We put all burglar alarms and smart security systems through a battery of tests to find the finest ones, ranging from the alarm’s volume to its susceptibility to being accidently triggered by your pets.

burglar alarms and smart security systems

Our reviews of burglar alarms and smart security systems are more thorough than any other because they are only based on technical evaluations by industry professionals. The Which? overall percentage test results that you’ll see with each review are the result of every test we conduct. These results are entirely based on ratings in our test lab, thus they cannot be impacted by any preferences or bias. We never accept complimentary review samples from manufacturers; instead, we purchase every alarm that is subject to testing in the same manner as you would.

Home security burglar alarm being used

How is a Best Buy alarm made?

We assess two primary categories of alarms: Bells only, which are straightforward but frequently successful burglar deterrents.

Bell-only alarms from Best Buy will be simple to set up and use, with a loud alarm. To be eligible, they must receive at least 80%.

Smart alarms: These more recent alarms provide you mobile app access to manage your home security. We have a large selection of premium smart alarms that have received scores of more than 76% and are therefore Best Buys. No matter if it is a smart or bells-only alarm, any burglar alarm that meets the criteria to be a Don’t Buy will receive a rating of less than 45%. These subpar alarms will be challenging to use, emit a faint, ineffective alarm, and have trouble differentiating between a cat and a burglar.

How is the grade determined?

Every burglar alarm review includes a Which? overall score expressed as a percentage, indicating how the alarm performed in our in-depth testing.

Our tests do not take the alarm’s price into account, thus a less expensive alarm has an equal chance of impressing as a more expensive system.

The weighting of each alarm’s score based on a variety of significant characteristics, such as alarm sensitivity and tone, is shown below (loudness). For each alarm, we also show a variety of distinct star ratings so you can see how well it performed in many categories.

Additionally, you can filter the outcomes based on criteria that are essential to you, like usability. How to calculate your overall burglar alarm test score:

40% alarm sensitivity

Usefulness 20%

Sound 20%

15% visibility

several logins through the app 5%

For alarms with only bells, the 5%

Redistributing resources for “multiple app logins” among sensitivity, sound, and usability.

Bell-only alarms must receive at least 80%, while smart alarms must receive at least 76%, in order to qualify as Best Buys.

Our testing of burglar alarms

Burglar alarm systems | Home secutiry

simplicity of installation and regular use

According to the makers, all of the alarms we examined should be suitable for you to install yourself. Testing reveals that this isn’t always the case, though.

Some alarms simply can’t be installed by the typical do-it-yourselfer, so you’ll need to pay for a professional installation.

We evaluate the alarms’ usability after they are installed, taking into account how simple it is to arm and disable the alarm as well as use optional functions like panic alarms. With smart alarms, we thoroughly evaluate the app, taking into account its usability, the calibre of its alert messages, and whether it allows for simultaneous use by several users, such as you and your partner.

Alarm threshold

Our extensive testing evaluate how quickly the alarm system reacts to a breach of a motion detector or sensor and subsequently sounds the alarm.

This is based on a variety of circumstances, such as a thief approaching the sensors from different directions and moving slowly or quickly.

We also test whether the system is just as successful at night as it is during the day. With smart alarms, we monitor how quickly a phone alert notice is sent. Best Buy alarms will notify you the moment a sensor is violated so you can react right away.

burglar alarms and smart security systems

The ‘cat’ test – is the alarm safe to use with pets? You don’t want your alarm going off every time your cat runs under the sensor. Alarms should be pet friendly so you can leave the house without having to worry.

We use a real cat in our testing and let the moggy run past the sensor from a range of angles, checking if the alarm is triggered.

Most alarms are able to tell a feline friend from an incurring intruder, but one we tested completely failed this assessment and happily set off the alarm when the cat ran past.

burglar alarms and smart security systems

Audible level of the alarm

You don’t want an alarm that is so quiet that it won’t even wake a mouse, much less deter a thief. Every alarm is tested for volume, and the results range from a reasonably quiet 82 decibels (db) to an ear-splitting 104 db.

We measure the noise level both inside and outside the house.

Some alarms don’t have external sounders, making it difficult to warn your neighbours and anybody else around that there might be a break-in.

burglar alarms and smart security systems

Are hackers able to access my smart alarm?

All of our smart alarms and the apps that go with them have undergone a thorough security evaluation. While matched with the recently published EN 303 645 security standard, our test procedure goes above and beyond in a number of ways.

Our tests, which are carried out by qualified professionals, look into a variety of crucial areas, such as whether the alarm and app uses secure passwords, encrypts your personal data, and shields you from common hacking assaults.

We also look for any obvious threats to the privacy of your data, including apps that ask for a lot of data permissions. Although security does not currently factor into the alarm’s rating, if we discover any alarming problems during our testing, we will get in touch with the manufacturer to get them remedied.

We may delay designating an alarm as a Best Buy or automatically designate it as a Don’t Buy if the defects are sufficiently serious based on our risk assessment procedure, unless the company fixes the problem.