Why would you want a wireless security system? Is it safer? Or is it in reality more susceptible to dismantling by burglars? We show you the ins and outs of wireless home security systems, who makes the best ones, and why you may (or may not) want to upgrade to one if you are currently on a hardwired system. We conduct annual reviews of security companies, and have listed our top 3 wireless security systems at right for your convenience.
First, what exactly does wireless mean? Does it mean the components of your home alarm system (i.e. sensors) are wireless (as opposed to hardwired)? Or does it mean that the signal your alarm system sends to the monitoring station is sent via wireless transmission? That depends entirely on the type of home alarm system you opt for.
Wireless Home Alarm Systems
The options you have when choosing a wireless home alarm system basically break down to the following, increasing in price as you go down the list:
- A system using wireless components (sensors), and your broadband Internet connection to transmit a signal to your monitoring station.
- A wireless system that uses a cellular (wireless) signal to transmit data to your monitoring station.
- A wireless system with a cellular connection and web based alerts (interactive monitoring) that lets you monitor and manage your system from the Internet.
The last option is as wireless as it gets. Not only are your alarm system components (sensors) wireless, which lets you move them around the house as you please (compared to a hard-wired installation, where the sensors are fixed into place); but the signal is also sent via cellular, wireless transmission to your central monitoring station. Note that this cellular signal does not transmit on the same network as your cell phone calls. After all, you wouldn’t want a “dropped call” scenario resulting in a break-in. The last option, while the most expensive, is also the most secure. Finally, you have the option for signing up for interactive monitoring – this basically gives you the ability to sign in to your alarm system from the Internet and manage your contacts, sensors, and alert settings.
Interactive Monitoring of Your Wireless System
Most home alarm system companies that use GE equipment will be able to offer you an interactive monitoring service that allows you to manage and administrate your wireless system while away from home. Most of the monitoring is done by alarm.com, a company that used to sell its own monitoring service, but now contracts everything out through authorized dealers. The alarm.com monitoring service is easy to use. You’ll receive website login information to a site that will allow you to access your alarm system from anywhere. You can disarm it online, set authorized users, volume and display settings, alerts (want to know what the babysitter is up to?) and more. The best part about this is that there are now apps that you can use to access your interactive monitoring site. Just search for “alarm.com” in your app store.
Check On Your Home While You’re Away
We found this particularly useful (and comforting) as we could check on any type of activity that was happening while we were gone. And if you have monitored video cameras installed, you can take things a step further and keep an actual eye on happenings inside, outside, and around your home.
Wireless = Do It Yourself
One of the biggest advantages of a wireless home alarm system is the fact that you can install it yourself. So a wireless system is in essence a DIY (Do It Yourself) security system. The installation for most systems won’t take long – and simply involves sticking sensors in various locations in your home. You’ll usually want sensors behind all your doors, including your garage doors. Window sensors, while a good idea in the back of your home, can be replaced by motion sensors that cover the same area. In fact, you can usually cover several windows with one motion sensor. There’s also a price advantage in using motion sensors over window sensors – and that is, you can get one sensor instead of several. Not only will you not have to buy several window sensors, you also won’t need a glass break sensor, which is important in addition to a window sensor (if a burglar breaks the glass on a windows, the standard window sensor, which senses movement of the window frame, won’t be triggered).
Save on Installation and Moving Costs
The other advantage to a wireless system that you install yourself is that you can save not only on installation costs, but on moving costs. If you ever need to move, you a) won’t have to uninstall all your hard wired sensors, control panel, etc. and try and move them (which can be a pain; ie. wireless sensors and components are much easier to move around), and b) you may well save on re-installation costs. Most home alarm companies that offer wireless DIY security systems should allow you to move the system to your new home at no additional charge. Furthermore, it will be much easier to actually move your system. When we moved ours, all we did was pack up all the sensors, components, and control panel, box them up, move them, and re-install them. Didn’t take more than a couple hours in total.
So What is The Best Wireless Home Alarm System?
We conduct annual independent, unbiased reviews of home alarm companies and thoroughly investigate their security system offerings. Read our best home security system review for all the details on our top 5 companies. For our top 10 and many others read our reviews on home security systems for the lowdown on which security system is right for you and your budget.