How to Install a Doorbell In 8 Steps

Someone's at the door—and they're suggesting you proceed with caution

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Reviewed by Tyler Keezer
Updated July 25, 2022
man ringing doorbell to deliver packages
Photo: rh2010 / Adobe Stock


Only looks like it took all day.

Time to complete

2 hours



Doing the labor yourself goes a long way.

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What you'll need:


  • Screwdriver
  • Electric drill and drill bits (optional)


  • Voltage tester
  • Wired doorbell kit
  • Gloves

Your doorbell is a small component of your home, but it can really help you show off your personality if you choose a great tune or design. If installing a doorbell sounds like a great weekend project, we should mention that it can be a bit of a risky business, and it isn't a job for everyone. Anytime electrical work factors into DIY projects, you’ll need quite a bit of know-how to do the job safely. 

That said, it's a unique and fun renovation project for those who have the right experience, especially if you buy a doorbell kit with all the components and don't wish to install your bell or chimes in a new location.

Learn how to install a doorbell and wire your new kit in this eight-step guide.

Prepping to Install a Doorbell

Unless you’ve worked with electrical doorbell wiring before, hiring a handyperson or a local electrician to assist you with your doorbell installation is strongly recommended.

A wired doorbell offers benefits, no doubt, but you'll be working with electrical wires. Safety is of utmost importance here. If you do decide to proceed, be sure you turn off your circuit breaker before you start. Have a voltage checker tool handy so you can ensure no electricity is running through it.

8 Steps to Install a Wired Doorbell

Wireless doorbell installation might be as simple as mounting a new box to an ideal spot located next to an outside door. Installing a wired doorbell, on the other hand, is a bit more tricky. Learn how to hook up a doorbell below.

  1. Select a Doorbell Kit

    Wired doorbells cost anywhere from $20 to $300. You can save yourself time (and likely money) by buying one kit containing all the components you need.

    A wired doorbell kit should come with:

    • Chime: the central box inside your home that rings

    • Lighted push button: how guests activate the chimes

    • Transformer: reduces voltage, required to transmit electricity to activate the chime

    • Case cover(s): for the push button and/or chimes

    If you’re looking for a specific look, you can shop online to customize a wired doorbell kit with multiple ring options and a beautiful facade.

  2. Shut off Your Circuit Breaker

    Low-voltage electricity sends a signal from your doorbell push button to the chime inside your home. The power to your circuit breaker absolutely must be turned off before you start installing a DIY doorbell.

    Again, hiring someone with experience is highly recommended for safety purposes.

  3. Locate Your Old Transformer

    Before you start unwiring, locate your transformer. If you don't know where yours is, transformers are often found by your security system or can be lying near your cable lines.

    Once you shut off your power, use a voltage checker to ensure no electricity is running through it.

    Unscrew the transformer box and take note of how it's set up. Some transformers come with multiple voltage options, and your new chime might run off 8, 10, 16, or even 24 volts. You'll need this information when you install the new device.

  4. Install the New Transformer

    Remove the old transformer by unscrewing any screws and carefully disconnecting cables. Your wires will generally be color-coded in black and white. Remove the plastic cap covering the wires (if there is one), then untwist and separate the ends of each wire. Make sure all wires that were attached don't retract into the hole in your crawl space or wall.

    Look at the packaging for your transformer. It'll likely walk you through how to install the new one. Generally speaking, it's the opposite of the process you just did: thread the wires together (matching color to color; usually black to black and white to white), then screw the box into place.

    As noted above, make sure you switch the voltage options (the two or three options directly on the transformer device) to reflect what the packaging says. 24 volts is common for many American doorbells, but it can vary.

  5. Remove Your Old Doorbell Push Button

    Unless you're building a new house from scratch, you'll have to remove the old doorbell before installing the new one.

    Use a screwdriver to remove your old doorbell. Most are held together with a single screw to your front door. (Alternatively, if installing in a new location, use a powered drill and drill bit to thread a new section where you want it by your front door.)

    Fortunately, unless your home is more than 50 years old, the doorbell wiring should already be in place for you to easily remove and replace your doorbell. Unwire your push button (again, black to black and white to white, carefully separating them after you untwist), then remove it.

  6. Reattach Wires to Your New Doorbell

    installation work being done on doorbell
    Photo: tamu / Adobe Stock

    Attach the wires to your new doorbell push button by twisting the metal ends together (black to black and white to white). Install the doorbell to the wall with a screwdriver.

    To check your work, it's worth turning the power back on and then using a voltage tester to make sure it is working. Before screwing your transformer in, be sure to turn the power back off.

    *If you do choose to do this, be absolutely certain you turn your power off again before proceeding!

  7. Remove Your Old Chime Box, Then Install the New One

    To make life easier, you can simply install the new chime box where the old one was. If you want to change it up, though, pick a central location in your home where you are most likely to hear the doorbell ring. Some people place doorbells inside of closets or cabinets to keep them out of sight. Just make sure you'll be able to hear it still.

    Whichever option you choose, remove the old chime box with a screwdriver or simply unclip it from the wall mount. Do this gently so as not to rip out or damage any wires. Unwire the old box and install the new one per instructions on the box. The job is essentially repeating the steps you took to unwire it in reverse order. Finally, screw or clip the new one into place.

  8. Turn the Power Back on and Test

    man installing doorbell
    Photo: Martin D Brown / Adobe Stock

    Time to test your work! Turn your power back on and use a voltage tester on your transformer if you haven't already. The number of volts on the package (roughly) should be running through the transformer. (A few volts over is normal and okay.)

    If it worked, you're all set. If there's no ringing and you need to troubleshoot, shut the power off and make sure all wires are tightly wound and matched by color.

    With some models, you can experiment with multiple chime options to choose which you like best. Now's a good time to do this.

Installing a New Doorbell: DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

As you can see, installing a wired doorbell does require quite a few additional steps that could be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. If you'd like to stick with a traditional wired system, we highly recommend hiring a handyperson or electrician to do the job for you. This factor will raise the cost of installing a doorbell, but it’s well worth it to keep you safe.

Alternatively, you might consider installing a wireless doorbell. Some products offer nifty features like home monitoring and security when you're away, and setup can be done in as little as 20 minutes.

Additional Questions

Which is better, a wired or wireless doorbell?

Wired doorbells offer more designs that might fit your design style. It's also the more traditional option that generates, generally speaking, richer, more pleasant noises than a tech-enabled doorbell.

Wireless systems are easier to install, although they may cost a little more. Of course, if your home's internet goes down or the frequency is spotty, your doorbell won't work. Many homeowners opt for a wired system for this reason.

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.