The best type of alarm for your home depends on your personal preferences, budget, where you live, what your home is like and what level of protection you need.
A key consideration is what you would prefer to happen when your alarm goes off. Bells-only alarms make a noise, but do not contact anyone (such as the police or the homeowner). Speech dialers, a device built inside an alarm, automatically contacts you or other nominated friends and family when the alarm is triggered.
Costs vary between the different alarm types, you can contact us find out more about pricing and getting the best deal, with insider tips from burglar alarm installers.
How to Select Your Alarm System?
1. Make sure the system has a deterrent: loud alarms, window decals, and yard signs are your first line of defense against potential burglars.
2. Your system must be monitored! Self-monitoring may seem like a good, low-cost option but you're not 24/7 (even if it feels like it sometimes!). A UL certified central station monitoring center ensures quick and efficient police dispatch if you're ever in need.
3. Redundancies are a must. Always make sure that you're safe from even a smart burglar. If monitoring with a phone-line use a cellular backup. Ensure your system has a good, long, battery backup; wired systems tend to back-up for 8 hours or less!
4. Use a system that can protect all potential entries. Space detection is your best friend; when you're away your motion sensors provide the most security. For at home uses, door and window contacts are necessary on all entry ways. Use a panic button for your last line of defense.
Wireless or wired burglar alarm system
Alarms can be either wired or wireless. Wireless alarms look nicer, are generally easier to install and can be removed more easily if you move house. They use battery-powered sensors that communicate with a control panel using radio signals.
While this type of alarm tends to be cheaper to install professionally or can be fitted yourself, the alarms themselves can be more expensive. Wired systems usually need to be installed by a professional, as the wires will need to be hidden, so labour costs are higher.
Maintaining your burglar alarm system
If you get a burglar alarm maintenance contract, your alarm will be checked once a year (twice a year if you want a police-monitoring contract) either by an installer coming to your home, or remotely by the company contracted to do so. Costs for this vary, particularly as you can get different levels of maintenance, such as additional free call outs or parts included.
Burglar alarm system monitoring
There are three options if you would like to have your burglar alarm monitored, so someone will be alerted if it goes off: a speech dialler, a keyholder contract or a police contract.
You can get a monitoring contract for a wired or wireless alarm, but the alarm itself and the installation does need to conform to certain standards. Speech dialler (also called text alert), is a device built into or connected to a wired or wireless alarm. The idea is that when the alarm goes off, the speech dialler will call or text a set of phone numbers of your choice, for example family members or your mobile, until it gets an answer or can leave an automated message.
This can be a good alternative to a professional monitoring service (see below), as a professional service involves monthly fees. Speech diallers are usually free as they are built into the alarm, so they just need to be activated or connected to the phone line.