Looking for a driveway alarm can be a confusing and overwhelming process. Trust me, when I first started working here I had a hard time keeping all the different driveway alarms straight. With so many features, manufacturers, and capabilities, it’s hard to figure out what’s most important to consider when making the decision between wireless driveway alarms.
My name is Devin and I head up our customer service and marketing efforts here at Guardline Security. As I mentioned above, when I first started working for Guardline I was overwhelmed with all of the driveway alarm options. Over time, however, I was able to listen to and speak with a lot of different customers and was able to truly get an understanding of the key features that customers were looking for and more importantly - the features they weren’t asking about but needed to know before making a purchase. This second point has helped me save my customers money and avoid wasted time by directing them to the best driveway alarm for them instead of just the “best” or most expensive one.
Based on the hours of conversations I’ve had with customers just like you, I’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you choose the best wireless driveway alarm for your situation based on your specific setup and needs. I’ve arranged this in order of importance (first topic is most important) but feel free to scroll through and read about any topic that you have questions about.
By and far, the effective range of your driveway alarm is the most important consideration when choosing a driveway alarm. You should have a good idea of how far your sensor (the part that goes by the driveway) will be away from your receiver (the part that goes inside and makes a noise when the sensor is activated). If you plan on expanding your system in the future, consider where you would place your extra sensors or receivers - it will always be cheaper to add new units to an existing system than to buy a whole new system, so give this consideration now before purchasing.
I recommend buying a system that has a range at least 100’ greater than your intended use. If you live on a heavily wooded lot or will be going through multiple buildings, I would recommend a system with a range at least 500’ greater than your intended use to ensure your wireless signal will get through to your receiver (read more on wireless signal strength here).
2. Sensor type
The majority of driveway alarms use passive infrared sensors, or PIR sensors for short. In my experience, I would say 90-95% of the driveway alarms we sell use PIR sensors and our customers love the results they get with them. These sensors are accurate, offer a wide field of view, and are capable of picking up vehicle, human and large animal traffic. They are extremely cost-effective which makes them a great option, especially when your setup necessitates having multiples sensors paired to your receiver(s).
There are certain applications, however, that are better suited to other sensor types. Metal-detecting sensors are recommended if you are looking to pick up vehicle traffic only, break-beam sensors are great for setting up a perimeter or covering a large area (up to 300’), and rubber hose sensors are ideal for alerting you to customer traffic in locations that are too busy to use a PIR sensor.
3. Additional features
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices based on the range and the sensor type, there are several additional features that may be desirable for your intended use.
If you want to tie-in to an existing security or PA system, I would recommend one of our driveway alarms with 12v relay outputs. If you’re interested in receiving alerts while you’re working outside on your property, you may want a portable receiver. If you need a driveway alarm that doubles as an intercom, we have that as well. Any additional features will be noted in the product description of the item you're looking at.
Overall, while there are a lot of driveway alarms out there, you can quickly and easily narrow down your choices by determining the range you need, the type of sensor that would be appropriate for your setup and if there are any additional features that you need.
Don’t worry about the “best” or most expensive driveway alarm. Using my tips above, you can be confident in choosing the best driveway alarm for your specific needs.
If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, you can call me at 888-519-0413 and I’d be glad to help you find the ideal driveway alarm for you.