A video doorbell is a home security product and means of being alerted that you have a visitor rolled into one handy gadget. These products help you monitor who is ringing your doorbell and allow you to keep a watchful eye on your front porch. Video doorbells are becoming more and more affordable, and there is a wide range of options available.
The best video doorbells have an excellent quality camera as well as reliable notification and recording systems. Upgrade your doorbell from a simple “ding-dong” to a home security product with one of these top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ring Video Doorbell Wired with Ring Chime
- BEST FIELD OF VISION: Arlo AVD2001-100NAS Essential Video Doorbell
- BEST SUBSCRIPTION-FREE: eufy Security Video Doorbell with Chime
- ALSO CONSIDER: Remo+ RemoBell S WiFi Video Doorbell Camera
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Video Doorbell
Most people who buy video doorbells do so to improve their home security systems. Video doorbells are equipped with a range of features that protect your home. Many double as video cameras and have motion detectors, video recording, or continuous monitoring to keep tabs on activity at your front door. Read on to learn more about the key features to look for in the best video doorbells.
Wired vs. Wireless
Video doorbells are sold in both wired or wireless configurations. The best choice for your home depends on your existing setup and needs.
Many traditional doorbells are hard-wired into the home’s electrical system with a circuitry system that connects them to a power source and the chime. Though wired video doorbells can usually be connected to the existing doorbell and chime system, installing them can be challenging. It is important to confirm whether the old system’s voltage matches that of the new video doorbell. If the old system can’t support the video doorbell, the circuit may need to be upgraded.
Wireless doorbells are easier to install. They do not need to plug into a system, so there’s no circuitry to deal with, and most can be set up in minutes. These doorbells can be placed almost anywhere. The only real downside is that their battery needs occasional recharging, and may eventually need to be replaced.
Some simpler video doorbells are stand-alone devices, but others can be connected with smart-home systems. These smart doorbells have a range of integrative features. For example, when someone rings the doorbell, you can opt to receive a notification on your smartphone, smart TV, tablet, or even smart fridge. Smart doorbells can also connect to other smart-home devices such as front door locks, porch lighting, or alarm sirens. Smart-home programs can be set up for these products to interact with each other.
Another cool thing about smart doorbells is that many models can be controlled by smart voice features, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Before choosing a smart video doorbell, make sure that it is compatible with your current smart-home system.
Because smart-home tools are growing more and more popular, almost all video doorbells have some degree of smart connectivity. These features allow the doorbell to send notifications, store captured videos, and integrate with smart-home systems.
Video doorbells can connect via a hardwired connection, Ethernet connection, Wi-Fi connection, or Bluetooth. Most popular video doorbells connect via Wi-Fi, specifically 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, though some dual-band options connect to both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
One of the benefits of having a WiFi-enabled video doorbell, of course, is that it works in concert with the doorbell’s mobile apps, which allows users to view live and stored video of the front door area from their smartphones. This convenient feature also notifies users of activity at the front door—when a package is delivered, for example, or if security concerns arise.
Resolution and Field of Vision
The higher resolution a camera, the sharper the image; this is true of cameras, smartphones, and video doorbells. Most high-quality video doorbell cameras have a 1080p, full high-definition (HD) resolution. Perhaps the best reason to seek out a video doorbell with a high-quality camera is to make sure that, in the event of any security concerns at your home, there’s a clear image of everyone who enters the area.
Video doorbell camera resolution can range from 480p to 2K, which is a step up from 1080p. Generally speaking, higher-resolution cameras are also more effective in low light conditions and can capture images at greater distances.
“Field of vision” refers to how wide an area the camera can view. A video doorbell provides a much wider field of vision as compared to that of a peephole. Some video doorbells have narrow fields of vision—as narrow, perhaps, as 90 degrees. Shoppers should instead seek out products with a full 180-degree field of vision. A wide field of vision means you might even be able to monitor areas beyond the front door, such as the front porch or yard.
Recording and Storage
When it comes to how much and how long video doorbells record and when they start recording, there are lots of different options from which shoppers can choose. Some doorbells will record only a short clip following a doorbell ring, while others record continuously. Most common are video doorbells that have activated recording systems. These models begin recording when a particular action occurs, such as someone ringing the doorbell or setting off the motion detector.
As another attractive security feature, some video doorbells allow users to save and view videos later. These videos are typically either stored locally or in the cloud. Local storage means the video is saved locally to a hub device, a connected video recorder, or a removable micro-SD card. To access the recording, you must physically access the local storage device.
Video doorbells with cloud storage securely store users’ footage online. Cloud storage is usually provided by the manufacturer, either for free or with a subscription plan, and users can access the videos from anywhere with an internet connection. Some video doorbells have both local and cloud storage options to give users the peace of mind that there’s always a backup of security videos.
Many video doorbells do more than just notify you when the doorbell rings; they also have motion-detection settings that activate the camera when there’s movement in front of the doorbell. This feature is useful for alerting you to any visitors, wild animals in your yard, package deliveries, or security concerns.
To prevent accidental triggers to the motion detector from things such as wind, leaves, and birds flying by, some doorbells allow you to adjust the field of vision and sensitivity of the motion detector. When the motion detector is triggered, most video doorbells with this feature will notify or record the activity.
Night vision is another feature that users should research before purchasing a video doorbell. Models with night vision automatically activate once it is dark outside and provide good video quality at night. This is a terrific feature to have for those who want extra security coverage at night. A video doorbell may be a theft deterrent as well. For example, if there’s a rash of nighttime car burglaries in your neighborhood, the doorbell may deter the burglars, or at least capture them on camera.
Two-way audio is another convenient feature you may want in a video doorbell. Some products have a built-in speaker and microphone that allows you to communicate with the person at the door. This feature comes in very handy when, say, you’re away from home and want to instruct the delivery person to leave a package, or if you’re home but indisposed.
Paid Security Plans
A doorbell that monitors your porch area and allows you to “answer” your front door from your smartphone is a boon to a home’s overall security plan. If you’re looking for home protection beyond the helpful features already discussed, it might be worthwhile to investigate video doorbells with opt-in, paid security plans.
Video doorbells can store photos and video locally or via cloud-based storage. Most of the time, there are additional costs associated with cloud-based storage. Basic plans offer subscribers limited cloud storage and erase videos after a day or a couple of weeks. Premium plans may offer longer-term storage, perhaps for a month or more, or even unlimited cloud access to your doorbell videos. These cloud-based plans are easily accessible and can be checked anywhere via a smart device and internet connection.
Premium security plans might also include more cameras and added security features. Some of these plans unlock extra camera features, like adding custom detection zones or face alerts. Those who are particularly concerned about home security should look into video doorbells that function as part of a security alarm system. These plans may include 24/7 professional monitoring to provide a second set of eyes on your property.
How easily a video doorbell’s installation goes depends on the type of doorbell you get. Wireless doorbells are easier than wired doorbells to install. Wireless models can be mounted with adhesive tape or with a drill and mounting hardware, with the latter being the more secure option.
Wired doorbells can be complicated to install because they have to be connected to the existing doorbell wiring or to a new circuit. When connecting to existing wiring, installation is simpler and confident DIYers can take on the task. If a new circuit or brand-new wiring is required, a licensed electrician will need to step in, which involves an additional expense beyond purchasing the doorbell.
Our Top Picks
The best video doorbells quickly and reliably notify users when a visitor is at the door. They feature crisp video quality and various recording features that help keep the home secure. With the above considerations in mind, the following top picks offer peace of mind each time the doorbell rings.
On top of its 1080p HD resolution and advanced motion detection, this doorbell captures pre-roll footage every time it records. This pre-roll feature captures 4 seconds of footage from before the motion trigger so you’ll have a better understanding of what happened before a visitor approached the home. To best take advantage of the pre-roll feature, sign up for the Ring Protect Plan; the subscription plan provides cloud storage and video playback access.
In addition to the pre-roll feature, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus includes all of the features of the standard Ring Doorbell 3: 1080p HD video, two-way talk, motion detection, customized motion settings, night vision, Alexa compatibility, and 2.4 or 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity. This security-focused video doorbell can be installed as a wired or wireless doorbell.
This wired doorbell from Ring offers many of the same features that pricier doorbells have, including 1080p HD video quality, live view, motion sensing with customizable monitoring zones, and two-way audio, all at an affordable price. Connect the doorbell via 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi to the Ring app to access and customize these features from a smart device. Videos that are recorded can be stored and shared, if users sign up for an optional Ring Protect Plan.
One of the advantages of Ring’s wired doorbell is that, once installed, it will not need to be recharged or have any battery changes. The doorbell’s downside, however, is that it is not compatible with your existing doorbell chimes. In order for a chime to sound, the new doorbell needs to be paired with a Ring plug-in doorbell chime or an Amazon Echo speaker.
This set includes the video doorbell and a Ring plug-in chime; however, you may want to purchase additional Amazon Echo speakers and/or Ring chimes with this product so you can hear the doorbell ring in more than one room of the house. These extra units are sold separately.
While many video doorbells have a 130- to 160-degree viewing angle, this video doorbell from Arlo features a full 180-degree field of vision in clear HD quality. Custom activity zones allow users to set parameters as to where the motion detector is triggered. This helps users maintain a wide field of vision while preventing false alarms. Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Arlo can be installed as a wired or wireless video doorbell. When used as a wireless doorbell, the rechargeable battery provides up to 6 months of battery life on each charge.
Live alerts, two-way audio, prerecorded messages, and night vision are some of Arlo’s best features. What’s more, in case of any trouble or if you want to scare trespassers off the property, the WiFi-enabled doorbell has a built-in siren that can be triggered from the Arlo app. With an Arlo Smart plan, cloud storage and extra security features are available.
This affordable wireless video doorbell set from eufy includes a doorbell camera and a plug-in doorbell chime that doubles as a connection hub. The WiFi-enabled chime connects to the doorbell camera and stores video footage locally on a micro-SD card (not included). Whenever the doorbell rings or motion is detected, the doorbell can notify the user and record activity in clear 1080p resolution. When a visitor rings the doorbell, owners can respond via live view, two-way audio, preset responses, or a facial snapshot notification. For even more ease of use, this doorbell is compatible with Google Voice and Amazon Alexa devices.
Several detection and notification features make this eufy doorbell an excellent security pick. It has “smart human detection,” an on-device AI feature that can differentiate between human and animal forms. This doorbell will record human activity and notify you when there’s a person at the door, but it won’t bother you if there’s an after-hours racoon or deer passing by. To cut down on false notifications, users can set customized detection zones, too.
This video doorbell from Remo+ provides excellent value. Unlike other brands that charge for cloud storage, this doorbell includes 3 days of rolling cloud storage with no monthly fee. Paid plans are also available for those who want to store videos for longer periods.
The Remo+ wired video doorbell offers a range of convenient features, including live streaming, motion detection, customizable motion zones, adjustable motion sensors, instant alerts, two-way audio, and night vision—all accessible from the easy-to-use app. The doorbell also offers a wide-angle camera lens that captures high-quality HD footage and a wide 180-degree detection zone to ensure no visitors will be missed.
FAQs About Video Doorbells
The best video doorbells put safety first. They allow you to monitor front door visitors, even when you’re away from home. If you’re still deciding on the best video doorbell for your home, read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about video doorbells.
Q. What camera quality should I expect from a video doorbell?
For adequate footage, consider a video doorbell with at least a 720p HD resolution. Many high-quality video doorbells have a 1080p resolution, which is full high-definition (HD) quality. High-definition cameras offer clear video quality that can capture details.
Q. Do you need Wi-Fi for a wireless doorbell?
Wi-Fi is not a necessity to use a wireless doorbell. However, you may not be able to take advantage of all the doorbell’s features, like cloud storage and live viewing, without Wi-Fi connectivity. Some doorbells will still chime or record events to a local storage device when they are not connected to Wi-Fi.
Q. Do doorbell cameras record all the time?
It depends on the model. Most doorbell cameras only record when the doorbell is pressed or when its camera detects motion. If you prefer a video doorbell that will record around the clock, look for a model that offers continuous video recording.
Q. How do I set up my smart video doorbell?
Setup depends on the doorbell type. Wired doorbells need to be mounted and wired into the home’s electrical system. Wireless doorbells do not require any wiring, but they do need to be mounted. After installation, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect the doorbell to the home Wi-Fi network, doorbell hub, or another monitoring device.