Alarm.com Vs. Honeywell Total Connect Shootout

By Brian Rhodes, Published Aug 30, 2017, 11:56am EDT

In the smarthome and intrusion market, Alarm.com and Honeywell are two of the biggest names. Both platforms offer remote management of alarms, home automation devices, surveillance cameras, and video doorbells. Among increasingly networked smarthomes, interest is high.

But which system is better, and what weaknesses does it have?

IPVM has already tested each individually - see IPVM's Alarm.com Test and IPVM's Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 Test.

Comparison Criteria Selection

In the sections below, we look at the features and performance that both end users and dealers/ installers will be interested in and therefore are useful to differentiate upon:

  • Intrusion Panel Compatibility: With how many brands and types of panels is the system compatible?
  • Service Required: What monthly services are required for the system, and how much do they cost?
  • Video Surveillance Support: How is video viewing and recording managed? How is performance limited?
  • Multiple Panel/Locations Support: Is it possible to control multiple logical partitions from an account? Can multiple panels be managed from one login?
  • Video Doorbell Support: Which types of doorbell cameras are supported? Can they be used from within the primary app?
  • App & Browser Support: Do the systems support webpage portals, smartphone apps, or both? Are there navigation or appearance differences between them?
  • System Pricing: How much does each platform cost, both from a hardware and ongoing service perspective?
  • Consumer Brand Recognition

We look at these factors and more in this note.

Alarm.com **********

*******, *** ******* ***** Alarm.com's ********** ** ** superior ** ***** *******, specifically:

  • ***** *******: ***** *******, Total ******* *.* ***** is ***, ** *****.***'* HD ******* *** ****-***** browser ********* (*** *********'* lack ** **) **** ADC **** ********.
  • ****** '***' **********: *** those ******* ** **** traditional ******* ******* ********** contracts, *** *** ** purchased *** **** ******* their *********** ** ***. TC2.0 ******** ** ***** provisioning *** ******* *******, and ********* *** ****** to ** ****** **** buying * ********* ****** when ****** ***** *******.
  • *** ***** ***** *************: ADC ** ********** **** 4 ****** ** ******, and **** ********* ****** via *******, ** ********* are *** ****** ** or ***** **** ******** replacement **** ****** ** services.
  • ************ *******: *** ******** panel ********** *** ***** systems, ***** ***.* **** not. **** **** ***** Honeywell ****** *** ****, TC2.0 **** *** ******* the *******, ***** *** does **** ** ***** complexity.
  • ***** *** ******* *******: In ***** ** '***-*********' IoT ******* *** *******, ADC ***** **** ****, Apple ****, *** '*******' IoT ****** **** ****.**, where ********* ** **** closed.

Honeywell **********

*******, ********* ** ****** in * *** ********* areas **** *** * large ***** *********:

  • ********* ***********: ***** ******* 2.0 ***** *** **** appearance ** ******** ********** if ***** * ***** or **. *** '***-*********' users, *** *********** ***** using *** ****** ******.
  • ********** ***** ******: ***** Total ******* ** **** compatible **** ********* ***** panels, **** ***** ********** over ** ****** ****** used ** **** *********** and ********** *******.
  • ********** ***********: ********* ** also * ***** *********** vendor *** ***********, *** TC2.0's *********** **** *** WiFI '***** ******* *******' line ** ***** *********** devices ** ****** **** Alarm.com's ******* ** ******* Z-Wave ******.
  • ***** ***********: ** ***** of ********* ******* *** brand, ********* ****** ************ clout, *** ********* *** know ******* ***** **** a *** ****** *** more ****** ** ****** and ***** *********'* ****.

Platform ****** **********

** *******, *** **** be * ******** '*********** takeover' ******** *** *******, who *** **** *** services *** ****** ******** hardware, ***** ***** ******* allows ********* ******* ** sell '********** ********' **** the ********** ***** *** fully ********* ** *****.***.

** *** ******** ** technical **********, *****.*** ** the ******** ******, ******** more ********** ****** *******, better ***** ***********, **** panel ************* *******, *** options *** *** ********** for *** *****.

*******, **** * **** cost ***** ** ****, Total ******* ***** ** cheaper *** ***** *** same ***** ********. ********** for ***** ******* ******** with ********* ***** ******, upgrading ** ***.* *** be **** **** $* additional ******* ******* *** month *** *****, **** under *****.***'* $** - $50 ******* ******.

Platform *********

*** ******** ****** ** each ***** ***** ** introduction ** ***** *********.

*****, *********.*** ******:

************ ***** ******* *.* Tested:

** *******, **** ********* combine ****** ********** *** alerts **** ********* ******* with ************ ******* *** home-automation ************ **** **** locks, ***********, *** ******. In **** *****, **** platform ****** ********** *****-************ with ***** *****-***** ******* that ** **** ** sections *****.

********** ** ********, *******, the **** ***** *********** is ***-***** ** *** same: **** ********** ** a ******, ****** ******** to ***** ** *** situation ** **** ** office.

Intrusion ***** *************

*****.*** ******** **** ********* brands ** ****** *** two ******** ******* *** connecting ***** *** *** systems, ***** ***** ******* is *********** ** *********.

*** *****, *** ** compatible **** **** ******, but ***** ***** ****** including ***** ****** ********* when ***** *****.*** ***** supported ******** '*** *******'. ADC ***** *** ***** of ****** ********** ** ten ********* ****** **** four *************:

***** ******* ** ******* only ** ********* ****, but ** ********* ********* on *** ***** ***** current *********. *** ***** number ** *********-**** ******* is ***** ***********, **** more **** ** ********** listed **********:

***** ******* *** ** installed ** *** ******** of *****'* ******, ********* the ***** ********** ******, while *****.*** ** ******* mostly ** *****/******** *********** models **** **** *** Qolsys. *** *** *********** market, ***** ******* ** supported ** *********'* *********** Lynx *** ***** ***** lines.

Required ******* ********

***** ******* *.* ********* requires * ******* ***** monitoring *******, ***** *** does ***. **** **** can **** * *** difference ** ******* ******* pricing ** '***' ********** is **** **** *****.*** that ***** *** ******** user ********** **** **** tripped.

***** ******* ****** **** $15 - $** *** month *** **** *****, but **** ******* $** - $** *** ***** in ********* **********, ******** the ***** ****** ** ~$40 - $** *** Honeywell.

*****.*** ***** ****, ********* $25 - $** *** month, *** ************ ********** is ***** ** ******. If ************ *********, *** total ****** **** ** slightly **** **** ***** Connect, ** ~$** - $95 *** *****, ******** systems **** ********* ** priced ******* ***** ** mandatory ********** ** *******.

*** ******* ********** ** if ********* ********** ** not *******. *****.*** ******** will *** $** -$** per *****, ***** ********* typically ******** ** *** a **** ** $** - $**/ *****. ** general, '***** ********' **** video ******** ******* ** less ********* **** ***** Connect, ***** * **** of *** ******* ****, while *****.*** **** ***** $5 - $** *** account ** ******** ***** features.

Video ************ *******

*** ** *** ******* differences ******* ********* ** video. *****.*** ******** ** (up ** ***** **********), while ***** ******* **** VGA ****, *** ********* live ***** ***** *** not ********* ** *********'* Total ******* *********. ********* says ** ***** ****** is ***** ********* **** will ******* **** ** and **** ********* *****, but *** *** ******* an ******** ******* ****.

******* ********** ******* ********* is *** **** ******** recorded ***** *****. ***** Connect ****** *** ***** them ** * ************* 'event' ****, *** ****** no ******* ********* ** grouping ****** ****** ***********. Video ********** **** *****.*** is **** ********, ** that ******** ***** ****** can ** **** ** find ***** *****, *** files *** ********** ** time/date/camera, ***** ** ** not.

*******, * *** ******** of **** ********* ** limited ****** ****** ** relatively *** ***********, *** no ********* ** *** options ** *** **** many ***** ****. *******, the **** ** ***** system ******* *** ******* than ***** ****, **** an ******* *****.*** ****** price ** ~$*** - $275 *** ***** ******* Camera ******* ~$** - $275.

** *** ***** *****, we **** ** ***** for **** ********. *****, the ******* *********** ** resolution *** **** ******* in********* ***** ******* *.*:

*** *** ******* ****** experience *********.***:

Multiple *****/********* *******

**** ***** ******** ** more **** *** ********* and ********* ***** *** be ******* *** ***/*** login. *****.*** ******** ************, although *** ******* *** not ** ********* ** the ********* ***** **** support *** **. *******, Total ******* *.* **** not ******* *** ******* even **** *** ****** panel *****. *** ******** of **** ** *** likely *********** ** **** residential *****, *** **** small ********** ***** ***** need ************, *** **** larger ******, ********** ***** deploying ********** *******, ** as ****.

*** ******* ** ************ ***** ******* *.* Tested***** **** ***** ***.* does *** ******* **** in ********* ******, *****.*** does:

"*** ** ** **** Honeywell ***'* **** *** a ****** *********, ******* *** * ********** ***** ** ** a ********* ***** **** DOES? ****..."

** ***** ** ****** per *******, ******** ***** Connect ******* ****** *** be ****** **** *** app *******, *** ********** across ****** ****** ** done. **** *****.***, '****** settings' *** ** ******* to ******** ****** ** once, *** ******* *** communication **** ****** **** happen *** ** * time.

Video ******** *******

** ***** ** *******, Total ******* ********** **** one ***** *** ***** of ********, *** **** shaped******* **. *****.*** ********** **** two ****** ** *******, the ** *** ** Alarm.com ******** ***** ***** Skybell ****, ***** *****:

** ********, *****.*** ********** with *********'* ***** ********. While *** ******** **** options **** ***** ******* 2.0, *********** ***** *** pricing *** ******* ** the **** ******* *****, and ******** ********** ** likely *** ******* ******** factor.

********* ***** ** **** plan ** ******* * 'slim' ******* **** ** is ********* ** ****** weeks, *** ******* ****. IPVM **** **** **** unit, ******** ****** ***-***** performance, **** ** **** the ******.

** ****, ******* ******** supports**** *********, *** ** *** leading ****** **** ******* models, *** * ******* who ** ******* ***** own '********* *******' **** a **** ** ******** cameras,***** ********** ******** *****, *** ********* ******* in ******** ** *********.

Thermostat *******

***** **** ********* ********* support *-**** ******, ***** Connect **** ******** *********'* WiFi **** ** '***** Connect *******' ******. ** practical *****, *** **** models *** **** ****** to ** ********* ** commercial *********** ***** ****** footage *** ** ******* than *-**** ******** **** the ***** ***** ********.

** ***** ** ***, Total ******* ******** **** scheduling ** *** ***, web, *** ********* ****** itself, ***** *** *** be ******* ** *********** in *** *** ****. For *******, ** *** test, *** *** ********* schedule *********** **** *** not ********* ** *** app ** ******.

Other ********* ******* *******

** ***** ** ********** 'other' *** **** *******, Total ******* ** ********* closed ** ********* ******* offerings, ***** *** ** more ****. *******, ******* platform ** '****' **** a ********* ***, *** any ******* **** ** created ** ***** ********** companies. **** ** ** contrast **** ********* ********** hubs **** *********** **** uses * ***** **** base ** ******* *** direct ****** ** ****** integrations.

*** ******* *******, *** irrigation *********** **** ****.**, thermostats *** ***** ********* from ****, *** ***** Home. ********* ***.* **** not. **** ******* ******* Garage **** *********, ***** leak *********, *** **** geofencing.

***** ******* ******* *** any ** ***** ***** systems ***** *** ** 'deal ********' **** ******** a ********, *****.*** *** an **** ********* ***-********* products. ******* *** ****** able ** ***** *** as '* ****** ***********' platform *** * *****, while ***** ******* ***** will **** ** ****** and ******* ********* ********** and ****.

App & ******* *******

**** ********* ***** **** supported *** **** ******** mobile **** *** **** Android *** *****. *******, uniform ****** *** ******* controls ** ****** **** Total ******* *.*, **** uses * **** ********* layout ******* ********. *********** between *** *** *** portal *** **** ******* with ***, **** ***** different ********* *** ***** given ** *** **** controls ******* *********.

*******, ***** ** ****** on ***, *** ** live ***** ********* ** supported ** *** *********. Total ******* **** *** support ** ****** ** all, *** **** ***** is **** ******** *** the ***.

Geographic *******

******* ******** ****** ** availability *** ******* ******* US *** ******** ******* for ***** *********. ***** Connect *** *****.*** *** available ** *** ** and ******, ******** *** GPS ******** ******** ** Total ******* *** ********* in *** ** ****.

**** ********* *** ********* by ********** ******* *** central ********** ********, ******** both ********* *** **** online ** '***' *********. If ** ********** ****** is ****, **** ****** moves-add-changes ** * ****** may ** ******* ** the ********** ****** ****. Like *** ********* ******, panel '************ *****' *** be **** ********** ***** dealers ** **** ***** from ****** *******.

Consumer ***** ***********

*** ****** ********* ********* is ***** ***********.

*** ******* ** ********* knowing **** ***** ******* perceived ***** ** ****** new, '******* ****' ******** like *****-**** **********. *** strength ** *** ** large **** ** *********'* long-time ******** ****** ******** with **** ***********, *** conditioners, *** ***** ********** gadgets, ***** *****.*** *****. We ***** *********'* ************** ***** ****** ** this ****, *****, *** *******, Honeywell ***** *.** **** familiar ** ********* **** Alarm.com:

** ********, *****.***'* ***** is *** **** ********** even ** *** ******** security *******, *********** *** to *** ******** '*******' of *** ******* **** was ******* ** ****. However, *** **** ************* security *******, *********'* ************ are ****** ****** **********, which *** ****** **** brand ******* *** ***** not ***** ******** *** overall ******** *********** *** Honeywell.

Comments (11)

What part number do I search for on the ADC webpage to figure out multiple partition control? 

Awesome shoot out! 

Partition Control is not an ADC feature, but it is supported when that feature is available on the compatible panel.  For example, the Vista SEM takeover module supports partitions in Vista panels within ADC - (something that Total Connect does not do!)

But ADC does not add partitions to panels that lack it, like the 2Gig GC2 or GC3, for example.

The new Alarm.com SEM module for DSC Power Series panels does not support partitioning.

I used Total Connect for years, and found it to be very clunky, their video services in particular.  Maybe they have improved it over the last 4 years that I haven't used it.

On the contrary, I love Alarm.com and find it very easy to use, for myself and also for the client.  Clients have even expressed their preference for this over other platforms' they've used in the past.

Partition support, for me, is essential; many of my clients use it.  Interestingly, Honeywell was saying that it would be added soon over 4 years ago, and they still haven't gotten to it.  Very unfortunate.

In all honesty, Total Connect is one of the main reasons I moved away from Honeywell for my alarm installs.

I would have to agree with David on all points.  We have hundreds of ADC accounts online compared to only a fraction of that on Total Connect.  We only use TC in commercial systems or larger residential hard wired systems.  With alarm systems you have to be productive and our guys can knock out systems on ADC very quickly.  Also with the management apps we have a remote window into every system we install so we can quickly solve problems with our phones.  

Some corrections 

Compatible doorbells - The Skybell HD and Skybell Trim are both compatible with Total Connect already and have been available for a month or more.

Geograpic support - We are a Canadian authorized Honeywell dealer and have had Total connect in Canada for over 2 years. The only feature not available here in Canada is the GPS tracking units.

We have seen many improvements in the TC service in the past year however they aren't exactly speedy. For example the regular TC App for Android does not support the Skybell, but the new BETA app does... sort of.

 

Thanks, I updated text in the report regarding TC2.0 Canadian coverage.

In terms of the Skybell Trim (different that ADC's Skybell Slim), are those 'locked' to Total Connect?  The Slim is locked to only work with ADC, so I'm curious if you're using the standard 'open' model or one specifically made for TC2.0.

Although the ones we install come in Honeywell packaging, the Skybell Trim (available in both bronze and silver) are not locked to TC and can be setup with the regular Skybell app. Skybell offers 7 days free cloud storage for both TC and standard app users. 

 

Total Connect just introduced Partition control.

You could have disclosed the Total Connect works very well with iPhone and iPads TC apps.  You have live video --- and incidentally, very good video with the newest Honeywell cameras IP CAM - WOC 1 and WIC 2.  Both camera's do 1920 X 1080 and I was really surprised how well the infrared sensor can show a spider shooting his web out in the dark.  This from camera's under $300 in cost.

I also have Avigilon 12G camera's in another home and have a hard time justifying the additional costs. 

You probable find far more people using an app for TC --- rather than a PC, anyway.

Hello, thanks for the comment.

We didn't omit app testing, and we showed it prominently in our videos and in the report. 

We noted above the app was reliable and equally useful as the browser interface, and noted (at the time) that 'live video' was only possible in the app.

In part, our testing showed:

"Overall, uniform layout and similar controls is better with Total Connect 2.0 (than Alarm.com), that uses a near identical layout between versions.'

During our tests, video viewing in the browser was bad, pending an HTML5 update, per Honeywell.

The 1080P camera models you mention are new releases since this report and were not available for our test. Thanks for sharing your results from the field on those. 

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