Your abused vocal cords will thank you
It used to be that intercom systems were the sole domain of large businesses and people who lived in butler-equipped mansions. Now, even regular folk can get a decent wireless intercom system for home or office use. Moms no longer have to shout that dinner’s ready, which is sure to make everyone’s home a little more peaceful.
Here are ten of the best wireless intercom solutions for various applications at home or for your small business.
You may know the Amazon Echo brand as a type of smart speaker that brings Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to the home environment. The Echo Show is an advanced Echo device that’s equipped with a screen.
In some ways, the Show functions a bit like a permanently installed tablet. You can use it to watch content, listen to music or browse the web. Among other things. However, the Show, combined with the Echo speakers and devices spread through your home, can be used as a smart intercom system.
You can “drop in” to call a specific device in your home or you can do a home-wide announcement if you want to make sure everyone hears you. While this requires investment in at least one Show and several Echo speakers, it still works out surprisingly well in terms of overall price when compared to systems that only work as an intercom.
Ring has become synonymous with the idea of a smart video doorbell intercom. So much so, that we wouldn’t be surprised if people start referring to all video doorbells as “Rings”. In the same way that “Hoover” is used to refer to vacuum cleaners in general.
This particular model is the Ring 2, which sports a Full HD camera and infrared night vision. It integrates with the Alexa home automation Ecosystem, so it’ll work with the Echo Show we covered above. You don’t need Echo devices to use it however. It can also connect to a PC or mobile device.
Best of all, since it’s internet based, you can use this intercom from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Which means you can monitor what’s happening in front of your door and speak to both welcome and unwelcome visitors with ease.
While the data signal is wireless, you still need to provide power to the Ring. This means either relying on the rechargeable battery, which has to be changed out periodically or the power from existing doorbell wires, with the battery as a fallback.
It should be noted that there have been some privacy concerns around Ring and how data from these devices are used by third parties. If that’s the sort of thing that concerns you, do a little homework to see exactly what the end-user terms are and whether you agree with them.
It’s also important to note that you need to pay a monthly subscription to get the full value and use from this product.
The Nucleus Anywhere is sold specifically as a wireless intercom system for home, and you’ll need multiple units. One for every room you wish to connect. The Nucleus is a bit pricey, especially if you have multiple rooms that need to be hooked up, but it is one of the most advanced smart wireless intercom systems you can buy today.
It can also integrate with the Amazon Alexa service, which means that each intercom can also function as a general-purpose smart device.
One very cool feature of the Nucleus Anywhere system is that it can go beyond room-to-room communication. If your family and friends have the same system installed, you can do home-to-home calls as well. Moreover, there’s a mobile app that can connect you when on the go as well.
The rest of the time you can use the Nucleus Anywhere to operate smart home device via Alexa, call an Uber, play music and pretty much everything that other Alexa devices can do.
A baby monitor is in essence just a specialized type of home intercom system and you can be sure that the smart intercom revolution hasn’t left these essential devices untouched. Thus, here we have the snappily-names Motorola MBP164 CONNECT. Yes, it’s the same Motorola with a long history of excellent mobile phones and voice communication technologies.
While this is a smart, internet-connected baby monitor, it is also a traditional system as well. With about a 900-foot range with direct line of sight, you can immediately use the MBP164 after plugging in the child unit. The child unit plugs into an outlet and the parent unit runs off a rechargeable battery.
The real party trick comes when you connect the child unit to the WiFi. Then you can download an app to your phone that provides the same functionality as your parent unit over the internet. Even better, there are cool activity tracking and alert functions that make sure you know the very second something changes in junior’s bedroom.
This intercom system from Samcom is a much more traditional product compared to all the smart home, WiFi-connected systems we’re seeing these days. That’s not automatically a bad thing! If all you want is a reliable wireless intercom system for home that can’t be borked via a software update or stops working when the internet goes down, this may very well be it.
The FTAN20A may be “dumb”, but its still a pretty sophisticated digital radio intercom. It sports 20 individual channels, which translates to as many as 19 units working together.
You can monitor specific units constantly, almost like a baby monitor and one-to-many calls are also possible. These intercoms are powered by USB, which also means you can use portable power banks, phone chargers and any other 5V USB power source to power up each unit. Be sure to check out the multipack offers, which come with a decent discount on a per-unit basis.
Here we have another Alexa-enabled video doorbell intercom, but at a price much more palatable than the premium competition. The Remo+ offers about the same functionality as the Ring 2, but has the distinct advantage of needing no subscription fee to offer online services. It does have paid subscriptions if you need more capacity than the free tier offers.
Just like the Ring, the RemoBell S offers app-based alerts and monitoring, HD video and a wide field of vision. It also has infrared night vision! The bottom line is that this has feature parity with the Ring 2 we looked at above, but at a significantly lower price. If you’re OK with a less famous brand, the RemoBell S is a great deal.
This is another non-smart intercom solution that offers long-range digital radio communication. As much as half a mile under ideal conditions! This system offers seven channels and a group call function. The units run off USB, which makes it easy to give them power wherever they are put and you can get a multi-pack at a rock-bottom price.
Just plug them in and your communication system is basically good to go. For budget users who don’t care about smart features and just want to connect multiple points within the supported range, this is an excellent choice.
The Wuloo 10-channel intercom system joins the other “dumb” intercoms in this roundup as a system that doesn’t use WiFi to work. It’s a simple, straightforward digital radio solution. What does set it apart from the competition is particularly aggressive pricing.
The two-unit pack in particular is one of the cheapest products we’ve seen that offers USB-powered, plug-and-play digital intercom functionality. This makes it affordable to buy multiple units and hook up every room in the typical home, assuming you don’t live in a converted hotel.
It has a 5,000-foot range and will run from a power-bank, which means you can connect outside buildings as well and easily move the devices around. There’s not much to write home about here, but at this price there will be plenty of demand, we’re sure.
Hikvision is a brand we’re seeing become more prominent in the budget digital product space. The company is known for creating security systems with good digital surveillance technology. They also sell SD cards and other related items in support of that ecosystem.
This smart doorbell intercom is their answer to the innovate Ring system and in terms of price it’s about on par with the Ring 2. However, there are stark differences under the surface.
First of all, there’s no battery power. Which means you need to hook it up with wired power. Hikvision provide their own app for monitoring and talking through the device, but there is no cloud storage system. Instead, there’s an SD card slot that can take up to 128GB cards.
Recordings are saved to this card and can be retrieved from there. That has pros and cons of course. You don’t have to rely on an internet connection to save footage, but someone could destroy the device and the card inside as well.
The Hikvision has a 3 megapixel sensor, which means it beats the “mere” 1080p video you get with the Ring 2. Everything else is as you’d expect as well, with motion detection, infrared night vision and a 180-degree field of view. With its pricing so close to that of the Ring 2, the choice is down to which approach better fits your own needs.
If you have little interest in the cloud-based, Alexa-enabled offering from Ring, the Hikvision may actually be a more compelling product for the money.
This product isn’t really an intercom. Instead it’s a pager system. We’ve included it because a significant number of people who think what they want is a full-voice intercom are actually looking for a wireless pager system.
If you have someone in your household who occasionally needs help, such as frail, elderly or disabled persons, then a pager system can be more effective. Especially if they have communication problems.
The CallToU comes with multiple call buttons and plug-in pagers. All the person with the call button has to do is press it. This will alert those with pagers that they need help. Neck straps are included for the call buttons, but they can also be affixed to bedside stands or any other area the person in question can reach.
Since these are simpler than a full intercom, they are also a much cheaper solution and with a range of 500 feet there are use cases for something like this beyond caretaking. If all you need is to call someone over, why spend more on an intercom?
If you think it’s silly that we can video call someone on the other side of the world, but have to yell down the hall to get the attention of people within literal shouting distance, then these intercom solutions are going to make life a heck of a lot easier. Whether you go with something smart, dumb or just a juiced-up doorbell, your poor abused vocal cords will thank you.