What Tools Do You Need When Installing an Alarm System?

The precise tools needed when installing a new alarm system will vary according to your home’s structure, as well as whether or not you are installing a hardwired system or a wireless one. Instructions offered with each do-it-yourself alarm system will detail the exact tools for your specific job. Some of the basic ones you should be prepared to have on hand, however, include:

  • A screwdriver
  • Double-sided tape
  • Draw tape
  • A staple gun and staples
  • A bit drill (and drill bits)
  • A wire cutter


Among other things, you will need to secure sensors and contacts to your doors and windows. Such may require you to also use one or more types of screws. A screwdriver is, therefore, likely to be a very necessary tool needed for your installation process. In fact, you will probably discover the need for more than one type of drive tip, so it is advisable that you either have several screwdrivers on hand or that you at least have one that allows you to use interchangeable tips.

Double-sided Tape

For some systems, double-sided tape comes in handy for things like securing small wires. If it turns out that you need to do so, be sure to use a double-sided tape that is intended for heavy-duty long term use and that the tape’s adhesive will not loosen or completely give out over time. (Tip: This same should be said for any adhesive you use. I once had an alarm system professionally installed and the installer used an adhesive product to secure my window sensors. Unfortunately, the adhesive didn’t hold up very well and, one by one, my window contacts began to fall off of my windows after about a year.)

Draw Tape

If you are installing a hardwired alarm system, you may need to rely on draw tape to help guide your wiring through hard-to-reach places. Be advised that, while draw tape (also known as fish tape) is useful in manipulating wiring through walls, it is intended to be used solely to push wire through a space and not to pull it.

Staple Gun and Staples

If installing a hardwired system, you will need to secure your alarm’s wiring both for aesthetic, as well as safety and security purposes. In addition to storing wiring in a cable box, you may also need to staple excess wiring along places like baseboards and doorways. A staple gun is the best way to approach such a task. (Tip: If you don’t already own such a tool, we recommend that you purchase a T-25 staple gun or something very similar. Understanding that the T-25 is one of the more expensive manual staple guns that you can purchase, it shoots rounded staples so that wires don’t get pinched, which will not only secure your wiring, but may save you the expense of replacing damaged wiring in the future.)

Bit Drill (and Drill Bits)

Note that you should be comfortable drilling holes into your walls if you are installing a hardwired system. A bit drill will, therefore, be necessary. Refer to your installation instructions to verify exactly which type of drill bits will be needed to complete your installation.

Wire Cutter

For hardwired installations, you will need a wire cutter for cutting and stripping wiring without damaging it. Investing in a tool that cuts both coaxial cable as well as other wiring may be a good idea. When purchasing additional items like a wire cutting tool, remember that such may also be useful for future installation jobs. For instance, should you ever choose to add to your security system by including such devices as security lighting or a surveillance system, you’ll be glad to have certain tools already on hand.

Additional Supplies

While these are the most common tools needed, it is likely that you may not need to use each of these, but you should plan to have them in your toolbox just in case. Also, bear in mind that additional supplies, such as extra cable and a pair of heavy-duty work gloves, may be useful. It is always very important to read the manufacturer’s specific instructions to know exactly which tools your job requires before you actually begin your do-it-yourself installation.

Time and Support

Even with the right tools, if you have never installed your own security device it is a good idea to consider such a weekend project while being sure to reserve enough time to complete the job from start to finish. Most systems are relatively easy to install and our tech team is always available to help answer questions and to troubleshoot. So, particularly if you are inexperienced, consider time and support to be highly valuable tools, too!

What’s Your Take?

Have you installed a home security system recently? What were some of the tools that you used? Any additional tool suggestions or tips are greatly appreciated, so be sure to leave your comments below.

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