Which Alarm Guide: The Conclusion
If you simply need a visible deterrent and to make some noise to scare off a would-be intruder, then a Bells only system may suffice. This is probably the cheapest option but does, to a degree, require good neighbours to work effectively.
Alarm with dialler
If you're out at work during the day but would like to know if your alarm has been activated, a Speech* or GSM Dialler that calls you or a nominated person is a good option. You pay a one off fee for the dialler unit and then just for the calls if it is activated.
*Read our note here about year 2025.
Self monitored alarm
A more modern version of a dialler system is self-monitoring which uses your broadband connection (or 3G networks) to communicate with you via a secure smartphone app. With camera PIRs installed a self monitored alarm system can even send you visual verification in the event of an activation.
ARC monitored system
If you would like nominated keyholders or the police to be notified when your alarm is activated, the minimum option is a Digicom monitored system maintained by a recognised alarm company. Remember you will have to pay an annual monitoring subscription and maintenance fee to the alarm co.
Single path monitored system
For extra security, the Single path signalling system notifies you if the signalling path is tampered with. Again, there's an annual subscription and maintenance fee.
Dual path monitored system
For a very secure signalling device that complies with stringent insurance requirements, Dual path signalling is the choice for you. Pick a system that works with the communication channels available on the premises.
Whatever system you decide on, make sure that it complies with your home insurance company's requirements, if applicable. You may even get a discount on your insurance premium too, so it's certainly a good idea to phone them and check this before you commit to buy a specific system.