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Save up to £400 on your new burglar alarm

A Which? survey of 3,412 alarm owners reveals money-saving advice

Modern burglar alarm

Our latest research reveals that people saved an average of £399 by paying for their burglar alarm and installation separately, as opposed to as a package.

Of the 3,412 people we surveyed*, those who paid for their alarm and installation together forked out an average £799, while those who paid separately only spent a total of £400, on average.

Read on for our advice on getting the best burglar alarm for you at the right price.

Before you buy, take a look at our burglar alarm brand reviews to find out which unmonitored alarm company earned an impressive customer score of 76%.

Five ways to save money on your burglar alarm

1. Wired or wireless?

Wireless alarms tend to be more expensive than those that are wired into your electrics.

However, the connections for wired systems need to be hidden, so you may end up paying more for the installation. The cost will depend on how many sensors (called PIRs) you need and the layout of your home.

If you’re weighing up the options, we’d recommend that you get at least three installation quotes. This will give you a good idea of which option would be cheaper and best for you. Of course, if you’re a confident DIYer, you could save by fitting your alarm yourself.

Installer fitting a burglar alarm

2. Choose a smart alarm rather than a monitoring contract

If you take out a monitoring contract, you’ll pay a monthly or annual fee to an alarm company to respond if your alarm is triggered. This fee is paid on top of the cost of the alarm and installation itself, and varies in price. As a guide, well-known monitoring company ADT charges £325 a year for this service.

You can’t install this type of alarm yourself, as your contract will be dependent on the alarm being fitted by a professional. As you can expect, they are an expensive option. Our survey found that, on average, people paid £1,005 for a monitored alarm and installation when they bought them together as a package.

There are two cheaper alternatives to monitored alarms that offer a little more peace of mind than a stand-alone alarm:

  • Dialler alarms These contact you or nominated friends and family via text or a call if the alarm is triggered. You don’t pay for a contract, but you may need to pay for pay-as-you-go Sim credit so it’s able to message you.
  • Smart alarms These are connected to your smartphone or tablet and notify you when they go off. You may need to pay for cloud storage.

Find out more about the options available in our full guide to burglar alarms.

Hand controlling smart burglar alarm system

3. Position sensors carefully

The more sensors you need, the more your alarm system will cost. However, depending on the layout of your home, you might find you’re able to position sensors to cover a few areas at once and cut down on how many you need.

Think about the most likely access points to you home and whether any of them are already covered by other deterrents such as security lights or cameras. Before you make any decisions about sensor placement, we’d advise seeking help from a professional.

In some cases, a dummy alarm could work just as well as a real one. When we asked ex-burglars, most said they couldn’t tell the difference between a dummy and a genuine alarm. However, 24% thought they could.

To find out what else we discovered when we surveyed ex-burglars, visit our full guide to burglar alarm secrets revealed.

4. Consider whether you need extra features

There are a number of different extras that alarm companies offer. But do you need them?

Think about whether the following will really enhance your security, or whether you could do without:

  • Pet-friendly sensors These are useful if you have pets, but some other sensors also allow you to adjust sensitivity.
  • Anti-masking If someone tries to cover up these sensors, this will trigger the alarm.
  • Remote maintenance Problems can be diagnosed and potentially fixed remotely.
  • Anti-cloak detectors Designed to catch cloaked intruders.
  • Keyfobs/tags Allow you to set the alarm remotely without the use of a pin code.
  • CCTV or wireless cameras In addition to your alarm.

 Intruder looking to break into a house

5. Shop around and don’t necessarily buy a package

There are a few different options for how you buy and get your alarm installed:

  • Buy an alarm and fit it yourself (or have a family member or friend do it).
  • Buy an alarm and use an independent installer to fit it.
  • Buy an alarm and use a different alarm company to install it.
  • Buy an alarm from a company or installer, either local or national, and have them fit it for you.

Our research has shown that paying for an alarm and installation separately can cut the price you pay.

Remember to get a number of quotes from different types of companies. Once you do, you can try to negotiate for a cheaper deal. You may also be able to get more elements included in the price, such as extra features and additional sensors.

Visit our burglar alarm costs page to find out more about the average cost of different types of alarms and for our advice for getting the best-value alarm possible.

*In September 2017, we asked 3,412 people about their experiences of buying and getting their burglar alarm installed in the past five years.

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