One of the few things that really grinds our gears is when the deliveryman decides that no one’s home and takes our parcel back to the post office, even though we were home the whole time. Maybe you were at the back of the house or outside tending to your the garden. Even if you weren’t home, a smart video doorbell is a handy way for you to monitor your front door and yell out to the mailman that yes, you are indeed home and to leave it on the step.
A video doorbell can help add an extra layer of security to your home. Like we touched on above, a video doorbell is super handy for taking a peek at who’s hovering around your front door. Since most video doorbells are wirelessly connected to an app on your smartphone, you can receive notifications and alerts anytime someone approaches.
You can even use a smart doorbell to speak to visitors through your phone or answer with an automated message. For instance, if your guest has arrived early but you’re stuck in the tub, you can answer to let them know you need a minute or two to get the door.
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How to choose the best video doorbell for your home
Now that we understand the benefits of owning a smart doorbell, you need to ask yourself what features are the most important to you? A high-resolution camera, battery-operated or wired, motion detection and night visibility are just a few that should be front of mind.
Video quality is extra important if you want to know who’s at your door. The sharper the image quality on your smart doorbell’s camera, the better chance you have at identifying unwanted visitors. Meanwhile, only a few doorbells offer you the option to alert you when someone is approaching, which is handy if you’re in a feud with that delivery driver who always takes your packages back to the post office.
Next, you’ll need to decide if you want to buy a battery-operated or wired video doorbell. Keep in mind that if you choose to go down the wired route, unless you have a pre-existing wired doorbell spot on your door, you may need to pay extra to have it installed. Meanwhile, a battery-operated smart doorbell forgoes the additional costs, but you will need to remove it to recharge its batteries every so often. So if you were hoping to use one as an added layer of security, you might have a temporary blind spot to be mindful of for a couple hours.
Most video doorbells include the need for a subscription if you want to access its full capabilities. There are a few, however, that don’t offer subscriptions if you want to keep your costs down.
If you want to know which smart doorbells are the best fit for your home, then let’s continue.
Best value: Ring Video Doorbell
Perhaps one of the most affordable smart doorbells you can find in the market, the Ring Video also happens to be one of the most popular. While it does need to be wired into your doorframe to work, downloading the app will allow you to see, hear and speak to visitors from anywhere. You can even pair it with any Alexa-controlled device, so you can immediately check your front door using your voice.
A fun feature that Ring Video doorbell has is its Quick Replies function. The Quick Replies feature acts like an answering machine for your home. If you’re ever out-and-about, you can choose from a list of preset messages to give instructions to your visitor or ask them to leave you a message before they leave.
Camera quality-wise, the Ring Video doorbell sports 1080p HD visuals so you can see your guest’s face in sharp detail. The video does have a rather narrow view, but you can still enjoy a full scope of your front porch. However, some of the downsides of this smart doorbell are that you may need some help setting it up, especially if you haven’t had a pre-existing wired doorbell before. It also isn’t compatible with Google or Homekit since it’s an Amazon product.
On the plus side, the Ring app will you allow to connect it with other Ring products, such as the Ring Floodlight Cam and Stick Up Cam. With the full set, you’ve got a solid security system at your fingers.
While the app is free to download, you must have a subscription to enjoy the full range of benefits the Ring doorbell can offer. The most basic plan will offer you security for one device at $4 a month or $40 for a year. Meanwhile, if you have more Ring devices you want to connect, it’s best you go with the Plus plan for $14 a month or $150 a year.
Where to buy Ring Video Doorbell
You can buy one from any of the following retailers:
Additionally, if you’d like to pick up the Ring Chime (which allows you to hear your doorbell from any room in the house), then you can pick one here from Amazon for $59.
Most frills: Ring Pro 2
While the Ring Video Pro 2 resembles its base model pretty much identically, it actually improves on some of the features where its predecessor falls short. It still features two-way talk and advanced motion detection with alerts. But visually, it gives you a better view of your front yard thanks to its improved 1536p HD head-to-toe video and crystal-clear colour night vision. It even sports 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows your connection to run at a faster rate.
An additional feature it comes with is “Pre-Roll”, which allows you to review complete motion events. What this means is that it will capture motion in video before the motion is even detected. It’s an extra step of security so that you’ll have more insight into what happens on your front porch.
Keep in mind that the Ring Video Pro 2 still requires a subscription to take advantage of all its features.
Where to buy Ring Video Pro 2
Best non-subscription plan: Eufy Video Doorbell
The Eufy Video Doorbell is a great option if you want to experience sharper detail when checking to see who’s at the door and if you want to ditch the subscription plan route. It features 2K resolution and a wide dynamic range so that an overcast day won’t affect your camera’s quality.
If you weren’t interested in setting up a wired smart doorbell, then you’re in luck because the Eufy doorbell is only battery-operated. Although, this does mean you’ll need to recharge its removable batteries every six months or so. This will result in a “blackout period” for a few hours.
A handy feature it comes with is enhanced human detection. Its on-device AI can instantly analyse motion and determine whether or not a human is present. While this is handy so that you aren’t alerted every time a magpie lands on your doorstep, it won’t do much good if you’ve locked your dog outside.
Just like the Ring range, you can choose from a list of self pre-recorded messages to address visitors including instructions for your delivery man on the best place to hide your packages. You can also respond in real-time too, through its two-way audio speaker.
You may have noticed the Eufy Video Doorbell also comes with a Homebase. The Homebase helps to reduce your Eufy doorbell’s energy consumption by 58% and its equipped with military-grade data encryption so your footage is securely stored.
Where to buy Eufy Video Doorbell
Best video quality: Arlo Essential Video Doorbell
If you’ve decided that you prioritise security above all else when it comes to a smart doorbell, then you’ll want the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell. Rather than installing an entire home security system, Arlo is the only video doorbell on this list that offers a built-in siren. You can set its siren to automatically sound whenever it detects motion near your door, or you can trigger it manually if you spot suspicious individuals loitering on your property.
Its camera quality is double the sharpness of the Eufy doorbell, boasting 4K HD resolution, 180-degree views and an optimised 1:1 aspect ratio. Whether you’ve decided to run with a wired or battery-operated smart doorbell, the Arlo can do both, so it’s at your convenience.
Like Ring’s doorbell range, you will also need a subscription with your Arlo doorbell. With no plan, you’ll only be able to receive notifications and check on your footage via live video streaming. However, if you go for Arlo’s Secure service plan, you’ll be able to enjoy person, vehicle and animal detection as well as package detection, up to 30 days of Cloud video history and rich, interaction notifications.
For one device, a subscription will cost $4.59 a month or $14.99 a year. If you go up to the next level, the Secure Plus plan will offer Cloud video history for up to 60 days for an unlimited number of devices, including your Arlo doorbell, at $21.99 a month.