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The Importance of Glass Break Sensors for a Home Security System

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The Importance of Glass Break Sensors for a Home Security System
October 8, 2013
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The Importance of Glass Break Sensors for a Home Security System

This post was originally published in October 2013. It was updated in March 2020 with new product information.


break sensors are sound-based, so they present a very difficult challenge for


A glass break sensor detects the sound of breaking glass. The device is unique; out of all the sensors commonly found in a home security system, it is the only one that is activated by sound. Other common sensors, like door and window sensors and motion sensors, require some form of movement in order to be tripped.

Glass break

sensor effectiveness

Without a glass break sensor, all a burglar needs to do is smash an accessible window to gain access into a home—though, this action may alert people nearby. A door and window sensor usually isn’t useful in this situation, as it requires the separation of its two pieces to be tripped. Breaking a window isn't likely to do that. Motion sensors provide another layer of security but only activate once the burglar has made his way into the home.

Picture of the Frontpoint Glass Break SensorPicture of the Frontpoint Glass Break Sensor
The Frontpoint Glass Break Sensor “hears” breaking glass and works with windows of all sizes.

A glass break sensor, however, is designed to hear the unique frequency of breaking glass. This means that the moment the burglar smashes your window, a signal is sent to your control panel—which sounds an alarm if the system is armed. The burglar will probably be sent running before they can steal anything or do any further damage.

Glass break sensors are also cost-effective. A Frontpoint Glass Break Sensor covers a range of up to 20 feet in any direction. This is perfect for protecting large rooms with multiple windows and sliding glass doors. Instead of paying for multiple door and window sensors, a single glass break sensor can cover all of the glass surfaces. Motion sensors can also cover large areas, but it is not recommended to use them as glass break replacements that provide perimeter security.

Motion sensors

are NOT glass break sensors

Motion sensors are a critical part of any alarm system. However, too many people think they do the same job as a glass break sensor. In reality, the two sensors are entirely different and have different functions. Here are three reasons why a motion sensor is not an effective replacement for a glass break sensor:

  1. Glass break sensors are tripped the moment the glass breaks, which can immediately scare off the burglar. A motion sensor will not go off when the glass breaks. Since the alarm was not immediately raised, the burglar can now peer inside and survey the home for sensors, and try to avoid them.
  2. Large pets can set off motion sensors. Some customers choose to raise the level of their motion sensors to avoid them being tripped by pets. However, this can be risky as smarter burglars could crawl to avoid detection.
  3. Some customers also turn off their motion sensors at night, for their pets and personal convenience. Many people want to be able to get a glass of water without having to disarm an alarm system. Unfortunately, turning off motion sensors leaves the home vulnerable if adequate perimeter sensors are not in place.

There are not many situations where we would not recommend a glass break sensor. Glass break sensors are unique and very useful additions to any home security system. They are cost-effective and can deter a burglar before they do additional damage. Consider getting one if you don’t have these tools already—a glass break sensor could be the final piece to complete your home security system.

Frontpoint makes life easier and more efficient. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.

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September 30, 2016 at 9:52 AM
So, do you offer one with your packages as part of it, being included? Or are you just pushing sales? Because, it does seem a bit odd to believe what you are saying fully when you are trying to sell me something. I want to get the ultimate package, obviously the most expensive unfortunately, but you don't seem to offer any more products with it over the cheaper ones. You just have to pay more to use more features, unfortunately I really want automated door locks.
Katie Rynex
October 10, 2016 at 12:17 PM
Louise, our monitoring packages do not dictate what kind of sensors, or the amount sensors you are able to add in to your panel. All of our security solutions are customized per each individual's home. Thank you for your great question!
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