In this day and age, choosing the best video doorbell camera to keep your home safe can be a challenge.
Previously, home security systems were relatively expensive to purchase and install by your front door. However, along with the rise of smart home gadgets came a greater range of affordable video doorbell cameras.
With enviable features like HD video, cloud storage, and Wi-Fi connectivity, a doorbell camera has become a key component of home security. Some smart doorbell camera models can even be integrated with your existing doorbell or be replaced with your old doorbell button.
The Benefits of Video Doorbell Cameras
If someone’s been stealing your deliveries, some security cameras can use live video and package detection to let you know as soon as it arrives. With some luck, you may even catch these porch pirates in the act with some video footage of them by your door.
In addition, you can keep an eye on any visitors and family members that drop by your door even if you’re traveling, at work, or out doing errands. By widening your field of vision, an effective video doorbell camera can improve your home security and give you some added peace of mind.
With the broad variety of brands and models currently available on the market, finding the best home security cameras can be a time-consuming process. To narrow down your options, popular models include the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Video Doorbell 3 Plus, Arlo Video Doorbell, Nest Hello, and the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro.
To get you started, here are some aspects to consider when choosing a video doorbell for your home.
How to Choose a Doorbell Camera
When you’re choosing between a selection of video doorbells for your home, it’s worth considering whether it can be integrated with your existing doorbell or whether it needs to be installed professionally.
If you already have a smart home, consider one that is compatible with voice-enabled technology like Alexa and Google Assistant.
Decide on a price range
Typically, most new video doorbells range from $99.99 to $349.99, and what you get depends on your budget. Some premium features like high video resolution and clear night vision can cost more, especially if you’re after HD video and cloud storage.
If you’re trying to cut down on cost, The best cheap doorbell camera is the Ring Video Doorbell at $99.99, which also boasts easy installation and use. It has two-way audio so it can be used as a nanny cam, but it has a limited battery life which can be an issue.
On the other hand, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a newer upgrade to this model, and improves on the Ring Video’s 720p video quality with 1080p HD quality. In contrast, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is able to connect on a faster Wi-Fi frequency than its predecessor, justifying its relatively more expensive $199.99 price tag.
Determine which type suits your home
If you’re a homeowner, your options for a doorbell camera are pretty much unlimited. The best video doorbell camera for you can be wired or Wi-Fi enabled, depending on your needs. You can also drill a hole beside your existing doorbell without any fear of repercussions, with the help of an electrician if needed.
However, if you’re renting an apartment, your selection of video doorbells may be more limited. You may have to stick with a wireless doorbell camera that won’t require any additional drilling. The best doorbell camera for apartments is the Ring Peephole Cam, which can upgrade your existing peephole.
While it’s powered by batteries, it lets you see a live video feed of your front door and communicate with visitors. The cloud subscription service by Ring can also let you view any saved footage.
Think about what features you need
When you’re thinking about the best doorbell camera system for your front door, it’s worth noting which features are truly essential and which ones may be an added bonus. For instance, video storage may not be necessary if you already have a different video camera installed.
Night vision also might not be vital if your door is always well-lit, but could be a priority if you live in a less savory neighborhood. Other options like Wi-Fi compatibility depend on the strength and speed of your internet connection. A rechargeable battery may also be inconvenient if you may have to keep charging it all the time.
Lastly, you should double-check whether your chosen video doorbell works with Alexa and other smart home assistants — especially if you use them often.
What to Look For in Doorbell Cameras
The best video doorbells have an incredible range of features, from several motion detection zones, and a wide field of view. For instance, motion detection can work hand in hand with night vision to detect unusual activity outside your door. Doorbell cameras with this feature can help you identify any potential guests at this hour or get rid of unwanted ones.
If it’s completely dark outside, your video doorbell can do the hard work for you through person detection by your door. Many home security cameras now have full-color night vision and HD video, which allows you to see everything just like you would during the day. However, some more affordable models may still be limited to black and white infrared night vision, without the benefit of color.
No smart home is truly complete without a home camera that comes with mobile alerts. If a person gives the doorbell a ring, you can get notifications on the go.
The Ring Video and Ring Video Doorbell 2 are some of the video doorbells that come equipped with this feature. You enable and answer alerts when someone triggers a motion sensor or rings the doorbell, saving video footage directly to your mobile device. As an added bonus, you can even join a three-way call when there’s an alert or an emergency.
The Google Nest Hello can also send email notifications or push alerts to your phone, and send a default quick response message on your behalf, or speak to the visitor via microphone.
The best video doorbell brands come with a convenient two-way audio motion that can aid you in answering the door. Along with a doorbell camera, it uses a speaker and microphone so that you and your visitor can communicate simultaneously in real-time.
The significant benefits of this include confirming package deliveries, scaring away unwanted visitors with a shout, and staying connected with your family and friends.
A key component of every smart home is a large cloud storage capacity to securely save all your data and security footage. If taking high-definition videos is one of the features of your video doorbell, note that 1080p HD may take up a lot of space compared to lower resolution videos.
The good news is that many video doorbells now come with subscription services. The Ring Protect service, for instance, enables you to review, share, and save all your video doorbell camera footage and even gain access to 24/7 professional monitoring.
Smart Device Compatibility
To make your life even more convenient, the best video doorbells are also compatible with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa. This includes the second generation of the Ring Video and Nest Hello. You can use phrases like “Alexa, talk to the front door” to see, hear, and speak to whoever is by your doorbell.
Alexa can even make an announcement when a motion detection alert has been triggered, letting you know that there may be a possible intruder or guest outside your door.
If you’re after crisp and clear video quality, investing in a video doorbell that has 1080p HD is your safest bet. Typically, these models also come with more accurate night vision which comes in handy for person detection and identification.
A doorbell camera can have a resolution between 480p to 1080p.
Best Video Doorbell Cameras
Although you might be tempted to spend as little as possible on a video doorbell for your home, it’s worth purchasing a doorbell camera system that has been designed by a reputable company. Brands like Nest, Google, Ring, Eufy, Arlo, and August are known for having top quality models in a range of price points.
Consider going with a model that comes with post-sale service, as you may run into any difficulties during installation or use. There’s nothing worse than investing your hard-earned money in a doorbell camera that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
One of the best wireless doorbell camera brands is Nest. They’re known for their range of thermostats but have recently made forays into doorbell cameras as well. The Nest Hello Video Doorbell is a 2018 model that has a 160-degree field of view and infrared night vision, working well with Google Assistant and Alexa.
Through AI, it can distinguish between people animals, objects, and cars. It can even identify specific visitors. However, it lacks local storage, which may be a dealbreaker for some. Fortunately, its minimalist design makes it a good option for those who want an unobtrusive security system.
Lastly, Nest’s motion zones feature can cut down on false alarms and highlight activity by specific doors or windows.
Some may also say that the best doorbell security camera is the most popular, and judging by the number of offerings by Ring, their doorbell cam range is one of the most well-reviewed. Ring video doorbells come in several shapes and sizes, ranging from the Ring Video Doorbell 2, Ring Video Doorbell 3, Video Doorbell 3 Plus, and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
There are different pros and cons associated with each model, with the 3 Plus being rated as the best one overall. It has different options for power features and the capacity to record four seconds before a motion event is triggered.
However, all models come equipped with a motion detection feature, two-way audio, night vision, and a real-time video feed from the Ring app.
The Eufy Video Doorbell has some great features, including 4GB of built-in storage — which not a lot of video doorbells tend to have. It also has voice responses along with voice commands such as”We’ll be right there” or “Please leave it at the door” with the option to record your own messages.
Topping the already crystal clear 1080p HD, it comes with a 2K HDR camera that has a wide-angle view removing camera distortion. It’s also a smart doorbell with facial recognition technology and can even send clips and images to your Apple Watch.
The Arlo Video Doorbell is the first doorbell camera that the company has to offer. Its range of features includes 1080p video, a wide 180-degree viewing angle, and up to 20 feet of night vision video.
It’s relatively easy to install if you have knowledge of electric wiring. This camera also works well with Alexa voice commands and other Arlo devices, making it worth its price tag at a modest $149.99. However, you have to pay extra fees for smart motion detection and the ability to set up custom motion activity zones.
If you already have other August smart home devices set up like the August Lock, the August Doorbell Cam seamlessly integrates with this in-app. It’s one of the best video doorbell options if you’re looking for real-time video monitoring for easy supervision.
On the other hand, it doesn’t come with 1080p HD. It has a 960p camera and also charges a monthly or yearly fee to pay for the saving of video clips.
On a positive note, it has a sleek circular design that’s subtle and modern.
The Pro SimpliSafe Video Doorbell includes some of our favorite features. With 1080p video, infrared night vision, and a 162-degree field of vision, it’s currently one of the best doorbell cameras out there at $169.
It should be mentioned that it needs to be hardwired to your existing doorbell, which may be bad news for renters. Cloud storage is also relatively costly for the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, which is something else to consider.
However, wired systems are less vulnerable to signal interference and theft compared to their wireless counterparts.
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a doorbell camera for your home, you’ll start to wonder how you’ve gone this far without looking into video doorbells. The important thing is to avoid complacency when it comes to keeping you and your loved ones safe and having one by your door will do just that.
Have any other recommendations to make? Comment below!
Dennis has been a professional security consultant space based out of Chapel Hill for over 15 years. His experience runs the gamut between government and private organizations (specifically in the finance and insurance sector) with a specialty in consulting for executive and high-value protection surrounding Kidnap and Ransom mitigation.