ADT has been around forever, protecting homes since long before the advent of technology. Xfinity Home Security, on the other hand, is a much more recent addition to the smart security industry. Which is better? In this case, we feel like Xfinity takes the cake with better smart home tech and seamless integration with their media services.
Xfinity, owned by Comcast, is a major player in the media industry — primarily making their money by offering TV, Internet, and landline service to a large portion of the United States. Only recently have they started moving into the home security industry, and the features do look promising. We feel that it does a better job than ADT, but you may want to proceed with caution, as Comcast isn’t exactly spotless when it comes to customer service and satisfaction.
We’ll compare the similarities and differences of Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT below to help give you a better idea of what each brand has to offer. Alternatively, you can use the navigation bar to jump directly to the sections that interest you most.
Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT — Differences
Difference #1: Subscriptions – The first difference we want to discuss when comparing ADT vs. Xfinity is the subscription model.
Xfinity is a telecom company first and foremost, but you don’t actually have to use their internet service if you don’t want to — you can buy Xfinity Home Security on its own. However, many of the savings that make Xfinity a viable choice come when bundling home security with other Xfinity services like Internet and TV. This gives you one monthly bill and covers pretty much all of your technology needs.
The Xfinity bundle also offers a discount on the total security system for an entire year which is a great perk to take advantage of. However, with 2-year minimum contracts, you’ll be stuck with a higher bill for the latter half of your contract.
The current Xfinity Home subscription is called Home Secure. When you bundle services together, you’ll pay $29.99 per month for the first year for the equipment and monitoring services. If you don’t bundle, or in the second year of your contract, the price increases to $39.95 per month for pretty much all of Comcast’s security services. Just keep in mind that if you want to add continuous video recording, your monthly fee and upfront costs will increase.
With the Home Secure plan, you’ll also need to pay a $99 installation fee, so keep that in mind when comparing pricing.
If you’re not interested in home monitoring services, you can purchase the Home Control 150 package that only offers home automation services. This is less expensive at just $19.95 per month for the first 12 months (with a required 2-year contract), and Xfinity actually allows you to self-install with this plan which allows you to dodge that pesky $99 fee. The fee includes access to lighting and small appliance control, real-time text and email alerts when your sensors are triggered, and a choice between live video monitoring or remote thermostat control. This plan also includes one indoor/outdoor camera or one smart thermostat (based on the option you choose), one outlet controller, and a hub.
So, to sum things up, you have two subscription options. Home Secure with everything you need, or a slightly cheaper Home Control 150 which doesn’t include professional monitoring.
ADT’s packages are a little more complicated with four different options: basic Security, Basic Security + Wireless Connect, ADT Pulse Monitoring, and ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video.
Basic Security is the entry level plan at $27.99 per month, and includes a base security system, panel, motion sensor, a few wireless sensors, and a wireless remote. For another $2 per week, you can get the same plan with Equipment Service Protection. One thing to keep in mind with Basic Security is that it doesn’t include cellular service, so you’ll need a landline to use this plan.
Basic Security + Wireless Connect includes everything with Basic Security + Equipment Protection for $48.99 per month, but allows it to function without a landline connection. This is a great option for those who don’t have a landline, and is even preferable for those who do since intruders won’t be able to disable your protection just by cutting your lines. Still, it’s significantly more expensive just to add in cell service — especially when compared to Xfinity and other plans.
The third plan, and one you’ll need to enable most of the features, is ADT Pulse Monitoring at $52.99 per month. This plan is required to receive real-time mobile alerts and control your system from your phone, and also to enable home automation services. You’ll be able arm and disarm your system and monitor your home from wherever you happen to be — all from the ADT App.
The most premium plan is ADT Pulse Monitoring + Video, and as the name suggests, includes all of the features from the previous plans and adds in video monitoring. It comes with an indoor surveillance camera that you can monitor from within the ADT app.
All in all, ADT is significantly more expensive than Xfinity Home Security — especially for existing Xfinity media customers.
Difference #2: Technology – Another notable difference between Xfinity and ADT is the type of technology they use to communicate. Both brands use primarily use WiFi, but Xfinity also supports Zigbee and ADT supports Z-Wave. Zigbee and Z-Wave are the most common smart home frequencies, so both technically have the potential to integrate with tons of different smart devices. In practice, however, Xfinity does a better job with integration when compared to ADT.
Difference #3: Smart Home Compatibility – Neither brand actually lives up to the full potential that Zigbee or Z-Wave has to offer. However, Xfinity is leagues better than ADT when it comes to integrating with other smart technology.
Caseta Wireless, August, Chamberlain, Nest, Sengled, Philips Hue, Kwikset, GE Lighting, ecobee, Cor Thermostat, LIFX, Yale, and Tile are all represented in Xfinity’s smart home compatibility. Plus, Xfinity is also looking to expand integration over time, with brands like Cuff, Arlo, Automatic, Leeo, Rachio, SkyBell Doorbell, and Whistle coming soon.
Take a look at Xfinity’s Smart Home Compatibility page for a closer look at your available options. It’s honestly pretty impressive!
ADT does have some good integration with brands like Ring Video Doorbell, Nest Thermostat, and Kwikset, as well as their first party Smart Thermostat, Garage Door Controller, Lights & Switches, and Smart Plugs. In general, however, it’s just not nearly as good as what Xfinity Home Security brings to the table. Check out their ADT Plus Approved Devices page for a better sense of their full integration.
Difference #4: Voice Control – While ADT might not have the same smart home integration capabilities as Xfinity, it does support Google Assistant and Alexa for easy controlling of your home security and other connected devices.
Xfinity Home Security is handled through the Xfinity X1 Remote. This allows you to do things like say “Xfinity Home Disarm” to disarm your system, or even view a live camera feed right from your home TV. You can also say “XFINITY Home Lights” will bring up an interface to control your connected smart bulbs. While Xfinity’s home voice control is definitely impressive, it does fall short of Google Assistant and Alexa and can’t handle multi-step control for adjusting multiple devices at the same time. This is one major hole in their smart home integration.
Difference #5: Video Monitoring – There are also some differences in the way that these two brands approach video monitoring.
Xfinity Home Security offers the Xfinity Home Camera (xCam), which has a wide-angle view of 109 degrees, HD 720p video, night vision, and the ability to interact with other smart devices like lights and sensors. The WiFi signal also actually runs through the power source, which makes the signal a little stronger than more traditional cams.
By default, the video monitoring service allows the ability to view a live stream from a single camera with the option to record short video clips. For those looking for continuous video recording, however, Xfinity has added in the option to store 24/7 footage for an extra $9.95 per month per camera.
The Home Secure plan allows you to store 1-minute clips from motion-based recordings in the cloud for up to 10 days, which should give you ample time to view any suspicious activity. If you do decide to use the continuous camera, the monthly fee includes storage for these continuous recordings for up to 10 days.
One of the cool aspects of the continuous video plan is that you can swap it between cameras at will, which is great for monitoring your indoor camera while everyone is away during the week, and then swapping it to the porch camera when people are at home on the weekend.
As far as pricing goes, you can purchase the indoor camera outright for $199.95 or save 50% by adding the continuous video recording option to your monitoring plan.
At this time, there are no options for video doorbells, although Xfinity does plan to add one in the future.
ADT has indoor and outdoor wireless cameras, as well as a doorbell camera.
The doorbell offers HD 720p recording and a 180-degree field of view, which should allow you to easily monitor the entirety of your home’s entrance.
The Pulse HD Indoor Wireless Camera offers HD 720p recording with a 90-degree field of view. The outdoor camera has identical features but adds in weatherproofing and the ability to withstand wide temperature ranges.
The ADT equipment is decent from a technical standpoint, but one of the biggest flaws is that it can’t record audio. In a home invasion situation — or even when just using your video doorbell as normal — it’s important to be able to listen and communicate through your cameras, and ADT doesn’t have that capability at all — holding it back in a major way when compared to competitors.
Ultimately, ADT does offer a video doorbell which is a nice perk, but the lack of audio support is definitely a major disadvantage when compared to Xfinity.
Difference #6: Internet Connection – The Xfinity Home Security system is completely wireless, which gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to placement. This is especially important with home security systems, as it allows you to have easy access to the hub in the event of an emergency.
ADT, on the other hand, requires an ethernet connection to your router. It’s a little bit different, in that the Gateway is separated from the main controller. Where Xfinity has everything all wrapped in their Home Touchscreen Controller, ADT has a hub that connects all of your devices separate from the main panel.
In practical use, there isn’t much difference between the two brands since you’ll have access to the keypads wherever you want with either brand. ADT technically takes up an ethernet port on your router, however, which might be an issue for those of us with a lot of connected devices.
Difference #7: Remote Panic Button – One major downside to Xfinity Home Security is the lack of a remote panic button. ADT has a pendant that you can wear around your neck, on a wristband, or even clipped to your clothes, with separate buttons that allow you to call for help from the police, fire, or medical services from right on your person. It’s especially useful for elderly and disabled family members, but it’s honestly a great option for anyone.
The panic button for Xfinity is only on the control panel, which could be an issue in an emergency.
Difference #8: Installation – If you opt for the Xfinity Home Security Home Secure service, there is no equipment fee. Instead, you’ll pay a $99 fee for installation and then the monthly monitoring fee. A 24-month contract includes one touchscreen controller, three door/window sensors, one motion sensor, and a wireless keypad.
There are also options for more expensive packages with access to more home security sensors. For example, you could pay a $399 installation fee with access to the touchscreen controller, three door and window sensors, motion sensors, another wireless keypad, two cameras, two lighting controllers, and a smart thermostat.
While Xfinity does require professional installation, which can be a bit of a hassle, it’s more convenient than many alternatives since all you need is a single appointment. A technician will give you a consultation on the types of services you might need for your home, and then install it that same day based on the decision you make. Plus, if you already have existing home security equipment from an older install, it’s possible you’ll be able to use them with Xfinity Home Security to save some money on installation costs!
And if you decide to opt-in for Home Control 150 package, then you’ll save money on installation fees since it’s a DIY setup.
ADT installation also requires professional installation for $99 at a starting point and goes up from there based on the equipment you chose. There’ll be two appointments, one to consult you on the best setup for your home in particular, and the other one for an actual setup.
The system is not portable at all, and you’ll be locked into a long term commitment. Even after the contract ends, it can be difficult to cancel, and they’ll try to convince you to stay and upsell you instead. It’s a great system if you’re happy with the service, but cutting it off can be difficult.
Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT — Comparison Chart
|Xfinity Home Security||ADT|
|Hub to Router Connection||Wireless||Ethernet (gateway)|
|Battery Backup||Yes||12 Hours|
|Two-Way Audio on a Hub||No||Yes|
|Hub Siren||Yes||On a panel, not gateway|
|Extra Siren Support||Yes||Yes|
|Keypad||Digital or Separate||Yes, on a digital panel|
|Multiple Keypads Support||Yes||Yes|
|Disarm Options||App, keychain remote, keypad||App, keychain remote, keypad|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Remote Monitoring & Notifications||Subscription required||Subscription required|
|Cellular Backup||Yes||Starting at $48.99|
|Landline Connection||No||Optional (Basic Plan ~$27.99)|
|Sensors||Door & Window, Motion, |
Smoke Detector, Water,
|Entryway, Motion, |
Door & Window Sensors,
Flood, Carbon Monoxide,
Heat, Glass Break
|Remote Panic Button||No, only on control panel||Yes|
|Video Monitoring||Yes, video camera||Yes|
|Monthly Contracts Available||No||No|
|Voice Control||Via Xfinity X1||Google Assistant, Alexa|
|Other Smart Home Compatibility||Caseta Wireless, |
Philips Hue, Kwikset,
GE Lighting, ecobee,
Cor Thermostat, LIFX,
Coming Soon: Cuff, Arlo,
Automatic, Leeo, Rachio,
SkyBell Doorbell & Whistle
|Ring Video Doorbell, |
Kwikset Smart Lock,
Garage Door Controller,
Lights & Switches, Smart Plugs
|Technology||WiFi, Zigbee||WiFi, Z-Wave|
|DIY Solution||With Home Control 150 package only||No|
|Professional Installation Required||Yes||Yes|
Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT — Things in Common
24/7 Professional Monitoring – The main attraction of Xfinity Home Security and ADT, along with most security systems, is access to 24/7 professional monitoring. This service requires an extra monthly fee but provides around-the-clock surveillance and quick dispatch of the authorities in the event of an emergency. Not having to rely on self-monitoring is one of the main reasons that many homeowners opt for a security system like these.
Remote Monitoring & Notifications – When you opt for a paid plan, you’ll also have access to your home security system with a mobile app. When a sensor is tripped, you’ll receive a mobile alert on your phone to be instantly aware of any activity with your home. The mobile app is also the primary way you’ll control your system while away from home, and also adds another convenient method of arming and disarming your system.
If you’re looking for a way to control and monitor your system while away for home for free, as well as on-demand access to 24/7 monitoring with no commitment, check out one of our favorite home security options — abode.
Battery Backup – Losing power shouldn’t mean leaving your home unprotected. In the event of an outage, both security systems have a battery that will continue to power your base and sensors to keep you and your family safe.
ADT’s battery lasts for 12 hours, which should give you ample time to get your power back up and running in most scenarios. Xfinity doesn’t give easy information on the battery capacity of their backup, but we at least know that it’s there in some capacity.
Cellular Backup – Paid plans for both ADT and Xfinity come with a Cellular Backup that will allow your security system to continue communicating with its sensors and the monitoring center even if your internet goes down. The cell service is a great option to have on hand, and with how little data these security systems need to transmit, it should provide reliable protection even in areas with spotty signals.
Sensors – Sensors are the bread and butter of any security system and are the main way that your base is able to offer ongoing protection. Both Xfinity and ADT offer a pretty comprehensive lineup, covering door & Window, motion, smoke, water, and glass break sensors.
ADT is a little bit more comprehensive, however, with entryway sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, and sensors that can alert you of dangerous swings in temperature.
Siren – Sirens are a key part of any security system, as they alert your family of danger and can scare off intruders at the same time. Both Xfinity and ADT have a sensor built into the base.
Multiple Keypads Support – The keypad is the primary way that you’ll arm and disarm your sensor, so it’s important that you have easy access in a central location. In addition to a keypad built into the main control panel, both Xfinity Home Security and ADT support multiple keypads — allowing you to ensure every point of access in your home isn’t too far from a spot where you can arm and disarm your system or call for help.
Key Fobs – One of the most convenient aspects of both Xfinity and ADT are the key fobs. You’ll be able to control your security system with the keypad, or if you have the appropriate subscription plan, the mobile app. Key fobs, however, offer one-button control to arm or disarm your system and come with the system by default.
They are also a great option to distribute to friends, a dog walker, or your housekeeper to allow them easy access to your home without having to remember a PIN.
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Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT — Our Thoughts
All in all, we do feel that Comcast offers the better option when comparing Xfinity Home Security vs. ADT. It becomes even more attractive for existing or prospective Xfinity customers, as you have access to a lot of savings and interaction between other Xfinity services like TV and internet if you bundle everything together.
One major advantage that Xfinity has as well is the smart home support, and it’s actually one of the better integrations we’ve seen in general — and especially when compared to ADT. If you’re looking for a security system that can act as a central location for your smart devices as well, it’s certainly a more viable option than ADT.
While we do feel that Xfinity is the better option, we do want to caution you that the company as a whole doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to customer service. They are another huge company that is offering their own take on home security and they do it quite well, but Comcast as a company, in general, doesn’t have the best reputation.
If you’re looking for another great security option from a smaller startup dedicated entirely to home security, we recommend taking a look at abode — one of our top picks overall for home security and automation.
For more information about ADT Pulse security system, check out our ADT Pulse Review — Things You Should Know article.
Last update on 2020-01-19 at 10:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API