The days of squinting through a peephole, peaking through the curtains to see who’s at the door, or calling out “who is it?” are coming to an end. Smart doorbells are becoming more affordable, making upgrading to one of these home security products an attractive option.
Smart doorbells feature high-definition cameras connected to home WiFi networks, allowing you to see who is at the door via a smart device. Two-way speakers let you communicate with any visitors from inside, eliminating the need to open the door. These high-tech doorbells also boast wide fields of vision that serve as a security feature, monitoring who comes onto your property. Programmable motion detectors keep tabs on activity around the front door whether someone rings or not.
This guide will explore the crucial features to consider when shopping for the best smart doorbell and review some of the top models on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
- RUNNER UP: Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wired
- BEST FOR APARTMENTS: Ring Peephole Cam
- BEST FIELD OF VISION: Remo+ RemoBell S WiFi Video Doorbell Camera
- BEST RESOLUTION: XTU WiFi Video Doorbell Camera
- BEST WIRED: Ring Video Doorbell Wired
- ALSO CONSIDER: eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Smart Doorbell
There’s much more to consider in a smart doorbell than merely the sound of the chime. Smart doorbells are available in wired and wireless models with cameras of varying definition, programmable motion detection options, and various push notifications. Ahead, learn about these and other essential elements to consider when shopping for the best smart doorbell.
Wired vs. Wireless
Smart doorbells consist of wired and wireless versions. Often, the best choice is the one that fits with the home’s existing setup. If the house currently has a wired doorbell, then it makes sense to go with a wired smart doorbell. Wired doorbells receive a constant power supply and don’t require periodic battery replacement.
That’s not to say that all homes with wired doorbells can adapt to a wired smart doorbell, however. Most wired smart doorbells need at least 16 volts of electricity to operate. Older homes that send fewer volts to the doorbell won’t power a smart doorbell without upgrading the circuit.
A wireless smart doorbell is the best option for homes that lack a wired doorbell or can’t provide enough juice to power a wired smart doorbell. These doorbells run on battery power, so they require periodic battery recharging or replacement. A smart doorbell battery will last between four and six months.
Smart Home Integration
Most smart home doorbells integrate with smart home systems, notifying the user via smart devices, such as smartphones, tablets, televisions, and even refrigerators, when someone is at the door. These devices allow the user to view and communicate with the person at the door. When used in tandem with smart locks, the user can even unlock the door from a remote location.
Some smart doorbells have sensors that turn on the camera when someone or something triggers the motion detector. This feature is handy for keeping an eye on activity in the front yard. Higher-end smart doorbells allow the user to adjust the motion detector’s sensitivity and designate which part of the camera’s field of view triggers the camera.
Some models can even distinguish between people and small animals, passing cars, and swaying tree branches. When someone sets off the motion detector, the smart doorbell will begin recording the activity via the camera and send an alert to authorized users.
Resolution and Field of Vision
The better the resolution of a camera, the sharper the image, making it easier to recognize who’s at the door. Most doorbell cameras have a 1080p resolution, which offers enough clarity for facial recognition in most light conditions. Lower-end 720p cameras are grainier, which can make identifying faces more of a challenge. Higher definition 2K and 4K cameras offer the best resolution, allowing the user to make out fine facial features from a greater distance and in low lighting.
Resolution is just part of a smart doorbell’s effectiveness. A camera’s field of view determines just how broad an area it covers, ranging from just the area around the front door to a large swath of the front yard and driveway. Some doorbell cameras feature a field of vision of up to 180 degrees, which is wide enough to cover the entire front yard if there are no obstructions.
Whether wired or wireless, most smart doorbells connect to a home’s WiFi connection to send alerts and video. Wireless doorbells connect via 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz WiFi. While 5.0GHz is a faster connection speed, it has a shorter range than a 2.4GHz connection. Higher-end doorbells use hardwired ethernet connections, which provide optimal speeds for transferring high-quality video from the camera to the router. A handful of smart doorbells use Bluetooth technology to connect to a smart home hub.
Smart doorbells send push notifications to a smart device, such as a phone, computer, or iPad, letting the user know when someone has rung the doorbell or tripped the smart doorbell’s motion detector. Some smart doorbells will automatically display a live shot of the camera or send a snapshot from the camera, so the user can immediately see who is at the door.
Some smart doorbells store video footage locally via a hard drive or SD card. However, most smart doorbells, including Ring, Arlo, and Remo, store saved video footage from the camera in a cloud-based storage service accessible with a smart device from virtually anywhere. Manufacturers offer this service on a subscription basis with fees starting at a few dollars a month, which allows users to view footage for up to 60 days, including downloading and sharing videos. Some services, such as Ring, offer professional monitoring services that will dispatch police or fire personnel in the event of an emergency for an additional fee.
Wireless doorbells are the easiest of the two smart doorbell types to install. Installation of a wireless smart doorbell involves mounting the doorbell to the door frame using a drill and mounting screws. Although installing a wired doorbell is a bit more complicated, most DIYers can complete the installation if there is existing wiring for a doorbell. Wired doorbells that need new or upgraded wiring require an electrician for installation. Once installed, the user simply needs to add the doorbell to the home WiFi network and download any necessary apps for viewing live and recorded video footage from the doorbell camera on a smart device.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks take into account the above considerations to narrow the field to some of the best smart doorbells on the market. These models feature high-definition cameras, easy-to-install designs, and advanced motion detector features.
With its versatile installation options, a broad range of security features, and a high-quality camera, this Ring smart doorbell is tough to beat. A 1080p high-definition camera makes it easy to see who’s at the door, while a 160-degree field of vision allows the user to keep an eye on foot traffic in the front yard. To prevent squirrels, neighborhood cats, swaying trees, and other innocuous goings-on in the yard from triggering the camera, this model features motion zones. This feature allows the user to draw lines around the camera’s view via an app, identifying which zones should trigger the motion detector.
Ring also provides versatility with its installation. This model functions as a wired and a wireless doorbell, making a future upgrade to wired an option. The batteries are also longer-lasting than most, with a lifespan of six to 12 months, depending on how much front door traffic the doorbell handles.
A broad field of vision, high definition video, and superior night vision make this model from Arlo an excellent video doorbell option. It boasts an impressive 180-degree view, allowing the user to cover an entire front yard. The high-definition 1080p camera provides ideal viewing resolution even in low-light conditions.
This camera boasts Arlo’s innovative Foresight technology, which enables the user to see a few seconds of video prior to the motion detector being triggered, giving a full picture of what’s taking place outside the front door. When someone does trigger the motion detector, the user can communicate with the visitor via a two-way microphone and speaker or have the doorbell play a prerecorded message. Cloud storage for video is available through the Arlo Smart subscription service.
Smart doorbells aren’t just for those living in a house. Apartment dwellers can benefit from the security they offer as well with this Ring smart doorbell that replaces a standard peephole and features a 1080p camera. As with traditional doorbell cameras, this peephole cam allows the user to see and speak with visitors via smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. This model installs in about five minutes without wiring or drilling, making it ideal for renters. A large button makes visitors aware that the peephole functions as a doorbell.
Advanced motion detection features let the user adjust the motion detector’s sensitivity, eliminating false positives by passersby. This model also works with virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa. Video is archived to the cloud via the Ring Protect Plan service, which has a monthly fee based on data storage size.
A smart doorbell can do more than just reveal who’s knocking at the door. This model from Remo+ boasts a wide 180-degree field of vision that allows it to keep an eye on all activities happening in front of the home. A 1080p camera makes it easier to both identify faces and see what’s going on in the driveway.
A wide field of vision can have the side effect of frequent motion triggers. However, this smart doorbell allows the user to customize the motion zones to only pick up on movement in specific parts of the viewing area. Additionally, adjustable motion sensors prevent false positives from animals, passing traffic, and blowing tree branches. This model supports live streaming from the camera and employs push alerts to notify the user when someone triggers the motion detector. When connected to a virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa, it will respond to voice commands.
With its 2K high-resolution camera, this model from XTU offers some of the clearest pictures of any smart doorbell on the market, making it easier to identify anyone coming to visit day or night. A two-way speaker allows the user to communicate with the guest or stranger at the door. The 166-degree field of vision allows for monitoring of more than just the front door area.
The doorbell connects to a standard WiFi network and works with an app to deliver recorded and on-demand video to a smart device. It conveniently hooks into a home’s existing doorbell wiring for power or uses the included AC adapter. This doorbell records video to a 32-gigabyte SD card or cloud storage via a monthly subscription service.
Those who already have wiring for a doorbell can take advantage of more affordable wired technology. This smart doorbell from Ring offers many of the same features of a wireless model at a fraction of a cost. The doorbell camera uses the existing doorbell wiring of the home for power and connects to a phone’s WiFi network with 2.4GHz connectivity. A 1080p HD camera offers excellent resolution for recognizing faces, while push notifications let the user know as soon as someone rings the doorbell.
The Ring app allows the user to adjust the motion detector’s sensitivity, speak with visitors via two-way talk, and access live video from the camera. The doorbell is also compatible with Amazon Alexa. Camera footage is stored via a monthly subscription plan from Ring.
With a resolution that beats many higher-priced doorbell cameras and AI technology that discerns animals from humans, this smart doorbell from eufy is a bargain option that doesn’t ask for a lot of compromise in features and quality. While it may not offer the broad field of vision of higher-price options, the camera features 2K high-definition video for excellent facial recognition ability, and it uses a 16:9 aspect ratio to capture a better view. The camera will also detect body shapes and faces to discern between the neighbor’s cat and a visitor, eliminating false positives with the motion detector.
The doorbell sends push alerts that include a snapshot from the camera to let the user know right away who’s at the door, and two-way audio allows the user to speak with the visitor through the doorbell. Other nice features enable the user to set motion detection zones and view video up to three seconds prior to the motion detector being triggered.
FAQs About Your New Smart Doorbell
Read on to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about smart doorbells.
Q. How do I connect my smart video doorbell?
A wireless smart video doorbell does not require any wiring to install. To connect the doorbell to your home’s WiFi network, begin by downloading the doorbell’s app to your smart device. Then, follow the app’s instructions for adding the device to your WiFi network. A wired smart video doorbell uses the home’s current wiring structure to operate.
Q. Do video doorbells work with other smart home devices?
Video doorbells work with a variety of smart home devices. Video from the doorbell can be programmed to display on smartphones, tablets, TVs, and even refrigerators with display screens.
Q. Can smart doorbells be hacked?
Smart doorbells can be hacked by someone who infiltrates a home’s WiFi network, allowing unauthorized users to change settings and access stored or live videos. With this concern in mind, only purchase smart doorbells from established manufacturers that take security seriously in their design.