When it comes to securing the windows of your home or business, there are two main options: standard open/close sensors and glass break sensors. Each device works differently to protect your home from intruders. It is important to understand the relevant differences between each product so that you can make an informed decision when deciding which method to use.

One of the things that draws people to wireless home security systems is their customizability. You can choose which devices you would like to add on to your basic package to make your system perfect for your home. However, it can be difficult to make a decision when you are unclear about the differences between two seemingly similar products. Here we will discuss the pertinent differences between the standard window sensor and the glass break sensor including how they work and what they protect against. After reading through this guide you should have a good idea of the right products for your home.

How They Work

A standard sensor and a glass break sensor measure two different things. A standard sensor comes in two parts and uses magnets to detect how close the parts are to each other. To do this, a magnet is placed in one of the sensors while the other sensor has an electrical circuit inside with a type of switch. When the latter is in the magnetic field of the former, the electrical circuit is complete. Once it moves out of the magnetic field, then the circuit is broken and a signal is sent to the main control panel. When one of the sensors is placed on the sliding part of the window and the other on the sash, every time the window is opened, the sensors will be out of reach of one another, thus signaling the control panel.

A glass break sensor, on the other hand, is programmed to recognize the vibrations in the air unique to breaking glass. The sound that you hear when glass breaks is made up of sonic waves. These waves are distinguishable by things such as amplitude, wavelength and frequency – variations in these factors account for why things sound different. The sound of glass breaking has its own unique combination of these three variables, which the glassbreak sensor can detect. When it does, it sends a signal to the control panel alerting it to the fact that glass (such as a window) has just broken in its vicinity.

Which One is Right For Me?

Deciding which one is best for your home depends on your house’s setup and your security goals. For example, many kitchens and living rooms these days are located on the ground floor and feature a wall of windows that cannot be opened. A glass break sensor can monitor all of these windows at once. However, if there are only a few windows on your ground floor that are spread apart, it would probably be better to use a standard sensor on each, as a glass break sensor can only monitor windows within a 20-foot radius. Of course, many people choose to be extra careful and use both types of sensors. Since each measures a different threat (opening windows versus breaking them) installing both will keep your windows as secure as possible. Ultimately, the decision is yours and should be based on your home’s unique situation and the details of each device.

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Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons