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The best driveway alarms you can buy

We found the best driveway alarms that can withstand heavy rainfall, have a long transmission range, and include motion sensors.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Guardline 500-Foot Range Driveway Alarm | Best driveway alarm overall
Guardline 500-Foot Range Driveway Alarm
Best driveway alarm overall
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Bistee Driveway Alarm | Best budget driveway alarm
Bistee Driveway Alarm
Best budget driveway alarm
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Dakota Alert DCMA-4000 | Best driveway alarm for long range monitoring
Dakota Alert DCMA-4000
Best driveway alarm for long range monitoring
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Yolink SpeakerHub & Outdoor Motion Sensor | Best smart driveway alarm
Yolink SpeakerHub & Outdoor Motion Sensor
Best smart driveway alarm
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Dakota Alert DCPA-4k Plus | Best driveway alarm for gravel driveways
Dakota Alert DCPA-4k Plus
Best driveway alarm for gravel driveways
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A driveway alarm can be a great addition to your home security setup. Driveway alarms work with sensors to detect motion or heat (or both), and then alert you that someone is on your property. Though the name implies they're for driveways only, driveway alarm systems can be placed throughout your home (such as in the front or back yard) and can be integrated with other security measures to let you know when someone is approaching your home. 

Also: The best home security systems

What's the best driveway alarm right now?

My pick for the best driveway alarm overall is the Guardline 500, thanks to its large coverage range and variety of different sound options. Whether you prefer an audible driveway alarm that beeps or plays a melody when motion or heat is detected, or a smart alarm that sends you push notifications, I compiled the best options available to suit the home security setup that's right for you. 

Also: The best security cameras and the best outdoor security cameras

The best driveway alarms of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Expandable up to 16 sensors
  • Up to 500 ft wireless range
  • 30+ melodies to choose from
  • May not work on longer driveways
More Details

You can install the Guardline driveway alarm on your home or a post outside of it to provide the most visibility of incoming people. It offers three levels of sensitivity ranging from low to high, with the highest being up to 40 feet, so you can choose the right amount of coverage for your property.

Once you set up the alarm, any detected motion will trigger a melody on the receiver to alert you. The Guardline 500-foot range alarm offers over 30 melodies to choose from, and you can add up to 16 sensors for different areas around your home, each with its own melody.

Keep in mind that the receiver must be placed within 500 feet of the sensor due to the wireless range. If you have a long driveway and want to place the sensor at the end of it, near the street, you may need an alarm that covers more than 500 feet.

Guardline is currently offering ZDNET readers 15% off any product with the code GL15ZDNET. This deal runs through May 2024.

Guardline 500-Foot Range featuresPower source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 500 feet | Maximum detection range: 40 feet | Color: Black and copper | Sensor type: Heat and motion

Pros & Cons
  • 600-foot wireless range
  • Expandable up to 58 sensors/receivers
  • Inexpensive option
  • Smaller coverage area
  • Only IP44 waterproof
More Details

Bistee's driveway alarm is a great option for those on a budget. With a maximum detection range of 20 feet, it is ideal for smaller driveways or coverage areas like a front porch or patio, and at only $26 ($16 if you apply Amazon's $10 coupon), it is affordable.

The sensor is powered by 4 AA batteries and has an IP44 waterproof rating, making it weatherproof for outdoor use. The receiver needs to be plugged in indoors within 600 feet of the sensor, making installation a breeze.

One of the unique features of this alarm is its microwave and infrared sensor, which not only provides more accurate monitoring of activity in your driveway but also reduces false alarm rates. Additionally, the system is scalable and can be connected with up to 58 other receivers.

Bistee Driveway Alarm featuresPower source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 600 feet | Maximum detection range: 20 feet | Color: Black | Sensor type: Microwave and infrared

Pros & Cons
  • Large coverage area
  • Perfect for long-range coverage
  • Battery can last up to a year
  • Only up to 12 alert tones
  • Setup can be difficult
More Details

The Dakota DCMA-4000 is the best option for long-range monitoring, as it allows up to one mile between the sensor installed outside and the receiver inside. This makes it perfect for those with a long driveway or a larger property to cover.

The long-range monitoring feature provides more reliable alerts and effectively reduces false alarms. It can detect movement in a coverage area of up to 100 feet from the sensor, making it a versatile option for monitoring your backyard, parking lot, or sheds.

The sensor is powered by a 9-volt battery, while the indoor receiver is connected to power. The receiver can handle up to 16 different Dakota sensors, which is useful if you want to add extra monitoring to areas surrounding your property.

Dakota Alert DCMA-4000 featuresPower source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 1 mile | Maximum detection range: 100 feet | Color: Tan sensor and white receiver |Sensor type: Infrared

Pros & Cons
  • Smart mobile notifications
  • Upload your own MP3 alerts
  • Issues with detection during rain
  • Only wireless connection, no LAN port
More Details

Driveway alarms function by playing an audible alert in your home when motion is detected by the sensor outside. However, personally, I prefer a silent alarm, like a phone notification, as I have three kids and a dog and don't need more noise in my house. Hence, I prefer smart alarms over traditional ones.

Yolink's driveway alarm is the best smart option as it doesn't require a specific home automation system to be installed or purchased separately. It comes with a receiver that connects to Wi-Fi and the sensor that is mounted outside.

The receiver functions like all other driveway alarm receivers, with the exception that it is Wi-Fi-enabled. When you install it, you can connect it to the internet, and you will receive mobile notifications of any motion detection.

The Yolink driveway alarm can be integrated with Alexa or IFTTT and has customizable audio. You could even set up custom Halloween announcements by uploading an MP3 file and setting it as your alert.

YoLink SpeakerHub & Outdoor Motion Sensor featuresPower source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 1320 feet | Maximum detection range: 30 feet | Color: Gray and white | Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Pros & Cons
  • Large wireless range
  • Can be buried in or next to driveway
  • Handles up to 16 sensors
  • Only detects vehicles
  • Only 16 alert types
More Details

The Dakota Alert DCPA-4k Plus wireless driveway alarm consists of a probe that you can bury underground to detect incoming vehicles. The probe is connected to 50 feet of direct burial cable to transmit the signal to the receiver that can be placed up to a mile away and still provide reliable alerts when a vehicle is near the probe.

This is perfect for gravel driveways, especially in larger properties. However, you can also bury the probe next to a concrete or asphalt driveway, and it will detect vehicles within 10 to 12 feet.

This Dakota Alert driveway alarm only has a metal sensor, so it won't detect people or large animals like deer or bears. This makes it more suitable for those who don't want false alarms from animals on their property and only want to receive alerts when a car is coming.

Dakota Alert DCPA-4k Plus featuresPower source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 1 mile | Maximum detection range: 10-12 feet | Color: White | Sensor type: Metal-detecting probe

What is the best driveway alarm?

The Guardline 500ft range is the best overall driveway alarm as it provides an excellent combination of detection and wireless range, price, alert sounds, and reliability. It features both heat and motion detection capabilities during day and night, effectively reducing false alarms and ensuring accurate alerts.

Moreover, it offers a wireless range that's ideal for most homes, not requiring a one-mile wireless range, which is right in the middle of the range spectrum.

Best driveway alarmZDNET's takeOriginal PriceDetection rangeWireless rangeAlert soundsSensors per receiver
Guardline 500 Foot RangeBest overall$5140 ft500 ft30+16
Bistee Driveway AlarmBest for a budget$2620 ft600 ft5858
Dakota Alert DCMA-4000Best for long-range monitoring$70100 ft 5280 ft1216
YoLink SpeakerHub & Outdoor motion sensorBest smart option$641320 ft20 ftMP3, voice, or alertsN/A
Dakota Alert DCPA-4k PlusBest for gravel driveways$26012 ft5280 ft1616

*MSRP at the time of writing. Please note that actual prices may vary depending on available sales, deals, discounts, and coupons.

Which is the right driveway alarm for you?

The right driveway alarm for you will depend on your property and the areas you want to be covered by the motion detectors. Your budget, the area you want the sensor to cover, and how you want to receive the alerts will all factor into your decision.

If you have a long gravel driveway and want to be alerted of any motion detected, then the Dakota Alert DCMA-4000 is a good choice. However, if you only want to know when a vehicle is detected, the Dakota Alert DCPA-4k Plus may be the best option.

If you prefer to receive alerts as notifications on your phone or Apple Watch, then a smart option, such as Yolink's outdoor sensor could be the best fit for you. 

Choose this best driveway alarm...If you want...
Guardline 500 Foot RangeThe best overall option. It is great if you need a large coverage area but don't have a long driveway.
Bistee Driveway AlarmA budget-friendly driveway alarm. It has a 600-foot range and is expandable up to 58 sensors.
DakotaAlert DCMA-4000A long-range alarm for longer driveways or large properties with exceptional battery life. It can detect movement in a coverage area of up to 100 feet from the sensor.
YoLink SpeakerHub & Outdoor motion sensorA driveway alarm that is compatible with smart home devices. You can receive notifications on your smartphone for any detected motion and personalized alerts.
Dakota Alert DCPA-4k PlusA driveway alarm for gravel driveways. It can detect incoming vehicles at long-range with scalability for more sensors if needed.

How did we choose the best driveway alarms?

ZDNET is dedicated to discovering the best devices on the market by conducting hands-on testing and exhaustive research, and selecting the best driveway alarms was no exception to this process. I took great care in finding the driveway alarms that are worth our readers' hard-earned money. In particular, I focused on the following factors: 

  • Motion detection: Driveway alarms only work as good as their motion detection technology, so I made sure each of the top picks had plenty of sensors (and different sensor types) to work properly for your needs.
  • Detection range: Whether you have a short driveway or a long one, I considered various detection ranges (as well as wireless ranges). 
  • Price: Driveway alarms differ in price points, ranging form $16 up to more than $250. I included various models at different price points so there is something for every budget. 

How does a driveway alarm work?

Traditional driveway alarms consist of two pieces: a motion detector and a receiver. The motion detector is battery-powered and installed on the outside of your home, aimed at the area you want to cover. The receiver is connected to power inside your home. Once motion is detected, the sensor sends a signal to the receiver, which sounds an audible alert to let you know that someone is outside.

Each driveway alarm has a specific range for both maximum coverage area and maximum distance between the receiver and the sensor. The maximum coverage area is the area the sensor is monitoring for motion, which could be a driveway, front porch, or front or back yard.

The maximum distance between the receiver and the sensor, also known as wireless range, determines how far apart you can place the receiver and the sensor while still maintaining a connection and ensuring that alerts from motion detection come through to the receiver.

Is there a driveway alarm that alerts your phone?

There are several smart driveway alarms that work either with an app from the manufacturer on your phone, or that can be linked to a home automation system like Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Home Assistant, etc. 

Our top pick out of the smart options, the YoLink Outdoor motion sensor & SpeakerHub is worth highlighting because it comes with a receiver that doubles as a hub for a low price, making it a good choice for those that don't want to add a complete home automation system to their homes. It has sound and voice alerts, as well as Alexa and IFTTT integrations though. 

If you only want a mobile notification when there is someone on your driveway, simply getting an outdoor motion sensor compatible with your current home automation system is enough. Ring has some outdoor motion detectors and is Alexa-compatible, Eve has HomeKit-enabled motion detectors, and if you have a Philips Hue hub at home, you can add this motion detector

How do you install a driveway alarm?

Most driveway alarms are battery-operated, with some solar-powered options. This makes installation easy by simply adding batteries to the sensor, and just a screwdriver should be enough to attach to either a pole or siding. If you have vinyl siding, these mount clips could be useful.  

The receiver just needs to be plugged in inside your home, then follow any manufacturer's instructions if pairing or Wi-Fi connectivity is required.

Are there alternative driveway alarms worth considering?

There are many more driveway alarms on the market worth considering. Even if they're not our top choices, they come close. Here are our honorable mentions:

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