Home Improvement

The Different Types of Burglar Alarm Systems and How They Work

Burglar alarm systems – you won’t believe how many people in the UK live with the idea that there is zero chance of someone breaking into their home and think that an alarm system is an unnecessary investment. Needless to say, you can NEVER be sure that your property won’t become a victim of a burglary. 

So, if you don’t fall into the category of people who think that their home doesn’t need to be protected and are looking for the best alarm system for your home – we’ve got you covered. 

Table of Contents:

This article is perfect for anyone wondering: 

  • what types of burglar alarm systems are there;
  • how do the different types of intruder alarms work;
  • how much does a specific alarm system type cost;
  • what are the pros and cons of each system;

Ready to learn more about the different sorts of house alarm systems? 

Wired burglar alarms

Wired alarm systems are the nightmare of every burglar. Why? Well, this type of home security device is harder for the evil-doers to hack.

The system works in a very simple way – the alarm relies on electric sensors, which are connected to a central control panel that lets you decide which areas of your home you want protected. 

Note that this type of alarm needs to be connected to a power source or to have a back up one, so your home can be protected even in the case of an outage. 

How much does a hard-wired burglar alarm cost? £450 for a basic alarm system and up to £1000 for a high-end option, installation costs not included. 

The pros of having a wired burglar alarm

  • It is a lot harder to hack into;
  • The installation process is fast;
  • This device doesn’t require batteries;
  • Wired burglar alarms are easy to maintain.

The cons of having a wired burglar alarm

  • The system is quite bulky;
  • It is vulnerable to power outages;
  • The installation costs are very high;
  • You can’t change the system’s location.

Wireless burglar alarms

A wireless burglar alarm works in a similar fashion like the wired version, with the difference being that this type of device runs on batteries. A wireless alarm is generally a lot smaller than the wired option and is super easy to fit – some people even decide to install the device by themselves. In terms of price, the actual device is a bit more expensive than a wired one, but you get to save from installation costs.

How much does a wireless burglar alarm cost? Up to £200, installation costs not included. 

The pros of having a wireless burglar alarm:

  • You can install it yourself;
  • It’s a lot smaller than a wired version;
  • You can move it around the property;
  • The system can be controlled and monitored remotely.

The cons of having a wireless burglar alarm

  • The device is expensive;
  • It’s vulnerable to hacking;
  • Wireless alarms are high maintenance;
  • It’s not suitable for smaller properties.
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Dialler burglar alarms

Dialler burglar alarm security systems are pretty cool – they let you programme between 3 and 10 phone numbers of family members and/or friends and alerts them when someone tries to enter your home. Some types of dialler alarms even have specific options that alert the people in the contact list for potential fire and flood hazards in the property. This burglar alarm option is preferred by many homeowners, who spend a lot of time away from their homes. 

How much does a dialler burglar alarm cost? Between £100 and £300, installation costs not included.

The pros of having a dialler burglar alarm:

  • You don’t need to pay for a monitoring service;
  • The system comes with a range of upgrades, including a speech dialler;
  • Dialler burglar alarms are relatively cheap to run;
  • The option is budget-friendly.

The cons of having a wireless dialler alarm

  • There is the chance that the programmed contacts are unavailable;
  • If you upgrade the system with a speech dialler, you need to have a landline;
  • If you opt for a GSM (smart dialler) system, a weak signal may cause issues.

Fake burglar alarm 

A fake burglar alarm is exactly what you think – an authentic-looking but dummy alarm box created to fool the intruders. 

But is this a real deterrent? Not always. The only thing that a dummy alarm box does is blinking bright red light indicating that the alarm is active. For most of us, the difference between a real and a fake burglar alarm is vague. But the professional burglars can quickly determine whether or not this alarm is real if they notice low-quality materials, an awkward location, fake marking, and more. 

A dummy alarm bell box isn’t functional and provides a false sense of security. Before sacrificing your peace of mind, think about a real and affordable alternative, which is a sound investment in your security. Next, before shopping, consider the best features and main limitations of modern security systems to ensure your overall personal safety.

How much does a dummy alarm box cost? As little as £30 (DIY-friendly installation).

The pros of having a dummy burglar alarm:

  • Highly realistic look;
  • Affordable deterrent for those who cannot afford a real security system;
  • Quick and easy set-up;
  • Little to zero-maintenance efforts
  • (*the only chore is changing your batteries every few months)

The cons of having a dummy alarm

  • Useless if somebody breaks-in;
  • You can’t fool the well-trained eye of the ill-wishers;
  • A fake security system poses more risks than benefits.

Bells-only (audible-only) burglar alarm

Bells-only burglar alarm – as it’s more audible-only referred –  is basically a machine that makes a very loud sound, meant to scare robbers.

Unlike the fake alarms, bells-only alarms do more than provide a peace of mind or sense of comfort. Prominently displayed at the exterior of your home, these intruder alarms can deter a home invasion and reduce your home insurance premium with up to 10%. And in the unfortunate situation of a burglary, you can claim the insurance costs and repair a part or everything that has been destroyed or damaged by the offenders. 

How much does a bells-only alarm cost? Anywhere between £100 and £300.

The pros of having a bells-only burglar alarm:

  • Affordable, no monthly fees for monitoring service;
  • You might be rewarded with a better insurance premium;
  • DIY-friendly installation;
  • Loud siren makes your neighbours aware of an intrusion;
  • When a siren goes off, burglars tend to think twice.
  • May be used in evidence-based prosecution if combined with a CCTV installation.

The cons of having a bells-only alarm

  • Some people find bells-only syren annoying and loud;
  • No option to contact any nominated persons;
  • When nobody’s home, you won’t be alerted remotely if the siren goes off;
  • These alarms can deter crime but can’t stop it;
  • Screwed burglars can silence the siren;
  • The system may bleep unnecessarily even if no intruder is entering your home.
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Pet-friendly burglar alarm

So often, homeowners struggle to install a home alarm system because their roaming-around pet buddy may trigger false-beeping alarms. More than just an annoying siren, a pet-triggered warning can cause panic, and even worse – fees for the unnecessary police response. 

Don’t blame your pet. Instead of adapting your lifestyle to the alarm system, get a burglary alarm with pet-immune functions. This will be a powerful security shift in favour of your cat/dog and home.

Thankfully, modern pet-friendly alarms are multi-facet. Besides the standard control panel, they include a pet-tolerant mechanism – passive infra-red motion sensors (PIRs), to be exact. Geared up with a PIR motion detector, your security alarm disregards the little animal’s weight, thus preventing fake signals. And all you have to do is to adjust the pet immunity features depending on your cat or dog weight.

The added bonus? If you miss your little buddy while you are away, you can get an alarm model allowing you to watch and talk to her (or him) through your mobile device, anywhere and anytime.

Besides the motion sensors, you can also employ some type of protective barrier window furniture, such as ventilation locks, window sash stops, or other window restrictors. The latter are an affordable option to pet-proof your home and also keep it protected with open windows at night.

How much does a bells-only alarm cost? Traditional pet-friendly alarm price = Standard burglar alarm price.

The pros of having a pet-friendly burglar alarm:

  • Pet sensitivity settings ignoring your pet movements;
  • Acts perfectly even when thieves crawl (human bodies give off infrared radiation, detectable by the in-built IR sensors);
  • Not expensive compared to the traditional alarm systems.

The cons of having a pet-friendly burglar alarm:

  • Wireless motion sensor burglar alarms are battery-based and need periodic maintenance;
  • Big dogs could be a culprit for false alarms;
  • Jumping pets and claws sharpening on the windows can trigger a false alarm.
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Garage and shed burglar alarms

Let’s face it; it’s often the case that people spend an arm and leg on protecting home windows and doors from burglar attacks, but forget to secure the tools-rich garage and shed. Bikes, cars, the whole host of garden tools, mowers, sports/hobby equipment — one or more of these might be the reason for a try-to-grab story. So, it’s safe to say garage and shed security shouldn’t be overlooked.

Breathe easy. You can add a layer of security with a garage (or shed) burglar alarm installation. Unlike a burly security bar, a garage alarm may not stop a thief from his mean intentions. But it will respond to unnecessary movements or intrusion with warning siren sounds. So think of the garage alarms as another great and lesser-known deterrent by the offenders. 

In an effort to be thorough, you should also fit a sturdy lock or chain, so the head-to-toe in black intruders feel really uncomfortable to commit a crime. 

And did you know? Some manufacturers offer garage, caravan, or shed intruder alarms with a built-in electric shock. (Gasp!) Pre-t-t-yy dissuasive, if you ask us.

How much does a garage/shed burglar alarm cost?  ranging from ££ to £££ pounds. You can find a low-end alarm for as little as £20 and a high-end burglar alarm with contactless control for £300.

The pros of having a garage/shed burglar alarm:

  • Simple to operate;
  • Wall-mounted/free-standing installation and portable remote control options;
  • You might be eligible for a theft-deterrent discount;
  • Plenty of features to scale your outbuilding security up;
  • Sensors detect any suspicious activity

The cons of having a garage/ shed burglar alarm:


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The list goes on… 

Of course, while the above types of burglar alarms are the most popular options amongst homeowners, they are just half of the story when it comes to home security systems. You can also get the fancy (and very expensive) monitored alarm system, which has your property watched by an alarm reaction team. 

The louder, the better? Think again! Thinking of alarms from an audible perspective, you can get a silent alarm instead of blaring one. Why? A silent notification means an increased chance for the police to catch the intruders on the spot instead of scaring intruders off …and letting them be en route.

Each listed system has it’s pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide what works best for your home, and, of course – budget. 

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How much does a burglar alarm installation cost?

If only burglar alarm pricing was as simple as pointing a lump sum for all different types of alarms and installation activities. Alas, alarm installation and locksmith prices are rarely that straightforward.

But the price for burglar alarm fitting “depends”. “On what?”, we hear you ask.  

The experts’ answer: The true cost for burglar alarm installation depends on:

  • The type of the burglar alarm system;
  • How complicated the installation is: sensor diversity, extra key fobs, extra contacts, additional adjustments to minimise false activation, etc.; 
  • Your property size: the larger your home, the more the sensors and installation time. 

If you want, you can fit the wireless burglar alarm system yourself (less labour=fewer costs) or you can prepare for a twofold price when a wire-running interference is needed.

P.S. For us, it doesn’t matter if you want to fit a wired, wireless, bells-only or a pet-friendly alarm. The skilled and knowledgeable professionals from Fantastic Services can fit all of them for you. To come up with an individual one-off price offer, they will assume if your security system requires a straightforward or complex installation, taking into account your personal preferences and home size after an on-site visit. The latter will cost you only £71, all over London.

Have your burglar alarm system installed by a professional

If you’ve decided to upgrade your home with a security system and don’t have an idea of how to install your burglar alarm, why not hire an experienced technician to do it for you? Book Fantastic Services’ guaranteed burglar alarm installation services and ensure the security of your property. Our security system fitting solutions are performed by certified professionals, capable of installing any kind of burglar alarm. 

And do you know what the best part is? You can schedule a service appointment completely online! How awesome is that? Don’t wait any longer and book Fantastic Services today! 

Thinking of installing a home security system? Discover how we can help you out.


  • The more effective the security system, the higher the device’s price, installation cost, etc. 
  • Make sure to take your property’s size into account when choosing a burglar alarm security system for your home.
  • Some insurance companies offer significantly lower price rates for their home insurance plans for properties that have a burglar alarm system installed. 
  • If you aren’t sure what sort of security system is right for your property, we suggest talking it through with a professional. 


Did you find our article on the different types of burglar alarm systems helpful? Make sure to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!

Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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