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Shopping Guide for Best Wireless Doorbells

Wireless doorbells are a quick and easy way to fit a new bell, or replace an old one. They are easy to fit. They’re available at a wide range of prices. You have hundreds of styles and colors to choose from, and a whole host of possible features.

In short, there’s a wireless doorbell for everyone. But which is right for you?

That's where BestReviews can provide invaluable help. You can't try dozens of different wireless doorbells at home, but we've got our own labs set up to do precisely that. Then we back up our own research by talking to experts, and by sifting through feedback from hundreds of customers.

Although manufacturers often offer free samples, we never accept them. That might lead to bias, and we can't have that. We buy what we test with our own money. We shop at the same places you shop. It's the only way to guarantee honest and independent results.

So which is the best wireless doorbell? Those above are the ones we endorse. They deliver a variety of solutions, at different price points, and satisfy the majority of needs.

However, we're all different, and you may want to compare your own wireless doorbell choices. So, to provide a comprehensive guide to choosing a wireless doorbell, we've put together the following report.

There’s such an enormous range of styles and colors available, there's bound to be a wireless doorbell to match your decor.

What is a Wireless Doorbell?

Technically-speaking, a wireless doorbell is an RF (Radio Frequency) device. When pressed, the button unit sends a signal to one or more receivers, which then play a sound. The frequencies used are strictly controlled by the FCC, so that your doorbell doesn't interfere with police, ambulance, fire, or other emergency services. Usually wireless doorbells operate in the 300 MHz to 500 MHz bands.

While unlikely, it is possible that other RF devices – a neighbor's wireless doorbell, or garage door opener – could interfere with yours. In the majority of cases, the radio signal simply lacks the power to travel far enough to cause a problem. Even if it does, most wireless doorbells also have a privacy code. Changing this moves the frequency slightly, from 325 MHz to 325.5 MHz, for example. It's not much, but it's enough to prevent the interference.

Should you need to do that, it's important to change both doorbell and the receivers, so they still “talk” to each other.

WiFi-enabled wireless doorbells provide a number of extra features, but are still RF devices.

EXPERT TIP

Don't forget to check physical size of each component of your wireless doorbell. Some people have been surprised by how big a wall-mounted chime unit can be.


Staff  | BestReviews

Wireless Doorbell Features

While the aesthetics of each wireless doorbell are important to you, finding something that looks good with your decor won't be a problem. There are literally thousands of style and color combinations available.

What can be confusing is the functionality. To clarify things we're looking at the following areas:

  • Range

  • Chimes and volume

  • Lighting

  • Components

  • Power source

  • “Smart” features

Features

Range

All manufacturers quote a range for their devices. With cheap wireless doorbells this can be as little as 80 to 100 feet. On premium models it can be 300 to 600 feet. Some offer even more.

Most manufacturers will tell you that the range is accurate under “ideal conditions.” That's important because RF signals travel in a straight line. Any walls that get in the way reduce the range. How much depends on the interfering material. Solid brick walls absorb more than internal partitions, for example.

Some manufacturers are less forthcoming with details. To be on the safe side, we suggest deducting 25% to 30% from their figure to get a real-world range.

How does the actual bell push fix to your house? Some wireless doorbells just have a self-adhesive patch – is that too easy for a prankster to walk off with?

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BestReviews
Features

Chimes and Volume

There are few things more annoying than a doorbell chime you don't like. It can put you in a bad mood before you even see who your visitor is!

Of course, it's difficult to know what your wireless doorbell will sound like until you actually buy it. Most makers offer at least a few chimes, and some offer dozens. This helps, but it doesn't tell you about the actual tone. We briefly wondered about recording them for the website – until we realized that multiplying available chimes by a great number of models models soon ran into thousands of possibilities!

Volume is another factor – especially if someone in the house has reduced hearing ability. Mostly it's adjustable, sometimes not. You may get a decibel rating, but not always.

The most convenient solution, in our view, is to look at owner feedback. Your tastes might be different, but people's opinions of whether sounds are pleasant or not, or loud enough, are a good general guide. If you're at all concerned, make sure you've got a good returns policy so you can send the doorbell back.

If volume is a serious issue, you may need to consult manufacturers to find a doorbell specially designed for hearing accessibility.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some wireless doorbells offer different chimes from your front and back doors. Look for models that offer more than one bell push, that can each be assigned specific tones.

Features

Lighting

An illuminated bell push is useful if you're approaching the door in the dark. Some have motion sensors, so it's possible to turn on an external light. That's good for you when approaching the house, and also good if you're inside – so you can see who's calling late at night.

Receivers may have a complimentary lit area. It might just be cosmetic, but often it can be used instead of, or in addition to, the chime. Strobe lights pulse, and so are more likely to be picked up by peripheral vision. This makes them of particular benefit to those with hearing difficulties.

Features

Components

Cheap wireless doorbells might only offer a single bell push and one receiver, but many more options are available, so you can tailor the system to your needs.

Multiple bell pushes give you cover for front and back door, or even more if you're looking for a wireless doorbell for a business installation. With some, each bell push can have a different chime, so you know where your visitor is.

Multiple receivers allow you coverage over a much greater area. Definitely a consideration if you have a large house.

You might also want to look at potential expandability. If you're considering a home extension, for example, it's nice to know you can build on your wireless doorbell set-up later.

EXPERT TIP

Advanced doorbell communication features usually require connection to your household WiFi. Almost all routers are compatible, but check to make sure.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Power Source

Wireless doorbells don't need cable for the sound to travel from button to receiver, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're completely connection-free.

Most run on batteries. Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer, we suggest lithium rechargeables. They're more expensive initially, but last much longer and recharge faster.

Some receivers don't use batteries, but need to plug into an ordinary household outlet instead.

Doorbells fitted with video surveillance almost certainly require a low-voltage feed that connects to your household supply.

If you're upgrading from a wired doorbell, some manufacturers make it possible to use the same feed for your wireless bell push. If this sounds like a good idea for your installation, it's important to check details before ordering.

DID YOU KNOW?

Your doorbell may be "wireless" but that doesn't mean it runs without power of some kind. Most need batteries, and some receivers have to be plugged into a household outlet.

Features

Smart Features

The cheapest wireless doorbells provide a push button for your wall or door post, and a chime for inside. Many, however, go far beyond that.

  • Motion sensors can activate lights. Proximity sensors can operate the internal chime, alerting you before anyone actually reaches the door.

  • Video monitors can be attached. The most basic of these show you who's calling. Advanced models record the video and will save it securely to cloud storage.

  • Apps are available, for smartphones, tablets, and PCs. These allow you to interface with your wireless doorbell video camera from wherever you are, whenever you like. They can alert you when you have a visitor, and record who visits. Two-way audio even lets you carry on a conversation with the person at your door — whether you're at home or not.

  • Infrared night vision might also be available. In conjunction with video monitoring and off-site video storage, it adds another level of security to your home.

Be aware. Smart wireless doorbells offer some amazing features, but some services require an additional subscription.

Staff
BestReviews

How Much Do Wireless Doorbells Cost?

We usually warn against buying low-cost equipment, but with perfectly good wireless doorbells available from around $30, “cheap” isn't really a problem.

As you add more components, prices rise, but you can get a twin bell, twin receiver set for around $50.

Move into the realm of video and smart features, and things do get more expensive. It's not difficult to spend $250 or more. There may also be subscription fees for some services, though these are usually only a few dollars a month.

EXPERT TIP

If you're concerned about performance in wet weather, look for an IP rating. In general, the higher the IP number, the more protection offered. Specific charts are available online.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Some wireless doorbells are criticized for letting in damp and giving “phantom” rings. A regular light spray with a moisture repellant lubricant can often solve the problem.

  • Batteries will always go flat at the most inconvenient time. Even rechargeables will be a couple of hours until you can use them again, so keep a spare set somewhere handy.

  • Most good wireless doorbells are pretty robust, but if you live in an area subject to extremes of heat or cold, check the operational temperature range.

Perhaps the biggest plus with most wireless doorbells is ease of installation. No need to run wires through your door or wall.

FAQ

Q: Do I need to carry the receiver part of a wireless doorbell from room to room?

A: You could, but there are several kinds of receiver so it's a question of personal choice. Some are small and very portable. Some have chime units like traditional wired doorbells, designed to be hung on a wall. Others come with two or more receivers, so you can place them wherever is most convenient.

Q: How can I make sure I can hear my doorbell if I'm out the back of the house?

A: You need to check the range offered – and allow for the manufacturer exaggerating a little! You also have to take into account walls, which interfere with signal strength.

Volume is also a factor. You don't want it uncomfortably loud in the house, just so you can hear it in the yard. A wireless doorbell that offers two receivers – so you can put one out the back – is one way around this.

The other option is to buy a wireless doorbell that calls your smartphone – then you'll know there's someone at the door wherever you are.

Q: Are there wireless doorbells for people with hearing difficulties?

A: Though we don't know of any models specifically for those whose hearing is impaired, there are some which are suitable. Many have volume controls, though you need to check just how loud they'll go.

Perhaps more convenient are wireless doorbells with strobe lights in addition to chimes. While you do need to take some care positioning the receiver, strobes can be picked up by peripheral vision, so you don't need to be staring straight at them.

A third possibility is a smart wireless doorbell that calls your phone. If the phone is set to vibrate, and kept in a pocket, you get a physical alert when someone was at the door.

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