like a security light attached to a motion sensor, a
driveway alarm uses a wired or wireless sensor to inform
you when someoneís walked or driven onto your
few of our experts weigh in on different driveway alert
systems and the pros and cons of wired and wireless
IS A DRIVEWAY ALARM SYSTEM?
mounted on a post in your driveway, and it sets off a
chime inside your house whenever something moves in
front of the sensor," says Randy Reed, owner of
Reed Brothers Security in Oakland, Calif. "Youíll
know if someone is walking or driving down your
driveway. It comes in handy if youíre waiting on a
package delivery or the postman."
Fabrizio, owner of JFab Design in Worcester, Pa., says
driveway alerts come in two basic types: easily
installed wireless sensors and more complex wired
systems with lines buried in the yard.
MUCH DO DRIVEWAY ALARMS COST?
a good wireless alert system from a trusted manufacturer
such as Optex, Reed says to be prepared to pay a few
hundred dollars. "You can buy a knockoff system for
cheaper than that, but if you buy generic, youíll be
paying for it in decreased quality," he says.
wired system from a manufacturer such as Cartell can
cost up to a few thousand dollars, according to Fabrizio,
because it involves more parts, professional expertise
and running one or more lines across your yard.
ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A BURIED SYSTEM OVER A WIRELESS
itís more expensive, Fabrizio says a buried system
offers much more flexibility.
more robust and can do a lot more than just set off a
chime," he says. "You can wire it into a home
automation system and program it to do specific things
at specific times. You might have certain lights turn on
for a certain period of time as a car comes through, so
youíre not pulling up to a dark house.
just wired a house so that all the speakers set off a
sound when a car comes through, but they only do it
during the day, so you donít get the loud sound at
night," Fabrizio adds.
says buried systems can also communicate with mobile
devices. For instance, you can receive a text message
whenever a car comes into your driveway.
buried system also offers more precision, since it
measures the size of whateverís passing by it and only
sets off for something larger, such as a car. A wireless
sensor usually uses a beam of light and sets off
whenever something breaks the beam.
just there to tell you something moved out front,"
Reed says. "A dog or bird can set it off as easily
as a car."
YOU DO IT YOURSELF?
says homeowners can install a wireless alarm system
themselves without much trouble.
plug in one box in an outlet inside, and the other box
on a post outside," he says. "You just need to
make sure you donít place it so far that the signal
canít reach inside your house. Youíll get the best
range if thereís a direct line of sight with as few
obstructions as possible between the two units. The
average range is about 200 feet."
says homeowners should leave wired systems to the
professionals, since it involves burying electrical
lines and connecting to the houseís physical wiring.