With over a decade of experience dealing with security systems in Perth, I often get asked: should you choose a wired or wireless alarm system?
For suburban homes, either wired or wireless systems could be suitable, depending on specific needs. However, for apartments, I generally recommend wireless systems for their flexibility and ease of installation.
This guide will delve into the pros and cons of each, helping you make an informed decision based on your property, budget, and security goals.
- Wired alarm systems are hardwired into a building and use physical connections to transmit signals to a control panel while wireless alarm systems rely on radio frequencies to transmit signals rather than physical wires
- Wired alarm systems are the top choice for reliability and work well in larger homes or for homeowners looking for the lowest maintenance option
- Wired alarm systems are more expensive and require more intensive installation
- Wireless alarm systems boast remote access capabilities and fast, easy installation that generally results in a cheaper purchase price
- Wireless alarm systems are not as reliable as wired systems and are susceptible to interference
- Choosing between a wired vs wireless alarm system depends on your budget, home size, goals, and property layout
What is the Difference Between Wired and Wireless Alarm Systems?
To put it simply, wired alarm systems are more reliable and permanent but require in-depth installation while wireless systems offer ease of installation and flexibility but may have limitations in range and require more maintenance.
Check out a more in-depth analysis below:
|Wired Alarm System
|Wireless Alarm System
|All sensors connected with physical wires
|Connections via radio frequencies, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi
|In-depth, professional installation required
|Straightforward, less intensive installation
|3. Accessibility and Control
|Keypads wired to control panel
|Control panel can be operated remotely via mobile device
|Sensors send signals through hardwired connection
|Battery-powered sensors transmit signals wirelessly
|Higher cost due to professional installation
|Typically cheaper, easier installation
|High reliability, no signal interference
|Reliable but may face signal interference
|Relies on a closed circuit to trigger alarm
|Wireless signal activates alarm when sensor is triggered
|More limited sensor placement due to physical wiring
|More flexible sensor placement
|Suited for permanent installations
|Portable, ideal for renters and frequent movers
|Minimal maintenance, no batteries needed
|Requires battery replacements and more maintenance
Pros and Cons of Wired vs Wireless Alarm Systems
Wired alarm systems are highly reliable and interference-free, suitable for large homes, but require complex installation and are vulnerable to power outages.
Wireless systems, in contrast, are easier and cheaper to install, portable, and power outage resistant, but they face potential signal interference, have limited range, and need regular battery maintenance.
For a more in-depth analysis, check out the table below:
|Wired Alarm System
|Wireless Alarm System
|More reliable than wireless systems
|More in-depth installation process
|Can be accessed remotely
|At risk of interference from radio frequencies
|No interference due to wiring
|Vulnerable to power outages without a UPS
|Less intensive and faster installation
|Less reliable than wired systems
|Permanent installation (can be adjusted if necessary)
|Typically cheaper than wired systems
|Excellent for larger homes/buildings
|Not susceptible to power outages
|Requires more maintenance due to batteries
|No need to worry about batteries
|Stronger and more durable
|Better resolution and image
|Better remote viewing on devices
Real Life Examples
I put together these mock examples to show the pros and cons of a wired vs wireless alarm system. I’ll also include my thoughts on what I’d recommend in these example scenarios.
Suburban Detached House: Wired Alarm System
The Smith family lives in a spacious, two-story house in the suburbs of Perth. They have a complex layout with multiple entry points and a large perimeter.
|Wired Security System
|Wireless Security System
I would 100% recommend a wired alarm system in this case. With the large perimeter, complex layout, and multiple points of entry, this family would benefit from the reliability and coverage of a wired alarm system.
Although the cost will be more initially, the system will be low maintenance, reliable, and cost-effective in the long run.
City Apartment: Wireless Alarm System
Emily owns a modern one-bedroom apartment in Sydney. She often travels for work and needs a flexible and easy-to-manage security solution.
|Wired Security System
|Wireless Security System
I already recommend wireless alarm systems for renters but I’d especially encourage one in this case. For someone who travels a lot and needs the most flexibility, the wireless alarm system will offer the most convenient option.
Emily can also take the wireless system with her when she leaves and does not need to worry about damaging the walls or the rental or getting permission from her landlord.
10 years ago, I hardly ever recommended wireless alarm systems. I found them too unreliable.
The latest technology has significantly narrowed the gap between a wired vs wireless alarm system. However, there is no match for the reliability of a wired alarm system.
Still, both wired and wireless alarm systems offer advantages depending on the setup.
The best way to find the ideal alarm system for your home and lifestyle is with a personal consultation with one of our security experts. But here are some guidelines to help you get an idea of whether a wired vs wireless alarm system will benefit you the most.
Why Choose a Wired Alarm System?
I often recommend wired alarm systems for:
If you are building your home, I recommend opting for a wired alarm system. It can be integrated into the home during construction and will offer an incredibly reliable, convenient, cost-effective setup.
For home or business owners with concerns about network security, I recommend a wired alarm as the safest option.
Hacking into a wired connection is far more difficult than accessing a wireless
system. An open internet connection can leave data vulnerable to interceptions.
Homes or Businesses Who Want the Lowest Maintenance Possible
If you want the least amount of upkeep, I suggest a wired alarm system. You won’t have to worry about replacing batteries or losing power due to low battery charge.
Large Homes or Properties with Multiple Buildings
I prefer wired alarm systems for expansive properties that have a lot of square footage or multiple buildings on site. Wired alarm systems do not have the distance limitations that wireless systems struggle with.
The majority of wireless systems only have a range up to 150 metres. Wired systems can handle far larger properties while still maintaining reliability.
Why Choose a Wireless Alarm System?
Here are situations where I’d recommend a wireless alarm system:
The number one scenario where I recommend a wireless system is renters. A wireless system does not involve drilling holes or other modifications to the home or building. Plus, when a renter leaves, they can take the wireless alarm system with them to their next dwelling.
If you own a historic home or building, I don’t blame you for not wanting to drill holes in its walls. To protect historic homes or homes with stone, marble, or brick construction, a wireless alarm system is worth considering.
Protection Against Power Failures
Although wired alarm systems don’t need batteries monitored or swapped out, they are susceptible to power failures if an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) hasn’t been set up.
Since it is operated by batteries, a wireless alarm system can continue functioning even during power failures.
What Alarm System Brands Do I Recommend?
I only recommend reputable brands that are known for their high product quality and reliability. Some of my favourite brands in the security industry include Dahua, Bosch, Hikvision, DSC.
What Is a Wired Alarm System?
Wired alarm systems are hardwired into homes or buildings and transmit signals through attached wires. The physical connection makes them highly reliable and low maintenance, but the installation process is very involved.
A professional installer needs to run physical wires throughout the home or building to set up the system. This means drilling holes into walls and ceilings. The end result is hard to modify, so wired systems are intended for long-term use.
For many customers I talk to, especially if they are renting, this intensive installation process turns them away from a wired system.
What Is a Wireless Alarm System?
Wireless alarm systems rely on radio frequencies rather than physical wires to communicate signals. These systems are easy to set up, flexible, and a lower commitment than wired systems.
Customers often tell me how much they enjoy the ability to monitor and arm or disarm the wireless system from their mobile device.
Is There a Cost Difference Between Wired and Wireless Systems?
Yes, there are cost differences between wired and wireless alarm systems. Generally, wired systems tend to be more expensive due to their more complex installation process, which often requires professional assistance and can involve running wires through walls and ceilings. The cost of the hardware itself can also be higher.
On the other hand, wireless systems usually have a lower upfront cost. They are typically easier and cheaper to install, as they don’t require extensive wiring or professional installation. However, they might incur additional costs over time, such as replacing batteries for the sensors.
It’s important to consider both the initial installation cost and the long-term maintenance costs when choosing between wired and wireless systems.
In conclusion, after a decade in the security industry, my experience suggests that the choice between wired and wireless alarm systems hinges on specific needs and circumstances.
Wired systems offer unmatched reliability and are best for larger, permanent setups, though they come with complex installation requirements.
Wireless systems, favoured for their flexibility and ease of installation, are ideal for renters and smaller residences, despite potential signal interference and maintenance needs.
Ultimately, the decision should be informed by your property size, lifestyle, and security priorities.
If you would like to learn more or arrange an alarm system installation in Perth, check out our alarm systems page.