Whether it’s your first home or your 10th, the safety and protection of your loved ones and assets is likely to loom large in this day and age of hyper-security. There are plenty of alarm systems on the market designed to keep tabs on your home’s interior, but if you could stop potential intruders before they get in, wouldn’t you?
Driveway alarms are not just the latest iteration of security products; they’re considered practical and some are surprisingly affordable. If you’re currently shopping for best alarm systems–or you’re thinking about one and want to know which ones give you the most features and benefits–this buyer’s guide and the reviews that follow can help you choose a product that’s perfect for your home.
How these systems operate
Which type of system makes the most sense for the size and layout of your home? Until some genius comes up with a third option, you must choose between wireless or hard-wired systems. This is strictly a personal choice.
Next up, did you know that driveway alarm systems are intuitive? You can buy a system that does nothing but monitor people and/or animals that frequent your driveway. Some are made just to track vehicles. Or you can go for the whole enchilada: an alarm system that alerts you, no matter what shows up on your driveway.
Whether you prefer all wireless or a system pairing a wireless outdoor transmitter with a wired interior receiver, you’re always going to have a two-part system to do the work of reporting on outside activity. The transmitter may be installed outside where anyone thinking of invading your driveway can see or in a hard-to-spot place.
In either case, once a transmitter’s sensor detects a moving object, it triggers an alarm. The most sophisticated systems offer both flashing LED lights and sounds, so next to having a super action hero stationed in your driveway, you’ll be warned fast.
The best driveway alarm is all about those sensors
If you sometimes feel as though sensors follow you 24/7, you’re not wrong. According to the website elprocus.com, if sensors disappeared, navigation, appliances, devices, automobiles and electronics would be disabled. Driveway alarm systems are no exception, and at present, you’ll find four types of sensors on the alarm market:
1. Rubber hose sensors react when people, cars and other “weight-bearing” objects roll over the hose. The sensor is triggered and sends a signal to the receiver. These types of alarms tend to be pricey.
2. Photo beam sensors come in sets of two or more. They are strategically placed at opposite ends of property so when motion interrupts the light beam, the alarm goes off. Called the most dependable, this type of sensor is discriminating: animals and birds aren’t heavy enough to break all of the beams—but humans are.
3. Magnetic probe sensors only detect metal, so there’s no chance you’ll get false alarms if the neighbor’s dog wanders into your yard. These alarms are usually hidden from view, and while expensive, they will notify you the moment a vehicle pulls into your driveway.
4. Infrared sensors are wireless, state-of-the-art and employ heat technology to spot anything encroaching on your driveway. Easy-to-install and usually affordable, infrared sensors are super popular with homeowners.
Three things to consider before you buy the best alarm system
-Today’s most successful driveway alarm systems are engineered for expansion, so you can customize your set-up to mark unique safety zones. Install up to four, for example, and when you hear a signal, you’ll know exactly where your property is being breached thanks to different alarm sounds or different LED colors.
-If the best wireless driveway alarm you choose is categorized as a “supervised wireless transmitter,” you will always know when its battery is getting low, and you won’t confuse that signal with the regular sound emitted when something or someone steps onto your property.
-Not every homeowner benefits from a driveway alarm system. If you have a small driveway and have visual access to anything that invades your yard, professionals will be happy to sell and install it for you, but in fact, these systems are “most useful” to folks with long driveways or property densely covered with trees and barriers.
Product Reviews for Best Alarm Systems
Who says you can’t own a perfectly efficient night vision motion detector for the price of a nice dinner for two on the town? This outdoor, 5 Megapixel, super HD (2592 x1944) waterproof system is a fixed-lens product that delivers “seamless streaming video without freezes,” covering a distance of up to 20 meters.
This system sets up quickly and no engineering degree is required if you do it yourself. You can even save footage for later review. Experts say that this camera’s ethernet connection is more stable than Wi-Fi, and you can use your smartphone application to see what’s going on outside.
The waterproof aluminum case stands up to any weather, but you will require 3rd party software like Ispy, VLC, Blue Iris, Zoneminder or Ispy to operate the system. Get a 1-year warranty and lifetime access to tech support, so whether this is your first driveway security system or your last, you’ll always have someone at the other end of the phone to answer your questions.Check Latest Price
You’ll spend a little more on this wireless, Wi-Fi-enabled, waterproof camera system than you would on the aforementioned SVC3, but in return, you get higher pixilation numbers, a wider view of your driveway and whether you use a Windows- or Mac-based system, there’s an app that’s compatible with this Phylink system.
Well-received by homeowners seeking a product that’s sophisticated but not outrageously expensive, this unit shows you what’s going on as far away as 8 meters and 24 infrared LED lights showcase anything that wanders onto your property. Expect clearer, sharper images that require a single Ethernet cable to complete the install.
Phylink calls this alarm system “smart motion detect and alert” because it offers schedulable motion detection, remote access and homeowners can upload video and screen shots from remote locations. Record and store to NAS & NVR drives, like Synology, ASUSTOR or QNAP or view files on Dropbox cloud storage. If you’re a tech buff, this system could be what you’re seeking.Check Latest Price
If price is no object and you’ve got an impressively long driveway to protect, this system, with its 8 built-in HD 1920P IP PoE Dome Cameras and audio recording features makes it to the top of many shopping lists. Engineers have designed it for “plug and play setup,” so you could do the installation yourself.
Unlike some products reviewed here, this one comes with free apps that allow you to watch transmitted images in their full HD 2592 x 1920P glory. From audio recording via built in microphones to the system’s ability to deliver high-contrast clarity in myriad lighting environments, this waterproof security product comes with a pre-installed 2TB hard drive, lifetime tech support and a 1-year warranty.
Not well-versed in trouble-shooting products? You may want to add professional installation to your purchase, and if you intend to upgrade your living quarters to a larger spread, this company’s 32-camera system awaits your next move!Check Latest Price
If your goal is covering a ¼-mile driveway with a system that is top-rated and weatherproof, consider this Guardline alarm system. Acting as a motion sensor and detector, this mid-priced rig has been tested in all types of weather(snow, winds, rains and heat waves), so you needn’t worry that extreme temps will bring this system down.
Because this product adjusts to monitor only areas of your property that you want covered, false alarms are minimized. Use the “quick start guide” to enable installation and the protection you seek via the swivel-mounted “eye” sensor will kick into action. Love novelty? This system expands to 16 sensors that deliver 30 “fun and unique” chimes that signal what part of the yard or driveway that’s hosting an uninvited visitor.
Fabricated of industrial-grade PVC, rubberized seals and featuring a sunshade to reduce glare, this wireless alarm runs on 4-AA batteries with battery backup, and once you set the volume you desire, you can be sure the alarm will be loud enough to bring you out of the deepest sleep. Produced in the U.S., system owners applaud Guardline’s 2-year guarantee and customer-friendly service.Check Latest Price
This American-made driveway alarm covers up to 1,000-feet of territory, but it won’t cost you a fortune to buy and install it. The transmitter/receiver duo features sensors that notify you when people or vehicles approach your home. If you’re watching your pennies, you’ll want to know that this system doesn’t require you to pay monthly fees or purchase a service plan.
If you’re skilled at reading instruction manuals, you can mount the rotating bracket with hardware that’s provided. Plug the receiver into an outlet or drill holes to mount the unit and the job is done. The Driveway Informer comes with a 1-year warranty that’s advertised as being hassle-free.
Featuring a durable, long-lasting battery and waterproof components, you can customize this product to suit your property by adding additional receivers and sensors. The alarm that sounds is reliable and non-discriminatory: Whether a deer, a dear or a Dodge invades your driveway, you’ll know it. This includes teens who stay out past curfew.Check Latest Price
If the brand impresses you, this affordable, top-rated, waterproof sensor/detector combination may, as Goldilocks discovered, be “just right” for your driveway. The company has been around long enough to build a reputation for dependability and this wireless model has been tested in all sorts of environmental conditions to prevent false alarms.
This alarm system comes with battery backup and covers 500-feet of property. Easy to install, this system also delivers on a wide choice of alarm sounds and sound levels and if you decide to expand the range of your scope (let’s say you bought the lot next door), you can add up to 15 more sensors, each of which is connected to a unique alarm sound, so you know exactly where a disturbance originates.
One caution: if your land is dotted with thick walls, hills, trees, metal siding or prominent obstructions, you may not enjoy the same range of coverage with this driveway alarm. That said, this product is built for the long haul of PVC and everything is joined with rubberized weather seals. It comes with a 2-year warranty, too.Check Latest Price
There’s lots to be said about simplicity, which is the likely reason this system not only gets good ratings from consumers, but the reasonable price tag elevates it to a best seller. Rodann uses passive, infrared sensor technology so this system won’t be triggered by sun, headlights, shadows or reflections.
Using 5-digit LCD counter technology, this set-up monitors traffic and transmits data up to 1,000-feet, so you get plenty of coverage without emptying your vacation account. The basic system runs on 2 AA batteries and consists of a weatherproof sensor and receiver, but if you don’t get the coverage you need, you can add receivers, transmitters and/or accessories.
Installation is relatively easy, so if you know your way around a tool belt you could have this up and running in minutes. And since this system is advertised as a “maintenance-free” system, you can get on with your life, knowing that the 1-year warranty backs your purchase should this system prove to be a bad choice.Check Latest Price
Whether you’re prepared to spend thousands of dollars to protect your driveway or you just need reassurances that you’re safe for under $100, you’ve decided to purchase a driveway alarm at a great time. Manufacturers have stepped up their efforts to streamline products, which means you have myriad choices that won’t require you to liquidate your stock portfolio to protect your environs.
A great way to make your decision is to set a budget, eliminate everything that’s more expensive and then compare features. Ask yourself if you really need 8 cameras–or will 4 do? Then choose a system that comes with a warranty so you’ve got recourse if the product you choose turns out to be a bad fit.