Doorbells emit a sound that alerts you to a visitor no matter where you are in your home. With the wide range of options available in terms of color, style, materials and special features, it can be hard to settle on just one doorbell. But choosing doorbell type you want is fairly simple because there are only two basic types: wired or wireless.
Wired doorbells are hard-wired directly into your home’s electrical system and typically consist of a switch located inside a button device. This switch connects to a terminal that is connected to a transformer. In many systems the transformer is located in a separate location, such as your basement, and its function is to lower the voltage running to the switch. A wire runs from the switch, and a second wire runs from the transformer, and these go to the chiming unit. Wireless doorbells don’t require batteries, so maintenance is low, and because they function with a constant electrical signal, a wired doorbell is dependable.
Wireless doorbell systems use radio waves to connect a transmitter switch to the chime, which makes wires unnecessary. These doorbell types consists of a switch and transmitter unit inside the button mechanism. A receiver unit is placed in your home so that when the button is pressed, the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver, which chimes. In wireless doorbell types, however, the receiver must be within range of the transmitter. The maximum distance between the transmitter and the receiver is usually indicated on the product label. With a wireless system, you can install multiple receivers around your home to expand the sound range, and they’re portable. But because they’re often battery-powered, you have to change or recharge the batteries regularly to ensure the bell works.
Types of Chimes
Both wired and wireless doorbells offer several options in terms of the sound of your chime. Basic doorbell models make a ringing, buzzing or chiming sound, and these may be a basic “ding dong” sound or a sequence of chimes. More expensive doorbells offer more specialized chimes, including melodies, holiday songs or sound effects such as animal sounds. More advanced doorbells let you upload your own songs from your computer or to record a message.
Materials and Styles
Whether you choose wired or wireless, buttons and chime covers come in several materials, shapes and colors. Most buttons are made of plastic, but the material around the buttons may be made of ceramic, glass, wood or metal such as bronze, nickel, copper, chrome or brass. Typically, the button itself is round or rectangular, but the covers can be almost any shape. For example, you can choose standard shapes, such as squares, ovals, diamonds, or multisided or themed shapes such as flowers or animals. In terms of color, the button is typically black, white or amber-yellow. But you can find doorbells with a back-lit button that changes color.
Both wired and wireless doorbells are available with additional features that make them ideal for specialized applications. For example, lighted systems designed for the hearing-impaired use a flashing light to alert you when someone presses the button. There are also doorbells that have a motion sensor within the exterior unit that alerts you to movement or sound outside the door. More expensive doorbell systems use an intercom so that you can talk to the person outside without opening your door. Or a video system can provide a visual display of the exterior of your home through a camera in the outside unit.