Should I get a wired home security system or a wireless home security system?

Should I get a wired home security system or a wireless home security system?

This is a popular question. There are usually three scenarios when I am asked this question. Their home is prewired or they have an existing system, they have no prewire or existing system, or they are building their home or remodeling it extensively.

Before I address the most common questions about this I must clarify what wireless wired or wirelessmeans. A wireless security system usually refers to a system where there are not wires ran from the control panel to the doors, windows, motion detectors, etc… It is sometimes confused with cellular, which means there is no landline phone connection.

The first scenario is when I get a call and someone tells me their home is already pre-wired or there is an old hardwired system that is already there. So what is better for them? Install a hardwired system and use what they have or ignore it and install a wireless system? I think it depends on how many doors and windows are wired. If it is 10-15 or more then I would use the wiring and put in a wired system. Here is our webpage that has the special for pre-wired homes. If there is an existing hardwired system that has many wired zones it would also be better to replace with the same hardwired type of system. Except all hardwired systems have wireless capability now-a-days anyway. Many people are only wired for 3 doors and a motion, I would just recommend a wireless system in that case. The wireless systems are more advanced and have more features out of the box. They are also usually less expensive.

If someone does not have any wiring and their home is finished. They should always go with a wireless system unless they are in love with a keypad or feature they can only get on the hardwired system. Even if they choose a hardwired system because they love the Tuxedo Touch keypad, we would still install wireless sensors on the doors and windows and only the keypad and siren would be hardwired.

If someone is building a home and they are looking for a security system they often ask me if they should get a wired or a wireless system.  Of course the answer is, it depends. Consider the six points below to help make your decision. But almost all the time wiring a house is going to be a custom more expensive option than installing wireless.

  1. It requires two to three times the labor to prewire a home and then return to finish the installation.  So it takes longer and multiple visits to install a hardwired system. Because it takes longer it also will cost more because of the labor involved. The technician needs to run the wires for the security system before the drywall or sheetrock is installed. (preferably before the insulation as well)
  2. A hardwired system is more a la carte and custom then a wireless system. This means it will more than likely be a larger investment to do hardwired. But there are some really nice things you can add to a hardwired system like the Tuxedo Touch keypad.  The wireless system comes with lots of features out of the box, like a talking keypad with an alpha display (has words on the screen).
  3. A hardwired system has the keypad separate from the control panel and it is usually smaller. Does that matter to you? Most people do not care about that so they go with wireless.
  4. A wireless system will need batteries in the door and window sensors and the motion detectors. If you have a good quality system the batteries will last you 5-10 years. So the batteries are not really an issue since you will not be changing them very often if at all.
  5. A wireless system you can take with you when you leave. You cannot take a hardwired door sensor with you. (since it is wiring in the walls)
  6. Most of the time if it is prewired there are some wires that will get cut,pinched, or broken inbetween the prewire and the finishing installation. Usually from the many other contractors in the home. This means the homeowner pays for the prewire to be done and then has to pay for a wireless sensor to be put on the door or window as well.

Well I hope this helps. Despite what others may say, there is really not much of a difference between the two and most people would not even know if they had one or the other.  There are two over exaggerated differences on the internet that people ask me about all the time. Is the wireless less secure? It could be, but since 90% of new installations are wireless and have been for the last 10 years I do not think there are any security risks with wireless systems. In 13 years I have never had a customer with a wireless system have an experience which compromised their security because it was wireless.  The other over exaggeration is battery life, which was already discussed above. They last around 7 years! Batteries is not a good reason to choose a hardwired system. Some have had bad experiences with previous wireless systems and I would say that is the equipment they chose or the installation that were bad. Most have no problems at all. (or the entire alarm industry would be in trouble.) One small difference I have noticed is that the wireless sensor takes one second longer for the alarm to react then the hardwired sensors. Again, another not very significant difference.

In most cases I would recommend wireless. And if someone really wants hardwired they do need to consider the above mentioned points so they know what they are getting into. Using a wired approach is usually going to cost more.

2 comments on “Should I get a wired home security system or a wireless home security system?
  1. Karl Zaininger says:

    A great review – but I am still confused. I have an Ademco No. 342 Home Alarm System that I want to upgrade, but still use the existing wiring for the perimeter sensors, the wiring for the outside siren, as well as the wiring for the fire alarm sensors – while adding new (not hard-wired) flood-control, house-temperature, and one motion detector. Is this possible ? I need advice !

    • Jacob Menke says:

      Yes you should replace the Ademco system with one the new Honeywell Vista Panels. You can also get a keypad with it with a built in wireless receiver. It will allow you to add the wireless zones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

     

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>