The Difference Between Hard-Wired and Soft-Wired Alarm Systems

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Monitored alarm systems alert law enforcement after being triggered.
Monitored alarm systems alert law enforcement after being triggered. (Image: Emergency Alarm Instructions Notice. image by daseaford from Fotolia.com)

Protecting a home from burglars and intruders is important for homeowners. Consider the features and benefits of hard-wired, soft-wired and monitored alarm systems before deciding which to purchase.

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Definition

Hard wiring an alarm system means all the sensors and alarms physically are connected to a central panel by way of electrical wire. Soft-wired alarm systems are wireless and demountable. Monitored alarm systems notify local authorities after being triggered.

Features

Reliability is a major benefit of hard-wired systems. Mounting and installation flexibility is a major benefit of soft-wired alarm systems. Unmonitored alarms systems work well in areas of high traffic because the siren alerts anyone within earshot. For those in rural or unpopulated areas, a monitored system ensures law enforcement is notified. Monitored systems may be hard-wired or soft-wired. Soft-wired systems use infrared and remote sensors to communicate with the central panel, and they operate independently of electrical systems.

Pricing

Hard-wired alarms cost the least, but if the space has not been wired previously for such a system, the cost increases. Monitored systems may require a monthly monitoring fee if the fee is not included in the package price. Soft-wired systems cost more than hard-wired systems, but additional wiring isn’t required.

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