Security bars are simply a way of protecting your home. They are meant as a simple but effective way of keeping burglars out. You can see them installed in many buildings nowadays. But one question needs to be answered, are they really that effective, or just appear as such?
Are security bars effective? Security bars are a highly effective way to prevent burglars from breaking in. Security bars are effective at securing windows, front doors, and patio doors. How effective door and window security bars are is determined by their installation, built quality, and design.
That being said, not all security bars are created equal.
To find out more, continue reading below, where I share with you more in-depth information about security bars, their usage, and their effectiveness.
Types of Security Bars
Security bars are made of several horizontal and vertical bars or rods that are usually attached to a framework, which is secured over the windows. Usually, security bars are mounted directly into the structural frame of the building.
Security bars are designed to be sturdy and nearly impossible to remove without that being a time consuming and extremely laborious task.
Security bars are typically placed on the inside or outside of windows.
There are also other types of security bars that can be used to secure doors and patio doors.
There are many different types of security bars. However, we can categorize burglar bars into two main categories: metal security bars and clear (polycarbonate) security bars.
Metal Security Bars
Metal security bars are usually made from steel, aluminum, or wrought iron. They can be further separated into plain or decorative metal bars, with the latter being significantly more expensive but also more aesthetically appealing.
Security bars can even be placed within the windows, although these have to be custom made and will normally be very expensive. On top of that, their effectiveness will be questionable, making the whole idea of having security bars within windows not worth going after.
Polycarbonate Security Bars
Polycarbonate security bars (also known as invisible or clear security bars) are some of the most aesthetically appealing security bars. They look great, often looking like blinds or shutters, and are usually installed on the inside.
Since they are essentially see-through, polycarbonate security bars do not obstruct the natural sunlight, while at the same time, some polycarbonate variations can even offer UV protection.
How Effective Are Window Security Bars?
So do security bars actually work?
Security bars work because they are extremely hard to bypass or remove, which keeps burglars away. If a burglar has the right tools to work with, they can eventually cut and remove them, but this is a time consuming, laborious, and very noisy task.
Installing window security bars is a highly effective way of securing your home against burglars. Window security bars can effectively withstand the impact force a burglar may exert, keeping your home safe and protected. Because of that, window security bars are effective at deterring burglars and criminals.
In fact, window security bars can be so effective that it can be extremely difficult even for firefighters to enter your home. They may need to use flat-head axes, circular saws, torches, or even their truck to forcibly pry the window security bars out of the building.
On top of that, security bars may also be effective in reducing your homeowner’s insurance rates due to improved safety. Security bars can also keep children safe, preventing them from falling out.
Does the Placement of Security Bars Affect Their Effectiveness?
Security bars are typically installed on windows (both larger and smaller) that are easy to reach or more obscure. Some security bars can also be used on the patio and front doors.
But can the placement of the bar affect its effectiveness?
The simple answer is yes. The placement of the security bars, where and how they are mounted and installed, will significantly affect their effectiveness. This is why proper installation and mounting practices should always be followed.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether security bars can be placed on the inside.
Although normally security bars are placed on the outside, they can also be placed on the inside. Whether you place a security bar on the outside or the inside, does not necessarily affect its effectiveness as long as the security bar is properly installed.
That being said, security bars installed inside do have some advantages over the ones installed outside.
Internal security bars are considered more secure as they are harder to tamper with from the outside and still be directly attached to the building’s structural frame and its brickwork. Since they are also protected from the outside elements, internal security bars may need less maintenance and have a longer lifetime.
But since internal security bars are on the inside, they can be more intrusive and less aesthetically pleasing depending on the type of bars used. (More on that in a bit.)
What Determines How Effective Security Bars Are?
Materials and Built Quality
Metal security bars are the most heavy-duty security bars. Unfortunately, they are prone to corrosion and rust, which can affect their durability, and they require more thorough maintenance.
Clear burglar bars are made from polycarbonate, which is a tough type of thermoplastic used for making riot shields, airplane windows, helmet visors, and more. Although polycarbonate is very tough, it is not as durable and heavy-duty as steel and wrought iron security bars.
That being said, there are also different types of polycarbonate which have different amounts of tensile strength. And while polycarbonate bars may not be prone to rust and corrosion, some types of polycarbonate can degrade due to sun exposure.
Ultimately a material that is able to withstand more force will do a better job at protecting your home.
The way security bars are installed will determine their sturdiness and efficacy in providing your home with protection.
Metal security bars are usually bolted directly into the brickwork, which makes them extremely sturdy. However, some may be attached to the window frame, which can compromise their stability and durability.
On the other hand, polycarbonate security bars are normally installed on the inside and are directly attached to the window frame, which could, in theory, allow burglars to push in on the bars or try to pry them off the window’s frame.
One of the problems with security bars is that they are regulated by the law in some areas. Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to install security bars on certain windows and buildings.
Security bars are not technically illegal and can be used, but depending on the area where you are located, certain rules and regulations may be in effect.
To be considered effective, burglar bars need to be successful at deterring criminals and burglars from entering the property. That being said, given the right tools and enough time, security bars can be bypassed. However, the goal is to make getting past the burglar bars as hard as possible.
On the other hand, you should know that security bars—while designed to be effective in keeping burglars out—should also be equipped with a quick-release mechanism. You don’t want security bars to be a hazard and keep you locked in if an emergency were to happen.
There are multiple reports of people getting injured or killed because they got trapped in their homes by their security bars and could not escape.
As you can see, security bars need to serve two purposes: keep people out and let people out.
Other Security Layers
Security bars should be considered as just one of several layers of security a property needs to have.
For the best effectiveness, homeowners should combine security bars with other layers of security, such as a security system that can monitor all points of entry and vulnerable areas, incorporating cameras, sensors, and more.
What Are the Most Effective Security Bars?
Polycarbonate security bars are extremely durable and impact resistant. However, they are not as effective as metal security bars, which are designed to withstand a lot more impact pressure.
However, as already noted, how effective the bars are is determined by how well they are installed, their design, and build quality.
Most importantly, when assessing the effectiveness of security bars, we need to remember that they also need to provide the residents inside with an easy means of escaping during an emergency. (For example, if a fire were to break out.)
There are also armed security bars, which are polycarbonate security bars that have thin wires running through each bar. They can be connected to an existing security system and can trigger an alarm if broken.
Steel burglar bars can be more effective than polycarbonate burglar bars and, if equipped with a quick-release mechanism, just as safe, if not safer.
Depending on their usage, a lot of different types of security bars can be found, from the standard security bars that will cover your whole window to security bars designed for front doors and sliding or patio doors.
Not all security bars are created equal, and some may have a poor design that has vulnerabilities that can be abused by a skillful burglar.
For example, adjustable security bars can be used on patio doors, cupboards, and windows. However, these, although able to provide some decent levels of security—when it comes to windows, in particular, cannot compare to fully-fledged security bars.