With the best doorbell cameras, you can make your home smarter, safer and more connected. No matter where you are, if anyone comes to your door, a smart doorbell camera will alert you. Some will even provide two-way communication, allowing you to make sure that package gets left by the doorstep, rather than being taken back to the depot. That alone seems worth the asking price if you ask us!
So connectivity is key to a successful smart doorbell, as well as decent video and useful features like night vision. The best ones will also be able to integrate with any smart home systems you're already using, whether that's Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or the nifty app of conditional statements, If This Then That (popularly known as IFTTT).
Some doorbell cameras require the wired connection that would power a regular doorbell, while others run on batteries. With smart notifications, they can alert you via your camera phone when someone presses the buzzer or just when someone triggers their motion detector, if they have it.
This gives you immense peace of mind when it comes to keeping your home safe. Accordingly, prices of smart doorbells can vary wildly, so it's worth thinking about which features you need and which you don't, to ensure you don't end up paying over the odds.
We've rounded up a selection of video doorbells for our guide, at a range of different price points, so there should be something here for everyone.
The best video doorbells
The 2020 flagship Ring model may look like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, but the new 3 Plus adds a number of significant tricks that will appeal to those who want to get the most out this smart home tech. The top improvement comes in the shape of a pre-roll function, that allows the camera to record footage for six seconds before the motion sensors are activated. Now, that really is magic! Other refinements allow you to set up the camera so it only records things in certain zones – which is great if you get lots of false alarms. Another useful addition is support for 5GHz wifi routers (as well as older 2.4GHz models), which could help connectivity in some homes.
The clean, effective design of the Remobell S is immediately arresting, and has likely caught your attention if you're a gadget lover. If so, you're in luck, for this is truly a doorbell camera for the tech-headed among us. It integrates easily with all major smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and is easy to set up and get connected.
The camera itself produces 180-degree video at a resolution of 1536 x 1536. The intense fisheye distortion may be off-putting for some, though it does give you a view of a pretty broad area. Two-way audio is handy to have, and can be relayed via your smartphone so you can talk to people on your doorstep no matter where you are. The night vision capabilities of the camera mean it's useful twenty-four hours of the day. The sophisticated motion detection system generates a minimum amount of false alarms, and having three days of free cloud storage is no bad thing.
The makers bill this as 'the ultimate smart doorbell'. That's perhaps up for debate, but there's no doubt that this is a top-notch doorbell camera for a huge variety of users.
While it may seem from the price like a budget smart doorbell, the Arlo Smart Video Doorbell packs in a surprising amount of tech. Not least among its features is its sophisticated motion detection, which can even tell the difference between humans and animals! Which will hopefully reduce the number of times you get an alert pinging in your pocket, only to find yourself staring through a camera at an inquisitive cat or fox.
With high-quality HDR video and a wide 180-degree viewing angle, the Arlo Smart Video Doorbell is great for peace of mind at all hours of the day and night. It does require wiring in, and you do need to subscribe to get the most out of its features, including cloud storage or smart notifications, so the box price isn't the entirety of what you're paying. If you don't mind this, you'll find the Arlo Smart Video Doorbell to be a handy home companion, easy to set up and simple to use.
Arguably the most popular player in the video doorbell market, Ring was purchased by Amazon for $1bn in 2018 and sells a range of different doorbells, as well as smart flood lighting to enhance your home’s security.
This model, the Video Doorbell 2, can either be powered from your existing doorbell wiring, or run off its included rechargeable battery. Battery life can vary quite drastically, depending on how often the device’s motion sensors are triggered, but the lack of hardwiring makes it an easy option for those with limited DIY skills, or who are renting their property.
Ring’s doorbells can work without a subscription, alerting your smartphone when the button is pressed and serving up live HD video and audio within a couple of seconds. However, if you want the doorbell to act as a security camera too, saving footage of motion it sees every day and night, you’ll need to pay for Ring Protect, which starts at $3 / £2.50 per month for 30 days of rolling video storage.
The Video Doorbell 2 is quite a large device, and rechargeable the battery every few weeks won’t be to everyone’s taste (if hardwiring isn’t an option), but for us the Ring offers good value for money and a broad feature set from a name we have learnt to trust.
Just like Ring, Nest is a smart home company - this time owned by Google - which has branched out into the nascent video doorbell market. What sets the Nest Hello apart is its HDR video capabilities and a tall 4:3 aspect ratio, which means you can get a better view of whoever is at the door, rather than the usual 16:9 shallow, wide angle view.
The Hello has night vision and motion detection, and facial detection. With that feature, the Hello starts to recognize regular visitors over time then, once you have assigned a name to a face, the Hello will let you know who is at the door, and when the visitor is a stranger.
Like all other video doorbells, the Nest Hello connect to your Wi-Fi network so you can answer the door via your smartphone from anywhere in the world. But, unlike others, the Nest app lets you pre-record messages, then play those (such as one to say you’ll be there in a moment, or are away on holiday) when someone presses the buzzer.
The Nest does not have its own battery, so must be hardwired to your existing doorbell power supply (or a newly fitted one) to function. With Nest Aware, which costs from $5 / £4 a month, video is recorded 24/7 and stored online for five days (more expensive subscriptions allow up to 30-day continuous recording).
The Ring Video Doorbell Elite is a luxury item with a price to match – it is around five times the cost of the basic Ring Video Doorbell.
But for the extra cost, buyers get a professional-grade device which is designed to sink into the wall, resulting in a flush finish. The faceplate can be changed to suit the style of your home, and power over Ethernet means no batteries and no worries over a dropped connection due to patchy Wi-Fi.
As such, this is a good option for readers with a large property, or who live in an older house where Wi-Fi struggles to pass through thick walls. Of course, installing the Ring Elite will require a professional (or advanced DIY skills) due to the need to run an Ethernet cable to your front door. Once installed, the Elite works like other Ring doorbells, with night vision, 1080p HD video, two-way audio, live on-demand video, and customisable motion sensitivity.
Very similar to the Video Doorbell and the Video Doorbell 2 - but this has a much slimmer profile, as there is not built-in battery. This means that this does need to be hard wired for power - but can use existing doorbell wiring if you have it. This model can also use the more recent 5 GHz wifi standard, as well as the more usula 2.4GHz standard. One other added bonus is that this model comes with four different fascia plates - giving you more options of matching the unit to the rest of your front door furniture.
This is the latest addition to the Ring doorbell family, and it has been designed particularly to suit those who rent their properties. The Door View Cam replaces the optical peephole that you find on many front doors - giving you the traditional optical fisheye view, as well as the usual digital features of a Ring doorbell. And the caller doesn't need to ring the bell either, as the device also reacts to the door being knocked.
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