On the surface, a doorbell is a seemingly simple device. But in reality, doorbells are an integral part of any front entryway. Doorbells do so much, from alerting residents about the arrival of guests to letting the household know that a package has been delivered. Doorbells also have the ability to safeguard a residence and protect any loved ones who may be inside. While there are many doorbell types to choose from (e.g., those equipped with wireless connection, smart features, motion detection, or a camera), the following is a short list of top picks.
- BEST OVERALL WIRELESS: AVANTEK Wireless Doorbell D-3B Waterproof Chime Kit
- BEST OVERALL SMART: Arlo AVD1001B Essential Video Doorbell Wired
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SadoTech Waterproof Black Wireless Doorbell & Chime
- BEST MIDRANGE: Ring Video Doorbell Wired with Ring Chime
- BEST SUBSCRIPTION-FREE: eufy Security, Video Doorbell (Battery-Powered) Kit
- BEST MOTION DETECTION: Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Ring Chime Pro
- BEST FOR APARTMENTS: Ring Peephole Cam with Ring Chime (1st Gen)
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Doorbell
Shopping for the best doorbell requires a bit of research. While browsing it’s important to keep a few features in mind, including whether the device is wired or wireless, has smart-home integration, an easy installation process, offers paid options, and more. To help you make an informed decision, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Wired vs. Wireless
Doorbells are available as either wired or wireless. Choosing the best option for your residence depends on its infrastructure. Wireless doorbells are usually battery powered and have an easier installation process than wired doorbells. Wireless models do not need to be connected to any internal electrical circuit. This means a wireless doorbell can be ready to go within a few minutes after installation. Wireless doorbells can also be placed just about anywhere. Keep in mind: You may need to recharge or replace the batteries frequently.
In comparison, traditional wired doorbells connect to the home’s electrical power and play a sound through a speaker system installed inside. The installation process for a wired doorbell is extensive and may require an expert’s help. There’s also a possibility that your new wired doorbell will be incompatible with your current circuit system. In this case, the circuit system may also need to be updated to accommodate the new doorbell.
In recent years, doorbells have been upgraded with smart technology. Smart doorbells often feature camera or audio capabilities that can be controlled by a smartphone and other nifty high-tech security features.
- Motion detection doorbells are programmed to turn on and begin recording or snapping photos whenever the device detects motion. Some motion detection doorbells are smart enough to differentiate between human and animal movement. Many are also equipped to send push notifications or alerts to the user’s phone whenever motion is detected.
- Night vision doorbells have a special camera that can capture images or video in a crisp resolution, even in low-light conditions.
- Video recording doorbells are designed to record video; however, how long and when it begins to record varies. Some may record continuously, while others may record a short clip after the doorbell has been pressed. Most video doorbells will record once it detects motion or when the button is pushed.
- Facial recognition is not a very common feature in smart doorbells, but some devices have the technological ability to recognize particular faces and alert residents of a specific person’s arrival.
- Audio capabilities in a doorbell allow two-way communication. This way, the person outside can speak to the person inside and vice versa. Doorbells with these audio capabilities must be equipped with a speaker and microphone.
Many smart doorbells come with smart-home integration. This way, owners can receive alerts to their smartphones, TVs, tablets, and more. Smart doorbells make it easy and convenient to see and interact with the person outside. Homes with smart locks make it possible to unlock or lock the door when the owner isn’t home.
Resolution and Field of Vision
The video resolution and field of vision of a doorbell are also essential factors to consider. The camera resolution determines the video and picture quality.
The best resolution results from 2K or 4K cameras, a high definition rating that makes it easy to see who is visiting even when far away or in low light conditions. Most doorbell cameras will have a resolution of either 1080p or 720p. A camera with 1080p resolution is an ideal middle ground that works well in most light conditions and provides enough clarity to see who is at the door. A resolution of 720p is still decent, but the resulting image will be grainier and less sharp.
Doorbells that have a camera or video recording capabilities need a place to store data. This is where paid storage options come in. While some may have local storage on an SD card, others may require cloud storage access.
Cloud storage often comes with a monthly or yearly subscription plan, but it’s usually worth the money as cloud storage can be accessed from any device, anywhere. Storage subscription plans can vary in cost but typically are only a few dollars each month.
Smart-device companies that utilize cloud-based storage include Ring, Remo, and Arlo. There are a variety of subscription services that also offer additional safety features. Professional home monitoring services designed to alert the local police, fire department, or medical personnel of an emergency can also be purchased.
Other additional features to keep in mind when shopping for the best doorbell include:
- Chimes vary between doorbells and determine the kind of sound that’s played when the button is pressed. Smart doorbells may have an option to customize the jingle, but most traditional doorbells have one chime option.
- Water resistance is critical for outdoor use. A waterproof doorbell is usually made with waterproof and durable materials that protect the doorbell from extreme weather conditions.
- Design and style are important considerations for some. While most doorbells are designed to be discreet and small, others are larger and more prominent.
No matter which doorbell you choose, some installation will be required. Wireless doorbells are the easiest to install and can be mounted to the wall or doorframe with screws or adhesive tape. Some purchases may not include everything needed to install the device, so be sure to check the packaging before making your final decision.
Wired doorbells will need a bit more work to be installed properly. It’s important to check what your current doorbell wiring entails. If your existing setup is outdated or doesn’t match your new doorbell specifications, you may want to call an electrician. After the wiring and mounting are taken care of, you may need to connect the device to your home’s Wi-Fi or smart system before using it.
Our Top Picks
These top picks for the best doorbells satisfy a wide variety of household needs and preferences. From wireless to smart, and including a budget-friendly option, too, this list of quality doorbells for your front entryway has something for everyone.
AVANTEK’s wireless doorbell prioritizes low-power consumption and durability. Powered by a lithium battery, this doorbell can last up to 3 years before it needs a battery change. The exterior is constructed to withstand dust, water, and harsh weather conditions between -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Users can easily customize the doorbell’s sound by choosing one of 52 chime options. The doorbell’s jingle can be played at five different levels, with a maximum volume of 115 decibels. The transmitters measure 3.5 by 3.5 inches, and the doorbell measures 3.5 inches by 1.6 inches. The installation process is simple without the need for hardwiring. The doorbell comes with two screws and two anchors and an adhesive patch for a second installation option.
The video doorbell by Arlo is a smart pick that helps protect your home. The built-in camera features a 180-degree view for increased field of vision as well as a resolution of 1536 HD for sharp images. The camera also has night vision for clear video, even in the dark. This doorbell has a motion sensor that, when triggered, automatically begins recording and sends alerts to the owner’s phone.
The doorbell body measures 1.8 by 1 by 1.5 inches and has two-way audio capabilities, so users can listen in and respond in real-time or with prerecorded messages. Other noteworthy features include the weatherproof shell, siren alarm system, Alexa-compatible operating system, and option to extend the Arlo Smart subscription after the complimentary 3 months expires. This wired doorbell can be installed into existing electrical wiring so long as it has a voltage between 16V AC and 24V AC and a 10V transformer.
This waterproof and wireless doorbell by SadoTech is a cost-effective option that doesn’t skimp on features. Take your pick from 52 different chimes and four volume settings to find the perfect sound. The doorbell is battery powered and can be mounted using screws and anchors or adhesive tape for easy installation.
The wireless range can reach up to 1,000 feet but can be extended with the purchase of additional receivers. This doorbell can survive in temperatures that range between -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It also comes in a variety of colors. This doorbell measures 3.25 by 1.5 by 3.5 inches.
This doorbell bundle by Ring comes with a wired video doorbell and a Ring Chime. The high-quality video features a high-definition 1080p resolution, night vision for quality recordings in low light conditions, and a motion detector that activates recording before the doorbell is pressed. The Ring doorbell is Alexa compatible and sends real-time alerts and notifications to users via the Ring App.
Installation is a simplified three-step process that entails disconnecting your old doorbell, connecting the Ring, and setting it up on your phone. With Ring, it’s possible to use existing doorbell wiring. A tool kit with the needed hardware is included with your purchase. This compact doorbell measures 3.98 by 1.81 by 0.88 inches. An add-on subscription is available for additional purchase that provides increased cloud storage for viewing of videos and images up to 60 days.
The eufy video doorbell features a high-end Sony 2K sensor and professional-grade lens for picture-perfect resolution. The field of view is a 4:3 aspect for a full view outside the front door. This doorbell has dual power options, and users can choose between a wireless installation via the built-in battery, or a wired connection to an existing 8 to 24-volt circuit.
All data is stored on the device’s 168 GB drive, meaning there is no need to pay for cloud storage. This doorbell can withstand severe weather and temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit and high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit. If you own an Echo Dot, it can be hooked up to the eufy doorbell to function as the chime. This doorbell comes with a home base, a charging cable, and installation hardware for a wired connection. The doorbell measures 5.51 by 2.13 by 1.1 inches.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Ring Chime Pro set is a smart doorbell choice. The highly sensitive motion detector uses advanced technology to detect all visitors at your door, and then immediately sends an alert to your phone. You can also check in on things via the Live View video feed in the Ring application. This doorbell requires a wired installation and can be hooked up to most existing doorbell systems. However, it’s worth noting that the doorbell and chime need a dual-band 2.4 or 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi connection for reliable use.
Not only does the doorbell have a video camera, but it also has a two-way audio system intercom that makes it possible to interact with guests at the door. A cloud storage fee applies for storage space. The doorbell measures 4.50 by 1.85 by .80 inches and is suited for weather conditions between -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
For those living in an apartment, the Ring Peephole Cam with Ring Chime is an easy-to-use way to secure your home. The Ring sends real-time alerts and video recordings to the user’s phone or device as soon as motion is detected or the doorbell is pushed. There is also two-way communication, a rechargeable, and removable battery pack, knock detection, and subscription plans available with this device.
The doorbell measures 1.81 by 1.81 by 2.95 inches and fits into most standard peepholes. The installation process has been made simple without the need for drilling or wiring, and all necessary tools have been provided. Users who have an Alexa (or another Amazon device), can receive alerts from the doorbell directly to their device. While a cloud storage subscription is required to save videos, a subscription is not required to receive real-time alerts.
FAQs About Doorbells
The above guide should arm you with most of the knowledge you need to make a purchasing decision, but if you’re still deciding on the best doorbell for your home, read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about doorbells.
Q. Do you need Wi-Fi for a wireless doorbell?
While some may require Wi-Fi for connectivity and use, not all doorbells require Wi-Fi to function. Some doorbells may instead use a radio transmission signal that’s unique to the doorbell.
Q. Do video doorbells work with other smart-home devices?
Some video doorbells are made to connect to other smart-home devices such as tablets, smartwatches, smartphones, computers, and TVs. Be sure to read the manufacturer specs for clarification.
Q. Do video doorbells record all the time?
Most video doorbells do not record all the time, although there are a few options that do. Instead, most video doorbells start recording when motion is detected or after the doorbell is pushed.
Q. What camera quality should I expect from a video doorbell?
The best camera resolution for a doorbell will be rated as 1080p or higher.
Q. Can smart doorbells be hacked?
Yes, smart doorbells have the risk of being hacked, although it’s rare. Most smart doorbell companies offer tips for safe use.
Q. How do I connect my smart video doorbell?
The setup depends on the doorbell type. Wireless doorbells require batteries and need to be mounted. Wired doorbells need to be hardwired into the home’s electrical system. After installation, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect the doorbell to the home Wi-Fi network, a smartphone app, or another smart-home system.