It’s amazing how many people spend endless amounts of time working on their home or business security and then overlook one of the biggest security issues you’ll face. The driveway.
The driveway is the entryway to your property and whether it’s a planned visit or an unexpected visitor, it’s important to know when someone arrives and what their intentions might be. Choosing the best driveway alarm might seem like a daunting task. But we have a checklist of things to consider along with driveway alarm reviews that will help you make the best choice for your needs.
Our Top 10 Recommended Driveway Alarms
- Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm- Top Rated Outdoor Weatherproof Motion Sensor & Detector
- 30+ ringtones and high volume
- Dimensions 5.5 x 4 x 5.5 inches
- Dakota Alert BBA-2500 Break Beam Alert Kit, One BBT-2500 & One DCR-250
- Dimensions 14.5 x 4.5 x 13.5 inches
- 4 Lithium Metal batteries required. (included)
As you might imagine from the name, a driveway alarm protects your home or establishment by notifying you anytime someone drives, walks or otherwise uses your driveway. From letting you know about a package delivery to protecting you from possible bad people, a driveway alarm works like a driveway doorbell. It gives you a heads-up when someone is coming. There are several different types of alarm sensors, each with their own pluses and minuses. But they all perform the same function: to let you know when someone has arrived.
But what about when you’re not around? A driveway alert sensor combined with a camera or two can record any intruder that uses the driveway. The cameras can just record 24/7 or you can combine it with a driveway motion detector that turns on the camera when motion is detected. You can also install cameras with built-in motion sensors that will offer an additional level of protection.
For an additional level of protection, a driveway motion sensor alarm and cameras can be tied into a central home security system. That allows for extra flexibility with recording options and can allow for email or text driveway alerts to let you know if there’s a problem when you’re not around. Central alarm systems can even alert law enforcement or an outside security monitoring firm.
But driveway alarms are also just useful for non-security issues. A driveway alert system can set off a chime inside the house when someone drives on it, letting you know when a guest arrives or your significant other returns with groceries. Security flood lights can also be integrated into the system so you can see when someone breaks the security zone of the driveway or sets off the driveway motion sensors.
Driveway alarm systems are also used in all sorts of business situations. From the driveway leading up to a gas station garage to the lane heading to a drive-up pharmacy window, alarms can let you know you have a customer in a subtle but effective way.
The great thing about driveway alarms is that they give you as much protection and bang for the buck as any other alarm component. Besides, what’s the point of putting alarms in the interior if you haven’t bothered to protect or monitor the exterior?
Best Driveway Alarm Reviews
There are so many driveway alarm systems on the market that picking the best one for your situation might seem like an overwhelming task. But we’re here to help with some alarm system reviews that give you a rundown of what we consider to be some of the best choices in the market. You won’t go wrong with any of these alarms:
The Guardline wireless driveway sensor line is one of the most dependable ones in the business. This one is perfect for locations that are exposed to changes in weather and/or situations where you need to cover a wide distance. The sensor is constructed of industrial grade PVC, with a weatherproof rubber seal and a sunlight protector. It’s easy to install and it runs off of 4 AA batteries that can last up to a year. You can also plug the unit into a hard power line with the included AC adaptor.
What sets this sensor and alarm system apart from some of its competitors is the wide variety of ways you can personalize the settings. The sensor unit eye has an adjustable detection width option that helps to cut down on false positives. The alarm unit has controls on the side that allow you to set the volume of alarms as well as turn it off.
Up to 16 of these sensors can be linked together to cover a larger area and the receiver has a real-world transmission length of more than 500 feet. The alarm unit has more than 30 different alert chimes and you can assign individual ones to different sections of a wider alarm array, making it easier to determine which alarm has been set off.
If there is a flaw at all, some reviewers have said it works inconsistently in heavy snow. But given the way that any alarm system works in a heavy snowstorm, that seems to be an overblown problem.
If you’re looking for a break beam alert that’s designed to let you know when someone or something breaks the beam, this is the alarm kit you should go with. It’s easy to set up, reliable and includes free live customer support.
The two sensors can be placed up to 300 feet apart and are weather resistant to work in any season or condition. They are solar-powered and have a transmission range of up to a half mile. The receiver has a VDC output, relay output, and volume control. There are four alert tones to choose from: Classical, Westminster, Ding-Dong or Whistle.
The big advantage of this unit is its simplicity. But that simplicity also means it doesn’t have all the bells-and-whistles of some of the more expensive units. For example, it doesn’t have the capability to alert you by text, email or smartphone app if the beam has been broken. And the sensors are powered by a combination of ion-lithium batteries and a solar panel, so there is no capability to plug in a power cord.
But the upside is that these sensors are extremely durable and accurate. And that’s not always something you’ll find in more complex alarm and sensor systems. Sometimes all of that extra technology just gets in the way.
Sometimes you need to not just get a warning when someone crosses your security zone, but also keep track of how many people cross it in a specific amount of time. This wireless, weatherproof sensor monitors traffic on any road or driveway where its sensors are placed. A 5-digit LCD counter monitors traffic and transmits the data up to 1000 feet.
The alarm system runs on two AA batteries and comes with a one-year warranty. The waterproof sensor can also receive a charge from its built-in solar panel or can be plugged directly into a power source. The sensors motion detectors use a passive infrared (PIR) sensor, which is not impacted by rain, sun or other weather factors.
One caveat about the sensors is that you to make sure you keep the batteries up-to-date because low battery strength can lead to some false positives or vehicles being counted several times. But user reviews point out that as long you keep it stocked with charged batteries, the unit is reliable and easy to use.
These sensors are used a lot in situations where you have the need to count a number of vehicles coming through a road over an extended period. Think city park events, outdoor concerts, and farmer’s markets which need proof of how many people visited on a specific day.
This Chamberlain wireless motion alert system is easy to install with no wiring required. The sensor is weatherproof and can detect motions up to 30 feet away. It can be placed as much as 500 feet from its base unit without a noticeable drop in effectiveness. The sensor has a transmission range back to the base unit of up to half a mile, depending on the conditions.
As many as 20 sensors can be connected together and used with one or more base units in order to protect a large area. Each unit has a unique sound and light display so you can quickly determine which alarm sensor was triggered.
A couple of things to keep in mind. This alarm’s base unit doesn’t sound continuous when triggered. It makes a twerp sound when the motion sensor is disturbed. The base unit is sealed and there is no way to add an additional alarm or more unique features.
But that lack of extras makes the unit much more reliable. There aren’t a lot of things that can go wrong and one reason this alarm has a 100 percent guaranteed, one year warranty is that is rare for one of these units to quit working. This is a great unit, especially for people who don’t want to worry about a lot of upkeep.
One of the biggest challenges of any driveway or perimeter alarm system is dealing with the problem of false positives. It can sometimes take awhile to tweak the settings of motion detectors until you discover that sweet spot between too many false positives and failing to identify real problems. This driveway system solves that problem by using radar waves to detect movement.
Radar waves reduce the false positives from falling leaves and small animals. It also cuts down on problems due to bad weather like rain, snow or fog as well as the detection problems caused by direct sunlight. If you’ve been plagued with accuracy problems in your previous alarms, you’ll appreciate the solid and accurate reputation of this alarm.
The sensor range is up to 50 feet and it can transmit back to the base unit from as far away as a half mile. That makes it a good choice not just as a driveway alarm, but also for use on an open perimeter or other hard-to-protect areas.
Even better, the installation is incredibly easy. The sensor uses solar power and doesn’t require batteries and the sensor and base alarm unit come synced from the factory. So literally all you have to do is open the box and install it. No entering codes, no scrambling around for power options. This alarm and sensor system is just about as close as you can get to set it and forget it.
And if you need more coverage than just this single sensor set and home box, you can string together as many as 32 sensor units and alarm boxes to fully protect your home. The alarm units come with a number of programmable chirps and alarms.
A couple of things to keep in mind about this radar alarm unit. Because of the way radar works, you don’t want to install the sensor to close to plants and trees that might move in the wind. That could cause some false positives. And because of the way the radar waves are used, the alarm can detect some movement through walls. So you should keep that in mind if you are installing it close to a building wall.
But with those couple of pieces of guidance, it’s hard to anything that isn’t great about this alarm unit. It’s reliable, less prone to false positives than many other units and is incredibly easy to install and use.
6.1byone Wireless Home Security Driveway Alarm with 1 AC Adapter & 1 Receiver & 2 PIR Motion Sensor Detector Weatherproof Patrol Infrared Alert System Kit
This state-of-the-art passive-infrared (PIR) driveway alarm is perfect for areas in which you need a bit of warning before people pull up at your door. The infrared sensor has a detection rate of about 25 feet and its transmission range back to the alarm unit is about 300 feet. The sensors are powered with three AA batteries and it can also use an AC power adaptor. The alarm unit has three alarm choices, three mode choices and an alarm volume of around 100db. This system is also expandable, so you can add other sensors and receivers to create a complete outside the home protection package.
The sensor units are waterproof but it’s important to note that extremely bad weather could impact the accuracy of the sensors. Although if you’re in the middle of a hurricane, a robbery might not be something you need to worry about. One of the nice bonus features of this unit is that if there is a brief power outage, you won’t have to reset the units. As soon as the power returns, the sensors and alarms re-acquire each other and resume their protection of your property.
This unit is a good choice for a homeowner who is looking for a reasonably priced unit that is reliable and doesn’t have a large number of false positives. This alarm and sensor units are midpriced workhorses and that’s a sweet spot for a lot of homeowners.
7.Wireless Home Security Driveway Alarm, Motion Sensor Alarm Outdoor Chime Kit with 1 Plug-in Receiver and 2 PIR
Motion Sensor Detector Alert for Business Home Office Shop, LED Indicators
This compact infrared unit is ideal not just for driveways, but for doors, windows or any other place you need some protection. It’s also a great choice for business owners who want to know when a customer enters or exits the building. And because of its size, it’s an ideal choice for a wall-mounted sensor.
The sensor unit uses 3 AAA batteries and has a transmission rate back to the alarm box of about 100 meters. The sensor and alarm have a number of options, including the ability to delay the alarm for up to 30 seconds. There are also 38 configurable alarm sounds and a bright LED light. There are three volume levels on the alarm.
The sensor unit is not waterproof, so it’s best used inside or in an area protected from the weather and sun. One feature that isn’t highlighted in the manufacturer’s literature is that both the sensors and the receiver/alarm have micro-USB jacks on them. Which means you could run them off of a small solar panel or battery pack.
This alarm and sensor unit is an ideal one for someone who needs to monitor a number of rooms and garage or indoor awkward-shaped areas. It’ extremely easy to configure and string a number of these sensors together to create a very flexible indoor and outdoor security plan.
This outdoor electromagnetic sensor is perfect for scenarios in which you want to detect only vehicles. The electromagnetic sensor wand detects mass metal moving within a 3-12 ft. radius of the wand, which you bury anywhere alongside the driveway. No false positives from birds or even people. This alarm does a magnificent job of detecting one thing: vehicles.
The sensor is run on 2 AA batteries and there is a helpful low battery warning located on both the sensor and the central alarm unit. The sensor has a transmission range of up to 400 feet back to the alarm unit and one-year technical support and warranty guarantee. You can add up to three units into one base alarm station.
One place people frequently use this alarm is around vehicles that are being parked long-term or stored in the driveway like RV’s or classic cars. Any movement of the vehicle sets off the alarm and by combining the alarm with a camera, you have an impressive level of security for your valued ride.
These alarms are also often used in businesses that have drive-up windows or garages that have drive-up customers. The alarms are extremely accurate and easy to use, which makes them ideal for most business situations.
This unique sensor is a rubber hose that can be placed across a driveway or other space. The alarm then goes off anytime someone drives across it, much like the similar chimed alarms you see in gas station driveways. The sensor runs on two 9-volt batteries and is completely weatherproof.
The sensor installation is incredibly easy-simply attach the sensor to the bottom of a tree or pole and run the hose across the open area you are wanting to monitor. The receiver just plugs into the wall and it’s ready to go. It also has a volume control, mute switch and four different alarm tones to choose from; Classical, Westminster, Ding-Dong or Whistle.
Cameras With Motion Detection
While many driveways can be adequately protected with a static security camera, some locations are better served by installing a driveway camera with a motion detector. Remote driveways and those that get a lot of traffic only need a camera on rare occasions. Cameras with a motion sensor ensure your driveway alarm with the camera will only be working when you need it to. For more information on what you need to know to choose the best security camera for your needs, check our buying guide.
Choosing the best driveway alarm for your needs, there are a couple of questions you need to answer first. Once you know what type of coverage you need, you can select the best alarm for you.
First of all, what are you most concerned about when it comes to your driveway alarm system? Are there frequent visitors or is this a driveway that just needs security on the rare occasions it’s used? Do you need to tie in the alarm with a video function, or are you primarily looking to be notified when someone drives up? Knowing the answers to these questions will help determine what you need.
One factor to consider when deciding on the best driveway alarm system for you has to do with the driveway’s location. Is it close enough to your building that you could a wired setup that connects directly to your in-home system? If not, a long-range driveway alarm combined with a wireless driveway alarm system might be the best option. A wireless driveway alarm system is much easier to set up and configure. But wireless systems won’t work if the broadband connection is down or if the sensor batteries go dead.
Another factor to consider when selecting a driveway system alarm is deciding which type of sensor you need to pick for the alarms. Are you concerned primarily with vehicles only or are people and other problems a possible issue? The types of sensors range from extremely rudimentary to ones that can pick up even the smallest disturbance. The most rudimentary type of driveway sensor is called a pneumatic sensor and it works like those old-fashioned gas station systems. It only goes off when someone drives over them with a heavy vehicle.
Magnetometer bases sensors use a magnet to detect heavy metallic objects in the zone that is being protected. Their basic advantage over Pneumatic sensors is that they only require a small sensor be buried in the driveway. Another type is break beam sensors, which trigger whenever an object moves between two sensors. But the most common type of alarm sensor is Passive Infrared Sensor, which is triggered when a combination of heat and movement is detected.
Another factor to consider is long-term maintenance. Most units only require a readjustment of the sensors if they are hit by a vehicle or other obstruction like an errant branch. In most situations, the biggest maintenance issue will be remembering to check and change the sensor magnets. If you think that remembering to do that will be a problem, many units come with low battery warnings or indicators.
Once you choose the best type of sensor or alarm, then it’s simply a matter of choosing the best product in that class.
Here are a few tips that might help you choose the best driveway alert system for your needs.
First. do you have a reliable broadband connection? If you live in an area that suffers from Internet downtime, then a wireless system could leave you vulnerable. Either opt for a wired system or have a backup plan in mind for those times when your internet connection is unavailable.
Whether you opt for a wireless or wired system, know the transmission distance for the equipment you choose. You want to make sure the alarm and sensor system you select has the reach to easily send the alert back to the home. Otherwise, you run the risk of the signal not making it back to your alarm system. Or having it stop working on an infrequent basis, which in some ways can be even worse.
The best advice is to pick receivers which have a range of at least 100 feet more than you’ll need. That will give you a cushion that protects you in case of weather-related interference or other issues. Also, think about whether you might add sensors in the future and where they might be placed. It’s always easier and cheaper to upgrade an alarm system in place rather than building a new one from scratch.
Speaking of interference, it’s important to check the area ahead of time to determine what type of interference might cause a future problem with your alarm system. Nearby power lines can interfere with the signal and natural obstacles like trees and bushes can block the transmission of a signal. Those problems can be solved through the use of a power booster or multiple sensors and alarms.
Another possible source of interference is bad weather. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain or is covered in deep snow five months a year, you’ll want to choose a sensor and alarm system that will hold up to the abuse Mother Nature can inflict. There are plenty of options available for that situation. You just need to aware of the problem as you shop for your perfect alarm system
While providing driveway security is obviously a primary concern. But what about those unprotected open areas surrounding the driveway? Installing an outdoor motion sensor alarm to cover adjacent areas can provide another level of security at a very low cost. Especially if you are installing it at the same time as your driveway alert system.
Driveway Alarm FAQ
Q: Do Driveway Alarms Detect Just Vehicles Or Can They Detect Anything?
A: It depends on the type of sensor you are using with your driveway alarm system. The most rudimentary type of driveway sensor works like those old-fashioned gas station systems. They only go off when someone drives over them with a heavy vehicle. But you can get other types of sensors that are much more sensitive and that can detect things as small as squirrels and rodents.
Q: How Much Maintenance Will My Driveway Alarm System Require Once It Is Installed?
A: They are not 100% maintenance free, but they don’t require much upkeep. Other than dealing with damage caused by the errant vehicle, these units don’t require much. The one big issue is that many wireless sensors depend on batteries and it’s easy to forget to check them on a regular basis. One alternative is to use a wireless sensor with a solar-powered back-up.
Q: Are Driveway Sensors Practical For Driveways Or Back Roads That Don’t Receive A Lot Of Traffic?
A: Absolutely. In fact, little-used roads are a favorite access point for bad people, because they assume there won’t be any witnesses. If you have a driveway that isn’t used that frequently, it can best be protected with a camera that is set off with a motion sensor. For added protection, you can add a wireless connection that will send you an alert is the motion detector is activated.
Q: Can Installing A New Driveway Alarm Save My Money On My Insurance?
A: It depends on the insurance company and the plan that you have, but generally the answer is yes. Just make sure to keep a copy of your receipts and then check with your insurance company to see what their policy might be. But usually, insurance companies are happy with any effort you make to protect your belongings and lessen the chances you’ll make an insurance claim.
You can purchase some sort of driveway alarm in almost any big box hardware store and if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, they are a good place to start. There will be some units sitting there in the store and you’ll have the opportunity to see what they look like in person and maybe even examine a few up close.
But when it comes to selection and cost, the best choice on where to buy a driveway alarm is online. Many manufacturers have their own websites and you can often order directly from them. But ironically, the best price and selection is often found at places like Amazon. They sell so many units that they are able to often get lower prices and are able to fill their unlimited virtual shelves with just about every driveway alarm that’s available. Plus, you can read the customer reviews to get the latest word on what works and what is worth forgetting.
Another advantage of purchasing online is that you have the chance to see reviews from customers who have purchased the alarms and sensors and used them in a real-world environment. Every manufacturer claims their unit is the best ever, but some of them don’t hold up under regular use.
While selecting the best driveway alarm might have seemed like a challenging task before you started reading this, you should now have a firm grasp on the right products for your individual situation. We’ve walked you through what factors you need to consider, the range of products available and a rundown of the best driveway alarms on the market.
The appropriate driveway alarm can bring another level of protection to your home and add a bit more piece of mind to your life. Knowing that you’ve protected yourself in the best way possible is a great gift and we think we’ve helped with this comprehensive guide and driveway alarm reviews have given you the knowledge to pick the perfect driveway alarm. Now go get your choices and protect yourself.