best intercom doorbell butterflymx



  • An intercom doorbell is a device that both alerts someone of a visitor and allows them to communicate with said visitor remotely.
  • You should replace your current intercom or doorbell if it’s not cloud-based, the system needs constant repairs, it doesn’t have a mobile app, or it has limited video capabilities.
  • The best intercom doorbells are wireless systems that are smartphone-dependent because smartphones are more convenient for residents. Smart intercoms also free you from spending time and money installing hardware in every unit throughout your building.
  • The best modern take on an intercom doorbell is the ButterflyMX video intercom.


Whether you own or manage a multi-tenant property such as an apartment building, your residents have high standards when it comes to access control. Your residents want security, but they also want to quickly and conveniently grant access to all kinds of visitors, from house cleaners and friends to dog walkers and delivery people. An apartment intercom doorbell is one solution to achieve both.

In this post, we cover the best intercom doorbell options. Next, we review what an intercom doorbell is. Finally, we review when you should upgrade your system and what you should look out for.

This post covers:


The 5 best doorbell intercoms

Numerous providers offer doorbell intercoms. The best intercom doorbell for you will depend on your unique property type as well as any extra bells and whistles that you might want included.

The top five intercom doorbell systems are:

  1. ButterflyMX video intercom. Your property needs more than a doorbell intercom. A video intercom from ButterflyMX is a modern take on the intercom doorbell. This holistic access control system allows two-way video communication between residents and visitors thanks to a 156-degree wide-angle camera. It allows for remote entry and temporary guest and delivery access. It also features cloud-based technology, RFID connectivity, no in-unit hardware, and integrates with other security systems.
  2. Ring doorbell. This is one of the most popular video doorbell intercom systems, with the standout feature being its camera that captures audio and video of everyone who enters within range of a front door. You can also talk with visitors through the device.
  3. Wuloo wireless video doorbell intercom. This system features a waterproof device that comes in a three-pack and can be placed at multiple different entryways. It’s one of the cheapest, most popular options and costs $79 on Amazon.
  4. Google nest doorbell. Google offers intercom doorbells that are wired and battery-powered doorbells that feature both video and camera capabilities. Your doorbell can be operated and monitored through their app.
  5. Smart wireless voice doorbell. This device is a cheap option (at $29 on Amazon) that allows for long-range voice communication between the doorbell and receiver. It also features simple installation without complicated wiring; it can attach right to your wall thanks to a sticky pad on the back of the device.


What is an intercom doorbell?

An intercom doorbell is a type of door entry system that allows a visitor to alert a building resident of their presence. Intercom doorbells are a fusion of two common types of door entry technology. As a result, they give users the communication capabilities of an intercom and the notification capabilities of a doorbell.

While the visitor uses a doorbell device at the building’s entrance to request access, a resident uses an in-unit monitor (or their smartphone if it’s a mobile doorbell intercom) to talk to their guests and let them in without having to physically go to the door.

Intercom doorbell systems have been installed in all types of buildings, including single-family homes, apartments, and even commercial properties. Further, installation configurations differ depending on the type of building.

For example, an apartment doorbell intercom system in a multifamily building might require you to install hardware in every unit to allow each resident to open the door remotely. But in an office building, an intercom doorbell might instead direct all entry requests to a central point, like a front desk or a receptionist.


Are home intercoms still a thing?

Yes, home intercoms are still a thing. However, the best home and apartment intercoms are a modern take on the traditional intercom system. For example, the best modern smart intercoms are wireless, cloud-based, and can be controlled remotely via a smartphone.


What is the difference between a doorbell and an intercom?

Traditional doorbells are a signaling device. They let the occupants of a space know that someone is waiting at the front door. In contrast, intercoms take it another step forward and facilitate communication between occupants and visitors.


What are the components of an intercom doorbell?

Intercom doorbells have three components:

  • Base station. Base stations are intercom hardware installed at the entryway of the building. Intercom doorbells designed for single-family homes only have one button, which visitors press to alert the resident of their presence. But doorbell intercoms designed for multi-tenant buildings have multiple call buttons. So, a visitor presses the button that corresponds with the resident they intend to visit.
  • Substation. Substations are smaller devices that residents use to answer visitors’ entry requests and grant them access.
  • Electric lock. Electric locks allow a door to release and re-engage its lock in the direction of an electric signal. The doorbell system’s substation contains a button that residents press to remotely unlock the door.


How do you use an intercom doorbell?

A visitor uses an intercom doorbell by pressing a button on the device at the front door. Meanwhile, a resident uses an intercom doorbell by using their substation to speak to the visitor and grant entry.

Here’s what happens when a visitor using an intercom doorbell wants to contact a resident:

  • Visitor uses the base station to contact the resident. When the guest has found the resident they want to visit, they press the doorbell button to request access.
  • Base station connects to the substation. The substation then makes a noise to alert the resident about a visitor. This might be a traditional doorbell ring, a buzzer noise, or another sound.
  • Resident grants entry. When a resident wants to let their visitor in, they press a button on their substation. The substation sends a signal to the electric lock, which disengages and allows the visitor to open the door.


How an intercom doorbell works

Under the hood, intercom doorbells need to establish a way to communicate information between a base station and a substation. To do that, an intercom doorbell might use a variety of technologies. Most intercom doorbells only transmit audio, but some video doorbells with cameras have video call capabilities.

Wired intercom doorbells depend on wiring to connect a substation and a base station.

However, a wired intercom is much more expensive to install and maintain than a wireless system.

A wireless doorbell intercom depends on more convenient wireless technology, like a cellular network. WiFi intercom doorbells are another wireless option that use the internet to carry communications.


Watch how ButterflyMX works:


When and why you should replace your intercom doorbell

If your building currently has an intercom doorbell system to control property access, consider how it’s working and whether it’s meeting your access needs. Unfortunately, even the most advanced intercom doorbells lack all the features of a great building entry system.

Consider replacing your intercom doorbell if you notice residents or staff are still experiencing access issues.

For example, are your system’s in-unit devices constantly breaking down? Or are residents missing deliveries because couriers don’t have a guaranteed way to access the building? You’ll save time and money by going with an upgrade to a more powerful intercom system with features that solve these problems.

The top reasons you should replace your intercom doorbell:


Not cloud-based

Cloud-based intercoms are the most convenient option available in today’s market. Staff can manage a cloud-based intercom from anywhere and from any device, even if they’re off-site. Administering an access control system is behind-the-scenes work far from a resident’s mind.

However, an improperly managed access system can cause a lot of headaches if it’s not kept up to date with the latest permissions for residents who have just moved in or have just been granted access to an amenity space. You can eliminate the chances of those headaches by storing data in the cloud.

In contrast, intercom doorbells that store data in an on-site server require an employee to be on-site to make system updates. Alternatively, they may be managed with software that you can only download to one machine.


System needs constant repairs

An intercom that consistently breaks down and needs maintenance is inconvenient for residents and staff alike. Your residents will miss visitors or deliveries entirely, or they might burden staff who don’t usually take on doorman or reception duties. This will also reflect poorly on your property and might be the factor that pushes a resident towards looking for another lease elsewhere.

If your intercom is wired, maintenance costs compound on your end. You’ll need to tear down and rebuild walls and ceilings to reach wires when they need to be replaced. In the long run, it’s cheaper and more efficient for you to replace your intercom with a more consistent, wireless model than to continue pouring money into repairs.


Doesn’t have a mobile app

App-based intercom systems have many advantages compared to intercom doorbells with in-unit hardware. Residents have their smartphones on them at all times. So by giving your residents the option to control the intercom from their smartphones, you significantly improve the resident experience.


Limited video doorbell capabilities

Intercom doorbells with cameras only allow for one-way video communication. This means that a resident can see a visitor, but a visitor can’t see a resident. Today, tech-forward residents expect the convenience of a two-way video call.


How to choose the best doorbell intercom

If you want to give your residents the best access experience, there are certain features you need to emphasize. When choosing a building entry system, first consider the features that are most important to you. Look for an intercom system that will bring the most convenience and security to your property.

Choose an intercom system with these features:



A wireless door intercom has many advantages over a wired intercom. Wired intercoms are expensive to install and maintain. Both installation and maintenance require you to rip up walls and ceilings to completely wire every single substation to the base station.


No in-unit hardware

Wireless voice intercom doorbells are convenient and easy to install. However, they’re still expensive and cumbersome if they require in-unit hardware.

Depending on the size of your property, you might need to install dozens or even hundreds of substations throughout your building. And then, you’ll have to ensure that each substation is up-to-date and working properly. You’ll also have to keep an eye on an increased amount of maintenance requests from residents.

Instead of adding more hardware to your property, consider a property access solution that lets residents use their smartphones as substations. That way, you’ll save time and money while empowering residents to grant access from anywhere.



Choose an intercom that integrates with other hardware and software.

One of the most helpful intercom integrations is with property management software. Your staff will appreciate this integration because they won’t have to constantly update permissions as your rent roll changes and residents move in and out. Instead, the integration automatically pushes those changes from your PMS to the intercom.

If you already depend on internet-powered solutions like smart locks or elevator controls to manage access for other areas of your property, the right intercom can integrate with those devices, too. This creates one unified access experience throughout your entire property.


Need an IP intercom doorbell? Choose ButterflyMX

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Ferdison Cayetano

I’m a proptech enthusiast from New Jersey who’s looking forward to the innovations that will revolutionize real estate.

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