Keeping your home safe and secure used to rely on expensively installed alarm systems – no longer. These days, you can simply fit inexpensive – and wireless – door, window and motion sensors yourself and be alerted on your mobile device should anything untoward happen

Most of the sensors we’ve chosen here are part of larger smart home systems from big-name brands such as British Gas’ Hive, Samsung and Philips, although Eve’s sensors rely on a fourth-generation Apple TV to act as a gateway or hub when you’re away from home.

Assembled here then are our top five picks. Install them now for instant smart home gratification.

Our pick of the top smart home security sensors 

best smart sensors

1. British Gas Hive Window or Door Sensor

Tell when doors and windows have been opened – in an instant


Detection range: not statedField of view: not statedSensor type: not statedConnectivity: not statedDetection time: not statedDimensions: Sensor: 2.3x7x2.4cm; Magnet: 1.2x7x1.5cmWeight: Sensor: 24g; Magnet: 24g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to fit+Simple to use+Added peace of mind

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, rather than mains-powered-Needs Hive Hub to work Door and window sensors are a perennial favourite among home security folk, since they’re less likely to be triggered by errant pets or things like billowing curtains. In a nutshell, they usually come in two parts: one attached the door or window frame; and the other attached to the door or window itself.

When the door or window is closed, the circuit between the two parts of the sensor is complete and so is marked as ‘closed’ – as soon as a door or window is opened, the circuit is ‘broken’, so triggering an alert. 

The Hive Window or Door Sensor is part of British Gas’ popular Hive smart home system, which also includes the Hive Smart Thermostat and other goodies. Like most of the other sensors here is relies on a central hub to work (rather than connecting to your smartphone or tablet individually) so you’ll need to factor in these additional costs at purchase time. 

Of course, as most of us live in homes with multiple doors and windows you may need to buy several Hive Window or Door Sensors to cover your living space – and British Gas sells them in both packs of three and five, as well as as individually, so you’re covered. A Hive Window or Door Sensor is also included in the Hive Starter Pack. 

In practice, however, you probably only need to buy door or window sensors for the most vulnerable doors and windows, with wireless motion sensors (see below) covering other spaces. 

Fixing the Window or Door Sensor requires no special skills – you just attach pop in a lithium battery, make sure the sensor can be picked up by your smartphone or tablet, choose a location name (‘front door’, for example) and then attach each part of the sensor to the relevant part of the door or window frame using the self-adhesive pads.  

From now on, every time the door or windows is opened, you’ll receive an alert telling you what’s happened. You can also use the Hive smartphone app to quickly check all the doors and windows fitted with a Window or Door Sensor are closed before you leave home. 

It’s a simple system that works well. 

best smart sensors

2. British Gas Hive Motion Sensor

Keep a virtual eye on your home – even when you’re not there


Detection range: Up to 6 metresField of view: 110 degreesSensor type: Passive InfraRed (PIRConnectivity: not statedDimensions: 2.4×8.5×2.5cmWeight: 62g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to install and use+Offers peace of mind+Smart notifications

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, not mains powered-False alarms possible -Needs to be sited correctly 

Another home security favourite, motion sensors use infra-red technology to detect movement within a room or space, triggering an alert when it is detected. At one time motion detectors had a reputation for creating false alarms, although technological improvements now make that less likely. Most motion sensors are adjustable too, so if you do have a false alarm you can adjust its sensitivity so it doesn’t trigger next time.

As you’d expect, the British Gas Hive Motion Sensor does send a notification to your smartphone or tablet every time it’s detects movement, just as it’s supposed to. However you will need to partner it with a Hive Hub for it to work – so it’s best fitted as part of a whole Hive Smart Home system.  

The Hive Motion Sensor itself is easy to set up – simply pop in a battery, register the device and its location using the Hive app, then place it in a suitable location – either using the sticky pads on the back of the device itself or by placing it free-standing on an object such as sideboard or table. 

Like most Smart Home systems you can use the Hive Motion Sensor to trigger further actions – such as automatically switching on a light when it detects movement, for example.

You can also track movements picks up by the sensor over time. Handy if you’re keeping a virtual eye on a elderly relative, for example, and want to check that they’re active without actually ‘spying’ on them.

best smart sensors

3. Eve Motion

Triggers awesome actions for HomeKit users


Detection range: Up to 9 metresField of view: 120 degreesSensor type: Passive InfraRed (PIRConnectivity: Bluetooth LEDetection time: Less than 2 secondsDimensions: 8x8x3.2cmWeight: not stated

Reasons to buy

+Easy to set up and use+Powerful range of actions+Water resistant

Reasons to avoid

-Battery, not mains powered -Only works with Apple HomeKit

This square-shaped motion sensor is part of Eve Systems’ smart home range, which is aimed at Apple users. As such it relies heavily on Apple’s HomeKit. While the Eve Motion can send alerts to you when you’re at home using Bluetooth, when you’re away it relies on the 4th-generation Apple TV (or an Apple HomePod) to send alerts outside the home. And that may be a deal breaker for some.

Having said that, the Eve Motion is a powerful piece of kit. It’s easy to set up and use, with the accompanying Eve app for iOS 10.3 or later enabling you to use the Eve Motion to set a complex chain of events in train – automatically switching on lights, heating, etc., when you get home using other compatible devices.

The Eve Motion also has a longer viewing distance than the Hive Motion Sensor (9m vs 6m) and a slightly wider field of view (120 degrees vs 110). We also prefer its more elegant design. 

best smart sensors

4. Fibaro Motion Sensor FGMS-001

Keep an eye on what’s going on – literally


Detection range: Up to 7mField of view: not stated: Sensor type: Passive infraRed (PIR)Dimensions: 4.8×4.4.6×4.6cmWeight: 18.1g

Reasons to buy

+Easy to fit and use+4 sensors in one+Compact design

Reasons to avoid

-The ‘eyes’ are quirky, and a bit off-putting-Needs either a Z-Wave or HomeKit compatible hub

If you’re looking to keep an eye – literally – on the goings-on in and around your home, then the Fibaro Motion Sensor is for you. Powered by a CR032 battery and totally wireless, the 5cm semi-spherical ‘eyeball’ sensor can be placed almost anywhere and has four main functions: it can detect movement, temperature, light and vibration and then tell you either via the free Fibaro app, or by flashing its multi-coloured ‘iris’ blue, green, orange, violet or red, with the colour of the iris serving dual-purpose as a temperature indicator. Innovative then, but a bit weird…

There’s more to the Fibaro Motion Sensor than that, though… it can automatically fire up your smart home lighting, or switch it down or off when it detects movement, and can also be set to switch lights on or off automatically by detecting the amount of ambient light in a room. You can also include it in any smart home ‘scenes’ you’ve created – so you could have it automatically set the lights to come on when at certain times or day or night, for example.

The Fibaro Motion Sensor is available in two different versions – one for Z-Wave compatible systems (including Amazon Echo and Samsung SmartThings) and there’s a HomeKit version for Apple fans.

best smart sensors

5. Samsung SmartThings Presence Sensor

Find out where your loved ones are


Detection range: 27mField of view: not statedSensor type: not statedConnectivity: ZigbeeDetection time: not statedDimensions: 4.9×2.5cmWeight: 11g

Reasons to buy

+Works with Samsung SmartThings products+iOS and Android compatible+Compact and easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-Slightly stalkerish-Requires other SmartThings products-Limited battery life

The Presence Sensor is one of the smarter smart home objects for a very simple reason. Resembling the Tile’s wireless key finder, it’s a Zigbee-enabled key fob that you can attach to or place inside a loved one’s belongings and then have it trigger an alert every time they either arrive at or leave home. On the face of it, this sounds slightly stalkerish, but the Presence Sensor is also a little cleverer than that.

For one thing, the Presence Sensor is part of Samsung’s SmartThings smart home range, which includes things like smart plugs and motion sensors, so it can be used to trigger custom events – such as automatically switching the lights on when your partner or other members of your household nears home.

It’s also handy for keeping tabs on pets or elderly relatives who have a tendency to wander from home.


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