Best Performing Window and Door Sensors
Best window and door sensors are important when securing your home is a must, if you want to protect your property. Unfortunately, doors and windows are the weakest link in the security of your home. The FBI, in its report estimates that over 60 percent of all burglaries involve break-in through the window or the door.
A whooping majority of these crimes that involve forced entry, involve a break-in through the door. But don’t worry, you can monitor your home using the best available door and window sensors.
You might wonder why sensors instead of just bolting your door? Well sensors play a key role in alerting you to a break-in. A deadbolt or lock will just secure your home if a thief does not successfully break-in. On the other hand, a high performing sensor will allow you to monitor the door or window remotely, allowing you to trigger alarm before the break- in is successful.
You could even trigger a camera to record the person who is trying to forcibly enter your property. You can check our reviews of best performing sensors below, but first it is good to know how they work!
How Doors and Window Sensors Work
Door and window sensors come as two pieces, one fits to the frame of the door or window. The other piece is fitted on the door or window. The pieces contain either a magnetic contact or a sensor/ transmitter. These two pieces are placed in close contact depending on the specification of the manufacturer.
When a window or a door is opened, the connection between the two pieces is broken and triggers the sensor to transmit a signal to the control module. The sound that is produced due to the break in the contact depends on the settings at the control center and determines if a chime, alert or chime sound will be triggered.
More advanced settings and sensors will allow you to trigger other devices such as cameras to record what is happening near the opened window.
One key advantage of door and window sensors is that they can be mounted on any opening including cabinets, gates, windows, doors and other areas. For example, you can monitor your cabinet to reduce chances of a toddler getting in and locking themselves up
Comparison of Top Performing Door and Window Sensors
|Product||Pros||Cons||Where to Find|
|Eco link Z-wave Plus Rare Earth Magnets Door & Window Sensor||• Use of Z-wave plus protocol that extends batter life to five years • Employs rare earth magnets allowing for the sensor to be installed in windows with a 5/8 inch gap • Interchangeable covers to match different decors • Real time and reliable reporting of events • Easy to setup using SmartThings • High consumer rating • Modern sleek design • High compatibility with home security hubs that use Z-wave plus or Z-wave technology||• Not water proof||Check Price on Amazon|
|Affordable Sensor: Visonic MCT-340 E Sensor||• Fully wireless and supervised • Thermometer feature to monitor temperature • Small in size, and can be snuck under every corner • Prolonged battery life of up to 3 years • Positive customer feedback • Practical open/close distance (up to one inch) • Cheap • Easy set up • Each unit comes with multiple extension plates||• Not compatible with Wink Hub Systems and Xfinity Home systems||Check Price on Amazon|
|Iris Contact Sensor||• Multiple installation options • High compatibility with home security systems and SmartThings • Can measure temperature • Comes with CR2 batteries that can be easily replaced • Highly versatile, you can install it visually everywhere owing to its small size • Small size, 0.8 inches wide by 2.5 inches long||• Temperature sensor may sometimes be inaccurate||Check Price on Amazon|
|Z-Wave Door and Window Sensor with Nexia||• Nexia allows one to monitor the sensors remotely • You can use a single sensor and multiple switches to monitor multiple doors and windows • Multiple connections options • Compatibility with other Z-wave devices • Versatility • Real time monitoring even remotely through web connection and the Nexia interface • Brown and white cases included||• To use Nexia, one has to pay a monthly fee of $9.9||Check Price on Amazon|
|Wi-Fi Door and Windows Sensor Magnets Smart Phone APP Control||• High compatibility with home security system • Compatible with Google Home and Alexa • Allows for automation as it is compatible with IFTTT and Smart life • Easy to install and use • Compliant with legal requirements • WI-FI connectivity for remote monitoring (depends with your internet speeds)||• Low battery life (around 6 months)||Check Price on Amazon|
Review of the Best Door and Window Sensors
Selecting the best system for your house is not a walk in the park!
There are thousands of vendors who sell different types of sensors and alarms. To assist you in finding the ideal door and window sensor, we have reviewed five top sensors that are ideal for any home. These five sensors were selected based on customer reviews, features of the product and overall quality of the sensors.
Best Bang for the Buck: Eco link Z-wave Plus Rare Earth Magnets Door & Window Sensor
If you are looking for a modern and sleek window or door sensor, then this is your best bet. The sensor is not only affordable, but is also highly compatible with a wide range of home security systems. The sensor uses of Z-Wave plus technology which ensures that the battery lasts for upto four years, Furthermore, the sensor uses leading rare earth magnets that allow for a 5/8 inch gap. This means that the sensor can be installed in commercial windows or double hung windows.
- Use of Z-wave plus protocol that extends batter life to five years
- Employs rare earth magnets allowing for the sensor to be installed in windows with a 5/8 inch gap
- Interchangeable covers to match different decors
- Real time and reliable reporting of events
- Easy to setup using SmartThings
- High consumer rating
- Modern sleek design
- High compatibility with home security hubs that use Z-wave plus or Z-wave technology
- Not waterproof
If you are looking to buy multiple products at an affordable price, then this your bet. While being affordable, these small door and window sensor allow you to monitor the windows and doors in real time. They also provide temperature readings.
It is surprising how the sensor is tiny and can fit anywhere. Because of the size, you can use it to monitor cupboards and closets.
Furthermore, it is compatible with Samsung SmartThings Hub.
It is easy to install, and the manual clearly outlines all steps of installing the sensor
- Fully wireless and supervised
- Thermometer feature to monitor temperature
- Small in size, and can be snuck under every corner
- Prolonged battery life of up to 3 years
- Positive customer feedback
- Practical open/close distance (up to one inch)
- Easy set up
- Each unit comes with multiple extension plates
- Not compatible with Wink Hub Systems and Xfinity Home systems
When it comes to versatility and usability, then this is one of the best sensors. The sensor is small and has multiple installation points. It makes it easy to install almost everywhere. It can be used to monitor whether something has been closed or opened. It is also compatible with most systems including SmartThings or any other systems that is compatible with ZigBee HA 1.2.
There are no additional requirements when paring this sensor with security systems. The inclusion of a temperature sensor into product sensor is particularly useful if you like to evaluate whether your insulation is working.
Furthermore, the sensor comes with two installation options, screw mounting bracket or adhesive strips. The adhesive strips are good when you are monitoring something temporary, while the screws and brackets will be good when installing the sensor permanently.
- Multiple installation options
- High compatibility with home security systems and SmartThings
- Can measure temperature
- Comes with CR2 batteries that can be easily replaced
- Highly versatile, you can install it visually everywhere owing to its small size
- Small size, 0.8 inches wide by 2.5 inches long
- Temperature sensor may sometimes be inaccurate
This offers similar capabilities to the Z-wave plus. However, it comes with additional features, such as Nexia that allows you to monitor your windows and doors remotely, making it one of the best sensors for automation.
You can connect it to SmartThings or Wink Hub 2 for window and door sensor. It is highly compatible with other models that are compatible with Z-wave devices. Coupling of the sensor with Nexia is perhaps one of the main advantages of the system. Using the Nexia home intelligence web portal, you can control the device remotely even at work. The automation tab in Nexia allows you to use home control rules to automate your sensor and security device.
Basically, one has to create logic rules, such as ‘if this happens, then do that N number of minutes later.’ So you can create a rule that if a sensor senses that a window is open after sunset, then a camera will record what is happening and the lamp will be turned on. One can add a rule that if the motion sensor does not detect any movement, the door locks itself after 20 seconds and the lamp goes off.
- Nexia allows one to monitor the sensors remotely
- You can use a single sensor and multiple switches to monitor multiple doors and windows
- Multiple connections options
- Compatibility with other Z-wave devices
- Real time monitoring even remotely through web connection and the Nexia interface
- Brown and white cases included to match different decors
- Measures temperature
- To use Nexia, one has to pay a monthly fee of $9.9
This device was included in this list due to its high rating, compatibility with other systems and ability to allow for remote monitoring.
Some of the key features of this product include compliance with RGOS, FCC, and CE regulations, Wi-Fi connectivity for remote monitoring through your phone, compatibility with both Google Home and Alexa, as well as IFTTT and Smart life. Since the sensor is compatible with IFTTT, it is possible to achieve a certain level of home automation.
For example, you could set a shower mode in the app to turn off the lights whenever the sensor detects that a shower door or a cabinet door has been closed. Wi-Fi connectivity is particularly important as it would allow one to monitor your doors and windows remotely far from home, allowing one to benefit from features such as those provided by automation and intelligence systems such as Nexia.
- High compatibility with home security system
- Compatible with Google Home and Alexa
- Allows for automation as it is compatible with IFTTT and Smart life
- Easy to install and use
- Compliant with legal requirements
- WI-FI connectivity for remote monitoring (depends with your internet speeds)
- Low battery life (around 6 months)
What to Consider when Buying a Door and Window Sensor
Size: when it comes to door and window sensors, size matters. Some sensors are too bulky and conspicuous. This means that a person trying to break into your home will be able to notice it before they break in allowing them to come up with a way around the sensors.
Size also matters when it comes to installation. You need a sensor that will fit into the window or door easily without taking up too much space. Some sensors are too large to be installed in windows while others are too large to be installed in cabinets. So you must consider the installation space when buying a sensor.
Compatibility: every single home comprises of several layers of protection devices working together to ensure that your house is secure. You may have multiple sensors such as motion sensors, glass break sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, temperature sensors and others that allow you to monitor all areas in your home.
Of course, these sensors are connected to a central home security system, which allows you to set each of the sensors or alarms. When selecting a door and window sensor, you want one that is compatible with your home security system or other home automation hubs such as SmartThings, Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT among others.
If the system is not compatible then it will be difficult benefit from the features of the sensor!
Battery Life: For any security system to work at all times, the systems should be live at all times. You do not want a sensor that has a low battery life that goes off after a short period of time as it will compromise your security.
You have to choose a sensor with long batter life but also comes with a replaceable battery or a rechargeable one. This will ensure that the sensor is live at all time even when there is a power outage. For the best sensors, go for those that guarantee a battery life of more than 6 months.
Those that offer a battery life of 5 years are quite good.
Area of Installation: sometimes one may want to install the sensor outside where it will be affected by elements. Other areas, such as cabinets will require installation of small sensors. In addition, different sensors have different gap configurations for different openings, and range from half an inch to one inch. If the gap between a window or door and frame is an inch you will have to look for sensor that allows for such a gap.
Failure to consider the gap may lead to errors, where the sensor indicates that the window is open while it is not.
Wireless or Hardwired: Window and door sensors communicate with the control panel either using wires or wirelessly. Those that use wires requires one to install wires that run from the sensor to the control panel. Such hardwired devices can be difficult to install and may require you to hire a contractor or an alarm company to install the sensors. On the other hand, wireless systems either employ radio waves or Wi-Fi to connect to the central console. One key advantage of wireless sensors is that they come pre-configured and you only have to attach them where you want them to monitor.
It is easy to install with basic technical or DIY skills. However, the coverage of the radio waves may be limited to a few feet from the control panel. If the control panel is far from the opening you want to monitor, then you need to consider the range of the sensor before buying.
Monitoring: different sensors come with different monitoring systems. For example, a wireless system can be connected to cellular communication or internet for remote monitoring. Cellular communication is tamper proof but can be affected by outages of the cellular network. On the other hand, internet allows for rich communication and automation.
Systems such as iSmartAlarm and SmartThings use internet for home automation. The best sensors are those that are compatible with such systems as they can easily be monitored, even remotely, by adding other sensors to increase protection layers.
You should note that if there is an internet outage or power outage, the systems will not work!
Warranty: generally, most door and window sensors will come with a one year warrant. You should consider the warrant period and how a company responds to complains before buying a sensor. You do not want to deal with a company with poor customer relations or one that does not allow returns or replacements.
A product whose replacements parts are sent quickly are the best as you will be able to ensure your sensors are up at all times. In addition, you might receive a defective product –defective batteries are the most common. If the company has poor customer relations or does not offer warrant on its product, then you will be left with a defective product, with no way of returning it.
Price: price is not an important factor when selecting sensors, especially since, most sensors are priced below 50 dollars, with majority being priced below 30 dollars. However, a typical home will require multiple door and window sensors. This means that you might have to buy a large number of sensors to monitor every door and window in your home. Thus, price may come as a factor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the sensors communicate with the home security system?
Many sensors use radio waves, Wi-Fi and cellular connection to connect to the alarm response center or the central console. Some sensors select the most efficient way to connect. However, majority will use an encrypted low power radio signals such as Z wave to communicate and will therefore not require a cellular or wireless connection.
Will the sensor go out if the power goes out or my wireless connection goes down?
This largely depends on the system. If it comes with a cellular connection backup, then it will operate if wireless connection goes out. On the other hand, power outages are not a problem with most sensors as the come with an inbuilt battery that lasts for around 5 years.
Can the sensors be connected to home automation devices such as thermostats, smart lights etc?
Yes. Most of the contemporary sensors are compatible with home security systems and home automation systems such as SmartThings