In this guide, we are going to take a look at TOP-6 best driveway alarms currently available on the market. We will discuss how these devices work, the different types and their differences, and answer some of the common questions people have regarding this type of alarms. You will also learn what aspects, including the range and flexibility, you should consider when buying a product. Apart from that, the guide shares some recommendations on the installation of this system. An illustrative comparison chart containing the most popular products will help you to pick the right one.
What is the best driveway alarm? Although the range is an essential factor, the possibility to expand the unit can be much more important as you will be able to adjust the device to meet your needs. Also, you should opt for wireless models which are easier to install and maintain. The type of sensors is another factor to consider. Passive infrared sensors are the best option in terms of cost-efficiency. We believe that Guardline Driveway Alarm fits these criteria best.
Why have we chosen this model? With the range of about 500 feet, this unit can be expanded up to 16 sensors. Although the range is not the largest one for these devices, it has been tested with walls, trees, and buildings so rest assured that the device will work in any environment. The driveway alarm weatherproof sensor is wireless and powered from 4 AA batteries, with the latter lasting up to one year.
A quality driveway alarm can be an important element in your home security plan. However, they can be used for more than simply security. They can be used to let you know when expected visitors have arrived, make you aware of trespassers, and can even help you discover which pest might be sneaking into your garbage cans at night.
- How Does a Driveway Alarm Work?
- What Are The Types of Driveway Alarms?
- What to Look for When Buying a Driveway Alarm
- TOP-6 Best Driveway Alarm Review
- Comparison Chart of Driveway Alarm Effectiveness
- How to install a wireless driveway alarm?
How Does a Driveway Alarm Work?
Typically, these devices consist of two main components, the transmitter, and a receiver. The transmitter is the unit that is positioned along your driveway.
When the transmitter is triggered, usually by motion, changes in light, or the heat or magnetic signature of a vehicle, it sends a signal to the receiver, the unit installed within your home. The receiver then notifies you with sound, light, or both that someone or something has crossed the monitored area.
What Are The Types of Driveway Alarms?
When it comes to driveway alarms, there are three types you can choose from, infrared, air pressure, and magnetic detection.
Infrared models detect motion that passes in front of the transmitters’ sensor. Many infrared systems are sensitive enough to detect the movement of medium-sized animals but usually, have a feature that allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor.
These types of systems are also typically the most cost-effective option thanks to improvements in wireless technology and the quality of the sensors.
Air Pressure Systems
These types of systems detect changes in air pressure from the weight of a vehicle crossing over a hose that extends across your driveway. If you are looking for a system that will only detect a vehicle, this type of system could make a good option.
However, if you live in an area that receives a fair amount of snow and ice, air pressure systems can give false alarms due to the weight of the snow and ice.
Metal Sensing Systems
Metal sensing systems detect the magnetic signature of vehicles that pass in front of the sensor. As with the air pressure systems, metal sensing systems will not detect animals, people, or plants that may be moving due to the wind.
What to Look for When Buying a Driveway Alarm
When it comes to selecting the right driveway alarm for your home, there are a few factors you need to consider.
- Terrain. Many models operate wirelessly. While this does save on the labor of having to bury a line from the transmitter all the way to the receiver, they do have limitations.
If you have large vegetation, such as trees and large shrubs, they could block the signal from the transmitter to the receiver. Look for a unit that can be easily mounted in an area that allows for a clear line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver.
- Distance. While many wireless driveway alarm systems can have a range of up to ½ mile, some have a limit of only a few hundred feet. Consider the distance from where you would like to place the receiver and where you would like to place the transmitter. Once you have a good idea of the distance, look for a unit that offers plenty of range to help prevent any potential issues.
- Sensor Type. As we stated above, there are three primary types of these devices you can choose from. However, the most cost-effective models use passive infrared sensors. The downside to infrared units is that they detect movement from various sources, such as pedestrian foot traffic and vegetation that is moving due to the wind.
This could cause the unit to send notifications that there is movement in your driveway but isn’t really someone pulling into or walking into your driveway. Consider the amount and the type of local traffic before deciding on a specific type.
- Flexibility. Some systems allow for the addition of multiple sensors to be synced with the receiver at one time. If you have a large area that you would like to monitor, you may want to consider such a unit.
TOP-6 Best Driveway Alarm Review
Now that we have covered the basics of driveway alarms, let’s take a look at 6 of the best options currently available on the market. These are models at a price ranging from $40 to $200. They different designs, with some items allowing for adding several dozens of additional sensors to a receiver. Another factor to consider is the range that varies from 500 to 2,500 feet.
Guardline Driveway Alarm
The lens of the transmitter has an adjustable detection width and can be positioned to focus on specific entry points. Another feature we liked about this system is that it is expandable. With one receiver, you can add up to 16 transmitters to provide optimal coverage of your property.
- Expandable to cover a large area.
- Has a range of 500 feet.
- Simple and quick DIY installation.
- Some consumers have stated that they housing for the transmitter is not very durable.
- Syncing transmitters with the receiver can be challenging.
- Consumers have reported that they sensors for the transmitter are too sensitive, even after adjusting the lens.
Chamberlain Driveway Alarm System
The receiver can detect signals from the transmitter up to ½ mile away and uses different light and sound patterns to identify which sensor was triggered when paired with multiple transmitters.
- The receiver can run on AC power or battery power.
- Has a range of ½ mile.
- Driveway alarm weatherproof design.
- Can only be paired with four sensors at a time.
- Consumer reports indicate that the sensors are not very effective in wet or cold climates.
- Consumers have reported that they sensors have issues transmitting, even at close ranges.
Dakota Driveway Alarm System
The DCPA-2500 is the first system on our list that uses a magnetic probe instead of an infrared sensor. This unit features a range of up to 2,500 feet and will only detect when a vehicle has entered your driveway, not people and animals.
The probe can be mounted up to 50 feet away from the transmitter and is meant to be buried directly into the ground near the driveway.
- Expandable to up to four transmitters.
- Has a range of 2,500 feet.
- Simple DIY installation.
- The CR-123A batteries needed for the transmitter are expensive and can be hard to find.
- May not work properly if the soil has a high iron content.
- Consumers have reported that the housing for the transmitter is not very durable.
HTZSAFE Solar Driveway Alarm System
The transmitter can also be powered by 12V power if you do not want to use the solar panel. The sensor has a detection range of up to 50 feet and the transmitter can send signals to the receiver up to ½ mile.
- Can add up to 32 sensors to a receiver at a time.
- Has a range of ½ mile.
- Solar panel eliminates the need to change batteries.
- Consumer reports indicate that lithium battery has a tendency to quit working.
- The solar panel may not be large enough to keep the batteries charged completely.
- The solar panel makes it a challenge to conceal the unit.
In addition to detecting motion, the GM-434RTL can also be paired with other types of sensors for the overall protection of the home, such as garage door sensors, door and window sensors, and even a water leak sensor.
- Very flexible capabilities.
- Can be paired with up to 16 sensors at a time.
- Ear piercing 95-decibel alarm.
- Reports from consumers indicate that the receiver can have issues detecting signals from the transmitters when not in direct line of sight.
- No backup power options for the receiver.
- Consumers have reported that some sensor types have issues syncing with the receiver.
Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm
This magnetic probe unit can detect the movement of vehicles from up to a 12 ft. radius. The transmitter has a range of 400 feet and uses two AA batteries for the power supply. When the batteries start to weaken, there is an indicator on the receiver that will notify you that they need to be changed.
- Simple DIY installation.
- Only detects the movement of metal objects, not people or animals.
- Required battery size is common and inexpensive.
- 400 ft range is the lowest of all the units we reviewed.
- May not work properly if the soil has a high iron content.
- The batteries in the transmitter can cause false alarms.
Comparison Chart of Driveway Alarm Effectiveness
|Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm||Expandable to cover a large area.|
Has a range of 500 feet.
Simple and quick DIY installation.
|Chamberlain Driveway Alarm System||The receiver can run on AC power or battery power.|
Has a range of ½ mile.
Simple waterproof design.
|Dakota Driveway Alarm||Expandable to up to four transmitters.|
Has a range of 2,500 feet.
Simple DIY installation.
|HTZSAFE Solar Driveway Alarm System||Can add up to 32 sensors to a receiver at a time.|
Has a range of ½ mile.
Solar panel eliminates the need to change batteries.
|Skylink GM-434RTL Long Range Driveway Alarm||Very flexible capabilities.|
Can be paired with up to 16 sensors at a time.
Ear piercing 95-decibel alarm.
|Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm||Simple DIY installation.|
Only detects the movement of metal objects, not people or animals.
Required battery size is common and inexpensive.
How to install a wireless driveway alarm?
While each manufacturer may have their own instructions on how to set up a wireless driveway alarm, most have some common initial set up steps:
- The very first step is to read the manufacturers’ instructions. With some models, you will have to sync the transmitter with the receiver before you install the components in a permanent location while others require this step to take place after the units have been installed permanently.
- Now that you know how and when you should sync the transmitter and receiver, you can begin the installation. Locate a position that you want to monitor, such as your driveway entrance. Look for a good position to place the sensor or probe so that they will be able to monitor traffic in the driveway.
Keep in mind that if you position these components too close to the road you are more likely to receive false alarms from the transmitter. The average distance for the placement of probes and sensors from roadways and your neighbors’ driveway is about 20 feet. However, check the instructions for your specific model for further details.
Additionally, driveway motion sensor alarms typically work better when motion moves across its field of view as opposed to towards it. Therefore, it’s best to position the sensor so that it is monitoring across your driveway and not viewing down your driveway.
- With the transmitter in position, it’s time to position the receiver. The best location for the receiver is anywhere that ensures you will be able to hear or see any triggered alarms but allows for the best line-of-sight with the transmitter. While exterior walls usually have little impact on the signal quality, a combination of heavy vegetation and unlevel terrain could block the signal from the transmitter to the receiver. If you live in an area that receives a fair amount of inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or thick fog, keep in mind that it can reduce the range of the transmitter as well.
- Lastly, test the unit. If your system uses motion or infrared sensors, try walking past the sensor to make sure it detects motion. If your system uses a probe, drive your car past the probe to make sure it detects your vehicles magnetic signature. If possible, test the probe using different vehicles. It is possible for a vehicle to have a lower signature compared to other models. Make any needed adjustments until you are satisfied with the results and you are all finished.
What is the best driveway alarm on the market?
Of the six models we reviewed, the Guardline model receives our pick as the best option. No, it does not have the longest range but it does allow for the addition of up to 16 sensors at one time.
Additionally, this model has received the fewest negative comments from consumers that have actually used this product.
How do you program a wireless system?
You will have to follow the instructions included with your alarm system in order to determine the proper programming procedures. Each manufacturer may have its own specific steps you will need to follow.
How do you hide a driveway alarm?
Hiding a device that uses a magnetic probe is simple since the only component that is exposed is the transmitter itself. Simply mount the transmitter where it will be out of sight, such as on the backside of a tree or on a post hidden behind shrubs.
For systems that use infrared and motion sensors, you have to be careful about how you hide it since any movement from vegetation could trigger an alarm. If you have a privacy fence or hedgerow at the front of your property, consider placing the sensor away from the opening for the driveway where it cannot be seen but within range of the unit’s capabilities.
Is there a model for the hearing impaired?
Yes. Some models have the capability to notify the user via a pager that vibrates or even to a smartphone. However, some models with these capabilities may require a monthly subscription service so keep that in mind when shopping for such a system.
These devices provide additional security to your home or business and provide peace of mind thanks to the additional protection it provides. With the information this guide has provided, finding a system that suits your needs should be a little easier.
Thank you for reading and we hope that you have enjoyed this article and feel free to leave any feedback that you think would help other consumers. Until next time, good luck.