According to public relations blog PRvoke, poor communication costs businesses $37 billion annually– and some of the same communication issues that hurt businesses probably affect families as well. Even with smart phones at our disposal, the simple act of communicating can be a problem in today’s world. Text messages can get lost among all the other notifications we get on our phones. Calls and texts are often missed when we are required to switch our phones to silent mode, as well. Moreover, not everyone has an unlimited plan. Then, of course, is the issue of limited battery life, which none of the major smartphone brands have solved.
Wireless intercom systems solve these problems. They are easy to set up and inexpensive. You can purchase as little as two intercom devices if that’s all you need. If you require more stations, setting up new ones is typically as easy as punching a few buttons. Another standard feature that most wireless intercoms offer is VOX mode, which switches on the receiver automatically when you start talking. If your wireless intercom units come with power banks, you can even take them with you when you go outside.
Here are the best wireless intercoms you can buy:
Wuloo Intercom System WL666
Wuloo’s WL666 is an affordable intercom system with features that are focused on meeting the needs of families. Despite the device’s low price tag, it has a surprisingly long range. The manufacturer advertises that two WL666 devices can communicate as long as they are within one mile of each other.
- Budget-friendly price. The main kit is inexpensive and comes with two units.
- Long range. Wuloo advertises that its WL666 intercom units can communicate effectively from as far as 5,280 feet away.
- Voice activation mode. With VOX mode on, it detects when you’re talking so that you don’t have to press a button every time you want to communicate.
- Built a 10-channel intercom network. With three to ten WL66 devices, expanding the intercom network is just a matter of pressing a button to assign each member a channel.
- High volume alert noise. The call beep signal is loud enough to pierce through noisy sonic environments.
- Portable. You can either use a wall socket for power or batteries, depending on your need.
- Lifetime money-back guarantee. If for whatever reason you’re not satisfied, you can return any Wuloo product for a full refund.
- No night mode. Since there’s no way to dim the indicator lights, you’ll have to cover them with tape if they disturb you when you’re trying to sleep.
- You can’t turn down the call buzzer’s volume. There’s no way to make it quieter.
In a nutshell
The WL666 is an inexpensive, family-friendly intercom system that nevertheless offers impressive range, portability features and a lifetime guarantee to ensure against manufacturing defects. It only supports 10 channels, but that should be more than enough for the needs of a typical family. Other standard functions like VOX mode round out the device’s feature set.
The best wireless intercom system for businesses
Wuloo Intercom System WL888
Featuring support for up to 22 channels, Wuloo’s WL888 Intercom System was clearly designed with business owners in mind. The extra channels allow for a larger intercom network, but you can start with as little as two devices and add more as your business grows. The call buzzer is nice and loud, as well. This could be a major perk for construction businesses and other similar types of industries. The initial setup is easy, and so is the process for adding additional intercom stations.
- Supports up to 22 channels. The fact that you can link up to 22 units together makes the WL888 ideal for small and medium sized businesses.
- Hands-free mode. If you switch to VOX, a sensor will detect when you’re talking and switch on the microphone automatically.
- One-mile range. The units can communicate with each other from 5,280 feet away, according to Wuloo.
- Easy setup and installation. The procedure for adding a new intercom to your network can be accomplished with a few button presses.
- Good volume. People who purchased the WL888 praised the loudness of its speaker and call buzzer, which is apparently sharp enough to cut through high volume noise.
- Two color options. You can choose between black and white.
- Total satisfaction guarantee. Wuloo promises that if you aren’t completely happy with the WL888, you can get all your money back.
- Somewhat expensive. The WL888 is priced just a bit higher than other wireless intercoms.
In a nutshell
The Wuloo WL888 is designed to meet the needs of businesses. Since it supports 22 channels, you can build a large intercom network with it while still maintaining communications efficiency. The fact that there are two different color options available is a nice perk as well, since competing manufacturers typically offer only one color choice.
The fact that the Hosmart HY810 is equipped with a 24-hour monitor mode will help you keep track of your little ones, even if they are sleeping several rooms away. The other features are pretty standard. Group mode lets you communicate with several units at once, while private mode allows for secure communications. There’s also a power bank accessory, which lets you take one or more units with you when you go outside.
- 24-hour baby monitor mode. This feature is convenient for parents, since it means they can keep track of their kids during the entire night– even if you get lucky and are able to sleep in.
- Secure communications. You can use secret channels to prevent your transmissions from getting picked up by nosy neighbors.
- The more units you buy, the more you save. The six-unit pack lets you save the most money, but two, three, four and five-pack kits are available as well.
- Portable. The included power bank lets you take the HY810 outside, or use it as a walkie-talkie on camping trips.
- Group calls. Join multiple participants into a call with the push of a button.
- Compatible with two-way radios. For even more flexibility, you can join two-way radios to the system.
- Lifetime warranty. If it breaks because of a quality issue, you can send it back to Hosmart for a refund or replacement.
- Limited range. The HY810’s range is only a half mile in ideal conditions.
In a nutshell
Parents of babies and young children have different needs compared to parents of older children. That’s where Hosmart’s HY810 comes in. The 24-hour monitoring feature lets you keep track of your child from anywhere in the house. It’s equipped with all the typical wireless intercom features as well, like group call mode, VOX mode and more.
The most kid-friendly wireless intercom system
The Hosmart HY777 is the only wireless intercom system we’ve run across that gives you the option to bundle two-way radios with your purchase. Pink and decorated with amusing cartoon characters, Hosmart’s two-way radio accessories are fun and seem to be designed to encourage kids to keep in touch with their parents while they’re outside. If you’re a parent, you will also like the fact that you can even leave voice-activated transmission mode on all day long, since it frees up your hands for other activities.
- Choose from several different configurations. You can get a single device, the two-pack, six-pack or a two-pack that comes with two kid-friendly two-way radios.
- 24-hour VOX mode. You can leave the Voice Activated Transmission mode on all day long.
- Switch between private and group call modes. You can communicate with multiple kids at the same time or send private messages to your spouse.
- Clear sound. Fans of the HY777 say that its speakers are especially clear and loud.
- Quick installation. All you have to do is plug the devices in to begin using them.
- Lifetime guarantee. Hosmart will replace any unit that breaks due to a factory defect.
- Only seven channels. Other wireless intercoms can support up to 22 channels.
- Monitor function switches off after 10 hours. Other wireless intercoms can monitor a room for a full 24 hours straight.
In a nutshell
No other wireless intercom system we’ve seen offers a package that includes kid-friendly two-way radios. That makes the HY777 an interesting choice for parents with older children. Instead of purchasing pricey mobile phones for your kids, you can equip them with inexpensive two-way radios so you can keep in touch with them when they’re playing outside nearby.
The best USB-powered wireless intercom
Sanzuko Wireless Intercom FTAN40A
Most wireless intercoms come with their own proprietary adapters. If you lose the adapter, you have to order another one from the manufacturer’s website– and that’s always a hassle. What’s more, the adapters take up valuable wall outlet space. That’s where the Sanzuko FTAN40A comes in. You can power it with an ordinary USB port. This is convenient because it means that you can either use the USB wall adapter that comes in the box, or plug the device into a computer instead. If your home or office is in need of an intercom system but have limited space on your power strips for them, the FTAN40A could be a good workaround.
- USB compatible. You can plug it into any computer that has a free USB slot when you need to charge.
- High quality speakers. GLCON promises “super clear sound quality” in its promotional content.
- Intuitive interface. The clearly-labeled buttons make the FTAN40A easy to use.
- Voice-activated calling. VOX mode lets you talk without having to push buttons.
- Thin design. If you have limited vertical space on your desk, the FTAN40A could be a good solution.
- Comes with accessories. You get two USB cords and USB wall chargers in the box.
- Group talk. This mode lets you address multiple people simultaneously.
- Short range. You’ll begin to lose the signal if you’re more than 1500 feet away from the device you want to communicate with.
In a nutshell
The most unique thing about the Sanzuko FTAN50A has to do with the way that it recharges its batteries. Instead of a proprietary wall charger, you can use a standard USB slot. That means that if there’s a computer or a laptop nearby, you can power the FTAN40A without having to occupy any additional power outlets.
Buying guide for wireless intercoms
The standard for range among wireless intercoms seems to be about a half mile. Some devices can send and receive audio from up to a mile away. Though most people won’t need that type of range, wireless intercoms with longer ranges probably send clearer signals at short range and are better able to overcome interference.
Sound quality and volume
Most wireless intercom manufacturers don’t seem to advertise the specifications of their speakers. However, some information about the quality of the speakers can be gleaned by reading reviews online or by downloading manuals from the manufacturers’ websites. The more watts a speaker uses, the louder it will be.
VOX stands for Voice Activated Transmission. Some wireless intercoms let you switch on VOX for a 24-hour long period. This is handy in some situations because it means that your intercom system will activate as soon as you begin to speak.
Most wireless intercom systems are powered by standard wall adapters. Others come with power packs, which you can use to set up intercom stations outdoors or in areas where a power outlet is not available. If you don’t have any wall outlet space available, you may want to consider purchasing a wireless intercom system that takes its power from USB ports.
Number of channels
The more channels your wireless intercom devices support, the more flexibility you’ll have when it’s time to expand your system. This won’t be much of a concern at all if you only need a couple of intercom units for your home, but it could be something to think about if you plan on using your system in an office or business environment.
Group talk is a standard intercom feature that lets you communicate with multiple stations simultaneously. Typically, there’s a dedicated button that engages and disengages group mode.
Private channels allow two intercom units to communicate securely. Ordinary communications can be intercepted by anyone listening to the channel.
Bulk purchase discounts
If you plan on purchasing three or more intercom units, it may make financial sense to go with a manufacturer that offers bulk discounts. If a bulk discount is offered, you’ll be able to save some money by purchasing a three-pack, four-pack, five-pack or six-pack intercom kit.
Two-way radio compatibility
If you’re currently using two-way radios to communicate at home or at work, you may want to check to see if your prospective wireless intercom system supports your devices.
Most wireless intercom systems cost about $25. You should be slightly suspicious of manufacturers that sell them for less than that. Some good deals can be found, but you should investigate the brand and check to see if the manufacturer offers a warranty first before you buy any sub-$25 intercom station.
Typical wireless intercom stations that fall within the $25 price range come equipped with VOX mode, group talk and other standard features.
The main thing that separates high-end wireless intercom systems from mid-range and budget devices is the number of channels. The average number of channels is 10, but business-class intercom systems support 20 or more channels. More channels makes it easier to communicate once the system grows beyond a few stations.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What advantages do wireless intercoms have over wired intercoms?
A: The main benefit is flexibility. Wireless intercoms require less planning to install. Wireless intercoms that draw their power from USB ports are even easier to install, because you can power them with a computer or laptop.
Q: I intend to set up a large wireless intercom system in my home. Will it interfere with my Wifi router?
A: No. You won’t experience any slowdowns or outages after you set up your wireless intercom system, no matter how many stations you install. The reason for this is that wifi routers and wireless intercom systems use entirely different frequency bands. They can’t affect or interfere with your internet service at all.
Q: What kinds of building materials interfere with wireless intercom systems?
A: Wireless intercom systems sometimes struggle with concrete and metal. You’ll need a high-powered wireless intercom system with excellent range if you want to communicate effectively in buildings that are made from these materials.
- It may be a good idea to figure out where you intend to place your intercom stations before you make your purchase, so that you’ll know exactly what kind of range capacity you’ll need to shop for.
- If you have one or more cordless landline phones, check to see what frequencies it uses. If your prospective wireless intercom system uses the same frequency range, you may run into interference and connectivity issues when you use both at the same time.
- Fluorescent light switches and dimmers are another source of static.
- If you experience loud high-pitched sounds while using your wireless intercom system, feedback could be the problem. Put more space between your stations or disable VOX mode to avoid this.
There are many types of wireless intercom systems on the market. Most wireless intercom systems communicate by radio waves using one of the frequencies allotted by various government agencies. Some wireless intercom systems communicate using the 802.11 standard.
Intercom System Features to Look For
Remote Access: Access your intercom system from your smartphone or tablet. Video Calling: Integrate cameras into your intercom system to enable an important visual element for security and communication. Scalability: As a company grows, so too must the intercom system.
Most wireless systems can reach up to 300 metres when the signal is unobstructed. If you're interested in using a wireless intercom at the front gate of your business, you might want to look into a system that features an extended range.