security and saving made simple.
Choosing the proper driveway alarm for an intended application can be a demoralizing task. If there is little knowledge
about the individual products to start, the choice is that much harder. The following review can help distinguish each
sensor/alarm as well as give a little insight as to what each device does.
The main three components of driveway alarms are the receiver, transmitter and sensor. Wireless or hard wired is
personal preference. One of the first steps in deciding is to figure out “why do I need a driveway alarm?” Is it for only
detecting vehicles? Small animals? People? The main reviews on this site are; Infrared Sensors, Magnetic Probe
Sensors, Rubber Hose Sensors, and lastly Photo Beam Sensors.
Solar powered wireless beams are the most recent device that has come out. The Dakota Alert BBA-2500 system is
a wireless break beam system. Dual beam technology is used to verify that once BOTH beams are broke
simultaneously, then the alarm will sound. False alarms are few and far between in this case simply because BOTH
beams need to be broke and not just a single beam. If a single beam is broke then nothing happens, and there are no
alarm sounds. Birds are most of the time the culprit of false alarms and with having the dual beam technology; it
minimizes the potential for false alarms.
Below is the different sensors/alarm photos and information to go along with them
Infrared Driveway Sensors
Heat is the main point of communication between the user and the sensor device. There can be some confusion
with other devices such as; motion sensors or beams you see under garage doors. Passive Infrared (PIR) is how
the infrared sensors run. An alarm signal is sent whenever anything warm passes through the beam. These types
of driveway alarms are wireless ONLY and are simple to install.
Magnetic Probe Driveway Sensor
These sensors detect moving metal ONLY. This means there will never be false alarms for animals, birds, etc.
However, lightning can have an effect on these sensors to cause false alarms. One advantage of this type of sensor
is that the probe is completely out of sight after the install takes place. Cost is around $100 or more compared to
the infrared sensors. Magnetic probes are available in wired and wireless options.
Rubber Hose Driveway Sensor
Rubber hose driveway sensors are what most people are familiar with when it comes to sensors in general. Soft,
slightly pressurized rubber hose that lies on the ground is all that encapsulate the rubber hose sensor technology.
Heavy objects travel over the hose and depress the hose which in turn triggers an alarm to notify the user that
someone/something is present. Expense is not an issue with rubber hose sensors as they are cheap, and hose in
general is cheap to replace. Installation process is very simple as well, but will not work in all areas such as ones
that have heavy snowfall. The hose will indeed degrade over time, however as mentioned before it is cheap to
Photo Beam Sensors
Dakota Alert put out the first wireless and easy to install break beam system called photo beam break sensors.
There are actually two units that are placed at opposite ends of the driveway or entrance way. The higher end
models such as the Dakota Alert BBA-2500 actually features multiple beams crossing between the two sensors.
The alarm is triggered when all the beams are broken simultaneously. False alarms are virtually a thing of the past
with these photo beam sensors, because birds, animals, etc cannot get through all the beams at once. This sensor is
a great buy if the main point is to detect people coming and going rather than false alarms.
Now, decision making in regards to each type of sensor should be a little easier. One final thing to consider is once
the unit is decided upon, what type of alarm sound or chime should the unit have? External strobes, sirens, door
bells and chimes are just some of the sounds that can be used with these devices. With that said, driveway alarm
systems are NOT to be replacing home security systems. They are to be used in unison with security systems to
maximize the security and minimize the theft and/or property damage.
Driveway Alarm Reviews
Infrared, Magnetic, Rubber Hose, Photo Beam - Alarms/Sensors Review