What is a Driveway Alarm?

A driveway alarm is a security device that is designed to detect motion from people or cars entering through the driveway of a property. It is usually integrated as a part of a home security system that automatically alerts homeowners of intruders or unexpected guests entering the driveway. Driveway alarms are an essential part of home security, home control, automated lighting control, and other useful systems.

Types of Driveway Alarms


Passive Infrared (PIR)

When it comes to driveway alarm, passive infrared is most commonly used. It uses a passive unit to set off a sensor when a person, car, or an animal approaches it. PIR can detect any heat coming from car engines, humans, and larger animals. If it detects a change in temperature, it will alert the receiver in your home and set off an alarm so that you’ll know that there’s an intruder in the driveway.

Active Infrared (AIR)

To detect movements in the driveway, active infrared uses infrared light and is composed of two units. One unit is placed on either side of the driveway so that when the other unit releases a light, the other unit will reflect it back to the original unit. Once someone goes through this light, the receiver will set off the alarm. A person, animal, or vehicle going in and out of your driveway can trigger the alarm.

Magnetic Probe

As its name implies, a magnetic probe uses magnets to detect metal coming in and out of the driveway. It is usually covered in a PVC pipe and is hidden underground next to the entrance of the driveway. That’s why when a vehicle goes in or out the driveway, the metal sensors will trigger the alarm. The difference between this type of alarm to the first two types that are mentioned, a magnetic probe can only detect metal masses. People and animals won’t be able to trigger it.

How to Choose a Driveway Alarm

Power source

Driveway alarms can be powered by either solar power or battery. Only a few alarms can be attached to your home’s electrical system. When purchasing an alarm, choose the one with a reliable power source. For example, if your area has enough sun, a solar-powered one is the best option. Battery-operated driveway alarms, on the other hand, will require you to replace the batteries whenever they die.

Sensor type

When choosing a sensor type, make sure you keep in mind the design of your driveway. Does it have an entrance for people? If you only want to detect vehicles, a magnetic probe is the best choice for you. But if you want to capture any motion in the driveway area, passive infrared is your best bet.


The driveway alarm will be placed outdoors. That’s why you need to choose one that’s durable enough to hold out against the different weather in your area. Waterproof and alarms that have UV protection are one of the durable ones. Make sure that it’s securely installed so the wind won’t tear the alarm apart. If you are installing it below the ground, make sure it can survive ground freezing especially if your area has winter.

Why Use a Driveway Sensor?

A driveway alarm is more than just alerting you of anyone approaching your home. It is the first line of defense in your home security system. Many driveway alarms available in the market today can be connected to other security equipment which can be linked to your security system. For example, when someone triggers your driveway alarm, your outdoor camera will activate and starts recording. You can now see who’s the intruder before it enters your home.


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