Protect America vs. ADT — Differences Explained

Protect America vs. ADT

In an industry where more and more companies are starting to offer their own take on home security, Protect America and ADT are some of the most established brands on the market. With both companies having offered security systems for over 20 years, have they kept up with the smart tech revolution? Or are they stuck in the past? Overall, the two brands have a ton in common, but we feel that Protect America does a better job at offering a customer-friendly model.

These days, there are a large number of options for adding in home security for cheap — without the complicated install, high fees, and long term commitment. ADT still struggles a bit to ditch the dated installation model while Protect America has kept up with the times by offering a self-install option. With that said, these two models are quite similar, and ADT may be a viable option for those who don’t want to deal with setting up equipment themselves.

Below we go into detail on the similarities and differences of the ADT vs. Protect America security system. However, feel free to use our navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.

Protect America vs. ADT — Differences

  • Difference #1: Subscriptions – The first difference when comparing Protect America vs. ADT is the way that they approach their subscription models.

    Protect America has a basic plan at just $19.99 per month that includes 3 door/window sensors, a motion detector, and the Simon XT Control Panel. The most premium tier is significantly more expensive at $54.99 per month and includes cellular monitoring and home automation. The plans include free equipment, have no installation fee since it’s a DIY system, and offer 24/7 monitoring.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the base plan only includes landline monitoring, so it’s not available to homeowners that don’t have a landline. Adding in cellular backup brings the cost of the plan up to $41.99 per month.

    With any of these plans, there’s a 3-year required contract and you can return the equipment within 14 days if you aren’t satisfied.

    The prices for Protect America are relatively expensive if you want access to all the features, but it’s made slightly less awful since you don’t have to pay for any of the equipment. The company is also pretty unique in that they offer a price match guarantee. You’ll agree to the contract with the terms they offer, but then have the ability to “price shop” for a week to see if there’s a better deal for similar service — at which point Protect America says they will match it.

    ADT also requires a three-year contract and offers 4 different packages that range from basic with no app support to full app control and video monitoring on the high end.

    The basic plan only includes 24/7 burglary monitoring by landline, with cellular monitoring, fire/smoke, carbon monoxide, and flood monitoring available at an extra cost.

    At the high end there’s the $58.99 per month plan that includes video monitoring and home automation.

    ADT also charges for professional installation with no option to self-install, so there’s a fee associated with that you’ll have to keep in mind when comparing plans. ADT also offers a 6-month money-back guarantee, but will only honor it if there’s an equipment or service problem that they aren’t able to solve.

    Ultimately, the two companies are pretty similar when it comes to their subscription plans on the high end, but Protect America is significantly cheaper for the lower tiers and offers more with their entry-level options.

  • Difference #2: Video Monitoring – You have options for video monitoring with either brand. They do differ in the type of equipment they offer, however, which may swing your decision one way or the other.

    Protect America offers only indoor and outdoor cameras. The indoor camera has a 720p HD resolution that records at 30 frames per second with a 60-degree field of view. It’s also equipped with night vision and two-way audio, so you’ll be able to see and hear what’s going on in your home — day or night. You’ll also be able to access your video stream through the app, and the video has 128-bit AES encryption — the most secure protocol available — keeping the view of the camera private and for your eyes only.

    The Outdoor camera also offers 720p HD video at 30 frames per second, but it also equipped with 24 infrared LEDs that light up to 65 feet ahead for video monitoring in the dark. Just like the indoor camera, it has 128-bit AES encryption to keep your cameras free from hackers.

    Video monitoring from Protect America is available as an add-on starting at $9.99 monthly.

    ADT Pulse offers indoor and outdoor cameras as well, but they also have their own video doorbell.

    The video doorbell has an HD 720p resolution and a 180-degree field of view to give you a clear picture of the front of your home.

    The Pulse HD Indoor Camera is the same price, and offers HD 720p recording as well, while the Outdoor Camera has the same specifications with added weatherproofing.

    Although ADT offers the option for a video doorbell while Protect America does not, we still feel that the latter does a better job of video monitoring for one main reason: two-way audio.

    ADT cameras actually can’t record audio at all, which is a major issue when having an audio recording of a home intrusion could be the difference between helping police identify a criminal and having them go free. Plus, Protect America is available as a separate subscription while ADT locks video monitoring behind the highest tier plan.

  • Difference #3: Internet Connection – The two brands differ in the way they approach internet connections. The Protect America security system is completely wireless, while the ADT has a base that needs to plug directly into the router.

    ADT is a little unique in that it has a gateway that is used to connect the security panels and sensors together, rather than having it all integrated directly into the panel. This doesn’t have any security implications but does mean that you’ll have more devices crowded around your router.

  • Difference #4: Battery Backup – In the event of a power outage, both security systems have a battery backup that will kick in to keep your sensors powered. Protect America’s battery can power your system for 18 to 24 hours, however, while ADT’s can only manage 12.

    In the event of a situation like a severe storm, that extra 6-12 hours can make all the difference as utility companies struggle to get your power back online.

  • Difference #5: Smart Home Integration – In terms of smart home integration, the two brands do fall short of some of their competitors and fail to take full advantage of their Z-Wave support. However, we do feel that Protect America does a slightly better job and has a better lineup of smart home partners.

    Protect America works with Amazon Alexa, August Smart Lock, Kwikset 916, Kwikset 910, Yale Z-Wave, Linear Garage Door Controller, GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat, Alarm.com Smart Thermostat, and their own Z-Wave Plug and Outlet.

    ADT, on the other hand, works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Ring Video Doorbell, Nest Thermostat, Kwikset Smart Lock, and their own Garage Door Controller, Lights & Switches, Smart Plugs, and Smart Thermostats.

    Both these brands have areas in their integration where they excel and fall short. ADT supports Google Assistant, which makes it a better option for homeowners invested in the Google ecosystem since Protect America only works with Amazon Alexa. Protect America is our favorite because they work well with August Smart Locks — one of the most secure options on the market due to their DoorSense feature. Check out our comparison on August Smart Lock vs. Pro vs. Gen 2 for more information.

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  • Difference #6: Installation – Last, but certainly not least, there are some significant differences in ease of installation.

    Protect America has easy peel and stick technology that literally just as you stick on the equipment wherever you please — no complicated wiring required. You should have your system installed and running in less than an hour — and without paying a hefty installation fee.

    Getting your home outfitted with ADT technology, on the other hand, is a more involved undertaking. To begin with, you’ll have to have a technician come out and tour your home to make recommendations. Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll have to make another appointment to have a technician come in and make the installation. It’s a complicated process that isn’t portable at all and is basically a long term commitment.

    Installation with ADT starts at $99, but you should expect to pay significantly more than that if you have a complicated setup or a particularly large home. It’s not unusual for an installation bill from ADT to exceed $1000, while Protect America’s installation fee is non-existent.

    Protect America is significantly cheaper to get up and running for this reason and is actually a viable option for renters because you don’t end up doing any damage to the walls.


Protect America vs. ADT — Comparison Chart

Protect AmericaADT
Internet ConnectionWirelessEthernet (gateway)
Battery Backup18 to 24 hours12 Hours
Intercom PanelYesYes
Hub SirenYesOn a panel,
not gateway
Extra Siren SupportYesYes
Hub SpeakerYesYes
Hub SensorsNoNo
KeypadYes, on a digital panelYes, on a digital panel
Multiple Keypads SupportYesYes
Key FobsYesYes
Disarm OptionsApp, keychain remote, keypadApp, keychain remote, keypad
24/7 Professional MonitoringYesYes
Basic Subscription$41.99/month$48.99/month
Advanced Subscription$54.99/month$58.99/month
Contract RequiredYesYes
Remote Monitoring & NotificationsSubscription requiredSubscription required
Cellular BackupStarting at $41.99Starting at $48.99
Landline ConnectionOptional (Basic Plan ~$19.99/month)Optional (Basic Plan ~$27.99/month)
SensorsEntryway, Motion,
Door & Window Sensors,
Flood, Smoke,
Glass Break
Entryway, Motion,
Door & Window Sensors,
Flood, Carbon Monoxide,
Heat, Glass Break
Remote Panic ButtonYesYes
Video MonitoringYesYes
Monthly Contracts AvailableNoNo
Google AssistantNoYes
AlexaYesYes
IFTTTNoNo
Other Smart Home CompatibilityAugust Smart Lock,
Kwikset 916,
Kwikset 910,
Yale Z-Wave,
Linear Garage Door Controller,
Z-Wave Plug, Outlet,
GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat,
Alarm.com Smart Thermostat
Ring Video Doorbell,
Nest Thermostat,
Smart Thermostats,
Kwikset Smart Lock,
Garage Door Controller,
Lights & Switches, Smart Plugs
TechnologyWiFi, Z-WaveWiFi, Z-Wave
DIY SolutionYesNo
Professional Installation RequiredNoYes

Protect America vs. ADT — Things in Common

ADT

  • 24/7 Professional Monitoring – 24/7 monitoring is one of the biggest draws of any home security system, and the option is there with paid plans for both Protect America and ADT. In the event of an emergency, a monitoring agency will be quick to respond and send the authorities to your aid.

  • Remote Monitoring & Notifications – With paid plans, you’ll have the ability to receive notifications on the status of your system and control the various aspects of your home security right from your phone. Unfortunately, you won’t have that mobile control without a subscription — check out abode for an alternative that gives you that perk for free!

  • Cellular Backup – A paid subscription with Protect America and ADT also includes cellular service, which will kick in in the event that you lose your WiFi connection. The cellular connection is very reliable and ensures you’ll always have a quick line to the monitoring service, and the systems use so little data that it should be a great option even in areas with a spotty signal.

  • Technology – The primary way that Protect America and ADT communicate is over WiFi, but they also support Z-Wave — one of the most common frequencies used in smart home connections. They vary in their effectiveness as far as smart integration goes, but theoretically, they should be able to work with a wide variety of devices within your connected home.

  • Sensors – The sensors are the main way that your system monitors your home for intrusion, and both Protect America and ADT include a comprehensive lineup that should keep your house protected from every angle. You can choose the sensors that are most important to you from options like Entryway, Motion, Door & Window, Flood, Smoke, and Glass Break.

    The monitoring service for either brand will also keep an eye on your home for fire and smoke, and can send the authorities to your aid in the event of a fire as well. Having protection for environmental damage in addition to home intrusion makes the monitoring service an even better value.

  • Remote Panic Button – Like most security systems, Protect America and ADT include a panic button on the keypad. However, they also include a remote panic button that you can use to call for aid in the event of an emergency — right on your person.

    Protect America’s is called the Medical Alert Pendant and is a great option for the elderly or disabled, while ADT has the remote panic button with separate buttons for medical, fire, and police.

    While both brands offer a remote panic feature, we feel ADT’s is better since it allows you to call for the correct help rather than solely medical — covering fire and intrusions in addition to medical assistance.

  • Key Fobs – The primary way that you’ll control your home security is through the keypad, and if you pay for a subscription, through the mobile app. However, both brands also include key fobs that allow you to arm or disarm your system with a simple press of a button.

    Protect America’s is a little bit more sophisticated, with the ability to arm with a delay, arm immediately, disarm, and send a panic distress signal that will be sent directly to monitoring professionals.

  • Multiple Keypads Support – Both Protect America and ADT have a keypad on the main touchscreen control panel, but you can also add in extra keypads wherever it’s most convenient.

    Cover every entryway, or put one on each floor to ensure you’re never too far from access to your security system. One thing worth mentioning, however, is that extra keypads for ADT require a visit from a technician to add it into your service While Protect America allows you to handle that on your own.

  • Siren – Both security systems have a siren built into the main control panel, which will alert your family and scare off intruders when a sensor is tripped. Plus, you can add in additional sirens around your home to ensure the alarm is guaranteed to be heard across your entire property.

  • Two-Way Audio on a Panel – One of the biggest advantages that Protect America and ADT have to offer is the two-way audio built into the panel. In addition to functioning as an intercom system, an audio connection will be activated between your home and the monitoring service whenever a sensor is tripped. This will allow the security professionals to verify the validity of an alarm, which both prevents false alarms and allows the service to send the correct help based on the details of the emergency.


Protect America vs. ADT — Our Thoughts

Protect America

Overall, when comparing Protect America vs. ADT, there’s a lot that these two systems have in common. Both have a significant presence in the industry and have been around for decades, but Protect America has done a better job at keeping up at the times with no installation fees, price match, great support for sensors, and better smart home integration.

Plus, not only is the DIY installation with Protect America convenient, but it also makes the system an option for renters since it doesn’t require doing anything with the walls. Stick and peel technology is great for homeowners as well, because it makes it a lot easier to take your service with you if you need to move.

For those who would like a more personalized approach to their installation that has a technician evaluate the needs of their home and handle the process from start to finish, ADT does a great job of that. But when prices for ADT installation can approach $1000 or more, is that convenience really worth the cost?

For more information about ADT Pulse security system, check out our ADT Pulse Review — Things You Should Know article.

Our Score:
  • Protect America
  • ADT
4.5

Let us know what you think!

Have you noticed other differences between Protect America vs. ADT? Feel free to add them or share your experience with the products in the comments section below. Your input can help other people make the right choice!


Last update on 2019-10-13 at 23:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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