How Do Glass Break Detectors Work?

When it comes to security measures against burglars and break-ins, it’s helpful to have as many layers of protection as possible. And while window and door sensors are effective and crucial to any security system, they cannot detect smashed windows and doors; if a burglar simply forced their way in by smashing the window pane, the contacts will not sound the alarm. You may need glass break detectors to fully secure your property.

Glass Break

Glass Break Detectors detect when glass is broken, and either trigger the alarm system or sound their own audible alarm. They are usually one of two types.

The first type of glass break detector uses a vibration detector, which is tuned to detect the vibrations produced by breaking glass. The second type features an acoustic microphone that picks up and recognizes the frequency the sound of broken glass makes. They both make excellent counterparts to window and door contacts, which detect when doors and windows are opened, and traditional motion sensors, which triggers the alarm when motion is detected  inside the building.

If a burglar tries to simply smash the door glass and climb through the window – circumventing the window contacts – the device will pick up the sound of smashing glass and trip the alarm. On higher end models, the detected frequency can even be manually set by the user.

Glass break detectors usually have an effective range of several feet in any direction, for an area of 25 feet. One placed in the center of small room could cover multiple windows or doors, and they don’t need to be linked to a window or pointed in any particular direction. To cover your entire home, however, you’ll need multiple sensors to place in different rooms throughout the home.

They can also be left on 24/7, unlike regular security systems and sensors, which must be deactivated and reset when you enter or leave the house. Forgetting to reset them will not be an issue – just leave them on all the time.

What Are Dual-Technology Glass Break Detectors?

A third, and less popular, type of glass break detector is a dual-technology detector, which senses breaking glass in two ways – both sound and flex detection. When a burglar smashes the glass, the flex detection picks up the very low frequency sound emitted by the impact, and triggers the microphone, which listens for the high-frequency sound of breaking glass. For the alarm to be triggered, both sounds must be detected within a short time of each other, ensuring that the sound is actually from a smashed window – and virtually eliminating false alarms.

Dual-Technology Glass Break Detectors

Are There Any Cons To Glass Break Detectors?

Glass break detectors are sensitive, and sometimes too much so. Less-attuned models will react to any sounds above a certain frequency, which means they may pick up other high-frequency sounds and vibrations – such as smashing a glass in the kitchen. If you find yourself making a lot of loud noises – playing video games or instruments – you may need to deactivate your glass break detector beforehand or be sure not to place one nearby.

To get the settings right, most systems will have “Test functions,” which lets you adjust the frequency and test whether certain sounds trigger the alarm – say, clapping your hands or something similar.

Do You Need Glass Break Detectors?

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive burglar alarm and home security, a glass break detector could be a huge addition to your system. They’re not very expensive, but they add an additional layer of security, plugging a hole that door and window contacts cannot cover.

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