video intercom system for apartments
(Last updated: 4/6/2021)

We’ve reviewed the best video intercom systems for apartment buildings to help you pick the right one in 2021.

Here’s our list of the top 14:

  1. ButterflyMX
  2. Doorking
  3. Aiphone
  4. Akuvox
  5. DoorBird
  6. 2N
  7. Swiftlane
  8. Comelit
  9. Mircom
  10. Latch
  11. Linear
  12. Siedle
  13. LiftMaster
  14. Enterphone

 

Introduction

Whether you’re installing a video intercom system in a new development or retrofitting a system in your existing building, you need to choose one that meets you and your tenants’ needs. But with so many video intercoms on the market, how are you supposed to choose the right one? We’ve created this all-in-one guide to choosing the best apartment video intercom system for your apartment building.

This guide will cover:

 

What is a video intercom system?

A video intercom system is a modern type of building entry system. It sends video and audio footage when a resident and a visitor are communicating. It also enables building tenants to open the door for visitors.

Apartment video intercoms offer one-way or two-way video. One-way video allows only the resident to see the visitor at the entrance — the visitor cannot see the resident. Two-way video allows the resident and the visitor to see each other.

 

How does an apartment video intercom system work?

Just like a traditional intercom system, video intercoms require a base station at the entrance and substations throughout the building. However, the base station — and possibly the substations — must have a camera to enable video calling. When a visitor calls a resident through the base station, it transmits audio and video to that resident’s substation.

In an apartment video intercom system, the substations can be physical devices installed in each apartment unit or the residents’ smartphones. A smartphone-based video intercom system is ideal because you don’t have to install extra hardware and there is already a camera to enable two-way video.

 

 

Benefits of video intercom systems for apartment buildings

If you’re installing or replacing an intercom in your apartment, you might be wondering if you should choose a video intercom instead of an audio intercom or telephone entry system. Video intercoms offer several advantages over systems that only offer audio communication.

Here are some of the benefits of video intercoms for apartments:

  • Increased security: Residents and building staff can see who they are letting in to confirm a visitor’s identity before granting them access.
  • Audit trail: Building management can view an audit trail of time- and date-stamped photos every time someone enters the property.
  • Reduced risk of vandalism: There’s a lower risk of vandalism because would-be vandals are less likely to act if they feel they are being watched by the intercom’s camera.

 

Questions to ask before choosing an apartment video intercom system

Here are some important questions to ask yourself before buying a video intercom for your apartment building:

 

What’s your budget?

We all know that every decision ultimately comes down to budget. Before researching video intercom systems for your apartment, set a realistic budget. Having a range in mind will help you rule out systems that are over your budget. You can even rule out under-budget systems that are too simplistic for your needs.

 

Should you get an apartment video intercom system?

Video intercoms offer an added layer of security and convenience. They give residents the power to see who is requesting building access before letting guests in. Think about whether this feature is important to you.

If you do want an apartment video intercom, you’ll have to ask yourself if you want one- or two-way video capabilities.

 

Do you want one-way or two-way video?

Some video intercoms offer one-way video calling, where the tenant can see a visitor, but the visitor cannot see the tenant. Others offer two-way video calling, which lets the tenant and the visitor see each other. Two-way video requires a secondary device for the tenant, which could be an in-unit device or the tenant’s own smartphone.

The benefit of leveraging the tenant’s smartphone to receive video calls rather than in-unit hardware is two-fold:

  1. Cost savings. You do not need to run wiring or install hardware within each tenant’s apartment unit to receive the video call. The cost of purchasing and installing the necessary wiring and hardware can quickly add up to more than 3x what you paid for the video intercom system.
  2. Convenience. When tenants receive video calls directly to their smartphone, they can see who is at the door and provide property access no matter where they may be: in their unit, at the gym, or taking the dog for a walk.

 

smartphone intercom

 

Should you get a wired or a wireless apartment video intercom system?

Wiring is an important consideration when choosing a video intercom system.

Intercom systems can be wired or wireless. Wired systems require wiring from the outdoor device to indoor devices in every unit. Wireless systems do not require wiring between outdoor and indoor devices.

Generally, wired intercoms are more challenging and expensive to install. Wireless intercoms offer a less intensive — and therefore more affordable — installation process.

 

Do you want to install in-unit hardware?

Intercom systems require two components: a base station at the entrance for visitors and substations inside for tenants. Advancements in technology have made it possible to replace in-unit hardware with a device that most residents already have in their pockets: a smartphone.

Smart video intercom systems eliminate the need for in-unit hardware by empowering tenants to use the intercom with their smartphones. Instead of relying on devices installed in each unit of the building, tenants can open and manage doors with their smartphones, creating a more seamless and convenient experience.

Keep in mind that installing in-unit hardware adds an extra cost. It will also require ongoing maintenance to keep each device operating smoothly.

 

intercom system substation

 

How many tenants are there?

The video intercom system you choose must meet your residents’ demands. Consider how many tenants will be using the system and choose an intercom that can handle that demand. Some video intercom systems have limits on the number of apartments they can support, and others have limits on the number of tenants per apartment.

 

Do you want remote tenant management capabilities?

If you value the ability to manage residents remotely — without updating a directory onsite — you’ll need to choose a video intercom system with remote management. Many intercom systems offer software or even cloud-based tools so you can remotely update your tenant directory, manage permissions, and more.

 

Resend registration email to tenants

 

Is granting remote property access a priority?

Many apartment video intercom systems offer remote property access features, which let residents open and manage doors even off-site. Tenants can answer calls and grant access remotely using a mobile app or a cloud-based dashboard. Consider how this feature could improve your residents’ experience with your property.

 

What is the right video intercom system for your apartment?

Once you’ve considered your budget, outlined your needs, and determined the intercom features that are most important to you, it’s time to choose the right video intercom system for your apartment building.

There are several options to choose from, but here is a list of some of the best video intercom systems:

  1. ButterflyMX
  2. Doorking
  3. Aiphone
  4. Akuvox
  5. DoorBird
  6. 2N
  7. Swiftlane
  8. Comelit
  9. Mircom
  10. Latch
  11. Linear
  12. Siedle
  13. LiftMaster
  14. Enterphone

 

1. ButterflyMX

A property technology innovator ButterflyMX introduced the apartment video intercom system in 2015. Its flagship product has been enhanced over the years, but its mission remains the same: to empower people to open and manage doors with a smartphone. Since launching, ButterflyMX has been installed in more than 5,000 buildings and more than 500,000 units. The company also has the most customer reviews in the industry with more than 6,000 five-star reviews.

In addition to opening doors with your phone, the ButterflyMX smart video intercom lets you grant remote access for guests, integrate with your property management system, eliminate building wiring and in-unit hardware, and more. The intercom features a sleek touchscreen interface and a mobile-first user experience.

Uses

  • Multifamily/apartments
  • Commercial
  • Mixed-use buildings
  • Gated communities
  • Student housing
  • Senior housing
  • HOAs and condominiums
  • Self-storage facilities
  • Industrial properties

Features

  • Two-way video calling
  • Smartphone-based door access and management through a powerful mobile app
  • No wiring
  • No in-unit hardware
  • Sleek and durable touchscreen interface
  • Multiple access options, including virtual keys, door PINs, and delivery PINs
  • Cloud-based property admin dashboard with resident management tools
  • Audit trail with time- and date-stamped photos of every door entry
  • Elevator controls
  • Contactless entry
  • Integrations with property management systems, access control systems, keyless locks, and more

Pricing

Intercom pricing starts at $3650. Software costs $2.50 per unit per month. Software pricing includes the mobile app, ongoing updates, and new features, and live support via phone and email.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No wiring and no in-unit hardware makes for a simple and affordable installation
  • Smartphone-based access is convenient, intuitive, and more affordable than installing devices in every unit
  • The cloud-based dashboard makes it easy to manage the tenant directory and integrate with property management software
  • The time- and date-stamped audit trail provides an extra layer of security
  • Elevator control integrations make for easy property access while only allowing guests to visit the floor of the unit they are visiting

Cons:

  • No solution for single-family homes
  • Features and functionality may be too much for buildings with fewer than 10 units

 


 

2. Doorking Intercom

A staple in the access control industry, Doorking — also known as DKS — offers a wide range of traditional telephone entry systems. DKS intercoms use regular phone lines to allow visitors to speak with tenants, who can then open the door or gate remotely for their guests.

Doorking product reviews

Uses

  • Single-family homes
  • Multifamily
  • Student housing
  • Commercial
  • Gated communities
  • Self-storage

Features

  • Traditional telephone entry systems
  • Some models are PC programmable
  • Some models feature built-in directories
  • Keypad and call button interfaces
  • Separately sold features, such as directories, light kits, and camera kits
  • Some models offer elevator controls

Pricing

Doorking offers over a dozen entry system models with varying features and pricing. According to a February 2020 pricing sheet, intercom pricing ranges from about $1300 to $6450. Accessories are sold at an additional cost.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Weather- and tamper-resistant
  • Traditional design

Cons:

  • No built-in camera/video intercom options
  • No cloud-based access management
  • Cellular connection requires the purchase of a separate DKS Cellular Connection Box
  • Not all models are PC programmable
  • No mobile app
  • No touchscreen interface

 

Best Video Intercom System for apartments

 

3. Aiphone Intercom

A self-proclaimed security communication systems brand, Aiphone offers a variety of intercoms for several industries with a focus on security.

Aiphone product reviews

Uses

  • Single-family
  • Multifamily
  • Student housing
  • Commercial
  • Parking structures
  • Healthcare facilities

Features

  • Several product series with many models tailored to both large and small buildings
  • Video intercom options
  • Touchscreen, handset, and keypad interfaces available

Pricing

Aiphone intercom pricing is not readily available online because the company sells its products through distributors.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Supports building complex/multi-building connections
  • Modern video and touchscreen options available

Cons:

  • Not all systems are cloud-based
  • Most models require in-unit hardware
  • Not all systems offer remote management

 


 

4. Akuvox Intercom

Akuvox is a well-known player in the access control industry. Offering a variety of intercoms — including smart intercoms — Akuvox provides technological solutions for buildings across multiple industries.

Akuvox product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Commercial
  • Assisted care & hospitals

Features

  • Options ranging from simple video doorbells and multi-button door phones to smart video intercoms
  • Touchscreen and keypad interfaces depending on model
  • Facial recognition available in some models
  • Temperature and face mask detection on certain models
  • Weather-resistant, with a built-in heater for cold climates
  • Tamper-resistant
  • Flush or surface mount

Pricing

Exact pricing for Akuvox intercoms is not readily available. Interested customers must reach out for a personalized quote.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Enables touchless entry
  • SmartPlus and Vfone mobile apps work with smart intercoms
  • Options available for both small and large buildings

Cons:

  • Most systems require indoor/in-unit hardware
  • Indoor monitors use only Android or Linux operating systems
  • SmartPlus and Vfone mobile apps have low ratings in the app store
  • Company based in China with no support in the United States

 


 

5. DoorBird Intercom

Based in Germany, DoorBird is a company in the IP Intercom communication field. DoorBird offers a variety of intercom and access control products.

DoorBird product reviews

Uses

  • Single-family homes
  • Multi-tenant buildings
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Schools

Features

  • Keypad and call button interfaces
  • Wide-angle cameras on all models
  • Simple, straightforward design
  • Several colors and finishes available

Pricing

Pricing for door station hardware alone ranges from about $400 (for single-family video doorbells) to $2500 (for multi-tenant intercoms). Accessories, casings, and cloud service (for entry log recording) are available at an additional cost.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Open API for integrations with third-party home automation and access control systems
  • Mobile app to answer calls and grant remote access from a smartphone

Cons:

  • No touchscreen models
  • Only suitable for multi-tenant buildings with up to 100 units
  • Lacks cloud-based remote management for multifamily buildings
  • Unreliable

 

Best Video Intercom System for apartments

 

6. 2N Intercom

2N is a European access control company operating internationally since 1991. 2N offers a variety of products, including intercoms and indoor answering units, access control systems, elevator systems, and IP audio systems.

2N product reviews

Uses

  • Commercial
  • Multifamily
  • Single-family homes

Features

  • Touchscreen or keypad interface depending on model
  • 2N Remote Configuration and 2N Access Commander allow for remote device management and administration
  • Option to operate the intercom with smartphones or indoor answering units
  • Built-in Ethernet port
  • Entry options include Bluetooth, touchpad, RFID card reader, and fingerprint reader entry options

Pricing

Many 2N intercoms are customizable, and pricing depends on the accessories you choose. Exact pricing is not available online, as 2N requires purchase through a distributor.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Mobile app available to answer telephone and video calls, and to open doors from a smartphone
  • Remote management and administration capabilities
  • Modular intercoms allow you to add specific features and customize your intercom

Cons:

  • The 2N mobile app has low user ratings for both the Android and iOS versions
  • Comparatively low video resolution

 


 

7. Swiftlane Intercom

Swiftlane offers an intercom and access control products designed for both residential and commercial spaces.

Swiftlane product reviews

Uses

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Enterprise

Features

  • Two-way video calling
  • Mobile app for remote property access
  • Face recognition technology
  • Touchscreen panel
  • Ethernet-based connectivity

Pricing

Pricing for each Swiftlane product is not readily available, but the company’s website states that pricing for its commercial intercom starts at $1200.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Option for audio-only calls
  • Mobile app lets you can open doors remotely
  • The system provides a photo log of all door entries, stored in the cloud

Cons:

  • Facial recognition technology introduces privacy concerns
  • Requires a separate integration to grant temporary guest access
  • Small intercom panel makes it hard to scroll through long directories
  • Offers single-use PINs but no virtual keys
  • The intercom resembles a smartphone, which is not built to be powered on all day or be outdoors 24/7

 


 

8. Comelit Intercom

Founded in 1956 in Val Seriana, Italy, Comelit (officially Comelit Group SpA) designs and manufactures a variety of products, from video entry and video surveillance systems to home automation and access control systems. Comelit’s headquarters are still located in Italy, but the company sells products internationally from offices in 16 different countries.

Comelit product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Single-family
  • Commercial

Features

  • Two-way video calling when you install indoor video panels in each unit
  • Mobile app for remote property access
  • Panel options include keypad, touchscreen, and sensitive touch buttons
  • Weather-resistant, though IP ratings vary between models
  • Name uploading via USB port
  • Face recognition available for some models

Pricing

Pricing is not immediately available on the Comelit website. You’ll need to contact a sales representative or dealer for a quote.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Integrations with access control systems such as Prodatakey, Salto, etc.
  • Mobile app allows for remote door management from a smartphone

Cons:

  • Not all models are IP65 rated
  • Certain features are only available on some models
  • It’s difficult to know which models include specific features
  • Comelit mobile app gets low ratings in both Apple App Store and Google Play store
  • It’s unclear how to learn more about products, get a quote, or purchase a system from a sales representative

 

Best Video Intercom System for apartments

 

9. Mircom Intercom

Founded in 1991, Mircom designs, manufactures, and distributes a variety of products, from fire detection and alarm systems, access control systems, and voice entry systems to mass notification systems and emergency lighting. Honing in on its property entry systems, Mircom offers several different voice entry, telephone entry, and apartment intercom systems.

Mircom product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Commercial and industrial
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Government
  • Self-storage

Features

  • Various interfaces, including touchscreen, keypad, and direct-dial buttons
  • Most systems require in-unit hardware, though some are compatible with smartphones and tablets using Mircom’s mobile app, MiEntry
  • Only two video intercom systems for apartments available, the TX3 Touch and TX3 Nano

Pricing

Pricing is not immediately available on Mircom’s website. You must reach out to a distributor for Mircom pricing.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Mircom offers an extensive catalog of products applicable across many industries
  • Various mounting options, including flush mount, surface mount, and pedestal mount

Cons:

  • Not all units are weather-resistant
  • MiEntry app gets low ratings in both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store
  • There are no company reviews available online, which raises questions about product durability and reliability
  • Intercom design is not visually appealing, and touchscreen interfaces appear cluttered
  • Must be purchased through a distributor

 


 

10. Latch Intercom

Founded in 2014, Latch originally focused its product lineup on smart locks. However, Latch has started exploring new territories, introducing its multi-unit building intercom in December 2019.

Latch product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Student housing

Features

  • One intercom panel option measuring 6.53” wide and 12.82” tall
  • Tactile button interface
  • Residents can choose how to display their name on the intercom
  • Power over Ethernet
  • Three connectivity options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and cellular
  • IP65 rated

Pricing

According to Latch’s website as of December 2020, intercom hardware starts at $2999 and software starts at $2 per month per unit. Pricing varies depending on the number of units in your building and the length of your contract.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Remote door unlock capabilities
  • Multiple connectivity options

Cons:

  • No built-in camera — video capabilities require purchasing and installing a separate camera
  • Small screen can make it difficult to read or find a tenant
  • The Latch mobile app gets poor customer reviews, averaging less than 3 stars in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
  • No touchscreen

 


 

11. Linear Intercom

Owned by Nortek Security & Control, Linear is an access control brand based in Carlsbad, California. While Nortek offers a broad range of security and home automation systems, Linear focuses on access control and telephone entry systems for a variety of industries.

Linear product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Commercial
  • Healthcare
  • Government and municipal

Features

  • Offers the Entry Pro line with three models, and the more basic AE-100 Telephone Entry System
  • All Entry Pro models offer audio-only calling with backlit keypads, two I/O ports, and compatibility with most third-party VoIP adapters and long-range readers
  • EP-736 model includes a touchscreen display

Pricing

Linear pricing is not immediately available online. You must contact the company or a dealer to request a quote.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Durable intercoms
  • Clear audio

Cons:

  • No built-in cameras
  • Audio-only calling
  • Only one model has a touchscreen display
  • No mobile app for smartphone-based access
  • Cluttered and dated design
  • Lack of features like virtual keys for guest access and door release audit trail

 


 

12. Siedle Intercom

Siedle is a German company offering a variety of telecommunications systems, from intercoms to security devices. With offices in over 57 countries, Siedle is dedicated to developing technologies that improve security for people and organizations around the world.

Siedle product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Commercial

Features

  • Siedle offers both audio-only and video intercom options
  • Video intercoms can be used with in-unit hardware or a smartphone through the Siedle mobile app
  • Dome camera on video intercoms
  • Day/night switchover

Pricing

Siedle does not list prices on its website. Reach out to the company to request a quote.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Intercoms are modular and customizable
  • Straightforward design
  • Modular intercoms offer useful add-ons like a card, key, and fingerprint readers

Cons:

  • No touchscreen options
  • Not cloud-based
  • Mobile app is difficult to set up
  • Video intercoms only allow for one-way video calling
  • Cannot accommodate very large buildings

 


 

13. LiftMaster Intercom

LiftMaster develops and sells access control systems for homes, apartments, businesses, and other types of properties. Most people know LiftMaster best for its garage door openers, but the company also sells a variety of other access control products, including intercoms and telephone entry systems.

LiftMaster product reviews

Uses

  • Single-family
  • Multifamily
  • Commercial

Features

  • LiftMaster offers both audio-only and video intercoms
  • LiftMaster does not offer in-unit hardware; intercoms must be connected to existing phone numbers or operated with a smartphone through LiftMaster’s mobile app
  • Touchscreen and keypad interface options

Pricing

LiftMaster pricing is not immediately available on the company’s website.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Functional for various types of properties
  • Straightforward design

Cons:

  • Lacks convenient integrations with property management software
  • Must be purchased through a local dealer
  • Limited reviews from users and buyers

 

14. Enterphone

Enterphone is a line of telephone entry systems sold by Identiv. Identiv is a global company selling security and access control products for a variety of industries. Its product lineup spans from RFID access control systems to cybersecurity solutions to telephone entry systems.

The Enterphone line includes three products: Enterphone iQ, Enterphone 19, and Enterphone 21. These three systems operate essentially the same — size is the primary difference between each system.

Enterphone product reviews

Uses

  • Multifamily
  • Gated communities
  • Commercial

Features

  • Display: The Enterphone iQ has a 10-inch HD screen with a keypad. Enterphone 19 and 21 have a touchscreen interface.
  • Listing formats: All three systems offer residential or business listing formats with drop-down menus
  • Mounting: Enterphone telephone entry systems can be surface-mounted or flush-mounted.

Pricing

Enterphone doesn’t list pricing for any of its telephone entry systems. You’ll have to reach out to Identiv directly to request the cost of Enterphone.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Enterphone’s telephone entry systems automatically redial a secondary number if the first number doesn’t answer.
  • Unlimited administrators.

Cons:

  • The smallest intercom size is 10”, which may be too large for smaller buildings or secondary entrances.
  • No built-in cameras, so tenants can’t see who’s at the door.
  • No mobile app, therefore residents can’t open the door or gate with their smartphones.
  • Enterphone’s telephone entry systems don’t integrate with third-party proptech providers or products.

 

ButterflyMX Video Intercom System

Jon Tamn

Author

Jon Tamn

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

Pin It on Pinterest

ButterflyMX Reviews