Residential security systems consist of multiple devices including window and door sensors, motion detectors, alarms and monitoring services. Once reserved for businesses or high-end luxury homes, new advances in technology have made features such as wireless systems, an affordable and easy-to-install option to help protect and provide security for many homes. This buying guide will explain the different security components and systems available, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the best system to protect your home and family.
Note: If you plan to use a professional security monitoring service, avoid any compatibility issues by consulting with them before installing any equipment.
Factors to Consider
• System Components - Sensors, motion detectors, control panels, alarms, monitoring services
• Wired or Wireless
Whether you opt for a full security system, including a professional monitoring service and surveillance cameras, or a more basic package, there are several common components.
|Sensors generally attach to windows and doors. They send a signal through a transmitter to the control panel when a disturbance is detected.|
|Motion detectors are generally placed inside the home near doorways, where they trigger an alarm or camera when motion is detected. Outside motion detectors can trigger lights to come on.|
|Control panels receive signals from sensors and trigger alarms. They should be installed somewhere convenient, but not where would-be intruders can see them easily.|
|Alarms are triggered by control panels to alert you, your neighbors, the police or a monitoring service of a disturbance on your property. Alarms can be silent, contacting you or your monitoring service with a phone call, or include sirens, which will alert the neighbors and perhaps scare an intruder away.|
Monitoring services can be part of a home security system. If the system detects a breach, it automatically calls your monitoring company.
Wired or Wireless
Whether you’re considering sensors, motion detectors, a monitoring service or all of the above, you’ll have to decide whether you want a wired or wireless system.
• Wired home security systems are a good choice for new housing construction. The security system
can be installed as part of your structured wiring network, with wires traveling inside your walls from
the control panel to sensors in each room in your home.
• Wireless home security systems are ideal for existing homes. The wireless sensors install easily
without the need to run wires through your home and are simple to relocate when needed. Wireless
systems are also easy to arm, and often include a key fob with a panic button as well as a button to arm
the system remotely. Because many systems come with a repeater unit, the transmission range can be
expanded to allow you to protect outbuildings. Be aware that wireless refers to the signals transmitted by
sensors. Most systems require a power supply for the control panel.
Pool Alert – Attach an alert to your pool entrance that uses a siren to let you know if the gate or door leading to your pool is opened.
Jogger Alarm – Take security with you wherever you go. Worn on the wrist, one button on the jogger alarm causes a bright light to flash while a second button emits a loud siren alarm