Vivint Security Review
Combining total home security with advanced smart home automation features
What We Like
- Professional monitoring: All systems have the option of professional monitoring and cellular backup to secure homes.
- Integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant: In addition, Vivint works with Philips Hue smart lighting and Nest thermostats.
- User-friendly app: The Vivint app is easy to use on both iPhones and Androids.
What We Don't Like
- Expensive monthly monitoring: Vivint is not a cheap system. You could end up paying as much as $39.99 per month for professional monitoring, and that’s not including cameras, extra video storage, and other add-ons.
- Moving fee: If you move, you’ll have to pay $129 to get your system re-installed.
- No mobile app with self-monitoring: If you stop paying a monthly fee for Vivint, your system will become a local alarm system only.
Bottom LineNot only could we command Vivint using Alexa or Google Assistant, but it also worked with other IoT devices in our home, including smart bulbs from Hue and smart thermostats from Nest. The fact that Vivint installed our system for free wasn't bad, either.
Home security is one area of life that you definitely don’t want to skimp on. Having said that, just because something is higher-priced doesn’t necessarily mean it’s higher quality, leaving many customers in a conundrum. In this review, we’re testing out a security system from Vivint, one of the leading security system brands in the United States. With over 20 years in business, Vivint was acquired in 2012 for over two billion dollars and yes, that’s billion with a “B”. Today, they have over 1.4 million customers across the United States, so our experts wanted to see what all the hype was about. In this review, we’re testing out a security system from Vivint, one of the leading security brands in the United States. Is Vivint worth it or not?
Vivint Review Video
Want to see Vivint in action? Watch our full video review below.
Vivint Basic Security System Components
We ordered the Basic security system1 from Vivint, which included a Sky Control Panel, security sensors, a Kwikset smart lock, a video doorbell, smoke and CO monitors plus an indoor camera. Later, we added the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro to our system, which we also detail below. If you’re wondering how much we spent on our Vivint security system, check out our assessment of Vivint pricing.
Vivint Smart Hub
The Smart Hub, which is what Vivint calls its Sky Control Panel now, served as the touchscreen command center of our entire Vivint security system. Not only did we use it to control every connected device, but we could also watch live-streamed footage and speak through two-way audio right here, which is actually pretty rare from a security touchpad. On top of that, the Smart Hub is where we could arm and disarm our security system, press a panic button to connect with the monitoring teams, and even view cloud storage. Although we mounted our control panel to the wall, it can also stand on its own, kind of like a digital picture frame.
When it comes to home security, the main sensors we’ve seen are typically motion sensors, door sensors, window sensors, and glass break sensors, all of which we received from Vivint. Vivint’s sensors wirelessly connected to our Smart Hub. And being the brains of the system, the Smart Hub alerted our smartphones and Vivint’s monitoring centers when our sensors were tripped.
Ping Indoor Camera
Now, if you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re had tons of experience with security cameras, so naturally, we were very excited to try out Vivint’s Ping Indoor Camera. Video-wise, it impressed with a clear, 1080p HD display and a wide, 155-degree field of view.
The infrared LED sensors allowed us to see clearly at night, plus, as we mentioned before, we were able to speak to our guests through two-way audio.
We didn’t have any break-ins during testing, fortunately, but we took advantage of the Ping camera anyway by using it as a makeshift intercom. With a press of a button, we were able to communicate with family in the other room.
Unfortunately, the camera lacks local storage. Instead, we had to pay $5 a month per camera for 14 days of cloud storage, all divided into 30-second clips. However, there was another option if you want continuous recording for 30 days, namely, the Vivint Smart Drive, which costs $249.99. This was a bit expensive, so we stuck to those clips.
One more drawback of the Ping camera is that it detects motion, but can’t distinguish people from other moving objects. We received a lot of unnecessary notifications because of that. Still, as a security camera, Ping met our standards. It has great video, a sleekly-designed app, and strong integrations with the overall Vivint system. That being said, if you’re a pet owner, check out our best pet-friendly security systems or our list of the best pet cameras.
Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro
Not to overstate anything, but Vivint’s new outdoor camera is one of the most impressive models that we’ve ever tested out. First, let’s talk about video. Yes, it has that clear, 1080p HD display that we liked in the indoor camera, but on top of that, it also has 4K sensors, which means twice as many pixels as 1080p HD.
It also has HDR, which helped with light distortion outside. Throw in a nice, 140-degree field of view and the ability to zoom in three times optically and 10 times digitally, and the camera’s video was more than clear enough. The night vision and two-way audio also impressed, and the outdoor camera has the same storage options as the indoor camera. Again, we stuck with the included two weeks’ worth of storage per month rather than shelling out $249.99 for the Vivint Smart Drive.
The night vision and two-way audio also impressed, and the outdoor camera has the same storage options as the indoor camera. Again, we stuck with the $5 a month plan rather than shelling out $249.99 for the Vivint Smart Drive.
But by far the best feature of the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro was the artificial intelligence. Unlike the indoor camera, the outdoor camera could differentiate between people and other moving objects, meaning we only got notified when it detected a person. This seriously reduced the number of false alarms we got, which was good because we have things to do and places to go, too!
Plus, if someone was on our lawn for too long, the camera actually lit up its red LED light ring and sounded warning tones, while sending us a thumbnail image of said loiterer. This was a bit much, especially when the postman delivered our mail, but it was definitely good for our outdoor security. Keep in mind that the siren goes all the way up to 85 decibels, about as loud as a snowblower, so the whole neighborhood could get involved. In fact, some of our neighbors told us that they could hear it from inside their houses!
On the flip side, one drawback of the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro was the fact that it’s a plugged-in camera. While this meant we didn’t have to worry about the battery running out, it certainly made our placement options a lot more limited, as it had to be near an outlet. However, once we got the proper extension cord, it didn’t end up being a problem. Overall, we’re more than happy with the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro, although it’s pretty expensive at $399.99.
The Nest Cam Outdoor we reviewed, for instance, cost $199, half the price of the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. However, the Vivint outdoor camera comes with person detection built-in, plus a smart feature that detects and deters loiterers. The Nest Cam Outdoor, on the other hand, requires a Nest Aware subscription starting at $6 a month to be able to use person detection. It doesn’t have any other smart detection features, so in our opinion, you pay for what you get with the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro.
Vivint Doorbell Camera
One really easy way to make it seem like you’re home when you’re not is to get a doorbell camera that lets you “answer” your door remotely. The waterproof Vivint Doorbell Camera, which works in temperatures from 14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, retailed for $249.99 at the time of our test. Vivint stopped selling the Vivint Doorbell Camera and replaced it with the similarly priced Doorbell Camera Pro later on. However, we are yet to test the new doorbell camera, so let’s talk about the one we tested.
For its price then, the Vivint Doorbell Camera was definitely a bit expensive compared to the industry average of around $190, especially when we saw that the camera’s video display was only 720p HD, not 1080p HD. When you consider the fact that something like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs $169 and has 1080p HD video, the Vivint Doorbell Camera seems even more overpriced. On the bright side, it had person detection, which the cheaper Ring Video Doorbell 2 lacks. In Ring’s lineup, only the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, and Ring Video Doorbell Elite have the same feature, and they all cost $249.99 or higher. So in terms of artificial intelligence, the Vivint Doorbell Camera’s value is on par with the competition.
In our opinion, person detection is an essential doorbell camera feature, especially since our front door faces the street. Thanks to person detection, we didn’t get alerted of every car passing or every squirrel running by. Instead, we only received alerts when there were actual people at our door.
Although the video quality wasn’t as clear as we would’ve liked, the 180-degree field of view gave us the widest possible image of our front yard, which we appreciated. Of course, it had pretty clear infrared night vision and the same storage options as Vivint’s other cameras.
When we reviewed the Vivint Doorbell Camera, we went ahead and hardwired it to our existing doorbell setup. However, for those who want to go wireless, it can run on batteries, too, for three to five years.
As for the new doorbell camera from Vivint, the Doorbell Camera Pro, it fixed a lot of the issues that we had with the original. For example, it has that clear, 1080p HD video plus HDR, which helps with interference from the sun. It’s totally wireless, and it even has detection for packages as well as people! Since it also sells for $249.99, we think it’s of much better value than the original.
Kwikset Smart Lock
With a smart lock, we don’t have to worry about losing keys or getting locked out anymore. Vivint gave us a smart lock from Kwikset which we could either control remotely through the app or open via a numerical code, which was great the one time we left our keys at the office. We gave 30 unique codes to people so that they could come in when we weren’t home, which we used for friends, family, and even the house sitter. And even though a third party, Kwikset, manufactured the lock, we had fun connecting it to other home automation devices and creating automated actions. For us, that meant having the doors unlock when the smoke alarm went off, which brings us to our next point…
Did You Know: Don’t leave a key under that mat. Rather, use a smart lock that lets you give users unique access codes.
Vivint also gave us a WiFi-connected smoke alarm so that we’d receive alerts if it went off, even when we weren’t home. It protected a 35-foot radius and had an 85-decibel siren and a five-year battery life. In our experience, it worked well, alerting us as soon as we burnt our popcorn (which is too easy to do, by the way). It was cool to see how the smoke alarm tested itself throughout the day to ensure it had enough power and connected with the control panel properly; with so much self-testing, we felt protected from smoke and fires.
Vivint offers a nearly identical detector, except that it detects carbon monoxide and not smoke. While we didn’t actually release dangerous levels of CO into the air (as it can be deadly if you ingest enough of it), the detector impressed us with the fact that it linked up with other connected devices. For example, if it goes off, the doors will automatically unlock, the window sensors will automatically disarm and the furnace fan will turn on, allowing for ventilation and an easy escape. Basically, the CO detector does more than beep!
Finally, Vivint offers a water sensor that prevents leaks, which we placed near our washing machine (although it can be anywhere that leaks can occur). The water sensor is also wireless and has a battery life of three to six years. And that’s it for Vivint’s components!
Vivint and the Smart Home
We’re huge smart home nerds, so imagine our excitement to see that Vivint home automation works with both Alexa2, Amazon’s voice assistant, and Google Assistant3, Google’s version. Let’s talk about how we could command our Vivint system with Alexa vs. Google Assistant.
Vivint and Alexa worked together seamlessly. We used Alexa to control our Vivint-compatible Philips hue lights, smart thermostat from Nest, and Kwikset smart lock. Additionally, we used Alexa to arm our Vivint security system, although we couldn’t disarm it with our voice for security purposes. Lastly, we had Alexa show our live-streamed footage on our Echo devices, like the Amazon Echo Show 8 we reviewed, along with our Fire TV. It was great to see our footage on the big screen!
Alexa wasn’t the only voice assistant we commanded. Google Assistant performed the exact same functions as Alexa, except we viewed our footage on our Google Nest Hubs and Google Nest Hub Max instead of the Echo Shows. You can read our Google Nest Hub review and our Nest Hub Max review for more details about these smart displays.
All in all, Vivint fits in really nicely with any smart home, unless of course, you have the rare Apple ecosystem. But for most smart homes, Vivint is a great addition. Not only does it work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but we created automated actions like having our thermostat go down to 60 degrees whenever we armed the security system in away mode. Not only did this prevent us from having to adjust the thermostat every time we left the house, but it also saved us money on heating and cooling, a win-win!
The Vivint App
The Vivint app was our home away from home, a way to arm and disarm our system, control connected devices, speak through two-way audio, live stream footage, view cloud storage, and receive notifications when we weren’t at home. In terms of usability, we had no issues with the Vivint app and other users agreed; it has a 4.4 rating on the Google Play4 store and a 4.6 rating on the Apple store5. Easy to navigate and free of bugs, we enjoyed total access to Vivint using its app.
We’ve mentioned this before, but Vivint gives all of its customers professional installation for free, meaning that we got to sit back and relax as a professional installer did all the dirty work for us. But if you move, you’ll have to pay $129 to get your system re-installed, which is a bit of a burden. For those that want DIY installation, check out our review of Ring Alarm.
FYI: If you’re planning on moving anytime soon, plan to pay an $129 installation fee to move your Vivint security system.
Did Vivint Work Well?
SSince Vivint’s technicians did the installation for us, let’s talk about how well it worked post-installation. Using our system on a day-to-day basis, we didn’t encounter any problems, and we’ve had it up and running for over a year at this point. The Panel made the system really easy to navigate if you’re home, and the app made it easy if you’re not. Overall, the Vivint system is really painless to install and use. It’s also super durable; not one component has broken in our time using it.
Vivint Monitoring and Pricing
When it comes to monitoring, professional monitoring is a must for Vivint customers. Although you can cancel your security monitoring plan down the line and keep your Vivint system, doing so will deactivate all of Vivint’s smart features. Essentially, it will turn into a local alarm, relying on sirens to alert you. Also, keep in mind that if you financed your equipment, you may be locked into a contract. If you cancel, Vivint may charge you a hefty cancellation fee, and you may be on the hook to pay the full price of your equipment. It’s obvious, then, that the best way to enjoy Vivint’s features is to continue paying the monitoring fee.
TIP: If you want to self-monitor and still use the app, Vivint isn’t for you. Check out our best-unmonitored security systems for options.
We chose to pay the monthly fee to use the app, and the price was dependent on our equipment. Since we have nearly everything Vivint has to offer, we paid $49.99 a month, which included monitoring and cloud storage for our indoor and outdoor cameras.
Monitoring & Pricing Overview for Vivint
|Monitoring plan||Smart Home Service||Smart Security Service|
|Regular monthly cost||$39.99||$39.99|
|Discounted monthly cost(s)||$14.99, $19.99||$29.99|
|Monthly cost for cellular network maintenance||$1.48||$1.48|
|Monthly cost per camera for video service||$5.00||$5.00|
|Monthly price of Car Guard Service for the first device||$9.99||$9.99|
|Monthly price of Car Guard Service for second devices on||$4.99||$4.99|
Overall, we’d say that in terms of pricing, Vivint is certainly on the higher end. Ring Alarm costs only $10 a month for professional monitoring and cellular backup and even throw in 60 days of cloud storage compared to 14. So for those on a budget, Vivint definitely isn’t for you. On the brighter side, Vivint does offer deals occasionally. Pay special attention to Vivint’s Black Friday deals, as they’ve been impressive in previous years.
Support with Vivint
There’s no harm in asking for help! Vivint offers support6 via phone and live chat. We have had mixed experiences with the customer support team. When we first chatted with a representative, the connection dropped and the conversation ended. The next time we tried to click on the “Support Chat” button, it was not clickable. As we much prefer chatting online over speaking on the phone, this was a bit annoying.
Vivint really wants you to call and speak to their representatives, so we called to ask for some information about Vivint’s discount packages, and 25 minutes later, we still did not have all the information we wanted. All in all, it was not a great experience; we were on hold for a while, then transferred between multiple people, and told to “look at the website”, which has little to no information on it regarding packages. So when it comes to customer support, Vivint wasn’t up to par with Frontpoint, whose representatives were truly helpful when we reviewed Frontpoint’s system. In fact, if you’re looking to find answers to your questions about Vivint, we suggest you check our Vivint FAQ page before calling Vivint.
Although Vivint certainly has its disadvantages, which mostly had to do with pricing, as a security system it worked really well. The Outdoor Camera Pro, in particular, impressed us, and the entire system integrated nicely into our existing smart home ecosystems. We’d recommend it for some people more than others, fully broken down below.
Buy Vivint if you want:
- Professional installation: You won’t have to lift a finger (or pay a penny) to get your Vivint security system installed.
- High-quality outdoor camera: Although it’s pricey, the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro was one of the most impressive outdoor cameras we’ve ever tested.
- Google and Amazon integration: Whether you use Google Assistant or Alexa as your voice assistant, Vivint will fit right into your smart home.
But don’t buy Vivint if you’re prioritizing:
- Affordability: From equipment to monthly fees, Vivint is certainly not the cheapest option around.
- DIY installation: Especially if you move your Vivint security system, you’ll have to pay a $129 fee for professional installation.
- App use without monthly fees: Unfortunately, if you want to use the Vivint app, you’ll need to pay a minimum of $39.99 a month.
How much does Vivint cost per month?
Vivint costs $39.99 per month. The price includes remote control of your system, 24/7 customer support online and over the phone, in-home technician services, and equipment warranties. You can cancel your contract afterwards and stop paying monthly fees, but doing so will cost you access to the Vivint app and professional monitoring.
Is Vivint a good company?
Vivint is a decent company, although it has gotten in legal trouble for its aggressive sales tactics and deceptive marketing in the past. However, it does provide a new security system with Alexa and Google Assistant integrations, free professional installation, and an easy-to-use app.
Is Vivint better than ADT?
We believe that Vivint and ADT are on the same playing field, so it depends on what you’re looking for. While ADT has more monitoring options, as it supports landline and cellular-based monitoring, Vivint wins for customer support and its app.
Can I cancel Vivint?
You can cancel Vivint if there was a death of a close one, a bankruptcy, a transition to an assisted living home, or another extenuating circumstance. Otherwise, users may not be able to get out of their contracts, if they financed their equipment.
Can Vivint see my cameras?
For customers that pay for professional monitoring, the monitoring team can check into their cameras if alarms go off in order to verify emergencies.
Does Vivint run a credit check?
For users financing their Vivint equipment through FlexPay, Vivint will run a credit check. However, Vivint won’t run a credit check for users paying for their equipment upfront.
Vivint. (2020). Best Home Security Systems & Burglar Alarms. vivint.com/packages/home-security
Amazon. (2020). Vivint.SmartHome – Complete App.
Google Assistant. (2020). Vivint Smart Home. assistant.google.com/services/a/uid/000000e1828451d2?hl=en_us
Google Play. (2020). Vivint Smart Home App.
Apple App Store. (2020). Vivint Smart Home App.
Vivint. (2020). Vivint Support. support.vivint.com/