Home Automation v Traditional Alarm System

The main reason I came to owning a home automation system was in fact to add security to my new home. In this blog we will take a closer look at the security side of SmartThings verses a traditional alarm system, weighing up the pros and cons.



  • Easy to install.
  • Cheaper to get started.
  • Wider range of add-on’s.
  • Easy to monitor away from home.
  • Set’s itself automatically.
  • Can check if it’s active or not.
  • Advanced monitoring.
  • Video monitoring available via add ons.


  • No alarm to alert neighbours.
  • Internet and Battery issues.
  • Minimal sensors in starter set.

Traditional Alarm


  • Loud sounding alarm which can alert neighbours and scare off burglars.
  • No issues with batteries running out or internet dropping
  • Appearance of outside alarm warns off burglars.


  • Need to remember to set alarm.
  • Expensive set up.
  • Requires installation expert.
  • No way of knowing alarm has been triggered if away from home.
  • Few add ons.

Other factors

When moving to a new house, you’re also faced with the disadvantage of not knowing your neighbours. Would they call the police if your alarm goes off? Would they know how to contact you? Are they out a lot?

However if you’ve lived in the same area for a while, you could be familiar with the neighbours and they could be more inclined to look out for you. My mother who owns a traditional system, knows the neighbours well and they would certainly look out for her and call the police if they noticed anything suspicious.

SmartThings allows you to monitor you home and be alerted without the need to rely on neighbours. This was quite a big factor in deciding on which alarm system to choose.


If you wanted to keep your alarm system separate from home automation and prefer a loud sounding alarm, then a traditional system is ideal for you.

However, the greater amount of benefits using a home automation system over a traditional system helped me come to my decision.

SmartThings is an affordable and easy to install solution, this means that you don’t need an expensive engineer. Their support is also available online and can help if required.

There are a wide range of add-ons which are ever increasing, meaning you can add cameras, more sensors and speakers all which could be used to deter burglars. This helps you to design your system to better suit your needs. The solution is flexible as sensors are wireless and easy to move, allowing you to take it with you if you move.

The intuitive app allows you to monitor your home easily when you are away from home, it sends you a notification if a sensor is triggered. By using this information you can look at what is happening, such as which doors/sensors are being triggered and respond accordingly. You might for example want to turn on compatible lights or speakers, to trigger the sense of someone being present. Alternatively, you could either check it out yourself or phone someone local.

Another benefit of a smart home security system is that you can configure it to arm itself when the last person leaves the house. This can be often be forgotten with standard alarms especially if you are in a rush to leave. You’re also able to set it up to arm during particular times such as when you go to sleep.

One of the minor issues of SmartThings however is the reliance on the internet, if your internet was to go down or you don’t have access. You would not be able to receive notifications or check out activity. However, internet providers are becoming more reliable and more widespread, meaning there is less likely hood of this happening.

I’m a big fan of my home automation and can’t wait to add more compatible products to customise my security and home automation.

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