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Hard Wired vs. Wireless Security System: Which is better?

A common question we receive from our Westchester and Fairfield clients is, “what’s better, a hard-wired security system or a wireless security system?”

The answer to this question is pretty simple.

If your house is under construction or being renovated, then this would be the best time to install a hard-wired security system.  If your house is completely finished, then a wireless security system is likely your best option.

As a company, Knight Security System’s philosophy is “if we can hard-wire a system, we should hard-wire a system.” Even if some devices need to be wireless, we try to install as many hard-wired devices as possible.   While a hard-wired security system typically withstands the test of time much better than a wireless security system, a wireless security system allows you more flexibility when installing.  For instance, we have some clients that due to certain circumstance, need a motion sensor moved.  If it’s a wireless motion sensor, great, all we have to do is uninstall the device, patch two small screw holes, and reinstall it in its new position.  If it’s a hard-wired motion sensors, then we typically remove the motion sensor from the old position, but if the house is finished, our only option is to install a new wireless motion sensor, as wiring for the existing hard-wired motion sensor may be impossible or implausible.

Let’s look at both security system styles, and discuss the pros and cons of both.

 

HARD-WIRED SECURITY SYSTEMS

PROS:

  • Hard-wire security sensors typically last much longer.
  • Hard-wired devices are typically open sourced, meaning if 20 years from now, you wish to update your system, we don’t need to re-wire or replace your existing devices (other than keypads and control panels).
  • Hard-wired devices can be recessed into your doors and windows, meaning a hard-wired system is much more aesthetic.
  • Hard-wired smoke detectors can be interconnected (meaning if one goes off, they all go off)

CONS:

  • Hard-wire security systems typically require more labor to install all the wiring, therefore are not as budget-friendly
  • If something goes wrong with one of the wires for your security sensors, your security system vendor will likely need to replace it with a wireless device
  • Less flexibility in moving devices in the future.

 

WIRELESS SECURITY SYSTEM

 

PROS:

  • Flexibility
  • Budget Friendly
  • Wireless security systems are just as secure as their hard-wired counterparts.
  • Systems let you know when devices are not communicating or batteries are low

CONS:

  • Batteries need to be replaced every five years or so
  • Less aesthetic, as these devices are typically much larger than wired devices
  • Proprietary devices in some cases, means that if you’d like to update the system in the future, you may need to replace some or all of the devices

 

As you can see, there is not much difference between a wireless security system and a hard-wired security system.  The truth is, most security systems installed today are hybrid systems.  These hybrid security systems have hard-wired control panels, hard-wired keypads, and at least some hard-wired devices.  These systems allow for wireless devices to be added in the future, so should you wish to add an extra smoke detector or glass break detector in the future, you can, quite simply!

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