Wired vs. Wireless Home Security Systems

Safety Team
Updated May 3, 2021
5 min read

When you choose a home security system, you want to pick the one that’s going to help you rest easy. You’ve probably shopped your different options and read some reviews to point you toward the best home security system. You’ve looked at pricing, cameras, and sensors. But there’s one more factor you should consider. 


Is your home or apartment best served by a hardwired or wireless system? It’s not a clear-cut answer. In the debate of the wireless alarm system vs. wired, it all comes down to your specific wants and needs, but we’ve built this guide to help. There are benefits to wired home security, including reliability, defense against hacking, and ease of installation for homes that already have a wired system in place. Then, compare those perks against the benefits of wireless security, like DIY installation, defense against burglars, and integration with your other smart home devices


We explore the benefits to both.

How Wired & Wireless Home Security Systems Work

A hardwired home security system is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a system that uses wires running throughout your house to relay information back to the central control panel and, when applicable, the monitoring center of your security company. With wired home security, any pieces you choose to include in your system — like sensors and cameras — are connected via tangible wires. Specifically, they use the wiring of your landline telephone system to communicate.


Wireless security, on the other hand, uses a cellular network to communicate throughout your home. Basically, wireless systems leverage radiofrequency technology to set up a mini cellular network within your house to relay alarms. Wireless systems can also include security cameras that, again, send information to you and, if you choose to include monitoring, to your home security company through this cellular network. 


Unsurprisingly, there are some pros and cons with each system. Wireless security is easier to install, for example, but the wireless network on which it relies isn’t as dependable as traditional wiring. And while hardwired security does give you that reliability, it’s a hassle to install in your house and it’s not as flexible as a wireless system. 


That’s just a quick overview, though. To make sure you have all the information you need to choose the right home security system for your wants and needs, we’ve looked into the specific pros and cons of a wireless alarm system vs wired security.

Pros of Wired Home Security

  • Anyone who’s ever used a cell phone or wireless internet for any extended period of time knows that wireless networks can be frustrating. Interference, network outages, and other issues won’t get in the way when you choose a hardwired system because in that case, your system leverages the actual wires in your home to communicate. Not only does that mean your wired system works consistently, but it also means you get fewer false alarms. It also means you can cover a large area with your system (because a wireless network can only extend so far), making hardwired security ideal for people with big houses.  
  • The other big benefit of wired home security is only available to specific people. If you already have a hardwired security system installed on your house, getting a wired system up and running is usually a breeze.

Cons of Wired Home Security

  • That said, if you don’t already have a system hardwired at your home or apartment, getting a wired system installed is a pretty big hassle and will almost definitely require a pro (read: installation fee). 
  • There’s also flexibility to consider. If you ever want to move a hardwired sensor or camera, you’ll probably (again) need to get a professional involved.
  • Finally, while you can rest easy knowing that your security system’s signal won’t be interrupted by an issue with a wireless network, it’s not infallible. Many burglars know they can disable wired home security by cutting your landline connection.

Pros of Wireless Security

  • While a burglar can simply snip the connection of a wired security system, it takes a hacker to get into the network of a wireless setup (more on that in a minute), so, in some ways, it’s more protected against the outside world. 
  • Wireless home security is also extremely easy to set up. Usually, it’s as simple as finding a spot to place your control panel and, if you choose them, security cameras while sticking your sensors onto your doors and windows. That means if you ever want to move a sensor or camera, it’s usually a process that only takes a couple of minutes.
  • What’s more, some wireless security options connect to your other smart home systems and your phone. That means you can activate or deactivate your wireless alarm with a few clicks on your phone or ask Alexa to do it for you. Also, some of these systems come with other wireless-enabled features, like a key fob that can shut off your wireless alarm as you approach your house so you don’t accidentally trigger it.

Cons of Wireless Security

  • As we’ve mentioned, wireless home security systems use a radio frequency-based cellular network to communicate. That means that the system is vulnerable to interference or hacking, which can trigger false alarms or leave you exposed. But these issues are usually few and far between, so it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for you. 
  • What might turn you away from wireless security is the square footage it can cover. It’s limited to the size of the network your security company can set up. If you’ve got a big house, the wireless security network might not stretch far enough to be able to protect your home in its entirety. 
  • Another thing to know about wireless systems: they run on batteries. This means it’s up to you to check them periodically to make sure everything’s working. That’s a definite con if you’re not good about staying on top of maintenance tasks like that.

Home Security Companies That Offer a Wireless Alarm System vs Wired Alarm System

Now that you’ve compared the pros and cons, you can pick which type of home security system is right for you. Armed with that info, you’re ready to start shopping for a security company. Virtually everyone offers wireless security these days. But if you’re a homeowner with an existing hardwired security system in your house and you’re looking for the right company to take it over, we’ve got you covered there, too.

Types of Home Security Systems Available by Company

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The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.

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