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.
Most provide two-way communication, allowing you to make sure that the 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!
Given the range of options, 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. It’s also well worth considering whether the whole family will be happy with using your phone or smart home speakers as chimes, or whether you’ll need an accessory (if you already use smart security cameras, you might have a good idea of the answer here).
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 ten best doorbell cameras in 2023
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The look for the Ring Video Doorbell 3 lives on into the fourth generation, and the camera is well featured; significant tricks that will appeal to those who want to know the most about the front of their home is the full-color pre-roll function, that allows the camera to record footage for four seconds before the motion sensors are activated.
It’s not magic, a loop is being recorded continuously and is added to the recording when an event is triggered; on the previous version the loop was only black and white. 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.
This handsome video doorbell has an interesting history, it was – apparently – on hold for a while after Amazon acquired Blink, and the result is a device that doesn’t have some of the latest tech treats like 4K resolutions or object recognition, but does offer users of the Blink users a unified ecosystem and a familiar battery-based approach. It is especially generous to original Blink users – those whose accounts have been grandfathered in – they are granted an additional two hours of storage to their accounts.
It’s also compatible with the Sync module, so recordings can be made to a USB-Stick local to your wi-fi network with that accessory. What’s really interesting, though, is the option of disposable lithium batteries – potentially expensive over time (wired is an option too) but at least you can swap them without being unavailable while the batteries charge.
See our full Blink Video Doorbell review
With missing packages a serious concern, many video doorbells opt for a very wide field of view, but the fish-eye optics compromise on detail. Eufy, instead, added a second camera aimed directly at the doorstep to eliminate blind spots while retaining facial detail. The main camera is still 1440p 2K like Eufy’s other doorbells, providing enough resolution for local AI to identify faces (e.g. family members).
Eufy call the lower camera a ‘Delivery Guard,’ which will keep sending you notifications if a package is left by your door so you don’t lose it. False positives from the motion alerts are lower than many doorbells thanks to the PIR sensors.
There is also built-in, on-device AI Human Detection which negates the need for a paid-for subscription, and a wide dynamic range system which helps the camera make faces visible even when the sun is in a tricky position. The video is stored, AES128 encrypted, on an indoor Eufy HomeBase 2, so even the theft of the doorbell wouldn’t jeopardize data privacy.
See our full Eufy Video Doorbell Dual review
Google is bringing the same machine learning technology seen in their newest home Nest security cameras to the doorbell too, so this system features onboard AI which can distinguish between people, animals, packages, and vehicles and alert accordingly subscription or not.
The camera is positioned vertically at a 3:4 ratio, offering a good view of anything laid on the mat, right up to a close face, and of course, you’ll be encouraged to use the Nest Aware subscription service to record events, at which point the system becomes an effective security camera too.
The design is very striking; it’s not small at 160mm tall, though it’s still noticeably thinner than some Ring doorbells. It’s certainly a different look from their previous wired model, though this can also be connected to traditional power and chime for the convenience that never charging affords.
This device gives a good idea of the potential (and the quirks) of Apple’s HomeKit when it comes to doorbells. The seamless integration with iPhone, Apple Watch, and even Apple TV is excellent, and markedly quicker to respond than systems relying on third-party software. The very wide portrait view means that the camera doesn’t detect motion until it’s quite nearby (though this reduces false positives). On the other hand, it struggles to pull off the headline feature of AI facial recognition because of the fish-eye lens.
We definitely appreciated the low subscription cost afforded by the fact that support for one camera is included in the base tier of iCloud storage (5 cameras come in at the 200GB tier which is still only $2.99 / £2.49 a month) and the clip storage comes atop the data storage, not from it. HomeKit can also include automation to turn on smart lights when motion is detected – this works with Hue, for example.
One thing to check before installing; the system really does want 16-24V (as per US doorbells) while some Ring cameras, and the competing Logitech Circle View, cope with as little as 8V. With adequate power, though, the dual-band wi-fi makes this one of the most reliable video streams we’ve tested from a doorbell.
Read our full Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell review
The Essential Wire-free Video Doorbell packs in a surprising amount of tech. Not least among its features is its sophisticated motion detection, which can identify humans to avoid false positives (motion alerts caused by animals, for example). It can also use its huge 180-degree field of view through a square frame, which can see right to the doorstep, to detect and identify packages and it must be said the HDR video is excellent and, with night view, great for peace of mind at all hours of the day and night.
It doesn’t require wiring-in like the old model but can benefit from it. In fact, in our long test, we learned the battery life really didn’t live up to expectations – though swapping the battery is easier than some. Cloud storage and smart notifications do need the subscription though, 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. We do suggest budgeting for a spare battery if you’re not wiring in, but we also really appreciate the IFTTT and SmartThings support.
Read our full Arlo Essential Wire-free Video Doorbell review
Ring (aka Amazon) clearly has the data to understand that, in the long run, bringing the price down is good for everyone; a Ring Protect subscription ($2.99 / £2.50 per month) not to mention devices like Amazon Show still help you get the best of this device.
So you’re not being excessively deprived of features on pricier models like 2-way communication and phone alerts) once you’ve completed a wired install (standard wires and chime are fine, so it might be as easy as a swap).
The angle of view is slightly narrower than some, and 1080P isn’t the gold standard, but both are outweighed by Ring’s few years of software development which includes area-defined advanced motion detection and – thanks to that always-on power – pre-roll so, when you review suspect visitors, you see them walking to, rather than just from, the camera.
With a high resolution HDR camera, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 has a clear appeal simply by virtue of its better camera; the wider square-shaped view (similar to the Arlo) makes it much better for checking the door for packages.
Motion detection offers all the features of cheaper Ring devices, plus a distance perimeter – this is a great way to prevent a false ping every time a jogger goes by on the path near your front door. This can be set up with a satellite map, slightly over-sold as Bird’s Eye View.
You can also choose to let Alexa act as your door-person through built in greetings if you can’t get there yourself (though the AI won’t open the door just yet). Normal two-way conversations also benefit from an improved noise cancelation system and, like the previous Pro (which only managed horizontally framed video), the face-plates are interchangeable to fit your home style.
The SwannBuddy is versatile, but by trying to do too much, doesn’t quite master its principle task: being a smart doorbell. The momentary pause between push and chime feels a bit weird, but isn’t serious. The constant need for refreshing pages of the app (like using an older website) makes tweaking settings a painful chore, but these aren’t frequent tasks. The delay between button push and 2-way-talk initiation, never less than ten seconds, is a problem though – delivery drivers never wait as long as it takes for your phone to alert you and for you to successfully initiate a two-way chat. This isn’t a unique issue with the SwannBuddy, but the lag is a little worse than most and can’t be ignored.
That said, it’s great that, even without a subscription, you’ll be able to find out who visited (what many video doorbells end up being used for) and that recordings will be made even without a power supply or wi-fi. It’s a shame that the camera, even when connected to a 16V AC power supply, doesn’t offer 24/7 recording like the Nest Hello (but that costs $10/£10 a month, which mounts up).
Ultimately that is where the SwannBuddy is still a rational choice; it’s a security camera in the shape of a doorbell, it’s relatively cheap to buy and install, and can sit well with Swann’s range of home security cameras. The software could be much slicker, but the features impress.
Read our full Swann SwannBuddy video doorbell review
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.
Originally the “Nest Hello,” but now sold as the “Nest Doorbell (wired),” the camera has night vision, motion detection, and facial detection. It 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.
Oddly, unlike the newer Nest Doorbell (battery), you will only be alerted about motion and people, not parcels and sound, without a paid subscription – that, presumably, is the benefit of the battery version’s newer on-board AI.
The Nest must be hardwired to function. This means the continuous recording is an option via 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 recordings).
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 that 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) as few traditional doorbell installations will have a network cable to hand. Once installed, the Elite works like other Ring doorbells, with night vision, 1080p HD video, two-way audio, live on-demand video, and customizable motion sensitivity.
How to choose a doorbell camera
There is a lot of choice when it comes to doorbell cameras, but there are a few crucial decisions which we aren’t always obvious but we suggest you keep on your checklist:
- Size and positioning.
Just by looking at pictures it’s not always easy to judge the size, but a unit big enough to enclose a camera and electronics (and especially a battery) will often be surprisingly chunky compared to a traditional push button. As well as being an aesthetic issue, camera angles suddenly matter if you’re installing your first video doorbell. Some come with accessories to help you position the lens and button, which are especially helpful where people stand close to the door after pressing the button.
- Power requirements.
The big choice is between battery and connection to an existing low-voltage doorbell chime, but it’s worth taking a look at the specific voltage range which varies from device to device. DIY fans can install a mains-powered chime without having to touch the fuse board by buying a chime and a doorbell transformer which plugs into the wall.
While you’d be hard pressed to find a digital doorbell that wasn’t designed to live outdoors, some are better able to survive in extreme heat or cold than others. Ring’s battery-powered doorbells, for example, run from the battery even if it is topped up by a mains connection, but at freezing (0˚C /32˚F) and below it’s possible the battery will stop accepting a charge.
- Smart home network.
Smart home tech allows one device to link with another, for example a doorbell’s motion sensor can trigger a porch light. This is called a ‘Routine’ in Alexa and Google Home. Apple HomeKit works in a similar way. There is also the independent approach of IFTTT which is more about the triggering.
- Multi-camera subscriptions.
There might be a financial advantage to installing security cameras and a doorbell from the same brand as many offer reduced per-camera costs for their cloud services and treat the doorbell camera as just one more camera.
The best doorbell camera will 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 (IFTTT). This isn’t an entirely open world so you should choose your platform before finding the doorbell you like; Ring is Amazon-owned so prefers Alexa, while Nest is Google owned. Apple’s HomeKit is now supported by a few brands too (they don’t own their own).
Some doorbell cameras require a 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.
If possible, we strongly recommend going for a permanent install using wiring and mains power, which is simply easier to manage, but for many, it isn’t an option. If you opt for a battery, we recommend budgeting for a spare battery so you can swap it quickly when needed rather than having no ringer for a few hours (or more, if you forget).