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The Intruder Alarm Grading System: What you need to Know


We have been supplying and installing intruder alarms in homes and businesses across the UK for many years. In that time,we’ve lost count of the number of occasions we’ve worked with customers who have no idea what the intruder alarm grading system is and why it’s important.But that’s fine. We don’t know the ins and outs of your business and we don’t expect you to know everything about ours.

However, we do take the time to explain the intruder alarm grading system to all our customers as it can have serious implications for your home, your business and even your insurance cover. The installation of an alarm system is a significant investment in the security of your premises, so it makes sense to get it right on the first time of asking. Here’s everything we think you need to know.

What is the intruder alarm grading system?

Intruder alarms in the UK have to conform to the European Standards as set out in BS EN 50131. It defines four different grades of intruder alarm system based on how resilient the system is to intruders and the different types of threat intruders are likely to pose.

Every part of the system such as the control panel,motion detectors and signalling equipment is graded independently. In the vast majority of cases, an alarm installer will design a system made using components of the same grade. However, there are also occasions when it is appropriate to mix components of different grades. In that instance, the overall intruder alarm will have the same grade as the lowest graded component.

Why is the intruder alarm grading system important?

The grade of an intruder alarm is particularly important when it comes to your insurance cover. Some insurers may specify that a particular grade or system is fitted depending on the nature of the property and the risks you face. If the intruder alarm you have fitted does not meet the insurer’s criteria then it could lead to the voiding of the policy. Equally, if you have a high grade of alarm fitted then you could reserve a discount on your premium.

For commercial premises, the insurer will usually specify the grade of alarm required. That will typically be either grade 2 or3. Residential alarms will usually be either grade 1 or 2, although some higher risk homes may require a grade 3 system.

What are the four intruder alarm grades?

The following is an overview of the intruder alarm grading system as set out in BS EN 50131:

  • Grade 1 This is the lowest grade alarm system that is only suitable for a residential property in an area of low risk. It assumes potential burglars are likely to be opportunistic and have little knowledge of alarm systems and no specialist tools to disarm the system.
  • Grade 2 A grade 2 alarm is suitable for residential properties that face a low to medium threat, with most homes falling into this bracket. The property is presumed to have something of interest to an experienced thief who may come prepared for the break-in and try to overcome the alarm system.
  • Grade 3 This is an alarm system suitable for a property that presents a reasonably high risk and could contain items of value. This type of property could attract thieves who have knowledge of alarm systems and have the necessary tools to overcome them. They are likely to seek entry through doors, windows and other openings.
  • Grade 4 An alarm system for the highest risk commercial properties such as banks that could be the target of a sophisticated attack by a gang of thieves who have planned the burglary in advance. They will know how to tamper with security alarms and will gain entry to the property through floors, walls and ceilings.

Expert assistance to help you get it right

As a specialist intruder alarm company, we can carry out a risk assessment to determine your particular requirements and ensure any alarm system we recommend meets the requirements of your insurer. All of the systems we supply and install are grade 2 and above to help push your insurance premiums down.

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