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Door Bell Buying Guide

Buyer's Guide: Door Bell

The premise of a door bell is fairly simple. A button communicates with a chime to alert you when visitors are at the door. Doorbells are a entry way standard, but are not commonly purchased. So, exactly what do you need to know about buying a doorbell if the one at your home has broken? Or is not loud enough to hear in the upstairs, basement or back of your house?

Wired or Wireless?

Door bells are available in either wired or wireless options. They each have pros and cons and should be selected based on the user’s personal preferences. The first step in buying a new door bell is to determine if you want a wired or wireless door bell.

Wired door bells connect the button and the chime with wires. They are typically less expensive than wireless models, but can be more difficult to install. Wired door bells are currently available in more colors and styles than their wireless counterparts and tend to have better sound quality.

Wireless door bells are growing in popularity and are available in either battery or electricity powered. When considering a wireless door bell, it is important to check the range and make sure it will work in your home. Factors such as multiple walls can further obstruct a wireless door bell and decrease its range. Wireless door bells are fairly portable and take only minutes to install. Some even feature multiple chime options and allow homeowners to use a music file as their chime.

Craftmade Designer Surface Lighted Push Door Bell Button

Do I Need A Transformer

You will only need a transformer if you are using a wired door bell. If you have a wired door bell already installed in your home, you probably already have a transformer. Check the product information section of the model you are looking at to see if that particular model requires a transformer.

Can You Hear Me Now?

If you have a large or two-story home, you may need a more powerful doorbell so you can hear it no matter how far away you are. Ordinary door bells are adequate for most average-sized homes, but a large home may require a door bell with higher volume or lingering resonance.

If you have a large home, you may also opt to use two chimes with the same button. To do so, you will likely need to purchase a more powerful transformer for the bell. Installation with two chimes is slightly more tricky than with just one. You will need to install the first chime as normal, then wire the second to the first in “front to front”, “rear to rear”, and “trans to trans”.

Design Details

Door bells are available in many different colors, styles and materials. Even though the door bell button is a small addition to your front porch, it should reflect your home style, as everyone who comes to the door will notice it. Most door bell buttons are simply screwed in and can easily be changed to update your style.

Door bell chimes are also available in a variety of finishes. These can be coordinated to match your interior or your door bell button. If you purchase an individual door bell chime, be sure to check if it requires a transformer. Some chimes will have the transformer included while others will require you to purchase it separately.

You can also purchase door bell sets, which include the buttons and chime, so you will be sure they match.

Extra Features

Many newer door bells, particularly wireless models, have available features that you can add on. These include being able to record audio to be used as a chime, plug in support for MP3 players and computers, lighting controls and a variety of chime options.

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