How Do Motion Activated Alarms Work and Which Are the Best in 2023?

When you’re looking for ways to protect your business, you probably want to make sure nobody is in your building when they shouldn’t be. This is where motion activated alarms come in: they can detect the presence of intruders and alert you when an unauthorized person is in your building. Many motion activated alarms work alongside security systems, and they are an integral part of your overall security. 

What is a motion activated alarm, how do they work, and which ones are best? Learn more here. 

how a motion detector works

What Is a Motion Activated Alarm? 

A motion activated alarm is a part of a security system that triggers an alarm when it detects motion. There are different types of alarms it can trigger, including visual, auditory, and/or silent alarms. Each type of alarm serves a different purpose, whether it’s to stop an intruder from entering or alerting authorities and property owners of motion. 

These alarms can range from simple motion activated lights to very loud auditory alarms. 

commercial security camera motion detection

How Does a Motion Activated Alarm Work? 

Before we get into which motion activated alarms are best, let’s take a quick look at how different types of alarms work. 

Today, most alarms use passive infrared technology (PIR). This detects body heat, not simply motion. Because of this, false alarms are reduced; the detector won’t pick up a bug crawling across the floor or a stray cobweb, for example. It works by detecting a rapid change in heat when a person enters the field of vision of the camera. Heat shows up as infrared light that the camera can detect. 

Another less common way to detect motion is with an active motion sensor. This type of motion activated alarm uses a beam of light; the alarm activates when the beam is broken. When you choose an active motion sensor, you’re more likely to have false alarms because the beam can be broken by anything, such as a paper blown off a desk in the breeze. 

A third type of motion activated alarm uses radio microwave pulses and reflected ultrasonic waves. The sensor sends out a sound wave and measures the time and intensity of return. If the time and intensity change, it triggers the alarm. 

Finally, security cameras can also use video analytics to detect motion. They use predefined borders to detect an object entering or leaving an area. 

image of a motion detecting camera

The Best Motion Activated Alarms for 2023

When choosing a motion activated alarm, it makes sense to choose one that is compatible with the security system you either already have or are planning on buying. Many motion activated alarms work in sync with security and monitoring systems. 

  1. SimpliSafe Motion Sensor

The SimpliSafe motion sensor uses infrared technology to detect motion. Depending on the iteration you choose, you can get 30 to 40 feet of coverage, and the sensor is designed to scan 90 degrees when it’s installed in the corner of the room. 

The wireless sensor is discreet and has a three to five year battery life. With a peel-and-stick backing, it’s easy to install on your own, and you can be up and running with motion sensing very quickly. Because it uses infrared, there are limited false alarms as it’s designed to detect the heat of a human body. This motion activated alarm is designed to only be used indoors. 

simplisafe motion sensor
  1. ADT Motion Sensor 

ADT makes a variety of motion sensors that work with their security systems. When they work in sync with a security system, the motion sensor can not only trigger an alarm, but it can also kick on video recording so you can have a visual of what triggered the alarm. 

The sensors are designed to cover a wide area; each sensor can reach an area of up to 35 by 40 feet. You can customize various types of alarms with the ADT sensors. For example, you can receive a notification on your phone, a light can go on, and the monitoring professionals at ADT can be alerted as well. 

ADT motion sensor
  1. Wyze Sense Motion Sensor 

Designed to be used in conjunction with a Wyze security system, this motion sensor has a range of up to 25 feet and can scan 120 degrees. It uses AAA batteries that can last up to 18 months with normal use. The sensor is designed for indoor use only. 

The alarm on this sensor notifies you via an app if it detects motion, and you also have the option to record video when the alarm is triggered. 

wyze sense motion sensor
  1. Frontpoint Motion Sensor 

The Frontpoint Motion Sensor works with Frontpoint security systems and like most other modern sensors, it uses infrared technology. These wireless sensors activate a high-decibel alarm when they detect motion in their field of vision. They can also alert you via an app and notification on your phone. The system is designed to alert authorities that can provide emergency assistance as well, but you can easily cancel the alert if it’s a false alarm. 

frontpoint motion sensor

Motion Activated Alarm for Business 

Choosing the right motion activated alarm for your business is important as it can keep all aspects of your business safe and secure. Before choosing an alarm, think about the qualities you want in a motion activated alarm and what type of alarm you think is best for your situation. That will help you narrow down the many choices on the market.

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