Over the past few years, GearBrain has tested many versions of ADT's do-it-yourself (DIY) home security system called Blue by ADT. The first one, Lifeshield Home Security System, got a refresh, with additional features and functions from its new parent company. Then ADT rebranded the system "blue by ADT," introducing new cameras to the system, along with now a new DIY smart home security system. ADT sent us the new system, and here's what we found in our testing.
What is the Blue by ADT smart home security system?
Blue by ADT is the latest version of the company's DIY smart home security system, and includes a smart home hub, door and window sensors, a motion sensor and flood sensor. You can also add other Blue by ADT devices like a doorbell camera, an Extender + Chime, an indoor camera and a wireless outdoor camera. And you can pick up all of these devices in two different colors, pearl grey and also graphite.
The system features 24/7 alerts through the Blue by ADT free mobile app, tamper alerts and a 24-hour battery backup. The system works over Wi-Fi, with a cellular backup, and has a built in keypad (but no backlight), a panic button, unique arm and disarm codes. You can also create smart home rules over Z-Wave and link up smart lights, appliances, locks, thermostats, and garage door openers. And the entire thing can be monitored by you for free or professionally monitored over 24 hours, with coverage that starts at $19.99 a month, and doesn't require a long term contract.
New Blue by ADT HubGearBrain
If you have an ADT security camera there are three plans for you to choose. Each camera comes with 24-hour video storage for free and you can purchase a 60-day video storage plan for one camera starting at $2.99 per month. If you have several cameras, you need to go with ADT's 60 day video storage for unlimited cameras which costs $12.99 per month.
In addition to the professional monitoring plans, Blue by ADT devices can also be purchased individually or you can build your own system which starts at $179.99, with packages that include the smart home hub with integrated keypad, the free mobile application, an ADT yard sign, and window stickers. If you want a prebuilt system, Blue by ADT offers two types: a starter system and a starter plus system. A starter system includes the smart home hub with an integrated keypad, two door and window sensors, a yard sign, one windows sticker (pack of four). The cost for this system is $219.99. The starter Plus System includes a smart home hub with integrated keypad, 4 door and window sensors, 2 motion sensors, a yard sign, one window sticker (pack of four). The cost for this system is $299.99.
Here is a breakdown for each of Blue by ADT devices that make up your DIY smart home security system:
Blue by ADT door and window sensors:
Blue by ADT sensors include door, window and motion.
- Blue by ADT door and window sensors: These $14.99 sensors are used to help secure windows and doors in your home, and can be placed on windows and doors far from the hub. They're battery-powered, have built-in tamper notification, and can be mounted on a door window frame using double sided tape or screws if needed, both of which are included in the kit. You can adjust the entry and exit delay time for the security system or have the chime play on your Blue by ADT smart home hub when a sensor is activated. The sensors come with an alarm type configurable for away only, staying away arming mode, and convenience mode.
Blue by ADT motion sensor:
New blue by ADT motion sensor
- Blue by ADT motion sensor: This $24.99 sensor lets customers know when movement is detected inside your smart home. They include pet friendly motion detection., built-in tamper notification, custom sensor naming, and can be configurable for entry and exit delay time for your system. You can also configure the alarm for away only, staying away arming mode, and convenience mode.
Blue by ADT Flood and Temperature Sensor:
- Blue by ADT Flood and Temperature Sensor: To help you monitor at risk areas for leaks or water damage Blue by ADT has a $34.99 battery-operated flood sensor. This helps people catch leaks before they cause any water damage in two areas in your house including basements, attics, second homes or flood prone properties. Features include custom sensor naming, moisture detection and coming soon, temperature configuration with rules.
Blue by ADT Cameras:
- Blue by ADT Cameras: If you want to add cameras to your Blue by ADT smart home security system, Blue by ADT offers three types of cameras. They have the doorbell camera, an indoor camera and an outdoor wireless camera. All of these cameras come with free 24 hour video storage, but if you would like to keep your videos longer than 24 hours, there are two video storage options for you to choose: 60 day per camera or unlimited cameras plans.
GearBrain tested all three Blue by ADT cameras in 2020. We found them to be very reliable in securing your smart home. The Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera, priced at $199.99, monitors the front or back door of your house by watching for visitors or activity at the door. The camera features two-way talk, and people can watch live videos with a 1080P HD video resolution from anywhere using the Blue by ADT-Mobile app. The app also allows you to set motion activity zones for detection within a 9.8 feet range, and can also recognize familiar faces which will help you identify who is on the other side of your door.
The doorbell camera is powered by existing doorbell wires which need to be 16-24V, is weather resistant with a 180 degree field of view (FOV) and has an advanced motion and human detection sensor built-in. You can easily set up alerts to notify you when someone is at your door and push through notifications and voice announcements from compatible devices like a smart speaker or display by Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera installed.GearBrain
To help complement the Blue by ADT doorbell camera and any other Blue by ADT camera, there is the Blue by ADT Extender plus Chime. This device is a Wi-Fi extender and doorbell chime in one. It has a speaker, and can help extend the battery life for the Blue by ADT wireless outdoor camera by strengthening the Wi-Fi signal for the cameras. You get an extra alarm siren for your security system, and also custom tones for a doorbell or when motion events are detected. This Wi-Fi range extender can easily be added to any Blue by ADT system with professional monitoring if needed, and can replace your doorbell chime if you use the ADT Blue doorbell camera on your smart home.
Blue by ADT security cameras have also been reviewed by GearBrain. The Blue by ADT Indoor Camera costs $199.99 and features facial recognition, smart alerts and animated previews, full HD 1080P video resolution, 130 degree field of view, true day and night vision and customized motion activity zones. The indoor camera, also has dual microphones and PIR motion sensing, and can also support local SD card storage up to 126 GB and has a limited battery backup in the event of a short power outage.
The $199.99 Blue by ADT Wireless Outdoor Camera has also been reviewed by GearBrain and is one of our favorite wireless outdoor cameras. This wireless outdoor camera is powered by a rechargeable battery, has an IP-65 weather-resistant rating, and is fully wireless. It has night vision capabilities, along with customizable motion activity zones up to 16.4 feet using the free mobile app, and can support local SD card storage up to 128GB. Other features include facial recognition, smart alerts and animated previews, two-way talk, full HD 1080P video resolution, 130 degree field of view (FOV), a PIR motion sensor and a free 30 day video storage trial.
Blue by ADT Outdoor Camera unboxed.GearBrain
Smart Home Integrations
There are a lot of smart home devices that will work with Blue by ADT — but not all of the Blue by ADT devices will work with the professionally-installed ADT system. All Blue by ADT systems and devices do though work with Google Assistant-enabled devices, and you can have the voice assistant arm your system or interact with the Blue system. Some of the cameras and devices also work with Amazon Alexa smart displays and speakers. The company mentioned they are working on Apple HomeKit compatibility.
Blue by ADT smart home security systems and devices work on a Z-Wave wireless connection. If you have a Z-Wave device, you will be able to connect it to the Blue by ADT smart home hub. You can also use IFTTT to create smart home automations using their applets.
What makes Blue by ADT home security systems different from previous systems we have tested? This current Blue by ADT system is bigger — and now features a smart home security hub with new door and window sensors, motion sensors and a flood sensor to help secure your home. The system is also designed to work with Blue by ADT's new cameras which were introduced in early 2020.
This system is simple to setup and operational needs are minimal. But the overall differentiator between this system and previous Blue by ADT system is its flexibility. Depending on the size of your house, apartment or dwelling you want to secure, Blue by ADT can help you find all the right security devices and have them work seamlessly in one system with one app to protect your home. Flexibility and security are key for any DIY smart home security system, and you can also add professional monitoring services through this system. We also like how the company offers you one month of the first month professional monitoring for free. This will help you decide if you really do need professional monitoring for your home.
The new Blue system is also customizable. You can easily add sensors and cameras as well as integrate with Z-Wave devices to create the perfect smart home security system for your home. And you can control it all in one iOS and Android app.
New Blue by ADT Hub with Keypad but not backlit.GearBrain
Blue by ADT's new complete DIY smart home security system is reasonably priced, simple to setup and can be easily customized. If you live in a big house, small home, townhouse or apartment, we like how Blue by ADT can help you pick and buy the right number of devices for your home. And you can easily add professional monitoring services if and when needed. But, what we really like about the new Blue System is the smart home ecosystem.
Blue by ADT has a robust smart home ecosystem which allows users to add compatible smart devices and control them in the Blue by ADT app. This ecosystem is powered by Alarm.com, a platform developer and manufacturer of security devices who also has a big ecosystem. Since the Blue system works on a Z-Wave wireless connection, the Blue hub is able to connect with any Z-Wave device and allow you to control them in the Blue app. This simplicity is important to have in a home security system. As you add more devices over time, whether it be additional motion sensors, alarms, cameras or smart speakers and displays by Google and Amazon, you don't want to have to use multiple apps to control and monitor your system.
Blue by ADT camera lineupGearBrain
Who should buy a Blue system? If you are a homeowner in need of a smart home security system and don't want to set it up by yourself, Blue by ADT is not a good solution for you. You should look at professionally installed and monitored systems by ADT which is a different and non-compatible home security system. If you are a homeowner in need of a smart home security system and don't mind getting your hands dirty by setting it up by yourself, Blue by ADT is a good solution. If you want a good reliable DIY smart home security system with a limited number of sensors and cameras but you can easily build on over time, Blue is a good system.
As we stated in the beginning of this review, GearBrain has tested many DIY smart home security systems including the many generations of the Lifeshield/Blue by ADT systems. All have been good and respectable smart home security system. In our minds, the latest version of the Blue by ADT is the culmination of years of pulling all the good reliable features of both Lifeshield and ADT to create a sensible, reliable and customizable DIY smart home security system that fits your home security needs and works with one app.
- Smart home ecosystem (IFTTT, Google, Alexa, Z-Wave)
- No monthly contracts
- System price
- One hub
- Cameras are pricey
- Keypad on the hub is not backlit
- No Apple HomeKit integrations yet.
Blue by ADT Starter Plus System – Easy, DIY Setup – Optional 24-7 Professional Monitoring – No Contracts – Alexa Compatible - Pearl Gray, Pearl Grey
Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine to see the other compatible products that work with Blue by ADT Smart Home Security System.
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