What Is the Best Security Alarm System for Your Home?
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An essential element of your home security setup is the security alarm system. Alarm systems are one of the most common and successful deterrents against theft, burglary, and break-ins. However, different alarms come with varying sensitivity, advanced features, and range. Learn which types of alarm systems are available and how they can protect you and your property, and find the solution best adapted to your home.
Different Systems for Different Threats
Although many people believe there is an all-inclusive single security system for a home or a property, such systems comprise multiple elements, each protecting or warning against a particular threat.
Alarm systems are no different; there are many kinds of security alarms, including:
- Motion sensor alarms: The most common alarm systems employ motion sensors. After you arm them, they ring upon detecting movement, alerting you or your neighbors someone may have entered your property without authorization.
- Magnetic detectors: Another relatively common alarm system relies on a magnet system. After arming the system, the alarm activates as soon as the magnets cease contacting each other. They are ideal as door alarms or window alarms.
- Glass break detectors: This particular alarm type is typically mounted on a window, generating a loud noise if it detects a powerful vibration, such as that caused by an impact on a window. Although they are called glass break detectors, sufficiently sensitive models function even if the window is merely hit or cracked.
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Although it may not be your first thought when describing a home security system, a smoke alarm detects more than just an accident in the kitchen. Smoke alarms can be vital tools against arson or criminal fires, alerting you the house may be on fire or filling up with smoke. Specific models can also detect carbon monoxide, a toxic gas invisible to the naked eye.
- Flood detectors: A less well-known type of alarm system is a floor detector or flood water alarm. These devices emit a loud noise if they come in prolonged contact with water, alerting you of potential flooding and water damage.
- Miscellaneous alarm systems: Many kinds of alarms have been designed to detect even more specific situations, such as driveway vehicle detectors, temperature sensors, or break-beam sensors.
The Best Home Alarms by Category
Each alarm type is designed to detect a specific threat or intruder. A complete home security setup may require multiple elements and multiple units for each door, window, or entryway you wish to protect.
Best Door and Window Alarm
One of the best alarm systems for protecting your doorways and windows is the Dakota Alert Magnetic Contact Doorbell system. This alarm system is part of the Dakota Alert 4000-Series and comprises a UT-4000 transmitter and a DCR-4000 receiver.
You can pair the DCR-4000 receiver with any quantity of transmitters, one for each door or window you wish to protect. Upon receiving a signal, the receiver can sound one of four pleasant chimes when the system is disarmed, informing you of visitors or deliveries. While armed, the receiver will instead produce a loud alarm, programmable in duration from 1 second to 10 minutes, informing you of a trespasser on the premises.
Before leaving the house, you can program the receiver to arm within five minutes of your exit, giving you peace of mind.
Each transmitter employs magnetic contact activation and is programmable according to your preferences; set it to N/C (Normally Closed, sends a signal when open) or N/O (Normally Open, sends a signal when closed).
Best Driveway Alarm
Fully compatible with Dakota Alert DCR-4000 receivers, the Dakota Alert Motion Detector Driveway system is the top choice for alerting you of vehicles approaching your driveway or property.
Like the contact doorbell system, this driveway alarm is programmable with one of 12 different tones and a 5-minute arming delay system when you leave the house.
The Dakota driveway alarm comes out of the box with complete sets of mounting hardware and brackets, allowing you to install it anywhere on your property. The transmitter unit is fully weatherproof and waterproof, capable of operating under any temperature between -30°F –120°F.
The integrated passive infrared sensor possesses a maximum range of approximately one mile, allowing you to use this system even on large properties. It is capable of detecting movement from vehicles, people, and large animals, such as deer or bears, informing you of any two- or four-legged visitors and intruders.
Can I combine alarm systems with surveillance cameras?
Yes. The alarm system only alerts you of a potential incident; a surveillance camera allows you to record the events and discern whether you are dealing with a trespasser.
Which doors and windows should I cover with alarms?
You should cover any access point allowing a person on the outside to enter your home. The front door is the most common entry point for burglars, so make this door your priority.
I live in an apartment instead of a house. Do I still need an alarm system?
Yes, research by the National Crime Prevention Council suggests apartments are 85 percent more likely to be targeted for burglary than single-family homes.