The Best Home Intercom Systems of 2022

Easily communicate with friends and family members inside or outside the home via an at-home intercom system.

By Bob Beacham | Updated Aug 31, 2022 2:25 PM

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The Best Home Intercom System Option

Photo: Amazon.com

Some people may remember home intercom systems from the ’70s while others may have encountered them as door-entry devices for commercial buildings or apartment blocks. Today, both indoor and outdoor systems provide a number of benefits.

Far from being relics of the past, modern home intercom systems are feature-rich communications devices. However, the vast number of available options may lead to confusion. This article investigates how to choose the best home intercom system for any situation.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) — HD smart
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wuloo Intercoms Wireless for Home
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display
  4. BEST WIRED: IST I2000 Music & Intercom Deluxe 5-Room Kit
  5. BEST TWO-WAY WIRELESS: Hosmart Full Duplex Wireless Intercom System
  6. BEST RETROFIT: IST RETRO Music & Intercom Master Station
  7. BEST COMPACT: Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa
  8. BEST MULTIPURPOSE: Chunhee Wireless Intercom System for Elderly/Kids
  9. BEST VIDEO DOORBELL: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
  10. BEST MONITOR: Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8
The Best Home Intercom System Option

Photo: Amazon.com

Types of Intercom Systems

Intercom systems have long been used for door-entry, room-to-room communication, or to broadcast messages in warehouses and factories. This article focuses on intercoms designed for at-home use.  Intercoms can be divided into two main categories: wired and wireless. Within each of those categories, there are numerous options. The following technical considerations may help potential buyers find the best home intercom system regardless of their location.

Wired

Originally, home intercom systems were wired because Wi-Fi didn’t exist at the time. Door-entry devices are often still wired, but the majority of home intercoms are now wireless. Though wired home intercom systems are still available, they’re either designed as upgrades, to replace old units without the need to repair the holes where they were inset into walls, or as new installations.

Unlike Wi-Fi home intercom systems, fixed wall units have a known location and will never encounter an issue due to WiFi-dropouts or radio interference. Wired systems are also an effective solution in areas where the Wi-Fi signal is poor. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nearly 21 million U.S. homes lacked high-speed internet in 2020.

Wireless/Smart

It’s no surprise that the wireless intercom is by far the more popular choice. They’re easy to use and simple to install. Basic voice-only units work via FM radio signal; those that don’t use radio are instead connected to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, which is the standard transmitted by the majority of household internet modems.

In addition to voice, and in many cases video, wireless intercom systems are often based on smart-home hubs. These can offer a wide range of household controls and internet-related services. Smartphone integration is another possibility, allowing the home intercom to be part of a larger system incorporating home security.

Another advantage of wireless home intercom systems is that the owner’s investment is protected because the system can move whenever the family or single owner relocates.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Intercom System

Today’s best home intercom systems are a long way from the basic models of yesteryear. Those who are interested in advanced features such as increased security or the ability to stream music throughout the home should read about the following key aspects.

Audio and Video

Early home intercom systems were voice only, and that’s still the case with wired systems today. Indeed, many of the more affordable wireless home intercoms only transmit voice.

That said, those who are prepared to make the investment can have a video intercom that offers remote viewing and control. In theory, it’s possible to communicate with individuals or groups over limitless distances. A home intercom system could, in effect, act like a personal chat or a video conferencing facility.

Radio-based voice intercoms can be subject to interference, though most devices offer suppression to minimize problems. Video clarity depends on both the camera (where applicable) and the screen resolution, so those specifications are worth checking.

Range and Security

Most FM radio-based intercoms have a theoretical range between ½-mile and 1½ miles; however, obstructions such as walls may reduce that considerably. Detached guest accommodation, garages, and barns will often be within range.

Wi-Fi systems usually work on the 2.4GHz band, giving an indoor range of approximately 160 feet. This is more than enough for most homes, though range extenders and repeaters can increase the distance if necessary.

Wired home intercom systems have almost flawless security because they’re entirely self-contained. Without an airborne radio or a Wi-Fi signal, there’s nothing to hack. An FM radio signal is also very secure. Strictly speaking, government agencies can obtain a warrant to intercept signals, but this has to be considered unlikely unless users are involved in illegal activity. While many fear that Wi-Fi systems are vulnerable, it’s rarely true. As long as the internet modem is password protected (most modern devices do) the chances of interception are remote.

Installation and Power Supply

Installing wired home intercoms can be challenging. If an existing system is being upgraded, then only minor alterations may be required. If it’s a complete system in a new build, those who have a good understanding of electrical systems may be able to undertake the task themselves. While these are low-voltage devices, users should always use caution. If there’s any uncertainty, contact a suitably qualified technician.

Installing wireless home intercom systems is a very different proposition, and most people will be able to manage it themselves. FM-based radio devices usually need a convenient power outlet, though some are battery powered. A certain amount of setup is required so that the individual devices communicate with each other.

WiFi-based systems are usually just as easy and may run off the main electrical supply or batteries. If the intercom is a part of a complex smart-home integration, it might be worth consulting a specialist.

Special Features

  • The cheapest radio-based devices may only have a single channel, which broadcasts to all devices on the system. While sometimes that’s useful, multichannel devices allow for individual one-to-one communication as well.
  • Night mode may be available for vision systems, allowing for a clear view of the doorbell or a darkened room (a nursery, for example).
  • It may be worth thinking about whether the system can be expanded as needs change, and by how much. Radio-based devices usually have a limited number of available channels, though that limit might be two or 20.
  • Most intercom systems also offer remote monitoring, which can be useful for those with young children or older family members who need support.
  • Smart-home devices (Alexa, for example) continue to innovate, and numerous versions of the same device may be available. Feature sets are extensive, so it’s important to investigate thoroughly in order to find the right balance between cost and performance.

Our Top Picks

The section above should have provided valuable insight on which considerations to take into account when choosing the best home intercom system for a particular location. Below, we get into specifics by taking a look at some of the top devices currently available.

Best Overall

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) — HD smart
Photo: Amazon.com

Amazon’s Echo Show 8 offers an outstanding range of functions. While it’s certainly not the cheapest home intercom system, it nevertheless represents good value for the money.

The Echo Show 8 gets its name from the 8-inch touch screen, which makes it easy to set up and use. Once it’s connected to a reliable internet connection it can communicate with any compatible device not only within the home, but anywhere a Wi-Fi signal is available. In effect, the Echo Show 8 can be an intercom for family and friends around the world.

Being Alexa-based, it also offers voice control, multiple streaming features, and can run a wide variety of apps. Users can also listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Additional devices can be added to provide increased home security. It can also be accessed remotely via a smartphone. Each Echo Show 8 has independent sound and video control for privacy.

Having a unit in every room could become expensive, though assigning one to each family member is an option. Alternatively, the Echo Show 8 can be used as a base station, with less costly voice-only units in other rooms.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless internet
  • Audio/video: Both
  • Power requirement: Standard 120V household outlet

Pros

  • High-quality audio and video
  • Can communicate with compatible devices anywhere
  • Versatility

Cons

  • Multiple components required
  • Can be expensive for large homes or families

Get the Echo Show 8 (1st Gen, 2019 release) — HD smart at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Wuloo Intercoms Wireless for Home 5280 Feet Range
Photo: Amazon.com

The Wuloo home intercom system is available as a value-for-money pack of four devices that simply plug in anywhere there’s a convenient outlet. It uses a radio signal rather than Wi-Fi, so there’s no need for the internet. An effective range of up to a mile allows users to extend to guest accommodation or garages away from the main home. Simple push-button operations allow individual or group broadcasting; room monitoring is also possible.

Having 10 channels means additional units can be added and can be wall-mounted if needed. A power pack can be added (at extra cost) for greater portability and as a backup in the event of a power outage. The Wuloo home intercom system provides the basic necessities at a very competitive price.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless radio
  • Audio/video: Audio only
  • Power requirement: Standard 120V household outlet

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Range of up to 1 mile
  • Additional units can be added

Cons

  • No video
  • Interference possible

Get the Wuloo Intercoms Wireless for Home at Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display with motion
Photo: Amazon.com

The Echo Show 10 is an upgrade to the Echo Show 8. As the name suggests, this model has a larger screen and resembles a tablet. There’s also improved sound quality.

In terms of functionality, there’s little to choose between the two Echo Show models. Each provides an excellent intercom, a vast array of entertainment options, and the ability to keep the home secure via its security features.

The main benefit of the Echo Show 10 is its automatic screen rotation. It follows a person’s movement around the room so they’re never out of the picture. This feature can also be accessed via a smartphone and used to scan a whole room remotely. Add Alexa Guard Plus (a subscription service), and the system can send an alert if it detects a smoke alarm, the sound of broken glass, or other unusual activity.

Adding several Echo Show 10 devices to a home is expensive, but a wide range of other devices could be used as substations.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless internet
  • Audio/video: Both
  • Power requirement: Standard 120V household outlet

Pros

  • High definition 10.1-inch touch screen
  • Remote “look around” function
  • Alexa compatibility for whole-home control

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires quite a lot of space

Get the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display at Amazon.

Best Wired

The Best Home Intercom System Option: IST I2000 Music & Intercom Deluxe 5-Room Kit
Photo: Homecontrols.com

IST—Intrasonic Technology—is the market leader in wired intercom systems. The IST I2000 is a comprehensive kit that offers voice communication and music provision both inside and outside the home.

The kit comprises a base station with built-in AM/FM radio, five individual room units, an outdoor patio station (which needs minimal cover), plus another for door entry. There are also two pairs of ceiling speakers. Each unit has a docking station that will accept a smartphone or an MP3 player. Room monitoring is also possible. Bluetooth compatibility means Echo and Echo Dot devices can be integrated into the system for voice control.

The IST I2000 can be extended up to 20 rooms. A DIY installation is possible for those with adequate knowledge of home wiring, though the system’s complexity may require a specialist.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Integral
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: Hardwired

Pros

  • Fully integrated whole-home audio system
  • Accepts multiple audio sources
  • Compatible with Alexa

Cons

  • Complex installation
  • Substantial investment

Get the IST I2000 Music & Intercom Deluxe 5-Room Kit at Home Controls.

Best Two-Way Wireless

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Hosmart Full Duplex Wireless Intercom System Two -Way
Photo: walmart.com

Those who are looking for a simple, easy-to-use intercom for two-way communication will find the Hosmart system answers their needs for a very modest investment. It consists of a base and a subunit that can be plugged into a standard household outlet via the USB connector or operated via battery (must be 18650-type).

Communication is via 1.9GHz radio frequency, and it uses DECT 6.0 technology to suppress interference. The resulting signal is sharp and clear for up to 1,000 feet. The system can be extended to one base and five subunits in total, though group communication only works from the base to a maximum of three subs. Room monitoring is also possible.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless radio
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: USB adapter or battery

Pros

  • Compact with easy portability
  • Up to six units possible
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Basic communications only
  • Battery not included

Get the Hosmart Full Duplex Wireless Intercom System at Amazon.

Best Retrofit

The Best Home Intercom System Option: IST RETRO Music & Intercom Master Station
Photo: homecontrols.com

The IST RETRO home intercom system is designed for people who have preexisting, non-functioning, or outdated equipment throughout the home and who don’t like the idea of ripping everything out and repairing multiple holes in walls.

The system is based around a Master Station that hosts AM/FM radio, a dock for MP3 players, and connectivity for smartphones. A total of 13 substations can be added, which can include two patio and two doorway stations, or all internal rooms. Room stations have privacy features and can also be monitored.

Alexa can be incorporated, offering voice control of certain functions. External speakers can be added to any of the stations to enhance audio if required. Only three wires are used, meaning the IST RETRO can replace older three, four, or six wire installations.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Integral
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: Hardwired

Pros

  • Designed to fit existing housings
  • Extensive whole house system possible
  • Compatible with Alexa

Cons

  • Multiple additional units required
  • Can become expensive

Get the IST RETRO Music & Intercom Master Station at Home Controls.

Best Compact

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa
Photo: Amazon.com

Amazon’s Echo Dot is sold as a smart speaker. Once it’s connected to the internet, which is quick and easy, it can play music, answer questions, and communicate with any compatible device, anywhere. It can also control other smart devices on the network, like lights, thermostats, entry or garage doors, etc.

Using the Alexa app via a phone or a tablet, Echo Dots can also serve as compact and very effective intercom units. Up to six can be linked, allowing communications throughout the home. Each device is assigned a name (perhaps for individual users or rooms), and the “drop-in” function is activated. Nothing further is necessary.

Echo Dots also make cost-effective substations for either Echo Show 8 or Echo Show 10.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless internet
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: Standard 120V household outlet

Pros

  • Small size fits just about anywhere
  • Easy setup
  • Alexa can offer wide-ranging functionality (other devices required)

Cons

  • No battery option
  • No video

Get the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa at Amazon.

Best Multipurpose

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Chunhee Wireless Intercom System for Elderly/Kids
Photo: Amazon.com

The majority of wireless home intercom systems are still tethered by a power cord. The Chunhee system overcomes that obstacle with units that look and behave very much like walkie-talkies. They’re powered by lithium polymer batteries and charged via a USB cable. Talk time can be as much as 8 hours, with 2 or 4 days on standby. They take around 3 hours to recharge.

The range is impressive at up to 1.5 miles, and thanks to anti-interference technology they have good audio clarity. They’re suitable for indoors or out, though they’re not weatherproof. Voice activation allows them to be used hands-free.

While the level of portability is a major asset, they aren’t necessarily any more robust than any other electronic device.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless radio
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: Integral rechargeable battery

Pros

  • Light, compact, and easy to carry
  • USB charging
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Voice only
  • Some durability issues

Get the Chunhee Wireless Intercom System for Elderly/Kids at Amazon.

Best Video Doorbell

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
Photo: Amazon.com

Intercoms have long been used as door entry systems, and the Ring Pro 2 is arguably the most advanced of its kind currently available. Existing wiring can be used, or it can be installed just like any ordinary two-wire doorbell (connection kit not included).

Video quality is 1536p, a noticeable improvement on the usual 1080p. The Ring Pro 2 delivers clear full-color images both day and night. Square framing covers 150 degrees both horizontally and vertically, providing an expanded view particularly low down. A 3D sensor with a range of 30 feet doesn’t just detect movement, it can pinpoint where on the property the person has entered and track them until they leave.

Alexa is an option, allowing integration into a complete home intercom or security system. The Ring Pro 2 app can be operated from a smartphone or a tablet.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wired
  • Audio/video: Both
  • Power requirement: Hardwired

Pros

  • Head-to-toe view
  • HD+ images, day and night
  • Alexa compatible, but not required.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Saving video requires a subscription

Get the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Monitor

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8
Photo: target.com

While some might argue that baby monitors cannot be used as a home intercom system, the immense popularity of the Infant Optics DXR-8 suggests many parents would disagree. The advanced feature set with its numerous monitoring and feedback functions makes it a very effective two-way device.

The rechargeable battery provides 8 hours of continuous viewing, and the Infant Optics DXR-8 can go more or less anywhere. The handheld monitor is compact, and the camera unit offers pan, tilt, and digital zoom with increased physical zoom or wide-angle views as options.

Although sold as a baby monitor, this unit can be of benefit to older family members who might need assistance or for those recovering from illness or injury. The range is up to 700 feet, though Wi-Fi and other signal-generating devices can cause interference and should not be placed between monitor and camera.

Product Specs 

  • Intercom type: Wireless radio
  • Audio/video: Audio
  • Power requirement: Integral rechargeable battery

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Night vision

Cons

  • Pricey for a single unit
  • Wi-Fi can cause interference

Get the Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-8 at Amazon.

Our Verdict

The Echo Show 8 is an impressive piece of technology that can work as an intercom, an entertainment center, a knowledge base, or a home controller. The only drawback is the price. The Wuloo system is affordable but effective, and it’s perfect for those who just want to talk to people in other parts of the home without shouting.

How We Chose the Best Home Intercom Systems

Selecting the best home intercom systems was quite a challenge, and a great deal of research was required. As can be seen from our top picks, there are a variety of different approaches, each likely to suit different homes and different families.

In trying to select the best home intercom system for as many users as possible, we were careful to offer an extensive range of options to choose from. We’re also aware of the importance of product quality. While some of the brands in this list may not be widely known, all are well established in the field with a reputation for reliability. Value-for-money is always a consideration, and we believe there are effective solutions here for all budgets.

FAQs

The information above provides an in-depth look at the different technical aspects of intercom systems and offers examples of many of the best devices currently available. While this may have answered many of the questions that arise, our research turned up a number of other questions that have yet to be answered. The following section covers the most common queries.

Q. Are intercoms still used?

Absolutely, and not only in residential and commercial premises but also in private homes. A quick read of the information above will provide an overview of the benefits the best home intercom systems have to offer.

Q. Are intercoms worth it?

Yes. Any voice or video entry system is a type of intercom that improves your security. Smart- home hubs can offer intercoms as part of a home automation system. Although technology has changed, intercom systems are as valuable as ever, if not more so.

Q. How much does a whole-house intercom system cost?

Without knowing the size of the home, layout, and a breakdown of the system components, we can’t make an estimate. Many modern systems are very easy to set up, resulting in big savings on installation cost. The equipment listed in our top picks should enable you to make a reasonably accurate calculation.

Q. What replaces old intercom systems?

The popular choice is to install either a more advanced wireless intercom system, or a home hub. It’s important to investigate the features, ease of installation, and cost before making a decision.

Q. How do I upgrade a home intercom system?

You can either rip out the existing, repair the drywall and install new, or there are retrofit systems available that will slot into the existing wall openings. Retro models can be convenient and easier to install, but they may not offer features like video.

Q. What is a hybrid intercom system?

Hybrid intercom systems combine hardwired elements like landline phone services with internet networks. These can integrate a wide variety of functions, incorporating door-entry, internal communications, security monitoring, call transfer, and remote access. While theoretically available for home use, the complexity of these systems makes them more appropriate for commercial environments.