What Is the Best Keypad for a VISTA-15P, 20P, 21iP?

The best keypad for a VISTA-15P, 20P or 21iP is the Honeywell 6160RF. All things considered, this keypad will provide the best support and functionality for the system. The 6160RF is excellent for programming, allows users to backdoor into programming and serves as a wireless receiver.

Honeywell 6160rf alphanumeric alarm keypad with integrated transceiverWhen looking for a primary keypad for a hardwired system, a user will want a device that can perform basic panel functions and complete system programming. It is also helpful if the keypad provides some way to get back into programming if they get locked out. The two keypads that meet these requirements for the VISTA Series Systems are the Honeywell 6160RF and the Honeywell 6160. The 6160RF has the advantage over the standard 6160 because it has a built-in wireless receiver for supporting wireless sensors. But if a user intends on only using hardwired sensors with their system, then a 6160 will work just as well.

The main reason that the 6160RF and 6160 are the best primary keypads for a VISTA System is because they are alphanumeric keypads. In other words, they display menu information in English text. This means that a user can navigate programming menus using one of these keypads, and the information will be properly displayed. This is not the case for fixed-English keypads. Some examples of fixed-English keypads are the Honeywell 6150RF and 6150 Keypads.

With a fixed-English keypad, only numeric information can be displayed, not full text. If a user tries to perform programming functions using one of these keypads, they will be operating blindly. Although all the menus and programming fields will be technically accessible, it is very likely that the user will make a mistake and mess up their panel settings. That is why programming with a fixed-English keypad is strongly discouraged. But if a user already has an alphanumeric keypad for programming and they only want a secondary keypad for arming and disarming, then a 6150RF or 6160 Keypad will work just fine. Remember, the RF version is only needed if a user wants to add wireless sensor compatibility to their system.

There are also touchscreen keypads available for these systems. Most notably, there is the Honeywell Tuxedo Touch and the Honeywell 6280 Keypad. The difference between these two keypads is that the Tuxedo Touch will provide Z-Wave smart home functionality for the system, while the 6280 is just a touchscreen keypad. Both of these devices have a console mode that allows panel programming as if a standard alphanumeric keypad were being used. But the downside to these keypads is that there is no way to backdoor into programming if a user becomes locked out. For that reason, it is always recommended to also have an alphanumeric keypad on hand if a Tuxedo Touch or a 6280 is used as the primary system keypad. And if a user just wants Z-Wave functionality without having to add a new keypad, they can always just use a Honeywell VAM. The VAM is a Z-Wave controller and connects and operates just like the Tuxedo Touch, but without the touchscreen interface. For this reason, it is considerably less expensive than the Tuxedo.

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