In the following table, we have selected popular smart video doorbells that are available online and highlighted various features. However, since we are just getting started with the topic of smart doorbells, we have not reviewed any of the models listed below. If you are interested in reviews, let us know in the comments.
|Smart doorbells compared|
|Product||Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2||Arlo Essential||eufy Security Video Doorbell||XTU Doorbell Camera||Tmezon Video Doorbell||Product|
|Integrated camera||Integrated camera|
|Alexa compatible?||Alexa compatible?|
|Google Home compatible?||Google Home compatible?|
|HomeKit compatible?||HomeKit compatible?|
|Battery powered?||Battery operation?|
|Cable operation?||Cable service?|
|Cloud connection||Cloud connection|
|Alarm included||Alarm included|
What are smart video doorbells and how do I use them?
To kick off our buying guide, here are a few principles to take note of. Based on our idea of what smart doorbells should be like, they must be able to inform you of visitors via the smart home ecosystem or smartphone. For this purpose, the unit located at your front door is usually connected to your home Wi-Fi.
However, there are many solutions on the market when it comes to smart doorbells. They range from simple models that simply notify you of visitors via an app, while there are models that support multiple switches or automatically notify you whenever there is a package left at the door. For this reason, we’ll take a closer look at details you should consider when buying a smart doorbell.
These are the differences you should look out for when buying smart doorbells
With or without a chime
When I reviewed my first smart video doorbell in 2018, I was surprised by one feature: many models make do without a doorbell that informs you when the button is pressed, even without having a smartphone or smart speaker around. This is a problem, especially in households with several people. If you are on the road and have configured your smartphone as the only device connected to the doorbell, no signal will reach the house.
To hear a beep in the house, there are two options. First, there are models like the Ring Video Doorbell, which comes bundled with a WLAN repeater that acts as a chime. Apart from that, you can connect selected models to an existing doorbell via your home automation system. Whichever method you prefer is, of course, up to you and the circumstances of your living situation.
Two-way intercom audio
With all the models mentioned above, you have the option of communicating with the person at your front door. For this purpose, manufacturers integrate two-way audio into their doorbells, which work either via your smartphone, your smart monitor or included solutions. When purchasing solutions outside of this article, make sure you choose a model with intercom functionality.
Battery-powered or wired?
Speaking of existing cables and installation options. Every smart doorbell requires a power source. Once again, you can adapt it based on your requirements. If you want to install the smart variant in addition to the existing doorbell or in a house with multiple families, a battery-powered model may be the better choice.
But if the necessary cables are available, you can also choose a model with a permanent power source. In Germany, doorbells usually work with an 8-volt power source. So when buying, make sure that the voltage is enough for your desired model. Because there are also models that work with the mains adapter and socket, which can be a problem, especially outside the house.
With or without a subscription?
The trend toward subscription models has not stopped at smart doorbells. Unfortunately, manufacturers such as Ring or eufy sometimes hide really practical functions behind a monthly subscription. Ring doorbells, for example, which belong to Amazon, offer a useful function for recognizing packages and people. But this is only available if you’re willing to pay at least $3 a month or $36 annually.
So when buying a smart video doorbell, be sure to find out which features you’ll have access to when paying a monthly subscription. At the same time, you should consider just how sensitive the video data at your front door is, but more on that in the next paragraph.
Cloud or local?
Many smart doorbells rely on cloud storage to offer a range of practical functions. While on the one hand you can look at your entryway from all over the world and store video footage as evidence in case of break-ins, there is the risk of you entrusting sensitive data to a company that could potentially be hacked or use your data for itself.
In the table at the beginning of this article, you will find a row that informs you about the cloud connection of the respective doorbells. This way, you can decide for yourself whether you want to head in the direction of data protection or functionality when buying.
Problem: Door opener
There is one problem with many smart video doorbells: You can see who is at your door from anywhere in the house, but you still have to get up from the sofa to open the door. This is because most solutions cannot be connected to an electric door opener. If you want to implement such a solution in your home, there are two options yet again.
First, you can opt for a more expensive model that is permanently installed as a digital intercom. However, the installation is a bit more complex and you may have to do more remodeling than initially thought. Moreover, if the intercom in your home is placed at the front door, you will still have to get up from the sofa.
Alternatively, you can combine smart video doorbells with smart door locks. In the NextPit editorial office, we use a Nuki smart lock and could even open the door for a parcel carrier from a distance. The door lock connects to the Wi-Fi network, which allows you to lock and unlock it via app with your smartphone. You can read how it works in our Nuki Smart Lock review.
Since video doorbells are already rather functional by themselves, we did not consider the video resolution of the models in this article. Whether you see the person at your door in Full HD or 2K is less relevant in our opinion. This is especially so as the video quality also strongly depends on the connection quality and the resolution during transmission.
Other comfort features, of which we will not go into in detail, are night vision modes, recognition features for packages or people, and the selection of different ringtones.
Alternatives to smart video doorbells
If the price of a smart doorbell is too high for you, there is a particularly cost-effective alternative. This is because you can program the equivalent notification of a smart doorbell via a smart assistant routine. This function in Alexa, Siri and others is known as noise detection, and you can set it up as a detection for doorbells by doing so.
You can then determine the routines that are triggered when a doorbell is detected. For example, you can have a lamp switched on via smart sockets if you have a hearing impairment, or you can be notified on your cell phone.
What do you think of smart video doorbells? Have you already switched to such a system or do you still use analog doorbells?