Driveway Alarm Review
With the numerous different types of driveway alarms in the market now it can be more than a little daunting trying to make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs. The following review can clarify the pros and cons of the different types of driveway alarms and help make sure the final decision is the right one for you.
Driveway alarms generally consist of three components; the sensor, the transmitter and the receiver. They can be either wireless or hard wired. The first step in choosing a driveway alarm system is to determine why you want the driveway alarm. Are you looking for a driveway monitor that will only detect vehicles - or one that would detect vehicles, people and possibly animals as well? The main types of driveway alarm systems we'll review on this site are; Infra Red Sensors, Magnetic Probe Sensors and Rubber Hose Sensors, below you'll find some highlighted features of each type.
There is now a Solar Powered Wireless Photo beam System!
The new Dakota Alert BBA-2500 system is a wireless break beam system. It uses dual beam technology so both beams need to be broken simultaneously to trigger an alarm. This helps to prevent false alarms from small birds or animals while still detecting people and vehicles. When something break the beams a wireless alarm signal is sent up to 2500 feet back to the driveway chime.
Infra Red Driveway Sensors
These driveway alarm sensors detect moving heat. They are not motion sensors or the beams you sometimes see under garage doors - they are actual PIR (passive infra red) sensors which will send an alarm signal if they detect anything warm and moving in front of them. The alarm will trigger if a vehicle, person or large animal passes in front of them. These types of driveway alarms are only available in wireless models and are very simple to install.
Magnetic Probe Driveway Sensors
These driveway sensors will only detect moving metal, which means you'll never get a false alarm from animals, birds etc. (although lightening can set them off). One advantage with this type of sensor is that the probe is buried and completely out of sight. They generally cost $100.00 or more than their Infra Red partners and are available in both wireless and wired models.
Rubber Hose Driveway Sensors
These are the driveway alarm sensors most people are familiar with. They are simply a soft, slightly pressurized rubber hose that lays on the ground. When a heavy object, such as a vehicle travels over them the alarm is triggered. These types are inexpensive and very easy to install, but will not work well in areas with heavy snowfall. The rubber hose will also degrade over time - though hose replacements are available for most models and are inexpensive.
Photo Beam (Break Beam) Sensors
The first wireless and easy to install break beam system has just been introduced in the past year by Dakota Alert. These systems use two units placed on either side of your driveway or entrance way. The better quality systems (such as Dakota Alert's BBA-2500) actually feature multiple "beams" crossing between the two sensors, an alarm is only triggered when all beams are broken simultaneously. This essentially eliminates any false alarms from small animals, birds etc.. These systems are a nice alternative to the infrared sensors in applications where pedestrian detection is required, but false alarms are not!
Now that you've become more acquainted with the different types of the driveway alarm systems, their pros and cons and their possible uses, making the decision on which to buy should be easier. Another final thing to consider as you purchase is how you'd like to be notified of the alarm trigger. Many systems allow you to connect to external strobes, sirens, buzzers, door bells, chimes - any number of choices. With that in mind, remember that driveway alarm systems are not designed to replace a home security system, but rather work with it.