Whether you have a long winding driveway or a short road leading to your garage, driveway sensors are a smart way to monitor who enters and exits your property. These devices are easy to install and fit a range of budgets for long and short driveways.
Driveway alarm sensors consist of two main parts: a sensor and a receiver. You can use driveway sensors as standalone units or as part of a larger security system. These units can provide reassurance for people who live in homes with long driveways—you’ll know when someone is coming down your driveway before they suddenly appear in your yard.
The downside to driveway sensors is that they are prone to false alarms. Squirrels and larger animals can trigger the sensors, leading to hassle you may not want to deal with.
Guardline comes with more than 30 customizable alert sounds and can be expanded to include up to 16 different sensors, or four zones with four sensors per zone. You can pair specific sounds with specific sensors so you’ll always know where the motion is without looking.
The Guardline allows for 500 feet between the sensor and the receiver, although heavy foliage and thick walls will reduce this distance. If you need a longer range, you can pay more for a similar Guardline model with a distance of a quarter mile. The sensors can withstand all types of weather and work without interference, and the receivers come with a battery backup as well as a 12-volt relay to link them to additional external alarms.
Guardline claims two years of testing went into each product, and the reviews seem to back that up. With over 1,000 reviews on Amazon, the Guardline earns consistently high ratings—an impressive track record, no matter the product.
Customizable tones for each sensor
#2. Chamberlain Wireless Driveway Alarm: Most Well-Known
Chamberlain is one of the better-known driveway alarm companies out there.
As far as features go, the Chamberlain is rather barebones. The base system comes with a single sensor and receiver. You can add up to four more sensors later, but you must purchase them separately. When someone (or something) breaks the sensor’s line, the receiver sets off an alert with both light and sound.
The sensor detects motion up to 30 feet in front of it and will reach a receiver up to a half-mile away. However, it needs line of sight to function properly. The receiver uses AA batteries or an AC adapter, allowing you to carry it with you into the yard.
Large receiver range
#3. Rodann Electronics Wireless Driveway Alarm System: Long Range Pick
Rodann is composed of a sensor and a receiver that sends out a sound when triggered. The unit is small and unobtrusive, and runs on two AA batteries. The receiver has no battery backup and relies on a 12-volt power supply to operate. The receiver also has an LED display that shows how many times the sensor has been activated.
The detection range is limited, but the receiver can be up to 1,000 feet away from the sensor.
The downside to this device is the cost. The Rodann starts around $130, but for so few features it seems the price should be lower. The unit has solid reviews from its customers, but there are other less-expensive options that provide far more features and reliability.
Safety Technology’s driveway monitor is sneaky in that it looks like a solar driveway light more than an alarm.
The sensor can be as far as 1,000 feet from the receiver, but it has a maximum detection range of only 12 feet. The installation doesn’t require any wiring, which makes it much easier.
What this sensor does right is ignore shadows, animals, and people. The driveway monitor will be triggered, in theory, only by passing cars. It uses a magnetic sensor to detect passing vehicles, and the sensor itself is solar powered—so there’s no need to change batteries in it. However, the cost is a bit steep at around $150.
Tailored to sense vehicles
Designed to blend in
Limited sensing range
Why Use a Driveway Sensor?
Driveway sensors do little more than let you know someone is approaching your home. However, this serves as the first line of defense in your home security system. Many driveway sensors can be connected to other devices, and from there they can be linked into your security systemas a whole. Imagine if someone triggers your driveway sensor, which in turn activates your outdoor security camera. It would begin recording long before that person ever stepped within range.
Driveway Sensors FAQs
How does a driveway sensor work?
Driveway sensors use similar technology other motion sensors use.
Infrared beams sense movement with heat and are more common in trail cams and outdoor sensors. Magnetic probes only sense metal, making them less prone to false alarms triggered by pets or kids playing in the driveway. However, they’re much more expensive. Rubber hose sensors look like those at a professional garage or drive-thru. When a car or heavy vehicle drive over the hose, the sensor triggers. Photo beam sensors use light. When an object blocks the sensors, you’ll get an alert from the sensor.
Can a driveway sensor detect people?
Yes, it depends on the sensor type, but driveway sensors can pick up activities from people or animals. If you’re concerned about home invaders, package thiefs, or other threats, installing a security camera in tandem with your driveway sensor.
Where should I install my driveway sensor?
It depends on your driveway. If your home borders a busy road, it’s best to move the sensor closer to your home to avoid false alarms from traffic. Sensors for longer driveways may be best halfway between your home and the beginning of your driveway.
Tying It All Together
When you live in a rural area, you may have a driveway that looks more like a road than a private path. Putting a driveway sensor right at the front would result in too many alarms; after all, people often get lost and use driveways to turn around. But if you put a driveway sensor about halfway down your drive, you’ll know when someone is coming to your home.
Take a look through the different sensors and their effective ranges, and think about the geographic features around your home. Heavy foliage and hills may reduce those ranges, so figure out which sensor would work best for your home—and never be surprised by a visitor again.
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Written by Katie McEntire
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more