Two-way conversations with visitors from your smartphone and ability to use doorbell as a security camera, including cloud storage of recorded video. Optional accessory receiver lets you hear the ring anywhere in the home.
It's too complicated for some casual consumers.
Designed to be portable or mountable; wall mounting kit included. Impressive 450 foot range and battery life of up to 5 years. Great features, including downloadable MP3 tunes, custom visual alerts, adjustable volume, sleep mode, and mute timer.
Some report a couple seconds of lag time between pushing the wireless button and triggering the chime.
Base set comes with two receivers and two doorbells. Very easy setup and ability to customize with different ringtones and other settings. Easy to link additional motion and door sensors. A sleek design available in black or white.
Occasional "phantom" chimes (ringing without being pushed) have been reported. Battery is somewhat difficult to access.
One of the few fully waterproof wireless doorbells. Comes with over 50 chimes that can be set to 115 dB. Double-sided tape even sticks to brick, so no need to screw into the wall. One of the better-performing models used in multi-level homes and offices.
Some complaints about low volume. Changing the battery can be time-consuming and challenging, especially if you don't have the right tools.
Comes with a lithium battery that lasts up to 3 years. Shell is waterproof, dustproof, and UV-protected. Has a maximum wireless range of nearly 1,300 feet. By far one of the easiest installations on the market. LED lights indicate when visitors are present.
Some chimes and songs sound much louder than others. Sensor is easily triggered, which can be bothersome late at night.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Wireless doorbells are a quick and easy way to fit a new bell or replace an old one. They are easy to fit and available at a wide range of prices. You have hundreds of styles and colors to choose from, and there is a whole host of possible features.
In short, there’s a wireless doorbell for most applications.
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.
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:
Chimes and volume
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.