Intercom Doorbell Guide: How to Choose the Best One (2023)

Intercom Doorbell Guide: How to Choose the Best One (1)

Whether you own or manage a property with multiple tenants, your residents have high demands when it comes to access control. Your residents want quick and convenient access for all types of visitors, from cleaners and friends to dog walkers and delivery men – while safety must be a high priority. OneApartment intercomdoorbell is a solution to achieve both. Read on to know more about doorbell intercoms.

This post covers:

  • What is an intercom doorbell?
  • Using a doorbell with intercom
  • When and why to replace your intercom doorbell
  • How to choose the best doorbell with intercom

What is an intercom doorbell?

An intercom bell is a type of door entry system that allows a visitor to alert a building occupant of their presence. Intercom doorbells are a fusion of two common types of door entry technology: they offer users the communication capabilities of an intercom and the notification capabilities of a doorbell.

While a visitor uses a bell device at the building entrance to request access, a resident uses amonitor in the device(or your smartphone if it's a mobile doorbell intercom) to speak to your guest and let them in without having to physically go to the door.

Intercom doorbell systems have been installed in all types of buildings including family houses, apartments and even commercial buildings. And the installation settings are different depending on the building type.

For example, a doorbell intercom system for an apartment in an apartment building may require you to install hardware in each unit so that each resident can open the door remotely. But in an office building, an intercom doorbell can direct all incoming requests to a central point, e.g. B. a reception or a receptionist.

Doorbells with intercom consist of three components:

  • base station.Base stations are intercom hardware installed at the entrance to the building. Single family home intercom doorbells have only one button that visitors press to alert the resident of their presence. However, doorbell intercoms designed for multi-tenant buildings have multiple call buttons. Thus, a visitor presses the button corresponding to the resident he intends to visit.
  • substation.Substations are smaller devices that residents use to fulfill access requests from visitors and grant them access.
  • Electric lock. electric locksallow a door to be unlocked and relocked in the direction of an electrical signal. The doorbell system's sub-station contains a button that residents press to remotely unlock the door.

Using a doorbell with intercom

A visitor uses an intercom doorbell by pressing a button on the device at the front door. And a resident uses an intercom ringer that uses their extension to speak to the visitor and grant entry.

Here's what happens when a visitor using an intercom doorbell tries to contact a resident:

  1. The visitor makes contact with the resident via the base station.When the guest finds the resident they want to visit, they press the bell button to request entry.
  2. The base station is connected to the substation.The substation then makes a sound to warn a visitor's resident. This can be a traditional doorbell ring, a doorbell sound, or some other sound.
  3. Resident Grant's entry.When a resident wants to let their visitor in, they push a button on their extension. The substation sends a signal to the electric lock, which unlocks and allows the visitor to open the door.

Intercom Doorbell Guide: How to Choose the Best One (2)

This is how a doorbell with intercom works

Under the hood, intercom bells must find a way to exchange information between a base station and a substation. A doorbell with an intercom system can use various technologies for this purpose. Most intercom doorbells only transmit audio, but some intercom doorbells with cameras have video calling capabilities.

Wired intercom doorbells rely on wires to connect a sub-station and a base station. However, a wired intercom is much more expensive to install and maintain than its wireless counterpart. A wireless doorbell intercom adopts a more convenient wireless technology such ascellular. WiFi intercom doorbells are another wireless option that uses the internet for communication.

This is how ButterflyMX works:

When and why to replace your intercom doorbell

If your building currently has an intercom bell system to control access to the property, consider how it works and whether it meets your access needs. Unfortunately, even the most advanced doorbells lack all the features of a great building entry system.

considersubstitutethe intercom ringer if you discover residents or staff are still having access issues. For example, are the internal devices of your system drive constantly failing? Or do local residents miss deliveries because the post office does not have guaranteed access to the building? You'll save time and money by upgrading to a more powerful intercom system with features that solve these problems.

Four main reasons why you should replace your doorbell with intercom:

  1. Not cloud based
  2. The system needs constant repairs
  3. Doesn't have a mobile app
  4. Has limited video capabilities

1. Not cloud based

Cloud-based intercoms are the most convenient option on the market today. Employees can manage a cloud-based intercom from anywhere and on any device, even when they are off-site. Managing an access control system is a behind-the-scenes task, far removed from a resident's mind. But an improperly managed access system can cause many headaches if not updated with the latest permits for residents who have just moved or have just been granted access to a recreation area. You can avoid this headache by storing data in the cloud.

On the other hand, intercom doorbells that store data on an on-site server require an on-site operator to perform system updates. Alternatively, they can be managed with software that you can download for just one machine.

2. The system needs constant repairs

An intercom that constantly fails and requires maintenance is impractical for your residents and staff. Your residents will experience a complete lack of visits or deliveries, or they may overwhelm staff who don't typically perform porter or receptionist duties. This will also reflect poorly on your property and can be the factor that prompts a resident to look elsewhere for rental.

If your intercom is wired, maintenance costs will increase on your end. You'll have to tear down and rebuild walls and ceilings to reach the cables when they need to be replaced. In the long run, replacing your intercom with a more consistent wireless model is cheaper and more efficient for you than constantly spending money on repairs.

3. Has no mobile app

App-based intercoms have many advantages over doorbell intercomsUnitHardware. Residents always have their smartphones with them. So by giving residents the ability to control the intercom from their smartphone, you greatly improve the resident experience.

4. Limited video capabilities

VideoDoorbell intercoms only allow one-way video communication. This means that a resident can see a visitor, but a visitor cannot see a resident. Today, tech-savvy residents expect the convenience of a two-way video call.

How to choose the best doorbell with intercom

If you want to offer your residents the best access experience, there are a fewCharacteristicsyou have to emphasize When choosing a building access system, first consider the features that are most important to you. Are you looking for an intercom that will bring more convenience and security to your property.

Choose an intercom with these characteristics:

  • Wireless
  • No hardware in the device
  • The integration

Intercom Doorbell Guide: How to Choose the Best One (4)


AwirelessThe door intercom has many advantages over a wired intercom. Wired intercoms are expensive to install and maintain. Both installation and maintenance require tearing apart walls and ceilings to fully connect each substation to the base station.

No hardware in the device

Wireless voice intercom doorbells are convenient and easy to install. However, they are still expensive and cumbersome when requiring hardware in the unit.

Depending on the size of your property, you may need to install tens or even hundreds of substations in your building. And then you need to make sure each substation is up to date and working properly. You also need to keep an eye on the increased number of maintenance requests from local residents.

Rather than adding more hardware to your property, consider a property access solution that allows residents to use their smartphones as substations. This saves you time and money and gives residents the ability to grant access from anywhere.

The integration

Choose an intercom that integrates with other hardware and software.

One of the most useful intercom integrations is with property management software. Your team will appreciate this integration because they won't have to constantly update permissions as your rental list changes and residents move in and out. Instead, the integration automatically sends these changes from your PMS to the intercom.

If you already rely on internet-based solutions like smart locks or elevator controllers to manage access to other areas of your property, the right intercom can be built into those devices as well. This creates a consistent login experience across your property.


Intercom doorbells are not the most convenient access control option for your tenants. Even the best wireless intercom doorbell doesn't offer the features residents expect, like two-way video or mobile apps. They're also not the most cost-effective or efficient option for your team.

The best intercoms depend on smartphones because smartphones are more convenient for residents. Smart intercoms also save you time and money installing hardware in every unit in the building.

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