic equipment with the monitoring package.

Xfinity's contract length is only 2 years, so it's better for those who don't want to be locked in or have to purchase equipment.

BOTTOM LINE: IS VIVINT WORTH IT?

© Dieter R (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Vivint is not for budget shoppers looking for a simple home security system for the lowest price (if that's you, check out Protect America or SimpliSafe instead). Vivint is aimed at those willing to splurge on more advanced features and technology.

The biggest selling point is the advanced home automation features. If you're willing to pay, you can have a complete smart home with cool gadgets like doorbell camera and smart locks.

All in all, Vivint is a great choice for those who want home automation along with professional monitoring. It will provide all-around peace of mind.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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