The 10 Best Intercom Systems
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in May of 2016. You don't have to live in a sprawling mansion to find that one of these handy intercoms is a great way to communicate with family members in other rooms. Many can even act as security systems at your front door, providing you with two-way audio and video. Others may make nice additions to offices and businesses that need a quick and inexpensive way to keep employees in constant contact. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best intercom system on Amazon.
January 06, 2020:
A lot of the models on our last version of this ranking were significantly outdated, like the Intercom Central Ground, which was a wired system from 2013 in a sea of wireless options that have come out within the past few years. What's more, the addition of relatively inexpensive video-based systems on the market like the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen or the Ring Doorbell forced us to reconsider the category as it interacts with the modern smart home.
Of course, for business applications or homes that just don't want to spend the money or time putting together a high-tech communications system, there are still reliable, easy-to-use options that resemble the intercoms of yesteryear, but with more contemporary conveniences like VOX modes, long wireless ranges, and built-in rechargeable batteries. The Wuloo Wireless Communication is undoubtedly the best among these, as it features a big LCD readout, a one mile range, and a slew of channels and privacy codes to keep your comms to yourself.
How Do I Choose The Correct Intercom For Me?
You also want to be able to adjust the volume based on whether you're in a reserved office, for example, or, say, a noisy warehouse space.
The two most important features when considering an intercom are sound and range.
The two most important features when considering an intercom are sound and range. You want an intercom's delivery system to sound crisp and clear. You also want to be able to adjust the volume based on whether you're in a reserved office, for example, or, say, a noisy warehouse space. An intercom's range should easily exceed the distance between consoles. A wide range is usually an indication of less interference, which is a major selling point, as well.
The next area you'll want to consider is an intercom's consoles. Certain intercoms feature desk consoles, which are ideal for a den or office, while other models feature wall consoles, which make more sense for an apartment's door unit, or a home. If you're buying an intercom specifically to stay in touch with someone like a groundskeeper or a foreman, be sure to purchase a model that includes at least one walkie-talkie. This way you can maintain contact with that party regardless of whether he or she is near a stationary console.
The more upscale your tastes, the more you may want to consider a digital intercom that you can link up to a security system, along with any mobile devices or computers. In addition to an intercom's traditional features, a lot of digital models will allow you to connect to an entire network of contacts. This way you can send and respond to any intercom transmissions with the touch of a button on your phone.
The Myriad Advantages of Owning an Intercom
In an age of smartphones, it is fair to question why the intercom has remained so relevant. Part of the reason is that an intercom delivers a message immediately, without any need for the recipient to "pick up." Beyond that, an intercom is designed for very brief, and perhaps even one-sided, exchanges. Dinner is ready. Someone is at the front door. There is a meeting in the conference room. These are all scenarios that do not lend themselves to a phone call, an email, or any type of instant messaging.
Intercoms are unique in that they're designed for a closed environment. The majority of intercoms are stationary. They are posted to a wall, or a desk. An intercom helps two or more parties avoid yelling, or running up two flights of stairs. They also provide a sense of security by allowing homeowners to determine who's at the door before letting someone in. Digital devices, by and large, are open systems that enable people to communicate across vast distances. Imagine, if you will, the absurdity of phoning a person who is 10 feet down the hall.
On top of all this, intercoms are a flat expense. Once an intercom has been bought and installed, the only cost is electricity, which is minor. Cellphones are an ongoing expense with the possibility of set limits on minutes and texting. What's more, cellphones and other digital devices periodically need to be replaced. An intercom can conceivably last for several decades.
A Brief History of The Intercom
The term "intercom" is short for Intercommunicating Telephone System — a designation used by Chicago manufacturer Milo Kellogg on a patent application he filed in 1894. Up to that point, the majority of inter-office communication took place by way of what were known as speaking tubes. True to their name, these tubes ran between separate offices, allowing one executive to contact another directly, his voice sounding like an echo emanating out of a nearby wall.
By the end of the 1980s, certain intercoms were being built with inset cameras for video surveillance and home security.
After speaking tubes came electric buzzers. Kellogg's intercom superseded both of these devices by providing clearer, telephonic communication that connected people without any need for them to get up from their desks.
The intercom became a fixture in corporate offices during the first quarter of the 20th century. During the Depression, intercoms began to feature both stationary consoles and detachable handsets. By the end of World War II, electronic intercoms had begun to supplant a standard walk-up's doorbells. By the end of the 1950s, transistors made for clearer transmissions and a much simpler installation.
By the end of the 1980s, certain intercoms were being built with inset cameras for video surveillance and home security. Today, a digital intercom can be synced up with a personal smartphone, or even a tablet. Certain upscale intercoms can be used for video conferencing, as well.
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