When it comes to finding the best doorbell camera for your home, there’s a lot of overlap with features and pricing that can make it difficult for you to pick the best solution for you. To ensure you make the right choice, it’s best to think for a while about your needs for a doorbell camera if you’re going to get one, and to think about what features you need/want, and what features aren’t necessary to you.
The most obvious feature for a doorbell camera is that the quality is good enough for you to be able to tell who you’re looking at. With a traditional peephole and old-school doorbell, you still have the ability to see people (kind of), and you still have a doorbell to alert you to visitors at the front door. For people with a camera doorbell however, there are plenty more features and capabilities than no amount of peepholes and regular doorbells could compete against.
Although there are a lot of extra features, the most common ones include cameras of varying size and quality, camera rotation control, app benefits and much more. These added features and capabilities of these modern doorbells make your home safer too.
With a peephole, you don’t have the option to have notifications if things enter the camera’s view and you don’t have the ability to speak to whoever knocks on your door, whether you’re home or not. With the ability to rotate the camera, you can avoid a big problem that peepholes have, which is finding where the face of the visitor is through the peephole. Different camera doorbell providers have different business models, with some requiring a subscription to access full functionality.
Not all doorbell cameras were created equal. There’s a large amount of variation on the market in areas like resolution, viewing platform for the camera, and many others. Some of the doorbells are smart, meaning they have increasing amounts of functionality, including some really neat functions like visitors being able to leave a message for you to listen to when you return home.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
It’s rare to start with the better items on the list first, but this is definitely an exception. With such high levels of functionality and integration, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option. The price tag on the Video Doorbell Pro steep, but worth it if you can afford it.
With such an awesome doorbell, you can’t really go wrong. Thanks to two-way talking, you can answer your door and speak to anyone at your door using your phone wherever you are (must have an internet connection). Another key benefit is being notified when the motion sensor detects movement. There are definitely some security and convenience advantages to this doorbell, with 160 degrees of horizontal and 90 degrees of vertical motion, you can be sure you’ll have a good amount of vision out through your camera from whatever device you view from.
The pro is a slimmer model than the Ring Video Doorbell 2. The Ring app allows you to talk to visitors, record conversations (subscription required) and see who’s at your door whenever. To add some customisable style to the mix, Ring have added interchangeable faceplates to allow you to choose the look that’s right for your home, making it an ideal choice with the Pro’s sleek design.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the successor to the first model. This wonderful piece has a lot of the same advantages that the pro does, but it’s got battery operation capability. That means if you haven’t got the wiring in place for the Pro to go into, then you’ll probably need the Ring 2. This model is sizably bigger than the Pro so it’s worth noting you’ll need the extra space on your doorframe, but it has a lot of the same features as the Pro, with a quicker average installation time of 5 minutes instead of the Pro’s 15.
With such a large doorbell camera released years ago, you wouldn’t expect it to be as good as it is for the price in question. Add to that 1080p resolution, two-way talking and motion activated alerts and you’re on to a real winner.
At the moment, you can claim a free Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation up for grabs and that makes for a much better purpose. The reason for this is down to the integration between Amazon’s Alexa and the Ring Video Doorbells. The Ring 2 and Pro both have Alexa integration, meaning voice commands are usable and it adds a whole other level of convenience on top. The downside is that if you want to use the Alexa integrated features, you’ll need an Alexa device with a screen so you can see who’s at the door. The good news is, if you’ve got the money to spend you can see who’s at the door without even needing to get up from your seat.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
For a doorbell with such a high rating from critics and professional reviewers, the public opinion seems to be telling a different story. With accolades like PC Mag’s editor’s choice alongside Amazon’s Choice, it’s hard at first to see why this model isn’t wowing the public in the same fashion. Using the Remo+ app, you can see, hear and speak to visitors who knock on the door whether you’re there or not as long as your doorbell and phone have an internet connection.
The RemoBell S has a 180 degree view range which is superior to that of both of the Ring doorbells, but this model, like the Ring Pro, requires actual wiring and doesn’t have a battery. The need for the existing wiring can make things a bit tricky, with some users reporting issues with the need for better power supplies than the existing wiring usually has, meaning additional cost.
The RemoBell S is sleek and stylish in black, which makes it a wonderful choice for modern homes. Inserted into its wonderful amount of security benefits is the ability to store all motion activity for 3 days for free with cloud storage. If 3 days isn’t quite enough for you, then there are paid plans to suit your needs and budget.
When it comes to fun features, one that adds security to the RemoBell S’ offering is infra-red vision through the camera, which is great when it’s late at night and you’re trying to see why you were alerted to something in the camera’s view. Speaking of the alerts you get from your doorbell, the RemoBell S has the capability for you to adjust the motion detection alert settings, meaning even if your front door is close to the sidewalk, you won’t need to worry about it going off all the time. Conversely, once the motion detection is set, you’ll see that it works better than a guard-dog at keeping you safe in the knowledge that nobody is sneaking around.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Nest Hello is the smartest of the camera doorbells so far. It has a lot of nifty features on top of the ones that it shares with all the other ones on the list. To make the deal even sweeter, it’s cheaper than both Ring models and is available from a wide range of retailers on Amazon. This makes it a highly desirable piece.
Unlike the RemoBell S which had just 3.5 stars on Amazon, the Hello has a 4.5 public customer review rating. To be fair, the Hello has nowhere near as many reviews, meaning there’s not as much public opinion to go on and this star rating can change rapidly, for better or worse. The fact that this doorbell can differentiate between a person standing at the door and a package on the ground should tell you a little about how smart this gadget is.
With the ability to tell the difference between a package on the ground and a person standing at the door, you’ll know when your Amazon packages turn up even if you’re not there. Another great feature is the use of proprietary software to be able to tell whether or not the person at the door is someone you know or a complete stranger. It’s not perfect at telling the difference between friends and strangers, but the longer you have it the better it gets at telling who’s who.
Adding to the amazing features on the list, you can set up a pre-recorded message which can be used to tell people what you need to when you’re busy. For example, you can pre-record a message telling people you’re on the school run or at work, or you can tell them that you’re at your favourite sports bar watching the game.
The superb noise cancellation means if you’ve got the time to talk to your visitor through the doorbell, you’ll both be able to hear each other better than you would with less superior models. With a respectable camera, you’ll be able to see people clearly and check up on things with the 24/7 on-demand streaming option available. Plus, the camera lets you see what’s going on from head to toe on your doorstep.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon
This is definitely an outlier, but not in a good way. Unlike the other camera doorbells in the list, you need a subscription to alarm.com for you to be able to use the camera portion of the doorbell at all. To make matters worse, it requires a pre-existing doorbell wiring set-up with a low-power adapter and is only capable of integrative functioning with mechanical doorbell chimes, not digital.
For digital chimes, you’ll need an adapter, which is extra money on top of the subscription you’re required to pay. The subscription on top of one of the more expensive doorbells on this list makes it difficult to rate it positively, which is likely why the few people that have bought it have only given it 3 stars.
Although financially this is one of the more expensive options, especially after buying the camera and paying for 12 months of subscription to be able to use the camera doorbell you already paid nearly $200 for. It does however have wonderful resolution, great 180 degree viewing range and automation settings for motion sensors.
Even with all the features it offers, competitors offer it at a slightly lower price without the need for a subscription. It’s hard to justify recommending this above any of the ones above, simply down to the lack of unique selling points, the price, and the subscription just to be able to use it.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The cheapest option on the list by quite a distance, the SMONET Smart Doorbell’s price is deceiving. What is offers for this price is quite surprising, with easy installation, easy to use app, motion sensor and lower power technology being the primary benefits of this device. With the industry standards at the core of the SMONET Smart Doorbell such as two-way talking, motion detection and night-vision, we can’t understand how it’s over $100 cheaper than the other high-standard camera doorbells.
It’s worth noting that unlike a lot of the others on this list that require doorbell wiring, you’ll need 2 18650 lithium-ion batteries to put in this model. The good news is that you can get rechargeable 18650s and thanks to the low power consumption of the model, you’ll likely only ever need two pairs at most, with one fully charged pair allowing the doorbell to operate for up to 8 months.
The features with this device are similar to the devices above, but unlike the devices above this doorbell is cheap and cheerful. For value for money, the SMONET Smart Doorbell has to be the best one on the list. It features all the core functions that make the other doorbells great, such as two-way talking, motion detection and real-time video. With it being able to connect to Wi-Fi, there’s a good level of convenience that means you won’t have to worry about trying to wire it in to your Local Area Network (your home internet network).
It also has a 166 degree viewing range, making it as good as the more expensive ones for view radius. Unlike some of the more expensive models, the SMONET Smart Doorbell is only able to offer 720p resolution, but that’s still good enough to be fit for purpose in a smart camera doorbell. It’s not quite as impressive as the Nest Hello as far as smart features are concerned, but it’s a lot cheaper and that definitely makes up for it.
When it comes to picking the right camera doorbell for you, there’s a lot to consider and a lot of options. It’s all about figuring out what features you need to have in your ideal doorbell. The best one for value for money would have to be the SMONET Smart Doorbell Camera. It’s over $100 cheaper than the next cheapest.
The one to avoid among this list would have to be the Honeywell SkyBell as it’s almost $200 and then there’s a subscription on top, with no offer of free months of subscription with your purchase.
The best for functionality and capability would have to be the Nest Hello, with its ability to differentiate between package and person, as well as between friend and stranger. The Nest Hello isn’t even the most expensive on the list, yet packs the most features in. It’s just a shame it requires existing doorbell wiring.
A: With most of the doorbells on this list, the answer is yes. With the SkyBell however, you can only use the doorbell and not the camera without a subscription, and that’s only if you have an existing mechanical chime to hook it up to. With digital chimes you’d need an adapter. For the other doorbells however, you don’t need a subscription to experience the majority of functions with the doorbell.
A: In short, no. To avoid overloading your storage and to avoid consuming too much power to allow the battery to last, the doorbell cameras of today use motion sensors to tell when to turn on and start recording. You can usually adjust the settings on the motion sensor to make sure the settings are convenient for you.
A: Given enough time and resources, anything can be hacked. If someone was to try and hack your doorbell remotely, they’d have a difficult time as the doorbells have limited functionality and therefore limited ability to exploit. It’s possible to do so though, so make sure you install the latest software updates as soon as you know they’re out to make sure you stay ahead of the exploit curve. Physical exploitation would be easier, but still not easy. Disabling of doorbell cameras is more common and hacking isn’t necessary for that, as doorbells come with lifetime theft protection because they’re more likely to be removed than to be hacked or damaged beyond usability.
A: It varies. If it’s used properly and isn’t too exposed to the extreme elements, these doorbells can last you years. Check with the vendor you intend to purchase your doorbell from to enquire about any warranty that comes with it. There’s no better stamp of assurance than a long warranty to show you that the manufacturer really stands by their product.