ADT Pulse Review

ADT Pulse gives you remote mobile access and home automation capability. We’re hard-pressed to find anything wrong with them.

Overall Rating

Pros

Cons

ADT is one of the oldest home security companies in the industry. They were founded in 1874 and have a robust reputation for treating their customers well. Although ADT is still working on fleshing out its smart home services, the Pulse monitoring plans are comprehensive and intelligent on the security side of things -  and no slouch on the home automation side, either. 

But how much does ADT Pulse cost? What sets it apart from competitors and even ADT’s cheaper monitoring plans? 

Well, we’ll answer one of those questions right away – ADT Pulse is the 3rd of 3 packages, and the first to offer the ADT Mobile App. 

And it’s the app that truly sets ADT Pulse apart, opening the door to all sorts of possibilities, as you’ll soon find out. 

ADT Pulse: Packages + Pricing

Package Price Mobile app access Camera Home automation View package
ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video $58.99/mo. Yes Yes No View package
ADT Pulse Monitoring + Smart Home Connect $59.99/mo. Yes Yes Yes View package

ADT’s monitoring is great. They have several monitoring centers scattered around the United States, so even if one or two get knocked out by bad storms, you won’t have to worry about your home not being monitoring for a while. 

ADT Pulse comes in two flavors: + Video, or + Smart Home. Video includes Smart Home support, so no worries there – and for just $1 more per month that’s a great feature to have access to. 

Unfortunately for ADT Pulse, it’s a little more expensive than competitors Vivint and Frontpoint - but here’s something to think about: equipment fees are all included

Say again? 

Like another competitor, Protect America, ADT Pulse builds your equipment fees into the monthly rate. All you have to worry about is an installation fee that runs between $99-$199, depending on your area, the installer, and a few other factors. 

Seeing as the basic equipment has a value of around $850, that’s awesome. 

So, installation + monitoring = all the money you pay ADT. 

Contract

That said, you do have to pay attention to the fine print. ADT requires a 3-year contract. But there’s a cool caveat to that: if you have any installation or service-related problems within the first 6 months, you can null and void the contract and get a refund for the installation and monitoring fees you paid so far. 

Nice. 

But, beyond those 6 months, cancelling early means painful early termination fees: you’ll have to pay 75% of what’s left on your contract. So that could mean as little as $44.24 (1 month left), or as much as $1,349.77 (30 months left). 

But that’s still better than some competitors, like Protect America – you have to pay 100% of what’s left when you cancel with them. 

ADT Pulse: Equipment + Features

Basic Equipment
  • Basic control panel
  • Keychain remote
  • Infrared motion sensor
  • Entry sensor (3)
  • Siren
  • Backup battery
  • Yard signs
  • ADT uses 3rd-party security equipment for its systems. That’s not to say that the equipment you’ll get is poor quality – you’re looking at high-end names like Honeywell and GE, for example. It just means ADT doesn’t design innovative tech, like Vivint does. 

    So your security equipment with ADT pulse is going to be pretty standard; as such, we’re not going to spend much time on it, especially since ADT Pulse is more about home automation and remote mobile app control, then it is about basic security equipment (as you’ll soon see). 

    But you can find the basic equipment included in the table above. If you grab the + Video package, you’ll also tack on video cameras - although unlike the basics, you will have to pay a fee to add those on.

    We’ll tackle cameras and miscellaneous features later on. 

    Right now, let’s dive into the real value that ADT Pulse provides: Smart Home and Mobile app control. 

    Equipment + Features: Smart Home

    ADT Pulse gives you a jumping-off point for all sorts of home automation fun. It doesn’t matter what you want, you can integrate it in using ADT Pulse: Smart lights, smart appliances and outlets, smart garage doors, locks, thermostats, cameras, sensors – everything Z-wave is available. 

    And you can control it all from the mobile app – as we’ll discuss in further depth in the next section. 

    Even without using the mobile app, you can use your control panel to set up timers and other rules and guidelines for your smart home gadgets to abide by – like scheduling the lights to turn on at 6pm, or the thermostat temperature to increase half an hour before you roll out of bed in the morning. 

    Another bonus to being able to automate your lights and thermostat - you may save money. Plus, it’s super convenient to be able to unlock your door remotely before you walk up with your arms full of groceries.

    Lastly, ADT Pulse + Smart Home works with all Alexa devices. That means you can arm or disarm your system, lock and unlock doors, and adjust the lights with just your voice – and control any other compatible smart devices, too. 

    Equipment + Features: Mobile App

    We’ve talked about ADT’s Mobile App a few times, so let’s expand on it a little. With ADT Pulse + Video, you can do a lot of things. And when you bump up to ADT Pulse + Smart Home, you get even more functions within the Mobile App, so long as you grab the corresponding smart home devices. 

    Arm + Disarm

    First off is a basic one – you can remotely arm and disarm your security system from your phone, no matter where you are. You also get mobile alerts whenever your sensors detect something, so you can stay on top of the situation back at home. 

    Video surveillance

    With a few taps, you can watch live feed from your security cameras – indoor, outdoor, and even the doorbell camera – from anywhere. Plus, all your video is stored in the cloud, so you can look back into event history in case you missed something – or think you did. 

    Lock + Unlock doors

    Forget to lock the door on your way out? No problem if you add on smart locks and use ADT’s mobile app. You can lock or unlock doors remotely and even setup your app to notify you whenever anyone enters your home. 

    In addition, you can create different keycodes for your family members, and the smart locks themselves light up at night so you can type in your door code when it’s dark. 

    Open + Close the garage door

    You can open, close, or just check on your garage door with the app, too. 

    Control the Smart Thermostat

    The ADT Mobile App allows you to control your Smart Thermostat without putting one foot on those icy-cold tiles in the morning. You can adjust the temperature from bed, the office, or just about anywhere. 

    Control the lights

    You can also use the mobile app to turn lights on, off, or dim them. That’s super helpful if you want it to look like someone’s home when you’re really off on vacation; or you just forgot to turn off the lights before bed – or an outside light on before you went out for the night. 

    Equipment + Features: Cameras

    Adding video surveillance cameras to your security can help provide a lot more peace of mind: you can physically observe your home when you’re away (via the Mobile App), so you’ll know if that person ringing your doorbell is a delivery guy or a crook checking to see if you’re home. 

    And ADT’s cameras are solid - nothing too special, but still with plenty of features, like: 

    • Remote control
    • Live viewing
    • Video recording & Storage
    • Mobile alerts
    • Motion detection
    • 24/7 monitoring

    ADT offers 3 types of cameras: Indoor, Outdoor, and Doorbell. 

    Indoor Security camera

    ADT’s indoor camera gives you 720p HD video and hooks up to the internet – either wirelessly or via ethernet cable. It’s small and unobtrusive, so it won’t be super obvious to visitors or would-be burglars. 

    Plus, motion activates it, sending video clips to your mobile whenever the camera detects motion. That includes in dark and low-light environments.

    Outdoor Security camera

    ADT Pulse’s outdoor security camera offers the same 720p HD video, plus motion detection, as well as weatherproof design – so no worries about your video surveillance being knocked out or interrupted during storms. 

    It even has a built-in heater to keep the camera warm – all the way down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Video doorbell

    The doorbell camera gives you a wide-angle view of anyone who walks up to it. You can decide whether to answer it, and you can even carry on a conversation with whoever’s there using the two-way audio feature.

    Equipment + Features: Others

    ADT Pulse also has some other great features that aren’t as specific to the Pulse plan – but they’re cool and great to have, so worth mentioning. 

    Landline or Cellular option

    ADT allows you to choose between the two different types of monitoring: landline and cellular. In some areas (i.e. rural regions), cell signals aren’t always reliable, so it’s great to have the option to choose a landline setup. 

    Conversely, landline wires can potentially be cut by smart intruders – so even if you choose that one, you can also have cellular monitoring as a backup. Or, you can just stick with cellular monitoring overall and be good to go. 

    Pet-friendly motion sensors

    All of ADT’s motion sensors are “pet friendly.” That just means that you can setup the sensor to ignore anything moving that weighs under 50 pounds. 

    So you’re shih tzu won’t set off the alarm every time you let them out at night. 

    Fire/Flood/Leak sensors

    ADT’s monitoring devices can also sense water leaks or flooding, high amounts of heat, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide – so you can relax about non-burglary-related problems, too. 

    ADT Pulse: Ease of Use

    ADT Pulse’s mobile app is super-easy to use. It acts like a miniature control panel, so arming and disarming your system, changing the temp on the thermostat, and locking the door couldn’t be easier – stay on your couch while you do it all. 

    You can grab it for iOS or Android, so most phones and devices will be able to handle it with no problem. 

    ADT Pulse: Installation

    Setting up is easy, too – ADT professionally installs; no Do-It-Yourself options here. But, that means you can trust that everything will be setup correctly. Your cameras and sensors should all be in the best places to catch intruders, and the technician will go over everything in your system with you. 

    But unfortunately, that does come with a $99 installation fee and takes up a few hours of your day. Still, though - that could be much worse. 

    ADT Pulse: Customer Service

    ADT has been around for over 100 years, so they know how to treat their customers right. Their customer support staff are very knowledgeable on everything ADT-product and -service related, so rest assured that you’ll talk to someone who can answer your questions when you call. 

    You can contact them by traditional phone, as well as chat and email. They have support options available 24/7, and even same- or next-day technician service.

    When you first connect with ADT, they’ll send a home security pro out to your home to evaluate your needs and make recommendations on how to build and customize your home security package. 

    Then, everything gets put together and installed once you sign on the dotted line. 

    It should also be noted – the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives ADT an A+ rating, making them one of the few we’ve seen to reach that score. 

    ADT Pulse: Recap

    ADT has a long, powerful reputation in the industry. Their Pulse packages add mobile app control and home automation capabilities to your home security system. Plus, with all your equipment fees included in the monthly price, that makes ADT Pulse’s price worth it in our book. 

    Now you’ll be able to control your entire home security system from your mobile phone, no matter where you are – whether that be your bed, couch, or the other side of the world.

    Q&A

    What is ADT Pulse?

    ADT Pulse is the name of ADT’s top two professional monitoring packages. They provide mobile app access to everything in your home security system, plus home automation options. 

    How much does it cost to install ADT Pulse?

    ADT offers only professional installation for Pulse. Installation starts at $99, but may reach $199, depending on your location. That fee is 1-time. 

    Can I add my own camera to ADT Pulse?

    No. ADT does not allow 3rd-party security cameras to work with their system. This is because ADT’s video cameras are encrypted to prevent hackers from being able to break into your video feed. 

    However, you can connect other 3rd-party devices to your system, as long as their Z-wave – see below for more on this. 

    What cameras are compatible with ADT Pulse?

    Only ADT’s video cameras.

    How do I connect ADT Pulse to Wi-Fi?

    The professional technician will set things up initially when they install your ADT Pulse system. But, if you see the “Status Unavailable” message, there are a few steps you should take:

    1. Locate your gateway hub (typically by your Wi-Fi router)
      1. Check that the LED lights are on
    2. If so, make sure it’s plugged in
      1. If not, check to make sure a breaker hasn’t been tripped for that outlet
    3. If everything is kosher there, next make sure your gateway is still connected to your Wi-Fi router
    4. If you’re still disconnected, disconnect power to both the gateway and router for a few minutes. 
      1. Then plug your Wi-Fi back in. 
      2. Once internet is restored, plug the gateway hub back into the router. 
      3. Wait about 5 minutes or so 
      4. Check your Pulse app to see if you have connection again. 

    How do I connect devices to ADT Pulse Portal?

    To add additional devices to your ADT Pulse system, all you have to do is follow a few simple steps:

    1. Go to your ADT Pulse web portal or use the Pulse app
    2. Open the “systems” tab
    3. Select “manage devices”
    4. Instructions on the screen will guide you through setup for the device - specific steps will vary, depending on the type of device it is. 
    5. If the device is Z-wave, you’ll then need to hit “sync” on the device itself to sync it into the system.

    Watch this video to see how it’s done. 

    Luke Pensworth Written by: Luke Pensworth

    Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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