Door security cameras were something only Bond villains and the extremely rich had access to not too long ago. We’re talking HD camera feeds that you can view in real-time, not just those blurry surveillance recordings for evidence. Smart doorbell cameras have been directly attributed to a drop in crime recently. While it doesn’t completely replace a monitored security system, the ability to monitor who is at or near your home’s entrances is a game-changer. Now, you can tell when that important package has arrived, solicitors are at your door, or if someone is snooping around. The best doorbell camera can let you answer the door without even getting up.
Unconvinced that you need a doorbell security camera?
Well, there’s more to it than just a wireless peephole.
This guide will show you all the ways a doorbell security camera helps protect your property, privacy, and peace. Up first we have the best video doorbell reviews for you to read through
6 Picks for Best Doorbell Camera of 2020
There’s a healthy selection of smart doorbells on the market, each with their pros and cons. Just remember that if it costs as much as your standard webcam, it will probably look like one. You don’t have to settle for blurry, delayed footage. Browse the latest and greatest below.
We’ve reviewed our top 6 picks for the Best Doorbell Camera of the year, by highlighting some of our favorite features, and the benefits that each model offers. After our reviews, you can dive into a few of the things you may want to consider before making your final purchase decision.
Best Video Doorbell Overall
Amazon’s acquisition of Ring video doorbell has made this leading doorbell camera brand even more affordable and easy to use. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro provides full-HD 1080p footage and strong WiFi connection. The product itself is very streamlined and cool, something previous models lacked a lot.
When looking for the best wifi doorbell camera for your needs, video quality is important, but FOV (field of view) should be a close second. The Ring Pro has 160 degrees of vision, while it’s 720p counterpart actually has 180 degrees. This means you could be missing part of the picture if your aim is to see as wide as possible.
This loss of 20 degrees is typically not enough for most of us to notice a big difference. The developers at Ring obviously figured that most doorsteps don’t need that much peripheral coverage.
With that said, the Ring Pro is perfect for owners of Amazon’s Alexa. You can give a voice command to check out who’s on your doorstep without ever getting up. The app itself allows you to control where motion sensors are pointed and the sensitivity levels.
Nest Hello is a similarly priced doorbell camera, with similar features to the Ring Pro. The highest quality footage is actually up to 1600 by 1200 pixels. Now, if you may not have noticed, this aspect ratio is not a widescreen format. This is your old school 4:3, but with a sharper picture.
If your main focus is to keep tabs on your door’s entire vertical frame, this works fine. Nest has made one of the best video doorbell options out there.
The Nest Hello also streams into a voice-activated app, but you’ll need to live in a Google Home, not an Alexa. Nest Hello also uses face ID technology, which may or may not be something you’d want to have streamed onto the cloud.
SkyBell is a brand many aren’t familiar with, but they have a great track record and partnership with security systems. The HD version is a doorbell camera that fully integrates with Alarm.com home security. This is what sets it apart from the previous two big-name doorbell cameras.
It is fully HD, plus it comes with a handy 5X digital zoom ability. The build quality is also better than most other doorbell cameras. It is made to withstand extreme weather and temperatures. Folks that live in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and etc. will know that sometimes the heat gets the better of their electronics.
Next up is not the best doorbell camera, by any measure, but offers a different line of features. Starting with image quality, it’s technically the lowest resolution at 960p. The difference in clarity is negligible to most, but you probably will notice the lower FOV: 120 degrees.
If you can get past those technical shortcomings, the August Doorbell has some great and unique features. For example, while it doesn’t do night-vision, it does come with a “floodlight” activated upon ringing. It can’t replace a real floodlight or porch light, but it does clearly illuminate the face of the guest.
August also works with Amazon Echo, making it a natural alternative to Ring. August has its own smart lock security system which integrates nicely with their doorbell.
Our next pick for the best wireless doorbell camera is the budget-conscious Zmodo. This doorbell cam is packed with features you’d expect from any high-end model: motion sensors, two-way communication, and easy installation. The biggest shortcoming is the video resolution, coming in at 720p.
It has some nice unexpected perks, too, like the ability to play a voice message to visitors when you’re out or on vacation. Zmodo also comes with an extremely useful WiFi-extender accessory. If there is one constant among all wireless doorbell cameras, it is that connection issues can always happen, no matter which model you go with.
Some houses just have exterior walls that degrade the quality of the wireless signal. More commonly, the router may just be out of reach if it is on the opposite side of the house. Zmodo’s lower price also includes the ability to simply forgo cloud storage and utilize the 8GB of storage it has onboard for recordings you want to keep. We don’t recommend this for a business setting, but it’s still nice to have a scaled price point.
Wisenet, as a brand may be easily overlooked surrounded by more familiar names. However, the Wisenet SmartCam doorbell offers some unique features of its own. For one, it offers Face ID, but instead of building a database, you get to control the list of faces that get recognized. This is great because you can be alerted when people you know are at the door.
Another cool feature that isn’t found in any other of the popular smart doorbells is its sound detection system. If anything just out of the FOV of the cam makes a loud noise, you will be alerted on your phone. This is just another layer in personal security that closely resembles that of professional services.
Wisenet also has an adaptive night vision technology that makes their image quality less blown out and more detailed than average NV.
Not Your Average Security Camera
It may sound like these doorbell cameras are just another passive surveillance tool, but that would be far from the truth. A video doorbell device contains a recorder, two-way sound (a mouthpiece and speaker), movement sensors, and the doorbell itself. The “smart” part of it comes into play with the ability to alert you on your smartphone or tablet app.
The best smart doorbells tell you when the motion sensor is triggered so that you can access the live feed from the camera no matter where you are. This is great because you can view your doorway from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. The video footage is also stored so that you can view it later or use it as evidence in the event of a crime on your property.
Features of the Best Smart Doorbell with a Camera
It is worth noting that if you do install one of the best video doorbells with motion detection that you must make sure your landscaping is taken care of. What do we mean by that? Well, if you happen to have low-lying tree limbs or plants that grow tall enough to sway in the wind, they can trigger your camera’s feed. This could become a bit of an annoyance, so make sure you handle all your outdoor maintenance and home improvements first.
The other thing to check for is sensitivity settings. If your front door is facing a busy road, and close enough, passing vehicles might trigger it as well. Usually, this is something that’s easily adjustable.
Wired or Battery Power
All of the above doorbell cameras we have reviewed are powered through the wiring of your doorbell. There are some more budget-friendly models that work completely off their own battery power. It is worth noting that those who live in older buildings who have not had any electrical rewiring may not be able to use non-battery-powered doorbells.
Ring makes a 720p model that can run on batteries and an older 1080p model, for example.
You will need to choose between the grayscale night vision models or doorbell cameras that lack night vision mode, but record in full color, like August’s. This will depend on your needs: detail or the wider field of view. Night vision mode will get you full image clarity, but you may not be able to ID a suspect without a direct capture.
Let’s face it: some doorbells are ugly. Early models and smaller brands can practically look like plastic bricks. Some doorbell cameras try to mimic your average doorbell shape, while others look like an amazing sci-fi prop.
This thing is going to be greeting you every time you come home, so make sure you’re okay with the design. It’s also important to account for your doorbell’s exposure to the elements. Not all doorbell cameras can withstand heavy rain, snow, hail, or extreme temperatures.
The best wireless video doorbell should last all seasons, but keep in mind that cold weather can drain batteries faster so you might have to charge things up frequently.
Smart Doorbell Perks
The best doorbell camera allows for a real ‘smart home’ with hands-free wireless controls. You can communicate with people outside your door while you’re busy doing other things. Yes, we are also talking about the ability to answer your door while in the bathroom.
Which is worse: talking to someone at the door while delivering a ‘number two’ or missing that brand new TV delivery, forcing you to go pick it up in person? Plus, if you have a smart doorbell camera integrated with a smart security system, like the August Doorbell Cam, you can let people in remotely. Users can do this anywhere and in real-time.
These benefits extend to having safer, more convenient B&B reservations. Owners can monitor who is coming and going in their properties, while making things easier for guests to come and go, without fear of losing a key or having to rely on the host.
The Best Doorbell Camera for Businesses
Some doorbell cameras offer the perfect DIY solution for small businesses. You can keep tabs on who is coming and going, as well as what leaves your business. Hiring a security guard is often not in the budget, so a wireless doorbell camera can be a great solution. A great doorbell camera can offer a great defense against stolen supplies or suspicious behavior. Ideally, you should have a closed-circuit security footage recording at all times, but not all startups can afford it.
The doorbell camera can at least offer a first line of defense against would-be criminals. Also, if you are at home, you can accept package deliveries remotely and know when to go pick them up. This is a huge perk for busy owners who are dealing with large packages and shipping materials.
Cameras do prevent crimes from happening. This goes for both employee theft and outside burglary attempts. The presence of a doorbell camera with an ‘always on’ sensor may make that would-be criminal hesitant on picking the lock unless they want an up-close picture taken.
The best smart doorbell can be a very affordable investment in the security of your office or business.
Video Doorbells for Surveillance
We mentioned the prospect of using a doorbell camera as a means of surveillance, but they shouldn’t be a replacement. These budget-friendly security measures are a great supplemental tool for property owners. As much as 34% of burglaries happen via the front door. In the case of having a doorbell camera with a surveillance camera for your front door, you’ll likely get a better picture of their face. They’ll be staring right into your camera without even knowing it. Plus, the doorbell camera is proactive.
Protect your Porch and Packages
The idea that there are people out there that will literally take packages off your porch in broad daylight is maddening. The only real defense you have against these thieves is to have surveillance to catch them in the act or deter them altogether. A doorbell camera is also great for preventing a missed delivery, as well.
Just make sure you have your lawn/garden/porch area cleared of any blind spots. The delivery workers often leave packages behind furniture or dividers, which could prevent your camera from catching sneaky thieves.
Benjamin is a gadgeteer and homebody who loves writing about the latest smart home technology. He is particularly interested in covering smart home products that automate (or make more efficient) mundane tasks that every home owner and apartment dweller face on a daily basis.