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Home Security

9 Best Ways to Secure Your Windows Without Bars [That Really Work]

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An open window with a tap in the foreground and brown brick wall next to it

Most burglars get into homes through doors. At least this is what statistics say. Therefore, if you want to improve home security, you should always start by reinforcing your front and back doors (here is how you can do that).

Unfortunately, many homeowners stop at this point and they miss securing their windows.

That’s a huge mistake. Impenetrable doors are worthless if your windows are easy targets.

If you take home security seriously, it’s crucial that you burglar-proof your windows as well. Installing security bars is a popular way to protect your windows and many security experts recommend using them.

But what if you want to secure your windows without installing unsightly bars?

Fortunately, there are plenty of other highly reliable solutions out there that will provide real protection against crooks. So, if you’re not a big fan of bars but want to make your windows more secure, just read on: I’ll show you methods that really work.

If you’re in a hurry, here are some of the best methods to secure your windows without bars:

  1. Use reliable locks
  2. Install window security film to reinforce your window glass
  3. Add window alarms to deter burglars
  4. Consider laminated safety glass
  5. Install outdoor motion sensor lights
  6. Secure your windows with security cameras
  7. Install motion detectors
  8. Secure in-window air conditioners
  9. Plant shrubs with thorns under the window

Let’s move on to the details:

1. Improve Security With Window Alarms

Window alarms are usually pretty simple and affordable devices that have two main benefits:

  1. If you’re at home, they help you detect unauthorized entries immediately.
  2. They serve as great burglar deterrents.

Most window alarms consist of two parts: a sensor and a magnet. If these two parts are getting away from each other (for instance, when someone is opening the window), the alarm will begin to sound.

There are many models on the market, this one is a pretty good value for the money.

If you like high-tech stuff and want to receive instant mobile alerts when someone opens your windows, you can’t go wrong with this window sensor from Ring (keep in mind that it only works when connected to a Ring base station). It’s also compatible with Alexa.

If you decide on using window alarms, make sure you install one on every window (first-floor windows are especially vulnerable as they’re easily accessible to intruders).

Let’s be honest: window alarms won’t always prevent burglars from entering your house but they’re pretty effective deterrents. That’s why I recommend using them in combination with a reliable window lock.

2. Install a Good-Quality Window Lock

A closeup of a window lock of golden colorPin

Unfortunately, most windows come with an insecure (or poorly built) locking system that’s usually pretty easy to bypass for most burglars.

When it comes to security, equipping your windows with a reliable secondary lock is essential. You can find many solutions on the market, however, make sure you choose one that’s designed for home security purposes (and not only for child safety).

If you have sliding windows, you can use a simple aluminum lock (such as this one) that requires no drilling and allows you to lock your window quickly and easily: you just have to turn a screw that prevents the window from opening (it also allows ventilation).

Another option is to install a pin lock on your sliding windows. Keep in mind that installing a pin lock requires drilling a hole into the sashes (so make sure you check the length of the pin). Thus, if you would rather keep the sashes in their original condition, pin locks are not your best bet.

If you don’t want to spend much time on installation, and adjustability is important, you can keep your windows locked by an affordable little device called Windobully. After peeling and sticking the metal strip part to the glass, all you need to do is slide the lock into the strip to keep your window in place.

The manufacturer claims that it withstands up to 300 pounds of pressure, so it’s pretty durable. Windobully works on double-hung windows too, and it also allows secure ventilation.

Here you can check out the current price of Windobully on Amazon.

And here’s a video that demonstrates how it works:

YouTube video

3. Install Security Film to Protect Window Glass From Breaking

While installing window locks and alarms are a great way to improve window security, it won’t protect the glass from breaking. In most cases, criminals would rather avoid breaking glass during a burglary because of the noise and the potential injury.

However, it doesn’t mean they never do it.

If you want to secure your windows without bars, you should still protect the glass somehow. That’s when using window security film comes in handy.

A good-quality window security film is practically invisible and it prevents the glass from shattering very effectively. It’s a great and affordable way to reinforce your window glass and prevent crooks from gaining access to the lock.

If burglars want to break a window glass that is covered with security film, they have to try several times and very hard to have a real chance of success. Thus, in the vast majority of cases, they simply give up and look for another target.

It’s useful to know that installation sometimes can be a little tricky and requires some planning but it’s definitely doable if you take your time. If you’re a newbie or not a big fan of DIY, there are plenty of experts out there who will do the job for you.

Window security film can be a real alternative to window bars. However, it’s crucial that you choose a high-quality product: most cheap products offer no real protection and few things are worse than a false sense of security. I recommend that you check out 3M products: they are designed and made by a reputable company and have stood the test of time.

YouTube video

4. Make Your Windows More Secure With Motion Detectors

Home security systems usually include motion sensors, and if your home is equipped with them, feel free to jump to the next section.

Motion detectors are similar to window alarms in the sense that they both serve as a burglar deterrent (and help you with early detection) rather than physical barriers. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

While motion detectors shouldn’t be used as the first line of defense, they can be really useful if the criminals somehow manage to get into your house. The loud alarm will alert you immediately once someone enters your home (even if you’re sleeping). Also, there’s a chance that burglars will take to their heels when they hear the alarm.

Most motion detectors require no drilling, and installation is usually a matter of minutes. This peel and stick model is one of my favorites because besides being affordable, it allows you to switch between motion-triggered light and alarm mode.

5. Laminated Glass: Improved Security Without Bars

You may want to consider switching to laminated glass to improve window security without using bars. Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that has a vinyl interlayer between the glass plies (imagine it as a sandwich).

Laminated glass (especially if it’s designed for security purposes) is very resistant and hard to break through. While it’s true that tempered glass is more widespread, when it comes to security laminated glass is way superior.

It’s good to know that not all types of laminated glass are created equal: some of them are more durable than others (thickness matters).

The major drawback of laminated glass is its price: replacing your existing glass panels can be costly. Therefore, if you’re on a budget and want to protect your window glass, I recommend that you consider installing security film instead.

6. Install Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights

While it’s true that most burglaries happen during daylight (here you can find some interesting stats), a significant portion of criminals still prefer working in the dark.

Criminals hate (flood)lights because those make them easy to spot. Therefore, installing motion sensor lights around your windows can greatly contribute to preventing nighttime burglaries and deterring crooks.

There is one caveat, however.

You want to make sure you install the lights at least 10 feet high; otherwise, burglars can reach and disable them quickly. Also, keep in mind that lights are usually more effective deterrents if you’re at home or you live in a somewhat busy area where burglars can be spotted easily.

You can find many types of motion sensor lights on the market: I suggest that you opt for one that’s bright enough and powered by batteries or solar energy (such as this one on Amazon), so you don’t have to deal with wiring. If you own a pet, I would recommend you choose a model with adjustable sensitivity.

7. Add Security Cameras

An outdoor security camera installed on the external wall of a buildingPin

It may sound obvious but security cameras can be really effective when it comes to crime prevention. In an interview, burglars were asked if a visible security camera would keep them from breaking in, and most of them answered yes to this question.

If you’re on a budget, and your goal is to deter criminals, you may want to consider installing some dummy cameras around your windows. Make sure you opt for a model that’s not very popular (so that crooks won’t recognize it). Also, the more it resembles a real camera, the better.

Overall, having security cameras facing your windows will significantly reduce the risk of a break-in; however, you shouldn’t rely solely on them.

Some burglars won’t get too nervous about cameras: they hide their faces and open one of your windows if it’s not secured. This is why it’s so important to reinforce the windows themselves in the first place.

However, if you need solid protection, you can check out Ring’s home security system which offers pretty cost-effective and reliable solutions.

8. Plant Shrubs With Thorns Under the Window

This one can be a great addition to your existing security measures, as thorny bushes (when planted strategically) make it really hard for anyone to approach your windows ( that includes you, so think twice if this option is ideal for you).

Many bushes with thorns can be very attractive and look really nice, and at the same time, they serve as an effective physical barrier.

9. Secure In-Window Air Conditioners

This step doesn’t apply to everyone but if you have an in-window air conditioner, you really want to take this section seriously.

Here’s why:

Unsecured window air conditioners can be pushed in relatively easily and quickly so it’s a great way for burglars to get into a home.

Fixing this problem is not difficult at all and can be done on the cheap. First, make sure you use an air conditioner bracket. It will make it harder to push in or remove the device from its place.

You also want to make sure that your window sash can’t be slid from the outside (install a window lock on each side of the window).

Finally, use several screws to fix the top part of the air conditioner to the sash.


As you can see, you have many options if you want to secure windows without using bars. Whatever type of windows you have (standard sliding, double-hung, or casement), your first step should be to install a reliable locking system.

Then you can go ahead and secure the glass itself by installing security film or switching to safety glass. Next, you can move on to the deterrents, such as window alarms, motion sensor lights, and security cameras.

After reinforcing your windows, you still have to pay attention to never forget to lock them and activate the security system (or devices) if you leave home. You could have the most secure window locking system on Earth but if you keep your windows unlocked, all your efforts are wasted.

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More

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