In the world we live in today, professional monitoring has become quite necessary. Security and alarm systems are no longer just a luxury feature reserved for big business establishments and rich men’s homes. As long as you value your home, regardless of its size, and the loved ones living in it, you do everything to protect it. And one of the best ways to do that is to equip it with a security system.
Two of the most notable names in the field of professional monitoring and security systems are Nest and ADT Security. How do they compare with each other and which of the two is the better choice?
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Nest Secure
- 2 Devices and specs
- 3 Professional monitoring
- 4 Plans
- 5 Reviews for the Nest Secure
- 6 ADT Home Security
- 7 Devices and specs
- 8 Plans
- 9 Reviews
- 10 Comparing ADT and Nest
- 11 Which one wins?
Nest Secure is a DIY alarm system that prides itself for being tough on intruders and easy on you. This means that, unlike most security systems that are designed around intruders, Nest also has the homeowner in mind. You can customize your system, arm and disarm your alarms from anywhere using the Nest app or Google Assistant, get reminders if you forgot to arm your alarm, and enter passcodes – or not. You also don’t have to deal with loud beeps and stressful countdowns, and you don’t have to rush out the door before the alarm goes off.
Plus, you can set schedules for when you have to let a friend or guest inside at a certain time so you don’t actually have to be there to open the door.
Devices and specs
The Nest Secure alarm system is composed of three all-white Nest devices: Nest Guard, Nest Detect sensors, and Nest Tag.
The Nest Guard serves as the security base and “brain” of your alarm system. It has a built-in keypad on the flat surface at the top, a siren, and a motion sensor. This device monitors all the other devices in the system, and it can arm and disarm your alarms using a passcode, the Nest Tag, or the Nest app. The Nest Guard also has a built-in Google Assistant, which you can use to arm your alarm.
The Nest Guard has a built-in speaker and microphone, too. It talks with a friendly voice and allows you to control your security system from your phone. What’s more, this device has a tamper detection sensor that keeps other people from messing with it.
The Nest Guard has a short cylindrical form that measures 3.7 inches in diameter and 2.1 inches in height. Its cable is 6 feet long. It weighs 9 oz without the cable.
The Nest Detect is a motion detector and entry sensor. It can tell when a door or window closes and opens. It can also detect motion if the object in question is up to 15 feet away in a room.
The Nest Detect is easy to install. You can stick the device on your door or window and you can connect it to the security system using the Nest app.
This device has other nifty features, including:
- Open tone. This would sound if you left the door open.
- Quiet open. This allows you to open your door or window without triggering the alarm system even when it is armed.
- Pathlight. This lights your way in the dark by giving off a soft glow from a LED light.
- Dog pass. With this feature, you don’t have to worry about alarms going off every time the sensor detects your dog passing by.
The Nest Detect has a height of 3.2 inches, a width of 0.8 inch, and a depth of 0.9 inch. The open/close magnet for the door is 1.3 inches in height, 0.4 inch in width, and 0.4 inch in depth. The Nest Detect has a button for you to check its status and the Quiet Open feature.
Up to 30 Nest Detects can be supported per home.
Aside from using the Nest app or a passcode, you can also use the Nest Tag to arm or disarm your Nest Secure. All you have to do is tap the Nest Tag on the Nest Guard. You can give a Nest Tag to family members, trusted friends, and other people you are allowing to enter your home without bothering you. Using the Nest app, you can also set a schedule for your Nest Tag, allowing it to work only at specific times. This particular feature is perfect for Nest Tags you give to people like your weekly cleaning lady or your dog walker. It allows them to enter your house when they are expected, but not when they aren’t supposed to be there. You can also revoke the permissions on a Nest Tag whenever you deem it necessary.
A Nest Tag is small and light enough to place inside your bag. It measures 1.46 inches in diameter and 0.28 inch in thickness. It weighs 0.17 oz.
Up to 10 Nest Tags can be supported per person.
If you want added security, you can subscribe to 24/7 professional monitoring services to help respond to Nest Secure’s alarms. With professional monitoring, a trained agent with Nest’s security partners will call you or your listed emergency contacts in order to confirm that it is an actual alarm and not just a false one. If needed, the agent will contact the police to respond to the alarm.
Cellular backup is included with a professional monitoring subscription. As the Nest Secure alarm system works over Wi-Fi, cellular backup ensures that the system remains to be monitored even if you lose power or internet connection.
To sign up for professional monitoring services, you must first choose from these two subscription plans.
- $19/month, with three-year agreement. With this plan, you get up to $360 in savings over the month-to-month plan.
- Or you can get a month-to-month agreement but the cost is $29/month. With this plan, you get a great rate without having to check any long-term commitment.
Reviews for the Nest Secure
Nest Secure is rated 4.8 stars out of 5.0 stars by verified Nest users on the Nest website. They love the modern and sleek design of the devices, and how easy and straightforward the setup process is. They also like how the components serve multiple functions, giving less need for more separate pieces.
Tom’s Guide, meanwhile, gives the Nest Secure a Very Good rating of 3.5 over 5. They listed the pros as including easy installation, a user-friendly app that consolidates everything, Google Assistant support, and handy key fobs. For the cons, they say it’s expensive, has limited third-party compatibility, and does not work with Nest security cameras.
On the other hand, Best Buy gives the Nest Secure a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.0 stars.
ADT Home Security
ADThas been in the business of providing custom-designed home alarm systems for over 140 years. It has a range of home security alarm products – from video doorbells, to indoor and outdoor cameras, to door and window sensors – that help keep an eye on things while you are away from home. But the good thing about ADT is that it combines home security with automation.
To help you feel more secure about leaving your house, the ADT mobile app gives you a way to check on it remotely. You can arm and disarm your alarms, check your home automation status, and connect with or control your lighting, door locks, cameras, and thermostats from virtually anywhere in the world! The ADT mobile app works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Z Wave, and Kwikset.
Devices and specs
ADT Security Alarm System offers these devices:
Home Security Keypad
This serves as the central command for your home security system. The security keypad supports many home automation and life safety devices simultaneously, enabling you to build and customize the security system that suits you.
ADT’s selection of security keypads offers additional features like professional round-the-clock monitoring, reminder tones, separate panic buttons, and backlit numbers for easy readability, among others.
ADT’s motion detectors boast wide area coverage and automatic alerts and video transmission via phone or email once motion is detected. These detectors also have a pet-friendly feature, which allows you to set the motion sensitivity level based on the size of your pets.
You can also set your system in such a way that it turns your lights on if something triggers your motion sensor at night.
Door and Window Sensors
Door and window sensors alert you via phone or email when a door or window opens or when an unauthorized person enters your home. ADT offers different types, sizes, and shapes of door and window sensors and a variety of wiring options to fit different home designs and configurations.
Glass Break Sensor
This wide-range sensor can detect the sound of glass breaking, and will automatically alert you about it.
Key Fob with Panic Button. The easy-to-use home security key fob allows you to arm and disarm your home security system. It also allows you to call local emergency services for help by pressing the panic button when you are in danger at home. This device is convenient to carry and is compact enough that it fits in your key ring or your purse.
Like Nest, ADT also has a line of security cameras, as well as other sensors.
You can avail of ADT’s 24/7 monitoring for more or less $1 per day. This monitoring service contract has a lock-in period of 36 months.
ADT generally has three home security packages that all provide 24/7 professional monitoring: Traditional Control, and Video. However, these packages are bundled with other ADT products, like fire and flood monitors.
|Remote Secure Video||No||No||Yes|
|Email & Text Alerts||No||Yes||Yes|
|Remote Arm/Disarm Via Mobile App||No||Yes||Yes|
|ADT Go Family Locator App||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fire, Carbon Monoxide & Flood Monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|6-Month Money-Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Over 1,000 customers give ADT’s products and solutions an overall satisfactory rating of four stars out of five stars on the company’s website. Many share how effectively ADT’s products have helped them avoid fire, carbon monoxide leaking, and break-ins, and how its monitoring service has given them immediate response and help.
Meanwhile, ADT gets an overall satisfaction rating of less than 3 stars out of five stars on Consumer Affairs based on around 800 ratings submitted by verified customers in the last year. Most customers stated that they feel safe with their ADT system, but there are others who complain about overcharging and poor customer service.
Comparing ADT and Nest
ADT and Nest each have their own pros and cons. ADT, for one, has been around in the home security space far longer than Nest, and it is evident in their system’s comprehensive coverage. Meanwhile, Nest is a smart tech company that offers greater integration and compatibility.
Let’s tackle their similarities and differences one by one.
Hub to Router Connection
Your security system requires an internet connection in order to communicate with the different sensors and to call for help in case of an emergency. ADT’s hub requires direct connection with your internet gateway and this severely limits its flexibility when it comes to installation. You may not be able to put it in a central location.
Nest Secure, on the other hand, connects to your network via WiFi, allowing you to place the system wherever you deem it convenient.
Winner: Nest Secure.
Two-Way Audio with Monitoring Center
ADT’s main panel supports two-way audio with the monitoring center. This capability allows you to instantly connect with the ADT monitoring service hands-free. When a sensor is tripped and the alarm sets off, you will be automatically connected with a security professional and call for help if needed. This means that the dispatch of emergency services is expedited and response is quick. This automatic activation also enables the monitoring center to listen in on what’s happening at your home, so in the event of intrusion while the whole family is away, you can be sure that the police will be alerted.
Nest Secure, on the other hand, does not offer this feature. It is a little less convenient to connect with security professionals in case of an emergency.
In any alarm system, it is the siren that is responsible for alerting the family to any potential danger and it is also the one that scares off intruders before any real damage can be done. ADT’s siren is located in the main panel, but it also supports add-on sirens. In other words, ADT offers wide siren coverage.
With Nest Secure, the only siren is on the hub. It is very loud, which could mean that coverage is not a real problem. However, large homes are still better secured with sirens strategically placed throughout the property.
Both ADT and Nest offer an impressive lineup of sensors that work in tandem to protect your home. Nest Secure has sensors on the hub itself. So if you place your system in a central location, you can take advantage of its motion and proximity detection capability. This means that you can further stretch your security without having to pay for extra sensors. The hub also has an anti-tamper sensor, alerting you if intruders attempt to disable your system.
ADT does not have sensors on its main panel. So if you want to get more security around where you hub is placed, you need to get some extra sensors. And because the main panel does not have an anti-tamper sensor, your system is a bit vulnerable to intruders.
Both alarm systems offer video monitoring, but they have different approaches. ADT works with the ADR Wireless Cameras and the ADT Pulse Video Doorbell. These indoor and outdoor cameras and video doorbells are available with a 720-pixel resolution. The video doorbells also have a 180-degree field of view. The catch? ADT’s video system is a bit expensive, and the monthly monitoring service fee is sort of on the steep side, too. What’s more, ADT’s video monitoring solutions do not support audio.
Nest Secure offers access to a wide range of Nest cameras, as well as to the Nest Hello Video Doorbell. The video feed for these devices are of higher quality, with a resolution of 1080 pixels. To use these cameras with your alarm system, you will have to get a Nest Aware subscription, which has a lower monthly fee than ADT. Plus, the plan comes with useful features like Activity Zones, Person Alerts, 24/7 cloud recording, and Familiar face alerts.
Nest Secure’s wireless setup is an advantage as they allow you to place the hub or keypad in a central location of wherever you want for your family’s convenience. However, Nest offers no support for additional keypads, which may be a drawback for large homes.
ADT’s keypad cannot be placed just anywhere as it should be connected to your internet hub. However, they make up for this shortcoming by offering support for additional keypads. If you are willing to spend a little more, you can make your ADT security system more flexible than Nest.
So, Nest offers more flexibility out of the box because you can place the keypad wherever you like. But that advantage ends there. And while ADT’s keypad is not flexible by itself, you can make it so with a little more investment. ADT offers the option of as much extended keypad capability as you want by supporting additional accessories.
Both systems offer cellular backup in case the internet connection goes off. Nest offers it with their affordable 24/7 professional monitoring plan. And if you don’t want to subscribe to the plan, you can enable this cell service on its own for $5 per month.
With ADT, cellular backup is only offered with their subscription plans. So to take advantage of this, you will be locked into a multi-year commitment.
Remote Panic Button
In the event of an emergency, you need a panic button that you can use to call for help. ADT’s is a wearable pendant that has a separate button for instant calls to medical services, the police, and the fire department. So, if you are nowhere near or are unable to reach the main keypad, all you have to do is press this button on your person.
Nest Secure’s panic button is only located on the hub. The monitoring service center can immediately call for help on your behalf, but that may take time because you first need to reach the keypad or the main hub of your system. And considering that you only have one keypad, this may be problematic in the event that you are nowhere near it and are not in the capacity to move.
With ADT, you get comprehensive protection with optional access to motion, entryway, door/window, carbon monoxide, flood, glass break, and heat sensors. This means it is easy to cover the security of your home on all fonts, including disasters like fires and water damage.
Nest Secure only offers motion detection with the Nest Detect. While Nest Detect is a sophisticated device that can also serve as an entryway and a door/window sensor, that’s pretty much it. Nest does have its own line of smoke and carbon monoxide sensors — called Nest Protect — but this is a separate system altogether. The Nest Protect does not integrate with the Nest Secure.
Smart Home Integration
ADT supports Z-Wave, giving its system the potential for integration with a wide array of smart products. For now, however, ADT can only support a very limited number of Z-Wave devices. ADT also supports devices like the Kwikset Smart Lock, the Ring Video Doorbell, and even the Nest Thermostat.
Nest Secure’s proprietary technology, Weave, allows the system to communicate only with other Nest devices. But despite only having access to Weave and WiFi, Nest does a great job working with smart home controllers like Wink and Google Assistant. What’s more, even if it can only communicate with devices within its own family of products, this lineup is way more impressive than ADT’s.
Nest Secure is very easy and quick to set up. You only have to plug it in, position the sensors where you want them, and follow the rest of the DIY setup instructions. You can get your alarm system up and running in just several minutes. The system is also portable, so if you are renting, you won’t have problems taking the devices with you and setting the system up again in your new home.
With ADT, the installation is complicated and you will need a technician to come over and do the job. That also means you will have to set an installation appointment and plan your day around it. What’s more, you need to pay an installation fee of around $100 to get the system up and running. Moving homes is also a hassle because you would have to coordinate with a few people.
Which one wins?
Nest Secure and ADT do a great job securing your home. But as to which one wins, it depends on your priorities as a homeowner.
Compared to ADT, Nest offers a less restrictive subscription model, less expensive monitoring service, and better smart home integration with its lineup of smart products. You can enjoy its features without being bound by a contract. Moreover, it is easy and convenient to install, and you can do it yourself. So if affordability, convenience, easy installation, and integration with other Nest devices are your priority, Nest wins.
ADT, on the other hand, wins if you want a more sophisticated lineup of sensors, if you have an elderly or PWD in the family that makes the remote panic button a must, or if you have a large house that requires more sirens and keypads.
Alvin has been reviewing different types of technology from QR codes to the latest smartphones and robot vacuums for over a decade. Outside of technology, he writes about a wide variety of topics, including buses, travel, bankruptcy, healthcare, and cannabis. He was once so addicted to online shopping that he was on a first-name basis with delivery guys and courier services — and he shares his passion with all of you!