The technology behind security systems has continued to advance, and nowadays we have access to a huge lineup of brands that can keep our homes protected. Sorting through the various options available can be frustrating, as each system has their own take on home security with varying benefits and drawbacks. In the case of Frontpoint vs. Vivint, we’re big fans of Frontpoint’s easy installation, smart home integration, and automated system check feature.
Vivint certainly has its perks, but we definitely feel it falls a little flat when compared to the excellent that Frontpoint has to offer. The majority of smart security systems these days have the option for self-installation and are pretty easy to figure out on your own, while Vivint sees to cling to the trend of leaving home security to the professionals. Frontpoint offers comprehensive, no-nonsense security that is easy to navigate and understand.
We’re big fans of Frontpoint, but let’s break down the similarities and differences between the two security systems to help give you a sense of where they excel and where they fall short. If there’s specific information you’re looking for, you can also feel free to use the navigation bar to jump directly to the section that interests you most.
Frontpoint vs. Vivint — Differences
Difference #1: Automated System Check – One of the more unique advantages that Frontpoint offers is an automated system check. Every 60 minutes, your security system well run self-diagnostics to ensure that the sensors are online and active. This should minimize the time that your home is vulnerable, as you’ll be made aware of any issues within the hour.
Vivint offers no such feature.
Difference #2: Hub Sensors – With the mid-tier subscription plan for Frontpoint, you’ll have access to the Crash & Smash feature, which is instrumental in protecting your security system against intruders.
Frontpoint, like most other security systems, handles monitoring of your home through its panel. Having everything concentrated in one area makes the system vulnerable by default, as intruders can simply smash the panel and potentially bring your home security down completely. Crash & Smash addresses this feature through a system of “soft alerts.”
With the appropriate subscription, your Frontpoint base will send an alert to the monitoring service instantly as soon as a sensor is triggered. If the service can determine that it’s a false alarm, the alert will be canceled. If they can’t make sure you’re safe, however, that soft alert will be moved to an active alert and the authorities will be dispatched immediately. The instant alerts keep you protected even if intruders smash your panel since the monitoring service is made aware the instant they come into your home.
Unfortunately, Vivint doesn’t have any analogous feature. This leaves your security system vulnerable to tampering.
Difference #3: Remote Panic Button – Yet Another advantage that Frontpoint has to offer is the remote panic button. As a wearable pendant, this button provides easy access to emergency services. Plus, with separate buttons for intrusion and medical alerts, it’s the perfect option to keep elderly or disabled family members protected.
Vivint has a panic button as well, but only on the main hub and key fob. The key fob serves roughly the same purpose as Frontpoint’s panic pendant, but it is not wearable and can’t separate intrusion and medical alerts.
Difference #4: Subscription – Both Frontpoint and Vivint offer subscriptions that greatly enhance the abilities of the security system. 24/7 is the main benefit of purchasing a plan, but there a number of perks available for both brands available at multiple price points.
Frontpoint has three different packages to choose from: Protection, Interactive, and Ultimate.
The Protection plan is $34.99 per month and essentially just provides access to 24/7 monitoring for burglaries, medical emergencies, and fires.
The mid-tier Interactive plan adds in a whole host of features and is the subscription option we recommend if you decide to opt for a Frontpoint system. In addition to the monitoring, you’ll also enjoy cellular alerts and mobile control of your system, crash & smash protection, email and text alerts, and Geo-location services that will automatically arm your system and send notifications to your phone when the system detects that you’ve left home. These features are all available for $44.99 per month.
Ultimate is $5 more expensive at $49.99 and adds in access to video monitoring and home automation features.
Frontpoint does not offer month-to-month contracts, and you’ll have to agree to either a 1-year or 3-year commitment. Opting for a longer contract lowers the initial cost of your equipment, but comes with the downside of being locked into an agreement for an extra two years. Whether that tradeoff is worth it will depend on whether you value immediate savings or flexibility more.
As far as Vivint goes, you’ll have access to two different plans. There’s the Smart Home Security Plan, as well as the Smart Home Video Monitoring Plan.
Most people will be just fine with the former, as it enables 4/7 monitoring, cellular, professional installation, remote app control, and smart home integration. The Smart Home Video Monitoring, as the name suggests, adds in support for cameras in addition to all the base plan features.
Vivint offers options for both long-term and month-to-month contracts. However, if you want to avoid a long term commitment, you’ll have to pay for the Vivint equipment up front which is $549.99 at a minimum. If you’d prefer to pay for the equipment over time, you’ll have to agree to a 42 or 60-month contract which works out to $9.17 monthly at a minimum. Avoiding such a large charge up front is a great option, but it does lock you into a contract for at least 3.5 years which is definitely a little frustrating.
Difference #5: App – Both Frontpoint and Vivint support Android and iOS with their apps, which is pretty standard as far as smart security systems go. However, Frontpoint also supports Apple Watch, Kindle Fire, and Apple TV, which is much more unusual.
It’s unlikely that most people will get as much use out of Kindle or Apple TV apps when compared to traditional smartphones, but more flexibility is never a bad thing in our book.
Difference #6: Smart Home Compatibility & Technology – Both Frontpoint and Vivint offer some smart home compatibility when you opt for a subscription, but we’re honestly not super impressed with their integration overall. Both systems have a relatively limited lineup of supported devices that fall short of the potential offered by their technology.
Frontpoint works with August Smart Lock Pro and Schlage Smart Lock, as well as the Alarm.com Smarter Thermostat. The rest of the compatibility is confined to their own brand, namely Z-Wave Light Bulbs, Smart splits, and Thermostats as well as the RCS Thermostat, 2GIH Radio Thermostat, and Trane.
Vivint supports the Kwikset Smart Lock, Vivint Video Doorbell, Vivint Ping Indoor Cameras, Vivint Outdoor Camera, Garage Door Control, Vivint Element Thermostat, Nest Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E, and Philips Hue line.
Both brands offer very similar things bot from different brands. If we had to choose one lineup that we like better than the other, we’d be included to choose Frontpoint since we feel like Schlage and August create better quality locks than Kwikset. Check out our comparison of Kwikset Kevo vs. Schlage Connect and Kwikset Kevo vs. August Smart Lock Pro for more information.
Difference #7: Installation – Last but not least is the ease of installation. Simply put, Frontpoint is an easy DIY security solution while Vivint requires professional installation.
With Frontpoint, getting your security system set up is as simple as plugging your equipment in and following the instructions on the activation wizard in the app. Alternatively, you can also reach out to customer support for step by step guidance along the way.
Frontpoint is also relatively unique as they offer a 2 day period where you can feel free to test out your system without triggering any emergency services notifications. This allows you to get acquainted with the features without sending false alarms to the monitoring service and is a grace period we recommend taking full advantage of.
Vivint requires an expert to come out and set up your security system. This is a great option for those who don’t want to deal with installation at all, but with how easy it is to set up the Frontpoint system, we feel like it’s more of a hassle to deal with scheduling installation than it is to just take equipment out of the box and follow some instructions.
|Smart Home Monitoring||Smart Home Monitoring||Smart Home Video Monitoring||Smart Home Video Monitoring|
|Monthly Fee for Service||$39.99||$39.99||$49.99||$49.99|
|Equipment Minimum||$9.17/month+||$549.99+ Upfront||$9.17/month+||$549.99+ Upfront|
|Contract Length||42 or 60 Months||Month-to-Month||42 or 60 Months||Month-to-Month|
|Mobile App Access||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Severe Weather Alerts||Tornado Only||Tornado Only||Tornado Only||Tornado Only|
|Smart Lights and Other Smart Home Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Security Camera Features||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Return Period||3 Days||3 Days||3 Days||3 Days|
Frontpoint vs. Vivint — Comparison Chart
|Hub to Router Connection||Wireless||Wireless|
|Hub Battery Backup||24-Hour||Yes|
|Two-Way Audio on a Hub||No||Yes|
|Extra Siren Support||Yes||Yes|
|Hub Sensors||Crash & Smash||N/A|
|Keypad||Yes, digital or |
buttons (depends on
the control panel)
|Multiple Keypads Support||No||No|
|Disarm Options||App, keychain remote, keypad||App, keychain remote, keypad|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Basic Subscription||$34.99/month Protection||$39.99|
|Advanced Subscription||$44.99/month Interactive|
|Remote Monitoring & Notifications||Subscription required||Subscription required|
|Cellular Backup||Yes||Included with paid plans|
|Sensors||Door & Window Sensor, |
Glass Break, Motion,
Garage Door, Recessed Door,
Flood, Carbon Monoxide,
Smoke and Heat
|Motion, Entry, |
Carbon Monoxide Detector,
Recessed Door Sensor,
Glass Break Detector,
Smoke Detector, Tilt Sensor,
|Remote Panic Button||Yes||On main Panel and key fob|
|Video Monitoring||Yes, Video Doorbell, |
Wireless Indoor & Outdoor Camera
|Yes, Video Doorbell & Cameras|
|Monthly Contracts Available||No||Yes|
|Other Smart Home Compatibility||Z-Wave Smart Plug, |
Z-Wave Light Bulbs,
Schlage Smart Lock,
August Smart Lock Pro,
Z-wave Thermostat (TBZ48D),
RCS Thermostat (TZ45),
2GIG Radio Thermostat (CT100),
Alarm.com Smarter Thermostat
|Kwikset Smart Lock, |
Vivint Video Doorbell,
Vivint Ping Indoor Cameras,
Vivint Outdoor Camera,
Garage Door Control,
Vivint Element Thermostat,
Nest Thermostat E,
|Technology||WiFi, Z-Wave||WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz|
|Professional Installation Required||No||Yes|
|Automated System Check||Yes||No|
Frontpoint vs. Vivint — Things in Common
24/7 Professional Monitoring – Professional monitoring can be huge for peace of mind while you’re away from home. While you can pretty easily keep an eye on things while you’re on your home turf, it’s much harder to monitor your property while out and about. Frontpoint and Vivint both offer 24/7 professional monitoring. This feature requires a subscription, but the security it offers is more than worth the additional costs. With the ability for the monitoring team to instantly dispatch emergency services, you’ll never be far from help when you need it.
Internet Connection – Both Frontpoint and Vivint are completely wireless systems, which makes it much easier to install the hub wherever you please. While some alarm systems need an ethernet cable to access the internet, you’ll enjoy WiFi support with either of these two brands. In addition to making system control a lot more convenient, it also helps out with security as you’ll be able to place your panel in a central location rather than being tied to your internet equipment.
Remote Monitoring & Notifications – 24/7 monitoring is a great perk to have, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to check in on your system yourself while away from home? Remote monitoring and mobile notifications are important parts of any security system, and both are a part of Frontpoint and Vivint.
Just like the professional monitoring, however, these features are only enabled if you opt for a subscription plan. This isn’t the end of the world, but there are other security options that provide the ability to control your system remotely for free with flexible professional monitoring plans, such as abode — one of our top picks overall for home security systems.
Cellular Backup – Frontpoint and Vivint both communicate using WiFi connections, but it’s unrealistic to expect your internet to be up 24/7. Even the most reliable residential plans have hiccups from time to time, and having an alternative method of data transmission is essential if you want to keep your security system running flawlessly.
Both brands include the option for cellular service, which allows continued communication should your network go down. It’s not intended to be used as the primary connection, but it’s a great backup to have available in case your wireless network is giving you trouble.
Battery Backup – Losing power doesn’t have to mean leaving your home vulnerable. In the event of an outage, both Frontpoint and Vivint can take advantage of their backup batteries in order to continue functioning as normal.
Siren – Having a good siren is critical if you want your security system to function properly. In addition to alerting you and your family of any danger, a loud alarm can scare off many intruders — saving you from the damage of a home invasion.
In addition to a loud internal sensor, Frontpoint and Vivint also offer add-on sirens that you can place around your home — ensuring that tripping a sensor sends an audible alert across your entire home. The extra volume from additional sensors can also make it easier for neighbors to recognize that there’s a problem, which can be a major help in the event that you’re away from home or need additional assistance.
Keypad – One disadvantage that both systems share is the fact that they only support a single keypad. This isn’t the end of the world, but it does make it a little less convenient to control your system. It can also cause a security issue in a time-sensitive emergency, especially if you have a large home, as it might not be very easy to quickly get to help. This is helped a bit by the addition of key fobs (which we discuss in more detail below), but remains a detractor from otherwise pretty excellent systems.
As far as the actual panel goes, Frontpoint has a slight advantage due to the option for touchscreen and standard controls. Vivint only offers a single style of a digital panel.
Key Fobs – Key fobs provide one-button control to arm and disarm your security system, and is much more convenient when you’re coming and going. With a fob on your key ring, activating protection while on your way out or disarming once you get home is as simple as pressing a button.
Both fobs are pretty similar in their basic functionality, although Vivint’s fob can also control your garage door which is pretty cool.
Sensors – The sensors are perhaps the most important part of your security system, as they will be doing the heavy lifting by handling the actual detection of threats.
You’ll have comprehensive coverage regardless of your choice in brand, with sensor options that cover motion, entry, glass break, recessed doors, flood, carbon monoxide, smoke, and heat. The only real differences between the two brands are the Garage door sensor available with Frontpoint and the Tilt Sensor with Vivint.
Ultimately, the differences between the two systems in terms of sensors is pretty minor, and we don’t feel like they should swing your decision one way or the other since they both cover pretty much all of the bases.
Video Monitoring – The video monitoring of Frontpoint and Vivint is actually pretty similar, and support for cameras is locked behind a subscription with either brand.
Both brands offer a video doorbell as well as two models of a wireless camera: one suited for indoor use, and one great for monitoring the exterior of your home.
The Frontpoint Indoor and Outdoor cameras are pretty much identical, with a 1080p resolution, night-vision, two-way monitoring, and motion-activated recording. The main difference is that the outdoor camera is weather-proof, can function in a wide range of temperatures, and has the ability to record footage up to 40 feet in the distance.
The Video Doorbell with Frontpoint is pretty similar to most other smart doorbells. It features the same technical specifications as the wireless cameras discussed above, albeit with a wide-angle lens for better coverage of your entryway. What makes Frontpoint’s doorbell unique, however, is the addition of a dual-trigger system. The camera will start recording with motion detection, but will also activate when the doorbell rings. With a video record of anyone who rings your bell, you can answer the door with confidence that any intruders or trespassers will be readily visible.
Frontpoint video services require the most expensive monthly plan and include storage for up to 1000 motion-triggered video clips per month.
The Vivint indoor and outdoor cameras are also 1080p, and the video doorbell functions pretty similar to Frontpoint except without the dual-trigger system.
The main difference with Vivint is that you’ll have access to 30 days of unlimited video storage. Currently, Vivint also comes with Vivint Smart Drive — a 1TB storage solution for your video recordings. That feature is being phased out in November 2018, however, so you’ll essentially have to rely on unlimited storage that will store each clip for up to a month.
Ultimately, we feel that the differences between the two video monitoring systems are pretty negligible. Frontpoint has slightly better equipment, while Vivint approaches storage in a more convenient way.
Voice Control – Lastly, both Frontpoint and Vivint support Google Assistant and Alexa — giving you another option for controlling your home security system. Being able to arm your system with a simple voice command is even more convenient than using the fob, and it makes these models feel a lot more high-tech.
Frontpoint’s battery will provide power to your hub and sensors for up to 24 hours. Information on Vivint’s battery life isn’t readily available which makes a comparison between the two systems difficult. We know, however, that there’s at least some battery backup available.
Frontpoint vs. Vivint — Our Thoughts
All in all, when comparing Frontpoint vs. Vivint, we definitely feel like Frontpoint is the superior choice.
While Vivint accomplishes many of the same things that Frontpoint does so well, they require either long commitments or a significant upfront cost, and the installation process is complicated enough to require expert assistance.
With simpler installation, superior smart home integration, and unique features like automatic system checks and Crash & Smash, Frontpoint remains one of our favorite security systems overall.
For more information about Frontpoint and Vivint security systems, check out our Frontpoint Security Review — Things You Should Know and Vivint Home Security Review — Things You Should Know articles.
Last update on 2019-11-22 at 12:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API