Vivint Home Security Review 2024: Excellent, but Pricey

Published On: May 2, 2024
Last Updated on: May 17, 2024
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Vivint Home Security Review 2024: Excellent, but Pricey

Vivint's smart home features make it a worthwhile security system for big budgets.

Vivint Home Security Review 2024: Excellent, but Pricey

  • John Carlsen is a Utah-based tech journalist specializing in smart home and home security reviews since 2013. He strives to empower readers with clear, in-depth information on products and services so they can realize their household goals on any budget.
Our rating4 out of 5 stars
Subscription priceStarts at $39.99 per month
Upfront equipment priceStarts at $599.99


  • Best overall hardware, software, and smooth functioning user experience
  • Competitive monitoring fees among professionally installed system providers
  • Superb smart home and security controls on the Vivint Smart Hub and the Vivint app
  • Professional installation simplifies the process for new customers
  • Surprisingly transparent pricing at the moment


  • Outrageous equipment prices, especially for outdoor security cameras
  • Weak warranty support unless you sign up for the extended warranty
  • Restrictive return and cancellation policies

Our Advice

Vivint is one of the best home security systems for building a smart home and can even protect your car with the optional Vivint Car Guard service. Our Vivint tester loves how easy the system is to use and how modern it feels.

You should know that Vivint is a luxury home security system that demands premium prices, so I don't recommend it for budget conscious buyers. However, Vivint is a terrific choice if you prefer top-of-the line equipment and want to integrate a complete smart home.

Vivint Home Security Review Table of Contents

Essential Details You Should Know about Vivint

Vivint details
Contract length5 years
Requires contractOnly when financing equipment
Cancellation policyPay 100% of monitoring and equipment balance
Return/trial policy3 days
Professional installationRequired

The contract is the backbone of every home security system and the easiest way to tell if a brand is right for you. It creates the context for equipment, monitoring and customer support to actually matter. It's no coincidence that I'm starting this review with important contract details—if you want a Vivint system, you should go in with open eyes and decide from there.

Contract Length

Vivint's five-year contract is the longest in the home security industry—competitors like ADT and Frontpoint usually stick to three-year terms. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Vivint's 2023 annual report (super dry stuff, but sources are sources) estimates the average subscriber lifetime at nine years. Unsurprisingly, most people buy security systems for the long term.

Fortunately, the contract is optional—it applies only to Vivint customers who finance equipment costs instead of paying for everything upfront. Paying upfront puts you on a monthly contract that you can cancel anytime without additional costs. (I dig into equipment and monitoring prices later on.)

Equipment Financing

Not everyone can cough up thousands of dollars for security devices all at once—making Vivint's 0% financing plan awfully tempting and even necessary. If I lacked the cash to pay upfront and had to choose between interest-free payments or putting everything on a credit card, I'd go for the financing.

As with any financing plan, Vivint's lending partners will run a credit check to see if you're eligible, so there's a chance that a low credit score will disqualify you from getting a Vivint smart home system. If this happens, consider buying a DIY home security system with lower upfront costs.

Cancellation and Returns

If the time comes that you want to cancel early, Vivint will ask that you pay off your remaining equipment and monitoring balance, often a hefty total. Unfortunately, you can't pay off only your equipment to end the contract, but it can reduce monthly costs. You may need to keep your subscription if you don't want to eat the costs.

If you paid the full cost upfront for your equipment, you can cancel without any restrictions.

Vivint has the worst return policy—only three days to cancel after signing your contract. Sadly, this isn't long enough to get acquainted with your system.


All Vivint systems require professional installation, which costs around $200, though the company often offers this service for free as part of sales promotions. Although you'll need to schedule a service appointment, professional installation means you won't need any tools or spend hours following tutorials to get your system running. 

When the Vivint installer arrives at your home, treat it as an extension of your sales call. They may offer more devices than previously agreed upon. It's okay if you want more equipment, but it isn't free. Knowing this tactic can help you mentally prepare for additional sales pitches and choose what's best for your needs.

Vivint Equipment

Vivint home security smart hub on table

Our tester loved the Vivint Smart Hub's snappy controls, saying it feels more like using a tablet than ADT's wall-mounted control panel.

Exciting Equipment

Early in the 2010s, Vivint distinguished itself from other home security companies with an innovative equipment selection. It was one of the first modern home security systems to offer a video doorbell and compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat. That trend continues with plenty of recent products.

Vivint Smart Hub

While the Vivint Smart Hub isn't the only touchscreen control panel you'll find on the market, it's one of the best. It rests on a table and looks a bit like a smart display. Our tester is a big fan of how the Vivint Smart Hub uses a similar user interface to the Vivint app, which makes it easy to navigate since you don't need to learn multiple control schemes. As with the app, you can view live security camera feeds and control every smart home device in your Vivint security system.

Vivint app: Our tester strongly prefers the Vivint app compared to their experience with ADT's app—noting how it felt more intuitive overall, particularly when changing settings.

As the heart of your security system, the Vivint Smart Hub coordinates every sensor to keep you safe in an emergency—it even has built-in sensors to listen for glass breaking and smoke alarms. When armed, the panel can request assistance if an intruder or environmental hazard triggers a sensor in your home. Similarly, you can ask for an immediate emergency response by holding a dedicated button on the display for two seconds.

After the alarm triggers, you can expect a call from the Vivint monitoring center using the panel's two-way voice feature. The agent on the line will help you stay safe and keep you in the loop until help arrives at your home.

Because this is such a vital piece of equipment, Vivint includes one with every new system. While it connects to your Wi-Fi for everyday use, the panel also uses temporary cellular and battery backups to stay in contact with the monitoring station. This is crucial for situations where your home loses internet and power.

Our tester observed that the Smart Hub's battery doesn't make it portable, since the device complains after being unplugged for more than a minute. Still, it's easy enough to take the power cord if you want to move the hub somewhere else in your home. This flexibility is a nice perk compared to the wall-mounted panels from rivals like ADT.

Vivint Security Cameras

The specs on Vivint security cameras aren't all that different from the competition, and other home security providers certainly have the edge on overall affordability—particularly Ring. Still, each Vivint camera model sports an attractive design and brings at least one unique feature to the table.

  • Vivint Indoor Camera Pro ($249.99 upfront or $4.17 monthly) integrates a button on the camera to make it easy for your kids to call you using the unit's two-way audio function. It's kind of surprising that other brands lack a similar feature.
  • Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro ($399.99 upfront or $6.67 monthly) uses Smart Sentry person detection like other Vivint cameras but adds a noteworthy twist: Lurker Detection. With this feature, the camera flashes a light and plays a short whistling sound to warn trespassers that they're on camera. While it won't necessarily scare away everyone, most would-be burglars take off once discovered.
  • Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro ($249.99 upfront or $4.17 monthly) comes with person and package detection. These aren't groundbreaking features—but they make for a competent video doorbell that seamlessly integrates with your Vivint system. Our tester liked how this camera uses Vivint's Lurker Detection to tell people they're on camera as they approach the front door.

The Vivint security camera lineup shares many features, like microSD cards for optional on-device video storage with the Vivint Playback DVR add-on. This service gives up to 12 Vivint cameras the ability to save 10 days of continuous video recordings without an internet connection. It's also the only Vivint service with an upfront payment option if you don't want higher monthly camera fees. It costs $299.99 upfront or $5 monthly if you opt for financing.

You can also use the indoor and outdoor camera models as an extra chime for your Vivint doorbell. This is a handy way to help everyone at home know when a visitor arrives.

Vivint Spotlight Pro on brick wall

The Vivint Spotlight Pro is a pricey upgrade compared to floodlight cameras from other brands.

Vivint's final security camera offering is the Vivint Spotlight Pro, a floodlight attachment for the Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro. This upgrades the camera with the option for full-color video instead of the monotone infrared night vision. You can also use it for external lighting to help you work in the yard once the sun sets.

While I admire Vivint for creating such a useful accessory, the Spotlight Pro costs about as much as the complete floodlight cameras from brands like Arlo and ADT. When you combine the $250 Spotlight Pro with the $400 Outdoor Camera Pro, the total hits $650 for a single security camera setup. Very few home security cameras even approach the absurdity of that price. (Though it's not uncommon for commercial cameras.) That said, its integration with the Vivint smart home makes it worth considering if you have the budget.

Vivint Smart Lighting

Vivint's latest smart home equipment addition expands your system with the Vivint Smart Lighting Bundle ($299.99 upfront). This bundle includes eight smart bulbs, two light switches and a lighting hub.  I can honestly say the smart light bulbs are vanilla—they get the job done, but there's nothing special about them.

The Vivint Smart Light Switch is another story entirely. It's a simple flat panel that installs over your existing light switches for a clean look, though it can go on any wall if necessary. It comes in three sizes to fit gang boxes as large as three switches. Once installed, you can customize the switch to control any compatible smart light bulb in your Vivint smart home.

You can add more lights and switches beyond the starter kit, with switches costing around $30 apiece and bulbs costing between $15 and $35. Vivint also charges a flat $5 monthly fee to use Vivint Smart Lighting.

Vivint Car Guard

The last of Vivint's exciting devices is the Vivint Car Guard ($199.99 upfront), a small unit that plugs into the OBD-II port on most modern cars, so check your vehicle's compatibility before buying. Car Guard doesn't require a Vivint system to work, unlike other Vivint equipment, so it's a great way to track your car's location and status. You can link it to a Vivint system to get alerts at home when something happens to your vehicle.

Vivint Car Guard uses a cellular connection and GPS, so you can expect to pay a monthly fee of $10 for your first vehicle and $5 for additional cars.

Boring Equipment

Vivint Smart Thermostat on wall

The Vivint Smart Thermostat's large top and bottom buttons are very easy to use.

Vivint's other equipment is run-of-the-mill—with the same features that other home security brands offer. This doesn't mean these devices aren't useful—after all, every security system needs sensors—but I won't dwell on them.

Our Vivint tester found a few things they liked among Vivint's less notable equipment. They liked how the system added their existing myQ garage door setup to the main screen of the Vivint app for easy access. This is convenient for disarming your system and opening the garage door without hopping between apps.

They also praised the controls on the Vivint Smart Thermostat, saying they liked its ease of use. The thermostat's entire front panel is a huge switch that adjusts the temperature if you press the top or bottom.

Security System Controls

  • Vivint Keypad ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)
  • Vivint Key Fob ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)
  • Vivint Emergency Pendant ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)

Intrusion Sensors

  • Vivint Door & Window Sensor ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)
  • Vivint Motion Sensor ($100 upfront or $1.67 monthly)
  • Vivint Glass Break Detector ($100 upfront or $1.67 monthly)

Environmental Hazard Sensors

  • Vivint Smoke & CO Detector ($100 upfront or $1.67 monthly)
  • Vivint Water Sensor ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)

Smart Home Devices

  • Vivint Smart Lights:
    • A19 bulb ($15 upfront or $0.25 monthly)
    • BR30 bulb ($20 upfront or $0.34 monthly)
    • LED recessed can light ($35 upfront or $0.59 monthly) 
  • Vivint Smart Plug ($50 upfront or $0.84 monthly)
  • Vivint Smart Thermostat ($200 or $3.34 monthly)
  • Kwikset Smart Lock ($180 upfront or $3.00 monthly)
  • myQ Smart Garage Hub ($100 upfront or $1.67 monthly)
Vivint smart home support: Vivint supports third-party smart home connections to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest thermostats, Philips Hue smart lights and Control4 professional home automation systems.

I pulled the above equipment prices from Vivint's online shop. It's also available in the Vivint app, according to our tester. Pricing data for Vivint smart lighting comes from the product announcement as covered by TechHive. Monthly prices are based on Vivint's 60-month contract.

I want to note that seeing open pricing transparency from Vivint is a massive improvement. You'll still dig around to find it, but it's great for planning and comparison shopping. I still believe that Vivint's prices are too high overall, but that's mostly an invitation for the company to deliver exceptional products and services to its customers.

Vivint Monitoring Plans

Vivint plan breakdown (before taxes)
Base monitoring plan fee$39.99 per month
Cellular network maintenance fee$1.48 per month
Security camera add-on$5.00 per camera per month
Smart lighting add-on$5.00 per month
Vivint Car Guard add-on$9.99 per month for first car
$4.99 per month for additional cars
Equipment financing add-onDepends on the equipment you choose
Vivint Protection Plan extended warranty add-onDepends on the equipment you choose

Once you know Vivint's basic pricing structure, it's relatively easy to calculate how much you'll spend each month you have the system.

First, you start with the monthly base monitoring price of $39.99, which includes professional monitoring, mobile app controls and some smart home features. Next, you add another $1.48 for the cellular network fee, bringing the total to $41.47 monthly if you don't want any of Vivint's optional services.

Optional Services

Vivint's optional features are security cameras, smart lighting, Vivint Car Guard, equipment financing and the Vivint Protection Plan extended warranty. I couldn't find specifics on how much the extended warranty costs. But the fee likely relies on the total value of your equipment, like ADT's extended warranty does. 

While most add-ons come with predictable costs, watch out for the hard-hitting combination of security security cameras and equipment financing. These are surefire ways to balloon your monthly payment. To illustrate what I mean, here's a hypothetical Vivint system with the following three cameras and no other equipment beyond the few sensors included in every system:

  • Base equipment ($9.99 monthly)
  • Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro ($4.17 + $5.00 = $9.17 monthly) 
  • Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro + Spotlight Pro ($10.84 + $5.00 = $15.84 monthly)
  • Vivint Indoor Camera Pro ($4.17 + $5.00 = $9.17 monthly)

Between monitoring, financing and camera fees, you're already looking at monthly costs totaling $85.39 before taxes. That's more than double the base monitoring plan fee. Still, there's nothing wrong with adding home security cameras to your Vivint system or spreading out your equipment expenses using a financing plan.

At the end of the day, cameras and financing are little more than tools at your disposal—but it's always important to know exactly how much you must pay when signing a Vivint smart home security system contract. This is especially true when Vivint offers essentially no refunds. It will get its money either way.

Customer Compliments and Complaints about Vivint


On average, customer reviews of Vivint on Trustpilot and ConsumerAffairs are more positive than negative. Many customers commend the company's salespeople and installers for being kind, knowledgeable and professional. There's also plenty of praise for the Vivint app and equipment quality—our tester made a similar observation in their report. The trend of positive reviews continues on the Vivint app pages for iOS and Android, though the ratings hint at a better mobile experience on iOS.


The primary complaint about Vivint is the contract, the same as with most professionally monitored security companies. I don't blame customers for not reading the contract before signing—these bland documents are easy to ignore. Say it with me: "It's no one's fault when they don't read a contract. I'm just as likely to do the same."

In any case, customers must call Vivint to cancel. An agent tells them the only way to leave is to pay off a pile of equipment and monitoring costs. Anyone would feel helpless in this situation and write a negative review, hoping to warn others.

Another common complaint is the cost of Vivint equipment, especially when compared to DIY security systems. This makes sense because most of Vivint's equipment costs two to four times as much as DIY options. But it's important to note that DIY systems can cut costs because they don't need as many employees. Vivint's equipment and monitoring fees pay installers, sales agents and other employees. (Yes, they probably make a tidy profit, too.)

Getting Help for Your Vivint System

Customer Support

Vivint's customer support is robust, with plenty of troubleshooting guides on the Vivint support website to help you solve minor issues with your system. For other problems, you can reach out via chat or phone to get direct assistance. Still, large home security companies like Vivint aren't always the most agile when resolving customer service requests.


If your equipment is still under warranty, you'll get free replacements for faulty devices. Unfortunately, Vivint's equipment warranty is short at just one year. Plus, it doesn't include service calls after the first four months unless you opt for an extended warranty. The cost for service calls after four months is $99 per visit, so the small monthly cost of the extended warranty can help protect you from surprise maintenance bills, even if you'll likely spend more money over time.

Closing thoughts

I'll repeat my recommendation that Vivint's luxury home security system isn't for everyone, especially anyone new to security systems. But for people with the means, Vivint's approach to smart home security is one of the best on the market.

My criticisms of Vivint may seem harsh, but I know it can do better. I have similar expectations for all home security brands—they all have the potential to evolve while respecting your time, money and trust. Vivint's policies have improved in the years I've reviewed home security products. Notably, it has an online shop that shows most of its prices. I'm excited to see how it improves in the future.


Our Methods

I have over a decade of tech journalism experience reviewing and testing home security systems, smart home devices and other consumer tech. This experience has helped me build a deep understanding of the home security industry—giving me insights into the practices, motivations and strategies of the brands I cover. My ultimate goal is to provide the information you need to buy a product and confidently sign a contract.

How We Tested The Vivint System

Under my guidance, a Home Theater Review tester tried the Vivint system to provide insights for this review. They were a great help since I couldn't personally test the system in my apartment.

Rather than digging into technical details, our tests focused on the day-to-day experience of using a Vivint security system. Essentially, I wanted the tester's positive and negative impressions of Vivint. In addition to their report, they sent me photos, videos and screen recordings to help me learn about Vivint's equipment and mobile app.

What We Researched for Our Vivint Home Security Review

Hands-on testing is only part of the review process, so I researched Vivint from various angles for more context. I started by researching terms and conditions, product pages, equipment specifications and customer support articles on Vivint's website. From there, I looked into Vivint's customer reputation on third-party sources like Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs and the Better Business Bureau.

This is plenty of information to write an informative review, but I wanted to dig further into Vivint's business practices and regulatory filings to help bring everything into focus. This meant scouring press releases, news coverage, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cases and even the most recent annual financial report from Vivint's parent company, NRG Energy, Inc. You'll find links to every source I used somewhere on this page, whether it's in this section or a previous one.

After collecting the data, I assigned an appropriate star rating and compiled my findings in this Vivint review. From start to finish, I spent just under a week researching and writing.

We're working to overhaul our home security coverage to build timely, comprehensive reviews founded on journalistic integrity and excellence. We ask for your patience as we strive to level up. If you already have a home security system, you can help contribute to our research by sharing your experience in the comments or using our contact form.

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