Reviews

The Best Driveway Alarms: Protect Your Home and Garage

Install an alarm and get alerted to movement or people entering your driveway.

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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON June 16, 2020

Two of life’s biggest investments are your car and your home. Naturally, keeping that property secure is a top priority. Your home security system keeps your house safe, but what about your driveway? Not only is it somewhere cars are often parked, but it also leads to your garage. Many garages feature a door that opens to the home, and even if it doesn’t, it’s still home to costly tools and equipment. Driveway alarms ensure that you are notified when someone enters your driveway. There are options that detect only vehicles, while some alert you to the presence of people or wildlife. 

 

The best driveway alarms work both as a notification for you and a deterrent for potential intruders. Of course, the best driveway alarms depend on the layout of your driveway, integrating seamlessly to give you quality results. To help you track down the best driveway alarms on the market, we’ve curated a list of the leading selections. This breakdown details everything you need to know about choosing a driveway alarm that works for you.

Best Overall
Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System
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Summary
Summary

Install this alarm and hear a chime anytime a person, vehicle, or large animal comes within 40 feet of the angled eye sensor. The sensor uses passive infrared technology to sense motion and heat during the day and night.

Pros
Pros
  • Straightforward design with plug-and-play install
  • Expandable to up to 16 separate alarms
  • Features over 30 unique sounds and adjustable volume
Cons
Cons
  • Unit vulnerable to false alarms due to high sensitivity
  • Housing is not durable enough to withstand extreme weather
Best Overall
Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System
Best Value
Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm
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Summary
Summary

This magnetic wand sensor detects large masses of metal near it. It will trigger an alarm in a 3 to12-foot radius. You can then have the internal base station up to 400 feet away. It requires two AA batteries.

Pros
Pros
  • Will not result in false alarms for wildlife or people
  • Features a 400-foot range for longer driveways
  • Comes at an affordable price
Cons
Cons
  • Wand vulnerable to malfunctions
  • Signal weakens as it gets further from the base
  • Subject to issues with electrical interference
Best Value
Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm
Honorable Mention
eMacros Solar-Powered Wireless Driveway Alarm
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Summary
Summary

This solar-powered driveway alarm can detect movement in your driveway up to 143 feet horizontally and 128 feet vertically for a detection range of 30 feet. You can place the receiver up to a half-mile away.

Pros
Pros
  • Adjustable sensor sensitivity to limit false alarm risk
  • Able to send signals through dense materials like walls and trees 
  • Straightforward installation requirements
Cons
Cons
  • Alarm works best only on the highest sensitivity setting
  • Receiver may be vulnerable to outside interference
  • Weakens as it gets further from the base
Honorable Mention
eMacros Solar-Powered Wireless Driveway Alarm

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Driveway Alarms

  • Secure your garage and home. First and foremost, a driveway alarm is about security. Many garages connect to the home through a side door. If your garage is detached, it just means you might not hear someone pulling up. An alarm system informs you that someone is in the area so you can act accordingly. 
  • Wireless door alarm. It never hurts to have a heads up that company is coming, even if it’s just the time it takes them to park. The chime on the alarm receiver lets you know when guests have arrived. Plus, you can customize the sound to embrace the holidays — or just for a chuckle. 
  • Deter potential intruders. Often, alarm systems work just by putting off potential threats. If the sensor is visibly mounted, it will often deter intruders since they know there is security on the premises. 
  • Keep track of traffic. If you have a driveway that gets used by cars in the area and passersby, it’s good to know. These sensors let you know who’s in your lane so that you can keep track of who is coming and going from your property. 
  • Wildlife awareness. If you are in a rural area, it’s useful to keep an eye on the critters in the area. From deer to herds of elephants, an infrared sensor is able to let you know when something (or someone) is close by. 
  • Children’s safety. Kids playing in the yard? Teenagers sneaking out? A motion sensor alarm system lets you know of human movement. This way, you are always aware of what’s going on in your driveway.

Types of Driveway Alarms

Active Infrared (AIR)

Infrared technology refers to the electromagnetic spectrum just beyond visibility, closest to the red end of the rainbow. Driveway alarms that rely on active infrared sensors send a beam outwards to register movement. It features two components, where one part sits on each side of the driveway. The light gets sent from one, reflected back by the secondary unit; and, as long as this reflection is uninterrupted, the alarm isn’t triggered. However, if something passes through that invisible line, it blocks the reflected beam, thereby triggering the alarm. It is reliable, though can be a trickier version to install. Be precise in the placement and keep the sensors clean in order to get the best results from this type of system. 

Passive Infrared Technology (PIR)

The most prevalent type of driveway alarms, passive infrared technology, uses the same infrared beams as an active model, though is more basic. Instead of relying on a reflected beam to be interrupted, this sensor detects thermal energy. You can find these models at varying degrees of efficiency. Some are sensitive enough to detect the heat of a person or wildlife. Others are only able to register hotter objects such as the engine in a vehicle. When the sensor registers that heat signature, it relays a signal to the receiver located inside the home. This emits a sound alert, sometimes backed by a visual cue. These are popular for the ease of use and installation, though they are vulnerable to false alarms in the environment. 

Magnetic Probe Technology

Useful for detecting vehicles, this sort of alarm registers metal via a magnetic sensor. Encased in polymer, usually PVC, the sensor goes underground, parallel to your driveway. When a vehicle drives past it, the metal sensor activates the alarm. These are less prone to false alarms since the unit is not triggered by heat. However, the reach of the magnet is variable. It depends on the casing, installation, and power of the sensor. If it is not strong enough to register small components of metal, then it might not register all vehicles. Aluminum and polymers are increasingly prevalent in vehicle design, making magnetic probes less valuable. That said, they are affordable and easy to install, while still offering valuable security. 

Top Brands

Guardline

Based in Washington, Guardline specializes in producing high-quality driveway alarms and alarm systems. The company prides itself on producing durable and dependable equipment. The Guardline ¼ Mile Long Range Wireless Driveway Alarm is a reliable alarm system for your driveway. 

Chamberlain

Headquartered in Illinois, Chamberlain is best known for its garage door opener products. But the company also produces motion detection sensors for your property. The Chamberlain Cwpir Weatherproof Outdoor And Alert System Add-On Sensor is the perfect way to complete your driveway alarm system. 

Rodann

The Rodann Tech company prides itself on producing reliable alarm systems for your entryways. This includes driveway sensors and door alerts. As a customer, you’ll enjoy top customer service. The Rodann Electronics Wireless Driveway Alarm System is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to excellence. 

Driveway Alarm Pricing

  • Under $50: Alarms in this price range tend to use simple technology, such as magnetic alarms. They also have shorter signal ranges. 
  • $50 to $100: Alarms in this range will use more advanced technology and will have more sensitive sensors and longer signal ranges. The unit construction is also more durable. 
  • $100 and up: Units in this range are either top of the line or have multiple sensor units. These are typically a complete system. 

Key Features

Mode of Operation

One of the first things to investigate is how the unit is powered. Some run on batteries, with many of the modern selections being rechargeable. Others rely on solar power, charging during the day and holding the energy in a power bank for use at night. Alternatively, there are models that you must hardwire into the system. While battery- and solar-powered may be less reliable, especially without a low battery warning, they are easier to install. Conversely, hardwired models are more secure, simply because there is less likelihood of failure due to power issues.

Type of Sensor: Magnetic, Passive Infrared, Active Infrared

While the industry continues to evolve, the current alarm systems available use one of three technologies. The most basic is the magnetic sensor. These are preferred by those who want to know about cars pulling up and aren’t concerned about people or wildlife. Registering metal, the sensor detects vehicles through their steel components. Keep in mind that modern car models continue to rely less on magnet-sensitive metals, so the tech will age relatively quickly. 

The next type of sensor uses passive infrared; which, in essence, is a heat signature detector. Coming in various calibrations, higher-end models let you curate the threshold based on your needs. You can modify it to register heat in animals or to detect the heat of a car engine. It relies on a single sensor, powered by electricity that’s either hardwired or battery-operated. These are more affordable than active infrared, and easier to set up; however, since there is only one sensor, it is less accurate than active infrared. 

The final type of sensor commercially available is an active infrared sensor, made of two components. One of the first things to look at is the range in between the sensors, they must be able to interact with one another. These operate on a beam relayed between the two, where the interruption is the alarm trigger. Consider the range from both this aspect and in terms of how long of a driveway it can accommodate. 

Weatherproofing and Durability

The sensor for your driveway alarm must be physically near the driveway — that outdoor placement means it will be exposed to hail, frost heaves, rainfall, and ultraviolet rays. If you want something that won’t glitch after every rainfall or die in the cold, weatherproofing is essential. There are two key features: waterproof and protection from ultraviolet rays. Make sure that it can safely be exposed to moisture and that it won’t get damaged in direct sunlight. Another important component is insulation, so ensure that the casing is capable of keeping the cold at bay. Provided it has these features, you can safely keep it in the driveway year-round.

Other Considerations 

  • Power Source. Think about how serious you are about the alarm system. If you need something that is heavy-duty, you’ll want it to be hardwired into the system. The other option is a battery, whether solar or replaceable. Replaceable batteries leave more vulnerabilities to the elements (heat, cold, moisture). Solar systems are tougher, but you are counting on the sunlight to keep it working. If the panels aren’t located in a sunny spot, it won’t reach the proper capacity. 
  • Transmission Range. The distance at which the sensor can relay a signal to the receiver is a critical component of the design. It must be able to communicate efficiently, regardless of ambient conditions. Things like trees, bushes, and sheds can block the signal, so be sure that you have a sufficiently strong relay and reliable circuitry. 
  • False Alarms. The whole point of getting a driveway alarm is to know when cars or people are nearby — not to be alerted to every passing squirrel. While every sensor is vulnerable to glitches, the fewer the better. Look at what measures the sensor and receiver used to prevent this issue. Whether it is a matter of calibration or positioning, in most cases, false alarms are easy to avoid.
  • Sensor Range. This is true of any sensor. For magnets, you need a powerful enough force to register the approaching vehicle or person. Passive infrared systems must have  a sensor capable of detecting heat from a distance (something that diminishes as it spreads out). An active infrared sensor must have two parts facing each other, a connection that requires proximity. Be sure that the sensors are capable of the necessary reach

Best Driveway Alarms Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System

Given its sturdy design and effective performance, the Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System is a premium selection. Reliably supplying alerts for all motion on your driveway, this system fortifies your overall security. Offering customizable features, you can expand the system to as many as 16 sensor components. You can easily place the sensor on your driveway and trust it to efficiently relay an alert related to either vehicles, animals, or people. The system effectively differentiates between large animals and household pets, reducing nuisance notifications. With a 500-foot range between the base and sensor, it works in difficult weather conditions despite trees or other obstacles. Using both motion sensors and infrared technology, it offers comprehensive protection for your driveway and home. Considering its top-tier performance abilities and multi-tiered approach to security, this is a truly premium choice. 


False positives are definitely a risk with this system, especially given its extensive sensors. While you might not think being too good of an alarm system is a downside, a few false triggers might have you thinking otherwise. Consider the potential for interference. If it’s low, this is a reliable pick.

Best Vehicle Spotting Accuracy
Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm

Considering its high-quality performance and vehicle-focused alerts, the Mighty Mule is a great system overall. Alerting you immediately when a vehicle pulls either in or out of your driveway, the sensor is highly accurate. Ensuring there is no false reporting due to the presence of children or animals, the system focuses entirely on vehicles. Touting a simple installation, you bury the sensor wand near your driveway and, using electromagnetic analysis, it detects metal from vehicles within up to 12 feet. The transmitter wirelessly relays the data to your base station which you can position up to 400 feet from the wand. Running on double-A batteries, the system comes with a low-battery indicator light to facilitate continued performance. Given its exclusive focus on approaching vehicles and reasonable range, this is our favorite choice overall. 


It’s worth mentioning that this works exclusively for vehicles. The magnetic sensor engages only when a sufficient amount of interference is detected. It won’t register wildlife or people, but it is a good pick if you want a notification when a vehicle pulls up. 

Best Solar-Power
eMacros Solar-Powered Wireless Driveway Alarm

Powered by solar energy and offering reliable, low-maintenance security, the eMacros Solar-Powered Wireless Driveway alarm is a popular option. It comes with a sturdy base receiver that you can plug into any wall socket. The half-mile range enables you to set up the system anywhere in your home. With a sensor running on a lithium battery that recharges in the sunlight, you never have to swap out its power source. Quick to install, the wireless alarm registers motion from vehicles, people, and wildlife. Giving you a choice of four different audio notifications, it enables you to differentiate your alert based on what type of threat the system registers. You can calibrate the sensor’s sensitivity to minimize risk of false notifications.  Considering its solar-operated sensors and low-maintenance requirements, coupled with quality performance, this is a great solar-powered driveway alarm. 


Keep in mind that, yes, solar power is an amazing innovation. It is also much less consistent than more traditional power sources. If there is insufficient solar energy to fuel the battery, you risk the alarm not working. Those in sunny areas need not worry, but if you’re dealing with more cloud cover than not, it might not be the best way to go. 

Best Two-In-One
ElePowstar Driveway Alarm and Doorbell

A two-in-one broad range driveway system, ElePowstar is a motion detector and doorbell. The driveway motion sensor has a range of up to 500 feet between the receiver and the motion sensor. The wireless doorbell can go up to 1000 feet from the chime receiver — both the transmitter and the doorbell pair to the transmitter. The motion detector will alert the homeowner when a visitor appears in the driveway. The fully-enclosed design of the ElePowstar Driveway Alarm and Doorbell makes it waterproof. Resistant against rain, fog, wind, snow, and temperature variations. The motion sensor requires four AA batteries, which are not included. The system is easy to install. The detection of movement is between 16 feet/5 meters to 60 degrees. Its range helps prevent false alarms. The system’s 58 unique chimes can be set to reflect each of the different receivers.


If there’s one thing to complain about, it’s that this alarm is more complicated than it needs to be. Want something with all the bells and whistles? This is a great pick. Prefer to keep it simple? This might not be the right choice. 

Best Range
Chamberlain Driveway Alert Security System

Operating with infrared technology and featuring a wide range, the Chamberlain Driveway Alert System is a valuable choice. Coming with a receiving station and single sensor, the system offers benefits of simple installation. Requiring no wiring for setup, the base station runs on AA batteries. Available with an AC adapter component, you can also plug the unit into a wall socket. Once in place, the base registers signals from as far as a half mile away, provided conditions are ideal. It transmits the data to your base station, where it employs a light and sound pattern to inform you that something tripped the alarm. Using passive infrared technology, it responds to heat instead of metal, meaning it registers multiple threats over a 30-foot radius. Considering the wide communication range between the base and transmitter, this is an excellent choice for larger properties. 


Bear in mind that the appeal of distance also means more room for interference. It works for bigger properties, though only if the layout of the area is accommodating. Think about the installation logistics and make sure it’s a fit before you pull the trigger. 

Best Value
1 By One Driveway Alarm

Equipping your home with a driveway alarm shouldn’t break the bank, and with the 1 By One Driveway Alarm, it doesn’t have to. Despite coming at a friendly price, it checks all the boxes in terms of functionality. Using passive infrared motion sensing, it is able to accurately detect any type of intruder in the area. Connecting to a chime doorbell, it alerts efficiently after the alarm has been triggered. Working within a range of 1,000 feet, this driveway alarm connects to wireless tech so there is no hardwiring necessary. It’s available in a plug-in and a battery-operated model, so the alarm should work regardless of your driveway’s positioning. Complete with adjustable volume and bright LED indicator lights, you can choose from multiple melodies. As an added perk, you can add onto the system, since both the receiver and transmitter can be connected to other home security devices. Affordable and effective, it’s a worthy value pick. 


It’s worth mentioning that if you use the full 1,000 feet, the quality of the connection may fade. There is a diminishing return based on the distance, simply because of the opportunity for interference. That said, for smaller areas, it boasts impressive power. 

Best Long-Lasting
Safeguard Supply Driveway Informer Alarm

If you are protecting a larger area, the quality of the Safeguard Supply Driveway Informer Alarm makes it a solid choice. It comes at a higher price point than some other models, but its precision and durability make the investment worthwhile. It uses an up-to-date infrared sensor that detects movement within a four-square-foot area. The range forms in a conical shape, detecting anything that passes through and meets the heat threshold. Operating on a pair of double-A batteries, the system isn’t prone to premature draining. On an electrical scale, it remains relatively dormant until something activates it. The receiver plugs directly into any AC outlet while the sensor camouflages by the driveway. By using muted tones that blend into the environment, it’s easy to tuck this alarm out of sight. Weatherproof and reliable, this system is excellent in both rural and urban settings. 


One thing to keep in mind is that replaceable batteries can be tedious, especially with the risk of acid leaks if left unattended. Outside of that occasional chore, it’s pretty much a set-and-forget design. 

Best Sound Customization
Fosmon WaveLink Driveway Alarm

Sound is terrific when it is pleasant to the ears, which alarm sounds often are not. We use warning devices to warn us of oversleeping, overcooking, and overheating. If you do not have one already, you should have an alarm that alerts you of visitors. The Fosmon WaveLink Driveway Alarm offers business and homeowners a door entry system. The alarm notifies you when someone is coming or going through the front or back door. The sensor’s design and portability make it easy to install. Fosmon Wireless alarm detects movement between 16.5 feet/5 meters to 110 degrees. Receivers in the range of 500 feet/105 meters from the transmitter keep the signal strong. The ringtone is customizable, with 58 different melodies or the standard buzz sound. Change the settings for sound to what you like, whenever you want, from its selection. Besides sound, Fosmon also provides visual LED flash alerts.


Interference can be an issue with this system. It relies on Wi-Fi, meaning it won’t alert correctly if this isn’t working. Be sure that there is no major interference between the sensor and the receiver to ensure it works properly.

Best Easy Installation
Wjling Driveway Alarm

The wireless, easy, and fast installation of this alarm system is almost as easy as saying, one, two, three. The system can be up and securing your driveway in no time. Fully-expandable, you can mount the Wjling Driveway Alarm system to different areas. Mount it on walls, trees, fences, and other places. Choose from three different ways and pick how you want the monitor to watch your driveway. A wireless plug-and-play, the system enables you to spend more time choosing from alarm options. Whether you want sound, an LED visual flash, or both, the Wjling provides all these options. The system has a selection of 38 ringtones and three-volume levels. With its transmitter and LED light, you can track more. The Wailing alarm works up to 328 feet/100 meters, giving you a good range of distance and visibility. 


The only major downside is that it requires three triple-A batteries. While it doesn’t drain them too quickly, you will need to replace them now and again.

Most Reliable
HTZSafe Solar Driveway Alarm System

If you want to avoid the risk of a power outage altogether, the HTZSafe Solar Driveway Alarm System is a great way to go. For starters, it’s primary method of powering itself is solar. While there is a backup USB charging system, the solar tech it uses is capable of working on cloudy and sunny days alike. It is capable of relaying a message over half a mile reliably and features an impressive 70-foot wide detection area. Working through infrared, it alerts you to anything with a heat signature that comes past the sensor. Detecting the heat of an engine or the body temperature of a passerby, the system connects to the doorbell using a series of chimes. You can adjust the volume over four settings and choose from 35 sounds. With holiday chimes and all the classics, it integrates into your home with ease. Simple to install and reliable, this eco-friendly option is a good pick for any driveway. 


The only downside is that the three sensitivities are vulnerable to glitches. This model is an upgrade from the previous option in that the detection angle is improved. However, the sensitivities are distance-based; and, if not calibrated properly, can result in false alarms.

Best Heavy-Duty
E Elepowerstar Driveway Alarm System

Want something that is going to work in a suburban or city environment, with all the interference that comes with it? Take a look at the E Elepowerstar Driveway Alarm System for its precise sensors and user-friendly setup. It’s waterproof to an IP55 rating (reasonable for an outdoor device like this one). Using motion sensors that are entirely enclosed, it is capable of resisting everything from wind to fog. The first part connects to an AC outlet in the home. The second is the battery-operated PIR sensor that you direct towards the driveway. Its infrared sensors work in a conical form, shining like a spotlight on anything that comes within range. When that heat is detected, it relays a signal to the receiver. Working as a wireless doorbell, it chimes in 58 different ringtones. Touting an impressive range of up to 1,000 feet, it is both effective and low-maintenance. 


Though it’s effective in terms of signal and relay efficiency, the design is less than hardy. For areas not prone to frost heaves or massive cold streaks, it can’t keep up. Those in a more moderate climate can trust it to work through rain and moderate snow.

Tips

  • Buy an alarm system that lets you adjust the sensitivity of the alarm. This will give you better control over where and how the sensor works. 
  • Clean off the surface of the sensor occasionally (especially after a storm). It limits scratches and keeps the sensor working for longer. 
  • A battery-powered sensor will likely need a replacement twice a year, though cold weather can be a drain. Make sure to check it occasionally, in the same manner you would a fire alarm. 
  • If you have a long driveway, look for an expandable system. Then you can have multiple alarms to indicate that someone is traveling the entire length of the driveway. 
  • Consider the amount of vegetation you have around the driveway alarm. The wind could trigger false alarms by moving the tree branches. 

FAQs

Q. How does a driveway alarm work?

Driveway alarms work in three ways. Some systems use magnetism to sense a large mass of metal going by them. This will alert you to vehicles in your driveway. Other sensors use an infrared light beam. When something crosses the beam, it temporarily blocks it, and that triggers the alarm. A third way they work is by sensing heat. This will be the heat of a vehicle engine, a person, or a larger animal. 

Q. How can I hide my driveway alarm?

The first step is to buy an alarm unit that’s naturally colored. That way, it blends into the surrounding nature. You could then install your unit on a wood post or nearby tree. If you have a fence around your property, you could install your alarm on the fence post. 

Q. Why do motion sensors give false detections?

Nothing’s perfect, and motion sensors are no different. Extreme cold damaging circuitry, heat giving a false signature, power surges, damage sensors, incorrect placement, and interference can all result in a false detection. To avoid this, make sure there is a clear line of sight between the sensor and the driveway, accounting for the shape and distance it registers. Be sure that the area between the receiver and the sensor is open and free of interfering objects. 

Q. How do you install a wireless driveway alarm? 

It’s easy to install a wireless driveway alarm. First, connect the receiver inside the home, preferably at an outlet that’s close to the driveway. Hook it up to your wireless internet and the next step is for you to mount the sensor. Most sets come with mounting hardware. It will either be on the ground or mounted to a tree or garage. Place it precisely and test that it works. After that, it’s just a matter of tinkering with volume and chimes. 

Q. How far away will a driveway alarm work?

It depends on the alarm. A good standard is reading around 40 feet in the distance. Expect a range of half a mile, but use reason. If that half mile is through bush and thicket, it won’t relay as effectively without a signal booster. Most driveway alarms on the market are built to accommodate moderately-sized driveways. If you have a larger property, look for a heavy-duty model and aim to give the signal a clear path. 

Q. Can pets trigger motion sensors?

 Yes, depending on the type of sensor you install. An animal will not trigger a magnetic sensor because animals aren’t made of metal. They may trigger an AIR sensor if they cross the infrared light line. But if they jump over or go around the light line, they won’t trigger the alarm. A PIR will trigger based on the animal’s movement or body heat. 

Final Thoughts

All things considered, the Guardline Wireless Driveway Alarm System is a terrific go-to. It performs reliably, is able to resist the elements, and isn’t prone to false alarms. The sensors are made of quality tech for that sought-after peace of mind. 

If you want to save without skimping on security, the Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm will get the job done. It’s accurate, well-constructed, and made to offer the benefits of wireless detection without going overboard.