The Streckeisen STS‐1 has been the primary vault‐type seismometer used in the over‐150‐station Global Seismographic Network (GSN). This sensor has long been known for its outstanding vertical, very long‐period (e.g., >100 s period), and low‐noise performance, although the horizontal long‐period noise performance is less well known. The STS‐1 is a limited, important resource, because it is no longer made or supported by the original manufacturer. We investigate the incoherent noise of horizontal‐component sensors, where coherent signals among sensors have been removed, giving an upper bound on the self‐noise of both the STS‐1 and STS‐2 horizontal components. Our findings suggest that a well‐installed STS‐2 could potentially produce data with similar or better incoherent noise levels to that of a horizontal‐component STS‐1. Along with our experimental investigation, we compare background noise levels for a calendar year at Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology/U.S. Geological Survey network stations, which comprise approximately two‐thirds of the GSN, with collocated STS‐1 and STS‐2 seismometers. The use of an STS‐2‐class of sensor (flat to velocity to 120 s period) to acquire low‐frequency data in surface‐vault installations would allow network operators to focus more attention on improving vertical data. In order to deal with the difference in instrument response shapes between the two instruments, we detail two different time‐domain filters that would allow users to convert broadband STS‐2 data into very broadband data with a response similar to that of an STS‐1 (flat to velocity to 360 s period). We conclude that the complexity of the current primary horizontal vault sensors in the GSN may not be necessary until we are better able to isolate surface horizontal sensors from various noise sources.