Do you remember a time before caller ID?
When someone called, you had no idea what voice would be on the other line.
It could be grandma or it could be a telemarketer (both seemed to call during dinner time).
Now, if an unexpected knock comes you’re left wondering who it is, or whether you should answer the door.
How often have you snuck to the front door, trying to be as quiet as possible in order to look to see who it is? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some kind of caller ID for your front door?
There is, with a smart doorbell and video camera built in. You no longer need to be a millionaire with the front gate and camera security system to screen who’s knocking at the door. You just need to have a smart doorbell and video camera installed.
But with so many options currently available, which is best for you? Here are eight of our favorite smart doorbells with video camera features. We’re sure one of these will be the perfect fit for your personal and office needs.
The basics of a video doorbell are all about allowing you to see who is on the other side of your front door. However, not all video doorbells are created equal and there are different aspects to consider based on your personal and professional needs.
Here are a few of the top points to consider.
1. Digital Assistant Enabled
Some smart doorbells will be digital assistant enabled. This means you can ask Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri to show you who’s on the other side of the door (you’ll need a digital assistant enabled video device for this).
It’s not completely necessary to be digital assistant enabled, but it’s extremely helpful to have all of your smart devices controlled by one system. Otherwise, you may end up with a half-dozen different applications and devices you need to flip between. One digital assistant helps keep it simple.
The price tag of your smart doorbell is going to vary. You can pick one up for under $100. Or you can spend several hundred dollars on the device. In the world of technology, the price can vary all over the place.
Paying more doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get a better option though, so keep this in mind. While you should have an understanding of what you can afford before you buy a smart doorbell you do need to go with a device that addresses the features you’re interested in.
You’re placing a video camera right on your door, so naturally, you want it secured. It’s a bit different from having a security camera installed in the corner of the roof looking down at the front door (although realistically you can go this way if you want).
You want something that is secure, but you should also consider whether the smart doorbell needs a current peephole to work, whether it needs to work through the physical doorbell and a number of other installation factors.
Many are easy enough you can install the smart doorbell on your own, while others might require some assistance from a professional. This may depend on how comfortable you are setting such a device up.
4. Video Quality (and Recording)
Most video cameras now are relatively high in video quality. It’s still worth noting the resolution of the video and whether it shows the exterior of your front door in color or black and white.
It’s also helpful to know how the video begins. Does it only start when someone rings the doorbell or is it motion activated? Motion activated gives you additional security features (after all, someone trying to steal a package will likely not ring the front door first).
On top of this, how is the video footage stored? Is it just a live stream that doesn’t go anywhere, or does it automatically save for a set period of time? You may just want a video doorbell, or you may want something that offers you heightened security features and recording options.
All of the smart doorbells on this list are great. However, when getting down to it, our favorite of the list was the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. This doorbell gives you just about everything you might want, including 1080 HD video, two-way audio, an excellent app that works on both Android and iOS devices, plus it connects with Amazon’s Alexa.
It is at the higher price point of the smart doorbells, but we believe the price is worth it for the features you’re getting. Some of the other features we like regarding the Ring Video Doorbell Pro include:
The Zmodo Smart Greet Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is pretty straightforward. It does what it says it does. It has a button to ring the door, which activates the video camera.
The camera is a wide-angle lens, so you’ll be able to see everything going around. It also is smart motion detection, which automatically activates a video recording element whenever movement is detected.
There is a 60-day money back guarantee through Zmodo, so you do have time to check it out. There’s also a three-year limited warranty and a lifetime US-based tech support service.
The Zmodo Smart Greet Wi-Fi Video Doorbell works over Wi-Fi, so you can view the video feed anywhere. It also comes with optional cloud service. All motion alerts are saved to the cloud for 12 hours automatically. It’s up to you to activate the service and have it stored for longer.
You can set up your own home cloud network and save the videos locally if you’d like as well (otherwise you’ll be paying for the cloud service through Zmodo, or you can opt for not using a cloud storage service).
Some features of the Zmodo Smart Greet Wi-Fi Video Doorbell you might like include:
This NewPal Smart Home WiFi Video Doorbell is a simple design and easy to use. There are a single doorbell button and wide angle lens located above it.
The video has an automatic night mode, so at night the video will record for improved night visibility. The 720p video quality should be good enough to easily see what’s on the opposite side of the door.
The camera uses PIR motion detection, so should something move in front of the camera it automatically begins recording. It also can send a notification to your phone.
This NewPal Smart Home WiFi Video Doorbell does not require a current doorbell wiring system to install. It comes with mounting brackets, screws, batteries and the other necessary equipment to set it up. You will need to replace the batteries from time to time, but you’ll receive low battery warnings so you know when to change the local power source.
The NewPal Smart Home WiFi Video Doorbell sends the video signal to your phone, but it is not digital assistant enabled.
Some of the NewPal Smart Home WiFi Video Doorbell features you might like include:
Ring is one of the leading brands of smart home security technology. For under $100 you can grab the Ring Wi-Fi smart doorbell.
The doorbell comes in both a nickel and bronze finish, so you can adjust it to your style likings. If you order it online you can also request installation through Amazon (which may increase the price by up to $100).
The Ring doorbell uses an HD video camera while also using infrared night vision. You can use the Ring app to check on your front door feed whenever you’d like.
This doorbell is also Alexa enabled. If you use the Amazon Alexa smart assistant this is a very helpful feature. You can pair it with a smart lock, which allows you to unlock the door from anywhere, should someone arrive that you want to let in but you’re not at the front door.
If you have an Alexa enabled video device you can also ask Alexa to show you who’s at the front door.
The doorbell comes with a lifetime theft protection. This way, if the doorbell is stolen it’ll be replaced for free.
The app allows you to control the sensitivity of the motion sensor. This way, you can reduce sensitivity in some directions (such as if you have a bush next to the door with a number of animals moving past) or increase sensitivity when directing at another location.
Some of the features of the Ring Wi-Fi enabled video doorbell you’ll like include:
The RemoBell WiFi Wireless Video Doorbell almost looks like a cell phone attached to the front of your door. It has a clean, black and silver finish with a glossy black top featuring the camera and the doorbell on the bottom showing off a blue button so it’s easy to spot even when lights are off.
The camera shoots at 720p HD and provides two-way audio so you can talk to whoever is on the outside of the door.
The RemoBell WiFi Wireless Video Doorbell uses motion sensing and infrared night vision so you can always see what is happening outside your front door, regardless of if you have a porch light on or not.
The device records videos to the cloud and gives you access to the videos via the RemoBell app (cloud activation is required for this feature)
Installation for the RemoBell WiFi Wireless Video Doorbell is straightforward as you’ll screw in a mount to the door or doorframe. The doorbell then installs into the mount. The doorbell is also battery operated with AA batteries. The six AA batteries required for the RemoBell WiFi Wireless Video Doorbell are included, so you have everything you need to be off and running with your smart doorbell.
The one downside to the smart doorbell is it does not come with a lifetime replacement option, which some of the other doorbells have. While it locks into place within the mount, someone with time on their hands can remove the doorbell (even though you’ll see the entire process take place and sent to your app).
Some of the RemoBell WiFi Wireless Video Doorbell to keep in mind include:
The increase in price comes with a number of quality upgrades over the other options. For starters, the Zmodo Greet Pro Smart Video Doorbell offers a 1080p HD video feed (above the 720p feed of all other video cameras so far).
The video camera also uses a 180-degree viewing angle, so you’ll be able to see anything in front of the door. It also comes with exceptional night vision, allowing you to see up to 16 feet from the camera clearly at all times of the night.
The Zmodo Greet Pro Smart Video Doorbell comes with some free cloud service. All motion alert clips are saved for 36 hours for free. This gives you more than enough time to download the files you might want to keep. Upon purchasing the camera you’ll receive a 30-day free trial to the 7-day cloud recording plan. From there you can decide if you want to subscribe or rely on the 36-hour option.
The video camera has a clean, easy to use application that allows you to pull up the video feed at any point in time. It also works with Amazon Alexa, giving you further voice control features.
If you have Fire TV or any Alexa video monitor you can instantly pull up the video feed through a simple voice command.
The smart doorbell runs on a dual-band WiFi network signal, which means you can pair it with either 2.5GHz or 5GHz networks. This boosts the network strength and helps you prevent any kind of router interference issues (although if you have a large home and your router is not in the general vicinity of the front door you should consider a wireless mesh network at home to expand your wireless coverage).
One exceptional feature of the Zmodo Greet Pro Smart Video Doorbell is it comes with a smart motion detection feature. Within the app, you can draw an outline to the area of the video feed you want the motion detector to activate. This way, if your neighbors have a basketball hoop or kids that like to play in the front yard you can draw outlines that do not include these areas. By drawing such an outline you’ll avoid recording these areas.
Features of the Zmodo Greet Pro Smart Video Doorbell to highlight include:
In terms of small stature and streamlined appearance, the August Doorbell Cam Pro is at the top. Of all the smart doorbells on the list, this is the smallest. In fact, it’s so small some may not immediately see it. The device is basically a black square with a glossy circle in the middle (it’s not the same vertical rectangle of other doorbells).
The application for the August Doorbell Cam Pro is easy to use and the device will pair with Amazon Alexa. It also works in sync with any Nest thermostats or other Nest equipment you might have. As it pairs with Nest you can control some features of it with Google’s Assistant, although Alexa gives you additional voice commands.
The video will shoot in HD and the Basic Video Recording subscription saves all video feeds for up to 24 hours. Should you choose you can upgrade to the Premium Video Recording subscription, which gives you access to all saved videos for up to 30 days.
If you have other August security features you can control everything from the same app. This way, you can unlock the front door using the app, even if you don’t use Alexa or other digital assistants.
The August Doorbell Cam Pro does require an existing doorbell as you’ll remove the current doorbell and install this device (it pulls power from the original doorbell’s mechanical connection).
There is a powerful floodlight built into the smart doorbell (surprisingly powerful for the size of the device). The additional light features and some of the tech designs do require additional power, so it will need four AA batteries (which are included upon purchase).
You can request installation when ordering through Amazon, although the installation will cost around $100 on top of the price (installation is straightforward if you have a current doorbell and the provided instructions will walk you through the process).
Some of the August Doorbell Cam Pro’s highlighted features include:
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is an upgrade over the original in that it packs more power in the same basic design.
The device shoots at full 1080p HD so you’ll have a crystal clear video feed. You can also check the video feed at any time by loading the application.
Like the other Ring Video Doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 comes with a lifetime theft protection, so should it ever be stolen the company will replace it at any point in time.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 works with Amazon Alexa, so you can give voice commands. Plus, the two-way speaker system makes it easy to not only command the smart doorbell but to talk with whoever is on the other side of the door.
The smart doorbell does come with custom motion sensor features so you can tell the device where to focus the motion sensor on. While it doesn’t have the body heat sensor of other devices this is still a beneficial feature.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 comes with a removable battery pack. This way you can easily slide in a new battery. You can also charge a backup so you don’t have to take the smart doorbell offline as you charge it.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 also comes with interchangeable faceplates. This way, you can swap between the clean silver and the polished brass look.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 works off of either a current hardwired doorbell line, or it will use a battery pack. So even if you don’t have a current doorbell you can still take advantage of the device.
Some features of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to highlight include:
If you’re looking for the cream of the crop in terms of smart video doorbells, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is exactly that. The sleek design gives it a solid, beautiful look to it. You can also request professional installation when ordering the doorbell from Amazon. It does come with installation guidelines should you want to go about it on your own, but this is always an option if you’re not comfortable performing the installation on your own.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro does require a current doorbell wiring to function as it pulls power from this connection. It does not use a battery pack unlike the Video Doorbell 2 or the entry Video Doorbell, which means installation will take a few minutes longer.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro shoots video in 1080p HD while allowing you to check the video feed live. It uses both a 2.4GHz and 5 GHz wireless configuration. This way, it makes it possible to connect with a more powerful wireless network.
You do need a faster Internet connection speed to fully take advantage of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. It recommends having an upload speed of at least 1Mbps (although 2 is desired for top performance). You may need to upgrade your home wireless network or install a mesh network to ensure the wireless signal is strong enough at your front door.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro also works with Amazon Alexa (Ring has a contract with Amazon so all Ring devices will work with the Alexa digital assistant).
Some of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro features to consider include:
Smart doorbells offer an excellent opportunity to upgrade your home and office security without paying for a security service. It also makes it possible to view who’s at the door.
Many of the smart doorbells on the list also provide two-way audio, so you can talk with the person on the other side of the door, whether you’re at home or out.
You can’t go wrong with any of these options. Currently, there are some smart doorbells that do work with Google Assistant and Apple’s HomeKit, but the quality of those devices are not yet up to these options.
The editor’s pick was difficult, although we decided to go with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro because not only the features but it comes with the Lifetime replacement option, which helps set it apart from other smart doorbell manufacturers.
If you’re currently on the market for a smart doorbell, what are you looking for? What sets a doorbell apart for you?
If you’ve already bought a doorbell, what do you like about your current model? What do you wish it did differently? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments.