How to Choose a Doorbell

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Front door (Photo: @maginnis via Twenty20)
If you’re undergoing a home renovation project, buying a new home, or simply want to upgrade your current system, you might be faced with choosing a new doorbell.
If you lived in the Victorian Era, you’d have a choice between a simple brass bell or a knocker. Today, there are enough doorbell choices to make your head spin — some of which include, wireless doorbells, doorbell cameras, live view, motion detection, and even cloud storage. Here are a few things you should take into consideration before you commit to a doorbell.

Consider your options

First, consider whether you want a wired doorbell or a wireless doorbell. It might be a good idea to make this decision based on your existing doorbell wiring (or lack thereof).
If your house is equipped to support a wired doorbell, then this will be the simplest option.
Wireless doorbells are a great option if your house isn’t already equipped to support a wired doorbell because installing a wireless doorbell will be easier and more cost-effective than retroactively creating a system for a wired doorbell.

The features of wired, wireless, and smart doorbells

Here are some of the features you can expect from different types of doorbells.
Features of wired doorbells:
  • Quick installation process ( if your home is equipped to support it)
  • Wide variety of looks and styles to choose from
  • Wide variety of chimes — anything from the classic clock tower motif to simple buzz or beep
  • No batteries required and low maintenance
  • Price in the range of $20-$400
Features of wireless doorbells:
  • Flexible location options
  • Does not require structural changes to your home
  • Does not require professional installation (most wireless doorbells come with a simple adhesive strip)
  • Battery-powered
  • Extra receivers can be purchased for larger homes, extending the range of the chime
  • Easily re-programmable for maximal variety of chime sounds
  • Fully transportable
  • Price in the range of $20-$400
Features of smart doorbells:
  • Attachable to your home Wi-Fi network or your wired ethernet port
  • Connectable to your smartphone or computer for easy access
  • Offers a plethora of doorbell camera and video doorbell options
  • Notifies you via text alert when there is a visitor at your door
  • Allows you to have two-way conversations with visitors at the door through the smart doorbell
  • Records footage of visitors when the doorbell is rung or when someone approaches your door using a motion detector system
  • Price in the range of $99-$500 or greater, depending on the technological accessories (motion sensors, high-quality cameras, night vision, etc.)

The takeaway

If you’re having a hard time deciding on a doorbell, ask yourself what you want your doorbell to do for you. Do you want it to provide an additional security measure for your home? If so, you should probably opt for a smart doorbell with a video doorbell function. Or, if you’re fine with the traditional singular-purpose option, then a run-of-the-mill wired doorbell will probably do the trick.