Reviews

System Sensor 5621 - 135°F Fixed Temp / Rate of Rise Heat Detector

Great Wired Heat Detector!
Submitted on 12/26/2019 Alarm Grid

The System Sensor 5621 is a hardwired heat detector. Like all wired heat sensors, it uses a 2-wire connection with the panel. It should be installed at any open wired zone on the panel. Because of the unique way that heat sensors operate, the fixed temperature portion of the System Sensor 5621 is a one-and-done device. In other words, once the fixed temperature portion of the device activates, it must be discarded and replaced with a new one. But as far as wired heat sensors are concerned, the System Sensor 5621 is a great option. We give it 5 Stars.

There are many things to like about the System Sensor 5621. For one, the sensor offers both fixed temperature detection (135°F or higher) and rate-of-rise (RoR) detection (increase of 15°F or higher in a single minute). This makes it more likely that the sensor will respond quickly to a fire. Since the sensor doesn't respond to smoke, you can use it in an area where smoke may otherwise be present, such as a kitchen or designated smoking areas. The System Sensor 5621 is also great for use in areas like bathrooms and garages where high humidity may cause problems for conventional smoke detectors. As the fixed portion of the sensor is one-and-done, while the ROR portion will restore automatically, no reset function is needed. This makes it super easy to set up for use with an alarm system. The sensor has a large coverage area of 50 sqft with a ceiling height of up to 10 feet.

However, there are some downsides to the System Sensor 5621 that you should consider. The biggest downside is that it is a one-and-done device. You will need to replace it after just one fixed temperature activation. The sensor is designed for indoor use only, so you cannot use it to monitor for outdoor areas. Also the device does not have a sounder, so you cannot use it as a standalone heat sensor. You will also need to make sure your wired system has an adequate sounder. Fortunately, these downsides are rather minor, and they do not stop us from giving the System Sensor 5621 a 5 Star rating.

Good: Fixed Temp. & RoR Detection, Not Prone to False Alarms, No Reset Function Required, Large Coverage Area

Bad: One-And-Done, No Sounder, Indoor Use Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Qolsys IQ Flood - Flood sensor for the Qolsys IQ and IQ Panel 2

Excellent Flood Sensor
Submitted on 12/26/2019 Alarm Grid

The Qolsys IQ Flood is a wireless flood sensor that operates at 319.5 MHz. The sensor has an attached probe for detecting water leaks. Only a small amount of liquid is needed to activate the sensor. By using a flood sensor like the Qolsys IQ Flood, you can have your system alert you to a flood before any serious water damage occurs. The Qolsys IQ Flood works very well, and it has very few downsides. With that in mind, we give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things to like about the Qolsys IQ Flood. For one, it activates with only a small amount of water. This means that your system will be notified before any serious water damage occurs. This will give you time to take action before the flood gets any worse. The sensor has a wireless range of up to 600 feet in open air. You should have no problem using the sensor in an average sized home or a smaller business. The sensor has an impressive battery life, as it only needs a battery change about every five (5) years with average use. The sensor uses two (2) lithium CR2032 coin batteries for power.

However, there are some downsides about the Qolsys IQ Flood that should be considered as well. The fact that the sensor is attached to a probe means that you will need to find a good spot for both the sensor and the probe. Fortunately, the probe wire is 6 feet long, so you should be able to find a good mounting spot for both. Some ideal locations include behind toilets, underneath sinks, and underneath water heaters. The sensor is not part of the Qolsys S-Line Series, and it does not offer any encryption. All things considered, these are very minor downsides, and they do not stop us from giving the IQ Flood 5 Stars.

Good: Activates w/ Small Amount of Liquid, Great Wireless Range, Long Battery Life

Bad: Must Position Both Probe & Sensor, No Encryption

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell 6165EX - Alphanumeric Slimline Alarm Keypad

Get a 6160 Instead!
Submitted on 12/20/2019 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 6165EX is a slim-line Alphanumeric Kepyad for Honeywell VISTA Security Systems. It is basically the same as a standard Honeywell 6160 Keypad, except the Honeywell 6165EX is smaller, more expensive and has a much dimmer LED backlight. There is very little reason to choose this keypad over a Honeywell 6160. You will just be spending more money on a keypad that will give you a headache if you try to use it in the dark. However, the Honeywell 6165EX does work well, and it does have a strong build-quality. We give it a 3 Star rating.

There are some good aspects about the Honeywell 6165EX. Many users appreciate its slim profile, and its compact design is often preferred over the 6160. Since it is an Alphanumeric Keypad, you can use it for deep-level programming, which is quite nice. In fact, this keypad is the equivalent of a Honeywell 6160, so you are getting all the features. The keypad also features four (4) programmable function keys, which is nice if you ever quickly need to perform a system action. We also like the relatively low power draw of the 6165EX, as it uses just 150 mA of power when the system is in alarm mode.

But the downsides of the Honeywell 6165EX should not be ignored. This keypad costs more than a Honeywell 6160, and there's not much reason to spend the extra money. While the keypad might have a slim and compact design that is appreciated by many, it isn't exactly an "aesthetically pleasing" keypad. Most of our technicians agreed as a matter of personal opinion that the keypad is quite ugly. It's not exactly a keypad that looks great on the wall. But the biggest downfall of the Honeywell 6165EX is its terrible backlight. We have had customers report that it is difficult to use this keypad in the dark. Once they switched to a 6160 Keypad, these issues were fixed.

We are not big fans of the Honeywell 6165EX. We think it is a much better idea to get a Honeywell 6160 instead. Or if you want to start using wireless sensors, spring for a little bit more and get a Honeywell 6160RF. While the Honeywell 6165EX is built well and performs its duties as described, we cannot recommend it. This keypad gets 3 Stars out of 5.

Good: Compact Design, Deep-Level Programming, 4 Function Keys, Low Power Draw

Bad: Weak Backlight, More Expensive Than 6160, Ugly

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

Leviton VRE06-1LZ - Electronic Low Voltage Z-Wave Dimmer

Great Z-Wave ELV Dimmer!
Submitted on 12/20/2019 Alarm Grid

The Leviton VRE06-1LZ is a Z-Wave dimmer designed for use with electronic low voltage (ELV) lights. It can support an ELV lighting load of up to 600 mA, and it can be configured for use with single-pole, 3-way, and multi-pole applications. The best feature of this Z-Wave dimmer is that it does not require a traveler wire for a 3-way wiring configuration if used with a Leviton VRCZ1-1L. That is a huge plus, and it allows us to give this device a perfect 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Leviton VRE06-1LZ. The biggest is that it doesn't need a traveler wire for use in a 3-way wiring configuration if it is used with Leviton's VRCZ1-1LZ 1-Button Zone Dimming Controller. This is great, as having to run a traveler wire through the walls can be a difficult hurdle for many DIY users to overcome. But you can avoid that step entirely with the VRE06-1LZ when used with the corresponding controller. And being able to use the device in single-pole, 3-way, or multi-pole wiring configurations really improves the versatility of the device. We also like the fact that the VRE06-1LZ pairs with a Z-Wave controller quite easily. Another benefit is that the device comes with interchangeable outer casings to match a home's decor.

There are some downsides to the Leviton VRE06-1LZ that should be considered. For one, it is only standard Z-Wave, not Z-Wave Plus. Users looking for a certified Z-Wave Plus device have better options to choose from. Since the Leviton VRE06-1LZ is discontinued, you can no longer buy it new. But if you come across a used model, then it should still work just fine. The VRE06-1LZ is for ELV lights only, and it cannot be used with other lighting loads. All of these negatives are fairly minor, and the positives for the device outweigh the negatives. We give the Leviton VRE06-1LZ 5 Stars.

Good: No Traveler for 3-Way Wiring if Used w/ Leviton VRCZ1-1ZL, Multiple Wiring Configuration Options, Enrolls Easily, Interchangeable Outer Casings

Bad: Standard Z-Wave, ELV Lights Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Qolsys IQ Glass-S - Encrypted Glass Break Sensor for IQ Panel 2

Wonderful Glass Break Sensor!
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The Qolsys IQ Glass-S is a wireless 319.5 MHz glass break sensor. It actively listens for the sound of breaking glass, and it will alert the system upon detecting this type of sound. The sensor is specifically configured to ignore other similar high-pitched sounds and only respond to true glass break events. This is done in part by requiring the sensor to detect both the high-pitched sound of the glass shattering and the low-pitched "thud" of an object striking against the glass. We believe that this is a fantastic sensor, and we give it a perfect 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the Qolsys IQ Glass-S. For one, it utilizes Qolsys S-Line Encryption when paired with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or a compatible 319.5 MHz Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. This rolling code encryption makes it extremely difficult for a potential intruder to hack or takeover this device. The sensor offers a great coverage area, as it can detect glass break events from up to 25 feet away. By strategically placing this sensor, there is no reason why it cannot monitor every window in a small to medium sized room. When compared with other glass break sensors, this is actually a great coverage area. And the fact that it is designed to prevent false alarms should also be mentioned.

There aren't many downsides to the Qolsys IQ Glass-S. One issue we see with the device is that it has an admittedly ugly design. And since you really need to have this sensor out in the open with nothing blocking its path to the windows, it's not like you can easily hide it. But if you don't care about that type of thing, then it is a non-issue. Also remember that as a wireless sensor, you will need to replace the batteries from time to time. But overall, these are minor flaws. The benefits of this product greatly outweigh the negatives. We give the IQ Glass-S 5 Stars.

Good: S-Line Encryption, Great Coverage Area, Prevents False Alarms

Bad: Ugly Design, Need to Replace Batteries Occasionally

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC PG9935 - PowerG 915MHz Wireless Shock Detector

Excellent Shock Sensor!
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The DSC PG9935 is a PowerG Shock Sensor designed for use with security systems that support wireless PowerG Sensors. The sensor responds to intense shock waves caused by someone smashing a window or breaking down a door. It is a good sensor for monitoring forced entry. The sensor also includes an internal reed switch and an auxiliary input to add to its versatility. This is a great sensor, and we have no problem giving it a perfect 5 Star rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC PG9935. For one, it has the excellent range of a PowerG Sensor. It can communicate with a panel from up to 2 km away depending on the system it is used with. The sensor also utilizes 128-bit AES encryption for enhanced wireless security and protection. The device offers a load of different features. In addition to being used as a shock sensor, it also offers two (2) other main functions. It has an auxiliary input so that you can connect a hardwired contact sensor and have it communicate with the system wirelessly. The auxiliary input allows for Normally Open, Normally Closed, and Single End-of-Line contacts. The PG9935 also has a built-in reed switch. If you add a magnet, then it can operate as a conventional door/window contact in its own right.

There aren't really many downsides to the DSC PG9935. The biggest concern is that as a shock sensor, it is somewhat prone to false alarms. Although the sensor is designed to only respond to intense vibrations, it's possible that any significant shock wave could set it off. This could include something falling or even a relatively minor earthquake. We find that listening glass break sensors are usually less prone to false alarms than shock sensors. But if you understand that risk, then the PG9935 is a great overall device. We rate it at 5 Stars.

Good: PowerG Range, 128-Bit AES Encryption, Auxiliary Inpuit, Built-In Reed Switch

Bad: Possability of False Alarms

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

GRI 2600 - Wired Flood Sensor

Good Wired Flood Sensor!
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The GRI 2600 is a hardwired flood sensor that is designed for use with wired security systems. It can be mounted anywhere that is prone to a water leak or a flood, as long as you can run a wire back to the main panel. The sensor uses a 4-wire connection, with two (2) wires for the zone and two (2) wires for power. The sensor was introduced at a time when there were not many hardwired flood sensors available. However, it still holds up quite well today. It is a great choice if you are looking for a hardwired flood sensor. We give this product 5 Stars.

There are many things to like about the GRI 2600. It uses two (2) metal probes for detecting any liquid. The sensor responds to leaks quite reliably when it is mounted in a good location. This makes it a trustworthy and reliable flood sensor that you can count on if you need your security system to know quickly about a water leak or potential flood. Remember, responding to leaks quickly is crucial if you want to make sure that no costly flood damage occurs. The sensor is also quite compact, and it doesn't take up much space. This give you great flexibility in choosing a mounting location.

There are not many downsides to the GRI 2600. The most obvious is that it needs to be wired back to the panel. Fishing wires through walls can be a tough task for many DIYers, and many users will prefer to make things easier by using wireless sensors. But if you don't mind the wiring process, and you can find a good location for the sensor, then the GRI 2600 is an outstanding wired flood sensor. The GRI 2600 gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Quickly Detects Leaks Using 2 Metal Probes, Compact Design

Bad: Needs to be Wired

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC PG9938 - PowerG 915MHz Wireless Panic Key

Nice Emergency Button!
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The DSC PG9938 is a single button panic key that works with alarm panels that support PowerG. This includes all versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, any DSC PowerSeries NEO with an added wireless transceiver, and any DSC Iotega System. The PG9938 is noted for its great wireless range, outstanding wireless security, and its large central button. It is a great panic button, and we have no issue giving it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things to like about the DSC PG9938. For starters, it is a PowerG Sensor. That means its offers a wireless range of up to 2 km in open air depending on the system it is being used with. It also utilizes 128-bit AES encryption in all its wireless communications. This makes it virtually impossible to hack or takeover wirelessly. And with the signal frequency hopping of PowerG, you will not need to worry about RF jamming attacks with this sensor. The device is built for use as a panic button, but you can really program it to function as a medical alert button, or even as a fire alarm button. Many users will use this device as a medical alert button, as it has a multi-function clip that allows you to clip it to a belt. You can also mount it on a wall using this clip. The device also has an LED light to let you know when wireless signals have been transmitted. Users typically like the fact that the fob has one large central button. This makes it easy to activate in an emergency. And accidental false alarms are prevented because the button needs to be held down for a second before it will activate.

There aren't really many downsides to the DSC PG9938. The biggest is that it only has one (1) button. This limits the way you can use the device. Many users prefer to get a key fob with more buttons so that they can perform more actions. But if you just need a simple fob with a big button, then this is for you. We give it 5 Stars.

Good: Great Wireless Range, 128-Bit AES Encryption, Signal Frequency Hopping, Multi-Function Clip, LED Light, Large Central Button, Requires Minimum Button Hold

Bad: Only 1 Button

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

2GIG SP1-GC3 - Wireless Touchscreen Keypad for GC3 and GC3e

Outstanding Keypad
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The 2GIG SP1-GC3 is a touchscreen keypad for a 2GIG GC3 or 2GIG GC3e System. This is the most robust and complete keypad option for the GC3 and GC3e, as it offers a plethora of outstanding features and capabilities. For those looking to operate a GC3 or GC3e from a second on-site location, the SP1 is second to none. It has loads of benefits and very few downsides. We think this is an excellent keypad, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with a compatible system. It gets an easy 5 Star rating from us.

The biggest benefit to the SP1 is its many features. The keypad can arm/disarm, display current status, bypass zones, produce audible chime and voice annunciations, and even perform home automation functions for controlling smart home devices. This includes running entire Z-Wave smart scenes. You can also check the SP1 Keypad for a 5 day local weather forecast and to get the current date and time. The keypad features a beautiful 7-inch touchscreen controller, and it offers fast and responsive controls. It looks great when mounted, and it truly makes an excellent addition to any GC3 or GC3e Security Panel.

There aren't many downsides to the SP1, but there are some minor ones. A 2GIG GC3 System will need to be running a minimum firmware version to support the 2GIG SP1. Fortunately, updating the firmware on a GC3 System isn't too difficult, and you should generally try to keep the panel on the latest firmware anyway. The SP1 Keypad must be connected to a plug-in transformer for power, which requires some minor wiring. Finally, the backup battery pack for the SP1 is easy to replace, but it isn't readily available. You will likely need to contact Nortek if you need a replacement battery.

Overall, the strengths of the SP1 far outweigh its weaknesses. This keypad gets 5 Stars from Alarm Grid.

Good: Many Features, 7-Inch Touchscreen, Great Design

Bad: Minimum Firmware Requirements, Wire to Transformer, Battery Replacement Can Be Tough to Find

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Qolsys IQ Motion-S - Encrypted Motion Sensor for IQ Panel 2

Great Motion Sensor
Submitted on 12/19/2019 Alarm Grid

The Qolsys IQ Motion-S is a motion detection sensor for compatible wireless security systems. The sensor operates at a wireless frequency of 319.5 MHz, and it uses Qolsys S-Line rolling code encryption when paired with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or compatible Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. The IQ Motion-S has since been discontinued in favor of a slightly upgraded and refined model. However, these updates were fairly minimal, and the IQ Motion-S still works great if you happen to come across one. And if you already have one you are using, then there is virtually no reason to replace it with a newer model. This is a trustworthy and reliable motion sensor that you can count on. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many things to like about the IQ Motion-S. For one, it is super easy to program and configure. It supports both corner and flat mounting to give you some different installation options. The sensor offers pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 40 pounds. This is very good if you have a smaller dog or a cat in your household. The wireless range of the Qolsys S-Line Sensors is pretty good, and you should have no communication issues in a typical home. Finally, the S-Line Encryption provides strong security if you are using the sensor with an IQ2 or compatible IQ2+.

The downsides to the IQ Motion-S are fairly minor. As mentioned earlier, the sensor is discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. But if you can find a used model somewhere, it should still wrok nicely. Some might consider the coverage area to be small at just 35 feet by 50 feet. However, this is still perfectly adequate for most homes. As a wireless sensor, you will need to replace its batteries periodically. But since the sensor uses just two (2) AAA batteries, it shouldn't be too hard to find some replacements. Use lithium AAA batteries for the best results.

We love the IQ Motion-S, and we think it is a great option for nearly any residential user with a 319.5 MHz system. We give it 5 Stars.

Good: Easy to Program, Corner & Flat Mounting, Pet Immunity, Good Wireless Range, S-Line Encryption

Bad: Discontinued, Somewhat Small Coverage Area, Batteries Must Be Replaced Occasionally

Bottom Line: 5 Stars