We spent more than eight months testing the best home security systems and dug into the details of each major provider. With this research under our belts, we took a closer look at Vivint and Frontpoint to see how the companies stack up when it comes to price, contracts, and installation. We took a particularly close look at each company's home automation capabilities. Both offer high-tech features that will bring your home into the 21st century. Still, there are differences in how Vivint and Frontpoint approach home automation that might make one better aligned with your family's security needs.
Vivint vs. Frontpoint overview
J.D. Power Provider Satisfaction Rating
Available home security plans
4 or 5 years
No-contract option with the upfront purchase of equipment
1 or 3 years
Most home security systems come with a contract. While this can vary anywhere from one to five years, the average length is about three years. It's good to consider a company's contract length even if you plan on staying in your home for many years to come, but it's especially important if you plan on moving. Some companies will make you pay early termination fees if you choose not to transfer service to your new home.
Frontpoint offers both one-year and three-year home security contracts, but its three-year contract has better rates and includes a lifetime warranty on the equipment. A contract with Vivint will be either four or five years long -- above average for the home security industry. The company does offer a no-contract option, which is great for renters or those planning to move soon. However, this option requires you to purchase your equipment when you sign up for service, making it more expensive upfront.
Starting prices for professional monitoring with Vivint and Frontpoint are relatively similar. For Vivint's Smart Protect plan, pricing starts at $39.99 per month. This price, however, doesn't include the price of equipment or installation fees. Frontpoint's Protection plan starts at $34.99 per month, not including equipment costs. Because Frontpoint has do-it-yourself installation, you won't have to pay an installation fee.
Equipment costs vary depending on which plan you choose and whether you customize your package with add-ons like an extra window or door sensors. Vivint requires a minimum equipment purchase of $599.99. This cost can be financed over 60 months with a 0% APR -- making it an additional $10 per month on top of your monthly plan. You can also purchase equipment upfront to avoid being stuck in a lengthy contract. Frontpoint's standard package starts at $130.95 and also requires you to purchase your equipment when you sign up. If you go with its Ultimate plan, you are locked into purchasing the Pro Cam package, which starts at $534.88.
Frontpoint doesn't offer professional installation. Instead, the company ships all the equipment and provides a step-by-step tutorial that guides you through the installation process. DIY installation saves you from an installation fee, but it also means you need to teach yourself how to use the system. And you won't have a professional's advice on where to place sensors and cameras based on your unique home's layout.
Vivint is one of a few national home security companies that require professional installation. Though the company charges a fee of up to $199, having a trained technician install your system can provide peace of mind. Your security system is guaranteed to be set up correctly, with no window or door is forgotten. A professional technician will also walk you through how to use your new system and offer advice you might not get from a DIY tutorial. If you want to ensure every nook and cranny of your home is safeguarded, professional installation is likely your best bet.
In recent years, home automation has moved from a science-fiction novelty to an essential element of many people's homes. Many security companies now offer tech features like video doorbells, smart locks, and smart lights that seamlessly incorporate with your system. Most companies' systems will also integrate with your smart speakers, letting you arm and disarm them via voice commands. Some even operate as smart hubs themselves, making them the central control panel for your other smart devices.
If you're ready to transform your house into a smart home, look no further than Vivint. Named "Connected Home Company of the Year," Vivint offers an impressive suite of smart devices like Kwikset locks, thermostats, doorbell cameras, and garage door controls that can be managed even when you're not home. Vivint also pairs directly with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making it easy to operate your smart home with a simple voice command.
Frontpoint has home automation features like smart doorbells, locks, and z-wave compatible light sensors. But you can only use Frontpoint's automation features on its most expensive plan, and its equipment isn't as sleek as Vivint's. In addition, when it comes to each provider's app -- one of the central points of smart home control -- Frontpoint's app trails behind Vivint's with a 4.1 customer rating compared to Vivint's 4.6. While Frontpoint is a good gateway into smart tech, Vivint leads the home security industry in automation and is the company for those who want to build a complete smart home experience.
So, which is right for me?
Then you should go with:
Then you should go with:
Want the best home automation features available
Vivint's a leader in home automation and offers some of the most cutting-edge security tech in the industry. Plus, it syncs directly with your smart home speaker rather than having to sync through an additional app.
Need a low cost, entry-level home security system
Not only is Frontpoint's monitoring cost slightly less than Vivint's, but its equipment isn't nearly as expensive. This makes it a great option for those wanting to see if a security system is right for them before committing to a more costly provider.
Need professional installation for added peace of mind
Vivint is one of only a few national home security providers that require professional installation. Having a technician install your system provides the assurance that everything is set up right and in working order.
Don't want a long contract
Frontpoint is best for those who are new to home security or renters who want a monitored system but plan on moving in the near future. It offers a one year contract which is a fairly low commitment in the security industry.
How to compare home security systems
Decide on which advanced features you need
The more features you add to your home security system, the more expensive your monthly monitoring plan will cost. That's why it's important to really consider what kind of security system you envision for your home. If you don't want to build a smart home, a standard plan and equipment like window and door sensors will likely work best for you. But if you want to ensure your kids get home safely from school while you're at work, incorporating devices as a smart doorbell and locks will help. Before committing to a home security provider or a plan, research available features and make a list of those that align with your home security needs.
Research customer satisfaction
You're not just investing money and time into a security provider; you're also trusting them with your home's safety. Customer satisfaction ratings mean a lot and should be a critical part of your decision. Vivint, for example, has a 4 out of 5 Power Circle rating from J.D. Power, and the Better Business Bureau gives Frontpoint an A+. Dig into each home security company's customer reviews to get a good sense of everything from monitoring capabilities to equipment functionality.
Consider a no-contract option
Most home security providers require you commit to a contract when signing up for service. Contracts range anywhere from one year to five years, but many DIY installations still offers professional monitoring without requiring a long-term contract. Vivint also has a no-contract option if you purchase your equipment upfront. It's worth looking into a month-to-month option if you don't plan on staying at your current residence for very long or don't want to commit to a company for a lengthy amount of time.
Vivint vs. Frontpoint FAQ
Home security systems can be an expensive investment, but one major money-saving benefit is cheaper homeowners insurance. Homeowners can see up to a 20% discount on their homeowner's insurance if they install a monitored security system. Such a discount could save you hundreds of dollars per year, making the actual cost of your system more affordable.
Yes, but some companies will charge you a fee for activation and installation. Others will also require you to be a customer for a certain period or make you sign a new, longer contract. Some companies, however, have no fees or stipulations at all. If you intend on moving mid-contract, read the fine print before choosing your company, so you're not surprised by any charges or stipulations come moving day.
If you signed a contract with a home security provider, chances are you will have to pay a fee if you choose to cancel. Some companies will let you find someone qualified to take over your contract, but usually, you'll end up paying out a large portion of the remainder of your contract. The exact amount depends on which security company you signed up with and how long you have left on your contract. Before signing with anyone, check their early termination policy to ensure it's one you can afford should you need to cancel.
The best home security systems are both functional and easy-to-use. A security camera with flashy futuristic features isn't worth the price tag if you can't effectively use it. That's what we found to be the case in our review of the best home security cameras.
We've found the monthly monitoring costs for home security systems to range from $15 – $35. Of course, this price is subject to change depending on the various plans and packages offered by the provider in question. We recommend shopping around and getting quotes from several providers when looking for the best possible monthly price.
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