Best Intercom Systems

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
How we decided

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

25 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
140 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best intercom systems

Last Updated December 2019

An intercom system is a stand-alone communication system for use within a building or small collection of buildings. It’s usually a two-way electronic device that transmits and receives audio and/or video. Intercoms allow people to speak into a microphone and be heard on a speaker by others in a different room or area.

Intercom systems are a must-have for any individual or organization interested in developing efficient and reliable two-way communication throughout a building or group of buildings. They can be used as an initial form of contact with visitors to secure locations or to simply improve communication throughout a facility by delivering important messages over integrated speakers. An intercom system can be combined with door access to limit or allow entry, which is especially useful in apartment buildings, and many intercoms come equipped with video features to deter crime and increase security.

Our guide has everything you need to know when shopping for intercom systems, including our five favorite products, which you can find in the matrix above.

With a home intercom system, you can talk to people in your family between rooms and also listen in. If you have a baby or elderly family member, intercom systems can work as monitors. You can also mute the speakers for privacy.

Key considerations

Components

When shopping for an intercom system, you’ll need to understand the system’s various components and how they function. Knowledge of the basic parts will guide you in your search and eliminate unnecessary confusion so you can choose the right system for your space.

The master station, or base station, contains the main circuitry for all of the communications features and controls the entire system. On a master station, you will find the door release button, video feed, talk button, and volume control.

The substation is typically located at the point where communication is initiated, like entrances to buildings. Simple substations usually include just a speaker, microphone, and call button. Some more advanced systems have cameras. These units are able to initiate calls with a master station but are generally not capable of making calls with any other stations.

Types of intercom systems

Wired intercom systems require low-voltage wiring to connect the master stations and substations. Wired systems tend to be more reliable and secure, and they’re typically lower maintenance than wireless systems. They are designed to eliminate undesirable interference from neighboring systems or other communication devices. This is the primary reason why wired intercom systems are generally preferred in both apartment and office buildings.

Wireless intercom systems utilize radio signals to communicate between stations and don’t require any type of wiring. They are quick to install and effective in facilities where wires are difficult to install or run. This makes wireless intercom systems ideal for residential homes and smaller commercial businesses.

Video intercom systems include a substation that typically has a camera, speaker, and a button that controls door or gate access. The master unit of video intercom systems includes a video monitor that can communicate with the substation. The video-monitoring features of these systems offer an added level of security, making them popular in both residential and commercial buildings.

A simple wireless system built for reliability

The SAMCOM Wireless Intercom System is a versatile intercom system that comes in a pack of six. The wireless 20-channel system works over a range of more than 1,500 feet. This makes for effective communication in a home or office. Units are equipped with digital display screens, anti-interference features, and quick-view modes for easy-to-use functionality.

Features

Handset stations

Handset stations use a corded handset much like those found on classic telephones. These types of intercom stations work especially well in noisy environments because users can hold the speaker directly to their ear. This also provides an extra degree of privacy. The major disadvantage of corded intercom stations is that they are not as convenient to use as hands-free stations. They are also more prone to wear and tear if used regularly by a lot of people.

Hands-free stations

Hands-free stations are much more convenient and less prone to damage than handset stations. They utilize a speaker and microphone that’s built into the unit, which offers much more freedom for the user. However, hands-free stations can be difficult to use in busy or noisy environments and offer little privacy.

Hybrid stations

Hybrid stations combine handset privacy with hands-free functionality. These stations feature a speaker/microphone along with a handset. Hybrid stations work as a hands-free unit until the handset is picked up.

EXPERT TIP

An important feature on an intercom system for office use is the ability to set up calling groups. This feature lets you divide your communications into different channels, streamlining workflow substantially.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

One of the perks of wireless intercom systems is their flexibility. Changing the location of wired systems usually involves a lot of work (and an electrician). With a wireless system, you can easily change locations in a matter of minutes.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Your intercom system can be integrated with other security systems for a multi-layered security solution. For example, when an intercom system is paired with surveillance cameras, a digital record of everyone who comes to the door can be recorded.


Staff  | BestReviews

Intercom system prices

Inexpensive

Reliable intercom systems can be found for about $50 to $100. Many of these systems are wireless and provide only basic intercom functionality. Though it’s unlikely you’ll find any video features in this price range, these low-cost systems are great for homes and small offices.

Mid-range

Consumers looking for a bit more reliability will need to look in the mid-level price range. These intercom systems cost anywhere from $100 to $200. The wireless systems in this range have features that ensure stronger connections, and they work over greater distances.

Premium

The most advanced intercom systems cost $200 or more. If you’re looking for a reliable wired intercom system with additional features like door controls, this is the price range where you’ll need to look. Wireless intercom systems in this range typically provide video monitoring as well.

Clear and secure wireless communication

The R RUISE Wireless Intercom System is a mid-level intercom system with handset stations that’s super easy to install. Units can be placed on a desk or mounted to the wall. The system is powered by rechargeable batteries, allowing it to work even when there’s no power. It also supports a large number of units and channels. If you want to add more units, up to 99 can be added to the system.

Tips

  • Set a budget. It’s always a good idea before shopping for a pricier product like an intercom system to set your budget. The type, make, brand, and features will largely depend on how much you are willing to spend.

  • Determine the wireless range you need. Think about where you want to set up your master station and how far away your substations will be. Wireless intercom systems have varying ranges, with some reaching beyond 1,000 feet.

  • Check your potential system’s compatibility with your home or facility. Good connectivity and sound quality depends on the structure of your building. Things like metal walls and thick concrete may interfere with the signals and prevent your intercom system from producing a clear sound.

Other products we considered

The 1byone Video Intercom System is an advanced intercom system that integrates a seven-inch color monitor with remote door controls. This security-rich system saves videos and photos from the outdoor doorbell, storing them on an SD memory card or in the monitor’s internal memory. The camera sports infrared LED night vision and is protected by a waterproof aluminum front panel to keep it safe from the elements. A high-quality inexpensive option we considered was the Wuloo Wireless Intercom System. This basic system has a long range and utilizes 22 channels to create a secure wireless intercom system that’s perfect for a home business or small office. The Wuloo system is extremely easy to set up and even easier use. It also includes useful features like monitor mode, group mode, and call mode.

In work environments, intercom systems can improve production tremendously. Having a dedicated system for talking to other crew members or coordinating between departments can make everything go much more smoothly.

FAQ

Q. My intercom system is pretty old. Is it possible to just replace the master unit and keep the substations?
A.
It’s best to update your intercom system completely. The main reason is that intercom technology has changed considerably over the years. Older substations may not function with the more advanced technology of today’s master units.

Q. Will a wireless intercom system interfere with my wireless computer network?
A.
Home WiFi networks operate over the 2.4 GHz range. As long as your wireless intercom system operates on a different frequency, it won’t interfere.

Q. Do I need to hire an electrician to install my intercom system?
A.
While installing wired systems may require some minimal electrical work, most wireless intercom systems can be installed fairly easily. Though good systems come with detailed instructions, hiring a professional is always a good idea if you have any reservations about installing the intercom system yourself.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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