Steel Burglar Bars Vs. Transparent Burglar Bars – Which are Better?


When taking steps to beef up the security of their property, many homeowners downplay the importance of securing their windows. Securing your front facade and doors is just half the job done. When it comes to improving home security, the importance of securing windows cannot be emphasized enough. Studies show that around 23 percent burglars enter a property through a first-floor window. One of the many steps that you can take to ensure window security is installing burglar bars. 

Burglar bars: An introduction

Before we discuss and compare steel burglar bars and transparent burglar bars, let us first understand what are burglar bars and the purpose that they serve.

Installed on windows, security bars are strong metal grids. Installing burglar bars is one of the most affordable ways to improve window security. Home security bars are usually bolted through the window frame. Simple versions include three or four bars set in a metal frame. More elaborate and expensive versions include artistic motifs and scrollwork to enhance the window’s aesthetic appeal.

Burglar bars are a potent deterrent and can discourage even motivated burglars from targeting the property. Getting rid of burglar bars can be an effort-intensive and time-consuming exercise, which increases the chances of the burglar getting caught.

Different types of home security bars include cottage guard burglar bars, transparent bars, and steel bars. When it comes to choosing home security bars, many homeowners prefer transparent burglar bars and steel burglar bars over other options. Thanks to their simple design and effectiveness, the popularity of these bars has increased over time.

Transparent bars

Transparent burglar bars or clear burglar bars, as the name suggests are transparent. They not only enhance your window security but also enable the light transfer. Clear burglar bars are made from polycarbonates, a thermoplastic that is used for manufacturing airplane windows and bullet-proof glass. Polycarbonate does not snap easily. The thickness of clear burglar bars varies from 5-7 mm.

Polycarbonate bars are available in a range of shapes and sizes. Transparent burglar bars are quite popular in coastal areas of South Africa such as Cape Town and Durban, where people avoid using traditional bars that block seaside and mountainside views.


Superior durability

Polycarbonate is a virtually indestructible material, which is the primary reason why it is used in high demand applications such as cockpits of fighter jets, shields used by riot control police, Formula One cars, and high-speed trains. Polycarbonate boasts a high tensile strength and its burglar bars are also flexible and highly impact resistant. Even cutting the bar at a single point won’t provide access, as the part will snap back into its place.

100 percent optical clarity

Clear bars provide an unobstructed view to the exterior. These bars allow light to enter the area, helping improve illumination. Many bars offer UV protection.

Hassle-free maintenance

Clear bars do not corrode or deteriorate over time. With that said, untreated polycarbonate can lose its clarity due to prolonged exposure to UV rays. To get value for money, ask an expert to check the quality of polycarbonate that your bars feature.

Designed to avoid the ‘jailed-in’ feeling

Many bars obstruct the outside view, preventing sunlight from entering the property, which creates a jailed-in feeling. Clear bars, on the other hand, provide an unhindered view, helping improve the quality of life of the occupants.


  • Clear bars remove the visible barrier; a potent deterrent for criminals, making the property seem an easy target.
  • A determined burglar can use fire to damage (and eventually get rid of) the bars silently. The process, however, will take time.

Steel bars

Steel bars, arguably are the most common type of burglar bars. Steel bars feature a simple design, are durable and inexpensive. Unlike many other materials, steel does not easily twist, bend, or break. Steel bars are a potent deterrent for burglars. More the time a burglar spends on a property, the higher their chances of getting caught. Cutting and removing a steel bar takes time, which is why an average burglar would prefer targeting a home with unsecured windows.


  • Improved security
  • Burglar bars that blend with the design theme of the property can play a major role in uplifting the establishment’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Provide residents peace of mind
  • Bars installed on second-floor windows can prevent toddlers from falling out when the window is opened.


  • Prevent the occupants from using their windows to escape in the event of a fire.
  • Block the view of the occupants.
  • Are prone to rust and corrosion

Which of the two types is better? Our take

When comparing steel bars and transparent bars, some important variables to consider are:

The ease with which bars could be cut through: Steel bars could be cut through using a hacksaw or angle grinder. A determined (and more importantly a daring) burglar can cut through a transparent bar too, however, it will take time (in some cases as long as cutting through an 8 mm thick solid steel bar). To address this problem, many manufacturers keep as little gap as possible between two bars ensuring there is virtually no space for a hacksaw to fit through.

The way in which bars are fixed to the frame: Most steel bars are either fixed using a pop-rivet or are welded to the frame. Both these methods are not effective, as the burglar can easily twist the bar with a spanner. Top-rated clear bars, on the other hand, come with tamper-proof, industrial-grade stainless steel compression rivets that cannot be easily drilled out or removed.


Continue to Improve Your Window Security With These 5 Approved Techniques.

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