Monitronics Home Security is currently (2014) the second largest alarm company in America. Before that, Broadview Security had held the number 2 spot for several years, behind security giant ADT. In 2010, ADT acquired Broadview, bumping Monitronics to the second position.
Maybe you’ve just moved into a home with an existing alarm system from either ADT or Monitronics Home Security. Or, you may be considering one of these companies to install a new alarm system for you. This page compares the two home alarm companies, to help you decide which one would be a better fit for you.
Both are large national companies that use many local alarm dealers for installation and service. Although you may be monitored by the national company (ADT or Monitronics), you get installation and service from a much smaller alarm company in your area.
Monitronics home security and ADT both use hardwired
and wireless equipment. Which type of technology to use is generally
dependent on the construction of your house and cost. A local authorized
dealer should be able to make the best recommendation, based on your
type of house and local building practices.
Both Monitronics and ADT will require you to sign an alarm contract, usually for two or three years. This buys you 24/7/365 “burglar” alarm monitoring. Fire protection in the form of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be added at additional cost.
Monitronics home security and ADT each offer medical alert reporting,
which can be through the alarm keypads and/or optional wireless portable
Beyond traditional alarm system functions, ADT offers their Pulse system, which combines home security, home automation, and video surveillance features. These are accessible via your smartphone or other mobile device.
Monitronics home security has their own integrated home product, called HomeTouch. Like ADT’s Pulse technology, HomeTouch allows you to remotely access and control your alarm, thermostats, and locks, as well as view security cameras.
In terms of numbers of homes protected, ADT is several times bigger than
Monitronics. The Monitronics alarm website claims 1 million customers,
while the latest Wikipedia figures for ADT are about 6.5 million (As of
For many years, ADT has always had a “go-to-brand system” for their new alarm installations. Historically, they have used private-labeled, “proprietary” versions of various Ademco home security systems. The ADT proprietary versions are physically identical to the original panel, but various programming changes internally render them un-usable by non-ADT companies.
Monitronics Security also had some similar proprietary systems
in years past, but has recently taken another direction. It currently
allows its authorized dealers to recommend and supply systems of their
own choosing for each customer.
This is usually a good thing; alarm systems can be complicated, and each brand of system is typically a rule unto itself. When alarm companies (and their installers) settle on a panel they like, they tend to quickly get very good at programming them. This allows them to become very good at matching the way the system behaves to the needs of each individual customer.
On the flip side, small local companies that are forced to use only
the alarm equipment specified by their big national affiliate company
may not bother to learn the finer points of system programming. This could lead to a less-than-ideal fit for the customer.
I still believe that in most cases, the “average” customer will be perfectly happy with the “typical” residential security system from ADT, regardless of equipment brand. If you happen to be extremely choosy about detailed alarm functions, you may be better off with a Monitronics alarm system.
The lack of any “standard” make and model of security panel explains why
you’ll have a tough time searching out “monitronics manuals”, etc. They
have used many different makes of alarm equipment, so there is no
single standard panel.
Monitronics can help you get a manual if you are (or plan to become) a Monitronics monitoring customer.
If you don’t plan on dealing with Monitronics, but still need to find a manual for your Monitronics home alarm system, you will need to identify the specific manufacturer and model information.
Because these alarm companies are so similar, I suspect that some sort
of merger or acquisition of Monitronics by ADT may be coming soon.
After all, ADT bought out Broadview Security just a few years ago, and many of those existing accounts were using “legacy” Brinks systems that were several years older than current technology.
It would only make sense to me that Monitronics home security would be an even easier fit with ADT’s business model.
Of course, these are just my opinions, and I have no evidence or knowledge of what may actually happen. As they say, “time will tell”…
Monitronics home security and ADT both have extensive track records, and provide high quality home security systems to meet any need you’re likely to have. You probably can’t go wrong in choosing either of these companies to install a new system, or to monitor any existing alarm you might have already.
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