October 2021

Wireless Vs. Hardwired Alarm System. Which is best?

house-with-sensors-burglar

Alarm Systems are installed to safeguard your home and your family, so it is always paramount to install one that will be reliable.  Basically, alarm systems come in three configurations: Wireless, Hardwired and a hybrid of both. It’s important to understand the benefits and disadvantages of each to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right alarm system for your home.

Each homeowner will want something different based on their situation and why they need the alarm. So in the rest of this article, I’ll go over all the different configurations while highlighting their pros and cons.

Wireless Systems

wireless security system diagram

Historically wireless alarm systems had a bad reputation as they where not as reliable.  In Fact, I remember when my first wireless system was installed.  It was new technology back then and we were constantly returning to adjust/reconfigure trying to make the system more reliable.  We have come a long way since then and can now consider a wireless system as reliable as their hardwired counterpart. 

In a wireless system,  the doors and windows will have wireless sensors that transmit their status (open/closed) to the main control panel using Radio Frequency (RF).  Sensors like water detectors, smoke detectors, glass breaks and others can also be installed and would transmit their status to the main control panel as well using RF.  There are some limits on the number of wireless sensors that can be assigned to a control panel. The actual number will vary based on the brand/model of the Panel you use.   You will need to ensure that your panel can handle the number of sensors you plan to install. This is usually not a problem for most homes/businesses as typical systems could handle anywhere from 8 to over a hundred wireless sensors.

Keypads and/or Touch Screens are used to control your alarm system and are typically installed at your entry/exit points to allow quick access when leaving or entering the premise.  These keypads can use RF to wirelessly transmit your commands (Turn On/Off) and  receive status signals like windows/doors opened.  

Wireless Sirens/Strobes can also be added to a wireless system.  When an alarm event occurs the Control Panel will activate the siren/strobe by sending a RF signal to it.

The Control Panel needs to be connected to your regular household power. This would normally take the form of a small adapter/transformer that would plug into a receptacle then wired to the panel.   This powers your system and charges the stand-by battery located inside the control panel.

To be able to send messages/data outside your home to services like monitoring stations and/or a smart phone apps the Control Panel can be connected to the Internet through your home Wi-Fi router.

Wireless systems can also be connected remotely by using a standard Cellular network.  A SIM card would be installed into the control panel just like a regular cell phone.  It is not mandatory to use a cellular connection but is usually included in a professionally installed system that is connected to a monitoring service.  Using cellular connection would provide for a better level of security but is not required if you plan on doing it yourself (DIY) and want to do your own monitoring.

Signal Interference

When working optimally, the Radio Frequency (RF) of a wireless system should be able to travel through walls and floors. However, there is always a chance that the signal will not reach its destination/sensor or that another signal may interfere with it.  The number of walls and the construction type will also affect the signal reach.  Signal quality will also differ depending on the system type/model used so what may work with one system may not work on another. 

If you have a large home, this could leave some areas unprotected. In addition, wireless alarms are more susceptible to false alarms if they are not installed correctly or if there is interference from other devices.

Batteries

One of the most important differences to consider is how the two systems use batteries.  

Wireless devices such as door sensors,  motion detectors, water sensors, smoke alarms and others are usually powered by a small 3v lithium battery.  Life expectancy for these batteries is typically 1 to 3 years.  How often a motion is tripped or a door is opened (transmits a signal) will determine the actual life span.

A Wireless system would typically have a larger backup battery installed in the Control Panel (7AH or more for you techies) .  This battery is continuously charged by the regular household power.  It is generally only used when you have a power outage. It will keep your Control panel and any connected devices  working for many hours.  Of course, a power outage would not affect your wireless sensors as they have their own batteries and do not receive power from the control panel.

An important thing to consider when choosing between a hardwired and wireless system is the maintenance required for the wireless sensor batteries.  You will need to go to every device/sensor to replace the battery every 1-3 years.   At the time of writing this article a set of 4 standard  CR2032 batteries costs approximately $10. For CR 123A batteries the cost is around $23 for a package of 4.  However, the type and cost for batteries will depend on the type of system.

CR2032 LITHIUM

CA123A LITHIUM

12V 7AH Control Panel Battery

The Pros and Cons of a Wireless System

Below are the Pros vs Cons of a typical Wireless System as compared to a Hardwired system

Pros

Cons

Hardwired System

In a Hardwired system all devices would be connected to the Control Panel using cables (hardwired).   Devices would include Door Contacts, Window Contacts, Motion Detectors, Water Sensors, Smoke Detectors and many more.  Hardwired systems are perfect for when you have access to inside your walls like when you are doing renovations.

There are limits on the number of sensors that can be connected to a given control panel which varies based on the brand/model of the Control Panel you use.  The number of zones will determine the number of sensors.  Now, some of you who may be familiar with alarm systems may say that there is no limit as you can connect multiple sensors to any given zone.  While you would be correct I would highly recommend that you place a single device per zone for identification purposes. Should you have a false alarm (alarm tripped) from a sensor that is connected to a zone that has multiple sensors connected then it would be impossible to tell which sensor actually tripped the alarm.    

While the sensors/sirens/strobes would be installed using wire/cables the main control panel would still use some wireless communications.  This could be in the form of cellular and/or Wi-Fi depending on your particular setup.   Cellular networks when connected to a monitoring service and/or Wi-Fi when connecting to your Wi-Fi router.   Both methods would allow for smart phone app access to your system.  

hardwired security system diagram

The Pros and Cons of a Hardwired System

Below are the Pros vs Cons of a typical Hardwired System as compared to a Wireless system

Pros

Cons

*Note: Professionally installed systems are typically lower cost when a locked in contract is offered.

Hybrid System

In a Hybrid system you get the best from both Wireless and Hardwired devices.  These systems allow you to use wireless sensors and hardwired sensors together in one system.  It is more common to find Hybrid systems when using a professional grade system but can be found in the DIY level systems as well.   

hybrid-alarm-system-diagram

The Pros and Cons of a Hybrid System

Below are the Pros vs Cons of a typical Hybrid Alarm System.

Pros

Cons

*Note: Professionally installed systems are typically lower cost when a locked in contract is offered.

Summary

Deciding between a hardwired, wireless and Hybrid system can be a difficult decision. The three main things to consider is who will be installing (DIY or professional installer), where you plan to install it and your budget. If you are technically inclined and like doing it yourself then a Wireless System would probably be your best choice.  However, if you have more advanced skills then tackling a Hardwired or Hybrid system is not out of the question.  Especially if your home/business is currently under construction and you have access to inside your walls.   

Of course if your budget can handle it,  then having a professional installer do the work will save you a lot of time and work.  

My recommendation?  Well if I would be installing a system I would likely go with the Hybrid system just so that I’m covered in case there are issues with Wireless sensor range.  This way I can run a wire if needed. 

No matter which direction you go you can always rely on EverythingSecurity.net to help you along the way.  Please feel free to Ask Us any questions you may have.  We would love to hear from you.  

 

Products Included in this Article

Review of The Kono Smart Wi-Fi Thermostat KN-S-AMZ-004

thermostst kono kn-s-mg1

Lux aren’t new to thermostats – over 16 million homes in the United States and Canada are using one of their devices and they’re well known for making high-quality products. If you’re in the market for a smart thermostat, anything made by Lux is probably a good option, and none more so than the Kono.

 The Lux Kono smart thermostat is modern, sleek, and just a little bit sexy. It connects to most other smart home devices with ease and even works with your phone, regardless of how far away from home you are. It can be personalized with snap-on covers and comes with a very reasonable price tag.

If you want something smart and good-looking, this thermostat could definitely be the one for you.

Smart Features

Kono is a thermostat that has so many features it can do pretty much anything when it comes to controlling the temperature in your home.

Its main feature is how effortlessly it connects to all the major smart home devices. This includes Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit. We’ll look at compatibility a bit later in the post, but if you have multiple other smart home devices of different makes, the Kono certainly won’t limit you on what it can work with – it likes to be friends with everyone.

Another really useful function is its ability to connect with your phone via the Lux mobile app. Even if you’re on the other side of the world if your phone has internet access you can control the temperature at your home. You can set heating and cooling schedules, view runtimes and control the target temperature. It’s a great feature for making sure your home is nice and warm for when you get home from work!

You can even add more than one thermostat to the device, so if you have multiple properties or want different temperatures in different rooms, you can easily control them all at the touch of a button.

Radius geofence also comes to the rescue if you forget to turn off your air conditioning when you leave for work – you can set it up so that it will automatically switch off when you’re away from home. This Home and Away Aware feature provides savings on your energy bills, as the system won’t be running all day when you’re not at home. There’s also a utility cost estimator, so you get an idea of what your bill will be before it’s even sent to you.

Appearance

Obviously, the Kono is a lot more than just a pretty face, but you can’t ignore the fact that this is a good looking device. Kono puts an emphasis on personalization with its changeable Décor-snap covers, so it can blend in seamlessly or stand out and make a statement.

And if they don’t have the color you want? No problem! They even give you the option of painting a blank one. It can’t get much more personal than that.

Available Covers

Compatibility

The Kono works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekit, and comes with clear instructions for a seamless integration into your home. Even without one of these devices, you can still control it from the app on your phone. 

Powered by the C-Wire or LUX Power Bridge, the Kono can even control your forced air, oil, gas, electric furnaces and heat pump systems. There’s a whole lot of flexibility.  The C-Wire bridge is a fantastic feature of this product.  It allows you to use this thermostat even when you don’t have what they call a C-wire (Common Wire).   

Price

If you have a budget or don’t want to be splashing out too much cash, the price point of the Kono makes it even more attractive. It’s less expensive than most of its competitors whilst still being great at what it does.

Whether your budget is high or low, the price point of the Kono, as well as what its capable of doing, makes it a very attractive option for any smart home setup.

Conclusion

The Lux Kono thermostat is the perfect addition to any home. It’s smart, modern, easy to use, and it looks amazing. For anyone looking for a smart thermostat without spending a fortune, this is a great option to consider.

It has so many great features its difficult to quickly sum them all up. From its sleek appearance and personalization options to its convenience and ease of use, purchasing a Kono is guaranteeing yourself an easier time of controlling the temperature in your home.

Lux have always proved themselves as producers of high-quality products, and they’ve proven it again with the Kono. If you want a smart thermostat that will integrate effortlessly with your modern day life, this is the one you should get.

Products Included in this Article

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Review of The August Smart Lock Pro, 4th Generation

Technology is great, isn’t it? We may not have managed to achieve the flying cars our childhood selves dreamed of, but the ability to lock and unlock our front doors with our voice is a huge step toward the futuristic lifestyle we all imagined.

The August Smart Lock Pro is the most advanced of its kind. It connects effortlessly with all the major smart platforms including Apple’s Homekit and Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

It still makes use of all of the popular features from earlier models such as Auto-Unlock, virtual keys, and smartphone control, but also has a brand-new feature called DoorSense. This clever little sensor knows whether your door is open or closed, which is the basis of a whole lot of great features. It will automatically lock the door when you close it, alert you if it opens, alert you if someone forces it open, and monitor how long it stays open.

Sounds useful, doesn’t it? The August Smart Lock Pro packs a punch with its ease of installation and functionality, but there are a few downsides that’ll need to be considered, too. With that in mind, let’s have a look at it in a bit more detail.

Installation

The August Smart Lock Pro has the convenient ability to be fitted straight over a standard deadlock, without having to replace the current lock. This is something that competing designs aren’t able to accomplish and means that the average time it takes to install the lock is just 10 minutes. It also means you can still use your old door keys, which is great as a backup option.

This super-fast 10 minute installation time is helped along by the great instructions provided on the August mobile app. With clear step-by-step instructions and short video clips to show you what to do, you really can’t go wrong. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver and you’re good to go. Just make sure the bracket isn’t screwed too tightly to your existing lock, or the Pro will have difficulty turning. It even comes with color-coded adapters that allows the Pro to be fitted to a number of different brands of deadbolt, and the app will let you know which color you need to use.

The DoorSense feature will only work if you install the additional sensor that’s included. This can either be screwed onto the front of the frame or if you don’t mind doing some drilling, can be flush mounted opposite the lock. The latter looks prettier, but the first option is easier and works just as well.

Once you’ve configured your account, your phone will scan for a Bluetooth connection and connect with the lock before starting the calibration, requiring you to simply lock and unlock the door. DoorSense calibration is done by holding the door at varying level of openness. Lastly, you test the lock, and everything’s good to go.

It’s simple to add other users to the lock, and you can define access levels to restrict certain features and give access to others. Guest accounts can also be enabled for one-off or scheduled visits, which makes it great for cleaners or use with services like Airbnb.

The App

Locking and unlocking your front door shouldn’t be difficult, and August’s brilliantly designed app makes sure it’s as simple as it needs to be. The large button can be tapped to lock or unlock the door, turning bright red when the door is locked and green when it’s open.

If you’re connecting with Bluetooth you need to make sure you’re within 10 meters of the door, but if you have a data connection you have a lot more freedom. The August Smart Pro is also clever enough to automatically unlock your door when you get home, which is great if you have your hands full.  Includes an activity log so you can keep track of all events. 

Smart Home Integration

The Wi-Fi Smart Lock has comprehensive device compatibility.  It works effortlessly with Siri® & Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa® and Google Assistant.

Conclusion

The August Smart Lock Pro really is a market leader, and if you’re looking for a smart lock that will seamlessly integrate into your home, this is definitely a good option. It’s easy to install, has good functionality, high security and will make your daily life much more convenient.

There are little niggles to be considered, like the larger size, but this is completely outweighed by all the amazing things this lock can do. It’s connectivity really sets it apart from its competitors, and there really is very little that you can criticize it on.

Products Included in this Article

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