apartment intercom system with door release


When choosing an apartment intercom system, an important consideration is whether you will have a door release mechanism, which allows tenants to open the door for visitors with the push of a button.

When a visitor uses the apartment intercom system to call a tenant of the building, the tenant is alerted of the visitor’s arrival. The tenant then unlocks the door by pushing a button, which sends a signal to a door release system. The door releasing system suspends power to either an electronic lock or a magnetic lock. Read on to learn about the different door releasing mechanisms and how the wiring is an important consideration in your decision.

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Electronic strike lock vs. magnetic locks

There are two types of apartment building door locking mechanisms:

  1. Electronic locks or strikes
  2. Magnetic locks

While the difference between electronic strike locks and magnetic locks comes down to fail-secure vs. fail-safe, the intended purpose is the same: to enable building access to those who require it while restricting building access to those who don’t. Choosing the right door releasing mechanism will ultimately come down to your needs, budget, and infrastructure currently available.


Electronic locks — also known as electric strikes

Electronic locks are mechanical devices powered by electricity and installed inside the door frame in the place of the lock strike plate. When an electric strike is locked, it doesn’t receive any power. Without electricity, the latch inside remains in place, keeping the door locked. When the door release system sends power to the lock, the latch can move — allowing the door to open.


Magnetic locks — also known as maglocks

Magnetic locks are magnetic devices also powered by electricity. A magnetic door release lock comprises a magnet and a metal plate. These pieces of equipment are aligned 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 door release system removes power, allowing the door to open.


door release apartment intercom


Wired vs. wireless apartment intercom system

All apartment intercoms systems require wiring. Some require wiring throughout the entire building, from the entryway to each apartment unit. Others require wiring just at the front entryway and rely upon 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, your wired or wireless door release options will usually be determined by that decision.


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 sends a signal to the door release system. This signal shuts off power to the electronic or magnetic lock.


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 text message or phone/video call. The tenant then presses a designated button on their phone to open the door. This sends a signal to the door release system to terminate power to the electronic or magnetic lock.


Choosing the right apartment intercom system for your building

Are you in the market for an apartment intercom system with door release? You have plenty of options — but be sure to do your research.

When choosing an apartment intercom system, you should consider:

  • Wiring
  • Features
  • Functionality

Some apartment video intercom systems are designed to be 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.

Consider your budget and determine which features are most valuable to you and your building’s residents. Keep in mind that renters today seek smart access and security features in multifamily homes. 63% of renters report that 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.

Learn more about installing ButterflyMX’s smart video intercom in your building by reaching out to our sales team.


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Jon Tamn


Jon Tamn

I enjoy writing about real estate, property management, and PropTech. I live and work in New York City.

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