Door and Window Sensors are More Versatile than You Might Think

Cynthia Paez Bowman
Cynthia Paez Bowman

Home security systems have layers of devices that work together to keep your home safe and protected. Door and window sensors are the backbone of a good home security system since most burglars try to enter the house through doors or windows. If a sensor is triggered, it will send a signal via Zigbee or Z-Wave to the security system’s hub. 

Devices using Zigbee and Z-Wave to communicate use less data and have longer battery life than traditional WiFi or Bluetooth sensors. But the technology behind door and window sensors are fairly recent, so it’s important to know before buying your sensors that they’re compatible with your existing signal via Zigbee or Z-Wave or smart speaker.

How do door and window sensors work?

When the security system is armed, the sensors communicate with the central hub or control panel by reporting the door or window is secure. If the door or window is opened, the circuit is broken and the control panel interprets this as a security breach. Depending on the type of system, a loud alarm may sound off, the control panel dials the police department or sends a notice to a connected smartphone.

A loud alarm may be a good option for those living in a busy area or an apartment building where the alarm may draw other people’s attention. In higher crime areas, systems set up to alert the police are the most effective to home security system. Systems that alert a smartphone are best for people that live in relatively safe areas and prefer to monitor their own system.

Google’s Nest Detect can be used as a window and door sensor. It can, well, detect if windows and doors are opened or closed, notice motion and even tell through its built-in sensors if it’s being tampered with. 

Tip: Outdoor sensors are designed to be weatherproof and can be used both outdoors and indoors. Indoor sensors should never be mounted outdoors because they lack weatherproofing and will fail from the elements. 

Other uses for Door and Window Sensors

Door and window sensors are versatile and can be moved to other spots if you move homes or decide the sensor is more useful elsewhere. In fact, wireless door sensors can be used in other ways besides monitoring points of entry. 

6. To keep kids out of a medicine cabinet

5. To keep midnight snackers out of the kitchen

4. To trigger smart lights

3. As a routine on your smart speaker

2. Turn lights on when a door opens

About the Authors

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a contributing writer for Over the last two years, she has covered insurance, home security and more. She has been featured in MSN, Bankrate,, The Simple Dollar and GOBankingRates. She has dual bachelors degrees in International Business and Journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. “Is It Getting Harder to Get Home Insurance in High-Risk Areas?” is Cynthia’s favorite story on