The 5 Best Doorbell Cameras

Doorbell Camera Adobe

A doorbell camera lets you see and interact with visitors at your doorstep from the convenience of your smartphone. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team will cover the five best doorbell cameras that can help you maintain a sense of security for you and your home.

A video doorbell replaces your traditional doorbell with a device that secures your home and allows you to speak to visitors without opening the door. With a smart doorbell camera, you can monitor your doorstep with 24/7 video surveillance and communicate directly with visitors while you’re busy or away.

To help you determine which video doorbell is right for your home, we researched various camera brands and compared their features, functionality, and pricing. These are the five best doorbell cameras that can help secure and monitor your home.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

Ring’s next-generation video doorbell is equipped with features like advanced motion detection, night vision, and a 160-degree field of view.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is a smart doorbell solution that’s self-monitored and installed using the included screws and mounting plate. It’s powered by a quick release battery pack that doesn’t require any electrical wiring.

The doorbell supports 1080 HD video with night vision capabilities, so you’ll receive clear footage no matter the time of day. With the upgraded Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, you receive pre-roll technology that shows you four seconds of video recording prior to a motion detection or ring alert. However, this video is low resolution and recorded in black and white to conserve battery life.

Ring video doorbells alert you when they detect motion, sending you a notification and allowing you to see and hear exactly what’s going on through the Ring app. The Ring app allows you to control your Ring video doorbell remotely and can be integrated into your entire Ring security system. Ring doorbell owners receive live video for free, but they must sign up for Ring Protect if they want to review and save recorded video.

Google Nest Hello

Google’s doorbell camera, Google Nest Hello, gives you peace of mind that your home is secure through two-way talk, HD video recording, and facial recognition.

The Google Nest Hello streams live HD video directly to your Nest app, where your device is integrated with your existing Nest product line. Offering two-way talk and a 160-degree field of view, your video doorbell is your eyes and ears for your doorstep. Note: the doorbell camera is installed by replacing your traditional doorbell, requiring it to be professionally wired into the existing system.

Google Nest provides extensive video surveillance features through a monthly Nest Aware subscription. Nest Aware subscribers receive continuous video recording, familiar face recognition, and package delivery notifications, providing you with technology that makes monitoring your visitors a little easier. With package delivery notifications, you also receive an alert when the package is picked up, so you can catch porch pirates in the act.

Arlo Video Doorbell

Through advanced motion sensors and audio features, the Arlo Video Doorbell provides a multi-functional doorbell camera that enables you to monitor, talk, and listen to your home’s visitors.

Arlo, used by Alder Home Security systems, offers a professionally installed doorbell camera with unique audio and video capabilities. The Arlo doorbell streams HDR video with a 180-degree viewing angle and 1:1 aspect ratio that clearly displays details and facial features. The doorbell’s two-way audio feature lets users talk directly with visitors or play pre-recorded messages if they’re busy.

The system is wired directly into your existing doorbell system, so professional installation is required. While the doorbell is self-monitored, Arlo offers its Arlo Smart subscription to customers who want 30 days of video history, advanced motion detection, custom motion zones, and first responder dispatch through the Arlo app.

Home Security Arlo

ADT Doorbell Camera

With an ADT doorbell camera, you’ll receive live footage of activity in front of your door that’s integrated into your existing ADT system and controlled directly through the ADT mobile app.

With one of the largest fields of view for a doorbell camera, the ADT video camera provides doorstep surveillance that you can add onto your existing ADT system. Controlled through the ADT mobile app, the video doorbell sees and hears what’s going on outside of your home. The camera offers two-way communication and stores 30-second video clips for instant playback.

Although it’s only available with an ADT security plan, the doorbell doesn’t require additional monitoring fees and comes standard through ADT’s video package. Your doorbell is integrated with your existing smart home devices through the ADT app, so you can see who’s at your door and unlock it at the touch of a button.

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro

The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro provides Vivint Home Security customers with two-way talk, HD video, and package delivery notifications that are monitored through the Vivint mobile app.

With the addition of the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro to your security system, you’ll receive a doorbell camera that gives you constant video surveillance on what’s happening outside your door. With two-way talk and one way video, you’ll be able to talk to visitors without them seeing you. The doorbell’s 180° x 180° field of view and 1080 HD video provides detailed footage, even in the middle of the night.

With the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro, you can record what you want through user-defined surveillance zones. Though purchased separately, the Vivint Playback upgrade uploads your video recordings directly to the Vivint Smart Drive, where you can access them at any time.

What to Look For in a Video Doorbell

Before purchasing a doorbell camera, consider these important factors:

  • Wired vs. wireless—Different doorbells require certain installation requirements. Some doorbells, like the Ring Video Doorbell 3, are powered by a battery pack and don’t require additional power. Others, like the Google Nest Hello, are wired directly into your existing doorbell system.
  • Field of view—While field of view may not seem important, it determines how wide and tall your camera records video. Measure the area around your front door. If you have a wide porch, you may want to purchase a video doorbell that has a wide field of view.
  • Storage—While some doorbell cameras, like the ADT doorbell camera, record and store video clips, other smart doorbells don’t or require a premium subscription to receive recording services.
  • Installation—Most video doorbells require professional installation to hardwire the device into the existing doorbell system. Some doorbell cameras, like the Ring Video Doorbell 3, allow for DIY installation and the doorbell is installed using screws and a mounting plate.
  • Video cameras vs. video doorbells—While video doorbells record video and allow communication, they are most effective for quick alerts and talking with visitors. If you’re looking for a more extensive video security solution, you may want to go with a security camera that provides more robust storage solutions and sharper video quality. Security cameras, like Abode’s Outdoor Smart Camera, can be used anywhere, including your front door.

Our Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a DIY doorbell camera or one you can add to your existing security system, these video doorbells provide simple and accessible surveillance technology to help you secure your home.

To help you determine which doorbell camera is best for you and your home, compare the video doorbells from these top providers.

FAQs About Doorbell Cameras

Do all doorbells have a monthly fee?

Not all video doorbells have a monthly fee. For most brands, you can self-monitor your doorbell at no additional charge. However, most video doorbells offer a premium monthly subscription that gives you access to features like video storage and advanced motion detection.

If you’re looking to use your video doorbell simply to see who is on your doorstep when the doorbell rings, you most likely won’t need to pay a monthly fee.

How much does a video doorbell cost?

Video doorbells range anywhere between $100–$300. Price factors include the model purchased and whether or not the video doorbell was purchased as a standalone product or part of a security system.

Do video doorbells record all the time?

No. Most video doorbells don’t record in real time. Typically, recording is triggered when the alarm is rang or motion is detected.

What audio feature is best for a doorbell camera?

You should look for doorbell cameras that have a two-way audio feature. This allows both you and the person at your door to talk to each other. Some video doorbells even incorporate noise cancellation technology, blocking out unnecessary sounds for better communication.

What safety features does a doorbell camera offer?

Doorbell cameras offer a variety of safety features outside of video monitoring and two-way talk. Some video doorbells link to other smart home devices, like floodlights, that can brighten your front porch when a visitor is detected at night.

Many smart doorbells are linked directly to your security system, allowing you to dispatch emergency services if there’s an intruder at your door. If you’re expecting visitors, your doorbell camera’s smart home integration can link directly to your door’s smart locks, so you can let in a friend or family member at the touch of a button.

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