Keeping your home safe and secure is a top priority for every homeowner, and with the increasing reports of break-ins and burglaries, it has become more important than ever. While there are several security solutions available, magnetic door alarms are a budget-friendly option that can provide robust security for your home.
Protect Your Home With Magnetic Door Alarms
Home security is a top priority for every homeowner. With never-ending reports of break-ins and burglaries, you need to secure your home.
While there are several security solutions to keep your property and family safe, some are pretty costly.
Magnetic door alarms are your sure bet if you're worried about break-ins and seek basic home security that won't blow your budget.
These small, cheap security devices can chase even the most skilled burglars.
Today, you'll learn:
- How magnetic door alarms work
- Different types of these door alarms
- How they provide more robust security for your home
- A quick, easy-to-follow DIY installation guide
- Essential features to check when choosing a magnetic door alarm
But first things first…
What Are Magnetic Door Alarms?
Magnetic door alarms are door alarms that use magnetic sensors to detect when a door is opened.
These small devices are anchored to doors and programmed to send signals whenever the door opens. Some can detect when it shuts.
Magnetic door alarms consist of two basic components:
- A reed switch
- A magnet
The reed switch, also called sensor or contact, is installed on the door frame, while the magnet sits directly opposite—on the door.
When the door shuts, the magnet and reed switch “kiss,” making a complete electrical circuit that keeps the alarm quiet.
However, when the door opens, the magnet separates from the switch. This disconnection breaks the electrical circuit and, in turn, triggers the alarm.
This alerts all interested parties—you, neighbors, law enforcement, and perhaps, the monitoring service—of a possible security compromise.
Magnetic door alarm technology is a simple but highly efficient protector—a budget investment with great security potential.
Types of Magnetic Door Alarm Sensors
Magnetic door alarms come in different designs, each made to offer a specific solution. Let’s go over the popular options on the market:
- Surface-mount sensors
- Rollerball sensors
- Overhead sensors
- Pull-apart sensors
- Recessed Sensors
These are among the most affordable and popular magnetic door alarm sensors on the market. Surface-mount sensors feature:
- A magnet placed on the door
- Reed switch anchored on the door molding directly opposite the magnet
Surface-mount sensors are visibly installed on door surfaces (hence their name) with screws or twin adhesives. They are most suitable for wooden doors.
These sensors are best for:
- Hardly-used doors, such as emergency exits
- Sliding doors
They feature a wire connected through a tube to a plug-like magnet. The connected wire pulls the sensors from the magnet whenever the door is opened.
Rollerball Door Sensors
These sensors have a small ball bearing housed in a sensor unit.
When the roller door is shut, the ball bearing is held in place and keeps the circuit closed. When the door opens, the ball bearing releases and opens the circuit, triggering an alarm.
Rollerball door sensors prevent unauthorized access and ensure doors are properly locked in commercial and industrial environments like warehouses or loading docks.
You can also use them in residential settings for garage doors or other types of doors that use a rolling mechanism.
Recessed magnetic contacts are drilled into doors and frames, making them invisible and less susceptible to tampering or damage.
Apart from their invisibility, recessed sensors work the same way as surface-mounted contacts—when the door opens, the magnet moves away from the contact, and then the alarm trips.
Popularly called garage sensors, overhead sensors work like the more traditional surface-mount sensor. The only difference is that they use a much larger magnet, usually set farther away, preventing false triggers.
Overhead sensors are installed on large doors, like garages.
Benefits of Magnetic Door Alarms
Many security-conscious homeowners can swear by their magnetic door alarms. Let’s quickly discuss some reasons why you may also find these little detectives a worthy security investment.
Extra Deterrent to Burglars
Burglars hate alarms.
Little wonder that homes without a security alarm system are four times more exposed to burglary than those with them.
When an intruder enters or attempts to force open a door and an alarm goes off, the loud noise gets everyone's attention to a potential break-in.
Besides ruining the intruder's plan, like the Beware of dogs stickers' effect, criminals will tag your home “bad for business.”
Also, such early detection of unauthorized access provides valuable time to call the police or take other measures to protect your home.
Keep Loved Ones In
Besides preventing burglars and unwanted entry, magnetic door alarms can help keep your loved ones locked in. This is handy if you have kids or elderly people in your home that you want to keep out of certain areas.
For example, you can set your alarm to go off and alert you if your toddler opens the back door leading to the swimming pool.
With smart lock integration, you can control the system and monitor who comes in and goes out of any room in your house, even while you’re away from home.
Cost-effective Security Solution
While there are more comprehensive, high-cost security systems in the market, magnetic door alarms provide basic-level security at a fraction of the cost of more robust systems.
Hence, we recommend door alarms for homeowners seeking bare-boned protection on a budget.
Installing door alarms may require only a few screw-ins. No wirings. No complicated configurations.
So, you won't need any tech experience or expert skills. Practically anyone can install and operate them seamlessly.
Allows Easy Customization
For instance, you can configure the alarm to go off only when the door is tampered with at night.
You can even sync the alarms with your home automation to get real-time intrusion notifications. This way, whenever the alarm sounds, you get an alert on your smart device anywhere in the world.
Features to Look for in Magnetic Door Alarms
While it seems common knowledge to check the specifications and compatibility before buying, many homeowners have ended up with security systems that don't fit their home security needs.
The best fit for your home will depend on your home's peculiar security risks and your budget.
However, there are some essential features to look out for:
Adjustable sensitivity: Look for an alarm with adjustable sensitivity settings. An alarm system without this feature can leave your home vulnerable or repeatedly trigger false alarms.
While a sensor with very low sensitivity may not detect an intrusion, one with an overly high sensitivity could trigger false alarms caused by minor vibrations or door movements.
Hence, an adjustable sensitivity allows you to customize the sensors for more reliable and effective security while minimizing false alarms.
Loud sound: Choose an alarm with a loud, clear sound that can travel a long distance. This is crucial if you have a large home or the alarm will be installed in a noisy environment.
Strong battery life: Choose a magnetic door alarm with a long-lasting battery. Your best bet would be one with rechargeable batteries. Those options are more convenient, eco-friendlier, and cost-effective in the long run.
Installation ease: You want a product that is easy to install and requires no special tools or skills.
Thankfully, most magnetic door alarms are designed for DIY homeowners, ruling out installation hassles. With out-of-box manuals and comprehensive user guides, it’s easy to install and configure most magnetic door alarms.
Compatibility: Your door alarm should be compatible with the type of door or the entrance you want secured. Some alarms are explicitly designed for certain types of doors or windows.
For instance, while surface mounts are best suited for wooden doors, pull-apart sensors are best for sliding doors.
Price: Compare the prices and features of different models. Choose one that fits your budget and meets your security need.
While some magnetic door alarm sensors sell for as low as $15, others cost over $100. However, you will get a decent deal between $20 and $40.
However, never sacrifice quality for cost. Choose quality and reliability above all other factors in your decision making.
Ultimately, you want a product that offers value for your money.
Installation of Magnetic Door Alarms
Your magnetic door alarm contacts or sensors are easy to install. Follow this easy DIY installation guide:
First, ensure the sensors are well positioned on the chosen door frame. You can place the sensors and magnet on your door using screws or double-sided tape.
Using Strong Double-Sided Tape
These tapes usually come with your installation package.
- Clean the surface before applying the tape.
- Cut a small piece of the tape slightly smaller than the size of the sensor.
- Peel off the backing from one part of the tape and carefully apply it to the back of the sensor.
- Carefully position the sensor on your door or frame. Press firmly on the sensor to ensure a good bond with the tape. Ensure the sensor and magnet align correctly.
- Once both components are in place, test by opening and closing the door to ensure the sensors are fastened and working properly.
You can also use the provided screw to fasten the two parts of the alarm system to the door and frame. See how it works:
- Align the sensor with the magnet and hold it in place at your desired location. Use a pencil or marker to mark the mounting hole locations on the surface.
- Drill pilot holes with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screws you will use. This will help prevent the wood or other material from splitting when you insert the screws.
- Insert the screws into the pilot holes and drill in with a screwdriver or a drill. Be careful not to overtighten the screws, as this could damage the sensor or the mounting surface.
- Test the alarm by opening and closing the door. Check for proper contact and ensure the alarm sounds as expected.
The screw-in method provides a firmer installation than the taping method. If the sensors are not firmly attached to the doors, they may trigger false alarms or fail to detect unwanted entry.
Not sure where to place your sensor? Follow these best practices:
For swinging doors: Position the magnet at the top corner of the door, directly facing the hinges. The contact sensor should sit on the molding above the magnet.
For sliding doors: Fix the magnet at the top edge of the sliding door. The contact sensor should sit on the molding above or next to the door.
For double doors: Anchor the sensor on the main door and fix the magnet on the central mullion.
Ensure the semi-circles from the magnet and the sensor are perfectly aligned.
For irregular moldings like decorative or crown moldings, a reverse placement—sensor on the door, magnet on the molding—may work better.
Adjusting Sensitivity Levels
As mentioned earlier, your door alarm sensitivity level may cause an undetected intrusion or a wind-triggered alarm.
Follow these steps to adjust the sensitivity of your door alarm:
- Locate the sensitivity switch or knob on the device. Check the side or back of the unit.
- Find out the current sensitivity level. Some devices have an LED indicator that shows the current level.
- Adjust the sensitivity with the knob or switch. Turn clockwise to increase sensitivity and anticlockwise to reduce the level.
- Test the alarm with the new sensitivity adjustments. Open and close the door slowly. No alarm? Then, readjust the sensitivity. Repeat until you find a suitable level.
The steps to adjust sensitivity may vary depending on the brand and model of the system. So, consult your user manual for detailed instructions.
Integrating Magnetic Door Alarms With Other Security Measures
Magnetic door alarms work with and can be more effective when synchronized with other home security components.
Security cameras: Pairing magnetic door alarms with security cameras can help you cover more areas in your home.
When the door alarm goes off, security cameras capture footage of the intruder. This offers the local law enforcement agencies enough details to facilitate investigation and bring culprits to book.
Motion sensors: Motion sensor alarms are a home security measure designed to detect human movement within an area of security interest.
They can cover areas where it will be impractical to use door alarms.
Smart locks: Smart lock is a smartphone feature that allows you to lock and unlock your home remotely. When a magnetic door alarm goes off, you can quickly activate the auto lock from your mobile app, preventing the intruder from gaining entry.
If you integrate smart lock with your door alarm, you can configure it to auto-lock and alert you or the security monitoring service for rapid response.
Neighborhood watch programs: When your door alarm is triggered, neighborhood watch programs can help to facilitate a collective response from your neighbors.
Neighboring residents do not only help deter intruders and prevent crime; they collaborate to investigate and report any suspicious activity to the police.
This will increase community safety and promote residents' peace of mind.
Incorporating door alarms into your home security system promises more robust protection. Besides, knowing your home is equipped with multi-layered security will make any would-be burglars double-think their mission.
Consider Magnetic Window Alarms Too
If door alarms only alert you when your door opens, it may be insufficient to protect your home against intruders. Remember that many intruders get in through the window, too.
So, if you have windows that could be potential break-in points, consider installing magnetic window alarms.
Window alarms provide additional security by alerting you if a window is opened or tampered with. This can be crucial if you have ground-floor or basement windows— intruders' favorite access points.
Ultimately, whether or not to install both window and door alarms depends on your unique home security needs.
Unsure of your home’s security level? Discuss with a home security expert for a professional assessment of your property. They'll offer practical recommendations based on your home's security risk level.
Magnetic Door Alarms vs Other Security Systems
Let’s see what edges magnetic door alarms have over other security systems and what shortcomings they may have.
Advantages of Magnetic Door Alarms Over Other Security Systems
Magnetic door alarms are low-maintenance security solutions for many homes and businesses. While you may not expect the same level of sophistication as other security systems, they provide essential security that every homeowner can afford.
Cost-effectiveness: Generally, magnetic door alarms are cheaper than motion sensors, surveillance cameras, and most other security systems. They offer low-cost solutions for homeowners and small businesses who cannot afford a standard home security package.
Ease of installation: Unlike your laser security systems, camera, and motion sensors, which require a complex setup, magnetic door alarms are easy to install. They usually come with adhesive strips or screws that simplify the mounting process.
Low maintenance costs: Most models only require periodic battery replacements—a low-maintenance security solution for those who cannot afford too much time and money on upkeep.
Limitations of Magnetic Door Alarms
Before investing in these devices, discover some of their shortcomings below to help you make a well-informed decision:
False alarms: Strong winds or vibrations from a nearby construction site can send wrong signals to the sensors, triggering an alarm. Such recurrent false alerts can be a nuisance to the neighborhood. People may disregard the warning when an actual intruder strikes.
Vulnerability to tampering: If intruders can locate the sensor, they can bypass or disable the alarm by displacing the magnet or disrupting the magnetic contact.
Limited security features: Some devices only have an essential security feature—sending security alerts. There are no advanced features like remote monitoring or integration with other security systems.
And since they rely on a magnetic field to detect when a door is opened or closed, they offer limited security scope for protection.
Battery life: Most magnetic door alarms are battery-powered, and the batteries need periodic replacement. The alarm is useless if you forget to replace dead batteries or if your battery runs out when you're far away from home.
Even the most sophisticated thousand-dollar security systems have flaws. So, despite these limitations, magnetic door alarms still offer great value for money. Consider your home's security needs with these limitations before choosing a magnetic door alarm or looking elsewhere.
Magnetic Door Alarms Keep Burglars Off On a Budget
Installing magnetic door alarms is one of the cheapest ways to repel intruders from your home.
- Keep burglars off your property
- Keep your loved ones safe, indoors
- Offer budget-friendly security
- Provide easy DIY installation guides
- Allow easy customization
Before choosing any product, consider the price, sensitivity settings, and door compatibility.
Although these door alarms have some limitations, they always offer great value for your investment. Consider integrating magnetic door alarms with a comprehensive home security system for more robust protection.
While you’re preparing for that, magnetic door alarms will keep burglars and intruders running for the hills.