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Best Doorbells

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 47 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 203 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for the best doorbells

    Last Updated June 2018

    We’ve come a long way with doorbells. While they used to be the mechanism next to your door that rang “ding dong” to signal that someone was on your porch, they’ve come to be so much more.

    Now doorbells have become technical, and that means you have a whole range of chimes to choose from, without being confined to the traditional “ding dong.” In addition, doorbells have become a security device. Your doorbell can allow you to communicate by voice with your visitor before unlocking the door, or even send video to show you who’s standing outside.

    If all of this is overwhelming to you, don’t worry. BestReviews has chosen five of the best doorbells, and reported on them in the above matrix. No doorbells were donated or given to the company, so you can be sure that the reviews are completely unbiased.

    But if you’d like some more information to make your own educated decision, read on to learn everything you need to know about buying a doorbell.

    A video or smart doorbell may save you money, as sometimes insurance companies will offer a lower rate if your home has surveillance equipment.

    The evolution of the doorbell

    It used to be quite simple. Someone stepped onto your doorstep, and pushed a button next to the door, although earlier renditions consisted of a pull cord. Once that button was pushed, it ran along a wire to a “bell” inside. It would ring the bell to alert you that you had company, as sometimes knocking on a door isn’t quite loud enough.

    Eventually that tone that was heard came to be more than just a ding dong. Sometimes it’s just one tone instead of two, and other times it’s more of a buzzer or a chime. And there are much more involved doorbells as well that involve many tones; they combine to actually play a song.

    In the last few decades the advance of technology has also brought us wireless doorbells. The tone or tones play through radio signals instead of a wire.

    Along with improved technology came a greater concern for security. First, voice communication from interior rooms to the door became common, and today, video cameras are easy to find and install. While many people have separate video cameras and doorbells on their entryways, some units combine both features.

    Traditional or electronic?

    Modern classic doorbells

    Most modern doorbells are more of a chime sound, and the operating mechanism for these hasn’t changed much in decades. They use solenoids, which are a special type of electromagnet.

    The wire from the button leads to a metal piston made of magnetically conductive metal. It can be moved in either direction. Most chime doorbells have a solenoid that hits two tone bars in a sequence. When you press the button down, the “ding” sounds off from the first bar being hit, and when you let up, the “dong” sounds off from the second bar being hit.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    It’s possible to have two separate doorbells in one system for two individual entries. You can program the chime to be different, so that you will know which doorway your visitor is standing at.

    Electronic doorbells

    More and more homes now have electronic doorbells which don’t use electromagnets.

    When the button is pressed, an integrated circuit registers and triggers s digital sound, sometimes a song. Some of these are wireless, so that the homeowners don’t have to worry about special wiring.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    With a video or smart doorbell, your smartphone can show you who’s on your doorstep even if you’re not home.

    Factors to consider

    The doorbell you choose for your home will be what works best for you, whether it’s a classic chime, electronic, a techno marvel that includes video, wired or wireless. You might consider how much will be involved for you to install it, as the difficulty of installation can vary greatly. Think about whether you want additional security measures, and consider the options for the interior speakers.

    Wired or wireless

    If you’re not able to run wires through your home for a doorbell system, you’ll might want to go with a wireless doorbell. They work off a radio transmitter that receives its power from a battery. When the button is pushed, a radio signal goes out. The receiver unit picks it up, and activates the sound. You’ll hear either a “ding dong” or a longer sequence.

    But if adding wiring in your home and you don’t mind doing the work to install it, or if you have existing wiring, you would do well with either wired or wireless.

    Wireless chimes will generally function at a distance of about 100 to 150 feet, with long-range doorbells reaching between 300 and 500, although there are some units that can reach even longer.

    Video option

    Why make do with a tiny little peephole in your door? A video camera on the doorstep provides you a much clearer picture of what’s outdoors. And you don’t even have to mount a separate device. You can get a doorbell that already has it included.

    These video doorbells don’t just ring when someone presses the button; they work off WiFi and can also ring when they detect motion, and can send a push notification to your smartphone where you can see video of the person on your doorstep. They usually also work as an intercom, so that you can answer the door from any room in your home. Some models need to be hardwired to your home’s electrical system.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you want to hear the doorbell in different locations in your home, you can add an additional chime mechanism.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Ease of installation

    The ease of installation will, of course, depend on which options you pick for your doorbell system. Wireless is obviously easier than wired.

    But whether or not you have to run wires throughout your home, or are working with existing wires, you still have to install the actual doorbell and receivers by hanging them in your home. This can be a simple process taking no more than a few minutes, while working with wiring will obviously add more to the installation time.

    Most smart doorbells are battery-powered, so you’ll only have to hang the unit on your doorstep. There are no wires to run through the walls, but you will need to download the app.

    EXPERT TIP

    Not all doorbells are waterproof. If your doorbell will be exposed to the elements, make sure that the doorbell you install is waterproof.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Speaker options

    Many doorbell systems today come with the traditional speaker setup: a single speaker, meant to be permanently mounted in a central spot in your home. However, you can find many systems with more configurable options. Some have portable units, so you can carry the speaker from room to room. Many also come as sets, with two or three speaker units, to prevent you missing callers because you’re at the “wrong end” of the house. Also, some doorbell systems include visual cues on the speakers, such as flashing lights. These are excellent options for the hearing impaired, and can be used by anyone to provide silent notification of a visitor when the audio output is muted.

    EXPERT TIP

    If your chime doorbell won’t stop ringing or is buzzing, either the button is stuck, or it’s broken.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Doorbell prices

    The price you can expect to pay will vary depending on options, as well as whether you go simple with chime or electronic, or go more involved, such as with a video or smart doorbell.

    • Chime doorbell: You can expect to pay anywhere between $5 and $30, depending on how many remotes and receivers you want, and how elaborate the system is.

    • Electronic doorbell: These can run the same prices as chime doorbells, between $5 and $30, depending on the options.

    • Video or smart doorbell: Once again, the price is dependent on the options, but you can expect to pay as little as $50, and as much as $400.
    EXPERT TIP

    You can include a smart doorbell as part of a network of smart devices.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    FAQ

    Q. Can I get a doorbell that will play any sound or song that I want?
    A.
    Yes. While this feature isn’t available on all doorbells, it is available on some. You can program them to play your favorite song, or a funny phrase that would go along with a doorbell ringing.

    Q. What do I need for a smart doorbell?
    A.
    You’ll need a strong WiFi signal by your door and possibly wiring, depending on if the doorbell requires house power or is battery-powered.

    Pet doorbells are also available, so that your dog or cat can let you know when they want in or out. They are activated either by the pet stepping on a special mat or by a special collar.

    Q. For wireless doorbells, do the batteries need to be replaced?
    A.
    Instead of being replaced, they can be recharged. Some wireless doorbells run off of solar power, and need no batteries.

    Q. I have a hard time hearing the doorbell. Do they have certain kinds that are louder?
    A.
    There are some doorbells that are marked for the hard of hearing that are louder and can help. There are also special doorbells for the hearing-impaired that work with flashing lights to alert you of someone at your door, rather than a sound.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Laura
      Laura
      Writer