A burglar alarm is one of the most important features of an effective home security system. But with an increasingly wide field of choice, it can be difficult to decide which alarm is right for your property. This decision ultimately depends on what you need from your alarm and how much you are willing to spend on it. Here is our guide to finding the best burglar alarm.
Choose a reliable alarm company
The first step towards finding your ideal alarm is choosing a reliable provider. There are plenty of new players on the market, but which of these, if any, are worth using? Any companies, old and new, who are members of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) will be able to install an alarm to the standards required by the police for a police response, if this is what you require. But security companies with a history of quality service are your safest bet, whatever your needs.
Founded in 1926, Banham is one of the most historic security providers in the country, with a level of prestige that only decades of good service can create. All of our alarms comply with NSI requirements, meet European standards, and come with a range of maintenance options and status reports, so that you can ensure the highest possible level of protection for your property.
Unlike most other security companies, we also have our own inhouse monitoring service, with our award-winning Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) operating 24 hours a day, on every day of the year. This provides constant support, as well as emergency response and police response services (depending on the selected monitoring plan).
It’s not just our high-quality systems and service that sets Banham apart from the rest. With over 90 years of industry excellence, our hard-earned reputation is on the line every time we take on a client. Established, reliable companies like Banham will do everything they can to live up to the high standards their customers have come to expect.
Think carefully about which type of alarm you should buy
Once you have found a reliable security company, the next step is deciding which type of alarm your property needs. There is a plethora of options on the market, so here is our overview of the most common burglar alarm varieties.
Dummy alarm boxes
Those who want to increase their security without decreasing their bank balance may consider investing in a fake “dummy” alarm box. At the considerably low price of around £20, some argue these boxes could deter burglars, even if they won’t stop them in action.
This, however, is a misguided approach, and it is inadvisable to take such a big risk with your home security. With these non-alarms offering no actual protection, and a number of alternative affordable options for working alarms, we would argue that there is no need to purchase a dummy alarm box. In fact, doing so would engender a dangerous false peace of mind.
DIY-installed burglar alarms
Another option for the more frugal-minded is to buy an alarm that you can install yourself, which could save you money by avoiding installation charges and a subscription fee. Once again, we would advise against these kinds of burglar alarms, as only professional installers can ensure an alarm is in proper working order. No matter your level of DIY skill, installing a burglar alarm yourself could seriously jeopardise your security.
Not only this, but self-installed alarms do not give you the additional benefits of professional installation packages, such as regular maintenance and alarm monitoring. Indeed, the continued self-maintenance of a DIY home alarm system will likely cost you more in the long term than one which has been professionally-installed. Another downside of DIY security systems lies in the fact that they are not covered by home insurance providers and in the event that the alarm fails to function properly during a break-in, your insurance policy may be voided.
For more information, read our article on the dangers of installing DIY burglar alarms.
Wired and wireless burglar alarms
For many homeowners, the choice of which alarm system to buy simply comes down to whether they want theirs to be wired or wireless. Both have their pros and cons. While wired alarms are typically cheaper to purchase on their own, the installation and cable costs will drastically add to your outlay. They are, however, generally more robust than wireless alarms, and require less maintenance.
Wireless alarms are proving increasingly popular home security measures. These systems feature sensors that are wirelessly connected to the main alarm console. Smart alarms have also recently entered the market, using these sensors to then send notifications to your smartphone, enabling you to monitor your home remotely. Whilst offering a more “hands-on” form of security from a consumer standpoint, these smart systems lack the expertise of professionals in an ARC. The Banham SmartAlarm app gives homeowners a safer way to monitor their own security systems. Banham security experts will still maintain your burglar alarms, but the app allows you to control and monitor them yourself from afar.
Smart Alarm technology is still at premature stages which means that smart alarm systems can also be more prone to security risks and just like other forms of wireless technology, smart alarms are vulnerable to interference. There are also growing fears about the susceptibility of such systems to hackers, who could infiltrate these systems and control them remotely.
Wireless alarms which are not smart alarms, on the other hand, are far more secure. Banham wireless alarms can use their own network instead of the owner’s wifi which essentially eliminates the chances of them being hacked should someone gain access to the property’s wifi network. If you opt for a wireless burglar alarm, it is essential to have it professionally installed; maintenance and monitoring from security professionals, too, will help keep your alarm functioning well.
In the same way, wired burglar alarms are not vulnerable to hackers, and are highly effective when installed and maintained by professionals.
Monitored burglar alarms
Another factor in deciding which burglar alarm to purchase is the level of response once it has been activated. A bells-only alarm merely makes a noise if your property is breached in an attempt to scare off the intruder and alert passersby. Crucially, though, these alarms will not contact the authorities.
By comparison, a monitored burglar alarm system will be connected to an ARC, which will be notified when your alarm has been activated. Professionals in the ARC will then call your landline to ask for password identification. If this is answered incorrectly, or if no one answers, the monitors will either call a nominated secondary person or the police, providing an effective way to protect your home.
Whilst a bells-only alarm is less expensive, you’d need to consider whether you feel that neighbours or passersby would take action if they heard your alarm being triggered. There is also the issue of insurance; many insurance providers will insist you must have a monitored alarm if your property is more high risk, such as if you live in an area with higher rates of crime.
Consider your home insurance
The best burglar alarms may not only be valuable for keeping your home safe, but also succeed in protecting your bank balance; insurance providers often give discounts on premiums if your security is seen to be particularly robust. You can read more about this subject in our guide on reducing home insurance premiums.
Going beyond an insurer’s basic requirements doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily recover the outlay on installation, but having good home security can minimise your need to make any claims in the first place.
It is also important to ensure you don’t invalidate your insurance by neglecting to use your alarm. Insurers will typically ask that your alarm is activated at specific times when your property is most at risk—for example, at night or when you’re out. Failure to do so can invalidate any claim you make if you are burgled during these time frames.
The best type of burglar alarm for your property is dependent on how much you are willing to spend, the level of security you feel you require and whether you want your property to be monitored from afar. With the importance of alarms in deterring criminals and their effect on your insurance premium, it is worth considering this decision carefully.
To this end, Banham provides a free and no obligation onsite security survey, during which, one of our highly-trained security experts will attend your property and perform a thorough security assessment and come up with a plan of action that is tailored around your specific needs. Contact us today.