Best driveway alarm reviews 2018
Dakota Alert BBA-2500 Break Beam Alert KitBest self-powered driveway alarm
This wireless driveway alarm is fully weatherproof and has a transmission range up to ½ a mile.
Dakota Alert BBA-2500 Review
The Dakota Alert BBA-2500 is perhaps the best driveway alarm on the market for the homeowners looking for peace of mind.
It consists of two beam sensors equipped with solar powered lithium-ion batteries that can be mounted up to 300 feet apart, and a receiver that plugs inside your home into a traditional wall outlet.
A convenient volume control feature and four tones add versatility; at the same time, the alarm also has a 12 VDC and relay output for alternative applications.
Covering a range up to half a mile, weatherproof and self-powered, the Dakota Alert BBA-2500 delivers all you could wish from a best-in-class wireless driveway alarm.
Guardline GL2000 Wireless Driveway Alarm Motion Sensor & DetectorBest motion detector for all size perimeters
An expandable wireless driveway alarm up to 16 sensors and unlimited receivers.
Guardline GL2000 Review
The Guardline GL2000 is a dependable wireless driveway alarm that combines best-in-class features with an attractive price point.
This motion detector is weatherproof and developed to minimize false alarms thanks to the adjustable detection width of the sensor. A swivel mount also allows you to adjust the detection angle of the sensor to suit your needs.
Suitable for small and large properties alike, this driveway alarm comes with one sensor and one receiver which work at a range of up to 500 feet.
Expandable up to 16 sensors and unlimited receivers, the product can monitor areas of all sizes. Other features include over 30 alert sounds, adjustable volume, and battery backup.
Sturdy, expandable, and reliable, the Guardline GL2000 is no doubt the best driveway alarm for the money.
Driveway Informer DI2000S-GA Wireless Driveway AlarmMore expensive, longer signal range
Sturdy, weather-resistant construction and heavy-duty signal range define this dependable alarm.
Driveway Informer DI2000S-GA Review
Similar to our best-value pick, the Driveway Informer DI2000S-GA is an expandable wireless driveway alarm developed for perimeters of all sizes.
A longer signal range up to 1,000 feet, though, makes it more suitable for mid-size and large perimeters.
Easy to operate, this driveway alarm is easy to transform into a reliable multi-purpose alarm thanks to the versatile receiver which features two terminal screws for adding accessories.
Furthermore, the receiver also has a resettable LCD display counter and a convenient volume control knob.
Developed to detect humans, animals, and vehicles, the alarm can be used for various applications, such as keeping your property safe, monitoring your pets, and more.
Discreet, reliable, and with a long signal range, the Driveway Informer DI2000S-GA is a great alternative for a large property.
Hosmart HY757 Rechargable Driveway AlarmA cheap option
Expandable and weatherproof driveway alarm is perfect for the homeowners shopping on a budget.
Hosmart HY757 Review
With a half mile long signal range and some best-value features, the Hosmart HY757 appeals to those looking for both convenience and reliability.
This driveway alarm comes with one sensor powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a convenient receiver powered either by AC when plugged into a wall outlet or by a battery, included in the package.
Expandable up to four sensors and unlimited receivers, the alarm can cover smaller or larger areas.
Developed to detect humans, animals, and cars, this device is also easy to adjust to minimize false alarms and has a swivel mount that allows for a quick adjustment of the focus and detection angle.
Reliable, expandable, and affordable, the Hosmart Rechargable Driveway Alarm is ideal for the budget savvy homeowner.
2. Why invest in a driveway alarm?
Driveway alarms are designed to monitor the perimeter, gateway, or entrance of your home or business, but these versatile systems can serve many other purposes.
For instance, a driveway alarm can monitor a:
- Pool or basement entrance;
- Garage entrance;
- Your pets or kids;
- Animals getting into your garden, especially in a rural area.
Depending on the area you want to monitor, you can buy single or multiple sensor systems, and some even accept multiple receivers you can place in various areas of your home or business.
3. Wired vs. wireless driveway alarms
Driveway alarms come in wired and wireless variants.
- Wired driveway alarms: Are the most affordable models. These alarms are very reliable and simple to operate. They also have no batteries to recharge or replace, but are impractical for large properties or in areas where running a wire is impossible. The wire can be damaged by animals or people, therefore you will have to bury it.
- Wireless driveway alarms: Are perhaps the most popular. Installing these systems is a breeze, but their efficiency can be affected by interferences between the sensor and receiver, such as trees or thick walls. Depending on the characteristics of the area to monitor, the wireless alarms may or may not be effective.
4. Wireless driveway alarms power source
Wireless driveway alarms consist of at least a sensor and a receiver, and each component is powered by an independent source.
The sensors can be powered by:
- Traditional batteries: The most popular power source. Most sensors use one or two AA batteries which typically provide energy for up to a year.
- Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries: Typically powered by 9-volt batteries with a runtime of about a month. These batteries recharge either via a traditional charger or via integrated solar panels similar to those employed by portable solar generators.
The receiver is typically a corded device which plugs into a traditional wall outlet. Some of the best wireless driveway alarms come with hybrid receivers powered by either batteries or alternating current.
5. Types of sensors
There are two common types of sensors (or detectors) employed in the construction of the wireless driveway alarms.
1. Passive infrared (PIR) sensors
Are typically powered by standard AA batteries, although some models are equipped with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. These sensors are very easy to install, and they monitor the area within their designated range constantly, detecting the infrared radiation emitted by an individual, animal, or vehicle.
Their main advantage is that they don’t have to be aligned with other objects to work, and they are easy to hide, for example behind a gate post or fence panel.
PIR driveway alarms come with a variable number of sensors, from one to four or over.
Where to install PIR sensors?
PIR detectors are typically installed at a height from 3 to 6 feet on:
- A wooden post or fence;
- Behind a gate post;
- Hidden inside a birdhouse;
PIR sensors are particularly useful in rural areas if you want to detect wildlife or pets getting into your garden.
2. Active perimeter beam sensors
Active perimeter beam sensors work in pairs; these systems require to install two sensors one in front of the other. The two detectors create an invisible beam and transmit a wireless signal to the receiver when the beam is interrupted.
These sensors can work at further distances than the PIR systems and are less likely to give false alarms, as they are not detecting infrared radiations.
Where to install active perimeter beam sensors?
Ideal to monitor wider areas, but always working in pairs, the active perimeter beam sensors are best installed at a height between 3 and 6 feet on:
- Opposite gateway posts;
- Entrance brick pillars;
- Two wooden posts.
Active perimeter beam sensors are ideal to use in urban areas to monitor the access to your property.
6. Transmission range
The transmission range determines the maximum distance between the sensors and the receiver. Manufacturers typically disclose the transmission range in the product’s name or in its manual, but you must know the real range may not coincide with the indicated one.
This happens because manufacturers measure the transmission range under ideal and uninterrupted conditions. In real life, any physical obstacle, including walls, will reduce the wireless transmission.
How to calculate the right transmission range?
To make sure you’re buying the best driveway alarm for you, estimate the maximum distance between the sensor and the receiver, and double it to account for the signal loss; if there are many obstacles between the devices, it is recommended to quadruple the range.
For example, if your house is located at 300 feet from the gateway and you want to install the sensors on the gateways posts, it is ideal to buy a system with a transmission range of 600 feet to account for any signal loss due to trees, plants, and walls.
Which transmission range do you need?
Assessing the transmission range using the formula above is easy, but the examples below can help you figure out without hassle which transmission range is best for you.
Under 1,000-foot driveway alarms are best for:
- Monitoring your front door
- Monitoring the mail box
- Monitoring the garage or shed
1,000 – 2,500-foot driveway alarms are best for:
- Monitoring a long driveway
- Monitoring the end of the road
- Monitoring the fence line around the property
- Monitoring multiple entrances
- Smaller properties to offset natural obstacles
Over 2,500-feet driveway alarms are best for:
- Monitoring large properties or to offset natural obstacles
- Monitoring construction sites
7. Other important features
A few other important features can make the difference between an average and the best driveway alarm.
- A 12V relay output is useful if you want to connect the alarm to an existing security system. This output also allows you to link the sensors to lights that can either alert you or scare intruders.
- If you want flexibility in monitoring a wider area, invest in an expandable driveway alarm system. Most alarms accept multiple sensors and some even accept multiple receivers.
- A loud and volume-adjustable alert sound is important. When using multiple sensors, some receivers give you the possibility to customize the sound for each of them, so you know which one transmitted the signal.
- Invest in a driveway alarm that is easy to install. Also, make sure the user manual is comprehensive and easy to follow.
- Make sure the sensors come in a weatherproof case that can withstand adverse weather and low temperatures.
- A swivel mount is important if you want to adjust the focus and detection angle.