Which video doorbell is best?
For safety reasons, it’s usually not a good idea to open your door when you don’t know who’s on the other side. With a video doorbell, you can see who’s knocking without even getting off your couch. That’s because the doorbell has a built-in camera, which sends images to your phone, tablet, or other devices. Some models are even equipped with a speaker and microphone, making it possible for you to talk to whoever is at your door. Many also send alerts to let you know someone is at your door even when you’re away from home, giving you peace of mind when you’re traveling.
Our buying guide is full of tips that can help you find the best video doorbell for your home. We’ve also included some specific product recommendations, including our top choice from Ring, which provides crystal clear images and on-demand video of your door, so you can check on your home whenever you want.
Considerations when choosing a video doorbell
The first thing to decide when you’re choosing a video doorbell is which power source will work best for your home. A wired model is more difficult to install, so if you don’t have an existing wired doorbell, you’ll probably need a licensed electrician for the installation. However, video doorbells are usually compatible with the connectors in wired doorbells, so if you already have a wired model, you may be able to set it up yourself.
Either way, battery-operated video doorbells are much easier to install. Their internal batteries are rechargeable via a USB cable, and each charge lasts for six to 12 months. You don’t need to connect any wires to install it — just charge the battery, hang the doorbell, and you’re ready to go.
Field of view
To make sure you can see everything around your door, you want a video doorbell with a large field of view (FOV). With a 90-degree FOV, you’ll just see the spot in front of your door and some of the side view. A 180-degree FOV gives you a good look at the area in front of your door as well as the sides for the best view possible.
You want your video doorbell to provide clear images, so its resolution is a very important feature to consider. Doorbells with a higher resolution offer the sharpest picture, but you can find options that range in resolution from as low as 480 pixels (p) all the way up to 1,080p.
Video doorbell features
Some video doorbells offer a handy motion-detection feature. If someone moves near your door, a sensor on the doorbell picks it up and alerts you to the movement. Many homeowners value the feature for security purposes. But you should make sure that any model you choose has advanced motion-detection features — that way, it won’t alert you every time a car drives down your street.
After dark, you’re probably most concerned about your home’s security, so look for a video doorbell with night vision. This allows the camera to pick up discernible images, even when there isn’t much light.
Some video doorbells allow you to talk to visitors without having to open the door. (You can tell a delivery person to leave a package at the side of your home, for example.) These models are equipped with speakers and a microphone. If you want to be able to have a conversation with visitors, though, you’ll need a model with two-way audio.
All video doorbells have a connected app that allows you to watch the video it records and receive alerts on your phone or tablet. Opt for a doorbell with an app that connects reliably and offers an easy-to-use interface. Make sure customer service is responsive to any issues you may encounter.
With some video doorbells, you’re able to use cloud storage to save video footage. If you’re having trouble with vandalism or other home-security issues, this may be a convenient feature.
Video doorbell price
Video doorbells typically cost between $50-$500. You’ll pay between $50-$100 for lower-resolution doorbells that don’t have a broad FOV, $100-$200 for a medium-resolution doorbell, and $200-$500 for a high-resolution doorbell with a full FOV.
Video doorbell FAQ
Q. Which devices are compatible with a video doorbell?
A. It varies from model to model, but nearly all video doorbells can work with Android or Apple devices. Check the model you’re purchasing to make sure it will work with your phone and/or tablet, though.
Q. Can everyone in the family have access to a video doorbell’s app?
A. Most doorbells allow more than one person in the family to have an account that’s connected to the app. In some cases, there may be a limit, but other models allow unlimited access to the app for the entire family.
Video doorbells we recommend
Best of the best
Our take: Outshines other Ring models because of its increased versatility and stronger signal range, but still provides the high-quality images and effective motion detection that the brand is known for.
What we like: Offers clear images and infrared night vision for low-light video. Uses both a real chime sound and a smartphone ringer to alert you to guests. Lets you see and talk with visitors. Can be upgraded with additional features, such as floodlights.
What we dislike: Some users still have concerns about WiFi signal strength. The motion sensor can be overly sensitive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bang for your buck
Ring’s Video Doorbell in Satin Nickel – 2020 model
Our take: An attractive HD model with a sleek design that installs easily with an existing wired doorbell.
What we like: Offers a wide-angle view of your door. Doesn’t have a delay between the ring and an alert being sent. Can work as either a battery-powered or hardwired unit. Scans in zones, so you’re aware of visitors before they get to your door.
What we dislike: The motion sensor actually detects heat, which can sometimes miss guests. Wi-Fi connection can be spotty.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Google’s Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Our take: A high-quality video doorbell that provides sharp, clear images in both day and low-light situations and allows you to communicate with guests.
What we like: HD video provides crystal-clear images of guests. Offers a larger picture than other models, so you can see guests from head to toe. Allows you to stream live video of your doorway 24/7 and also records continuously. HD audio lets guests hear you clearly.
What we dislike: There can be up to a two-minute delay between guests appearing at your door and an alert being sent to your device.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.