How Do Glass Break Sensors Work?

by | May 24, 2024

Glass Break Sensors - Broken Glass

The sound of shattering glass can be frightening. Who’s outside your window or glass door? And are they already on their way inside? If you hear that sound (or if you’re away from home when the glass shatters), it’s reassuring if the action immediately triggers glass break sensors as part of your home’s comprehensive security plan.

But how do these security devices work? Let’s dive in.

What Is a Glass Break Sensor?

Unlike a traditional motion sensor, glass break sensors pick up on an intrusion as it occurs—before thieves enter your home. These sensors detect the vibrations that occur when glass in a window or door breaks, the sound of it breaking, or both.

Vibration glass break sensors (sometimes called shock sensors) are typically placed right on the glass. These sensors have an electrical wire that attaches to the glass. When a disturbance shakes this sensitive wire, it triggers a response. One possible drawback is that bad thunderstorms or fireworks can trigger the sensor.

Acoustic sensors are sensitive to the frequencies of breaking glass. Typically, only one of these is needed in a small room. It can pick up on sound from any window within about 20 feet. Note that a sound sensor might generate false positives from TV sound effects and noises with frequencies that are similar to breaking glass.

Some people opt for a dual glass break sensor because it picks up on both sound and vibration. Ideally, this catches disturbances of all kinds. However, with cheap or poorly made sensors, that could mean twice as many false alarms… buyers, beware.

No matter what type of glass break detection mechanism is in play, the follow-up action path is similar. When a sensor is triggered, it sounds an alarm, pings your phone, or contacts a monitoring center, depending on the model and your service plan.

Buying Your Glass Break Sensors

There are many options for glass break sensors available at your favorite home improvement store or online. Pricing starts at $20 and goes up from there. The price point is largely contingent on the features of the sensors, such as:

  • Sensor range: Most will work from 20 to 25 feet away and respond to sounds in a 360-degree radius
  • Status readouts: Armed/disarmed, Wi-Fi connection strength, battery life, etc.
  • Mobile app: Whether the sensors have an associated app that receives notifications or alerts
  • Compatibility with other security systems

One of the more popular vibration glass break sensors on Amazon is this model by GE. It features easy stick-on installation and options for high and low sensitivity to vibrations. It’s highly rated as easy to install and features a long battery life.

If you have a larger home or second-level bedrooms, there’s this sensor with an extra loud alarm. As one purchaser said, the sensors are “hurt your eardrum loud”!

Proper Placement

Glass break detectors are ideal for ground-floor windows and glass door panels. If you live in a second-floor or higher residence, these sensors aren’t essential, but you might still find their presence reassuring. They’re one of many tools, alongside door sensors and motion sensors, that add to your line of defense.

The exact placement is contingent on the sensor manufacturer. Read the accompanying directions to determine if the sensor needs to be placed directly on the glass pane vs. a wall. The sensor range is usually limited, so scout out a spot on a nearby wall for installation. In most cases, sensors need to be within a few feet of the window or glass door they’re protecting.

In general, it’s a good idea to avoid installing the sensors near TVs, sound systems, or kitchen prep areas, where glassware and dishes generate a lot of noise. However, sensors can’t pick up on glass shattering through a wall.

Also, it’s important to test the sensors after installation to ensure they don’t misinterpret the sounds from your favorite sitcom for an intruder. Try the test button while making loud noises by turning up the TV, clapping, or playing a video of glass sounds. Adjust accordingly.

An Added Layer to Your Security Plan

As noted, adding glass break detectors to your home security plan can fortify your home even more. However, you shouldn’t rely on glass break sensors as your only line of defense. Even the best sensors are reactive, letting you know someone is already breaking into your home.

If you’re a Deep Sentinel user, glass break sensors are more of a redundant failsafe than anything else. With Deep Sentinel, would-be thieves won’t make it close enough to break your windows before the live security guards send them packing. AI threat detection, proactive security camera monitoring, and immediate intervention mean the cops are already on the way long before your glass break sensors come into play.

Even so, it’s nice to have that extra reassurance without breaking the pocketbook. Multi-layered security is always a smart idea that can help you sleep more soundly at night.

Need a Solution that Prevents Crime? Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Call 833.983.6006 for your free security consultation.

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