Hardwired Burglar Alarm systems are those that have the devices wired directly to the control. Wireless Burglar Alarm systems send radio signals to a receiver in the control, which processes the signals. There is nothing more dependable than a pair of copper wires to send a signal from point A to B. Our company recommends a hardwired burglar alarm system over a wireless burglar alarm system in all instances where one can be installed. However there are times when the only thing that can be installed in your place is a wireless or “radio frequency” system.
If there is no basement or a finished one, and there is no accessible attic to run wire through, you would have to go wireless burglar alarm to have your system installed. In the wireless world there is a great range of quality available. Wireless burglar alarm equipment is more costly than hardwired burglar alarm equipment in general because each device has a radio transmitter built into it or attached to it. If you need to to go wireless make sure you are getting the highest quality radios available. Some use common frequencies like 900 megahertz and others use licensed frequencies to transmit signals. The latter is the better one because there is little that will interfere with the signal. Some of the things that could interfere with the common frequencies are airplanes, CB radios, cell towers etc.
A good way to look at the differences in the quality of wireless equipment it to think of a wireless home telephone. The cheap $20.00 unit uses common frequencies. It works, but often has static and drops out. Sometimes you hear a neighbour with the same phone frequency talking. The range you can wander from the base is often less than desirable. The $100.00 unit makes all the differnce in the world and although you hated spending the extra money on the replacement, you appreciate the quality gained.
I would rather no have an alarm system at all, before I would have one that I don't use because it is always going off for no apparent reason. The high-end wireless equipment is extremely dependable and you must be prepared to spend a little extra to assure you are at this end of the quality spectrum.
If you have an area such as a basement or accessible attic to run wires in, and your alarm company wants to sell you or give you a wireless burglar alarm system, consider not doing business with them. They are most likely going to use low quality, inexpensive wireless burglar alarm equipment and also save on the cost of installation. A wireless burglar alarm system takes less time for workers to install because they don’t need to take the time or to have the skill to hide the wires.
Wireless burglar alarm equipment has several other shortcomings that are unavoidable no matter what the quality of equipment you get:
The transmitters are large and having one on each of your doors is not as aesthetically pleasing as the small hardwired devices.
The transmitters have batteries in them that have to be changed periodically.
Many wireless systems will not tell you if a transmitter is not working, so you have a false sense of security.
Wireless devices are frequency and brand specific so they must match the manufacturer of the control. Updating your control in the future could thus render all your devices useless or restrict your choices in control features.
Hardwired burglar alarm devices of any brand with a few exceptions can be wired directly to any brand control. So if you are upgrading an existing hardwired system you will most likely be able to use the old contacts, motion detectors, glass break detectors, etc.
One advantage or wireless burglar alarm equipment is that you can place devices exactly where you want them in what would be a complicated hardwired situation. There are great high quality systems at your disposal if a wireless burglar alarm system is a necessity for your installation.
As you can see there is, as with most things in life a great range of quality available to you when choosing an alarm system and its components. Taking the time needed to compare all features of each component of your proposed alarm system will always be to your advantage. Most any alarm consultant will jump to the high end of available equipment, it their potential customer is asking for the differences to be explained.