Best Video Doorbells in 2020
Let’s find out what the best video doorbells are this year
As we find ourselves in the midst of turmoil with social distancing, lots of people are shopping for the best video doorbells. Massive amounts of people, believe it or not, staying home and protecting themselves and ironically home security sales have skyrocketed as they distance themselves from close contact with others.
Social distancing Responsible for Skyrocketing Video Doorbell Sales?
Video Doorbells play a role in social distancing as they allow you to answer the door without physically answering the door. These devices notify you when a package has arrives at your doorstep and conversely, you are notified while the device is recording your visitor automatically should they become a “Porch Pirate.”
Because video doorbells give you the ability to participate in two way communication (microphone and speakers) with your guest, without answering the door, you can feel more safe and remain in control without confronting your guest face to face. These new technological devices take the old styled of push button doorbells and dress them up a bit aesthetically and pack them with benefits to you.
As you will find, your video doorbell will take on a powerful integration of two way communication and visual scanning with live and recorded video. You can not only see who’s knocking but you can talk to them too – if you so choose.
With a Video Doorbell, You’re Always Home
Wherever you are in the world you can give the appearance that you are home. You may be doing something that prevents you from answering the door, or if your guest rouses your suspicion. Just open your smartphone and talk or watch them and possibly call authorities if needed. It can be especially convenient for those who are disabled, elderly, incapacitated, or just want to be safe.
Right now, the top five doorbells that we are reviewing below are all under $250.00. Hello Nest turned out to be the best on reviews due to its razor sharp, high-quality video and detection features. Other than that, it would be your choice as all five are very good on there own. Nest is the only video doorbell that needs to be hard wired, while the Ring video doorbells can go either way (hardwired or wireless).
This does make Ring very versatile, especially if you are a frequent mover. It’s also much easier to install anywhere on your house or apartment.
Porch Pirates Beware
Video doorbells offer a few safety features, too. For one, you can see if someone tries to steal a package from your front door, and via your smartphone. You could talk to them, call the police from the speaker while saving the live video stream for the authorities.
Another benefit the video doorbell offer you is the ability to link it to other smart home devices like motion detection and smart locks. For example, if a video doorbell detects motion, it can automatically turn on your smart lights, and notify you before the person ever gets to your door.
Linked to a smart lock, if you see someone at your front door, but can’t get there to let them in, you can use an app to unlock the door.
So what are the best video doorbells?
Nest Hello Smart WiFi Video Doorbell
After testing all of the top models, the best video doorbell turned out to be the Nest Hello Smart Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. It has the highest video quality, can recognize individual faces and can even announce them, too. Because it’s owned by Google, you can also view a live feed from the Nest Hello on Chromecast devices; it also works with Alexa, too.
A couple of caveats, though: The Nest Hello has to be hardwired, so you’ll have to install it where there’s an existing doorbell, or install some new wires. To get most of the Nest Hello’s great features, you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, which starts at $5 per month.
Ring Video Doorbell 2
If you’re looking for a wireless model, we recommend the Ring Video Doorbell 2, which can be hardwired, or run off its battery (which you’ll need to recharge every few months). It also has a high-quality 1080p feed, a number of smart features and give you customization features for motion zones adjustments.
Ring Video Doorbell – Original
The best video doorbell for those on a budget is the Ring Video Doorbell. Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, this sub-$100 model also works either hardwired or on battery power.
Although the resolution of its camera is just 720p, video was clear enough to see who was at the door, and it has all of the features of its pricier sibling.
New: Ring Video Doorbell 3 & Plus
The new Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($199) and Ring Video Doorbell Plus ($229) have been announced. The company’s newest video doorbells include such features as better Wi-Fi and improved motion detection. The Ring Video Doorbell Plus also has a new “Pre-roll” feature that adds up to four seconds of video before a motion event occurs, so that you can better see people as they approach your door. Both video doorbells are available for pre-order, and will ship on April 8.
The best video doorbells you can buy today
1. Nest Hello
The best video doorbell overall
Video Resolution: 1600 x 1200 | Field of View: 160 degrees | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant | Size: 4.6 x 1.7 x 1 inch | Wired/Battery: wired | Starting Storage Fee: $50/year for 5 days video
bandwidth to upload video Requires hardwired connection
The Nest Hello takes the top honors as the best video doorbell overall, as it produced the best-looking video we’ve yet seen from one of these devices, and its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. The Nest Hello can also recognize people’s faces, and announce them via a Google Assistant compatible device when they come to your door. (It also works with Alexa).
While the Hello needs a hardwired connection, it continuously records video, so you’ll never miss an event. You can also set up specific zones, so you’ll only be notified when a person or object appears in that area of the frame. To get most of these features, you’ll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $5/month), but they’re worth it.
2. Ring Video Doorbell 2
The best video doorbell for wireless installation
Video Resolution: 1080p | Field of View: 160 degrees | Works with: Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT | Size: 5.05 x 2.50 x 1.08 inches | Wired/Battery: Optional/Yes | Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 60 days video
You can exclude parts of the camera view from motion alerts battery power for flexible placement slim, attractive design useful social function in app notification sound is grating.
Because it can run entirely on battery power, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best video doorbell for homes or locations where there isn’t already power. But the reason the Ring Video Doorbell 2 also ranks so high is that it can run using a hardwired connection, making it very versatile.
This 1080p doorbell camera offers good customization for motion alerts, although it’s not as robust as the Ring Pro’s. However, you still get the same ability to share videos with neighbors, as well as Ring’s affordable video-storage fees. We also recommend picking up the optional Ring Chime device ($27), so you can hear the doorbell inside the house.
3. Ring Video Doorbell
The best video doorbell value
Video Resolution: 720p | Field of View: 160 degrees | Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT | Size: 5.05 x 2.50 x 1.08 inches | Wired/Battery: Yes/Yes | Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 60 days video
☆☆☆☆☆ Inexpensive Customizable motion zonesGood-quality videoWorks wired or battery powered lower resolution than other video doorbells
Ring’s original Video Doorbell has a max resolution of 720p, but otherwise, it’s just as capable as Ring’s more-expensive models. And, at less than $100, it’s the best video doorbell for those on a budget.
Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, we like that you can use this model either wired or on battery power alone, and you can create custom motion zones, and also see what’s going on in your neighborhood. Plus, Ring offers very affordable video storage plans.
4. August Doorbell Cam
This video doorbell works with a lot of smart home devices
Video Resolution: 1280 x 960 | Field of View: 120 degrees | Works with: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home/Assistant, Honeywell, Nest, IFTTT, Xfinity, Wink | Size: 2.9 x 2.9 x 0.9 inches | Wired/Battery: Yes | Starting Storage Fee: $49.99/year for 30 days of video
App and hardware are well-designed . Hind sight captures video before motion alarm is triggered and works with many smart home systems integrates with smart lock and keypad Can’t set motion zones relatively expensive cloud costs narrow field of view. August’s Doorbell Cam is one of the best video doorbells because it has a clever feature: Hind Sense includes a couple of seconds of video before the motion is detected.
This means the device is more likely to capture someone as they approach your door. While August’s doorbell doesn’t have the highest resolution among the cameras tested, the footage was clear enough that we could see people’s faces, and its spotlight illuminated whoever was coming to the door at night.
Because August’s product looks the least like a traditional doorbell, visitors sometimes didn’t know to press the device; they just knocked on our door instead. Still, it integrates with August’s Smart Locks, which is compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, among other third party smart home systems — the most of any of the doorbells tested.
5. Ring Peephole Cam
Best video doorbell for apartments
Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Field of View: 155 degrees horizontal, 90 degrees vertical | Works with: Amazon Alexa | Size: 4.4 x 2.3 x 1.2 inches | Wired/Battery: No/Yes | Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 30 days of video
Simple to install, good video quality, works with Alexa. Your storm door can block night view, and does not work with Google Assistant. If you can’t install a traditional video doorbell, or you live in an apartment – The Ring Peephole Cam is the best video doorbell for you.
It replaces your traditional door peephole giving you an electronic means of seeing who’s at the door. (Don’t worry; it has a peephole built in). Because it screws into place, you don’t have to drill any new holes into a door, so your landlord won’t be upset.
Because the Peephole Cam is battery-operated, you’ll have to recharge it once every month or so, depending on how often you use it. While it does work with Alexa—you can view a feed from the camera on an Echo Show, for example, it does not work with Google Assistant.
How Video Doorbells work
When you push the button on a traditional doorbell, the action closes a circuit to ring a chime inside your home. Video doorbells are a bit more complex. When you push the button on one of these devices, the doorbell’s camera sends a video feed to your smartphone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and you can press a button in the app to talk to the person at the door over a two-way speaker. Each doorbell supports ring alerts, which notify your phone when a person rings the bell, as well as motion alerts.
How to choose the best video doorbell
Wired vs. wireless
Video doorbells typically require 16 volts or more to work. So if you have a doorbell that requires hardwired electricity to operate it will need to be connected or wires run to support the its operation. Video doorbells that have the built-in battery packs do not require power from the doorbell at all. For example, the Ring doorbells can operate either way: battery only, electrical or both.
This is very helpful especially if your existing wiring isn’t sufficient to power the doorbell, you won’t have to upgrade. Your device will notify you when it’s time to recharge.
Your choice of doorbells will also depend on whether you’re replacing an existing doorbell or installing a doorbell where there isn’t one already. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the most flexible.
While it can replace a hardwired doorbell supplying 8-24 volts of electricity, its rechargeable battery means you could put this doorbell anywhere.
The optional Ring Chime add-on (which is included as a bonus in this offer) can even sound an audible chime inside the house, just like a traditional doorbell would.
Field of View
Do you want a narrow view of just the person at the door, or do you want to see everything around your entryway? The Ring Video Doorbell 2 gives you a broad 160-degree viewing angle, which lets me see my whole porch and driveway to the curb.
I love this feature because I am notified when someone starts to walk up my driveway giving me the ability to decide whether it’s a friend or foe.
With the ability to adjust my field of view (zones) I can decide if I need to switch to plan B and initiate my Family Emergency Plan.
The higher the resolution, the sharper the image, which will make it easier to identify people at your door. Ring’s higher-end doorbells record video in 1080p, while the August Doorbell Cam’s resolution is actually 1280 x 960, not quite “full” 1080p resolution.
The video doorbells we tested take different approaches to capturing video at night. The August Doorbell cam uses motion-activated LEDs to light the area in front of the camera, so it can capture colors a little better. Ring’s doorbells use infrared night vision to see in the dark, but the result is monochrome video.
Aesthetics may be a concern. After all, you’re bolting this thing to the front of your house! The Ring Pro looks the most like a traditional doorbell, and Ring even includes four face plates, so you can choose which matches your house’s trim or paint one exactly the shade you like.
Video doorbells vs. security cameras
Video doorbells don’t necessarily make the best home security cameras. While the apps let you choose to receive motion alerts as well as doorbell alerts, motion-triggered events often resulted in video of a person or car just exiting the frame.
A dedicated home security camera may be a better choice if you’re looking for actual security, because you can position such a camera in more places. And when you get a motion alert, you can back up the video and see what happened before the alert came in.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this review of the top 5 video doorbells. As you can see, the Nest Hello Cam and Ring models fluctuate in features and flexibility. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either. So, then it comes down to price. You can make that decision.
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