Vivint Home Security Review

Vivint’s Smart Home tech is some of the best, and their security is top-notch. But we wish their equipment had more payment options.

Overall Rating

Pros

Cons

If you like smart tech, Vivint’s the home security system for you. Voice recognition software, panning or fixed camera options, doorbell cameras with built-in 2-way communicators - those are all just the tip of the iceberg.

Vivint simply sets the standard for advanced smart technology and features, and comprehensive home protection. 

But despite very sleek, eye-pleasing equipment (like the Vivint Thermostat, Sky Control Panel, Smart Drive, and Google Home), 100% wirelessness, and home automation features, is Vivint worth the price you pay? Their customer reputation isn’t exactly stellar. 

We ranked them highly in our roundup of the best home security systems, so let’s get under the hood and dig into the details. 

Vivint Security Packages + Pricing

Package Monthly monitoring price Equipment and activation fees Contract/length View plans
Smart Protect $29.99/mo. Equipment varies by package; $99 activation fee Yes; 0-60 months View plans
Smart Protect + Control $39.99/mo. Equipment varies by package; $99 activation fee Yes; 0-60 months View plans
Smart Complete $44.99/mo. Equipment varies by package; $99 activation fee Yes; 0-60 months View plans

Vivint has professional monitoring for just about everyone - and their rates aren’t bad, either. For instance, Frontpoint’s pro monitoring is a consistent $5 more per month than Vivint’s - that’s $60 bucks a year extra.

But if professional security monitoring isn’t your cup of tea, no problem – you can still buy Vivint’s equipment and do the monitoring yourself. Just be aware you won’t have much access to Vivint’s mobile app. 

But back on topic - if you opt for pro monitoring, you’ve got options.

Don’t care for home automation? Just grab the basic Smart Protect plan. The cool thing is, you’ll get the same high-end equipment choices as with the higher-tier plans, plus access to Vivint’s mobile app.

Or – do you want cameras bristling on every entrypoint and voice control for your lights and thermostat? No problem – grab the highest-tier Smart Complete plan. You’ll get video surveillance and all the home automation gadgets your heart desires (more later).

Services included

Package Motion detectors Mobile app control 24/7 Monitoring Video monitoring Home Automation View plans
Smart Protect Yes Yes Yes No No View plans
Smart Protect + Control Yes Yes Yes No Yes View plans
Smart Complete Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes View plans

Each of the 3 packages essentially takes your home security (and automation) up a notch. 

  • Smart Security starts you off with the basics - break-in and environmental protection.
  • Smart Home ramps things up by providing home automation services included, too.
  • Smart Complete gives you not only automation and video recording, but you can also add on your choice of 2 special security features - check out the table below for the options. 
Package Features to choose
Smart Complete Doorbell camera, Doorbell lock + remote control, App garage door control, Remote thermostat control, HD indoor video recording, Outdoor video surveillance

Vivint Security Equipment Packages

Package Home Security System Video Security Smart Home Control Smart Home Complete
Price (upfront) $709.98 $1379.95 $1049.95 $1789.92
Price (monthly Flex Pay option) $11.38/mo. $23/mo. $17.50/mo. $29.83/mo.
Touch Screen Control Panel (SkyControl Starter Kit) Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1)
Smart Sensor (SkyControl Starter Kit) Yes (2) Yes (2) Yes (2) Yes (2)
Motion Sensor (SkyControl Starter Kit) Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1)
Google Home Minis (SkyControl Starter Kit) Yes (2) Yes (2) Yes (2) Yes (2)
Smoke Detector Yes (1) No No No
Doorbell camera No Yes (1) No Yes (1)
Outdoor Camera No Yes (1) No Yes (1)
Ping Camera No Yes (1) No Yes (1)
Element Thermostat No Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (1)
Smart Door Lock No No Yes (1) Yes (1)
Smart Garage Controller No No Yes (1) Yes (1)

In addition to Vivint’s monitoring packages, you’ll need equipment – so Vivint offers 4 bundling options. We won’t lie – ranging from around $700 up to nearly $1800, they aren’t cheap. 

Luckily, Vivint let’s you pay them off over a 5-year contract if that’s a bit of sticker shock - so just tack on as little as $12 bucks a month to your monitoring fees and you’re good to go! 

Each package includes the SkyControl Starter kit – a sort of baseline security pack. It includes the control panel (touchscreen), 2 smart sensors (window/doors), a motion sensor, and 2 Google Home Minis. 

Beyond that? What you get depends on the package (of course) – or you can customize with add-ons. 

Equipment add-ons

If even the highest-tier equipment package isn’t enough, or you just want one sensor or another but want to stick with your chosen package – just add it on. 

Equipment item Price (1-time)
SkyControl Panel $399.99
Outdoor 1080p Wi-Fi Security Camera $299.99
Vivint Smart Drive (cloud storage) $249.99
Nest Thermostat $249
Vivint Doorbell Camera $229.99
Ping Indoor 1080p Wi-Fi Security Camera $199.99
SmartCode 888 Deadbolt Smart Lock $159.99
Element Thermostat $149.99
Garage Door Controller (online) $99.99
Garage Door Controller + Sensor $99.99
Wireless CO Detector $69.99
Passive Infrared Motion Sensor $69.99
Flood/Temp Home Disaster Sensor $69.99
FireFighter Smoke Alarm Detector $69.99
Wireless Glass Break Sensor $69.99
Door/Window Contact Sensor $34.99
Recessed Door Contact Sensor $34.99
Wireless Door Tilt Sensor $34.99
4 Button Key Fob Remote $34.99
Panic Button $34.99

Vivint Contracts

Ah, contracts – we’ve mentioned them already. But given the price of Vivint’s proprietary equipment – more on that soon – Vivint’s contract option is actually very helpful in paying the cost off. 

You get 2 options: 

  1. Pay for all your equipment upfront, and be able to pay month-to-month for professional monitoring (no contract); or
  2. Sign a 60-month contract and pay for your equipment in monthly installments (contract).

So it comes down to weighing what you can do – can you afford to pay $1,000 for equipment up front so you have the freedom to walk away? 

Or, does a 5-year agreement sound agreeable? 

That’s a long time – but it’s not much longer than what most other security companies do. 

Vivint Features + Tech

Finally – the fun stuff. 

Vivint, unlike other home security companies (Protect America, ADT, etc.), designs and sells its own, proprietary equipment. 

That means it’s cutting-edge stuff – they’re typically one of the first companies in the industry to come out with new security features. 

All of Vivint’s equipment uses Z-wave and wireless means of communication – which means your system is completely portable, no wires necessary. More importantly, unlike some other companies, you don’t sacrifice comprehensive security just for the sake of portability – Vivint keeps security tight.

Awesome. 

Vivint Cameras

Camera Outdoor Pro Ping Indoor Doorbell Camera
Indoor/Outdoor Outdoor Indoor Outdoor
Picture quality 1080p 720p 1080p
Scope 140 degrees 155 degrees 180 degrees
4K imaging Yes No Yes
Automatic person detection Yes No Yes
Automatic “lurker” detection Yes No No
Sire Yes No No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes
Cloud storage Vivint SmartDrive Vivint SmartDrive Vivint SmartDrive

Vivint’s indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras are top notch, with fields of vision ranging from 140 to 180 degrees. 

Outdoor Pro

The Outdoor Pro is a great camera. HD video quality gives you a crystal-clear view on anything you care to observe – and the 4K imaging sensor lets you zoom way in on anything without losing that clarity. 

Plus, the “lurker detector” alerts you when the camera sees someone it doesn’t recognize.

And as an added bonus – if you grab the Smart Complete package, you can add on up to 6 video cameras for just $5 apiece. And your Smart Home Panel will streamline everything so your internet doesn’t get slowed down handling all that bandwidth. 

Ping Indoor

The Ping indoor camera is the indoor camera you didn’t know you needed – until it came out. The Ping’s best features is its outbound calling function – if your kid gets home from school when you’re not there, all they have to do is hit a button to call you through the Vivint Sky mobile app (more on that soon) and you’ll be able to talk with and see them. 

SmartHome Doorbell Camera

The SmartHome doorbell camera lets you see and greet anyone who comes to your door – no matter who. The special thing here? Vivint was one of the first to provide a doorbell camera. Their latest model is pretty good, although it only goes up to 720p video definition. 

Features + Tech: Home automation features

Vivint’s home automation technology uses the Z-wave radio frequency to “talk” with each device. What that means? 

You can grab Vivint’s smart tech and sync everything up – but you can also grab just about any other smart devices that uses Z-wave, too. 

Voice-activated Home automation

Vivint doesn’t have their own voice control module – but Amazon Echo integrates well and works great. 

Even better - Vivint now includes 2 Google Home Minis with their SkyControl Starter kits. So you’ll get voice control options no matter which package you choose. 

In either case – Amazon Echo or Google Home – Vivint’s system uses biometric voice recognition to allow you to turn lights on and off, unlock doors, change the temperature, and more. But because it’s coded to your voice (and anyone else you add), not just anyone can use it to control your home. 

Vivint Element Thermostat

Integrating into your voice control or Sky mobile app (more on that soon), Vivint’s Element Thermostat works with your control panel to create recommendations specifically-tailored to you and your home to help you save money on your electricity bill.

SkyControl Panel + Smart Home Panel

The SkyControl panel has been one of the most user-friendly, functional control panels on the market for years. In fact, it was the first to have built-in 2-way communication.

More recently, Vivint has come up with their new Smart Home Panel, which acts a center hub for your smart home. Even more incredibly, it can handle up to 6 video surveillance cameras. 

Before, that wouldn’t be possible, as each camera takes up Wi-Fi bandwidth - slowing you down more with each camera you add. However, Vivint’s Smart Home Panel has proprietary tech that prevents this, minimizing any slow-downs. 

Soon, the Smart Home Panel is the only option Vivint will offer. 

Sky Mobile App

Vivint’s Sky mobile app lets you check your live video surveillance feed (assuming you have video surveillance cameras purchased), plus arm or disarm your system from your mobile. 

It’s setup similar to your control panel; and like your control panel, you can do just about anything to control your home with it – just from anywhere. 

Bonus Features

Car Guard

Features Device price Standalone price
Car Guard
  • Bump, tow, theft alerts
  • Location tracking
  • Geo-fencing
  • Speed alerts
  • Home automation integration
  • Diagnostics
  • $200 $200 + $10/mo for alerts/app

    Vivint’ throws in another feature as an additional add-on or standalone: Car Guard. 

    It’s perfect for keeping an eye on your 16-year-old-who-just-got-her-license-and-says-she’s-going-to-study-but-is-really-going-to-”Dan’.

    It gives you a ton of features that can just help you stay apprised of where they are – and even set up boundaries if you want them sticking in town (and not going to that concert in Kenosha). You’ll get an alert when they go outside of it. 

    In-Home Security Consulting

    And here’s another huge bonus when you grab a top-tier package: a Vivint security technician comes out to your home and assesses security risks. Then, he or she offers solutions to those issues. 

    This isn’t the same as installation, either – it’s in addition. The technician will make recommendations for equipment to add on; but they’ll also advise you if you have some extras that can be eliminated. 

    So it’s not just a salesy push – you might actually save some money. 

    Vivint Installation

    Speaking of installation, Vivint only offers a professional option. If their tech is so portable, then why? 

    Well, the pro comes in and helps you get things setup. You’ll know where everything is, how it was installed, and how to use it. 

    The cool thing is that you can add or remove equipment on the same day; but the downside is that the technician is probably going to try to upsell you. 

    So just watch out for that. 

    Vivint Customer Service

    Most of Vivint’s customer complaints have to do with what we just mentioned - pushy salespeople and/or technicians. That’s the main reason Vivint’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating is horrendous. 

    On one hand, that’s annoying; on the other – few complaints surround Vivint’s service itself. 

    So we’d recommend you call to order, rather than being sold service by a door-to-door salesperson. Vivint’s customer service centers are all in-house, Vivint staff – so they actually know what they’re talking about. 

    Recapping Vivint

    Vivint gives you control over putting together a system that fits your specific needs. Each plan has that basic framework, but then you can mix-and-match equipment to your heart’s content. 

    Although in-person sales practices have been highly damaging, Vivint’s in-house customer service is redeeming itself and its actual security service puts it as the #1 on our list of home security companies. 

    Q&A

    Are there any Vivint cancellation problems I should know about?

    Vivint advertises an easy cancellation policy. Just call 1-800-216-5232. If you have extenuating circumstances – like death, bankruptcy, or transitioning to a nursing home, for example – they’ll work with you. 

    In addition, those in active military duty can qualify for cancellation or free moving of your security system. 

    That said, customers sometimes report problems with cancelling. For instance, one customer reported calling to cancel, only to find out that she had been renewed for another 5-year agreement without their knowledge. 

    That’s tough – so be aware that you need to inform Vivint 60-days from the date of the end of your contract that you’d like to cancel. Otherwise, they’ll automatically renew you. 

    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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