From Engineering on April 17, 2009 in Electrical
Invented in 1831, the doorbell has become a mainstay in the modern home, even rendering the age-old door knocker largely obsolete. Yet despite widespread implementation, the doorbell remains an ironically unsung hero to home alert mechanisms. In fact, most people go years, even decades, without giving their doorbell a second thought. Photo Credit: Neosnaps While that fact is on one hand a testament to the simplicity and longevity of the wired doorbell, it is also evidence that many homeowners are missing out on the doorbell designs of the 21st Century. I have disconnected, connected, wired, and rewired a few doorbells over the years and can attest to their archaic nature and overall size—many dwarfing the modern stereo speakers in the next room. Even if the doorbell is far from a lot of minds, it is a top priority for doorbell designers and manufacturers who are working to reinvent the doorbell for the modern home. Gone is the need for wires—wireless doorbells use radio waves to send signals to a receiver—and you can even purchase plug-in models these days. Regardless of wires or sockets, every doorbell is a system consisting of two pieces: the chime, which mounts somewhere on the interior of the home, and the actual doorbell, which mounts on the exterior at roughly doorknob height. With those two components as a base, today’s manufacturers have gone far in re-envisioning the doorbell for the new millennium. Following are 12 examples of how that is being done:
- Yes, stainless steel has entered the realm of the doorbell—literally the finishing touch to contemporary home design.
- Combine modernism with schoolhouse memories, thanks to this round (chrome or bronze) chime.
- iChime. This replacement for wired door chimes is programmable, able to store up to six custom recordings…a sure fit for the oft-visited household.
- This wireless plug-in doorbell has a built in strobe light designed with the hearing impaired in mind and installs with incredible ease—just mount the bell and plug in the chime.
- Portability is now a doorbell feature. This GE model (among others) allows you to move the chime around the house as you wish (up to 150’ away). So if you’re expecting guests, hearing them arrive will be no problem—although batteries will need to be replaced from time to time.
- Do you ever have problems finding a doorbell? This colorful modern doorbell will certainly be hard to miss.
- Long range is no problem for today’s wireless doorbells. These models have a range of 300 feet; one includes LED lighting and a 2-year battery life.
- While not technically a doorbell, the mail chime cannot be ignored. That’s right, now you can be alerted when the mail arrives, too.
- Feeling crafty? Check out these arts and crafts inspired doorbells from the Doorbell Factory—a testament to the wide variety of available designs.
- If quirkiness and individuality are your motives, check out these painted doorbells—there’s everything from pink flamingos to American flags to Kokopelli.
- Wood door chimes are also available in a variety of styles—especially useful for masking the door chime against wood cladded or wood-paneled walls.
- Despite its medieval appearance, this wrought iron doorbell is wonderfully unique, and activated by a pull chain—great for the country home.
Photo Credit: sciondriver
A short exploration beyond the above links will show you the amazing variety in doorbells available. You’ll also notice a wide range in prices as well, from $20 to well over $100. Whatever your style, motivation, or budget, there is little doubt that the right doorbell is out there and just waiting to ring in the guests.