You might think that, with the fuss about video doorbells, old-fashioned, push-button, chime-sounding doorbells were going the way of the dodo. However, not everyone wants a camera on their front door, or the hassle or expense of setting one up, while today’s wireless doorbells are cheap as chips, easy to fit and kids’ play to get it up and running. What’s more, they’ve got a bit more personality, with more chimes, tunes and flashing light alerts, plus adjustable volume levels and a range of different styles.
If your doorbell needs an upgrade, we’re here to help. We've put together all the info you need to know to choose the right wireless doorbell, and listed our picks of the best options available right now.
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There's a wide selection of wireless doorbells available, ranging from fairly traditional push-button efforts to minimalist doorbells that barely look like doorbells at all. You can get a decent one for around a tenner or splash out £40 or more. Beyond the aesthetics, though, your first choice is whether to go for one that uses a plug-in chime unit or one where both the doorbell and the chime run on batteries.See related Best home safe 2021: Keep your valuables safe and secureRing Video Doorbell 2 review: The best video doorbell you can buy
Plug-in chimes are now sleeker, better-looking and able to work over longer ranges – and they have the added bonus that you don’t need to change the batteries every year or so. That’s the big downside of the battery model, but the upsides are that you can carry around a battery chime or place it just about anywhere in range and that you’re not using up a precious power socket in a house where you’re struggling for mains outlets.
On the subject of range, some wireless doorbells now promise to reach 100m to 400m. The larger your property, the greater range you'll require, but 400m is ample to cater for a sizeable place so you're unlikely to need anything more than that.
Now onto the fun stuff: the chimes. While a few just have the classic “ding-dong” sound or a handful of chirpy tunes, even cheap models are now packing in 36 or more chimes, ranging from poppy jingles to horrific chip-tune assaults on the classics. Some even offer MP3 chimes, which allow you to record your very own ditty, select your favourite pop song or play the opening bars of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells”.
The volume of the chime is another important consideration. Some can be a little on the quiet side, while others can dish out a chime at ear-splitting volumes almost guaranteed to rouse even the sleepiest of homeowners. Look for models that offer extra volume or adjustable volume if you want a loud wireless doorbell or one less likely to induce a panic attack in nervous pets.
Flashing lights are a popular addition, allowing you to mute your doorbell to avoid waking the kids or alert those with weaker hearing that someone is outside. Some models even offer a dedicated mute function or options to silence the doorbell for a set period of time.
Some doorbells offer a choice of wireless “channels” or frequencies. Some kind of link feature can also be useful, as certain wireless doorbells are susceptible to interference from electronics or car key fobs. It’s also worth looking for a push button that’s IP44-rated, as this means it should be protected against the hostile weather many UK front doors endure on a daily basis.
Battery life is important for battery-powered models because – trust us – you’ll keep putting off replacing the batteries for longer than you should.
Ready to pick your ideal wireless doorbell? Just read on.
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Price: From £15 | Buy now from Amazon
Byron has been in the doorbell business for nearly 120 years, yet it’s giving the less established brands some competition at the budget end of the market. The bell push of the DBY-22321 feels nothing special, but it’s IP44 weatherproof rated and easy to fit. Meanwhile, the chime unit has a better design and feels more solidly built than most budget efforts, with a neat fabric grille over the speaker and three LEDs that flash when the bell rings.
While there are only 16 chimes, most are actually usable, even if the super-bright speaker makes them wear on the ears. Still, you can adjust the volume through five levels from running silent to 85dB, and pair additional pushes or chimes with relative ease. Our only concern is that the wireless range isn’t the best we’ve encountered, with the unit struggling to get a signal in our outside office, where the Honeywell chimes still work. At normal range, though, it’s perfectly fine, and you can have it with a battery-powered or mains-powered chime, or even one of each in a double-pack.
Key specs – Power: Mains/2 x AA battery; Quoted range: 150m; Chimes: 16; Flash alert: Yes; Mute function: Yes; Warranty: 12 months
Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon
This wireless doorbell is the pinnacle of simplicity. All you need to do is plug in the receiver to a power source and attach the transmitters using either the screws or adhesive patch provided. Two transmitters are included so you can position them at different points inside your house to ensure you never miss a visitor, regardless of where you are in your abode.
It’s got an impressive range of up to 400m, 52 different chimes to choose from and five different volume levels, with the loudest measuring in at 115dB. The doorbell is IP55-rated, making it both dust and waterproof and Avantek says it will continue to operate in temperatures as low as -20°C. The Avantek Wireless Doorbell doesn’t do anything fancy or complicated but for the money, you'll be getting a doorbell that's perfectly serviceable and straightforward to install.
Key specs – Power: Mains; Quoted range: 400m; Chimes: 52; Flash alert: Yes; Mute function: No; Warranty: 24 months
Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon
If you absolutely hate changing batteries, the Novete Wireless Doorbell Kit is the doorbell for you. Its lithium battery will last for up to three years, removing any need to remember to replace those pesky disposable AA or C batteries.
The doorbell also boasts a huge wireless range of up to 1,300ft (roughly 400m), is IP55-rated for waterproofing and will operate between -20°C and 60°C. There are 52 different chimes and five sound levels to choose from and once you’ve made your choice, they will be remembered and restored whenever you turn the doorbell off and on again, even in the event of a power outage.
Key specs – Power: AC and in-built battery; Quoted range: 400m; Chimes: 52; Flash alert: Yes; Mute function: Yes; Warranty: Lifetime
Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon
The DC311N doesn't have all the smart features of the higher-end DC917, but if you're looking for a reliable push-button bell with battery chime, you won't get much better. With a 150m range, you can carry the chime unit around the house or even outside. The connection seems to be exceptionally good. It's loud, so should still be audible if your hearing isn't so good, and while you only have the option of four different chimes they're all quite listenable.
A set of four AA batteries should last around four years. The only downside is that there's no flash on this one for hearing-impaired users or anyone wearing headphones (you'll need to pay extra for the DC315N for visual alerts), but this is a brilliant bell from a quality brand.
Key specs – Power: 4 x AA batteries; Quoted range: 150m; Chimes: 4; Flash alert: No; Mute function: No; Warranty: 24 months
Price: £43 | Buy now from Amazon
The Honeywell is expensive, but you’re paying for more than just a good design and a well-known brand. For a start, the Halo light flashes on and off in one of seven selectable colours, and you can pair multiple buttons with a single unit and have each one activate a specific colour and melody. What’s more, if you’re not inspired by any of the eight existing ditties, you can use the provided software to install MP3 tracks as chimes, giving you up to 15 seconds of your favourite track.
The maximum volume levels are powerful at around 90dB and you shouldn’t have any problems with the 200m range. We also like this one’s adjustability, letting you change the brightness or volume, and set the doorbell to a Sleep or Mute mode. Users say you have to be careful about which C batteries you use, but it’s a cracking wireless doorbell with all the bells and whistles.
Key specs – Power: 4 x C batteries; Quoted range: 200m; Chimes: 8 plus MP3; Flash alert: Yes; Mute function: Yes; Warranty: 24 months
Price: £90 | Buy now from Screwfix
It’s not always easy to get to the door in time, especially if you’re elderly or in the garden (or you have one of those couriers who barely rings the bell before they’re running your parcel back to the van). The YouSafe CallerAlert takes some of the stress out of such situations. It’s a combination of a special bell push, a user remote and a wireless chime. When the doorbell is pushed, the bell push itself lights up with a red “Please wait” message and an alert is sent to the user remote.
This has a range of 128m and can be worn on a wrist strap or lanyard, and when you press the button it lights a green “I’m on my way” message to let your caller know you’re, well, on your way. The chime has a selection of melodies and the only thing to think about is the remote, which needs charging approximately every four days using the provided cable. If you’re not as fast on your feet as you used to be, this could be the doorbell for you.
Key specs – Power: Mains + batteries; Quoted range: 128m; Chimes: 8; Flash alert: Yes; Mute function: No; Warranty: 24 months
Buy now from Screwfix