Garage Security Systems

Whether it’s attached to the rest of your home or detached in your backyard, garages and sheds carry treasure troves of tools, equipment, home storage and occasionally, a car. Undoubtedly, you’d like to keep these items safe, away from the hands of thieves looking to make a buck, or opportunistic neighbors who covet your gleaming new pruning shears. Fortunately, security systems come in all shapes and sizes -- and there are versions for all budgets.

Attached Garage Security

Every home and garage is different, but some general rules of security apply. In the case of an attached garage, these rules doubly apply, because if someone can get into your garage, they most likely can get into the rest of your home.

So how can you prevent this from happening? If you already have a whole-home security system installed, your garage should be covered. If you don’t have a home security system, but you’d like to, you have a couple of different options:

  • Professional Installment (hard-wired system): Unless you’re an experienced electrician, you will probably need a professional to install a hard-wired security system. These systems consist of wires that are installed throughout the walls in your home, connecting any combination of doors and window sensors, motion detectors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and security cameras to a control panel. Companies like FrontPoint and ADT will install all of the components you’d like for your home, charging an installation fee, as well as monthly monitoring fees (which means that if an alarm is tripped, they are notified and can take action). Prices vary widely, so do some research before choosing an installer, and avoid the companies that use scare tactics to try to bully you into buying. According to Consumers’ Checkbook, the cost for installation and three years of monitoring ranges from $2,000 to more than $3,300 for the same job.

  • Do-it-Yourself Installment (wireless system): There are many wireless systems available that you can install yourself. They do the same job as wired systems, but they send signals from each component through a wireless signal instead of wires. While they tend to be cheaper than hard-wired systems, they require more maintenance (changing the batteries, etc.), and there has been some argument that interference from other wireless devices can trigger false alarms. Budgets range widely for DIY wireless systems -- from under $100 for a single video security camera with software to thousands of dollars for multi-cam, multi-monitor systems with night vision, motion detection and real-time web-based monitoring.

  • Create Your Own: See section below.

Detached Garage Security

Since detached garages can’t be wired to the same system as your house (in most cases), it’s best to install a wireless system. You can buy a kit that’s as easy to install as using double-sided tape to attach sensors to door and window frames. Depending on the number of sensors you want, you can buy a system like this for about $85. These kinds of systems usually come with a few window/door sensors, motion detectors and a key fob to disable the system before entering. Most systems will set off a piercing siren that will scare away thieves and notify you that something is amiss.

If you’re looking for something slightly more advanced, you can look at more expensive options like an indoor/outdoor camera with night vision ($250). It really will depend on how much security you want or need, and how much you’re willing to pay. Of course, before you decide on installing a security system, it’s best to make sure basic security measures are taken, like those mentioned below.

Create Your Own Garage Security

Before installing a connected security system with a control panel, take some simple, low-cost measures to deter would-be robbers:

  • Make sure windows and doors are good quality with strong frames and heavy-gauge locks

  • Install motion-sensing floodlights outside the garage, on all sides that have a potential entrance into the building

  • Install cameras outside that are clearly visible (heck, even fake cameras with a blinking light will help deter criminals)

  • Cover up windows with curtains or blinds so no one will know whether the goods inside are valuable or junk

  • Don’t leave your garage door opener in your car