Which Doorbell is Right for You?
Choosing between wired doorbells and wireless doorbells hopefully won’t be the most difficult decision you make this year. Actually, if it’s the most difficult decision you make today you should probably reevaluate some of your life choices. Many of us don’t really think about our doorbell unless it stops working. But maybe it’s time you did, the regular old doorbell we know so well is getting a makeover, and it’s kind of amazing. With a wide variety of ring tones and video and audio options available, these doorbells do much more than ring.
Newer products can offer you a stronger sense of security, from capturing video to alerting authorities of a break-in, they can be an integral part of your own safety system. Knowing what features you need, and what kind of connection, wired or wireless, you want can help you decide which one will ring your bell.
The most important difference to note between wired doorbells and wireless doorbells is from where they obtain their power (and in some instances how they connect to the internet). Both of them offer similar features, design and usability, however their performance is where the main differences start to occur.
Most of us know the traditional wired doorbell, we see them as practical and reliable, like your boring friend Susan, you can count on them, but they aren’t that interesting. At least that’s what they used to be, but now Susan has a new hairstyle and she, liked the wired doorbell, has a lot of new options.
A wired doorbell is hardwired into your home’s electrical system which can make it seem like a challenge to replace, but with a few short steps, you can easily install a next generation doorbell using the existing wires from your current one. Once you have your new doorbell installed, you may need to connect it to your WiFi network (or in some cases via PoE) and set up an app on your smartphone to access the video and audio features these new doorbells offer.
Smart wired doorbells can provide all of the benefits of their wireless counterparts, with the added benefit of not relying on battery power. And while they do take a little longer to install, if you have existing wires you can set them up relatively quickly.
Wireless doorbells seem to be everywhere these days, and for good reason, these doorbells offer relatively easy setup, usually just a few screws, and a few AA or AAA batteries, and they are up and running. Battery life can depend on the doorbell and features you choose, but regardless of the type of wireless doorbell you purchase, you will need to make sure the batteries are changed regularly.
If you are transitioning from a wired doorbell to a wireless one, and you want the old one removed, you may want to consult with an electrician to assist in removing the original doorbell as it involves the removal of wiring that is part of your home’s electrical system.
The newer wireless doorbells have added features that can provide increased security for your home. They are a hybrid of basic functionality and security. Your wireless doorbell can now show you who is outside and even let you speak to them. The blending of smartphone technology and doorbells with video and audio capabilities can allow you to communicate with someone at your house even when you aren’t home.
With the next generation wired doorbells and the influx of their new wireless counterparts, it can be hard to know which one would work best for you. The first thing you will want to determine is what features you are looking for. If you are unsure as to what features are available here are some of the most common options accessible on both wired doorbell and wireless doorbells.
One of the best advances in doorbell technology is the addition of video. This allows you to see who is at the door before you answer, so if it’s someone you don’t know, you no longer have to try and figure out who it is using the peephole. Video also provides a higher level of security than your standard wired or early wireless model. Having the ability to record video is beneficial, as should someone attempt to enter your home, or steal an item from your front door you will have the capacity to provide video to law enforcement agencies.
Regardless of what type of doorbell you have, both wired doorbell and wireless doorbell will require access to your WiFi or modem to provide the video option.
This option will allow you to speak to someone outside of the door without opening the door. When paired with video it can provide you with the ability to tell someone you are busy or unable to answer if you don’t want to be disturbed. So if you just aren’t in the mood to hear about how great weed treatments for your lawn are, you can just tell the salesman you are washing your hair.
New technology allows both wired doorbells and wireless doorbells that allow you to connect your doorbell to your smartphone. This gives you the ability to see who is at your door and even speak with them when you are away from home.
While this technology is still in the early stages of development, the items on the market now can provide you with a sense of security even when you are on vacation. By connecting your smartphone to your doorbell camera, you can have a way to see what is going on at your house at all times. You do need a fairly fast WiFi connection in order for them to work optimally, but if you are often out of the house traveling it could be a sound investment.
Wireless doorbells, regardless of features are easier to install than their hard-wired counterparts. They are usually attached easily by a few screws, and they are battery operated. One thing you will want to check when you are looking for a wireless doorbell is if they are weatherproof. Depending on your climate you will want to make sure that option you choose to install can stand up to any weather issues common in your area.
If you think you are handy, stop here and call an electrician, because you probably aren’t as handy as you think you are, and your family needs you to be around at least until the kids are in college.
But if you know you are handy because you built your own house, furniture and car then you should be able to connect the existing wiring easily in your home to your new smart doorbell. You will just want to make sure you turn off the power in your home before you get started. Also get some electrical tape, so the wires don’t slide back into the opening when installing, you don’t want your six-year-old to learn a whole bunch of new words.
Installation of Wired Doorbell – Watch Video
The Pros and Cons of Wired and Wireless Doorbells
The Good Stuff
Securer Internet Connection Options: A wired doorbell is a pretty straightforward option. If you are concerned about the safety of your wireless doorbell being compromised a wired doorbell might work best for to provide you with a safer connection via Power over Ethernet. Not all wired doorbells offer this option however.
Battery Free: Since it taps into your electrical system you will never need to worry about changing the batteries in your doorbell. It will keep working as long as you have power, so you won’t need to wonder if the batteries are dead.
More Advanced Features: Due to the unlimited power, wired doorbells offer the opportunity for more advanced features. This included higher quality video, motion sensors, and audio all without impacting lag time of notifications.
The Not so Good Stuff
Repair Cost: Because the doorbell is wired into the electrical system of the house, you may need an electrician to repair or replace the doorbell.
More complicated Installation: Installing a new smart wired doorbell is more involved than installing the wireless options, although it is a pretty simple DIY project. If the existing wires are there from a previous doorbell than it can be as simple as connecting the new wires up, following the intructions carefully so as not to damage the device or your hairstyle.
Installation of Wired Doorbell – Watch Video
The Good Stuff
Easier to Install: the newer wireless doorbells are relatively easy to install since they are battery operated they can be mounted with just a few screws.
Security: The ability to see who is at your door, and speak to them even when you are away from home can give you added protection when you cannot be there to answer the door. You can also see when items have been left on your doorstep and have them retrieved if you are out of the house.
The Not so Good Stuff
Battery Operated: Wireless doorbells run on batteries so you will need to change them periodically. If you have motion sensors or video options enabled on your doorbell, you may end up changing or recharging the batteries every few days or weekly due to the high battery consumption associated with these features.
Possible lag time in notifications: Another concern with a wireless doorbell is that the unit may go into a power saving mode to extend the battery life. This may result in a lag time in receiving notifications to your smart phone. This can result in catching only the back of visitors as they walk away.
Wifi Security Concerns: The newer wireless doorbells are just that, new, and they rely solely on WiFi, which opens up the possibility that a hacker could gain access to your WiFi and your personal information. It should be noted that wired doorbells that connnect with WiFi also share this risk.[link to article about security & privacy]
Risk of theft: The wireless doorbells are at a slightly larger risk of being stolen than their wired doorbell counterpart due to being fastened with screws (granted with special more secure screws) to the wall, missing the wiring connection which would take longer to disconnect. Many manufacturers recognize this risk and offer replacements free of charge in the case of theft.
So which should you choose?
Wired doorbells are a smart choice if you have existing wiring in place, you can get all of the features you want without worrying about battery life, lag time and security concerns. With only a slightly more complicated installation process, you can have all of the benefits a smart wired doorbell has to offer.
But if you aren’t handy, or you just don’t want to pay for installation (because you aren’t handy) then you should look into a wireless option, it is easy to install, and they offer similar features to the wired version. And your neighbors won’t be mad because you accidentally knocked out the power in your neighborhood.
Which every you choose, these new doorbells can provide you with new features and an added sense of security.