by Craig Lloyd on
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Ding dong! Someone’s at the door. But who? With a video doorbell, you can see who it is right from your phone. Here are the best video doorbells on the market.
Video doorbells are like peepholes of sorts, only you don’t have get up off the couch and look through a tiny hole to see who’s at the door. Plus, the built-in camera can record footage and act as a security cam of sorts.
There are a handful of video doorbells to choose from, though, so here are a few that we consider worthy of your time and money.
The video quality is superb, as the colors are vibrant and the image looks sharp and clear. Of course, it depends on how high you have the quality set, but even on Medium it looks pretty good. Plus, it can do HDR, which means that it’ll show both bright and dark areas in clear detail without really favoring one over the other, which is a really nice feature to have for front doors that might be underneath an awning—the porch might look dark with the outside being bright and sunny.
Paired with a Nest Aware subscription (starting at $5/month), the Nest Hello can recognize specific people, like the mailman or a neighbor, and can continuously record and save video for up to 30 days. You can even set up Activity Zones where only a certain portion of the video frame is monitored for motion.
Furthermore, the compact size of the Nest Hello makes it easy to mount on door trims without it getting in the way of the door opening, or making it look outlandishly huge and out of place.
The Nest Hello requires that you connect it to your existing doorbell wiring, and it comes with a chime connector that needs to be installed onto your existing indoor chime. So there’s definitely some assembly required, but the Nest app does a really great job of guiding you through everything.
Ring is one of the most popular companies when it comes to video doorbells, and for good reason. The Ring Doorbell 2 is easy to set up and use, and it has a feature that most video doorbells don’t have: an internal battery.
This means that the Ring Doorbell doesn’t need to be connected to existing doorbell wiring, which makes installation way easier. Of course, this also means that you have to recharge it every few months, and the entire unit is rather large compared to competitors in order to make room for the battery. But you can still hook it up to your existing doorbell wiring if you want (and doing so will trickle charge the battery, saving you from the hassle of recharging it every few months).
You can also grab the first-generation Ring Doorbell for just $100, which only does 720p video (instead of 1080p), but still includes most of the same features as its successor. There’s also the Ring Doorbell Pro for $250, which is smaller and sleeker and includes better customization with motion detection, but doesn’t include the internal battery.
In any case, the Ring Doorbell can store video recordings for up to 60 days with a subscription plan that costs only $3 per month, which is cheaper than Nest Aware.
The SkyBell HD is a lesser-known option than the two doorbells mentioned above, but it’s still a product that’s worthy of praise, especially with its free video storage.
Furthermore, it has pretty much every feature you’d want in a video doorbell that closely matches the Nest Hello and Ring Doorbell: 1080p video, two-way communication, motion alerts, night vision, and more.
Its circular design doesn’t really make it a good option for installing on door trim (although the Trim Plus is an alternative if you don’t mind lower frame rates), but if you don’t want to pay a subscription for video storage, the SkyBell HD is truly the way to go in that regard.
Just like the Nest Hello and the Ring Doorbell Pro, it needs to be connected to your existing doorbell’s wiring, as it doesn’t have any kind of internal battery. So keep that in mind.
You might know August best for its smart lock, as that’s how the company got its start. However, it now has several products under its belt, including a video doorbell.
If you already have an August Smart Lock, then the Doorbell Cam Pro pairs really well with it, as you can glance to see who’s at the door and then instantly unlock your door if you want to let them inside. If you’re looking for an intercom + door lock experience like an apartment complex where you can see who it is and buzz them in, pairing the August lock and doorbell is a pretty slick option to do so.
Like the Nest Hello and the SkyBell HD, it must be connected to your existing doorbell wiring. However, it does have a backup battery in case your power goes out, but it’s not meant for 24/7 battery operation or anything like that.
One unique feature, though, is its integrated floodlight, which turns on when it detects a person. This allows the camera to clearly see who’s at the door when it’s night out, since the camera doesn’t have night vision capabilities.
As for video storage, it can store video recordings for up to 24 hours for free. Any longer than that, and you’ll have to go with their $5/month subscription, which can store videos for up to 30 days.
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