Vivint Inc. is one of the largest home automation and home security companies in North America. The company currently provides services to over one million customers and won Best Product of 2015 by PC Magazine. One major downside to Vivint’s service is it requires you to sign a minimum 42-month (3.5 years) contract with monitoring prices ranging from $39.99 – $53.99/month. See how Vivint compares to the top-rated home security companies below:
- Nationwide Availability
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
- Home Automation Options
- Remote Access via Mobile App
- Voice Control with Amazon Echo
Vivint is one of the few home security companies that is truly available in all 50 states, as well as service areas in Canada and New Zealand. In terms of equipment, Vivint offers some of the most advanced equipment in the industry, and is consistently pushing the boundaries of what home security can accomplish. The company offers a lifetime equipment warranty on all its home security and home automation devices, meaning Vivint will replace your equipment in the event that a device is defective, or even for just normal wear and tear. This warranty applies for as long as you are a paying Vivint customer. Other home security companies will cover defective parts, but not wear and tear.
With the base security package customers receive a touch screen control panel, smoke detector, door and window sensor, motion detector, and key fob. The key fob can be used to arm or disarm the system without needing to enter the home. Additional equipment can be purchased including a recessed door sensor, glass break detector, flood/freeze sensor, carbon monoxide detector, tilt sensor, small appliance control, and panic pendant. And through the Vivint Sky Mobile App you can control the temperature in your home, lock and unlock doors, arm or disarm your system, view and record live video feed in or outside your home, and more. Including voice control capability with Amazon Echo.
- Minimum 42-Month Contract
- Minimum $53.99/mo.
- Poor Customer Service
Not only does Vivint offer one of the longest minimum contract terms in the industry (at 42 months), but it does so while charging some of the most expensive minimum monthly rates (at least $39.99 a month). In addition to high monthly rates and a lengthy contract, customers will be required to pay at least $99 upfront in activation fees. Many companies charge zero upfront fees at lower rates and better contract terms. If customers wish to end their Vivint contracts in-term, they are required to pay 100% of the remaining contract balance.
According to the customer reviews posted to our site, common Vivint customer complaints center on the sales process, customer service, and equipment quality. Customers have complained that Vivint representatives have employed deceptive sales tactics, and have not been able to answer questions satisfactorily. Several customers have cited Vivint’s poor customer service, specifically with regard to billing practices, phone support, poor technician response. Lastly, many customers have complained against Vivint’s equipment, citing several malfunctions.
Technology and Equipment Overview
Vivint Sky, released in 2014, is an update on Vivint’s smart home hub. It features a touchscreen display with the SkyControl platform allowing you to control lights, thermostats, and door locks, as well as monitor video feeds from mobile devices, cameras, thermostat, and other products. If you have a smartphone, it pairs with a companion app for Android or iOS devices. You can also stream live HD video from installed cameras and Vivint Doorbell CameraTM, or watch and share recorded clips via the Smart Clips TM feature. The app promises real-time updates for your home through the mobile app like door lock and window status, temperature control, and motion detection.
Here’s what is included:
- 3 wireless door/window contact sensors
- Motion sensor
- Key fob for arming and disarming the system
- Main control panel
- Power adapter and battery
- Cellular card that installs into the control panel
Smart home services include:
- Doorbell video
- HD video recording
- Remote door access
- Smart temperature control
- Garage door controller
- Outdoor video
The equipment comes with a lifetime warranty. If for any reason a piece of equipment malfunctions or breaks, Vivint will replace it for no charge.
Pricing and Packages
Vivint offers three different packages: Smart Protect, Smart Protect and Control, and the Smart Complete. These packages range in equipment and features included as well as monthly monitoring fees and installation requirements. Packages start at $39.99/month and an activation fee ranging from $99 – $199 may apply.
|Standard Security Equipment
Smart Protect & Control
Contract and Cancellation
Vivint provides their customers with all of the equipment throughout the duration of the service. New customers are eligible for up to $1,500 worth of free equipment which can also include free installation if applicable. With these perks, Vivint does require a long-term commitment.
Customers are required to commit to a 48-60 month monitoring agreement. Customers are only eligible for these contracts if they have a decent credit score and own the home. Other taxes and fees may apply when installing and when canceling. There is a grace period for customers to cancel Vivint services without a penalty. However, after this period, customers will be required to pay out the remainder of the contract.
Vivint requires that one of their certified technicians install their home security system. There is no DIY option for Vivint customers. Coordinating with home security technicians can be a little difficult. Homeowners are required to be present throughout the duration of the installation process and on average it takes 1-4 hours.
While the installation itself may be “free,” there is often times an activation fee associated with Vivint’s service prior to monitoring officially starting (this does exclude the Starter Package which costs $399 to install unless upgraded to a higher tiered package). Activation fees range from $99-$199, but can be waived or vary in cost depending on the package and service selected.
Vivint’s monitoring service covers all of North America and New Zealand. Their monitoring centers are located in the United States. Monitoring services apply to all three of the Vivint home security packages. Features include:
- 24 x 7 x 365 monitoring
- Vivint mobile app on iOS and Android
- Vivint live service
- Immediate event notifications
- Severe weather alerts
- Around the clock customer care
There are upgrades available within the monitoring service for an additional charge.
Additional Information on Vivint Smart Home
With a qualifying credit score, Vivint will install and activate a top-of-the-line home automation system for $199 upfront, which is cheaper than most home automation packages. This system is a combination of home security needs plus extra technology that allows the home owner to monitor other parts of the house, such as doors and the thermostat from a smart phone or computer. Each system comes with the following:
- 1 touch screen panel
- 1 video camera
- 1 electronic door lock
- 1 smart thermostat
- 1 small appliance control
- 12 energy-efficient light bulbs
- 3 door/window sensors
- 1 motion detector
- 1 key fob
- 1 yard sign
- Video surveillance
- Remote temperature control
- Energy savings
- Severe weather alerts
- Vivint Live wireless communication
- Free app for remote monitoring
Through this system a customer can control almost all features of the home remotely: the doors, the thermostat, video surveillance, lighting, etc. The apps are free, which is an added bonus considering many companies charge extra for those. Also, it provides emergency and non-emergency alerts, such as severe weather warnings and information on malfunctioning equipment. This offer is essentially a combination of the home security package and the energy savings package with the added benefits of remote access and total control from anywhere.
What is it Lacking?
While the Vivint package is one of the most comprehensive on the market, it does lack some of the amenities that other companies provide. For example, some companies provide weatherproof, wireless garage door sensors in their package which allows home owners the flexibility to control their garage door, gates, or detached garages. Other features that Vivint does not provide that some companies do are email/text notifications regarding the system, a no money back guarantee, and energy saving smart plugs.
What Does This Mean For You?
Even though Vivint does not provide all the services that some companies make available, between the price and amount of total features included in the deal their overall home automation package is one of the best on the market. Some companies require new customers to purchase each part of the automation individually (camera package, door package, energy package, etc.) which can add up quickly. Vivint includes all these features in one comprehensive offer which makes purchasing, installing, and monitoring easy and user friendly.
With over one million subscribers and over seven thousand employees, Vivint has grown over the last two decades to become a home security powerhouse. Their goal is to create simple and affordable smart home solutions with well-designed products and equipment. Their technology is designed to save time and money while simplifying security and automation.
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