Video doorbells cameras provide an easy starting point for those interested in the security of smart homes, and a little extra peace of mind for those worried about unwanted visitors or stolen packages. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been testing a variety of video doorbells from different companies, comparing design, video quality, video storage, subscription plans, and features. We’ve found five that should suit your needs.
If you’re not sure where to start looking for a smart video doorbell, we’ve highlighted our favorite doorbell camera models below. We also explained exactly how we tested the video doorbells to determine which ones were the best. So if you’re looking for the best visual doorbell, then this is probably one of the doorbells we’ve tested. We will update this list regularly.
A traditional peephole allows only a glimpse of what’s on the other side of your door. The video doorbell has a goal – your safety. There are many options for camera, audio, and mobile app features. No matter which brand you choose, you’ll notice some common benefits almost immediately:
Better External View
Stop squinting through the peephole and ask who’s on the other side. With the doorbell camera, you can view the door before using the phone app to respond to it. If you don’t feel comfortable answering, most doorbell cameras let you record activity or take a picture to look at later.
With a built-in camera and microphone, you’ll always know who’s in your home and when. With a few simple additional security measures, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing who’s in your home, even if you don’t know.
Reduce Package Theft
Never worry about the pirates on the porch.
Technology is taking smart homes to a new level and with more control. Most video doorbells connect with other smart home devices such as Alexa or smart locks to easily control your home with ease via apps, voice commands or built-in control panels.
How to Select Video Doorbells Cameras
Field of View
Do you want to see the people at the door from a narrow Angle, or do you want to see everything around the entrance? Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Ring Pro have a 160-degree view, which allows me to see my entire porch and driveway.
The higher the resolution, the sharper the image, which will make it easier to identify people at your door. Ring’s higher-end doorbells record video in 1080p, while the August Doorbell Cam’s resolution is actually 1280 x 960, not quite “full” 1080p resolution.
Your choice of doorbell also depends on whether you replace an existing doorbell or install one that no longer has a doorbell. Ring video Doorbell 2 is the most flexible. While it can be replaced with a hard-wired doorbell that provides 8-24 volts of power, its rechargeable battery means you can put this doorbell anywhere. The optional bell bells add-on can even be heard, just like a traditional doorbell. August’s doorbell camera requires 16-24 volts of power and can only be replaced with a wired mechanical doorbell.
Wired or Wireless
Video doorbells typically require 16 volts or more to work. If you have a newer home, this may not be a problem. But as we’ve discovered, older houses with older systems may not be able to provide enough juice. One of our test houses, built in 1946, sent only about 10 volts of electricity to the existing doorbell, which was not enough to power the two doorbells that lacked built-in batteries.
After we upgraded the doorbell circuit to a 20 volt transformer, everything worked as advertised. Most people shouldn’t upgrade their transformers, especially with new homes, and the two doorbells with built-in batteries don’t need the doorbell’s power supply at all.
Some doorbells, such as Ringtone Video Doorbell 2, can run on battery power. This is very useful if your existing lines aren’t doing the job and you don’t want to upgrade the transformer. Just remember, you have to charge these devices regularly.
We tested the video doorbell using different methods to capture video at night. The August Gateclock camera uses motion-activated leds to illuminate the area in front of the camera, so it can better capture colors. The ring’s doorbell uses infrared night vision to see in the dark, but results in monochrome video.
Video Doorbells vs Security Cameras
Video doorbells aren’t necessarily the best home security cameras. While these apps can give you the option to receive motion alerts and doorbell alarms, motion-triggered events typically result in a video of a person or car just leaving the frame.
If you’re looking for a real security measure, a dedicated home security camera may be a better choice because you can place such cameras in more places. When you get a motion alert, you can back up the video and see what happened before the alert.
Best Doorbell Camera You Can Buy
Best Overall Doorbell Arlo Wired Video Doorbell
Best Overall Doorbell Lorex 2K QHD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
Best Overall Doorbell ADT Video Doorbell
Best Overall Doorbell Ring Video Doorbell Elite
Best Overall Doorbell Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Arlo Wired Video Doorbell
- Spend less time recharging with 6 months of battery life on one charge
- No hub required, connect directly to Wi-Fi
- Coverage for every corner – Fast, wire-free setup (no wiring required), delivers increased installation flexibility to get the perfect camera view
- See more at your front door – See a person from head to toe or a package on the ground with 180-degree view
- Get a clearer picture – Detailed video in HD with HDR ensures you see the details even in low light or bright conditions
- Smarter alerts, quicker action – With an Arlo Secure plan, receive notifications for people, vehicles, and packages so you can react quickly, right from your phone.
- Respond quickly – Receive a video call to your phone to hear and speak to visitors at your door with clear, two-way audio or respond with pre-recorded quick reply messages when you are busy
Prons & Cons
Lorex 2K QHD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
- 2K Quad HD Video Resolution – With impressive 2K resolution, 4:3 aspect ratio and 164 degree viewing angle you will have clear video quality and HDR to automatically correct exposure when lighting is not optimal
- Nightlight Feature – Program the LED light to turn on at a selected time, and for added security, the LED light can be activated when motion is detected to deter unwanted guests
- Free local storage with no monthly fees – The door bell includes a WD Purple microSD card, which provides you with ample local storage to keep all your recordings safe and secure, with no added monthly fees
- 2 Way Talk – Use 1 of 3 quick responses to greet visitors who ring your doorbell. You can even record your own custom message to add your personal touch or speak directly through the doorbell using 2-Way Talk
- Built-in Person Detection – Be aware of activity around your door step thanks to built in Person Detection, which will send notifications to your Lorex Home app when motion from a person is detected
Prons & Cons
ADT Video Doorbell
Prons & Cons
Ring Video Doorbell Elite
- A Certified Refurbished Video Doorbell Elite is refurbished, tested, and certified to look and work like new
- Works with Alexa to illuminate and
- send announcements to Echo devices when your doorbell is pressed or motion is detected. You can also see, hear, and talk to visitors through Echo Show or Echo Spot
- Lets you see, hear and speak to visitors from your phone, tablet and PC
- Sends alerts as soon as motion is detected or when visitors press the Doorbell
- Connects to ethernet cables for power and internet connection
- Monitors your home in 1080HD video with infrared night vision
- Lets you check-in on your property at anytime with Live View on-demand video
- Includes Lifetime Theft Protection: If your Doorbell gets stolen, we’ll replace it for free
Prons & Cons
Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Nest Doorbell (wired) is an HD livestreaming camera-buzzer combination.
- You can view the video feed from your phone or computer, receive push alerts and emails when the camera detects motion, sees a person or hears a loud sound.
- There’s other neat stuff, like scheduling and geofencing if you want to control when the camera is on and off.
- The Nest Doorbell can also scan faces and tell you who is at your front door from images of friends and family members you ID in the app — a truly unique feature that still impresses years after its introduction.
- You can also ask Alexa or Google Assistant to pull up your Nest Doorbell’s live feed on a screen-compatible device.