Discover the average price of buying and installing a burglar alarm system and signing up to a maintenance or monitoring contracts. Plus, see how you could save on your alarm and installation.
Installation is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a new burglar alarm.
Can you install the system yourself? Or will you need to shell out for a potentially costly installation service on top of what you have already spent?
However, it is not the only cost to consider. Alongside how much the alarm is to buy and install, you need to consider potential maintenance and monitoring costs, too. In this guide, members can see average prices of burglar alarm installation services based on our customer surveys and research.
We also give advice on choosing additional services, such as a company to monitor your alarm for you.
How much should I pay for installation?
We’ve found that advice given by alarm installers varies greatly, and so do the charges they apply for useful extras. We asked burglar alarm owners who have had an alarm installed in the last five years how much their alarm and installation cost.
As there are a number of ways you can buy an alarm, our results covered a few different scenarios:
Burglar alarm only
The average amount paid by respondents in our survey This figure is for people who bought and installed their alarm themselves, or got a friend or family member to do so.
Burglar alarm installation – the cost of installation in addition to the alarm cost
The amount paid by respondents for their alarm installation by a professional
Alarm and installation cost – paid for these together as a package £507
The average price paid by our respondents for their alarm and installation together as a package As you can see above, buying and installing your alarm yourself is a good value option, but you can also get a good deal by buying an alarm you want and then hiring an installer.
In any scenario, though, shopping around and exploring your options is vital in order to save money. These costs refer to all types of alarms, including:
Bells-only: if the alarm is triggered, it will make a loud noise but you won’t be remotely alerted Speech-dialler and smart: the alarm will notify you if it goes off Monitored: you pay a monthly or annual fee for a company to monitor your alarm and respond if it goes off If you’re unsure what type of burglar alarm to get, or whether you need a monitoring contract, read more about the different types of burglar alarms.
Burglar alarm costs explained
When shopping for an alarm, consider how much coverage you’ll need throughout your home. This is because costs will vary depending on what sort of alarm you choose, the size of your home and where in the UK you are.
You’ll need a sensor or motion detector for each zone (essentially a room) that you want to protect, and may also choose to have more door or window contacts, which detect an unauthorised breach.
The amount more people in a detached house paid on average than those in a flat The larger your home, the more sensors you’ll need and this will increase the price.
When we asked burglar alarm owners, people with a larger detached house paid around £130 more, on average, than those in a smaller flat, based on buying the alarm and installation together as a package.
Prices of burglar alarms – control panels and sensors
You can either buy an alarm to install yourself or get an installer to do it for you, or you can contract a company to provide the alarm and installation as part of an overall package.
If you opt for the former, make sure you check our burglar alarm and smart security system reviews before handing over your cash.
When we looked at the prices for popular alarms you can buy from DIY shops, we found that the prices ranged from £50 to more than £500 for a wireless one, and £50 to around £400 for wired alarms.
Honeywell, for example, has a Best Buy ‘bells only’ starter kit costing just under £100, but Texecom’s basic alarm bundle costs nearly £400.
People often go for a starter kit bundle, which usually includes one contact sensor (for a window or door) and one motion detector.
You can usually buy bundles with more sensors and detectors included if you’d like to protect more ‘zones’ in your house. Alternatively, you could just buy them individually.
The sensors or detectors we looked at ranged from around £20 each for basic ones, to £80 or more for advanced ones, such as those that are said to be tamper-proof.
Prices generally increase for smart alarms that you can operate with a smartphone. For example, our cheapest Best Buy starter kit costs well over £200.
These types of alarms have advantages, as they can be controlled remotely. You can turn on your alarm from the airport if you forget to set it before a trip, or switch off a false alarm from a distance. Read more about smart alarms in guide on Best smart security systems.
Wired vs wireless
Both wired and wireless alarms have pros and cons.
Generally speaking, the costs of buying wireless systems are higher, but wired systems cost more to install as they require wiring in. Wireless systems tend to offer extra features and hi-tech add-ons, so the price will depend on whether you want any of these.
Generally, if an installer is good you shouldn’t see the wires from a wired system, but wireless ones are still more flexible, especially if you want to decorate or extend your property.
We recommend getting quotes for both types, and making sure you speak to the installer about what extras you could get and possible plans for decorating in the future.
Burglar alarm installers
If you don’t buy a burglar alarm as a standalone product that you can install yourself, you’ll need to contact a burglar alarm company. Burglar alarm installers will want to visit your home before they give you a quote. Having an installer come to look at your home should be free, so don’t let anyone charge you.
Before inviting someone to your home, it’s important to make sure they are registered and accredited. You can find reliable traders including burglar alarm installers at Trusted Traders.
All of our endorsed traders have been vetted by ex Trading Standards assessors so you can be sure that the traders you contact are reliable. Use our Trusted Traders search tool below to find reliable traders near you.
Most installers offer packages with a set number of sensors and contacts depending on the layout of your home. When we spoke to installers undercover as homeowners, we found that some were keen to help work out what would be the cheapest option for the specification – for example, if one sensor could cover more than one room, which would be a good option as it would cut costs.
However, other installers weren’t so accommodating. The best advice is to come up with a reasonable budget to start with and make sure your installer is aware of this from the outset.
Don’t be afraid to turn down added unnecessary extras if you don’t want them, and ask for ways to cut costs if you need to.
Contacting a burglar alarm installer
If you’re not just buying and fitting an alarm yourself from a DIY store, we’d suggest contacting at least three installers or companies, both independent and chains, to compare quotes and find out what their prices include. You can get a rough cost estimate over the phone, but the company or installer should ideally visit your home to give a more realistic price, including equipment and installation costs – and this should be free.
This is sometimes called a ‘risk assessment’. Here are some of the questions they may ask and elements you will need to consider: How many zones (rooms) will the alarm cover?
What is the layout of your home? Do you have a garden or outdoor space?
Do you have flat roofs that could help a burglar to get into your home?
What types of doors do you have, in particular glass patio doors, and how are these are secured?
This could affect what level of protection you need and where.
Will you potentially extend your home in the future? In this case you’ll want an alarm that can be added to or moved. Do you have children and/or pets? These often require different types of sensors, which tend to me more expensive.
When we investigated burglar alarm installers across the UK, we were given different recommendations and a range of prices. Some were happy to help keep costs down, while others were more rigid about what was needed, creating a higher price tag. We would therefore advise that you try to find a package that includes as many extras as possible, such as sensors to cover more than one room, or extra call outs if you’re getting a contract. Once an installer has visited your home, ask for a written fixed price for the alarm itself and installation, as well as maintenance or monitoring costs (see below). Make sure your quote details everything the package will include, such as the number of sensors or parts, and free call outs if you’re signing up for maintenance. If the installer or company can’t give a fixed price (perhaps claiming that some parts of the job could be more complex than anticipated), ask for examples of ‘unforeseen circumstances’ that could increase the installation cost. This should limit areas where you could be charged more.
A maintenance contract with a company that offers a 24-hour service, so that you can contact them anytime if there is a problem, is a bonus. Usually, they will regularly service your alarm to ensure that it is in full working order. Prices can vary, in part, because of what is included in the package: free additional extra call-outs, parts for repairs, batteries for a wireless alarm etc.
Although higher costs tend to be linked to added extras, some installers include parts as well as the call-out and labour, even at a lower price.
It’s therefore worth pushing for as many extras as possible within the lowest price, and getting a number of quotes. Almost all contracts would only start charging after the first-year warranty had expired, so make sure you ask about a warranty and what this includes.
The installers we spoke to had mixed opinions on whether maintenance contracts are worth the money or not – some wouldn’t even offer us a price, while others pushed it as a benefit.
Don’t feel pressured by a pushy installer – speak to your local crime prevention officer first to see what security measures are in your area, such as neighbourhood watch.
If you do decide to go ahead, again, get at least three quotes first so that you can compare them. It’s worth noting that not all alarm companies monitor their alarms themselves – many outsource to another company, and this isn’t always made explicit.
Ask for this to be made clear to you when you take out your contract.
Monitored alarm costs
The cost for a monitored alarm can differ greatly from that of a standalone alarm. The homeowners we asked paid £543 on average for the alarm and installation, and then had an ongoing subscription cost. So, it’s certainly not a cheap option.
You usually can’t install a monitored alarm yourself, either. Most alarm companies won’t monitor an alarm that hasn’t been installed by a recognised professional.
Also, do bear in mind that the cost you’ll pay will vary depending on your personal circumstances, such as the alarm spec you opt for and where you live (eg, the crime level in your area). Alongside the alarm and installation, you’ll need to consider the ongoing monthly cost of the monitoring contract.
There are three main types of monitoring contract, and all involve your alarm connecting to a call centre if a sensor or detector is triggered.
Keyholder response: For the first type of contract, the call centre contacts listed keyholders, such as your family members, friends or neighbours.
Police response: With this service the alarm provider also contacts the police if the alarm is triggered.
Private security response: The top tier package offered by some providers involves a private security team being dispatched to your home if the alarm goes off.
If you go for a police-monitoring contract, bear in mind that the police will only respond if the company has registered the alarm with them and will only let certain companies do this, so make sure you get written proof that the company is allowed to do this or check with your local police.
There are big alarm brands on the market, such as ADT. Or, you could try an independent company in your count that may be cheaper. See how alarm brands compare in our page on the best and worst alarm companies.
You don’t actually need a monitoring contract to be alerted when your alarm goes off – you could consider a dialler or smart security system, both of which will alert you if there’s an issue at home, without the need for a contract.
If you decide to sign up for a monitoring contract, make sure you also ask about how long you are tied to the agreement, and whether you own or are being leased the equipment.
Faulty leased equipment would be the responsibility of your installer, although labour costs may apply.
Getting the best price
Essentially, there is no harm in haggling for an alarm or contract, especially if you have quotes from a number of different installers.
Make a list of all the extras that are useful and that you would like, such as key fobs or a speech dialler, and see how much you can get added without bumping up the original price.
Remember to get everything in writing before agreeing, so that you can see what is and isn’t included.
Home insurance discounts
When we asked burglar alarm owners who also have home insurance about whether getting one had saved them money on their premium, 43% said it did.
Another way to possibly get a discount on your home insurance is to join a neighbourhood watch if there’s an active one in your area.