There are many different types of alarm systems you can install in your home or business, and within each type of alarm system, there are subtypes. The different types of alarm systems can cross over as well. For example, you can have a wired monitored system or a wireless monitored system.
If this seems a bit confusing, continue reading to get a breakdown of the different types of alarm systems and learn which type might be the best to choose for your property. Here, we’ll look at five main types of alarm systems: fire alarm systems, wired alarm systems, wireless alarm systems, unmonitored alarm systems, and monitored alarm systems.
Fire Alarm System
A fire alarm system should be installed in every occupied building. They can range from simple systems with only smoke detectors to elaborate systems with pull stations, control centers, and sprinklers.
In all cases, a fire alarm system will alert occupants of the threat. In many cases, the system can also alert the fire department and other appropriate authorities of the fire. Unlike security systems, fire alarm systems are mandated by local codes and laws. As such, be sure to follow the rules when choosing and installing a fire alarm system. While you still have a choice in what type of system you install, you need to make sure your system is meeting minimum basic requirements.
Wired Alarm Systems
A wired alarm system is a security system that is connected to a landline in your building. Every single component of the system needs to be hard-wired in order for the system to work. This provides a consistent and uninterrupted connection. Wired systems are generally very reliable, and they don’t require high-speed internet or fresh batteries to work. They work well in large areas where the system may be spread out over a large distance. With hard wiring, you don’t need to worry about the distance any sensors are from a control panel.
One downside to a wired alarm system is that if the wires are damaged or cut, the system will no longer work. They will also fail to work if your building loses power. Additionally, wired systems can be difficult and expensive to install because you’ll need to run wires throughout your building.
Wireless Alarm Systems
A wireless alarm system is a security system that is not connected to a landline in your building, rather it works by using radio frequencies. Wireless systems use sensors that can trigger an alarm if they are tripped. The sensors use radio frequency to send a signal to the control panel of the system if an alarm needs to go off.
One of the main advantages of wireless alarm systems and one of the reasons they are so popular today is that you can easily connect to your wireless system remotely. Of course, you’ll need to regularly replace batteries in a wireless system, and it’s important to make sure you maintain a strong signal. To keep a strong signal, you cannot exceed the maximum distance between the sensors and the control panel. This can be a problem in larger buildings, so often wireless systems are better for smaller properties.
Unmonitored Alarm Systems
An unmonitored alarm system is not monitored by anybody remotely or in a control center. Additionally, they do not alert authorities of the alarm. Rather, an unmonitored system sounds a local alarm when needed, and it relies on people in the vicinity being able to hear the alarm. Types of alarms in an unmonitored system can include beeps, buzzers, lights, and voice alarms.
Unmonitored systems are typically cheaper than monitored systems, but they don’t provide the same level of security you’ll get with a system that is monitored 24/7. In some cases, an unmonitored system can send an alert to an app on your phone if the alarm is tripped. Then, you can alert any proper authorities or respond to the alarm yourself. This is a nice feature, but it relies on you constantly keeping tabs on your property. Because an unmonitored alarm system is not quite as secure as a monitored system, it’s not always the best choice. However, it is cheaper than a monitored system because you don’t need to pay a monthly fee for monitoring, so if you’re on a tight budget, it is a viable option.
Monitored Alarm Systems
A monitored alarm system is monitored by a security team. If the alarm is tripped, they are immediately alerted and begin taking action. Monitored systems also alert you if the alarm is tripped. When the monitoring center is notified of an alarm, they typically get in contact with you and alert the proper authorities. They are able to see what type of alarm was triggered and get first responders there quickly, be it firefighters, police, or medical personnel.
Monitored systems can give you peace of mind that even when you are away, your building will be taken care of in the event an alarm is triggered. Monitored systems tend to be more pricey because you are paying for that team to be constantly monitoring your property. Usually, you’ll pay a monthly fee to continue your monitoring service.
Which Alarm System is Best?
Each type of alarm system has its advantages and disadvantages, and not all systems are right for every situation. To determine which alarm system is best for your business, first look at what your needs are.
Of course, each business will need some type of fire alarm system. To choose a security system, think about what types of security threats you face, what the layout of your building is like, what your budget is, and other similar questions. Answering these questions will help you understand what qualities you’re looking for in an alarm system so you can choose the one that will work best for you.