ADT Alarm Without Monitoring: Can I Self-Monitor?

ADT sign in front of bushesADT sign in front of bushes

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After 145 years of installing home security systems, ADT finally met its match with the vast array of DIY home security cameras, bridges, virtual assistants, and sensors from Eufy, Arlo, Ring, Blink, Alexa, Siri, and so many others. But no one wants to be tied down with contractual obligations anymore. With that said, when an ADT contract finally runs out, can you self-monitor?

Whether you can self-monitor with ADT depends on the system. ADT Command panels—and before that, Pulse—will still operate as a self-monitored system. However, there’s no guarantee this is the same with older systems.

Below, we’ll talk about what features of ADT can still be used with self-monitoring, as well as your options if you want to self-monitor but don’t want to be tied down with a contract.  

Can I Self-Monitor with the ADT Alarm?

ADT’s control panels for their alarm may work with self-monitoring, but it depends on who manufactured the device and how old it is.

Additionally, ADT control panels may only continue to work with window and door sensors; other ADT devices, like indoor cameras, will no longer record or save footage to the cloud (more on this next).

Will ADT Cameras Work Without Monitoring?

Unfortunately, ADT cameras won’t work without ADT’s professional monitoring service. These cameras record footage on the cloud, and without a serviceable contract between yourself and ADT, the Pulse and Control apps are inaccessible.

Will Other Cameras Work with ADT?

Interestingly, Google purchased 6.6% of ADT ownership in September of 2020. Not long after the purchase, ADT announced the Google Nest devices were now compatible with ADT services. The partnership links the Nest app (iOS or Android) with the ADT Control app (iOS or Android).

With that said, here is a list of ADT-compatible Nest products; if you lose your ADT monitoring service, these devices will still work when you self-monitor, especially with the Google Hub Max:

  • Google Nest Cam Indoor: The Nest Cam is a wired indoor cam with night vision, motion alerts, and a 3-hour snapshot history.
  • Google Hub Max: The Google Hub Max would give ADT customers complete voice control over their ADT security systems as well as the ability to view any camera notifications on the system with the Nest Hub Max screen.
  • Nest Doorbell: Includes Smart Alerts, night vision, HDR, and a vertical field-of-view.
  • Nest Cam Outdoor: 130-degree field of view, 24/7 live video, night vision, smart alerts, and weatherproof.

However, here’s the rub: they will only work with the Hub Max once your ADT service is no longer active. What you’ll essentially have is two security systems with the Google Nest devices communicating with the Hub Max via your Nest device and the ADT window and door sensors which will communicate directly with the ADT Command Panel or the ADT Pulse.

Using Blue by ADT Devices for Self-Monitoring

Blue by ADT is an altogether different animal. This is ADT’s pre-Google acquisition answer to the explosion of new, smart home DIY devices saturating the marketplace.

Blue is an ADT setup without an active contract requirement and a design that’s completely DIY. Since there’s no contract required, you get the best of ADT home security with products or packages you choose yourself and optional subscription plans. You no longer have to worry about contract renewals or extensions to keep your home security system up and running.

You’ll start with the Blue by ADT Smart Home Hub, where you’ll have three starter packages:

  • Build Your Own System: Comes with the base station (hub) and the Blue by ADT app for Android or iOS devices.
  • Starter System: Comes with two window/door sensors, the base station, a wireless keypad, and 30-days free professional monitoring.
  • Starter Plus System: Comes with 4 door/window sensors, 2 motion sensors, the base station, and 30-days free professional monitoring.

From either of the three starting packages, you can build your entire home security setup one device at a time. Blue by ADT has motion sensors, window/door sensors, indoor/outdoor cameras, doorbell cams, Wi-Fi extenders, Chimes, smoke/co alarms, and the entire lineup of Google Nest Aware devices.

If you’re worried about losing control of the majority of your home security system when the ADT contract is up, Blue by ADT—combined with Google Nest—is a great alternative to avoid the headache of dealing with a half-baked security system, restructuring your home security system, or renewing another two-three year contract.

Final Thoughts

Self-monitoring your own alarm system is what the majority of smart home security customers prefer. ADT’s old guard is still stuck on the long-term contractual obligations with limited capabilities without it.

There’s not much you can “self-monitor” without ADT service. However, ADT is moving in the right direction with its Google partnership and Blue by ADT. As of now, you can only expect your door and window sensors to still work with certain ADT panels.

With the new acquisition and DIY divisions, it’s worth hoping that ADT will let the long-term contractual obligations die a quicker death.

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