Many of the best DIY wireless homes security systems come with a remote security key fobs to help make it more convenient to arm/disarm it.

They work in a similar way to a key fob you use with a car for locking/unlocking and with a panic button.

Remote security key fobs normally come with 4 buttons . They give you the ability to remotely set the alarm modes – home, away and disarm and to sound the alarm due to an emergency by pushing the panic button.

They have the ability to make keeping your home more secure by making it easier to have your system armed.

You don’t have to give as many people a pass code to your system to arm/disarm or add them to your account.

How It Works

When you push a button the signal is sent to the control panel to let it know what you want to happen. The range of the remote is dependent on the system, the materials of the walls and the charge in the battery. Commonly the distance is about 30 – 50 ft away from the control panel.

The best ones have the buttons recessed so you don’t push the buttons by accident especially when it is in your pocket. However, many do not so you do need to be careful and possibly store them in a tictac box to prevent false alarms and changing the system mode.

With some remotes, to prevent false alarms, the panic button needs to be continuously pushed for 3 – 5 seconds or a sequence of buttons pushed on the key fob before the panic button is pushed.

The panic button when pushed will get the system to sound the alarm and send out notifications instantly – it is used when there is an emergency such as when there is a home invasion.

How Many Do You Get

A system starter kit will usually have 1 – 3 included in the system with the ability to add up to a total of 10 to the system.


There are a number of reasons why these devices can be useful to have with your system.
With them having a panic button you can keep them close at hand at home and push the button wherever you are in an emergency – in the bathroom, bedroom etc.

You can use it to set the arm in home alarm mode as you go to bed

It saves having to type in the pass code and push the arm/disarm buttons on the control panel. You can do this as you leave or before you enter. Many of today’s systems can be controlled by an App on your phone but to arm/disarm at the door you may need to get into the App before you can do that, so the remote can be more convenient especially as you may have your keys and fob in your hands already.

If you have children or guests staying you can hand these out rather than giving them your pass code to the system or add them to your account App so they can operate the system with their phone. It does help to make the system more secure as you reduce the number of people who have total access to your system. When they no longer need access they just return the key fob to you.

Some systems do let you limit how much access people have to your alarm system when you add them to the account with the App or you can restrict access by the pass code you give them.

But in some cases you can only give them full access rights which does restrict who you can give access to your home on a temporary basis.


There some disadvantages and things to look out for over and above the lack of recessed buttons.

The fobs are battery operated normally with a coin style battery so will need replacing. Most systems don’t let you know when they need replacing and you can only tell by the LED light on the fob stops working or that you have to keep getting closer to the control panel for it to work. Most of the batteries are now readily available from Amazon or other online stores making it much easier to replace them that it used to be.

If you are using it outside the house it can be difficult to know for sure if it has properly armed/disarmed the system unless you have an outside siren that chirps as it arms/disarms. Or with a system that works with a smartphone you may receive a notification that the system is armed/disarmed.

Which brings me to one of the features that can help in monitoring your home is that you can assign each key fob to a person and then you’ll know who armed/disarmed the system when you receive a notification on your smartphone from the system.

I do find it strange that a number of the newer systems don’t have these devices and expect you to give full access to your system, it appears they haven’t thought it through as some people you want to give access to your home on a temporary basis and others you won’t want them to be able to change the settings of your system no matter how much you may trust them.

Key fobs are a useful device for day to day use, even with a smartphone apps and can help in managing access to your home when you aren’t there. If they don’t have recessed buttons be sure to be careful when they are in your pocket.

Filed under: Buying Advice

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