Nest Secure vs. Vivint home security: Which should you buy?

Nest Secure
Nest Secure (Image credit: Google)

Nest Secure

The Nest Secure package is one of the best DIY home security solutions you'll find. It's easy to install without drilling holes and easy to setup. You'll probably have to buy more pieces and will still end up with a monthly fee, though.

Nest Secure

DIY and advanced

No-tool installation.
Tight Nest and Google Assistant integration.
Nest Secure is optional.
"Off-the-shelf" components.
Initial expense.
Basic package is bare-bones.

Vivint home security

Vivint home security is a professionally installed smart home security system. You'll be quoted a monthly price that includes professional monitoring, but it requires a lenghtly service contract.

Vivint home security

Professional option

Customized and complete package.
Professional installation and monitoring.
Smart integration and mobile apps.
Drilling holes is semi-permanent.
Contract required.

Do you DIY?

Nest Secure and Vivint home security both are able to monitor and protect your home the way you want it monitored, but the journey there is completely different.

Nest Secure is a modular DIY system that you can install yourself without any tools (it's perfect for renters) and add any cameras or extra sensors as you need them. Vivnet home security, on the other hand, is a professionally installed and monitored service that's part of Vivnet SmartHome. The installation is done at your convienence and is free, but it's also semi-permenant like any good professionally installed system will be.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nest SecureVivint home security
Indoor and outdoor componentsYesYes
Mobile accessYesYes
Smart home integrationYesYes
WarrantyTwo yearsLifetime
Monthly service planOptionalRequired (3 - 5 years)

The big difference between Nest Secure and Vivint is the buying process. You'll find that most users of both products are very happy with them and once up and running they each work well in your smart home. But like reaching Nirvana, the journey there is the important part.

Nest Secure comes as an expensive base package with a Nest Guard, Nest Tags, and two Nest Detect sensors. While this is a pretty bare-bones system, you can add cameras, more sensors, range extenders, even smart camera-equipped doorbells as needed at any time. The base station also acts as a siren, and a monthly subscription to Nest Aware, a professional monitoring service through Brinks, is entirely optional.

Vivint doesn't offer any DIY options. You call the company and speak with a specialist to get a security system that's exactly what you want and need, then schedule a convienent time to have a professional come install it. The initial cost can vary wildly, but the company's 0% financing option can help. You are required to have a monthly service plan which starts at $40 per month. The length of this contract runs from 3 to 5 years, depending on your pricing.

When everything is said and done, you'll have a smart (Nest Secure works with Nest and Google Assistant while Vivint works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa) home system that works exactly the way you like. That's the important part. It all depends on how you want to get to that state.

If you're renting, Vivint probably isn't going to be an option. Technically the pieces can be removed and the system reinstalled in another place (which is not advised by the company or any reputable contractor I could find) but then you're left with holes to patch and walls to paint.

If you own your home and plan to stay there forever, decide if you want the fun — and frustration — that comes with a DIY system. Once you're done buying all the essentials to round out a basic Nest Secure package things will get very pricey, and it's our opinion that a monthly Nest Aware subscription is almost a must-have with a Nest Secure. But you're not signing a contract to do so, and that matters.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.