If you're worried about home safety, getting one of the best home security systems (opens in new tab) installed is essential. These systems can be as thorough or as cheap as you need, and will come with options for installing both wired and wireless systems. Most modern systems are wireless, but many providers still offer wired options. So, which one is best for you?
The terms wired and wireless home security systems typically describe two parts of an alarm system – the hardware and the monitoring services. For this article, we will be looking at the physical installation of both wired and wireless security systems, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. If you want to do it yourself, you can check out our guide to the best wireless security cameras (opens in new tab).
Hardwired Surveillance Systems
One of the biggest differences between wired and wireless security systems is cost. Wired security systems tend to cost less and come with fewer security components than wireless systems. Wired security consoles typically need a professional installer to bypass the electrical outlet and hardwire your security console and sensors into the wiring system of your home, making it a permanent fixture. Wired systems use your landline, the same line as your telephone or internet service, to connect to the professional monitoring service of your choice. However, there are home security systems that you can install yourself. We tested some of the best wired security systems for our DIY home security review.
Most wired security systems are compatible with wireless components, such as door sensors, motion sensors and surveillance cameras. This means you can set up a basic wired system quickly and add extra security features in the future as your budget allows.
Another advantage is that wired systems don’t require batteries, so you don’t have to worry about changing them to ensure you are always connected. This makes wired security systems more reliable than wireless alternatives. However, this also means you will be left vulnerable during a power outage. It is also easy for professional thieves to snip the telephone and power wires to dismantle your security system prior to entering your home.
Wireless Surveillance Systems
Wireless security systems are mobile, which means you can take your system with you if you move to another home. It is also easier to place these systems' sensors and cameras in hard-to-reach areas, since they are not dependent on wires. Consoles are often preprogrammed so your home is secured as soon as the system is installed. Additional sensors and cameras are easy to install and set up to signal the console. Because they are so easy to set up, most wireless systems don’t require much more than a screwdriver to mount the various parts. While professional installers are helpful, these systems are easy to set up on your own.
Wireless surveillance systems are a good choice if you have satellite internet, since it doesn’t require the use of a landline to monitor your property. Wireless is also good to have when the power goes out, since it relies on battery power rather than your local electric company. However, this means you need to change the batteries often so the system doesn’t lapse in protection.
Another cool feature of some wireless security systems is the home automation (opens in new tab) ability. This technology lets you monitor and adjust security settings from your smartphone (opens in new tab), so you don’t have to be at home to know what’s going on. These systems let you adjust heat controls, close garage doors and have two-way conversations with your children as they arrive home from school. These features give you a peace of mind from your system beyond burglary deterrence.
One disadvantage to wireless systems is the disruption in the signal from each sensor to the console. Weather especially has a knack of interfering with wireless signals, causing false alarms to sound or for sensors to intermittently stop working. False alarms can cost you money in the form of fines from cities, emergency agencies and even your monitoring service.
Wired or wireless home security: which is best for you?
Both wired and wireless surveillance systems offer your home protection and security while you are away. Wired systems cost less and are permanently installed as fixtures in your home. While a wired system is more reliable, since it doesn’t have batteries that need changing, it becomes useless during a power outage.
Wireless systems give you more options, including home automation, and don’t require the use of your power grid or landline. Wireless systems continue to protect your home when the lights go out, but you need to change their batteries often, and the signal may be interrupted, causing costly false alarms.