Vivint Home Security Review — Things You Should Know

Vivint Home Security

Vivint is perhaps best known for products like solar panels and high-speed internet, but Vivint Home Security is a more recent entry into the alarm system industry that offers a more unique approach to keeping your home protected. Rather than opting for a traditional plan that is restrictive and with pre-determined packages, Vivint is all about user choice. Choose as many sensors, cameras or smoke detectors as you’d like and create the security system best suited for your home. Home automation is also a major priority for the brand, and you’ll be able to remotely control all the features that Vivint has to offer.

When compared to some competing brands, Vivint is pretty expensive. For homeowners looking for more basic protection, the equipment and fees may be cost-prohibitive. However, the brand remains a competitive option for those looking for a system that revolves around home automation and comprehensive protection.

Vivint Home Security — How Much Does Vivint Cost?

Most security systems on the market follow a similar formula when it comes to pricing — bundling equipment and monitoring services in a single plan. However, based on user reviews, Vivint has opted to take an approach that is much closer to cellular providers than a traditional security system.

To put it simply, you’ll pay a monthly fee of $39.99 for Smart Home Monitoring, or $49.99 if you opt for Smart Home Video Monitoring. As the name suggests, the extra $10 per month enables the video security features. All other aspects of home security are covered under the less expensive plan, so you can save a bit of money if you aren’t interested in video security.

In addition to that monthly fee, you’ll have to pay for the equipment. Vivint has given their users two different ways to pay for their panel and sensors: financing in the form of an additional monthly fee, or an upfront cost of $549.99. It’s certainly expensive to pay for the equipment in one go, but it’s a nice option to have for those who would rather not deal with ongoing payments.

If you opt for a monthly fee, the cost of equipment will depend on your chosen contract length. With the longest term of 60 months, you’ll pay $9.17 per month, but if you want a shorter commitment of 42 months, the prices do go up from there.

Regardless of whether you choose financing or an upfront fee, you do have to pay a $99 activation and installation fee, since Vivint setup is much more complicated than simpler systems like Nest Secure or Ring Alarm.

The ongoing monthly fee enables a whole host of features that greatly enhance the functionality of your security system. The most major benefit is 24/7 monitoring, but the plan also includes access to mobile app access, event notification, severe weather alerts for tornados, and access to lock automation and smart home integration features.

Vivint realizes that the choice to use their home security is a significant investment, and offers a 3 day return period in the rare case of buyer regret.

Smart Home MonitoringSmart Home MonitoringSmart Home Video MonitoringSmart 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
Activation/Installation Fee$99+$99+$99+$99+
Contract Length42 or 60 MonthsMonth-to-Month42 or 60 MonthsMonth-to-Month
24/7 MonitoringYesYesYesYes
Professional InstallationYesYesYesYes
Mobile App AccessYesYesYesYes
Event NotificationsYesYesYesYes
Lock AutomationYesYesYesYes
Severe Weather AlertsTornado OnlyTornado OnlyTornado OnlyTornado Only
Smart Lights and Other Smart Home ServicesYesYesYesYes
Security Camera FeaturesNoNoYesYes
Return Period3 Days3 Days3 Days3 Days

Where to Buy Vivint Equipment?

The majority of the equipment fee is going towards the main hub, but it also includes 2 — 4 door or window sensors. Vivint is a system that is easily expandable with as many sensors as you please, so you can outfit your home exactly the way you want. Keep in mind, however, that Vivint is a pretty expensive service. Expect to pay $34.99 for each additional door/window sensor, and the price goes up from there for more sophisticated equipment like motion and glass break detectors.

Additional sensors are purchased by contacting Vivint, and just like the basic package, the company offers the option for financing for each a la carte device. The financing helps defray the cost of expanding your Vivint Home Security, but you’ll end up with a large monthly fee if you aren’t careful.

The exact prices of sensors aren’t easily available, so you’ll need to contact Vivint for a price quote. With that said, we’ve included a basic estimate of each sensor’s price below.

Price
Smoke Detectors$120.00
Door and Window Sensors$60.00
Motion Detectors$120.00
Key Fobs$60.00
Recessed Door Sensors$60.00
Glass Break Detectors$120.00
Flood/Freeze Sensors$120.00
Carbon Monoxide Sensors$120.00
Tilt Sensors (for a garage door)$60.00
Panic Pendant$60.00

What is Vivint? — Technology & Equipment

Vivint

Regardless of your choice in brand, there are some basic aspects that pretty much every modern system has in common. The main aspects that you’ll be looking for are 24/7 monitoring, some sort of control panel, and door and window sensors. Most brands also offer some more specialized sensors for those looking for more comprehensive protection.

There’s no denying that Vivint is significantly more expensive than some of their competitors, so why would you choose their system over something more affordable.

While each brand has their own sensors and generally seem to offer the same basic service, you’ll find a significant difference in quality when comparing basic and more high-end models. You’ll pay a premium for Vivint, but in return, you’ll enjoy premium, reliable equipment that is designed specifically for the company in-house.

Signing up for Vivint requires purchasing a basic equipment package, which includes the main panel and 2-4 window sensors (depending on your package.) Where the brand really excels, however, is in the quality of their comprehensive protection that is purchasable a la carte.

If all you’re after is basic protection, this brand is probably not the best choice for you. When you invest in Vivint Home Security, you’re paying for quality and customizability that can grow to suit your needs.

What is Vivint SkyControl™ Panel?

Vivint

The price of the equipment package for Vivint is quite high, and the majority of that price goes towards the Vivint SkyControl Panel.

All of your equipment is handled through this sleek, multifunctional LCD touchscreen that acts as a central hub for your home security solutions. With a battery backup and cellular backup, the Vivint SkyControl Panel triggers alarms when sensors are tripped, enables home automation, and gives you access to help from 24/7 monitoring services.

Speaking of the 24/7 monitoring service, the SkyControl Panel also enables Vivint Live. In the event that the system is triggered, you’ll be able to communicate with a Vivint security professional directly from your hub with an automatic connection.

Even basic security systems usually have some option for 24/7 monitoring, but they will often dispatch authorities immediately when sensors are tripped. This is great from a security perspective but can become a major issue in the event of a false alarm. Summoning the police when you accidentally forget to disable your security system is a waste of valuable emergency resources, and it can also land you with a pretty hefty fine for repeated infractions.

Vivint Live allows security professionals to check on the status of each alarm before contacting the authorities. This will reduce unnecessary calls to the authorities, but can also allow Vivint employees to determine the nature of an emergency and send the appropriate help — a major perk when you’re in danger or in the event of a home invasion while you’re not at home.

Other unique features of Vivint Live include the ability to generate unique user codes for every person in the house and for every visitor. This is a great solution for granting temporary access to visitors, as you can allow people into your home without giving out the main code and easily disable entry when it’s no longer needed on an individual basis.

Vivint Technology — WiFi & Cellular

Vivint has two main types of technology built into their system: WiFi and Cellular.

Connecting your panel to WiFi enables remote access and control, and is the main way that your system will receive updates to keep it running flawlessly. An internet connection is also required to add in video monitoring to your security suite.

The bread and butter of their security system is a cellular connection, which is responsible for communicating wirelessly with all sensors and contacting the monitoring center in the event of an emergency. Unlike landline connections that can be cut by intruders, cellular signals are generally tamper-free and will keep an open line of communication between your home and Vivint monitoring at all times. Plus, since the system uses such a small amount of data to protect your home, even homes in areas with spotty cell connection should still be able to take advantage of these services.


Vivint Home Security — What is Vivint Smart Home?

Nest Thermostat vs Nest E

While the main benefit of a Vivint security system is the ability to protect your home with high-quality sensors and 24/7 home monitoring, one of our favorite aspects of the brand is the extent of its home automation features.

Many security systems these days are advertising themselves as “smart,” but Vivint is pretty unique in its design as a combination of home automation and hub. The Vivint SkyControl panel might be expensive, but it also enables smart technology features that you just don’t see with more basic models.

With the Vivint Smart Home Video plan, you’ll have full access to the ability to control a huge host of smart home equipment. In addition to the security system settings, you can control smart locks, thermostats, security cameras, lights, garage doors, and even small appliances directly through your Vivint panel. Add to that extensive support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you have a recipe for easy home automation — either through a sleek touchscreen or with the power of your voice.

What Works with Vivint?

The main aspect that makes Vivint so great at home automation is its support for Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave is a smart home technology that is present across a huge number of brands, and Vivint can function as a hub to integrate them all. Is there a specific smart plug, dimmer, or lock that you want to add in your home? As long as it’s Z-Wave compatible, it’s as simple as plugging it in and hooking it into your Vivint home management system.

Vivint also integrates with the Nest thermostat, which is one of the most popular and reputable brands for climate control in your home. Vivint also offers their own smart thermostat, but support for Nest’s technology lets it learn and respond to your schedule for maximum comfort and energy savings. For a full breakdown of the features that Nest has to offer, check out our comparison of Nest vs. Nest E Thermostat.

One thing to keep in mind is that the basic equipment package you purchase doesn’t have any smart home automation equipment. You can purchase your devices separately, but Vivint also sells a great selection themselves and offers financing just like all their other equipment.

Vivint Video Monitoring

Vivint offers multiple options for video monitoring, and you can purchase just what you need to suit your needs. As long as you have the video monitoring plan, you’ll be able to take advantage of the Vivint Smart Doorbell, Vivint Ping Camera, and Vivint Outdoor Camera.

The Vivint smart doorbell is pretty comprehensive when compared to those from competitors. The camera has a 180-degree field of view and a 720p resolution, as well as useful features like two-way talk, night vision, live streaming, and integration with Vivint smart locks. When someone rings your bell, you’ll get a notification on your phone that you can press to open up a video feed. At that point, you have the option to talk with the visitor and unlock the door without moving an inch.

Vivint Ping is a standard 1080p camera, but it also offers two-way talk and one-touch callout to keep track of guests while you’re out.

The outdoor camera has an identical resolution, but it comes with smart motion detection and night-vision to offer 24/7 protection of your home. The outdoor camera also supports Vivint’s new Streety app, which allows you to grant access to the video feed to trusted neighbors for better monitoring of your home and the rest of the street.

Does Ring Work with Vivint?

The short answer is no. Ring offers a wide range of products including a collection of cameras, a smart video doorbell, and their own security system. However, Vivint uses their own security technology and equipment and will not interface with the Ring Alarm system or other Ring products.

If you’d like to read more about Ring Alarm and the benefits it has to offer, head on to our Ring vs. Nest Security System comparison to see if it might be a better fit for your home.

Vivint Sky Assistant

Another part of what makes Vivint so great as a home automation tools Vivint Sky Assistant. This utility allows your Vivint hub to take the convenient features of your smart technology and make them even more intelligent using geofencing technology. Over time, your Vivint system will learn your schedule and anticipate when you and your family will be coming and going. Using this information, Sky Assistant can adjust your security settings for optimal protection and convenience, as well as do things like turn on lights in the evening or adjust the temperature right before you come home from work.

It’s a useful utility that really elevates Vivint beyond a simple security system, and helps justify the high cost of Vivint equipment.


Why Vivint Home Security is a Good Choice?

Vivint

  • Simple Installation – When you purchase Vivint equipment, you’ll have a conversation with a member of their sales team to determine the needs of your home. Once Vivint gets an idea of the type of coverage you need and you decide on the products you’d like to add to your home, installation is handled by a professional with no additional effort on your point required. It’s a great solution for those who don’t want to deal with DIY setup and want premium support along the way.

    In the event that you’d like to expand your system in the future with more a la carte sensors, an expert will handle that too. Just keep in mind that there will be an additional fee for outdoor and doorbell camera installation.

  • Remote Control – Controlling your Vivint system from wherever you happen to be is very simple using the Vivint Sky Control app. Whether you’re at home, at home, or on vacation, you’ll never be far from your security system with your phone in hand.

  • Energy Efficiency – Vivint’s security system and their smart devices are very energy efficient, and can reportedly cut energy costs by 30% when compared to more traditional equipment.

  • Professional Monitoring – 24/7 professional monitoring comes standard with any Vivint subscription and is enhanced by two-way communication to provide personalized security and minimize false alarms — a significant advantage that more basic brands fail to offer.

  • Upgrade Anytime – Last but certainly not least, Vivint’s a la carte option makes it easy to upgrade your system or contract at any time, and professional technicians make installation a breeze. Just remember that you can’t downgrade your contract at a later date, so make sure you really want the video monitoring before you commit to that extra $10 per month.


Why Vivint Home Security is a Bad Choice?

Vivint

  • Expensive Equipment – The basic equipment package that is necessary with any Vivint plan seems expensive as is, but the lack of sensors makes it the bare minimum. Expect to spend at least several thousand dollars outfitting a medium or larger sized home.

  • Video Monitoring Limit – Unlike some other brands, Vivint has placed limitations on the number of cameras you can add to your system. They don’t recommend using more than four in your home, which may be an issue for larger properties. Just having one of each type of camera almost maxes out the allowance, and that just covers the exterior of your property and a room or two.

  • Video Monitoring Quality – Vivint’s doorbell only records in 720p, which is a lower resolution than comparable models like the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Another thing to keep in mind is that no Vivint cameras have geofencing or person detection, which can lead to a lot of false alarms. The outdoor camera also lacks support for audio, so you’ll only be able to track noise with your video doorbell or the Ping cameras within your home.

  • Network Reboot – Another downside with Vivint is the fact that the system can’t inform you when accessories like cameras go offline. But more concerning than that is how difficult it is to get things reconnected in the event that an internet signal drops. In the event of a dropped signal, you’ll need to restart the monitoring equipment yourself or reach out to Vivint customer service so they can do it remotely. Just booting up the network isn’t enough to fix the video equipment, which is definitely a little inconvenient.

    On that note, there’s also no easy way to remove a camera from your Vivint system. In the event that you no longer wish to use a camera, you’ll have to pay a $50 fee for a technician to come out and do it for you.

  • Customization – While Vivint offers a great deal of customization when it comes to building out your system, there’s basically no customization for the audible in-house alarm. You can turn the verbal cues on or off, but you can’t choose the sound of the alarm or the volume. Changing the exit and entry delay times are possible, but even that requires a call to customer service.


Vivint Home Security — Our Thoughts

Vivint

Overall, we feel that Vivint does a great job of filling a specific niche: customizable home security, smart automation, and professional support all in one. However, it’s clearly not a security system for the budget buyer, with a long-term commitment and high expenses.

One thing to keep in mind, too, is that while Vivint equipment is certainly high-quality, it’s not significantly more capable than much more affordable providers like SimpliSafe or abode. Most of the expense comes with the a la carte model, extensive home automation, premium customer support, and ongoing professional installation and maintenance. If all you’re looking for is comprehensive home security, there are options out there that are just as good and won’t put you back thousands of dollars.


Our Score:
  • Vivint
4.2

Let us know what you think!

What are your thoughts about Vivint?


Last update on 2019-08-21 at 01:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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