The most important things to know

to choose meaningfully.


Sirens are devices sometimes included in a home security system with the responsibility of emitting a loud audible alert when a break-in, a break-in attempt or a similar threatening event is detected. Usually, sirens are not designed to identify those menaces. Instead, other gadgets like security cameras and intrusion sensors notice the threat, report it to the central home security hub, which in turn communicates with the siren making it go off.

In addition to the primary goal of emitting an audible alert, newer versions of sirens may include further functionalities. For instance, some sirens recognise when someone is tampering them. In such circumstances the siren goes off and, if connected to the internet, you receive a notification. Internet-connected sirens moreover can be activated and deactivated directly with a mobile device, from wherever you are. This option can be useful when, for instance, you see through your security cameras that someone is snooping around your house. Some other sirens may give you the chance as well of choosing among a wide variety of pre-recorded noises that simulate real presence, like dog barks or glass breaks.

Sirens are, therefore, an essential part of a home security system. Even before a siren sounds, its' presence will deter potential criminals from breaking into your house. In case it goes off, the loud noise that will emit will disturb the burglar making the work a little bit more annoying. Finally, the presence of the siren and eventual strobe light will facilitate the identification of your home to your neighbours and potential emergency services.


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Time saved thanks to automatic arming and disarming of the siren.

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No direct impact on the physical environment.

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Peace of mind increased through powerful audible alerts that will go off in case of (attempted) break-in decreasing in this way the reaction time.

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No direct impact on home costs.


Sirens, like many other devices, are usually classified attending the power source used (wired vs wireless) and the working environment supported (outdoor vs indoor). However, the technique used to emit the audible alert puts one siren apart from the other:

This type of siren is rarely used in homes, and they work following the principle of aerophones, which consists of using the vibration of a mass of air to produce a sound. They are made of a rotating perforated disk that when spinning alternately interrupts and allows the airflow to pass. The fluctuation in air pressure creates some pressure waves that we perceive as sound. The type of sound varies depending on the number of holes in the disk and its' rotation speed. These sirens are characterised by a particular tone of urgency and for the high sound pressure level, almost always above 120 dB. As a reference, consider that 120 dB equals to the sound pressure level created by a gunshot or a police siren.

This type of siren is the most commonly installed in homes. To the detriment of pneumatic sirens, and because of their low energy consumption and low maintenance effort, they are slowly gaining ground in other areas like loading bays, industries and emergency vehicles. They are made of different electronic circuits that produce a tone which is played through integrated speakers. Electronic sirens can be seen as home sound systems that, because of their security and safety role, provide higher outputs, offer extreme reliability and might present additional control methods. Although they can also provide high sound pressure levels, in the residential space sirens use to offer sound pressure levels that move between 90 and 120 dB.


Choosing a siren for your home should not be that difficult. However, to make an educated decision, it might be worth considering the following variables:

Although there are some home pneumatic sirens in the market, most of them are electronic. This is due to their higher efficiencies, lower maintenance requirements and additional functionalities.

While battery-powered sirens can be easy to install and will remain available in case of an eventual power outage, hardwired sirens usually emit a louder noise and make their maintenance even easier.

Depending on your goals you will be interested in installing an indoor, and outdoor or both types of sirens. While indoor sirens are suitable for informing the people within the home and making the work a little bit more annoying for the burglar, outdoor sirens are useful to extend the alert to the neighbourhood. If you decide to install an outdoor siren, make sure that the device you choose can support that environment. Manufactures always indicate if a product is suitable for outdoor use. Additionally, take a look at the International Protecting (IP) rating of the product. This rating shows the level of environmental protection for the enclosure of a given product and consists on two numbers (IP XX): the first one, which can take a value between 0 and 6, indicates the level of protection against solids and dust; the second number, which can take a value between 0 and 8, shows the level of protection against 0 and 8. The higher the rating, the more protection. 

Some sirens offer the possibility of defining different sounding levels and lengths. However, the most important thing is to select a siren with a high sound pressure level. As a reference, consider that a whisper is about 30 dB, a conversation is about 60 dB, a lawnmower is about 90 dB, and a police siren is about 120 dB. On the other side, some sirens offer the chance of emitting pre-recording sounds that simulate real presence.

Some sirens may integrate a strobe. These lights facilitate the identification of your house in case the siren goes off while at the same time alert burglars of the presence of an active alarm system. In case they are not integrated, standalone strobes can also be purchased.

Some sirens can detect if someone moves them. In this case, most sirens will immediately go off, and you will receive a notification.

Most sirens combine different types of alerts to inform you and the neighbourhood about any detected activity like motion. These can be audible alerts (sound emitted by the siren), visual alerts (light emitted by an integrated light) and remote mobile alerts (push notification, email and others). In some cases, the owner can decide to extend the remote mobile alerts to other members of the family, friends or neighbours.



Place the outdoor sirens so that they are visible to burglars and neighbours. Both indoor and outdoor sirens should be installed at a significant height, on the ceiling or close to it on the wall, so that they are difficult to reach. Do not cover the siren with any closet or any other object that could obstruct the sound waves emitted limiting in this way its' reach. In the case of wireless sirens, make sure that the place chosen is within the radio range of the Wi-Fi router or hub. Check your local regulations so to make sure that you are respecting the rules about noise ordinances.


Once you have paired the siren with the rest of your home safety & security devices, you should define the volume and the length of the audible alert. Additionally, some sirens let you decide the moment in which they are supposed to go off: immediately after an event has been detected or after some seconds, giving you some time to turn the siren off in case you have forgotten to deactivate it before entering the home. If the siren allows it, you may also want to associate different tones to the other kind of events that can occur in your home. 


From time to time check that sirens and strobe lights are working correctly. Before doing so, it is a good practice to alert your neighbours about the simulacrum that you have in plan to run.


Sirens do not generally require any type of extraordinary maintenance except for wireless ones, which need a periodical replacement of the batteries. Keep the devices up to date with the last version of the software.

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