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Burglar Alarm Vs CCTV – What’s the best? Prices? Differences?

Security is no joke, especially since thousands of homes and businesses are targeted for burglaries every year in the UK. It leaves owners not only in a financial constraint but also affects their mental health and stability.

Gone are the days when you relied only on door locks to secure your properties since burglars are becoming too smart and can easily bypass regular locks through a technique known as lock-snapping.

Therefore, it is always best to take the necessary preventive measures to avoid becoming victims of such crimes.

Security systems such as burglar alarms and CCTV cameras are an ideal starting point to safeguard yourself and your property, but with so many options out there, it can often become too overwhelming.

When talking about burglar alarms and CCTV cameras, you need to know what they are, how they work, how they are different from one another, and whether there is a clear winner among the two. Read on to find out:


A burglar alarm consists of a series of electrical components that work using sensors and contacts. They are connected to a property and detect movement, opening or closing of doors, unusual sounds, and glass breaking. In case of unusual activity, a loud alarm is produced to alert everyone nearby.

They are used in a variety of properties including residential homes and garages, commercial premises including offices, shops, restaurants, and hotels, and industrial areas such as factories, warehouses, and other storage facilities.


It is important to understand that there are a wide range of burglar alarm systems suited for different applications and requirements. Therefore, when choosing the best one for your property, you must consider the action you would like to take place when the alarm is triggered.

The three main types of burglar alarms include:

  • Bells-only burglar alarms: only an alarm is triggered in the form of a loud noise, often accompanied by flashing lights.
  • Dialler burglar alarms: an alarm is triggered and a message is sent to several nominated emergency contact numbers.
  • Monitored burglar alarms: the signals from the alarm system are sent to a monitoring centre and then acted upon by external means.

In addition to bells-only, dialler, and monitored burglar alarms, there are a few more types of burglar alarms that you can choose from.

Smart burglar alarms come with a smartphone app that can be used to control the system and monitor its activity. You can easily arm and disarm the alarm from a remote location and also receive notifications on the app in case of an intrusion.

Then there are pet-friendly alarm systems that come with special PIR sensors that ignore the movement of your pets inside the house, minimising false alarms and focusing only on actual intrusions.

All of these burglar alarms come in two different variants: wired and wireless burglar alarms, with wired systems requiring cables to set up and wireless systems requiring no wires.

Wired burglar alarm systems are a bit complex to install and require professional expertise to be installed properly. Wireless systems, on the other hand, are battery-operated and much easier to install.


Regardless of the type of burglar alarm you have on your property, they all work in a similar manner. Here are some of the common steps that each system follows:

  • Motion is detected: motion is detected using one or more sensors installed around the premises. They can either be PIR sensors or door and window contacts that get active every time the doors or windows are opened.

Sensors can also be strategically placed around the property’s perimeter to inhibit unauthorised access.

  • Control panel is alerted: all the installed components of a burglar alarm system, including the sensors, are linked to a control panel that receives all information from the system.

Every time an unusual activity is detected by the sensors, the control panel is alerted and the alarm countdown is triggered.

  • Alarm is sounded: once the control panel is alerted, and if the abort code is not entered, the system sounds an alarm in the form of a loud siren, often accompanied with flashing lights for attention.

The bells or sirens are usually located on the outside of the property but they can also be installed within the premises to alert the occupants of a building and scare away the intruders.

  • Alarm is deactivated: the alarm can be activated and deactivated by the users via the control panel, either by entering a code or using a fob.

If you have a smart burglar alarm, you can also use your smartphone to deactivate (or activate) the alarm from anywhere in the world. All you require is a good internet connection.


The cost of burglar alarms is broken down into several components such as the hardware, professional installation, maintenance and repair, and in the case of a monitored system, the recurring cost of professional monitoring.

For the most basic types of bells-only burglar alarms, you can expect to pay around £125 to £300, depending on the number of sensors they have.

Dialler burglar alarms start at around £175 and go up to £350, while monitored systems start from £99 and have recurring monthly costs of around £15 to £45.

When it comes to professional installation, the cost depends on the type of system and the number of sensors that have to be installed, and you can expect to pay around £400 to £800 for it.


CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television and refers to a system of cameras that are strategically placed around the property to record video footage, which is transmitted to display monitors for real-time viewing as well as video playback.

A CCTV camera system includes all aspects of the setup such as the cameras, wiring, monitors, storage, access control, and its general management.

The main purpose of CCTV cameras is to increase security around your property and have all the key areas, such as the main entrance and exit points, under constant surveillance.

They are particularly beneficial for larger properties where it becomes difficult to keep an eye on every corner due to its sheer size. It is also great for places that hold valuable equipment, products, or information.

In addition to recording video footage, CCTV cameras can also send you alerts and notifications whenever there is activity or movement in a certain area of the property.

For instance, a notification in the middle of the night from a CCTV camera installed at a commercial property may indicate that someone is lurking around and possibly looking to break into it.

Although CCTV cameras are used for surveillance, both on-site and remote, they also act as effective deterrents to potential intruders and help identify criminals.


It is important to understand that there are a wide range of CCTV cameras suited for different applications and requirements. Therefore, when choosing the best one for your property, you must keep in mind what you wish to put under surveillance and where you want to install the cameras.

The most popular types of CCTV cameras include:

  • Bullet CCTV cameras: one of the most common types of CCTV cameras ideal for outdoor use, they have a highly recognisable look and are used in applications that require long-distance viewing.
  • Dome CCTV cameras: ideal for both indoor and outdoor use and for wider angles to be monitored, dome CCTV cameras have a discreet shape that makes them difficult to spot.
  • C-Mount CCTV cameras: bulkier in size and noticeable to passers-by, C-mount CCTV cameras come with detachable lenses that can be switched to adapt to the distance and field of view.
  • PTZ CCTV cameras: PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) CCTV cameras allow more control in terms of what is being recorded by panning sideways, tilting up and down, and zooming in and out of objects, and are best for remote viewing and monitoring.
  • Day/Night CCTV cameras: built to work during the day as well as night-time, regardless of the lighting conditions, day/night cameras are ideal for properties that require round-the-clock CCTV surveillance.
  • Infrared/Night vision CCTV cameras: more expensive than day/night CCTV cameras, night vision CCTV cameras use infrared technology to record videos and images in absolute darkness.
  • Network/IP CCTV cameras: connected over a network that allows the live footage to be accessed from anywhere in the world via the internet, IP CCTV cameras are the ideal choice for remote monitoring.
  • Wireless CCTV cameras: made for the sole purpose of minimising the installation time and use of excess wires for a cleaner appearance, wireless CCTV cameras easily blend in with the surroundings working as an effective hidden deterrent.
  • High Definition (HD) CCTV cameras: available in a variety of resolutions ranging from 720p going all the way up to 4K, HD CCTV cameras offer unparalleled video quality and deliver high-quality images with zooming capabilities.


CCTV cameras work using a few basic processes, although the particular ins and outs depend on the type of system and its components.

With that being said, all CCTV camera systems consist of at least one camera, monitor, and recorder, all of which can easily be scaled up or down depending on the size of the area under surveillance.

CCTV systems work by using the cameras to take constant sequences of images and transmit them, either wirelessly or using cables, to the recorder and then to the display monitor. This simple process allows you to view the sequence of images as recorded video footage.

Depending on the type of cameras used, as listed above, you may also have the ability to rotate the lens and zoom in and out of view.

A few key features to look for when buying a CCTV camera for your property include motion sensors, notification alerts, HD resolution, night vision, wide field of view, ample storage, protection against cyber-attacks, and advanced features such as facial recognition, thermal imaging, number plate recognition, and pet-friendliness.


To give a very general idea of the price of a CCTV system, a one-camera home CCTV system, complete with DVR (recorder), monitor, wiring, and full installation would cost around £540 to £660.

Each additional camera thereafter would be around £120, so a 3-camera system, for example, would cost roughly £780 to £900.

Of course, the total and final cost depends on the type of CCTV cameras being installed and the size of the installation, with wired systems costing more in terms of installation as compared to wireless ones.


Both burglar alarms and CCTV cameras are two of the most effective deterrents against burglaries. But when it comes to choosing the best out of the two, which one should you go for?

Well, the answer to that is not as straightforward as you might think since it involves several factors such as the features you require, the level of security, ease of use, your budget, and many more.

Here are a few differences between the two to help you choose the best one for your security needs:

Burglar AlarmsCCTV Cameras
Designed to deter burglars and prevent burglariesDesigned to deter burglars, monitor activities, and gather evidence
Real-time alerts in the form of audible sirens, phone calls, or notification alerts.Notification alerts if the system has motion sensors enabled
Difficult to miss, especially if you have a dialler or monitored systemMight miss alerts since they are sent only to the app owners and require you to keep an eye on your phone at all times
All British standard burglar alarms are tamper-proof, making it difficult for burglars to mess with them without triggering the alarmMost professional CCTV cameras are tamper-proof, but there is the risk of someone getting inside and stealing the recorders or hacking the system
Usually the first layer of securityIntended for enhanced protection


While it is true that both burglar alarms and CCTV cameras have their own purposes, one thing that is common between them is that they both are effective deterrents against burglaries and intrusions.

A burglar is less likely to target a property with burglar alarms installed, and even more so if the place is under CCTV surveillance for the fear of getting recorded and caught.

Therefore, if you wish to safeguard yourself and your property against such security threats, our recommendation to you is to install both burglar alarms and CCTV cameras on your property for maximum protection.

There are several options available out there for all kinds of budgets and requirements. However, if you are having a difficult time choosing the right one for your property, you can count on our professional services to guide you through the process and pick out the best burglar alarms and CCTV cameras for your home or business.


At Calder Security, we provide a comprehensive range of security solutions that include not just professional installation but also monitoring, maintenance, and repair services.

We understand that everyone has a set budget and unique requirements and, for that, we have tailored solutions for all kinds of individuals and property owners.

We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA), approved members of the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), and also conform to all the relevant British and EU Standards.

We follow all the best practices in the industry and install only high-quality, state-of-the-art security equipment.

We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.

We understand the importance of having to regularly maintain security systems since the inability to do so might result in serious faults and consequent vulnerabilities in your property’s security.

We provide professional maintenance checks and reminders for when the checks are due to help you stay compliant with the law and work fast to restore your security systems to excellent condition.

We offer a 24-hour call-out service for customers and can also repair systems not installed by us. Our engineers are highly skilled and can restore faulty systems to full working order in one visit.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!

Photo by Anna Tikhonova on Unsplash