How to Set Up an Inexpensive Home Intercom System

Home Intercom System Featured Image

Have you ever wished you could simply press a button and call everyone in the house for dinner? What if you could wake up all your teenagers so they don’t miss the bus without pounding on every door? You can purchase actual intercom systems for hundreds of dollars, or you can set up an inexpensive home intercom system using only the equipment you have in your home. Here’s how.

Use Your Smartphones

If you want to create an intercom system at home but don’t want to purchase any additional hardware, using your smartphones may be right for you. More than likely, everyone in your house already has their own phone.

To use your phones as an intercom, you will need to download a walkie-talkie app. These apps allow you to send voice messages to other phones with one click of an on-screen button.

Home Intercom System Walkie Talkie

Don’t expect these apps to work as an actual walkie-talkie does. Real walkie-talkies use radio waves to transmit their messages, while these apps use your data connection. They can’t send messages to actual walkie talkie devices, only to other phones.

Some of the most popular apps that you can get for either Android or iOS are Zello, Voxer, and VoicePing.

Once you download the app to the phones, create a group. Then add the contact information for all the owners of the phones. Start a voice conversation with the group by tapping the microphone and talking. Everyone who has the app will receive a notification that they have a new message.

This method of creating an intercom system does allow the recipients to send you a private message back, unlike many of the other systems discussed below.

Use Bluetooth

Another way to reach everyone in your house with a message is to set up multiple Bluetooth speakers around the house and use a Bluetooth loudspeaker app to broadcast your voice from your phone.

Home Intercom System Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth speakers are so common today that the prices are dropping. You can purchase good quality speakers for as little as $25, and there are opportunities all the time to get them for even less than that.

A downside to this method of creating an intercom system is that it only works one way. So you can announce dinner is ready, but you can’t get a message back.

To send your voice to a Bluetooth device, you need to install one of these apps on your phone.

To broadcast a message, open the app and connect your phone to the speaker you want to use. Then press the button on the app and speak into your phone. Your voice will be broadcast live over the speaker.

Use your Smart Speakers

If you already have a Google Home or Alexa speaker, you can create announcements that will broadcast out to all the other smart speakers in your home. You don’t need any extra equipment or apps to do this. You use commands to give the speaker instructions.

Home Intercom System Smart Speaker

For Google Home devices, you use the Google Assistant to activate the broadcast. Just say, “OK, Google. Broadcast, it’s time for supper.” Everything you say after the word “broadcast” will repeat through all the speakers.

Alexa has two different commands you can use to broadcast over the system. Both the words “announce that” and “broadcast” will send out your message containing all the words after the command.

Using smart speakers is also a one-way communication. You cannot receive replies. However, users can give Google or Alexa a command to announce, but the response sends to all the speakers, not just the one you used.

There is no one best option for creating an intercom system for your home. It depends on what devices you already own or what you are willing to buy. It’s also important to know if you want to receive private replies or not. Whichever way you choose to create this system, the convenience of getting a message out to everyone in the house without tracking everyone down first may be well worth the effort.

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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