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Wireless alarm systems vs wired systems: which is best?

When it comes to choosing a wireless alarm system, it can be a bit overwhelming figuring out which is right for your household. With quite a few different systems out there on the market, it’s important that you fully understand what the different types of home security systems can actually do for your home before making that buying step.

Here, we’re focusing on the wireless alarm system vs wired alarm system. We’ll show you how they differ and help you work out which is best for your home. Need to go right back to basics? Head here for a complete guide to burglar alarms to delve more into all the different kinds of home security systems there are, and explore their key features in more detail.

What is a wired alarm system?

A wired alarm system requires professional installation to hardwire all connected devices in a house. Each sensor is connected to a main control panel by a cable that typically runs along skirting boards and around door frames. The system uses a landline connection to work and communicate.

What is a wireless alarm system?

Using cellular connection and Wi-Fi, a wireless home security system works by connecting individual sensors through a wireless network. If Wi-Fi isn’t available, many wireless systems can use cellular back-up.

What is the main difference between a wireless alarm system and wired system?

Apart from the obvious of one needing wires, the main difference between these two alarm systems is in their communication and performance. It’s important to remember that a wireless system uses cellular connection with its devices and is portable. A wired system on the other hand, relies on a landline connection and can’t be easily transported.

The pros and cons of a wireless alarm system

Pros:

  • Provides a cleaner and neater look as no wires or cables are needed
  • No need to worry about false alarms thanks to unique human heat signature detection; pets are safe
  • Very secure - advanced technology means you don’t need to worry about intruders tampering
  • It’s easy to extend and add many devices to a wireless system, you just set them up by connecting them wirelessly. So, if you need to add alarm sensors to a garage or anywhere else in your home, it’s easy to do
  • Easy to handle, as you can remove devices temporarily if you need to. For instance if you need to decorate, you can remove detectors and fit them back in place easily with a wireless alarm system
  • If you need to move house, you can take the wireless system with you with no fuss
  • You can set them to different modes with individual sensors customised to ‘home’, ‘away’ and ‘off’. You get more options, meaning even when you’re in the home, you can rest easier knowing your household is still protected
  • You have the flexibility for it to be a monitored alarm system, which alerts the professional monitoring centre in an alarm event. They can dispatch the police or fire service on your behalf once an incident has been visually verified
  • A wireless system can work out more cost-effective than wired systems, as you save on installation and maintenance costs
  • If there’s a power outage, a wireless system can still function, as it has a backup battery
  • Indoor cameras, outdoor cameras and doorbells can all be connected and benefit a home security system. Plus, cameras can capture crucial evidence
  • Cons:

  • Because wireless systems are DIY, they have to be installed by yourself. Luckily, with a system like SimpliSafe, all you have to do is plug it in and follow the simple instructions!
  • DIY systems aren’t usually graded, but it is something we are looking into
  • The pros and cons of a wired alarm system

    Pros:

  • You can rely on a professional to install it
  • Don’t have to worry about batteries running low
  • Can have pet-friendly motion sensors connected
  • Don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi failure
  • For rural areas, landline connections are good
  • Cons:

  • Takes a lot longer to set up and get things running
  • Costs more overall due to professional installation required and maintenance costs
  • Can be unsightly with lots of wires running along skirting boards etc.
  • False alarms more likely to occur due to mains failures
  • Cables are vulnerable to damage or being chewed or cut - costing more money to repair
  • Not easily portable - you’d have to reset the main control panel and all its connected components with a completely new wired set-up. When removing the system it could also cause potential damage to your home
  • Adding any additional devices can sometimes cause complications and there would also be the added installation cost, no matter how small the sensor
  • Landline systems are more vulnerable to tampering
  • Which alarm system is best for you: wireless or wired?

    So, there you have it - the breakdown of the wireless alarm systems vs wired systems. There are benefits and drawbacks to all kinds of systems - take a look at our traditional vs modern burglar alarms for example. But taking into account all the pros and cons for both of these specific alarm systems, it’s clear to see what is more favoured and is testament to their popularity - the wireless alarm system, that is. Of course, that still doesn’t mean a wired alarm system doesn’t work well, you should just ask yourself these questions when deciding which is right for you.

  • Do you have more than one property, and so will need more than one system? Wireless systems are so much easier to set up
  • Are you currently renovating and investing in your property? While you’re renovating, you could opt for a wired system, as this will be a good opportunity to get it installed when floorboards are up and holes are getting drilled
  • Do you want something for life, that you can easily take with you if you ever need to move? Wireless is your answer
  • Do you live in a rural area? Wired alarm systems that use landline connections are good for rural areas
  • Do you need a 24/7 monitored alarm system? Wireless systems are ideal and can rely on cellular back-up to contact alarm receiving centres
  • Do you have pets? Many wireless systems are pet-friendly because of unique, human heat signature detection. And with no wires or cables, you don’t have to worry about any gnaws or chews cutting through and damaging them and disrupting the system
  • Are you planning to extend your residential property? With a wireless system, adding sensors is tremendously easy to do if you wish to further protect your property
  • Decorating on the cards? You can easily take off and fix back sensors and devices connected to a wireless system yourself, and if you need to fix a door frame, paint skirting boards or change wallpaper, cables and wires are no bother
  • Interested in a wireless alarm system? Use our build my home security system tool to see how one could work for your property.