A man uses a push to talk intercom.


Key takeaways

  • ButterflyMX is the best intercom system.
  • A push-to-talk intercom is a system that allows users to press buttons and communicate.
  • An intercom with push-to-talk capabilities is easy to use and install but lacks many necessary features that other access control systems have.


As a property manager, you have a multitude of options when it comes to improving your access control standards and upgrading your property’s security. But how do you go about choosing the best intercom system for your building? The best intercom will be easy to use and improve communication for visitors, residents, and other users at your property.

As such, the push-to-talk intercom system is one modern option that you might find useful.

In this guide, we review the best push-to-talk products; then, we describe what a PTT intercom system is. Finally, we review how this type of intercom works and the best alternative to PTT systems.

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What is the best alternative to a push-to-talk intercom?

The best alternative to a PTT intercom is a smart video intercom system by ButterflyMX. We’ve fostered over 10,000 ButterflyMX successful building installations with service to over 1,000,000 users.

Moreover, as a leader in the latest in property technology, our modern intercom system is the perfect replacement for your old system.


The ButterflyMX intercom system features

  • Keyless entry. Residents can enter the property by tapping on their mobile devices, thanks to the ButterflyMX mobile app.
  • Seamless two-way communication. Two-way communication is conducted from a resident’s mobile device, eliminating the need for in-unit devices. Further, residents don’t need to be home to grant access to this remote feature. Furthermore, two-way communication allows residents to verify exactly who they’re talking to.
  • View all entry activity with time-and-date stamped records. The intercom’s camera takes a time-and-date stamped photo of everyone who enters the building and stores this information in an audit log for 365 days.
  • Unified and cloud-based. The cloud stores all user information and also updates automatically. What’s more, you can manage and monitor access to any of your properties from anywhere in the world.
  • Easy installation. Because there’s no in-unit hardware, installing the ButterflyMX video intercom is quick and easy. Moreover, ButterflyMX products are retrofit-capable, which makes it easy to replace old units without rewiring.
  • Remote access. Guests gain access to the property after they communicate with and receive approval from a resident. Residents can also remotely allow delivery personnel onto the property, ensuring that their package isn’t left to the elements. Alternatively, guests and visitors are assigned temporary PIN codes that can be entered into the device’s keypad.
  • Enhance security with our wide-angle camera. With a 156° field-of-view, your tenants can see the full picture on ButterflyMX’s wide-angle camera. This makes it easy for residents and staff members to view the entire area before granting someone access.
  • Streamline visitor management with our front desk station. Our ButterflyMX front desk station software empowers staff to view live video feeds of the intercom, chat directly with guests, and verify credentials from the desk.


Top 3 push-to-talk intercom systems

There are many PTT systems on the market that vary in ability, price, and benefits. Below, we give you a list of the top three.

The top three PTT intercom systems to buy are:

  1. ZDL wireless intercom
  2. Quam-Nichols Co IP intercom Vandal-resistant Call Station
  3. Deshun window intercom system


1. ZDL wireless intercom

Price: $279

The ZDL system is a basic device featuring just two pieces of hardware that can be set up at opposite ends of an entryway. This device is perfect for an entryway manned by a doorman or security guard.


2. Quam-Nichols Co IP Intercom Vandal-resistant Call Station

Price: $140

The Quam-Nichols Co IP Intercom device is highly weather-resistant with an analog push button. It’s specifically designed for secure entryways that lead to a private room or office.


3. Deshun window intercom system

Price: $79

The Deshun is the most affordable on the list and is like a walkie-talkie you can attach to entryways. As a result, communication is more like a walkie-talkie than a traditional intercom. Conclusively, it may be a useful way for your front desk to communicate with visitors trying to gain access to your building.


What is a PTT intercom system?

A PTT (push-to-talk) intercom system, as the name implies, is an intercom that features a button that users can push to communicate with someone who has the system’s receiver.

For example, residents will have a receiver in their unit. So, when someone at the front entrance to a building with a PTT intercom system types the unit number followed by the push-to-talk button, they can communicate with the resident. The resident, in turn, can respond and hit the door release button to let them into the building.

Additionally, there are also simplified versions of push-to-talk intercoms intended for singular use that do not hook up to multiple residents. For example, an intercom with a push-to-talk button can connect directly to an outdoor attendant in a kiosk or a security guard who can communicate with the visitor or resident.

Push-to-talk intercoms share characteristics with other types of intercoms. Furthermore, two-way audio intercom systems often feature a push-to-talk button.


How does a push-to-talk intercom work?

A push-to-talk button on an intercom works when someone presses the button. The device allows them to transmit their voice into the carrier, which is then carried through to the receiving unit. Once they disengage the button, the intercom becomes the receiver if the chosen recipient says something back.

What’s more, most push-to-talk intercom setups are incredibly simple to install and intuitive to use.


Watch how ButterflyMX works:


What are the components of a PTT wireless intercom system?

A basic PTT intercom consists of an intercom panel installed at the entryway to a property and a receiver installed inside the building. Additionally, most modern intercom units are wireless.


Pros and cons of a push-to-talk intercom system

Intercom systems that focus solely on push-to-talk will get the job done. However, they don’t necessarily have all of the features that your property needs.

The pros of a PTT intercom system are that:

  • It’s easy and intuitive to use.
  • Installation is often simple.

If all you’re looking for is a system that allows for communication between a locked entryway, this will do the job.

However, as we’ll explore, the biggest cons of a PTT intercom system are not what it does wrong. Rather, cons mostly cover missing features.

The cons of a PTT intercom are that they do not typically include:

  • Video.
  • Smartphone connectivity.
  • Additional security features.
  • Internet connectivity.
  • Remote access features.
  • Package delivery management.


Push-to-talk intercom FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about PTT intercoms:


What is the difference between PTT and a walkie-talkie?

Intercoms with push-to-talk functions share a number of similarities to walkie-talkies. One of the biggest differences is that walkie-talkies are portable, while PTT intercoms are not.

Additionally, another major difference is that walkie-talkies operate off radio frequencies. So, anybody with a walkie-talkie tuned into the right channel within a certain radius can communicate with someone else who has a walkie-talkie. Alternatively, an intercom with PTT that uses a closed channel won’t have any interference.


How does PTT work on radio?

PTT works over the radio by using a PTT radio button to facilitate two-way communications between users. The PTT radio button is also used to seamlessly switch users between voice mode and transmit mode so that users can communicate quickly and easily.


Is push-to-talk still available?

Yes, push-to-talk is still available on intercoms. However, intercoms like ButterflyMX with more robust features like video communication and keyless entry are also available.


What is the difference between an intercom and an interphone?

As it turns out, there is no difference between an intercom and an interphone.

These terms are often used interchangeably and get confusing when looking at push-to-talk products that feature alternate terms like this. Additionally, PTT intercoms are sometimes referred to as wireless intercoms.


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Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.

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