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Most of us have busy lifestyles, so checking the mailbox on the off chance that mail has arrived is a hassle. Thankfully, in the smart home era, there are mailbox sensors that you can install to get notified when mail has arrived.

So in this article, I will discuss the top 7 mailbox alarms and smart sensors on the market, highlighting their key benefits, and explaining how they work. 

Types of Mailbox Alarms

Before I get started with the list, let me tell you about the two main types of mailbox sensors.

  • Off-the-Shelf Mailbox Alarms: These are standalone devices that are easy to set up, but lack integration with other systems.
  • DIY Z-Wave Smart Home Sensors: These devices can be integrated into your smart home hub. Some degree of skill is required in installing and configuring them. The advantage of these types of mailbox sensors is flexibility. For example, you could trigger Alexa to play a particular audio clip or song when mail arrives!

My recommendations

8.5 Ring Mailbox Sensor
Top PickSmart Mailbox Sensor with Instant Alerts
8.2 YoLink LoRa Contact Sensor & Hub Kit
Runner-Up¼ mile range which is ideal for those long driveways
8.0 MySpool Mailbox Alert
Easy-to-install with extended range and email/text notifications
7.5 Z-Wave Plus Contact Sensor by EcoLink
Affordable, easy to install, and Z-wave Plus-enabled

What is a Mailbox Alarm?

A mailbox alarm is a system that alerts you when mail has been delivered to your mailbox. It typically consists of a sensor placed inside or on the mailbox. It detects when the mailbox door is opened or when mail is placed inside.

When the sensor is triggered, it sends a signal to a receiver inside your home, causing it to emit an audible sound, flash a light, or send a notification to your smartphone.

A wireless Mailbox Sensor will save unwanted daily trips to the mailbox and let you know exactly when there’s mail.

Best Mailbox Alarms and Smart Sensors

8.5
Top Pick
Smart Mailbox Sensor with Instant Alerts
Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Tilt Sensor
  • Dimensions: 2.56”x2.44”x1.47”
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, Ring Bridge, Echo (4th Gen), or Echo Show (3rd Gen)
  • Battery: Yes, 3 x AAA batteries
  • Smart Compatibility: Alexa and other Ring devices  
  • Dedicated App: Yes
  • Alerts: Push Alerts via the Ring app

The Ring Mailbox Sensor is my top pick for keeping mail safe and secure. With this device, you can easily keep track of whoever opens the mailbox and make sure it’s only you and your friendly neighborhood postman. 

Potential for Further Automation

Besides just receiving alerts via the Ring app, you can customize its signal to trigger scenes and other smart home devices. 

Ring recommends connecting it with Ring’s smart lighting, video doorbells, and cameras, but you can also integrate other Alexa-enabled devices as well. 

For instance, you can set up a scene for a smart camera to start recording or switching on certain lights whenever the mailbox sensor detects any motion. This helps improve security and also deter intruders.

Limitations.

All good things aside though, the sensor needs to be connected to the Ring Bridge or a compatible smart hub (such as an Echo or Echo Show) for it to work. 

Also, the installation process can be a bit tricky as you might need to install the antenna (the Ring label) outside the mailbox and run the power line through the mailbox into your sensor.

Therefore, you might need to drill a hole in your mailbox. Luckily, Ring does provide a properly-sized drill bit.

What I liked
  • Provides real-time mailbox notifications directly via the Ring app
  • Connects to Alexa-enabled devices and helps trigger automation scenes.
  • Motion sensitivity is adjustable to fit home security needs
What I didn't like
  • Installation may require drilling into the mailbox
  • Users have mentioned that the antenna cable could be longer.
  • Requires the Ring Bridge or compatible hub
  • Testers have found that the antenna sometimes needs a clear line of sight to send alerts immediately.
  • The entire setup (including  the Ring Bridge) can be expensive 
  • Incompatible with the Ring Chime
8.2
Runner-Up
¼ mile range which is ideal for those long driveways

The YoLink Outdoor Sensor is a smart home security device with a wireless range of up to 1/4 mile and uses a separate wireless network that can run despite power outages or internet failure.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Door/Window Contact Sensor
  • Dimensions: 4.3”x4.3”x3.1” (Transmitter Unit)
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, YoLink Hub
  • Battery: Yes, 2 x AA batteries
  • Smart Compatibility: Alexa, IFTTT, and Google Home/Assistant  
  • Dedicated App: Yes, YoLink app for setup and push notifications
  • Alerts: Email, SMS, Push Alerts, and Automated Phone Calls (for a subscription)

The YoLink LoRa Contact Sensor Kit uses solid wireless tech that can always keep in touch with its smart sensors. 

YoLink Hub

The smart sensor does require a YoLink hub, which creates a unique wireless network to interface with your outdoor mailbox sensor. 

The hub has an amazingly long range and combined with the outdoor sensor, has an effective range of ¼ mile. So for homes with a long driveway: you’re all set!

The YoLink hub also acts as a reminder and alarm system, alerting you fast if it senses unusual activity or even if you forget to close the mailbox

Installation

The kit comes with all you need to get started, including two AA batteries for power. 

This makes setup very easy and you don't need a drill or handyman to install the sensors.

The device is also rugged and built to withstand minor weather conditions, making it perfect for garages, sheds, and of course, mailboxes.

Known Issues

Sadly, some folks might have trouble making it work with existing Home Assistant systems. This can make for a less smooth user experience; a letdown given its otherwise solid performance.

Also, you might run into signal issues as the main assembly needs to be placed inside the mailbox. The wires are soldered into the reed switch; hence, drilling a small hole and threading the wires is not very practical.

What I liked
  • Installation is very straightforward
  • The effective range is over a  ¼ mile
  • Gate tracking features to remind you when the mailbox is left open or ajar
  • Direct control via the YoLink app
  • Battery-powered for a wire-free setup
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty for the sensors and 1-year for the hub
What I didn't like
  • Some users have reported compatibility issues with popular smart home platforms/assistants
  • The YoLink hub is required
  • Smart functions will be disabled once it loses Wi-Fi access
8.0
Easy-to-install with extended range and email/text notifications

With an impressive range and hassle-free setup, the Mailbox Alert by MySpool is one of the best non-smart mailbox sensors.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Door/Window Sensor (Reed Switch and Magnet)
  • Dimensions: 8”x5”x2” (Transmitter Unit)
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, MySpool HUB
  • Battery: Yes, 3 x AAA batteries with the Hub connected to a wall outlet
  • Smart Compatibility: No
  • Dedicated App: Yes MySpool Hub for setup and push notifications via Wi-Fi
  • Alerts: Email, SMS, Push Alerts

The MySpool Mailbox Alert is one of the best off-the-shelf mailbox alarms, which you can use for your mailbox. 

The great thing about the MySpool Mailbox Alert is that it comes with clear guidance and instructions, which make it comparatively easier to install than other devices listed here.

Despite lacking smart functionality, it’s not a simple alarm or chime. The device can send out emails, SMS, and push notifications as soon as the mailbox is opened.

Signal

The standard MySpool Mailbox Alert kit offers alerts up to 400 feet. There is also a range extender package that can extend the range up to 1600 feet, which will be more than enough for most homes.

Notable Drawbacks

The Mailbox Alert also comes with a replaceable battery, but some customers mentioned that the battery life of the device could be improved.

What I liked
  • Impressive range of around 400-1600 ft
  • Option to set up email and SMS notifications
  • Battery updates are included in text notifications.
  • Ability to forward alerts to multiple Email addresses.
What I didn't like
  • Installation and setup can be a bit time consuming
  • Device testers have found occasional false alarms that can occur due to wind
  • Users have also found that the antenna’s internal components can get dislodged during installation (where you have to unscrew the cover to remove and reinstall the cable).
  • Users have reported unusual battery drain in certain units.
  • Despite having app notifications, it’s not possible to integrate with any Smart Hub or platform
7.5
Affordable, easy to install, and Z-wave Plus-enabled

The Ecolink Door/Window sensor is an easy-to-install contact sensor that’s very affordable and doesn’t compromise any smart features thanks to Z-wave Plus.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Door/Window sensor (Reed Switch-Style)
  • Dimensions: 3.35”x1”x1” (Reed Switch Assembly)
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, requires a compatible Z-wave Hub
  • Battery: Yes, 1 x CR123A
  • Smart Compatibility: Yes, via the Z-wave hub
  • Dedicated App: No, but can receive notifications via a hub
  • Alerts: Push notifications or further alerts/automation via a Z-wave hub

Ecolink’s generic Z-Wave Door Sensor might not be designed with mailboxes in mind, but it definitely works, making it one of the most straightforward options.

Z-Wave Plus

Thanks to its Z-wave plus module, the sensor stands out with impressive compatibility, notably with platforms such as Samsung SmartThings, Alexa, Homeseer, or Vera. 

It seamlessly merges with Z-wave hubs and allows you to enhance smart functionality to trigger scenes or receive notifications via a compatible Z-wave hub.

Long-Lasting Battery

Another one of its saving graces is the battery life, as long-time users have reported the device to function for up to three years without needing a fresh CR123A battery.

Notable Issues

However, the sensor isn't perfect as there can be issues with sensitivity. 

Some users have reported issues with false triggers, causing mix-ups over statuses. Also, depending on the construction of your mailbox, setting it up can become a struggle.

Important: For Users with a Metal Mailbox

If you have a metal mailbox, I recommend you install the Ecolink Contact Sensor below the mailbox on its exterior and wire in a Reed Switch inside the mailbox to trigger the Z-Wave message. 

The reason for this is the Z-Wave signal may not be able to penetrate the mailbox shell if installed inside.

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What I liked
  • Works with a wide range of Z-Wave hubs
  • Simple to install
  • Long battery life - up to 3 years
  • Tamper-sensing feature
  • More affordable than off-the-shelf standalone mailbox alarms
What I didn't like
  • The size is a bit larger compared to some sensors
  • Users have reported potential issues when pairing with certain hubs
  • Testers have found that it tends to put out false alarms
  • Requires wiring a reed switch if installed in a metal mailbox enclosure
7.0
Effective Tilt Sensor with the option to directly connect with external alarms or triggers

The Ecolink Tilt Sensor is a Z-wave compatible option to detect activity in your mailbox and also trigger non-smart alarms or other offline devices.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Tilt Sensor
  • Dimensions: 3”x1.7”x1”
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, requires a compatible Z-wave Hub
  • Battery: Yes, 1 x CR123A
  • Smart Compatibility: Yes, via the Z-wave hub (such as Homeseer, Nexia, Piper, SmartThings Hub, VeraLite, or VeraEdge)
  • Dedicated App: No, but can receive notifications via a hub
  • Alerts: Manual trigger, push notifications, or further alerts/automation via a Z-wave hub

The Ecolink Garage Door Tilt Sensor is a fast and easy solution to make sure you get notified whenever the mailbox is opened.

Battery Life

This device is one of the most long-lasting tilt sensors out there. Users have reported that the device can last up to three years on a single charge; a true “Set-it-and-forget-it” (at least for a couple of years) smart device.

Installation

Check out the video below on installation on a garage door. You would need to determine if this would work for installing on your mailbox.

The whole process of installing the sensor is pretty easy. It comes with a mounting bracket, which you can attach to your mailbox using the screws.  You can also mount the plate using adhesive tape, but it would be less durable. 

Once you mount the plate, make sure that the device is connected to your Z-Wave Hub, and that it's within the range of up to 200 feet.

Notable Drawbacks

However, it's not entirely flawless. Originally designed for garage doors, this device can be too big to fit on most mailboxes and can easily fall pretty to false alarms. 

On top of that, the device is not waterproof, but as it will require communication with the hub, you will need to position it on the outside of the mailbox where it may be exposed to the elements. 

It could work with some silicone sealant or a waterproof case that does not interfere with radio signals.

What I liked
  • Compatible with most Z-wave home security hubs
  • Includes an external contact input for external triggers such as alarms
  • Easy to set up.
  • Long battery life that can span years
What I didn't like
  • Not the best fit for mailboxes
  • Some users have reported it giving out false alarms.
  • May need a direct line of sight with the hub for Z-wave functionality.
  • Some users report difficulty pairing it with specific systems.
  • Testers have also found that it’s not sensitive to slight tilts.
7.0
Long-range and audible mailbox opening alerts

The Mail Chime MAIL-1200 is an instant mailbox alert/theft alarm that beeps and lights up the indoor hub whenever your mailbox door opens.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Tilt Sensor
  • Dimensions: 4.25”x1.25”x1.25” (Sensor)
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, needs the compatible chime/receiver
  • Battery: Yes, 1 x CR123A with the receiver connected to a wall outlet
  • Smart Compatibility: No
  • Dedicated App: No
  • Alerts: Alarm sound and LED indicator only

The Mail Chime MAIL-1200 comes with an indoor receiver/chime and a tilt sensor that’s small and light. It can easily fit into any mailbox and setting it up is a pure breeze; no wires or pesky antennas involved.

Long Battery Life

What also caught my attention is its incredible battery life. The device runs on just one CR123A battery, which can last for up to two years. Plus, you get a battery right out of the box.

Receiver

The chime (or receiver) fits with any decor, but despite its quiet look, has a loud alarm that immediately notifies you of incoming mail. Accordingly, the device puts out four methodical beeps and a red LED light, to notify you that the mailbox is being opened.

Issues

That being said, most users have reported that the device's adhesive tape is not strong enough. Apparently, the tape doesn’t stick well, causing the chime to fall off mailboxes.

So depending on your situation, additional tape or velcro strips might be required.

What I liked
  • Long battery life, lasting a year
  • Works for distances of up to 350 feet
  • Adjustable chime volume
  • Resistant to weather conditions
  • Easy to install
  • Can support different types of mailboxes with doors and flap slots (because of the tilting sensor)
What I didn't like
  • Installers have complained that the original adhesive is weak.
  • Not recommended for heavy, aluminum, locking mailboxes.
  • When triggered, it tends to chime multiple times, which can be annoying for some.
  • Many believe the price tag is not entirely justified
  • Lacks any smart features or smart home integration
  • Doesn’t offer alerts via Wi-Fi or SMS
6.8
Good price, 500ft range with Chime and LED indicators

The Briidea Mailbox Alarm is a non-smart tilt sensor with an affordable price tag and impressive wireless range.

Specifications
  • Operating Mechanism: Tilt Sensor
  • Dimensions: 2”x1”x1”
  • Separate Hub Required: Yes, as a non-smart receiver 
  • Battery: Yes, 2 x AAA
  • Smart Compatibility: No
  • Dedicated App: No
  • Alerts: Alarm and LED indicators only

The Briidea Mailbox Alarm, despite lacking any smart functionality, is a reliable mailbox alarm that gets the job done. 

The device comes with a receiver hub and a tilt sensor. Both devices are durable and surprisingly easy to set up.

With an effective range of 500ft, this mailbox sensor is a game-changer for big properties and long driveways.

Chime

The alarm receiver is also well-designed. With ten distinct buzzes and a flashing light, it signals whenever the mailbox has been opened. 

Thankfully, there’s also the option to adjust the volume so it won’t be too annoying.

Sensitivity Issues

However, some users have reported the device tends to be overly sensitive, most often, creating false alarms. Which, sadly, isn’t adjustable.

 

Mailbox Alarms and Sensors Guide

Here are some of the things to look out for when choosing a mailbox alarm or sensor.

  • Off the Shelf vs DIY: Purchase a dedicated device or hook up a generic smart sensor and make it work.
  • Dimensions and the Type of Sensor: Make sure the sensor is not too big for your mailbox and that it can accurately detect when the door is opened or closed.
  • Range: How far is your mailbox and will the device be able to ring or push notifications at this range?
  • Smart Home Integration: Wish to trigger security cameras and lights or receive app notifications whenever someone opens the mailbox? If so, smart home integration is a must.
  • Alert Options: Is a simple chime enough, or do you want the full gamut of push notifications, SMS, emails, and even phone calls to let you know the mailbox is open?

Off-the-Shelf VS DIY

mailbox sensor

If you’ve already made your way through the list of options, then you will have noticed that many of the off-the-shelf mailbox sensors are pretty basic, but are much easier to install.

Off-the-Shelf Examples

Options such as the MySpool Mailbox alert and Briidea Mailbox alarm are prime examples of this. 

However, there are certain outliers, especially the Ring Mailbox sensor which offers smart functionality, while also being easy to install.

DIY Setup Using Generic Smart Sensors

On the other hand, DIY Mailbox Sensors — primarily designed for doors, windows, garage doors, and hatches –require a more advanced setup but offer full connectivity with any smart home you have or wish to set up.

So, if you have a smart home and want to connect smart home devices, a DIY mailbox sensor, such as EcoLink’s Z-wave contact sensor or tilt sensor is the way to go.

However, they can be difficult to set up, and in some cases, might not be compatible with your mailbox at all. So keep note of this as well. 

Dimensions and the Type of Sensor

Type of sensor

The type of sensor can also limit, or extend your choices. Tilt sensors are the best options for mailboxes, but you can also DIY regular contact sensors and reed switches depending on the type of mailbox. 

For example, a smaller tilt sensor, such as the Mail Chime 1200, can support most styles of mailboxes, whether those are regular curbside boxes, wall mount-style boxes, or slotted openings with a metal flap.

Meanwhile, the Ring mailbox sensor can also be installed on various mailboxes, but with an extra trick up its sleeve: the sensitivity can be easily calibrated.  

Range 

Wireless Access Point vs Range ExtenderRepeater

The range is another very important feature that you must consider when buying a mailbox sensor. The range varies from sensor to sensor, so before you pick any sensor, make sure that it can cover your home.

First, measure the distance between your home and the mailbox, and then pick the sensor which can support your circumstance.

Best Options for Extended Range

Options like the YoLink LoRa contact sensor have a long range of over ¼ mile, but it’s not a specialized mailbox alarm. 

Alternatively, the MySpool Mailbox alert, which is specifically designed for mailboxes, has an effective range of 400ft, which can be extended to 1600ft using a separate extender kit. 

Mailbox Material

Also, take note of the material in your mailbox since this can interfere with the wireless signal, especially if it’s made of metal.

So if you have a metal mailbox, you might have to install the transmitter on the outside and set up reed switches on the inside via wires to minimize interference. 

Unfortunately, this brings another set of problems as you might have to weatherproof the transmitter unit or drill the mailbox so you can run the wire from the reed switch. 

Wi-Fi or Z-Wave Repeaters

In a worst-case scenario where you have a limited range, the only option is to bridge the gap using Wi-Fi or Z-wave repeaters. 

Smart Home Integration

Alexa Echo

If you have a smart home, then you should get a mailbox sensor that is compatible with a smart home. This allows you to set up various actions on receiving notifications from the Mailbox Sensor.

For example, you can set up an action to trigger a text message or change the colors of a light bulb. In that same manner, you can set up a lot of other actions too.

My top pick, the Ring mailbox sensor is a champ at this because it’s fully compatible with Alexa and other popular smart home platforms. 

Alternatively, the YoLink LoRa is another great example that can help you automate alarm lights and custom scenes with the help of this contact sensor and its smart hub.

Alert Options

Phone Alerts

As you can already tell, the non-smart mailbox alarms such as the Briidea Mailbox alarm simply use chimes and LED indicators to notify you when the mailbox door is open.

Depending on your requirements, this might be enough, but if you’re a smart home enthusiast like I am, push notifications via a smartphone are a must. 

Smart Notifications

In that case, the Ring mailbox sensor is the top contender. It easily links up with the Ring app to provide notifications and further automation with Alexa and Google Home/Assistant. 

Similarly, the YoLink LoRa supports a wide array of alerting capabilities, going so far as to include SMS and automated phone calls (for a subscription).

How I Tested

I approached my research for these mailbox alarms and smart sensors by dedicating time to reading numerous reviews to identify the ones with the highest ratings and positive feedback. 

Any recurring issues or faults mentioned by users were prioritized and considered as potential drawbacks.

After creating a huge list of potential devices, I made sure to simplify it further but include a good variety of options.

This helped me cover different budgets, sizes, and smart functionality to cater to different types of mailboxes and user requirements without including an overwhelming list of products.

FAQs

Can a Mailbox Alarm be Installed on Any Type of Mailbox?

Most mailbox alarms can be easily installed on various types of mailboxes, including wall-mounted, post-mounted, and freestanding mailboxes.

However, it's important to check the specific product's compatibility and installation requirements before purchasing.

Also, if you have certain metal mailboxes or ones that are too far out of signal range, you will have to install a separate reed switch or place the transmitter outside the mailbox. 

How Long Does the Battery of a Mailbox Alarm Last?

The battery life of a mailbox alarm depends on factors like usage frequency and the specific model.

Typically, mailbox alarms can last anywhere from several months to a year on a single set of batteries.

Can a Mailbox Alarm Withstand Different Weather Conditions?

Yes, many mailbox alarms are designed to be weather-resistant or waterproof. They are built to withstand rain, snow, and extreme temperature fluctuations.

However, if you’re installing a DIY door/window or garage door sensor instead of an off-the-shelf device, they might not be as weatherproof. So make sure to check this before purchasing.

My Mailbox Sensor Cannot Connect, What Should I Do?

If your mailbox is not connecting to your smart home hub or receiver, then it's likely a range problem. The only solution is to get a Wi-Fi or Z-Wave repeater, which will extend the range of the networks, and your mailbox sensor will be able to connect.

My Mailbox Sensor is Not Always Triggering When Mail Arrives

If you are experiencing this problem, then it could be due to two reasons.

First, make sure that the mailbox sensor is properly installed and powered.

If the sensor is set up properly, then it could be due to your mailbox type. If it's made of metal material, then it could be interrupting the signal.

The only solution to this problem is to put your mailbox sensor on the outside of the mailbox as it will offer better reception of signals.

Verdict

All things considered, these mailbox alarms and smart sensors are a game-changer for keeping your mail secure. With real-time notifications and customizable security features, you'll never miss any mail.

So in keeping up with that, my main recommended product is the Ring Mailbox Sensor. It includes everything you need to get started and offers seamless integration with other Ring devices.

Alternatively, the YoLink LoRa Smart Outdoor Contact Sensor & Hub is a great choice. It provides a long wireless range and versatile integration options.

Cited Sources

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1 Comment

  • koa
    Posted June 23, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Originally I wanted a LOUD Alarm to scare the * out of the thieves, because it’s funnier to see Thieves jump out of their skin, scream, and nearly kill themselves running away. Then I thought about the Letter Carrier. Yeah, it would be funny, but I want to get my Mail… Delivered.
    I’m thinking about using a Driveway Motion Sensor/Detector, but don’t know IF it’ll work Inside of my Metal Mailbox.
    I looked at the Alarms with the (Wired, and Wireless) Sensor that mount to the INSIDE of the Mailbox Door. I don’t want anyone to see anything.
    Thankfully we signed up for the USPS Informed Delivery Service, but the Mail Thieves are Deliberately SENDING their Mail to My Address. The Cops, and Post Office WON’T do a thing.

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