Everyone knows this moment: You are alone at home, the doorbell rings and you don't know who is at the front door. Do you want to know who is outside before you even open the door? Then you should think about buying a video door intercom. This way you can see the guest before unlocking the door and also talk to him or simply ask who is ringing the bell. Can you also use your system as an alarm system? What different types of video door intercoms are available for you to purchase?
You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions here in the large video door intercom test 2021. We introduce you to different video door phones to help you decide which one to buy. In addition, you will find helpful tips and tricks in our guide on which additional functions a video door intercom has. Regardless of whether you decide on a video door intercom system via Wi-Fi, radio or cable, we will tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of the different models.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Video Door Intercom: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a video door intercom system
- 4.1 What are the advantages of video door intercoms over audio-only door intercoms?
- 4.2 What additional functions are available with video door intercoms?
- 4.3 Can I synchronise a video intercom with my mobile phone or tablet?
- 4.4 Can I connect additional cameras to the video door intercom?
- 4.5 Can I use my system as an alarm system?
- 4.6 How robust should the system be?
- 4.7 What is the legal situation with video door phones?
- 4.8 How much does a video door intercom system cost?
- 5 Decision: What types of video door intercoms are there and which is the right one for you?
- 6 Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate video door intercoms
- 7 Facts worth knowing about video door intercoms
The most important facts
- Video door intercoms make your home safer and allow you to see your visitor before you even open the door.
- A basic distinction is made between wireless, wired and wifi video door intercoms, with the latter being the most modern type.
- With all three types, it is possible to use them with several families at the same time. Depending on your preference, there are many or few additional functions.
The Best Video Door Intercom: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a video door intercom system
What are the advantages of video door intercoms over audio-only door intercoms?
Especially for children, who are often too small to look through the peephole, it is easy to see on the monitor who is in front of the door before they open it and possibly put themselves in danger.
The video door intercom system is therefore a very good substitute for the peephole.
Likewise, this type of intercom system as a guardian of the house gives older people the necessary sense of security they need when they live alone.
Furthermore, there are several additional functions that you can install right from the start or with which you can improve your video intercom system afterwards.
What additional functions are available with video door intercoms?
Code locks or fingerprint sensors are especially good if you have children, as this way they don't need a key to the house and therefore can't lose it.
Some video door intercoms also have a practical image storage function built in. This allows you to track exactly who was at your front door at what time and can also serve as evidence in the event of a break-in.
All these additional functions are compatible with the three different signal transmission options and are also suitable for several residential units. When purchasing one of these systems, you can often decide for yourself which and how many additional functions your intercom system should have.
To give you an overview, we have compiled a table.
|Wireless connection||You do not need any cables for the intercom. Some video intercoms also offer an app with which you can control them via smartphone.|
|Video recording function||you can record conversations of visitors.|
|Wi-Fi connection to mobile phone||with this function you can access the video door intercom with your mobile phone.|
|Night vision infrared||with this function you can also detect people at night.|
|Wide-angle and HD cameras||Video intercoms with wide-angle and HD cameras let you see all visitors on your property.|
|Colour and brightness of the display||you can adjust the brightness and background of your video intercom.|
|Different ringtones||You can choose between several ringtones.|
|Weatherproof||weatherproof systems also work during storms and are waterproof|
Can I synchronise a video intercom with my mobile phone or tablet?
With many modern intercoms, synchronising the system with the mobile phone or tablet is no problem, especially if they send their signal via the WLAN. In this way, a connection with the smartphone is very easy, as it can also pick up the signals via WLAN or the Internet.
It is also very practical that you can access the system with your mobile phone or tablet even when you are not in the house. So if you are on holiday, you can still check who is ringing your doorbell.
You should always ask the manufacturer whether synchronisation is really possible with your system to save yourself unnecessary trouble.
Can I connect additional cameras to the video door intercom?
An additional camera can be particularly helpful if the area in front of the door is very angled or if you also have a garden gate. If this is the case, it can be useful to mount a camera on this gate as well.
However, with an external camera, as with the normal outdoor unit, you should also make sure that it is not too far away from the indoor station, as the signals may then no longer be transmitted or the cable for transmitting the data is simply too short.
So if you want to install an additional camera to your video intercom, you should ask the manufacturer or seller before buying whether an external camera can be installed and connected to the system.
Can I use my system as an alarm system?
Unfortunately, in most cases it is not possible for the intercom to make a loud noise like an alarm system. A picture memory function is therefore highly recommended. While this is not automatically burglar-proof, the device will store the images and you can use them as evidence in the event of a break-in. In most cases, a camera on the outside of the house or a video intercom will deter many burglars from choosing your family home to break into.
How robust should the system be?
You do not have to pay attention to any special features of the indoor station of your system, as it is located in the house. It does not matter whether it is made of glass, metal or plastic, as the material is only exposed to room temperature.
Of course, the outdoor unit of your system is a different matter. Here you have to pay attention to whether rain and hail could hit the system. If this is the case, a particularly robust material such as metal should be chosen.
You must also consider that the outdoor unit is exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. The unit should therefore be able to withstand temperatures as low as minus 20 °C as well as heat up to 40 °C. Therefore, the outdoor unit should not be made of plastic, as it can then easily bend and deform due to the extreme temperature fluctuations.
In most cases, it will be advisable to choose a very robust material, as you can never be sure whether the device is protected from wind and weather.
What is the legal situation with video door phones?
This means that you are only allowed to set the cameras for your own security and to protect your house rights, but not for filming other people. They are therefore not allowed to monitor public areas such as streets, adjacent playgrounds or department stores.
How much does a video door intercom system cost?
Wireless intercoms and wired door intercoms are generally less expensive than intercoms connected to wifi. The latter can cost up to over 3,500 euros. However, prices are very much dependent on the features and additional functions of the intercom system.
Especially video door intercoms for apartment buildings or residential buildings can often be very expensive, as the system has to differentiate between the individual flats.
Decision: What types of video door intercoms are there and which is the right one for you?
Video door intercoms differ mainly in their transmission form. There are:
- Video door phones by radio
- Video door phones by cable
- Video door phones via WLAN
Depending on your living situation and which additional functions are important to you, one of these variants might suit you better than the others.
In the following section, we would like to help you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of these three options, find out which video intercom suits you best and thus find the optimal solution for your individual situation.
Video door intercom by radio
The special thing about the radio intercom system is that it is wireless, very easy to install and therefore also very inexpensive. The wireless connection makes this type of intercom system very suitable for rented flats, as you do not need the landlord's consent because no new cables have to be laid.
However, a radio intercom system is not equally suitable for all houses or flats. The radio signals can be disturbed by walls that are too thick or by other radio devices. Video signals in particular are affected and the device cannot provide its full performance.
In addition, the internal element of the intercom is only equipped with a rechargeable battery, which does not last very long and must be recharged again and again.
Video door intercom by cable
The great advantage of the door intercom with wire is that the wire provides a very good quality audio and video transmission. You can use the existing lines in your house and up to 32 devices can be connected, which makes it particularly recommendable for a multi-family house.
With this type of surface mounting, the video intercom is a very inexpensive option. However, if you have to lay the cables first, additional costs can arise due to the complex flush-mounted installation and the installation effort increases enormously.
Video door intercom via WLAN
If the intercom is connected to the WLAN, many possibilities open up for you that are not compatible with the two other variants. Since you can also operate the video door intercom with your mobile phone or tablet, it can even be controlled when you are on holiday.
However, the many advantages are offset by relatively high purchase prices and, of course, unlimited Internet access is also required for this variant.
Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate video door intercoms
In the following we want to show you how you can optimally compare video door intercoms and which factors you should consider. This will make it easier for you to decide which intercom system suits your individual living situation and which does not.
These are the factors in particular:
- Mobile phone/tablet synchronisation
- Number of indoor stations
- Picture memory function
- Resolution of camera and monitor
- Extra equipment
In the following paragraphs you can read what is meant by the individual purchase criteria and what you should pay particular attention to when purchasing a video door intercom.
The material is a very important point, as the outdoor unit of your intercom system may be exposed to rain, ice and heat. Therefore, you should make sure that your device is equipped to withstand any weather conditions.
Materials such as aluminium, stainless steel or tempered glass are best suited, as they are very resistant to a wide range of weather conditions. Unlike the cheaper plastic version, these materials do not crack or bend with temperature fluctuations.
Although they are initially a little more expensive to buy than the cheaper plastic model, they last correspondingly longer. Of course, you can use a plastic device for the indoor stations of your door intercom without hesitation, since there are not such strong temperature differences in your home.
As we all know, there is no accounting for taste. That's why you should choose a design for your door intercom that suits you and your home, and check the user-friendliness, especially if elderly people or children live in your house.
First ask yourself whether your wish list includes a classic intercom with telephone or a modern intercom with touchscreen. Remember that a phone is much easier to use than a touch screen, especially for older people who have not grown up with mobile phones and tablets.
You should also consider what screen size suits you best. Even with a very good camera on the outdoor unit, if the screen is too small, you may not be able to see the person at your front door very well.
Mobile phone / tablet synchronisation
If you are familiar with mobile phones or tablets and use these devices frequently, it can be advantageous to connect them to your video door intercom. This way you can also check what's going on at your front door when you're out and about.
Video intercoms that are connected to your own WLAN sometimes do not have their own indoor station, as you can control the device directly with your mobile phone or tablet and play the video material.
Often, however, synchronisation with a mobile phone or tablet is merely offered as an additional option for operating your device. Unfortunately, this is often only possible with intercoms that are connected to your router, but not with door stations that work with cable connections or radio signals.
Number of indoor stations
Multiple indoor stations can be an advantage especially if you live in a large house, in a large flat or if you live together with other people. The most common application of multiple indoor stations is in apartment buildings.
There are several variations here. With most of them, the visitor at the door can decide directly to whom he wants to ring the bell and the signal is then only forwarded to one flat. This way, only you can see who wants to visit you and your neighbours remain undisturbed.
You can also have the monitors for the video door intercom system installed in different rooms of your home so that you can access the device from almost anywhere.
Picture memory function
The image memory function is particularly suitable if you want to save yourself having to install extra surveillance cameras with the video intercom system. In this way, the camera of your intercom system simply records the relevant situations and you can view them later.
With some devices, you can even install one or two additional cameras to record your flat entrance(s) from different angles with the video intercom.
It is particularly important that you pay attention to the storage capacity of your system. Some products can only store a certain number of images and automatically delete them when the memory is full and new material is to be recorded.
It is also essential that you have a good camera to capture footage from a video surveillance system, so that you can actually identify burglars or other unwanted guests if the worst happens. The main role in this context is played by the night vision of the camera, so that qualitatively valuable recordings can also be made in the dark.
Resolution of camera and monitor
Since you also want to recognise your visitors on the screen, a good resolution of the camera but also of the monitor is particularly important.
This goes hand in hand with the image storage function, because without good camera resolution, no images can be taken that can help you recognise people. The resolution and screen size of the monitor on your indoor station are equally important.
Using the following two values, you can roughly estimate the resolution in which your desired door intercom system will play back the video:
|0.75 Megapixel||1024 x 768|
|1.8 Megapixel||1600 x 1200|
The type of installation should also play an important role in your purchase decision. This is because not all variants of the video door intercom system are equally suitable for every living situation. First of all, you should consider where you want to mount the outdoor station of your intercom system and which section the camera can really capture.
Depending on this, you may even need a wide-angle camera to capture the entire area in front of your front door. However, if you do not want to afford such a special camera, most devices offer the option of adding a second or even third camera in order to be able to film the area optimally.
In addition to the correct positioning, the distance between the home and the outdoor unit also plays an important role. Because a wireless door intercom system is wireless, you have to take special care that the radio signal can actually still be detected by the indoor stations and that the distance between the two devices is not too great.
There is a similar problem when installing a WLAN intercom system. Here, it must be ensured that the WLAN signal actually reaches the outdoor station in order to be able to forward the signals. With the wired version, you should make sure that the wire is long enough to reach from the outdoor station to the indoor station in your home.
A number of additional functions can be particularly convenient and make using the device easier and more pleasant, such as an electronic door opener or a large selection of ring tones. The door opener function is particularly practical, as you can open the door electronically from all indoor stations in the house.
It is also possible to open the door from your mobile phone or tablet if you connect it to your video door intercom. Another very pleasant feature is that some devices offer a number of options for the ring tone, which you can select according to your individual preferences.
This function is often accompanied by a corresponding volume setting. This way, if you are often in the garden or like to listen to loud music, you can increase the volume or turn down the sound of the doorbell as desired.
With some devices, the new video intercom can be connected to existing doorbells. This way you avoid spending money unnecessarily on a new doorbell.
Facts worth knowing about video door intercoms
Where are video door intercoms most commonly used?
In the past, intercoms with cameras were only used in areas with high security. In the meantime, however, they are increasingly being installed in private homes.
Nowadays, very few people want to do without the latest technology. In addition, the desire for security in one's own home means that more and more people prefer door intercoms with cameras.
What alternatives are there to video door intercoms?
If you don't want to buy a video intercom, a surveillance camera, a good audio intercom or a door viewer are alternatives, depending on your needs. The cameras offer the advantage that you can connect the video surveillance directly to an alarm system and film and store everything around your house.
A good audio intercom cannot replace a door intercom with camera, but the good sound quality makes it easier to see who is hiding behind your door.
The old-fashioned peephole in your family home would be the cheapest alternative, but it is out of reach for small children. This problem can be solved with a small monitor connected to a camera in the peephole.
Image source: Unsplash.com / Chris Barbalis