Whether you call them window bars, security bars, burglar bars or anything else, window bars exist to allow you to sleep a little better at night.
Some window bars are fixed in place over the entire window opening, some can be put in place and removed at will, others swing open to make cleaning the window easier and still others don’t cover the window at all, they just prevent someone from opening it.
Below we are going to look at all of the product available and select the best window bars of 2022.
1. Grisham Spear Point Window Bar Guard
If there can be such a thing as a big name in window bars, Grisham would certainly be a contender. They’re one of the few companies that manufacture full coverage window bars and market them nationally via platforms like Amazon. What’s even better is that their window bars are stylish, durable, affordable and easy to install. Pretty much everything you want in full coverage window bars. They’re also corrosion resistant, and as an added benefit, these window bars have a quick release feature, meaning they can help you get a break on your homeowners insurance. If there is a downside it’s that, for some inexplicable reason, they charge you extra for mounting brackets.
2. Defender Security S4776 Window Guard
The S4776 from Defender Security installs on the inside of your window frame and serves a couple of purposes. First, it prevents youngsters from potentially crawling out of open windows and harming themselves. And second, it allows you to open the bottom half of your window and go about your business without worrying someone is going to sneak in and rip you off while you’re working in the yard or taking a shower. These bars are mounted on tamper-proof fasteners that can’t be accessed by anyone trying to gain entry from the outside, and they also have a quick release mechanism that allows you to swing them open and use the window as an exit in the event of a fire or other emergency. Very tough and durable.
3. Knape & Vogt Swing Open Window Bars
Knape & Vogt Swing Open Window Bars are not going to win any beauty contests, but, similar to the S4776 from Defender (see above), what they will do is provide reliable, affordable protection across the lower portion of single hung windows. That way you can open your windows on a nice day without worrying about it. They also ensure that any youngsters in the house won’t slip out that open window while you’re not looking. Also like the S4776 they swing open to allow easy access to clean the window, or to provide egress in the event of an emergency. They’re easy to install, come in a variety of sizes and won’t break your bank.
4. Mr. Goodbar White Security Door Grille
A little more than 1/3 of all break ins occur through the front door (1). Sometimes it’s a matter of the intruder simply turning the doorknob and walking in, other times they’ll break the window on the door and then reach in and unlock the door. If you don’t account for the front door in your home security plans then you really don’t have a home security plan. The Mr. Goodbar Security Door Grille is easy to install and will remove the front or back door from the list of potential entry points for burglars. If you have a large window on any of your exterior doors you should consider the Mr. Goodbar Security Door Grille.
5. Fairy Baby Child Window Guards
Every year thousands of kids are injured falling out of windows. If you have young kids you have to be constantly aware of the risk open windows pose, especially if you live on a high floor. Fairy Baby Child Window Guards are not designed to keep burglars out. They’re designed to keep your kids in, and they do an outstanding job of that. They’re easy to install, easy on the bank account and can be adjusted to fit just about any size window. They come with all the necessary mounting hardware and crystal clear instructions. Finally, these bars also come with a quick release mechanism that enables you to exit the window in a hurry if you’re on the ground floor.
6. First Impressions IronWorks Hinged Iron Window Guard
If you really want to go whole-hog on your window bars you can’t get any better than First Impressions IronWorks Hinged Iron Window Guards. These full coverage exterior window bars are handsome, strong as hell, fashioned from American steel and powder coated to prevent corrosion. These are the kind of full coverage window bars that don’t produce a prison-like feel. Instead, they say you have both taste and brains. Oh, and they swing open too in the event you need to exit the home in a hurry, which means they’ll help you secure a break on your homeowners insurance. They’ll cost you a little more, but 20 years after installing them they’ll still be looking great and doing their job.
7. Ideal Security BK112W Window Security Bar
Whereas the previous entry on our list is a max coverage option, the Ideal Security BK112W is minimalist coverage at it’s best. The BK112W is made specifically for windows that slide open either horizontally or vertically. It installs in less than a minute without the need for any special tools or skills. It’s fully adjustable to accommodate any sliding window from 25 to 42 inches and it swings out of the way if you need to exit the window during an emergency. This is a good choice if you live in a fairly safe neighborhood and just want a bit of extra security.
8. Tru-Bolt Black Steel Window Security Bars
The Tru-Bolt Black Steel Window Security Bars are fashioned from welded tubular steel, have a stylish air about them, are available in a variety of sizes to match your windows and are very easy to install. If you want full coverage window bars but don’t want your home looking like Alcatraz consider the Tru-Bolt Window Bars. They have a corrosion-resistant finish, are designed to work with a variety of architectural styles and they are very easy on the bank account.
9. A29 Squared Bar Speakeasy Door Grill
We mentioned earlier that the front door is the single most popular way for burglars to enter a home. So you can have full coverage bars over all your ground floor windows, but if you don’t have the window in your front door covered, you’re not really covered. This Squared Bar Speakeasy Door Grill is perfect for those doors with a small square or diamond shaped window in them. It’s fashioned from cast iron so it’s tough as nails, it installs in minutes and it has a timeless look to it that doesn’t undermine what you’re trying to do with your entryway.
10. Jeacent Adjustable Window Security Bar
The last item on our list is another discreet piece of window security. The Jaecent Adjustable Window Security Bar stays out of sight and makes any vertical or horizontal sliding window nearly impossible to open. It will fit any window from 15 to 29 inches in width or height and is crafted from hardened steel (2) so it’s not going to submit to the will of a burglar. Like most such bars this is not an ideal choice if what you need is an effective visual deterrent. But if all you’re after is a way to enhance the security of your sliding windows the Jeacent Security Bar will do the trick for a very reasonable price.
What Are Window Bars?
Window bars are steel or iron bars that either form a protective grid over your windows or jam themselves into the window frame to prevent a window from being forced open. Window bars go by several other names as well, including “burglar bars”, “security bars”, “window guards” and “safety bars”.
The main objective of window bars is to defend against home intrusions, but there are also window bars available that are designed to prevent children from falling out of windows in high buildings. Window bars are typically installed on ground floor and basement windows, although they may be installed on higher floors if there is some obvious way (like a fire escape) for a potential intruder to access those windows.
Some window bars attach to the outside of a home and are fixed in place, while others are installed on the inside of windows and may either be removable or swing open in order to allow access to the window.
What Are Some Things to Consider When Buying Window Bars?
With so many different types of window bars you need to have a pretty good idea what you’re looking for before you cough up your hard-earned money. Here are some of the most common considerations that come into play with regard to window bars.
What are you protecting against? – Are you looking for a way to prevent intruders from entering your ground floor windows? In that case you may want full coverage exterior bars. Do you live in a fairly safe area but just want an extra layer of protection on your windows? In that case a jam-style bar might be right for you. Or are you concerned your youngster may fall out a high window? There are bars designed specifically to help prevent that. Nail down the purpose of the bars first and foremost.
Aesthetics/Style – This is especially important if your intention is to put exterior bars over your windows, since they’ll be there for the whole world to see 24/7. Your choices of exterior window bars are extremely limited on a platform like Amazon, but there are many independent companies out there that manufacture and install them, and many of those will produce custom bars to your taste if that’s what you want.
Local regulations – Depending on where you live there may be local ordinances in play that either ban the use of exterior window bars, or require you to install them (3). In gated communities there are likely to be specific rules dictating their size, style and even what color they would need to be. So be aware.
Type of installation – Before you go ahead and take the time and spend the money to have exterior bars permanently affixed to your home ask yourself if you really need that type of protection. Maybe you do. But maybe that type of bar is really overkill and your needs would be adequately served by interior bars that can be installed and removed at will, or by a simple jam-style bar.
The windows they’ll be installed on – When installing window bars on windows facing the street you’ll need to be aware of aesthetic considerations. After all, your home’s curb appeal has a significant impact on its market value (4). When it comes to windows around the back of the house though, aesthetic considerations are not so important. Keep in mind too that there may be local regulations that require you to keep one or more windows as a fire exit. In which case you’ll need bars on those windows that have some type of quick release mechanism on the inside.
Availability and price – As we mentioned, if you’re intent on buying security bars online you’ll find your options limited, particularly when it comes to the type of bars that are affixed to the outside of the house. Typically, you’ll need to get those from a specialty retailer or direct from the company that makes and installs them. Those types of window bars are going to cost you. On the other hand they’ll probably outlive you.
Urgency – Is there something going on that calls for installing window bars now? If that’s the case you may have to settle for the best available choice, even if it’s not perfect. If, however, there is no immediate need and you just want to install them to be a little extra safe, you can take your time and get exactly what you want.
What Are The Different Kinds of Window Bars?
There are many different products that are categorized as window bars. Here are the most common.
Fixed window bars – This is what most people think of when they think window bars or security bars. Fixed window bars are omnipresent in most cities where they’re used to keep B&E guys at bay. They are permanently affixed to the outside of a house or apartment building and form a cage-like barrier that lets in the light while keeping out the weasels. If the need for security is great, this is what you want.
Swing to open window bars – These are often installed on the interior of the window opening and can be swung open to clean the window or allow for emergency exit in case of fire. They’re mounted on a frame with a door-like hinge and a locking mechanism so that someone can’t open the window then reach inside and swing the bars out of the way.
Removable window bars – This type of window bar can be hung on its frame and locked into place at night, and then unlocked and taken down in the daytime. They’re for people who want the extra layer of security but don’t want their house to look like a fortress all the time. People also use this type of window bar when they’re going on vacation, or if they live alone and they’re going out of town on business.
Child protective window bars – Every year more than 5,000 kids fall out of windows in the US (5). These window bars are designed specifically to prevent young children from crawling out the window. They’re a fairly common site in upper floor condos and apartments. They don’t cover the entire window, just the lower portion, typically about half the window height. Some are permanently affixed, but more often they’re removable.
Window restraint bar – This is not a bar that goes over a window opening. Instead, this type of bar is jammed into the window frame (usually at the bottom) thereby making it impossible to open the window, even if you’ve managed to somehow unlock it. This is a subtle form of window security and has a lot in common with the steering wheel lock.
Who Needs Window Bars?
According to the FBI there are about 1.4 million burglaries (6) per year in the US. With that in mind then, people who live in urban areas and have ground floor and basement windows are prime candidates for break ins and so, prime candidates for window bars. But they’re not the only ones, because even people who live in states with few large cities still get broken into (7).
People with young children should consider protective window bars on the inside of their windows, especially if they live on a high floor. If you own a bar or restaurant in virtually any major city in the US you should also consider installing window bars over vulnerable windows.
The Pros and Cons of Window Bars
Everything has an upside and a downside, including window bars. So let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this old school method of home security.
They work – Whatever name you want to give them window bars have been with us since the days of the Roman Empire. Why do they continue to be a popular choice 2,000 years on? Because they work. You can put your trust in high tech motion sensors and security apps, but if you have iron bars over your ground floor windows, chances are you’ll never need those high tech devices.
You can open your windows without fear – If you’ve waited 6 months for the cold weather to break so you can get some fresh air into your house, you don’t want someone entering through your open window and helping themselves to the TV while you’re in the bathroom. Window security bars allow you to open your windows at will without worrying that you’ll come face to face with an intruder while you’re making lunch.
They can earn you a break on your insurance – With the right kind of window bars you can probably get a break on your homeowners insurance (8). By “the right kind” we mean fixed, full window bars with a quick release system on one or more of the windows to allow fast emergency egress. You are not likely to get a break on your insurance with a jam-style window bar or bars that only cover a part of the window opening.
They’re affordable – Fixed window bars will cost you a few bucks to install, but when you consider they’ll likely last as long as the house, the annual cost turns out to be minuscule, especially when you consider how much they can improve the security profile of your home. Removable bars, child protection bars and jam-style bars are also outstanding values.
As we said, everything has a downside so let’s look at some of the potential negatives of window security bars.
They give your home a fortress like appearance – There is no doubt that fixed exterior window bars in particular are going to give your home a fortress-like appearance. Of course, if you have your window bars custom made you may come away with ones that work well with the lines and style of your home and minimize the jarring, fortress effect.
They may get in the way during an emergency – If they’re not properly thought out window bars may present an impossible obstruction, preventing family members from being able to exit in the event of a fire or other emergency. In addition, if you are unconscious inside (or simply not home) and the fire department needs to break into your home, the window bars may prevent them from being able to do that.
They interfere with the view – Fixed window bars in particular have a nasty habit of interfering with the view out the window. Whether that is a negative or not depends on how much you value the view out your window. For some people it won’t be an issue. For others it will. It’s really a matter of personal tastes and sensibilities.
The Bottom Line
Window bars allow you to enhance the security profile of your home so you can sleep easy no matter where you live. They’re cost-effective, versatile and available in a variety of styles so there’s bound to be one that dovetails with your security needs. Use the above information to help you make the right choice for your home.