(Last updated: June 7, 2021)
An important consideration to keep in mind when choosing an apartment intercom system is its door release mechanism. Door release devices allow building staff and tenants to open the door for visitors with just the push of a button. However, not each intercom system with door release is equal.
Some intercom systems allow you to release the door only when you’re in your apartment. Others allow you to release the door remotely, no matter where in the world you are. It’s important to understand the differences among these intercoms and choose the best system for your building.
Read on to learn about the different apartment intercom systems, door releasing mechanisms, and how the wiring is an important consideration in your decision.
This post covers:
- What is an apartment intercom system with door release?
- How does an apartment intercom system with door release work?
- Types of door release locks
- Wired vs. wireless apartment intercom systems with door release
- Choosing the right apartment intercom system
What is an apartment intercom system with door release?
An apartment intercom system with door release is a device used to open doors into a building. When a building staff member, resident, or visitor receives property access via the apartment intercom, the system triggers the door release mechanism (e.g. the door lock) to unlock the door.
The intercom with door release also empowers residents to grant property access to visitors remotely. Since the intercom system is wired to the door release mechanism, residents just have to use their in-unit device or mobile app to grant access. This triggers the door lock to be released, which allows visitors to access the building.
How does an apartment intercom system with door release work?
First, a visitor to an apartment uses the intercom’s directory to look up a building tenant. Then, the visitor presses the corresponding button to call the resident.
The tenant gets notified of their visitor on either a device in their apartment or on their cell phone. The visitor and resident then communicate with each other.
Finally, the resident grants the visitor property access by pressing a ‘door open’ button to unlock the door release device.
Watch how ButterflyMX works:
Types of door release locks
An apartment building with an intercom system has door locking and releasing mechanisms that facilitate access into the building and the rooms within. Once building staff or residents input their credentials, the system verifies their information and signals the door release mechanism to grant access.
There are two types of apartment building door locking mechanisms:
Ultimately, the difference between electronic strike locks and magnetic locks comes down to fail-secure vs. fail-safe. While fail-secure products lock when power is removed (power unlocks the door), fail-safe products unlock when power is removed (power locks the door).
The intended purpose of both is to enable building access to those who require it while restricting access to those who don’t. At the end of the day, choosing the right door releasing mechanism comes down to your needs, budget, and the building’s infrastructure.
1. Electronic locks — also known as electric strikes
Electronic locks are fail-secure mechanical devices powered by electricity and installed inside the door frame in the place of the lock strike plate. A locked electric strike doesn’t receive any power. Without electricity, the latch inside remains in place, keeping the door locked. When the intercom system sends power to the lock, the latch can move, allowing the door to open.
2. Magnetic locks — also known as maglocks
Magnetic locks (maglocks) are fail-safe devices powered by electricity. A magnetic door release lock comprises a magnet and a metal plate. These pieces of equipment align with the frame of the door, typically at the top. When electricity passes through the magnet, it creates a charge that attracts it to the metal plate. This charge holds the door closed until the intercom system removes power, allowing the door to open.
Wired vs. wireless apartment intercom system with door release
All apartment intercom systems require wiring. However, some only require wiring throughout the entire building — from the entryway to each apartment unit. Others require wiring just at the front entryway and use wireless technologies to transmit audio and video to each tenant’s apartment.
The difference between wired vs. wireless apartment intercom systems is one of cost, reliability, and convenience. Once you’ve decided on the right intercom for your apartment building, that decision will determine whether you’ll choose a wired or wireless door release option.
Wired door release systems
Wired door release systems are wired to every unit in the building. Intercom systems wired directly to a wall station in each unit alert tenants of visitors with a buzzing sound. Tenants push the ‘door open’ button on the wall station, which signals the door release system. This signal instructs the electronic or magnetic lock to unlock.
Examples of wired door release systems:
- Telephone entry systems
- Door buzzer systems
- Traditional intercom systems
Wireless door release systems
Wireless door release systems do not require wiring to every unit. When residents have a visitor, they don’t hear a buzzing sound. Instead, they receive a notification through a mobile app or phone/video call. The tenant then presses a designated button on their smartphone to open the door. This sends radio frequencies to the door release system to unlock the electronic or magnetic lock.
Examples of wireless door release systems:
- Cloud-based intercom systems
- Cell phone entry systems
- Bluetooth-based access control systems
Choosing the right apartment intercom system for your building
Having an intercom system at multifamily buildings is now a necessity. Renters today seek smart access and security features in multifamily homes. In fact, 63% of renters report they would move out of an apartment with inadequate security. 61% say they would move into an apartment specifically for electronic access features, like an apartment intercom system with door release.
When choosing an apartment intercom system, you should consider:
Some apartment intercom systems are wireless — others require wiring throughout the entire building. Some offer video functionality, while some just provide audio. And some allow you to open and manage doors from your smartphone, while others do not.
To maintain resident satisfaction and increase lease renewal rates, invest in a video intercom system with door release for your building. Get started today by requesting a quote.