The Best Window and Door Sensors in 2019

#1
Doberman Mini Alarm
 
$18.47 
(2-pack)*
Pro Bullet Easy installation
Pro Bullet Powerful 100dB siren
#2
Ecolink Door & Window Sensor
 
$29.00*
Pro Bullet Sleek design
Pro Bullet Z-Wave hub compatible
#3
Sabre Elite Security Alarm
 
$7.99*
Pro Bullet Four-digit PIN to prevent tampering
Pro Bullet Easy installation
#4
iSmart Alarm Contact Sensor
 
$49.99 
(2-pack)*
Pro Bullet Alexa and IFTTT compatible
Pro Bullet Compact size
#5
Eve Door & Window Sensor
 
$39.95*
Pro Bullet Apple HomeKit compatible
Pro Bullet Sleek, unobtrusive design
*Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.
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November 19 update

We've double-checked the pricing and info in this review. We still recommend these sensors.

Overview

Doors and windows are the most obvious entry points for potential burglars, so securing them is crucial to making your home safer. When your doors are already deadbolted and your windows are fitted with locks, there’s no better way to make these entry points more secure than with window and door sensors, which alert you to any unwanted entries into your home.

For a more comprehensive home security solution, we recommend installing a home security system. In addition to window and door sensors, home security companies offer additional features like security cameras, professional monitoring, and more. If you’re looking for a professional monitoring option, we recommend Vivint. If you want something more DIY, we like Frontpoint.

But if you don’t want to invest in a home security system, you can still upgrade your home’s security with self-install door and window sensors. In most cases, these devices are interchangeable, meaning one type of sensor should work for all the doors and windows in your home.

Below, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite door and window sensors, based on affordability, reliability, and features.


Compare window and door sensors

*Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

When a reed switch is applied to your door or window frame and the magnet is applied to the actual door or window, the two pieces create a closed circuit. When the circuit is opened—like if your window is cracked or someone comes through the front door—the circuit is broken, and the sensor activates. Most reed switches need to be less than an inch apart from their corresponding magnets to work properly, so make sure you install the pieces close together.

Doberman Mini Alarm review

Doberman Mini Alarm
Price 
$18.47 
(2-pack)
Tech specs
    Dimensions
    0.5 x 1.5 x 1.25 in.
    Weight
    3.2 oz.
    Battery type
    4 LR44 (included)
    Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019.
    Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

    Pros and cons of the Doberman Security Door & Window Mini Alarm

    Pros
    • Pro BulletPowerful 100 dB alarm
    • Pro BulletStrong adhesive for simple installation
    • Pro BulletReliable reporting of “open” events
    Cons
    • Con BulletNo smart home compatibility
    • Con BulletUses nonstandard batteries that have to be purchased online

    Why we recommend the Doberman Mini Alarm

    The Doberman Security Door & Window Mini Alarm is sturdy and compact. It fits on any door or window with an easy peel-and-stick installation and immediately gets to work alerting you of potential break-ins or when someone enters your home or office.

    Features and flaws

    The Doberman Mini Alarm is supremely versatile. A switch at the top lets you choose between triggering an alarm, sounding a chime, or disarming the sensor all together. On the alarm setting, the Doberman Mini Alarm will sound for 30 seconds after the door is opened before automatically turning off. If you choose the alarm setting, be aware that it is very, very loud: at 100 decibels, it’s about as loud as a jet engine during takeoff—enough to deter any would-be intruders.

    If you’re just waiting to see whether the kids made curfew or not, the chime setting is a better fit: it will chirp twice when it detects the door has been opened. Just make sure that the sensor is close enough to the magnet: if the magnet and sensor are more than half an inch apart, the alarm won’t work. We recommend placing the magnet on the door frame and the sensor on the door directly next to it.

    The Mini Alarm’s main flaw is that it doesn’t have any smart home compatibility. If you’re out of town, it may be helpful at deterring burglars, but you won’t be able to see unless you have an indoor security camera. The Doberman also requires a nonstandard battery—but you can easily purchase more of them online. 

    ASecureLife’s recommendation: The Doberman Security Door & Window Mini Alarm is an effective, low-cost way to deter burglars from coming into your home. These sensors may not be as aesthetically discreet as some of our other favorites, but they’re still as reliable as competing brands.

    >>Buy the Doberman Security Door & Window Mini Alarm.


    Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Rare Earth Magnet Door & Window Sensor review

    Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Rare Earth Magnet Door & Window Sensor
    Price 
    $29.00
    Tech specs
      Dimensions
      3.4 x 1 x 1 in.
      Weight
      1.6 oz.
      Battery type
      3V lithium (included)
      Battery life
      3 years
      Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019.
      Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

      Pros and cons of the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Door & Window Sensor

      Pros
      • Pro BulletZ-Wave Plus compatible
      • Pro BulletSubtle, modern design
      • Pro BulletReliable reporting of “open” events
      Cons
      • Con BulletCustomer reports of difficult installation

      Why we recommend the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Door & Window Sensor

      For those seeking a straightforward open-and-close sensor unencumbered by additional features, the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus is about as reliable as it gets. The sensors are easy to install on your windows and doors, and they integrate easily with Z-Wave home automation products.

      Features and flaws

      Since the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Door & Window Sensor works with Z-Wave Plus devices like the SmartThings hub, you can decide how to be alerted when your window or door is opened, and the possibilities are nearly endless. Choose to get a text, have your Arlo Q start recording, or have your living room lights turn on once the Ecolink detects the door has been opened.

      The Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Sensor is also easy-ish on the eyes, with a sleek design and interchangeable brown and white covers. Plus, the sensor and the magnet can be up to ⅝ inch apart, making it a good fit for double hung or commercial windows.

      Still, some customers say that the installation isn’t straightforward. Some have issues with connecting the Ecolink to their Z-Wave network and maintaining that connection. Others complain that the adhesive that sticks the Ecolink Door & Window Sensor to their door or window is too weak. 

      ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you have a compatible hub, the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Sensor should be next on your list of Z-Wave devices. It’s reliable and versatile, and with its sleek design, it can easily match with the existing decor in your home.

      >>Buy the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Door & Window Sensor.


      Sabre Wireless Elite Home and Commercial Door Security Alarm review

      Sabre Wireless Elite Home and Commercial Door Security Alarm
      Price 
      $7.99
      Tech specs
        Dimensions
        3 x 1.1 x 4 in.
        Weight
        3.2 oz.
        Battery type
        3 AAA batteries (not included)
        Battery life
        Less than one year
        Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019.
        Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

        Pros and cons of the Sabre Elite Security Alarm

        Pros
        • Pro BulletFour-digit PIN to prevent tampering
        • Pro BulletEasy installation
        • Pro BulletReliable reporting of “open” events
        Cons
        • Con BulletNo smart home compatibility
        • Con BulletBulky design
        • Con BulletNonadjustable alarm delay

        Why we recommend the Sabre Elite Security Alarm

        The Sabre Elite Security Alarm offers three adjustable settings, is easy to install, and comes with a four-digit pin that can help prevent tampering.

        Features and flaws

        This Sabre door and window sensor packs a mighty 120 dB alarm—think front row at a rock concert—which is loud enough to wake you from a deep sleep, and probably your neighbors as well. Like the Doberman alarm, it offers a more polite chime mode to monitor family members as they enter and exit the home.

        The Sabre is admittedly bulky, especially compared to Doberman and Ecolink’s offerings. That’s because Sabre’s door alarm comes with a four-digit keypad that lets you program a unique four-digit code to arm and disarm the alarm. It also limits the possibility of tampering by a savvy burglar. The four-digit keypad makes the Sabre alarm a great fit for places you don’t enter super frequently but you don’t want strangers getting into either: think your garage door, the entrance to your shed, and wherever else you store things.

        Most customers complain about the Sabre’s delay. The Sabre alarm has a 30-second entry delay—the amount of time the alarm gives you to punch in your code before it starts sounding—and a 45-second exit delay. The delay isn’t adjustable, so if you’re looking for something with an instant siren, you’re better off elsewhere. 

        ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you’re concerned with potential burglars tampering with your door sensor, the Sabre Elite Security Alarm is a great pick. It’s a bit clunky, but the bigger size allows for a keypad that will likely discourage someone from messing with it too much.

        >>Buy the Sabre Wireless Elite Home and Commercial Door Security Alarm.


        iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor review

        iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor
        Price 
        $49.99 
        (2-pack)
        Tech specs
          Dimensions
          2 x 2 x .5 in.
          Weight
          3.2 oz.
          Battery type
          2 CR2 (included)
          Battery life
          More than one year
          Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019.
          Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

          Pros and cons of the iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor

          Pros
          • Pro BulletAlexa and IFTTT compatible
          • Pro BulletCompact size
          • Pro BulletAdjustable alarm delay
          Cons
          • Con BulletHub required

          Why we recommend the iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor

          If you’re a fan of smart home technology, this is the door/window sensor for you. The iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor is Alexa and IFTTT compatible. It also syncs to a mobile app where you’ll receive alert notifications and have the ability to customize your sensor settings, including an adjustable alarm delay.

          Features and flaws

          The iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor is easily removable and moveable, so you can decide it should be on your front door one day and your sliding doors the day after that. It’s also versatile enough to be used not only on doors and windows but on refrigerator doors, kitchen drawers and more—perfect if you have a little one prone to midnight snacking.

          It’s also a good fit for smart home enthusiasts: from the comfort of the iSmartAlarm app, you can arm, disarm, and monitor your door sensor. You can also create applets with IFTTT (if the front door is opened, then sound my iSmartAlarm siren) and make commands with Alexa.

          The iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor does require a hub that is, unfortunately, not sold separately. If you want the sensors, you’ll have to purchase a package that they’re included in, like iSmartAlarm’s Starter Package. Fortunately, iSmartAlarm offers affordable solutions—from motion sensors to cameras—that help you monitor your home on your own terms with no monthly fees.

          ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you’re willing to outfit your home with some of iSmartAlarm’s DIY security tools, the iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor is a great addition. It’s a great way to keep your doors and windows safe from potential break-ins—plus, it can keep your drawers and refrigerators safe from hungry toddlers.

          >>Buy the iSmartAlarm Contact Sensor.


          Eve Door & Window Sensor review

          Eve Door and Window Sensor
          Price 
          $39.95
          Tech specs
            Dimensions
            2.1 x 1 x 0.9 in.
            Weight
            1.6 oz.
            Battery type
            Lithium (included)
            Standard retail prices as of 11/18/2019.
            Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.

            Pros and cons of the Eve Door & Window Sensor

            Pros
            • Pro BulletApple HomeKit compatible
            • Pro BulletAcquires insights from stored data on home entries and exits
            Cons
            • Con BulletPricey

            Why we recommend the Eve Door & Window Sensor

            The Eve Door & Window sensors work only with Apple products, but they offer some unique and innovative features. The Eve system keeps detailed records of entry and exit events to help you better understand your home security needs. Plus, the sensors themselves are aesthetically pleasing and compact enough to fit well inside any modern home.

            Features and flaws

            If you’re an Apple HomeKit devotee, the Eve Door & Window sensors can help you keep track of when your door is opened or closed. You can also automate your home with scenes via your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch—having the A/C turn off when a window is opened, for example—and ask Siri whether the door is closed.

            The Eve also offers insights, so you can see patterns of what time of day your doors are most often opened and closed. That could help you see when something suspicious is happening, like someone coming or going into your house who isn’t supposed to.

            The Eve sensor is a great all-around product, but its compatible only with Apple products. So unless you have a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad to use as a hub, you won’t be able to use Eve’s sensors.

            ASecureLife’s recommendation: If you already have a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad, the Eve Door & Window sensors can make a great addition to your smart home. Not only is it beautiful and functional, but the Eve sensors also let you create scenes, like turning the lights on when you open the door.

            >>Buy the Eve Door & Window sensors.


            Types of window and door sensors

            There are two main types of window and door sensors. Most, including the ones listed here, are surface-mounted contact sensors. Typically the most affordable option, surface-mounted sensors are mounted on—you guessed it!—the outer surface of your door.

            Instead of being mounted on the outside of your door, recessed contact sensors sensors are thin enough to be installed inside your door or window frame. That makes it harder for potential intruders to see whether you have a sensor or not.


            How window and door sensors work

            door sensor
            Image from Eva Home.
            Contact sensors have two parts: a reed switch and a magnet. A reed switch is the same thing that tells your laptop to sleep when you close it and to wake up when you open it.
            Insider tip
            Protip
            Entry sensors can also be placed on cabinets or drawers you want to keep an eye on. That way, you can make sure toddlers don’t get in the knife drawer (and sneaky teens don’t get in the liquor cabinet).

            What to look for in a door or window sensor

            When you’re considering a door or window sensor to up the security in your home, there are a few features to look out for.

            Alarm and notification settings

            Some sensors have siren settings as loud as the front row at Hall & Oates. Others will let you choose whether the lights in your foyer start flashing or you get a simple text alert. Either way, make sure you get a sensor that has an alarm setting that works for you.

            Keycodes

            Sensors like the Sabre Elite Security Alarm have keypads that allow you to arm and disarm its alarm. These sensors can deter potential intruders since they won’t be able to disarm the alarm before trying to get into your home.

            Consider a home security system

            For a more comprehensive home security solution, consider installing a home security system. In addition to window and door sensors, home security companies offer additional features like security cameras, professional monitoring, and more.

            When a door or window sensor—also called entry sensors or contact sensors—comes as part of a home security package, you get an extra line of security. You can pair your sensor with a security camera so you can catch an intruder or an after-curfew teen in action. Or you could pair your sensor with a siren so you can scare off would-be-burglars.

            Some security companies, like SimpliSafe, let you decide what happens once a sensor is triggered. You can decide to get a full-on alarm and have a professional monitoring team contact the police, or you can choose to self-monitor and get an alert sent to your phone. Either way, you can work with your security provider to make sure your home is safe.


            Our recommendation

            Equipping your home with window and door sensors is one of the most effective steps you can take toward securing your home. But without installing a complete home security system, you can take a few more affordable steps to make your home safer. Try adding security cameras or a smart doorbell in conjunction with your door and window sensors to get a visual on any potential break-ins. Or, install security doors and check out the best bars for windows if you’re interested in more thorough security measures for your ground floors.

            Do you have experience with any of the door and window sensors above? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.