Vivint Home Security Reviews

Our Rating 2.5

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As of February 13, 2017, Vivint is restructuring its packages and contracts to provide a brand-new business model for consumers. This is a first look at what this means for the company, its existing customers, and its future customers. Vivint’s changes demonstrate a willingness to listen to the customer, and for that we say kudos. However, the company’s packages are still on the pricier side and potentially outside the budget for some people.

The bottom line is that Vivint now offers two monitoring packages for new customers, along with a required $549 base equipment package, which includes a SkyControl panel, two door/window sensors, and one motion sensor. If you want to purchase additional equipment beyond the base package, Vivint lets you finance the cost of the equipment over the course of a 42- or 60-month contract, but this contract is only required if you finance. Customers who pay for equipment up front and choose not to finance equipment are not required to sign a contract and can pay for monitoring month to month.

Vivint pros

  • Some of the highest-quality equipment on the market
  • More flexible and customizable pricing structure
  • More control over monthly costs with financing
  • Month-to-month contracts available

Vivint cons

  • Pricey basic equipment package
  • Additional equipment costs that can quickly reach the thousands, even for a medium-sized home
  • Can’t yet add a second line of credit to finance additional equipment

Vivint packages

Vivint has dissolved its equipment packages and reduced its monitoring packages to two: Smart Protect and Smart Home. Smart Protect provides home security only, while the $10-per-month additional cost of Smart Home enables home automation features.

Plan NameSmart ProtectSmart Home
View Plans
Monthly price$39.99$49.99
Financing contract length42- or 60-month42- or 60-month
24/7 monitoring
Automation options
Non-emergency alerts
SkyControl panel
Fire protection
Plan Name Smart Protect
View Plans
Monthly price
$39.99
Financing contract length
42- or 60-month
24/7 monitoring
Automation options
Non-emergency alerts
SkyControl panel
Fire protection
Plan Name Smart Home
View Plans
Monthly price
$49.99
Financing contract length
42- or 60-month
24/7 monitoring
Automation options
Non-emergency alerts
SkyControl panel
Fire protection

Smart Protect

Vivint’s Smart Protect is $39.99 per month, plus the cost of financed equipment. Smart Protect gives you access to sensors, cameras, and software that begin recording the moment they detect motion. None of the home automation equipment will be available with this package; for that, you’d need to upgrade to Smart Home.

Smart Home

Smart Home is the package to go with if you want to add home automation devices. At $49.99, Smart Home grants you remote control of your door locks, lights, and more.

Both packages are controlled via a Vivint SkyControl panel, although your smartphone is also a point of access. They both come with the same core pieces of equipment, and you can add more equipment on to create a custom package.

Contracts

Vivint’s new contract structure lets new customers choose to pay their equipment costs up front and pay month to month with no contract, or to finance the cost of equipment and sign a 42-month or a 60-month contract. Existing Vivint customers will be given the option to finance or go month-to-month after they have finished their current contracts. No changes are being made to the existing cancellation policies, and existing policy exceptions like relocation and military exclusions are still in place as well.

Equipment pricing

vivint elements thermostatQuality equipment comes at a cost, and that may be the most prohibitive aspect of Vivint’s business model. However, Vivint’s financing option is intended to ease the burden of those costs. As stated earlier, you can choose to pay the equipment costs up front or split them evenly over the life of a 42- or 60-month contract. There is 0% APR when you finance, so whether you finance or pay up front, you’ll pay the exact same amount for the equipment. You also won’t be penalized if you pay off the equipment early. Paying off the equipment early brings your monthly price to its base monitoring cost of either $39.99 or $49.99. You are still bound for the length of the contract.

For example, if you finance the basic equipment package with a Smart Home plan and a 60-month contract, your monthly cost will be $549 divided by 60 plus $49.99: a total of $59.14 per month. But what if you wanted to add more than the basic equipment into the mix?

Let’s say you want to add the takeover module, an extra motion sensor, and a Nest thermostat. Here are the prices for those pieces of equipment:

  • Takeover module: $69.99
  • Motion sensor: $69.99
  • Nest thermostat: $249

Altogether, your package would cost $938.98. Over the course of your contract, you would pay $65.62 per month. If you want to lower your monthly costs, you can pay part of the equipment costs up front. Continuing from the last example, if you paid $500 of your equipment up front, you’d only be financing $438.98 worth of equipment, so your monthly cost would be $57.31.

Vivint takeover

If you purchase a home that already has Vivint equipment installed, you can purchase a monitoring plan on a month-to-month basis without having to finance additional equipment. If you want more equipment, then you have the same options as a new customer: to finance or pay the full cost up front.

Vivint equipment

Vivint is one of the few security companies that designs and manufactures its own equipment. This has kept Vivint at the front line of technology with equipment like the SkyControl panel and the SkyBell smart doorbell. Vivint also partners with companies like Nest to give customers access to the Nest Learning Thermostat in their packages.

All equipment comes with a lifetime warranty as long as you are still a Vivint customer. The basic equipment package contains a SkyControl panel, one motion detector, and two door/window sensors.

Vivint SkyControl panelVivint Sky Panel

The SkyControl panel can be accessed remotely from any smartphone or computer. This grants access to all of the features of a Vivint system, from security to automation, and allows customers to use two-way voice to speak with someone at home or the Vivint monitoring station in the event of an emergency. If the power goes out, you’re still protected—a backup battery will keep the system running for up to 24 hours. Other SkyControl panel features include an internal siren and Crash and Smash Protection.

The SkyControl panel is also Z-Wave compatible, so you can connect home automation equipment that runs on the Z-Wave system.

Motion detector

The Vivint motion detector provides passive infrared detection and is pet-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about your dog triggering false alarms (unless it’s over 55 pounds). Vivint built these sensors with the smart burglar in mind—if a thief attempts to remove the sensor, the monitoring station is immediately notified. Each motion detector contains a lithium ion battery that will provide power for three to five years.

Door/window sensor

The door/window sensor alerts you when a door or window is opened. A single sensor can cover two windows that are close together, and it can be placed inside the frame of a door or window so the sensor is invisible. Like the motion detector, it’s tamper-proof—if a thief tries to remove it, it will send an alarm to the monitoring station. Also like the motion detector, it has a built-in battery that will last up to five years before it needs to be replaced.

Customer reviews

Because these changes are so new, customers haven’t yet weighed in on Vivint’s new structure. However, you can still check out what other people have to say about their overall experience with Vivint.

Positive

I had an impeccable experience from start to finish with my representative, Mr. Brandon **. I was one of the first houses in my neighborhood to get it, so naturally I was a little weary at first. Here I am 4 months later and I am absolutely in love with my Vivint system. I literally couldn’t imagine living without it. It makes my life substantially easier, as I can pretty much tap into my house at any time from my smartphone…even when I travel internationally. Customer service is always great too. I would highly recommend Vivint to anyone. — David of Miami, FL (January 21, 2017)

I have the numeric doorknobs, the motion sensors, the camera, the control panel and the thermostat. We just built a new home and we’re out here in the country so these features were important for us. The service is very good. My smoke detector is too close to my oven and every time the alarm goes off, Vivint calls right away and is right on their toes. Plus, the installer was very nice, personable, cleaned up his mess and everything was done to our satisfaction. Vivint is a nice system and I’ve enjoyed it. We have a lot of peace of mind; I can monitor my system from my phone and see what’s going on in my house when I’m away. I already recommended Vivint to several friends. — Maggie of Ball Ground, GA (January 17, 2017)

Negative

We signed up for Vivint home security roughly 6 months ago. When we initially signed up, we let the customer service representative know that we would be purchasing another home in the next few months. They informed me that moving would be simple. This is the worst experience I have had with a company. I have been without a alarm system for almost 2 months but yet they continue to bill me. When we call to inquire about the installation, they act like they don’t even care. — Louis of Ridgeland, MS (January 21, 2017)

Before we bought our house, I told myself that Vivint’s alarm system was something that I wanted to have. They have an automatic debit feature so I get to pay my bills on time. However, the system hasn’t worked out. The cameras started out well but they’re offline and it’s always something with them. Also, it works in the day but the night vision is not good. Right now my doorbell is out and I had an electrician come out before calling Vivint.

I would love to see them a bit more proactive with their clients because I really want their system. I wanna see them step up with how they are handling the fact that the cameras don’t stay online like they ought to be. They wanna blame somebody else. I have a big red note that says “Knock on the door because my doorbell doesn’t work.” Vivint eventually changed my doorbell, but I had to go through so much to do it. They changed out one of the cameras in my loft area because they said that they didn’t know how to get it back online.

We have started looking at another service because they said they can come in and just use what Vivint has and I could still have the alarm system set up. So I’m just trying my best another six months to see if the quality is going to change and the product is going to be able to stay online because I’m calling them too much with that. My whole experience with Vivint was a nightmare. — Denise of Manteca, CA (January 9, 2017)

What these changes mean for Vivint

We’re pretty impressed with Vivint’s recent changes, which show the company has been listening to customer feedback. With simplified pricing plans, flexible contracts, convenient financing options, and more customizable equipment packages, we think Vivint is taking some big strides toward becoming one of the top names in home security.