Types of home alarms

If you’re looking to strengthen your home security, one of the first things you might consider is an alarm system. But which is the best one for your property?

Types of burglar alarms

In this guide we cover the different types of home alarms on the market. It is important to conduct research in this area before contacting alarm and home security companies.

Wireless vs wired alarms

The first thing to consider is whether you want an alarm that is wired up to your home electricity supply or operates wirelessly.

The advantage of wireless alarm systems is that they are less troublesome when it comes to installation and you can add sensors or remove them relatively easily.

Wired alarms can be cheaper to buy but more expensive to install. They all need to be connected up to the power supply and that can look unsightly and be difficult to change afterwards. Having said that, you don’t need to worry about the power supply and replacing individual batteries.

Ringing burglar alarms

Bell-only alarms are designed to alert people that the property has been broken into. They are not designed to contact you, a named person, or your local police station, or work with smartphones.

If you are not home and the alarm goes off, your neighbours may or may not react. If they do call the police, nowadays they are unlikely to come out unless there is evidence of a burglary in-progress.

A large number of people still have these for their home security, and they can certainly act as a deterrent. If you have only a basic budget, the advantages are you can install it yourself, and it’s a lot cheaper.

The dialler burglar alarm

The next level of sophistication is the dialler burglar alarm. When the alarm goes off, the system automatically dials you or a nominated person with the information. You can add anything from 3 to 10 numbers depending on the system.

Nowadays these operate in two ways, either delivering a spoken telephone message or sending a text to the recipient. You can also hook many systems up to other detectors in your home that emit an alarm when, for example, you have a fire or flood.

Smart alarm systems

Technology has led to dramatic improvements and a reduction in cost for alarm systems in recent years. Most of us carry smartphones and tablets nowadays and smart alarms connect with these and provide a number of useful additional features.

First of all, you can control all the alarm features from your smartphone, wherever you are. You could be at the office or even on holiday. If you have CCTV attached to your security system, you can check this on your phone. You can even shut off specific areas of your alarm system simply by using the specific smartphone app.

The cost of a smart alarm system will depend on a number of factors, not least how many features you want to add. While you can install it all yourself, it pays to work with a professional security company to ensure that your needs are being met and the right components are put in place.

Alarm monitoring services

If you want something that is even more secure, opting for a monitoring service attached to your alarm system could be a good option. This can be used for both wired and wireless alarms and involves you entering into a contract with a third party.

These services come in two different types:

  • Keyholder: This is where the monitoring company contacts a named person or persons that you have nominated. The keyholder can be the monitoring service itself who will send someone around to your property to investigate, or a friend or family member who lives nearby.
  • Police: The monitoring service contacts the police directly to act and visit your property. The police alarm/monitoring supplier has to meet strict requirements to be able to provide a compliant home alarm.

While both these systems ensure you get some response to your alarm going off while you are not there, you do need to pay for a monthly contract. If you want full peace of mind and find a reliable service, however, it’s well worth considering.

Maintaining your alarm

The other factor that alarm buyers often forget to address is the ongoing maintenance of their system. There’s no point having an alarm if it’s not working or unsecure, after all.

Choosing your home alarm system

There are a lot of options to choose from nowadays when it comes to home security. The growth in the smart security market has certainly made higher tech systems that can be tailored to an individual home cheaper and more accessible.

If you are considering a new home alarm system, however, it pays to do your research and get the right advice before you settle on any particular installation.

Useful security certification body links:

The NSI (National Security Inspectorate) is an independent, not-for-profit, certification body that accesses security and fire safety services. They have two hallmarks that you should look out for when viewing potential home security suppliers, gold and silver. To search for a NSI approved service, visit their company finder website tool.

The SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board) is a leading certification body for security and fire safety. As part of their services, they certify home alarm providers. To search for a SSAIB approved service, visit their website’s service search tool.