When a burglar picks a lock or climbs through an open window, door and window sensors sound the alarm—doing everything from emitting a loud siren to triggering your home security system to sending you an alert on your smart phone. Like most technology, these sensors vary in function and price, but we’ve researched the best à la carte options as well as those that complement a larger home security system. Start your search for better security by perusing our picks below.
Top 5 Self-Install Door/Window Sensors
Don’t let budget get in the way of added home security. Instead, take a look at the top window and door sensors available for purchase without the added cost of a 24/7 monitoring bill.
SABRE is known for producing high-quality safety products like pepper spray as well as these fantastic window and door sensors. We think you’ll love the SABRE Elite door and window sensors because they’re easy for homeowners and renters to install and come at one of the most affordable prices.
Main Differentiator: A four-digit code prevents intruders from disabling your window and door sensors or turning them off.
Loud Alarm When triggered, this alarm emits an ear-piercing 120-decibel siren that is audible up to 750 feet away.
Three Settings Set the SABRE Elite door and window sensors to chime, silent, or alarm mode depending on the time of day and your needs.
Good Customer Reviews SABRE’s sensors have four out of five stars on Amazon based on nearly 30 customer reviews.
Lacks Subtlety The SABRE Elite sensor resembles a garage door opener and isn’t as discrete as other designs, but you could hide it behind a curtain if you’re worried about it.
iSmartAlarm has a suite of smart products designed to enhance your home’s security and introduce home automation into your life. The iSmartAlarm is one of its high-caliber devices that differentiates itself from the pack in the way it functions. Instead of responding to vibration like most door and window sensors, this model utilizes a magnetic bond (which, when broken, sounds the alarm) and wireless communication to your smart device, so you’ll get fewer false alarms.
Main Differentiator: The iSmartAlarm window/door alarm communicates wirelessly with your smart device (up to 320 feet away) and sends a text when it detects unauthorized entry.
Easy Install. Use double-sided tape to stick this alarm on windows, doors, sliding doors, and other entryways and move it from place to place as needed.
Two-pack. Add more security to your home for less: These sensors come in packs of two.
Compatibility. Add motion sensors, panning and tilting indoor security cameras, and more with the whole iSmartAlarm Home Security System. This brand doesn’t require contracts or monthly monitoring, which is a plus if you’re a homeowner or renter who’s interested in home security without a large investment.
Not Tamper-proof. These sensors use tape to adhere to windows and doors and don’t come with a keypad, so they may be removed and tampered with. However, you can reinforce these yourself with mounting brackets or stronger tape or glue.
Samsung is a giant in the technology world, producing cell phones, home automation products, and these awesome multi-purpose sensors. The SmartThings Multi-Purpose Sensor is one of its tiniest (and coolest) gadgets that detects vibrations and motion around doors, windows, and cabinets to alert you if someone is trying to get into something they’re not supposed to.
Main Differentiator: The SmartThings sensor detects temperature, so you’ll know if a window has been left open or there’s a fire in your home.
Smart Device. The Samsung SmartThings app sends alerts to your smart device when it detects a break-in or if you forget to close a window or door.
Compatibility. This device works with the Samsung SmartThings Hub and all of its accessories, offering you the opportunity to add more security features to your home.
Wireless. Samsung’s sensors connect through your home’s wireless network to communicate with you and the SmartThings Hub.
Long Battery Life. Many window and door sensors run on 9 volt or AAA batteries, drastically shortening their lifespan between battery changes. The SmartThings Multi-purpose Sensor comes with a battery that last an average of 730 days.
Short Range. These window and door sensors need to be within 30–50 feet to communicate with the SmartThings Hub (and therefore your smart device), so choose your most vulnerable windows and doors and position your Hub closeby.
Requires Hub. You need to buy the SmartThings hub for these devices to work properly, but there aren’t monthly monitoring fees.
Elgato produces gaming, smart lighting, video, and security devices for the modern home. Its Eve window and door sensor caught our eye because of its compatibility with Apple HomeKit. HomeKit compatibility is huge because it connects many different devices and brands for you to monitor and control in one convenient home automation app.
Main Differentiator: Communicate with your Eve window and door sensor through Siri voice commands.
Security History. Advanced technology tracks home security trends to help homeowners and renters optimize safety. Use the app to review home security statistics about your home’s window and door activity and check if your windows and doors are open or closed.
Sleek. Eve’s design is modern and discrete, so it won’t stand out to you or potential intruders.
Wireless. Sync this device to your home’s WiFi and it’ll be up and running.
Long Battery Life. Instead of using AAA or less powerful batteries, the Eve window and door sensor comes with a 3.6V lithium-thionyl replaceable battery for a longer lifespan.
Apple-Only Devices. You can’t use the Eve window and door sensor without having an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with anything older than iOS 8.3. Upgrade or migrate to Apple to use this brand.
Panasonic produces a variety of high-tech electronics from cameras to appliances. When looking at its home automation and home security category, the Panasonic Wireless window and door sensor stood out because of its compatibility with other products and real-time communication with your smart devices through an app.
Main Differentiator: Most window and door sensors send you alarm notifications through corresponding apps, but Panasonic’s sensors take that a step further by allowing you to arm and disarm the sensors from your smart device, too.
Discrete Design. Panasonic’s window and door sensors are longer and narrower than other brands, allowing them to blend in with your door jambs and window trims.
Compatibility. Use Panasonic’s home automation app to sync your smart window and door sensors with its smart outlets, cameras, and more.
Requires Hub. You need to buy the KX-HNB600W Hub in order for this smart window and door sensor to work properly, but that device connects you to so many other fantastic home automation products that it’s worth the cost.
Top 4 Door and Window Sensors With Security Packages
The following sensors are accessories to larger home security systems and require you to purchase monthly monitoring. Comprehensive security offers more protection, but it does come with a steeper price tag.
Vivint got its start in home security in 1999 and has made a name for itself with breakthroughs in home automation technology. Aside from purchasing motion sensing cameras, smart locks, and more, you can add its door and window sensors to ramp up your safety. Not only do these sensors use magnetized locks instead of vibration detection to determine if someone is trying to get into your home, they communicate wirelessly with your main panel.
Main Differentiator: Vivint offers traditional sensors or models that recess into your door and window frames for more discreet, permanent, and tamper-proof security.
Tamper Cover. These sensors come with a cover and anchor screws to keep intruders from disarming the device.
Long Range. Vivint’s door and window locks wirelessly stay in constant contact with your main security panel as long as they’re within 350 feet of the unit.
Alerts. If the devices sense someone tampering with your doors, windows, or cabinets (if you use these for baby-proofing), they send an alert to the security panel.
Long Battery Life. Vivint’s window and door sensors use two CR2032 batteries that last up to eight months.
Temperature Limits. Be careful not to place these sensors in uninsulated locations, because they won’t function below 32 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Frontpoint is a fairly new company—founded in 2007—but it’s quickly become one of the most sophisticated in the home security industry. No matter the size of your home security package, find great products to keep your home and loved ones safe, including the window and door sensors that communicate wirelessly with the Frontpoint app and the security hub.
Main Differentiator: Store up to 39 individual sensors in the Frontpoint app, so you can determine if an alert is coming from an upstairs window or basement door.
Versatile. These sensors are made for windows and doors as well as gun, liquor, and medicine cabinets. After all, it’s not always a stranger that’s a concern; sometimes you need to protect your loved ones from dangerous places in your home.
Small. These sensors are under an inch in width and two inches in height, so they’re less obvious around your home.
Not Tamper-proof. Since these alarms don’t come with anchor screws and adhere to windows, doors, and cabinets, they could be quite easily removed by intruders. Solve this problem by using stronger adhesive or a more permanent mounting bracket.
Protect America was founded in 1992 and has maintained some of the most affordable pricing in the industry for decades. Its window and door sensors are perfect for people who want the protection of a larger home security system without spending a fortune. When you add on window and door sensors, you’ll get great features like magnetic alarm mechanisms (which only sound when the magnets are disconnected) that eliminate false alarms.
Main Differentiator: Protect America offers a lifetime guarantee on its sensors while other brands pale in comparison with just one to three years of replacement coverage.
Wireless. Adhere Protect America’s window and door sensors to doors, windows, and cabinets and that’s it; they’ll automatically connect to your main panel through WiFi.
Precise Alerts. You’ll always be alerted to the exact sensor that’s been triggered thanks to Protect America’s smart technology and app notifications.
Not Tamper-proof. Sensors don’t come with anchor nails, so the device could be removed by intruders. If you choose this device, find a way to secure it to a window or door with something stronger than tape.
Link Interactive has stellar reviews on Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp, so when you purchase one of its home security systems, you can trust that all of its products—including window and door sensors—are up to snuff. You’ll get a lot of variety, too. Choose from recessed sensors that slip into window frames and door jambs, standard window and door sensors, or devices meant to detect tilting motion (ideal for garages).
Main Differentiator: Link Interactive offers a number of DIY products to make its home security systems more affordable and customizable.
Wireless. Sync your sensors to your home security panel with your home’s WiFi connection.
Low Profile. All sensor designs are compact, so they blend in with your windows and doors and don’t detract from your home’s look or stand out to intruders.
Screws. Screws come with these sensors to eliminate the possibility of tampering.
Magnetic. Sensors go into alarm mode when a magnetic bond is broken, which cuts down on false alarms commonly triggered in sensors that use motion or vibration sensing.
Need Monitoring. We had a hard time finding a downside to Link Interactive’s window and door sensors, other than the fact that you need to buy a home security system to use them. (This isn’t unique to Link Interactive, however, since three other sensors on this list also require monitoring packages and larger systems.) While monitoring costs more, it provides you with so much added security, so it can be looked at as a positive too.
Things to Consider with Door and Window Sensors
Window and door sensors alert you immediately when a child gets into a dangerous cabinet or an intruder attempts to climb in through a window or enter a door. Whether you opt for an entire home security system or build your own fortress one device at a time, consider adding additional products to protect your home like motion sensing lights, surveillance cameras, smart locks, and smart doorbells. All of the above are fantastic tools to bring home automation and peace of mind into your life and keep the bad guys out.
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more