Despite being an inexpensive device, the door stop alarm can be considered a valuable addition to the security of your home due to its ability to both alert you in case of possible trespassers and to scare off or at least confuse the intruder long enough, so you aren’t taken by surprise. In a home invasion, every second counts and the statistics show that almost two million cases occur every year with about 30 percent of people still being inside the house during the burglary, so every bit of precaution matters.
Some of the features that you need to look for before choosing the best door stop alarm to fit your needs are the loudness level since it needs to be able to wake you up even from the deepest sleep (I have not seen a door stop alarm horn that goes underneath 120dB, so pretty much any model should be loud enough to give the intruder a heart attack and to even wake up your neighbors) and you should also take into consideration the ability to stop the door from opening for as long as possible (most manufacturers add a rubber layer on the bottom of the door stop, but its efficiency will vary depending on the type of floor in your home).
Some other factors to take into consideration are the pressure sensitivity (ideally, you should be able to select various levels) and the quality of the wedge (it’s usually steel, so it shouldn’t wear off that easy). It’s also worth mentioning that you can take a door stop alarm with you when you travel since most are very portable and it will give you the peace of mind when you’re alone in a hotel (or motel) room. That being said, since there are no significant differences between the available models (even price-wise) I chose some of the most popular door stop alarms and had a quick overview of their main features.
|1. Sabre Door Stop Security Alarm||2. EMDMAK Door Stop Alarm||3. GE SH50246 Security Door Stop Alarm|
1. Sabre HS-DSA Door Stop Alarm
The concept behind pretty much every door stop alarm is the use of a metallic plate which sits at an angle on a plastic case (with a slight elevation due to an internal spring) and, when there is pressure applied on the metallic part, it triggers the audible alarm. So, it doesn’t require anything fancy such as a WiFi connection or anything of the sorts that can be bypassed using a jamming device (creates RF interference), you just have to assure that it’s powered on (usually by a battery) and that it is positioned close to your door. The Sabre door stop alarm is built on this exact premise, so expect a relatively small plastic case (it measures 6.0 x 2.2 x 10.8 inches) with a triangular shape almost entirely covered by a white matte finish and, about midway towards the tip of the device, there is a metallic plate (which seems to be steel) slightly elevated by the expected internal spring.
The metal plate doesn’t look like it may wear off anytime soon (although I doubt that you will constantly slide the door over it) and the plastic case is as you may expect at this price point: decent, but not very rugged. For this reason (and because of some openings around the case), the device is suitable for indoor use only and it will not survive the external conditions, especially rain, which will easily fry the internal circuitry. At the top of the door stop alarm, there is a circular protrusion for the internal speaker, where you will also see a red LED (that will flash when the battery is low) and, on the rear side, there is an On/Off switch which is useful for turning off the alarm and for regularly testing it to make sure everything functions properly. On the bottom of the device, there is only a small portion covered by rubber and near the middle, there is the battery container.
To access it and insert a 9V battery, you need to remove the screw (using a small Phillips head) to expose the internal side of the door stop alarm and then simply put in the battery – it’s worth noting that you will have to purchase it since there is no battery included in the package. The device weighs about 0.32 lb and, considering that it still has some patches of rubber on the bottom side, it will sit tightly on a rug but not so much on a wooden or tile floor. Since we don’t want it to move around and allow the intruder to easily open the door, some users have suggested that its best used with some reclosable fasteners – I know, it’s not the ideal solution but it will get the job done.
As for the alarm itself, Sabre says that it sounds at 120 dB which should be more than enough to both wake you up and scare the living daylights out of the trespasser, but, this shouldn’t be the only security measure that you take in your home, as you should at least install some motion sensors on the windows (well, unless you’re traveling, in which case, this can be the best protection that you can get in a hotel room).
2. EMDMAK Wedge Security Alarm
Unlike Sabre and GE, I have not heard of EMDMAK before and I doubt most of you did, but, the manufacturer did design a pretty slick door stop alarm, so it ended up in this list. The concept is identical to the other devices from the competition: a spring holds a metallic plate at an angle and when the plate gets depressed, the alarm triggers, therefore scaring off any intruder. Unlike the Sabre which has a very long plastic body, EMDMAK decided to keep it short and simple, so a single door stop alarm (it usually comes in packs of two) measures only about 5.3 x 1.8 x 1.6 inches, while the metallic plate goes all the way up to the circular protrusion (where the speaker rests in await to deafen someone). The type of metal used seems to be steel, so it won’t wear off that easily, even if the door constantly slides on top of it.
Underneath the metal plate, the case is made of plastic covered by a black matte finish and the shape of the device also resembles a wedge (similarly to the other door stop alarms from the market) in order to allow you to easily slip it underneath your door. Some may wonder whether the door stop alarm is going to be enough for the large gap underneath the doors on most hotels and you may be right, a possible trespasser could be able to push the device before opening the door, but the EMDMAK has the advantage of allowing you to set the sensitivity to high, therefore, triggering the alarm by a very gentle push. And this is one of the advantages that it has over its competitors since it has a small switch on its side where you can adjust the sensitivity level to high, medium or low. On the rear side of the EMDMAK door stop alarm, there’s the expected On/Off switch that allows you to both test the device regularly and to silence it after the alarm has been triggered. But don’t forget to put the switch on the On position before sliding the device underneath the door.
On the bottom of the EMDMAK alarm, there is a layer of textured rubber that covers the entire surface which should keep the device from sliding on the floor and it does work fine with floor mats, but it can slide on ceramic tiles and even on a wooden floor. The solution is the same as with the other door stop alarms: you can use a some reclosable fasteners to keep it in place (it’s worth noting that it weighs 0.21 lb, so it’s lighter than the Sabre alarm). Within the rubber pad, you can see a small section that allows you to open the battery compartment and, inside it, you can insert a 9V battery – there isn’t one provided in the package. Also, the device was designed to be used indoors since it has some openings in the plastic and the water or severe dust accumulation could do some damage when placed outdoors.
EMDMAK says that the alarm will sound at 120dB and it is indeed deafening when you trigger it by mistake (the sensitivity can be very high), so it should be more than enough to scare off any potential trespassers and to wake you up from your sleep (as well as your neighbors).
3. GE SH50246 Personal Security Door Alarm
While the market is now flooded by (yet) unknown brand names, GE has the advantage of being widely known for its reliable electronic devices, but is that enough to warrant a higher quality product? In an ideal world, yes, but the GE door stop alarm will give you a very similar experience to the other devices from this list and pretty much the same build quality. But this is to be expected since the price tag needed to be kept competitive and a simple device that works well for its intended purposes is far superior to a complicated gadget that may fail at any time. And we don’t want that when it comes to security. That being said, similarly to both EMDMAK and Sabre, the GE door stop alarm has a relatively compact plastic case in the form of a wedge with a metallic plate sitting slightly elevated from the main body pushed up by a spring and, when the plate is pushed down, it will trigger the audible alarm. The case is covered by a white matte finish (the plastic does feel a bit flimsy) and the top metal plate seems to be stainless steel, so it should do fine over prolonged use.
In terms of size, the device measures 9.0 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches, so it’s slightly larger than both the Sabre and the EMDMAK door stop alarms and, considering that it weighs 0.31 lb, it’s not the heaviest device in its class. Does this mean that it will easily slide when the door is being opened? It does have a textured rubber pad attached to the bottom to prevent the door stop alarm to slide, but it still can move around depending on the type of floor that you have in your home. Since this can negate the usefulness of the door alarm, you can should use double-tape or some reclosable fasteners to make sure that the device will stay in place (although that will take away from its portability factor). The topmost part of the door stop alarm is plain, but there is a small bump with some openings on the sides for the internal speaker; there’s also a small LED which will flash red when the batteries are low.
In order to access the battery compartment, you need to remove the very small screw from the bottom (within the rubber pad) and this can be done only with a Philips head screwdriver that’s small enough to fit the screw. If you plan on traveling and want to take this device with you (since it can prove useful for hotel room security), you should consider taking a screwdriver with you just in case the battery runs low (it’s worth mentioning that the 9V battery is not included in the package). Unlike the EMDMAK, the GE door stop alarm does not have the means to change the sensitivity, which is unfortunate, but there is the expected On/Off switch on the rear side which is useful for silencing the alarm and for regularly testing it.
This is an indoor-only device, so you shouldn’t use it outdoors since it’s neither rugged, nor will it survive in a heavy rain (or if there’s lots of dust). The manufacturer says that the alarm is very loud (reaching 120dB), so you should protect your ears while testing it, but the good news is that you will be able to easily hear it even if you’re not near the device and there is a high chance to completely scare any possible trespasser.
Mark is a graduate in Computer Science, having gathered valuable experience over the years working in IT as a programmer. Mark is also the main tech writer for MBReviews.com, covering not only his passion, the networking devices, but also other cool electronic gadgets that you may find useful for your every day life.