Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


The best driveway alarms (including ones that alert your phone)

The best driveway alarms withstand heavy rainfall, have a long transmission range, and include motion sensors.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer and  Sean Jackson, Contributor on
Reviewed by Nina Raemont

A driveway alarm can enhance your home security system by working with sensors to detect motion or heat, or both, and alerting you that someone is on your property. Although the name implies it is for driveways only, this system can be placed throughout your home, such as in the front or back yard.

Also: The best home security systems

Apart from enhancing your home security, a driveway alarm can also provide you with the best way to know when someone is approaching your door, giving you extra seconds to get off the couch.

Our top pick for the best driveway alarm is the Guardline 500. 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, ZDNET has compiled the best options available to suit your setup.

The best driveway alarms of 2023

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

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

You can install this 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.

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

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

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 $20, 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.

Image: Amazon & Sabine Mederer / EyeEm via Getty Images
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

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

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.

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

YoLink SpeakerHub & Outdoor Motion Sensor tech specs: Power source: Battery-powered | Max wireless range: 1320 feet | Maximum detection range: 30 feet | Color: Gray and white | Connectivity: Wifi

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 wifi-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.

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

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

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 10-12 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.

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$8040 ft500 ft30+16
Bistee Driveway AlarmBest for a budget$2620 ft600 ft5858
Dakota Alert DCMA-4000Best for long-range monitoring$100100 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

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.

Personally, I prefer to receive alerts as notifications on my phone or Apple Watch so that I can receive them no matter where I am, and so that it won't create a loud noise in my home. Thus, I prefer a smart option, such as Yolink's outdoor sensor.

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 these driveway alarms?

ZDNET is dedicated to discovering the best devices on the market by conducting personal experience 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:


Best solar alternative

eMACROS 1/2 Mile Long Range Solar Wireless Driveway Alarm

This solar-powered driveway alarm features your choice of four chimes, a 1,500-foot wireless range, and detects animals, peoples, and vehicles. 

View at Amazon

Best weatherproof alternative

HTZSAFE Driveway Alarm

This sweet-looking driveway alarm is weatherproof, has a half-mile wireless transmission range, and can detect objects and people from up to 50 feet away. 

View at Amazon

Best runner-up alternative

Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor

An UL-certified driveway alarm that can withstand heavy rainfalls, turn on indoor and outdoor Philips Hue lights, and provide a wide angle of coverage for your driveway and surroundings. 

View at Amazon
Editorial standards