What is more important between a shed alarm and shed security camera?

Our sheds are home to all kinds of things. Just off the top of my head, I can list these things that are currently in mine: lawnmower, strimmer, loppers, and a load of hand tools such as trowels and a couple of spades.

These lovely outdoor buildings are perfect for storing our gardening equipment and more, but unfortunately, that also makes them a prime target for sticky-fingered thieves who like nothing better than to relieve you of the contents of your shed.

Although it is virtually impossible to stop determined thieves from getting into your shed and taking what they like, you can make things a lot harder for them to do so by installing some shed security measures.

In addition, to shed locks and bolts, there are also plenty of shed alarms and shed security cameras to choose from, and some products that combine the two, although I’ve heard mixed feedback from these combination alarms/cameras.

This article has been written to compare shed alarms and shed video cameras to try to answer the question- Which is more important?

As you can see from this tweet by the police, shed security is something you should take seriously-

Shed alarms

Shed alarms come in various guises: wired, wireless, mains or battery-powered, and then there are how the alarms are triggered, and how they alert the owner. To help clear things up, we will look at a few of the most popular types of shed alarm below.

Battery or mains powered?

My first thoughts when asked this question were that an alarm connected to the mains electricity supply was superior to a battery-powered one, as you don’t have to remember to check and replace the batteries in order for the alarm to be of use.

However, after thinking about it a little more, I started to see that the connection to the mains supply is actually the weak link in those kinds of alarms, and by simply cutting a wire, the alarm is nullified and your shed is vulnerable. If you have an alarm that has an emergency backup and will sound off if the connection to the mains is broken, then that’s all good, but if not, that could be quite a security flaw.

For those of you who are interested in setting up a power supply in your shed, check out our article on how to install electricity with RCD.

Here’s a security video comparing wired cameras with battery operated cameras-


How the alarm is triggered

This should be something you give a lot of thought to if you decide to go with a shed alarm.
there are alarms that react to motion, called MIR sensor alarms that are quite popular, and they can work well, but you need one that you can adjust the sensitivity on our you’ll end up running to your shed every time a hedgehog or some other animal decides to visit. Most wildlife cameras work on this same technology.

Similar to MIR alarms, are the ones that pick up vibrations and are good for placing near or on shed windows and other access points. Depending on how you set these alarms up, they can actually work really well, but just like motion sensors, they can be triggered by other things such as a door banging in strong winds.

Another type of alarm that you can place on windows and doors is what is called a ‘contact alarm’, and are really effective at detecting people coming through those access points. Their sensors are split in two and are connected magnetically, so for example you would have half of the sensor on the door frame and the other part on the door itself, sitting a few centimetres away. When the door is opened, the magnetic connection is broken and then the alarm is triggered.

Obviously, these alarms only protect you from people breaking in through windows and doors, but they do that job very well, and can be used on wooden sheds, plastic sheds, and even smaller storage sheds.

Thi clip shows someone setting up a magnetic shed door contact-


Alarm noise or silent alert?

In the past, alarms alerted you by making a very loud noise of some description. I remember having a neighbour who had a faulty one that would sound off about three times a week! Much to the annoyance of everyone else trying to sleep in the area. Still, a loud siren has been proven to reduce the risk of thieves sticking around long enough to pick out your prized petrol strimmer or hedge trimmer after breaking in, and so they are a good deterrent., and lessen the chance of thieves grabbing something valuable.

Modern shed alarms can actually be connected to your phone via Wi-Fi, and you can use the app that comes with the product to adjust the settings and arm or disarm the alarm. Not only that, but some of them will send you an alert to your phone rather than creating a loud siren, and this might be a better solution if you have neighbours who like to complain, and we all know that some people just love to complain for the sake of it, just ask this guy 😂-

Shed security cameras

Again, there are multiple types and combinations of various features available when purchasing a shed security camera, but we thought we’d highlight a few of the features that are important to know about and to look for on your own camera.


The resolution of your security camera will determine how clear a picture it can record, so in that respect, the higher the number, the better. A bare minimum resolution, for anyone who actually wants to be able to make out details such as faces, is 720p.

There are higher resolution cameras available, but if the camera is running off your internet connection, the higher resolution could slow things down a lot and stop you from surfing the net on your phone, checking your Facebook, or watching a movie on Netflix. The same thing applies if you are using a wildlife or bird box camera too, so if you already have those installed in your garden, you could get some serious lag on your network.

If you’d like to see a comparison of different security camera resolutions, you can watch this-


Two-way talk

Just like with a walkie-talkie, this feature allows you to not only hear what’s going on outside when you want to but also speak to people in the garden too. This can be used to scare off animals, such as foxes, and to give those thieves a good earful too.



I’m not talking about the kind of storage you have under a garden bench here. Different cameras use different modes of storage for the footage that they capture. Cameras that use SD cards allow you to store and also view video footage quickly and easily, but storage is limited by the size of the card. Cameras that upload to the cloud are really handy, but like with cameras with higher resolutions, they can affect your home internet network.


Motion sensor

Working in much the same way as the sensors MIR shed alarms or garden floodlights, these cameras will only start recording when some kind of motion is detected, and this will save your bandwidth and will reduce the memory used for storing videos.

Looks like this lady got more than she bargained for with her motion capture camera, but don’t worry, I’m sure you’re property isn’t haunted 😉

Security cameras with apps

Cameras that are connected to apps can give you quick access and control of them, no matter where you are. They also have other helpful functions like sending you alerts when things like motion sensors are triggered.

Night vision

As a large percentage of shed burglaries occur at nighttime, you really need a shed security camera that has a decent night vision mode. Ideally, you want a security camera that has infrared (IR) night vision, so you can pick up important details, like intruders’ faces. As an added bonus, night vision cameras sometimes capture footage of badgers and other nocturnal wildlife visiting your garden.


What is more important- a shed alarm or a security camera?

If I’m being completely honest, I can’t really pick between these two pieces of security equipment, and that’s why my own shed is not only fitted with top-quality bolts and locks, but also has a contact alarm on the door and a motion sensor alarm inside. On top of all that, I have an app-connected security camera facing the shed with a motion sensor and two-way talk, and another I’ve placed so that it covers the rest of the garden, so I can get an idea of which way the burglars came from and left.

This may seem like overkill, but I have a lot of expensive things in my shed, like my chainsaw and leaf blower, and I feel that justifies all these security measures. You’ll have to make up your own mind about how much security you need, or are prepared to pay for, but if I were you, I’d get both an alarm and a camera. Prices are dropping all the time on both of these types of products, so you shouldn’t have to break the bank to make your shed like Fort Knox.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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