Best Z-Wave Siren?

project_security

(Nick) #1

Hello all,

I’m looking for a siren to use with Smartthings, through either SHM or the Smart Alarm smart app. The ones I keep running into online are the Aeotech Gen5 Siren, the FortrezZ SSA2, the Zooz Smart Chime, and the GoControl Z-Wave Siren & Strobe.

Does anyone have a recommendation on which is best or works well? Or a different option I didn’t list above? I want to use it for security purposes, not as a doorbell or chime (i.e. if an intruder opened the door it would make them want to leave).

Preferably I’d like it to:

  • Sound like a siren, not a beep
  • Be loud enough to freak out an intruder
  • Have a custom device handler / support customization with SHM or Smart Alarm
  • Be reliable (not go off at random times, and conversely, go off when it’s supposed to)
  • Have a tidy look and clean install

If anyone has experience with any of the above, positive or negative, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features)
Control the siren in Popp smoke detector
(Matthew Valeri) #2

I use the Utilitech Z-Wave Siren sold at Lowes.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-85-Decibel-Indoor-Siren-Works-with-Iris/50038872

Very simple, just on and off. Very loud. I have mine placed between my front door and storm door. It is audible both inside and outside the house.

It is large, you’re not going to be able to hide it easily if size is an issue for you. About 4 inches wide by 8 inches long by 3 inches deep. Kind of like a brick.


(Ron Talley) #3

We use one of these outside the window. It’s on a zapper timer.


(Bob D.) #4

I started with SmartThings about 1-1/2 years ago, with the intent of a simple home security system, without a monitoring fee. While living is a perceived safe town, there had been a few break-ins which I wanted to guard against. My initial devices in addition to the V2 hub, were 2 motion sensors, a water sensor and an Aeotech Gen5 Siren. In my opinion, this siren meets all of your stated requirements. Because of 2 recent “kick-in the door” break-ins, within the past month, I added 2 more motion sensors and another Aeotech Gen5 Siren. If my motion sensors are triggered, I wanted noise and a lot of it. Again, the Aeotech Gen5 Siren is a good device that you should consider.


(Mark) #5

This is something you may experience if you go with ST for your security system, regardless of which siren you choose.


(Kevin) #6

I’ve created device handlers for 3 out of the 4 you listed so I’m very familiar with them.

If you need it to run locally you can use a custom DTH to configure it and then use one of the alarm or switch handlers that run locally to control it.

If a siren goes off randomly it’s almost always due to a faulty sensor or issue with SmartThings and not the siren. When making your decision, you should also consider what you would do if it turned on and you couldn’t log into SmartThings to turn it off.

Zooz Smart Chime:
Battery only, optional strobe, multiple alarm sounds, and 3 volumes.

It runs on batteries and is really small so it can be put anywhere, it’s great for chimes (which you don’t need), and the battery life is OK, but it uses to CR123 so they’re expensive to replace.

It’s probably not loud enough to scare anyone off and it can be easily turned off by twisting it off the wall and pulling the batteries.

Aeotech Gen5 Siren:
Powered, battery backup, strobe, multiple sounds, and 3 volumes.

It’s small, looks good, has a typical siren sound, and has an internal battery backup, but when running on batteries there’s no way to determine the battery level.

Lots of users have reported a constant hissing sound that can be heard when within a few feet of the device and some users have reported that it’s not loud enough.

The LED can’t be turned off and the plug is part of the device so I don’t believe you could mount it on a wall, but even if you could, there’s a big button on the bottom that turns it off so it would still be the easiest to disable.

GoControl Z-Wave Siren & Strobe
Powered or Battery Only (depends on the model), siren and strobe (slow flashing red light) can be used independently, 1 sound, 1 volume.

It’s really loud, attaches easily to a wall (even powered model because it uses USB cable), the battery life is OK and it uses 4 AAs which are inexpensive to replace. It’s large, ugly and partially red so it’s easy to notice.

I don’t have the powered model, but the battery mode can be slid off the wall and the batteries removed to disable it.

Zipato Multisound Siren
(This is a Zigbee device, but I didn’t notice you were just looking for zwave devices until after I wrote it so I’m leaving it here)
Powered, battery backup, red LED, multiple sounds, 1 volume.

Really loud, it uses a USB cable so it can be attached to a wall, it’s large, but it’s also white and flat so it’s not that noticable. It has an internal battery backup, but when on backup power there’s no way to determine the battery level. It’s Zigbee, more expensive than the others, and the led can’t be turned off.

I just made the mistake of sliding off the back cover to see how difficult it is to disable and I discovered that it turns on when opened and doesn’t turn back off when shut. I didn’t see a way to disable it so I held a pillow over it while pulling up the Mobile App to turn it off, but it was still really loud.

I just checked the manual and it can be manually turned off by holding a button and pushing another button 3 times, but the buttons are difficult to see and I can’t imagine anyone sticking around long enough to figure it out.


(Nick) #7

Thank you everyone for the detailed and thoughtful advice!

I think my favorites are the Aeotech and the Zipato.

I like the looks of the Aeotech, and that it plugs in for direct power with no hanging cords. I prefer the “emergency” wah wah wah style siren sound, and from what I can tell this one only does various beeps/tones. The big button to disable could be a benefit to quickly silence false triggers, but a liability for intruders disabling. All of my other devices so far are Z-Wave so this would fit in with the mesh network.

I also like the looks of the Zipato, but don’t like the idea of a cord hanging on the wall. I could probably figure out a way to cleanly install it, though. I prefer the siren sounds this one has vs. the Aeotech. It would be my only Zigbee device so I’m not sure if that’s a big deal or how it would affect reliability and communication to and from the hub. Eventually I’d probably want two sirens, one for each entry point, so the price of this guy definitely hurts a bit more.

Sorry… just talking myself through it! Thanks again for the info, it was helpful.


#8

Do be aware that if the SmartThings cloud is not available for any reason, including maintenance (which you cannot refuse or delay in SmartThings) then you may not have any way through the system to turn the siren off. The SmartThings mobile app can only talk to your hub if the SmartThings cloud is available, even if your phone is on your local Wi-Fi.

You can find a number of threads in the forums where people were in this situation and their families found it extremely irritating.

So if you are going to hide the siren, you need to think about what you will do when the siren is going off and your smartthings system is unavailable or not working correctly (which has happened about once a month for the last six months at the time of this writing).

If you get a Z wave siren that supports association, you will have the option to directly associate it with a minimote, which is a small handheld remote that can work with most Z wave devices and should cost about $25 if you shop around. You can associate one button to multiple sirens. Zwave direct association will work even if your SmartThings hub dies altogether. So it may be worth considering adding a minimote to your system.


#9

As far as sound level, a typical doorbell is around 85 dB. Hearing damage will begin with sounds above 110 dB. Most indoor sirens are designed to operate between 105 and 110 dB. I believe the Fortrezz is the loudest of the ones listed so far.

In most US cities, you have to get a license to operate an outdoor siren which is louder than 110 dB and fines for one that goes off without a license are pretty high.

You aren’t going to be able to get an indoor siren for your house which will be loud enough for your neighbors to hear inside their house because that would be loud enough to cause hearing damage. If you want your neighbors to be notified, make arrangements with them to either send a text message or set off a blinking Light or an indoor siren in their home. Or add an outdoor siren at about the level of a car alarm.

About now, people often say “I don’t care if a burglar has their hearing damaged,” but the point is that your Township cares both about the impact of false alarms on your neighbors and the potential hearing damage for paramedics, firefighters, gas company inspectors, and others who may legally be entering your home during an emergency. So they do tend to be very strict about sound level requirements, and the fines will add up quickly. :wink:


(Nick) #10

Haha I got a kick out of that linked thread, although I’m sure the OP did not find it funny!

So I understand that the hub or app wouldn’t be able to turn it off during an outage, but a physical button on the siren would, right? Assuming the siren has a ‘disable’ button like the Aeotech? I realize that requires physically being present, as would the minimote.

One other question - if the trigger rules tell the siren to go off for 5min let’s say, and the siren is triggered, but the hub or cloud connection goes offline before the 5min period has ended, will the siren stop after the 5min or does it need the hub to tell it to stop?


(Nick) #11

Good info. I am not interested in damaging anyone’s hearing, especially my own. Looking at the siren options for indoor purposes only, and I don’t need to alert neighbors. Just something to make a would-be intruder uncomfortable and hopefully run away. Also not looking for something that requires a license so between 100-110 dB would be plenty powerful.


#12

Yes, A button on the siren will work if the siren offers that feature. The advantage of the minimote is that you can be 40 or 50 feet away from the siren, so if you have it hidden in the attic or wherever you can still turn it off.

One other question - if the trigger rules tell the siren to go off for 5min let’s say, and the siren is triggered, but the hub or cloud connection goes offline before the 5min period has ended, will the siren stop after the 5min or does it need the hub to tell it to stop?

It depends on the exact automation rule being used, but in general it will probably need the hub to tell it to stop, and it may need the cloud. So it’s definitely a potential point of failure.

But if the timing is a feature of the siren itself, so that you are sending it a command to sound for two minutes or whatever the available parameters are, then that would not need a second command to have it turn off.

So that one just depends on the details.


(Nick) #13

Hey Kevin,

If you don’t mind, what type of siren noise does the Go Control unit make? Is it a beep/tone, or is it more of a true siren like a police car or intruder alert (wah wah wah)? I can’t find audio clips on YouTube or anywhere online.

Thanks!
-Nick


#14

Go to 1:25 in the following video


(Nick) #15

Ha, how did I miss that?! Thank you, that’s more or less the sound I was hoping it would make.


(Fernando) #17

Hi! Wich one did you finally choose?

Any clues if this sirens can be placed outdoors? If not, is there any?
Also, what do you think on buying a non zwave siren and connect it to a Zwave outlet?

Thanks!!


(Nick) #18

Hey Fernando,

I ended up getting the wall-powered GoControl unit, and am using Kevin’s custom device handler to control it.

My thoughts are:

  • Very loud close up. Like ear-piercingly loud. Seriously, if you get one of these and have family members around warn them not to approach it if it’s going off. Getting close enough to unplug it is asking for hearing damage. But in the next room? Or on a different floor? Not so much. Placed in the entryways it would definitely disturb an intruder in the middle of the night, but it’s not quite as far-reaching as I had expected and the sound definitely falls off the farther away you get from it. Almost want one for each of front and back doors.

  • Is not as big as I expected, which is a plus. I have it concealed behind a couch anyways, but it’s really not that big.

  • Cannot be turned off easily if app is not working. No direct association so Aeon Minimote is out of the question. However, it does have a hardware setting to auto-off after a preset amount of time, the longest of which being 2min. I have it set to this, so if it goes off by accident and I can’t get to it, the longest it would sound is 2min. I figure if a burglar listens to it for 2 whole minutes and decides to stick around – it’s beyond the siren at that point anyways.

  • Was difficult to pair. Had to try many times, and exclude then include. Frustrating. Not sure this is the siren’s fault, though. After it paired it has worked correctly with no false triggers.

  • Best part is price. Was around $35 on Amazon. For the money, I definitely can’t complain.

As to your other questions, I don’t think any of the sirens in this thread are meant to be placed outdoors. Such a siren might exist but I don’t know offhand which one that would be.

Not sure if using a z-wave outlet would trigger a non-zwave siren. Would probably depend on the specific siren and what makes it go off.

Best,
-Nick


(Fernando) #19

Thanks for the detiled feedback!

I beliueve that if the no zwave siren has a physical on-off switch, then leaving it on “on” position I can trigger it with the smart outlet, is it possible?

Thanks!


(Nick) #20

I would assume that would be possible in the manner you have described, but don’t have direct experience with that setup myself.

Just be aware that the controller probably has to send an “off” command to the z-wave switch to turn the siren off then, so if the app or cloud services aren’t available, or if the “off” command doesn’t get through, and the siren is sounding, it could be stuck “on” for a long time if you’re physically away from your home.


(Eric) #21

I’d like to add a siren that also works as a door chime for my ring doorbells. I could just buy the ring chime, then buy a seperate siren but it seems like one of these devices could do both of them.

On Amazon the reviews of the Aeon seem to say that using it as a door chime and siren the volume is very loud when chiming. It looks like the Zooz is discontinued and the Dome siren is the same device, would that be the best for a door chime/doorbell/siren device? Any others I should consider?