Door and window sensors rank perhaps right up there with security cameras when most us think about critical features of home security systems. These sensors let your home automation controller know when a door or window is open or closed in order to trigger corresponding alerts, alarms. messages or actions. In addition to the standard phone alerts, you can also configure your system to trigger for local alarms via a connected siren alarm device when these sensors are triggered while your are away or asleep.
Aside from the obvious security benefits for intrusion detection, connected door and window sensors can also allow you to quickly verify that all of your doors and windows are closed – and give you reminder alerts if a door or window remains open after a certain time at night. These devices are relatively inexpensive and there are quite a few on the market from which to choose.
Not only do these simple sensors and your home hub combine to be a very smart window alarm and door alarm solution, but your home hub can also integrate a multitude of other connected devices, such as leak detectors, smoke alarms, door locks, switches, and energy monitoring devices. See the DarwinsDen.com Best of the Home Automation Controllers review for a run-down of several of the popular and relatively inexpensive Z-Wave capable home automation hub. Several of the most popular of these hubs can be purchased for under $100.
Sensative has just announced the release of their new ultra-thin Z-Wave+ Strips door and window sensor for the US market, and I’ve been quite pleased with this sensor in my testing. At $60, it’s a bit more expensive than most other contact sensors, but my personal preference now would be to use Strips sensors instead of other door and window sensors for installations where these sensors can be appropriately installed and where aesthetics is of prime concern – or where weather resistance is required. For a full review of the Strips sensor see the DarwinsDen.com Strips Z-Wave Door and Window Sensor Review.
Although, as with most home automation devices, none of these sensors are perfect, my top pick is the Fibaro Modern Miniature Z-Wave Door/Window Sensor. While the Fibaro is one of the more expensive options available, door and window sensors are typically one of the most visible components of a home automation and security system – and their aesthetics are an important consideration for many.
The Fibaro is one of the smallest and most discreet products in its class and is available in seven colors to best match your door or window frame.
If you don’t mind a little drilling, and aesthetics are a top priority for you, Aeon Labs provides the even more discreet and less expensive ZW089-A Z-Wave recessed door sensor that is installed hidden in the door frame. If aesthetics are of less concern to you than price, the slightly larger Schlage RS100 Z-Wave door/window sensor and the identical Ecolink DWZWAVE2-ECO are highly recommended inexpensive alternatives.
Zigbee or other alternatives?
Visit the following reference pages for an overview of which Z-Wave capable controller hubs may be best for your specific system needs:
I generally recommend Z-Wave devices unless you are certain that your controller has been tested with specific Zigbee device variant, but the latest Zigbee Gen2 Iris Contact Sensor has worked well in my testing and is comparable in size to the Fibaro – at less than half the price. If you don’t mind a white sensor, you have an Iris or SmartThings Hub – or you know it is compatible with your controller, I highly recommend this Iris device.
Samsung also offers their SmartThings Zigbee Multipurpose Sensor, which includes vibration, temperature, and open/close capabilities. Again, if you have a compatible zigbee capable controller, this is a great device for placing on a window frame to detect not only open close conditions, but also vibrations that could be the result of glass break attempt. In practice, I’ve found that due to false vibration alarms from the SmartThings sensor, its vibration detection capability is not as useful as I would have hoped.
In addition to door and window sensors, you may also want to install a dedicated Z-Wave device that is capable of detecting if your window has been broken on windows that you are particularly concerned about. Both the Vision ZS5101 Z-Wave Shock, Vibration & Glass Break Sensor and the GoControl Glass Break sensor can provide this capability, and likely with reduced false alarms compared to the SmartThings Multipurpose sensor.
One table to compare them all
“Comparison is the death of joy”
– Mark Twain
Ok, it may not quite be all of them, but the following table summarizes and compares features of popular home automation Z-Wave door and window reed sensors.
As useful as these sensors might be, replacing their relatively short-lived batteries can drive your average home automation enthusiast batty after a couple of years. This table includes battery life information as provided by the manufacturer. Surprisingly, I rarely come across great deals on multi-packs of these devices. I will update this post if and when I do.
The information provided here is based on my research and/or testing and any reader feedback. Although we have tried our best to accurately document and relay the technical details of these products, there may be discrepancies with actual capabilities.
This table will continue to receive updates as data becomes available and new products are released. Suggestions on additional products or comparison features are always appreciated.
Please let me know of any errors or omissions.
|Aeon Labs Recessed ZW089-A||Schlage
|Enerwave ZWN-BDS||Aeon Labs DSB29-
|–||Door Only||–||Identical to Schlage||Identical to Linear & GoControl||–||–||–||–|
|White, silver, black, brown, almond, ivory, redwood||White||Brown,
white (both included)
white (both included)
white (both included)
|2 years||1 year||3 years||3 Years
||2 Years||10 Years|
|Dry bridge contact2. Temperature with optional DS18B20||–||Dry bridge contact2||Dry bridge contact2||–||–||–||–||–|
|Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual||Instruction Manual|
2. Dry bridge contact provides alternate means for triggering notification via an external no current connection.
Originally Published: 3 February 2016