Complete Wireless Doorbell Guide: Options, Pros and Cons
Just about everyone who enters your home first rings your doorbell. Doorbells are relatively simple. When someone pushes a button outside of your home, a chime sounds inside of your home, letting you know that you have a visitor.
One could mistakenly think that there’s not a lot that could be done to improve this system. They would be wrong. Wireless doorbells have revolutionized the way you can be alerted to visitors.
Wireless doorbells increase the safety and security of your home as well as the comfort of your home. They give you the option of being able to speak with visitors through an intercom system without revealing where you are in your home. Depending on how you set up your system, you could speak to visitors from the comfort of your master bedroom, your home office, your garage, or your dining room, and the person on the other side of the door has no idea where you are.
Because of their wireless nature, you are able to set up the speakers anywhere in the house. This allows you to be able to hear when people are at your door regardless of where you are in your home.
Table of Content
- How Wireless Doorbell Works?
- 5 Types of Wireless Doorbells
- 1. Wireless Video Doorbells
- 2. Wireless Video Doorbells With Motion Sensing
- 3. Wireless Video Intercom Doorbells
- 4. Long Range Wireless Doorbells
- 5. Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell
- Buying Guide: Features to Consider
How Wireless Doorbell Works?
Doorbell technology has come a long way over the past few decades. Wired doorbells are designed to connect to your home’s electrical system. However, since wireless doorbells use radio waves to send information via transmitters and receivers, everything is battery-powered. You do not need to run or connect any wires to your home’s electrical system.
Installing a wireless doorbell is so simple that all you need is the doorbell equipment, a few screws, or some double-sided tape. If your wireless doorbell is not battery-powered, it may be designed to plug into an outlet. The receivers are powerful on most wireless batteries, having the ability to receive information from more than 300 yards away. Their added flexibility, their ease of installation, and their versatility are some of the reasons why most homeowners are opting for wireless doorbells as opposed to wired ones.
Some of the more recent wireless doorbell models use telephone technology to transmit signals to the speakers. These newer models not only alert you to the fact that someone is at the door, but they also allow you to find out who the person is or even remotely open your door. Wireless doorbells are an essential part of converting your home into a security-conscious smart home.
5 Types of Wireless Doorbells
1. Wireless Video Doorbells
Homeowners have become increasingly more interested in including smart appliances in their home. While some of them do it for the wow factor of having devices connected to their phone, the primary reason why people invest in smart devices is because they are concerned about home security. This explains why wireless video doorbells are wildly popular.
How Do Video Wireless Doorbells Work?
Wireless video doorbells have embedded video cameras. They have speakers to project your voice, and they have a microphone system that allows you to hear what is being said by the person in front of your door. When a visitor rings your doorbell, depending on the device that you’re using, you will receive an alert on your smart phone as well as hear an audible chime in your home.
With the touch of a button, you will be able to establish a video feed connection to your front door. Once this link is established, you will be able to have a conversation with the visitor. Since the information is transmitted via Wi-Fi, it does not matter if you are in your home or if you are thousands of miles away.
Many video wireless doorbells have the capacity to record the interaction that you have with your visitor. Some devices are connected to the cloud, allowing you to store more information, access that information from a variety of locations, as well as store the information for an extended period of time.
Pros of a Video Wireless Doorbell
The pros of using this type of doorbell are pretty self-evident. If your child comes home from school, you’re able to see them, and you are able to make sure that they are alone or with who they said they should be with.
Since the doorbell camera can be used to monitor who comes in and out of your home, it allows you to keep track of what is brought in and what is taken out of your home.
These doorbells give you a better sense of security, especially if you put them on all of the most trafficked doors around your home. They allow you to pretend that you are home when you’re not. They give you the convenience of being able to see who is at your door regardless of where you are in your home.
Cons of a Video Wireless Doorbell
With some models, customers have complained that the cameras do not have great definition or that the audio quality could be a little bit better.
Depending on the model and the features that you want, you should expect to spend between $125-$300.
To get the most out of your unit, we recommend that you install a unit on every single door where you have a lot of traffic. This would include installing units on your garage door.
Many video wireless doorbells come with their own app that allows you to control the doorbell with your smart phone. There are other third-party apps, such as Ring Video Doorbell, that allow you to use your smart device to monitor and control your wireless doorbell.
2. Wireless Video Doorbells With Motion Sensing
The idea of wireless doorbells connected to the Internet has been around for a couple of years. Older models were clunky and didn’t always work as they were intended. Newer versions of wireless video doorbells offer a more comprehensive way to look at controlling access to your home. Many models include motion sensing.
Having a motion sensor attached to your doorbell adds an extra layer of security because when someone walks on your porch or into your yard, you get an alert on your phone and there is a camera recording the video and the audio of each event. This information is stored on the cloud and can be used or reviewed in the future.
How Wireless Video Doorbells with Motion Sensing Work
Most of these doorbells come equipped with motion sensors that sit right next to the camera. They send you an alert before someone touches your doorbell or if the person walks up to your door but decides not to ring your doorbell. This happens a lot with delivery people who leave packages but for some mysterious reason feel that they don’t need to ring your doorbell.
The motion detector activates your camera. So the device starts recording before the person gets to your door. This is a nice feature that provides an additional layer of security.
Many wireless video doorbells come equipped with a feature that allows you to designate zones to be monitored. So if you’re getting a lot of false alarms, you can simply reduce the area that is being monitored.
The Pros of Wireless Video Doorbells with Motion Detectors
One of the biggest pros of using this type of wireless doorbell is that you have peace of mind. You know that your doorbell activity is being monitored. You have the ability to access and download the videos, not only of the individuals who actually ring your doorbell but if anyone who comes on your yard or within close proximity to your home. An alert will sound, telling you if there is a person lurking around your home, so that you will not be caught off guard.
Some wireless video doorbells with motion detectors are exceptionally sensitive. And so you might get a lot of false alarms until you are able to set the unit to work within the area you want it to work. Some units are affected by the cold and may have slower performance in colder temperatures.
Prices range from a little under $100 to a touch over $300, depending on the quality, brand name, and features available with the unit.
To get the most out of your wireless video doorbell with motion sensor, we encourage you to take a look at the different apps that are available. Many of the products you purchase will come with a proprietary app that can be used on your smart phone. However, there are some third-party apps that allow you to get a lot of functionality out of your doorbell. Your video doorbell is a powerful addition to your home automation system. It improves your security, your comfort, and gives you more flexibility when it comes to interacting with people who approach your home.
3. Wireless Video Intercom Doorbells
There are a lot of security concerns that are making wireless video intercoms more popular. Video door intercoms allow you to safely identify a visitor before you open your door. It is good to separate video door intercoms from intercoms that are used inside your home. Intercoms that are used inside your home are designed to allow you to communicate with others from one area of your home to another area of your home. And while there are some wireless video intercom systems that include this type of functionality, these are not what we are focusing on today.
How Do Wireless Video Intercom Doorbells Work?
Most wireless video intercom doorbells come equipped with a handset, a monitor, a doorbell camera, the intercom system, as well as an energy source for the handset and the monitor. Most handsets have the option to allow you to speak, view, and in most cases open the door. Advanced units will have infrared illumination. This allows you to see who was at your door, even at night time, thanks to the LED lights that are situated on the doorbell camera.
Some units will have color cameras that will produce color images during the day hours and black-and-white images at night. Features to look for include picture memory as well as a date and time stamp. This will allow you to keep track of who is around your home, even if you’re not there.
A good monitor should allow you to control not only the speaker volume but also the volume of the chime, the sharpness, and the brightness of the unit. Advanced features include door status monitoring and the ability to live view what is going on outside of your home, even if your doorbell is not activated.
The Pros of a Wireless Video Intercom Doorbell
Wireless home intercom systems are easy to use, and they are convenient to install. Proof of this can be seen from the fact that even high-end companies are adopting wireless technology because of their improved functions, including the ability to capture video, record video, and have live feedback. No wires make set up simple and hassle-free. Additionally, wireless units can be moved from one place to another easily.
The Cons of a Wireless Video Intercom Doorbell
There are many who argue that a wired intercom system is more secure because a wired system needs to be physically accessed to be breached, whereas with a wireless system all that is needed is the ability to crack the wireless signal, something that can be done from a distance away. Additionally, if a wired video intercom system is breached, there will be physical evidence of the breach, whereas a wireless system may be breached for a long time and go undetected because there is no physical evidence.
Simple units can be purchased for under $50, whereas more expensive units can be purchased for $1,300 or more.
To get the most out of these units, it is best that you have one on every major point of entry in your home. If you have heavy traffic not only at your front door but also at the back door, you may want to install multiple units.
4. Long Range Wireless Doorbells
If you have a large home or if you are thinking about installing a wireless doorbell in your office or commercial building, standard wireless doorbells are not going to work for you. This is because most standard doorbells have a range of between 75 feet and 100 feet. They lack the ability to penetrate through some of the heavy-duty materials used in commercial construction or even in the construction of larger homes.
How Long Range Wireless Doorbells Work
What makes a long range wireless doorbell different from standard wireless doorbells are the receivers and transmitters they use. Both are designed to transmit information over a larger area and to penetrate through thicker materials. There are units that have the ability to transmit signals in excess of 2,000 feet. Many of these units are expandable, allowing you the option to add additional wireless buttons and additional receivers.
Many long range wireless doorbell units will include changeable codes to prevent interference in your office space or in your home from wireless doorbells used by your neighbors. You should expect your unit to come equipped with volume controls as well as the ability to choose different sounds. Lithium batteries are frequently used to supply power to the push button transmitter. All you’ll need to do is mount the doorbell button at the entrance of your building and plug the chime receiver into an outlet.
Pros of a Long Range Wireless Doorbell
Long range wireless doorbells will allow you to hear when someone is at your door, even if you are working in a different part of the building. You will not have to worry about missing deliveries or visitors. They are the smart choice for individuals looking to add an extra layer of security to their building and who want to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they are not missing an opportunity to provide service to their clients because they did not hear the doorbell. These are effective and relatively inexpensive devices that pay for themselves over time.
Cons of Long Range Wireless Doorbells
Depending on the power of the unit, some have been known to cause problems with Wi-Fi signals and other handheld devices. Some units, while having the transmission strength to send a signal through a commercial building, are not designed to stand up to the abuse they experience in a commercial environment.
Cost Of Long Range Wireless Doorbells
You can find some low-end units for just under $30, while more expensive models come in at over $360.
Best Use of Long Range Wireless Doorbells
The bigger the area you’re trying to cover, the more powerful of unit you’re going to need. To get proper coverage, you may need to look for a unit that allows you to add more transmitters and more receivers. If it is compatible with motion sensors, driveway alarms, and other products, that’s even better because this allows your doorbell to be one facet of your overall home or building security system.
5. Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell
A flashing strobe light doorbell is ideal for individuals who are hard of hearing, hearing impaired, or deaf. It is the perfect solution for individuals who are in a loud office environment where they may not hear a chime but will need a visual indicator to alert them that someone is at the door.
How Does a Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell Work?
When someone pushes the button at the door, the strobe signal begins to flash a bright light. At the same time, loud sounds are produced. If you or someone you love finds it difficult to hear the doorbell, the combination of the loud sound and flashing lights should be enough to get your attention and let you know that there is someone at the door. These devices are a relatively inexpensive solution that can provide a hearing impaired person or an individual working in a large and noisy work environment the help they need so that they’re not missing any visitors coming to the door.
Most of these devices come equipped with a user selectable channel setting that makes it easy for you to change the channel on your receiver and transmitter so that your neighbor’s door chime won’t make yours go off or vice versa.
Pros of a Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell
These units are relatively easy to install because they don’t need wires, and they don’t require a lot of expertise to make the unit work. The strobe is great, especially if you hold a lot of parties in your home or if you are in a noisy environment.
Cons of a Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell
We really have not found any cons that are specific to this type of doorbell. If you don’t need the flashing lights, then installing a unit like this may become annoying. But if you do need this additional alert, these units are the right product for you.
An inexpensive unit can be found for under $50, whereas high-end units with additional capabilities may cost you in excess of $350.
Best Practices For Using a Flashing Strobe Light Doorbell
For the best results, you want to put the receiver in an area where it will be readily seen throughout the home or office building. Most units come with the option to disable either the flash or the chime if needed. Some medical professionals who use this device in their clinics have disabled the chime and only use the flashing light to indicate that someone is at the door.
Buying Guide: Features to Consider
There are several factors that you will want to consider when finding the right wireless doorbell for you.
First and foremost, you need to determine the amount of range that you will need. This means the distance from the transmitter, which is the push button on your door, to the receiver, which is the chime or the speaker that will be located inside of your home.
When determining the range that you will need, it is important to remember that the range that is printed on the device you are purchasing is not exactly the range you’re going to get in your home. This is because manufacturers determine the range by testing the product in ideal conditions. In your home there are walls and other barriers that will interfere with the range of your unit.
Standard residential units are going to have a range of around 150 feet. Longer-range chimes can have a range of up to 2,500 feet.
Your two options are battery-power or plug-in power. A battery-powered option will usually run off of C or D sized batteries, whereas a plug-in option will need to be connected to an electrical outlet. Many units allow you to choose if you want to use batteries or if you want to plug your unit into the wall.
Ease of Installation
Since wireless units do not have wires, there is no complicated wiring instructions. However, this does not mean that installing all units is going to be a piece of cake. Wireless doorbells have very sensitive and complicated circuitry. Care must be taken during the installation process to not drop the unit or handle it roughly as this could damage important components.
Waterproof and Heat Resistant
It is good to check with the manufacturer’s instructions to see whether your unit is waterproof and how well it stands up to inclement weather. You will notice that a lot of units start to fail if they reach 110°F or if they are exposed to temperatures that are under -14° Fahrenheit. This can be a problem in certain parts of the country, such as the Midwest where it is not uncommon for summer months to have temperatures in excess of 100° and for winter months to have temperatures plunging to -20° or more.
Not all wireless devices are designed to transmit information in the same way. Some will use radiofrequency, and others will use Wi-Fi. Some newer wireless doorbells have been designed to take advantage of telephone signals. It is good to know the type of unit you’re getting to make sure that it works well in the environment you’re going to use it in.
Doorbell Sound Options
This might not sound like an important factor until you find yourself with a doorbell sound that you just hate. Many models come with the option to choose different sounds as well as raise and lower the volume to suit your needs.
Integration with Home Security Accessories
Wireless doorbells are just one component in an overall home security and home automation system. To get the most out of your unit, you want to be able to communicate with the rest of your home’s security system. For example, you could set your unit up to make one sound when someone pushes the doorbell and in another sound if someone walks within the proximity of the motion detector after hours.
Frequency Blocking and Avoiding Interference
Wireless doorbells are very popular. So it is unlikely that you will be the only person on your block with one. For this reason, you want to find a wireless doorbell that allows you to select the frequency that you will use as well as block out other frequencies. You don’t want to run to the door every time someone pushes the doorbell at your neighbor’s home.
Visual Alert Indicators
These are especially important if you have a hearing impaired or deaf individual in your home. The visual alert works in conjunction with the chime to indicate that someone is at the front door. This is also a good option for homes where there are newborns sleeping. Parents could opt to disconnect the chime and simply use the visual indicator to alert them when someone is ringing the doorbell.
This is one of the nicest things about having a wireless system. You can carry your speakers wherever you need them to be. So if you’re working in the basement, bring the speakers to the basement with you. That way, you will never miss a visitor or a package.
Style and Design
A few years ago, all wireless doorbells looked bulky and ugly. Now they have been designed to be an attractive addition to your home. Look for a style that works well with your personal taste and that adds to the beauty of your home.
There was probably a lot more to consider when thinking about a wireless doorbell than you ever thought. The primary advantage of selecting a wireless doorbell is that it easy to install and something that you can do on your own. It’s portable, so you can take the wireless doorbell with you to another home when you move.
Wireless doorbells add to your home’s security. Selecting options with video cameras and motion detectors not only allow you to know when someone rings your doorbell, but they allow you to see when someone is close to your home as well as record any suspicious activity that is happening when you are home or when you are away.
Wireless doorbells are growing in popularity, and it is likely that over the next decades they will completely replace their wired counterparts as more options become available and as the technology connected to wireless doorbells becomes more stable.
Matthew Wilson is an enthusiast who has a deep interest in all things related to home security.What started out as a superficial interest in home security systems soon led to Matthew becoming an expert in the field and someone that others would turn to when they had questions about the quality or effectiveness of a home security system or device. Read more of his works on – Property Guard Master!