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How to choose a burglar alarm

Melanie Whitehouse / 19 June 2018

With so many burglar alarms available it can be hard to decide which is right for you. Read our guide to help you choose a burglar alarm for your home.

Electrician wiring in a burglar alarm
A wired alarm will need to be fitted by an electrician, but once in it requires less maintenance than a wireless alarm.

Wired alarms

Pros: Reliable and robust, they need less maintenance than a wireless service.

Cons: Need to be fitted professionally because the wires have to be hidden, increasing labour costs. They run on electronic sensors connected to a control panel.

Price: From around £400 upwards, plus installation and monthly monitoring fee.

Wireless alarms

Pros: Uses battery-powered sensors that communicate with a control panel via radio signals. Quick to install by someone with reasonable DIY skills.

Cons: The sensor batteries will need replacing.

Price: £170 - £200

Bells-only alarms

Pros: Makes a loud noise, which may scare off an intruder or alert someone nearby. Good for those with friendly neighbours or an active Neighbourhood Watch.

Cons: Won’t automatically alert you or the police.

Price: £100 - £200

Auto-dialler alarms

Pros: Automatically dial your number or a nominated friend when the alarm goes off. Speech diallers connect to your phoneline, GSM diallers use mobile networks. Can come with an alarm or be bought as an add-on for an existing alarm.

Cons: Needs a phoneline or strong mobile phone signal.

Price: From £60 (auto dialler only) - £200 (alarm and auto dialler). Automatic Security Dialler ASD02, £61.45,, 0345 257 1000

Monitored alarms

Pros: When the alarm is triggered, a receiving centre is alerted. They will then contact the police or your designated keyholders.

Cons: There’s an annual or monthly fee. Police will stop responding after too many false alarms.

Price: From £20 a month.

Smart alarms

Pros: Smart home security systems will call you or a family member on a smart phone if your alarm is triggered. Try Cocoon, a multi-room smart home security system that can be set up in minutes and uses unique Subsound® technology which senses unusual activity in your home and alerts you instantly.

Cons: You will need a smartphone.

Price: Cocoon is £159, from, with no monthly fee.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.