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Home security: ADT vs Ring

We compare ADT and Ring head-to-head to help you decide which of these home security system providers is right for you.
Written by Doug Bonderud, Contributing Writer on

ADT and Ring are both well-known security system providers. But, which offers the best combination of price, performance and protection? While Ring security focuses on advanced wireless technology and DIY setup, ADT Security offers professional monitoring and installation. 

In our Ring vs ADT review, we'll break down what matters -- from plans to pricing to customer service and ease of installation -- to help you find your best-fit security solution.


ADT provides years of home security experience for peace of mind.


  • Customizable security packages and equipment
  • Six-month money-back guarantee
  • Same-day or next-day service for installation and repairs


  • Requires a security contract
  • Cancellation fee
  • Lower-than-average BBB customer service ratings


Ring is a modern alternative for home monitoring for a new generation.


  • High-performance security equipment
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Lower than average prices for professional monitoring


  • The basic plan offers no professional monitoring
  • Technology isn't always intuitive
  • Occasional sensor glitches


Monitoring Options

Monitoring Prices starting at

Installation Options 


Professional monitoring




Professional or self-monitored





ADT home security offers three plans: Essentials, Total Protection and Premium Protection.

  • ADT Essentials: This is the basic ADT plan. It requires professional installation -- an extra $99 -- of the basic equipment kit, including a digital keypad, three-door or window sensors, an infrared motion detector and a high-decibel alarm siren. You'll also get a backup battery, a wireless keychain remote, and a yard sign and window decals. 
  • ADT Total Protection: This plan comes with everything offered by the Essentials plan, plus Safewatch Cellguard, which lets you connect your professionally monitored security system to ADT's response centers without the need for a landline.
  • ADT Premium Protection: The Premium Protection plan offers everything in both the Essentials and Total Protection plans plus ADT Pulse, which lets you connect home security devices with home automation systems and access your security system anywhere, anytime with the ADT Pulse mobile app.


Ring home security offers two paid plans -- Basic and Plus -- along with one free option.

  • Included free: All Ring devices include four basic features for free: Motion-activated notifications, real-time video with Live View, two-way talk and lifetime theft protection.
  • Ring Basic: Ring Basic gets you video history for 60 days, saving video, sharing, and capturing snapshot. It does not include professional monitoring.
  • Ring Plus: Ring Plus is one of the cheapest professional monitoring options available. Along with all the features of Ring Basic, users also get 24/7 professional monitoring, extended warranties for all of their devices and 10% of select products from Ring.com.

Who is it best for


  • ADT Essentials: Best for professional monitoring without breaking the bank
  • ADT Total Protection: Best for cellular system protection
  • ADT Premium Protection: Best for mobile system monitoring and smart home automation


  • Ring Basic: Best for easy video capture
  • Ring Plus: Best for low-cost professional monitoring

Contracts and Pricing


ADT requires a 36-month contract for all of its plans, and all system installations come with a $99 fee. There is also a cancellation fee for breaking your contract early.


  • ADT Essentials: $36.99 per month
  • ADT Total Protection: $42.99 per month
  • ADT Premium Protection: $52.99 per month


Ring doesn't require a contract, and all installation is DIY. You can save some cash by getting a yearly subscription, which is only $30/year for Basic and $100/year for Plus.


  • Ring Basic: $3 per month
  • Ring Plus: $10 per month

Customer service


ADT has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2013, and the company has been in business for more than 130 years. While it does earn an A+ rating from the BBB, its average customer review score isn't so glowing at just one star out of five. In addition, the company has had more than 3000 complaints filed against it in the last three years. But it's not all bad news for ADT -- the company ranks second in the J.D. Power 2019 Home Security Satisfaction Study for professionally installed security systems with an overall score of 847 and three power circles out of five.

ADT also offers a host of online support options, including live chat and the ability to connect through popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Customers can also get in touch by phone 24/7/365.


Ring earns top marks from the J.D. Power Home Security Satisfaction Study for DIY security systems with an overall score of 904 and 5 power circles out of 5. The company is also accredited by the BBB but only earned accreditation this year. Ring does get an A+ rating from the BBB and has a better average customer review score at 1.25 stars out of five, but it's only been in business for six years.

Ring also offers live chat and an in-depth online knowledge base, and the company's mobile application is well-reviewed for both Android and iOS devices.

Ease of installation


All ADT installations are done professionally and cost between $99 and $199. If you're a prequalified customer -- which means you've passed a soft credit check -- the installation fee may be waived. Depending on where you live, ADT may offer same-day installation if you purchase your security system package before 2 p.m., but in most cases, you'll need to wait until the next day.

System configurations can be customized to your needs, and you'll be provided instructions on how to arm, disarm, and monitor your equipment. ADT also offers a six-month money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with your new system.


Ring does not offer professional installation -- everything is DIY. The company claims that setup is easy and could take as little as 15 minutes, and for the most part, this is accurate. Many of its sensors and other wireless devices are peel-and-stick, and all system packages include a range extender to ensure all devices connect reliably.

Once you've found the ideal position for your Ring devices, most are easy to get up and running by simply plugging them in or installing their batteries. The only exception here is the Ring Video Doorbell, which requires removing your existing doorbell and wiring in the new device. Ring does offer video tutorials on its website, but if you're unsure about wiring your own system, it's worth contacting a professional electrician. While Ring offers only a 30-day refund policy for their systems, it does offer a one-year warranty on their devices.

Further Reading


Is Ring better than ADT?

When comparing Ring security vs ADT security, Ring is a great choice if you're looking for high-quality security tech that's easy to install yourself.

Is ADT better than Ring?

If professional monitoring and installation backed by one of the nation's top providers are your priority, opt for ADT.

Is Ring a good security system?

Ring is a good security system if you're comfortable with technology and don't mind doing the setup work yourself.

Is ADT a good security system?

ADT is a good security system if you prefer professional help for setup and monitoring.

How much does Ring cost per month?

Self-monitored Ring plans cost just $3 per month, while their professional monitoring plan starts at $10 per month.

How much does ADT cost per month?

The Essentials plan from ADT costs $36.99 per month for professional installation and monitoring.

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