Estimated annual cost: $600-$675

What you get:

  • 1 wireless keypad
  • 1 central control station (also with a keypad) – requires direct ethernet hookup from router
  • 4 window/door sensors
  • 1 motion sensor – can set it not to detect pets up to 80 lbs which is nice.
  • 1 smoke detector (also centralized)
  • 1 key fob
  • The yard sign



  • Slight Discount on Homeowners Insurance – I’m sure this ultimately boils down to a kickback to the insurance companies, but I suppose it can be argued that the central burglary and fire alarm makes you a less risky insurance client.
  • Peace of Mind – the comfort of knowing an activated alarm will alert the proper authorities – whether it be the police or fire department – goes a long way for some people.
  • ADT Pulse App for activating/deactivating alarm and viewing sensor activity – i know having an app these days isn’t the sexiest feature, but when it comes to home security it’s definitely useful to have

Cons (most important con is last):

  • A Separate App to Manage Billing – baaaaaaaaaah, major pet peeve here. I guess having the functionality of both the alarm activation (mentioned above) and account management would make the app too ‘busy?’ Requires too much horsepower from your smartphone? I don’t know but it’s about a 6 out of 10 on the annoying scale
  • Wireless Keypad Light does not appear to dim or ever turnoff – can be annoying if you intend to have a panel in a place you like to have darkness. Like a bedroom.
  • EVERGREEN BILLS – I put this in all caps for a very important reason. One thing I hate most are bills that can potentially go on forever a.k.a. Evergreen Bills. Other examples include cable, internet, Spotify, Netflix, etc. To be clear, I promise I’m not a lunatic. I do subscribe to Netflix and Spotify. And I do thankfully have internet. But the point I’m trying to make is taking a moment to realize what you’re paying for, how much you’re paying for it and how long you’re paying it.

In this case, we signed up for ADT about 18 months ago. There was a $277.38 installation fee and then recurring monthly charges beginning at $50.66. Since then recurring charges have increased to $55.32 and there’s the occasional $8 fee that pops up which is typically a pass-through expense from the local government (permits, tax, etc). So after the installation cost, you’re looking at over $600 a year initially plus the expectation of annual increases forever. For most, this isn’t a figure that breaks the bank but it is enough to make you weigh options.

Rather than a replacement central alarm company, what I’m really getting at is potentially purchasing a non-centralized (also called Self-Monitored), one-time purchase system that works over your wifi. Some examples are Arlo Pro by NETGEAR, SimpliSafe, or Ring. Most of these could also include video surveillance which is a nice added feature. They tend to have significant upfront costs that are in the multiple hundreds of dollars. But comparing that to the evergreen cost of the ADT system, maybe it’s worth it?

Dad Guide Conclusion

It’s truly going to boil down to what’s most important to you. Make a T-chart, a pro/cons list, or whatever it takes but I think it’s worth the exercise to potentially save some serious coin in the long run.

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