The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd-generation) is the finest video doorbell. When it comes to releasing video doorbells, Ring hasn’t stopped, but this one stands out as an inexpensive alternative that offers good 1080p video and smart connectivity in addition to all of the perks of the growing Ring ecosystem. It’s one of the most consumer-friendly solutions available if you’re interested in keeping an eye on who’s at the door.
There’s certainly a lot to look at, but that’s why we put them to the test. You’ll be shocked by some of the amazing stuff they’re able to accomplish beyond the obvious porch security camera advantages. Experts have spent weeks testing various doorbells in order to discover their advantages and disadvantages. We’ve covered a range of options by including video doorbells that are simple, efficient, affordable, and feature-rich.
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)
The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is a massive update to the original Ring model that makes it ready for the modern home in every way, while remaining more affordable than elite models you may not need.
The main changes to the smart doorbell include an upgrade to 1080p resolution (up from 720p), two-way audio with noise cancellation, and adjustable motion zones that will monitor specific areas to lessen false alerts. You can also set “Privacy Zones” that allow you to exclude areas of the camera’s field of view from recording. The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is made better with the $50 Solar Charger, which fits over the doorbell to supply it with power — reducing the need to remove the Ring doorbell and recharge its battery.
While themay not offer some top-end qualities found in other cams, like 2K resolution or object recognition, it’s hard to overlook its $100 price. In late 2020, reports emerged of some devices catching fire due to the smart doorbell battery being unintentionally punctured during the installation process. If you purchased one, you can find out if it’s an affected model by visiting Ring’s support page.
Read our in-depth Ring Video Doorbell buying guide
Arlo Video Doorbell
One of the biggest issues with doorbell cam models is that they can display distorted, fish-eye-looking videos. Arlo’s Video Doorbell camera doesn’t suffer the same fate, thanks to an HD camera that has a 180-degree viewing angle and a 1:1 aspect ratio. Plus, the aspect ratio allows for more of the scene to be in the frame.
Thepacks all the necessary features to make a versatile camera for your porch. It is intelligent enough to discern people, pets, and even packages, which can notify you of what it sees through notifications. There’s also the option to set up zones to prevent false alerts, focusing only on the most important areas. And lastly, this smart doorbell camera is a cinch to set up, even if you’ve never installed one before. Although, it does require a preexisting doorbell system in order to install.
Read our in-depth Arlo Video Doorbell review
Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera
The Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera is one of many new security cameras ADT introduced as part of its revamped DIY home security system. What makes the Blue by ADT Doorbell Camera astounding is the various privacy controls it has in place. For starters, the smart video doorbell features facial detection and custom motions zones, two features that help to reduce redundant notifications.
Beyond that, theoffers excellent coverage at your front door because of its wide, 180-degree field of view. This ensures packages left on the ground will be in full view of the doorbell camera. Add to that the security camera’s excellent 1080p video footage and IP65 rating, and it all points to a well-rounded offering that works in conjunction with the Blue by ADT system.
Read our in-depth Blue by ADT review
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring’s Video Doorbell 4 comes with a number of welcome upgrades, included a better Wi-Fi receiver so you don’t have to worry about the doorbell dropping the signal, and a four-second video preview that allows you to review footage before alerts were even triggered. The design also received an upgrade that makes removing the battery for charging even easier than before.
The 1080p cam offers the Ring mainstays like motion detection, night vision, and triggered alerts, along with two-way communication. You can also set motion detection zones for greater accuracy, and create Quick Replies or automated responses you can set to save time. There’s also built-in Alexa compatibility for using the doorbell along with your Echo devices.
Keep in mind that like other Ring cams, thedoes require a Ring Protect subscription to save video, which means it’s required to make the doorbell useful for anything but live viewing.
Google Nest Doorbell (battery)
Google didn’t hold back with this Nest video doorbell, which blends practical features into a modern design that’s easy on the eyes. Even better, Nest offers free video history out of the box, which is notable because this sort of feature typically requires users to pay for a subscription service.
This is arguably one of the best-designed wireless doorbell options to date, sporting a matte plastic chassis that blends well with any décor. Beyond the attractive design, the Google Nest Doorbell (battery) improves over the previous Nest Hello doorbell because it can be placed anywhere — regardless if you have an existing wired doorbell connection or not. The long-lasting battery is easy to recharge and makes for a great choice to replace an existing doorbell wherever you want.
You’ll also be treated to intelligent alerts because the smart doorbell’s 1.3-megapixel security camera features HDR video, night vision, and detection for pets, people, vehicles, and motion. If you’re not able to answer the doorbell, you can select any of the available Quick Responses options through the Google Home app to have the doorbell speak answers to whoever is at the door. A subscription adds more intelligent features, but this model is excellent all on its own.
Read our full Google Nest Doorbell (battery) review
Eufy Security Video Doorbell
Anker’s first foray into the video doorbell arena is an impressive one with the Eufy Security Video Doorbell, offering a mixture of high-end features combined with an aggressive price point. The standout feature here is the integrated camera supporting 2K UHD video (2560 x 1920 resolution) and High Dynamic Range, topping many of its contemporaries in the image quality department.
It’s paired with a wide, 160-degree field of view, night vision, and person detection — features that place it ahead of the curve. And best of all, thesupports local storage as well with its embedded 4GB eMMC storage module. It’s hard to believe that the doorbell cam is priced well below the competition.
Read our full Eufy Security Video Doorbell review
Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
Wide fields of view are crucial when it comes to protecting packages left at your front door, which is why you should know about Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro. Not only does it cover the horizontal view with its 180-degree coverage, but it also has the same 180-degree coverage from top to bottom on the vertical. That ensures you’ll see who’s coming to the door, as well as the package left in front of it.
Additionally, theleverages its SmartSentry deter mode to detect potential porch pirates by whistling at them as they near. It clearly wants to protect your packages when you’re not there, but the only drawback to this is that you need to invest in Vivint’s home security system.
Read our full Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro review
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
It was a long time coming, but Ring now has a proper successor to its top-of-the-line model. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is a substantial improvement not just over its predecessor, but to all video doorbells because it adopts a radar sensor to offer 3D motion detection technology. What this means is that it has the ability to tell exactly where on your property it has detected people, thus giving users a bird’s-eye view of their movement across the front door.
You could say it’s a game-changer, but beyond this new piece of tech, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 Pro also features a 1536p HD Live Video camera complete with color night vision, wide 150-degree views both on the horizontal and vertical, built-in Alexa greetings, two-way communication, and more. It’s one thing to know who’s at the front door, but it’s also another to know their movements before and after.
Read our in-depth Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review
Research and buying FAQ
How do you compare different video doorbells?
Video doorbells have many features in common, including video, alerts, motion detectors, night vision, two-way audio, and more. However, there are a few important specs to compare between models:
- Size: Will the video doorbell fit in the space you have in mind?
- Power: Do you need a doorbell with a battery? How easy is the battery to recharge?
- Resolution: Usually, 1080p/HD is fine for video doorbells, but if you want more, you’ll need to look for a 2K resolution or higher model.
- Storage: Does the video doorbell offer onboard storage? Any room for SD cards? Does it offer cloud storage? Do you have to pay for cloud storage, or do you get it free?
- Detection: Some video doorbells are smarter than others. Newer models may have options to detect faces, cars, pets, and packages. Sometimes these features are free, but often you have to pay for a subscription to enable them.
How do you install a video doorbell?
Video doorbells can be relatively easy to install, especially if it’s battery-powered. All video doorbells are typically installed by fastening a mounting plate to an area near your door, whether that’s around the outside frame or somewhere else nearby. Once you screw the mounting plate into place, most video doorbells are then positioned on them — requiring a special release key to remove the doorbell to recharge it.
However, things can get a bit more complicated if you choose to install a video doorbell to an existing wired connection. Instructions on how to connect the appropriate wires to your doorbell vary, but you may want to hire a professional to ensure that it’s installed properly. The benefit of choosing to go with a wired connection versus a battery-operated model is that you never need to worry about recharging it. If you’re installing a Ring video doorbell, we break down the instructions on how to do it with our guide.
Where can you get video doorbells?
Video doorbells are extremely popular, which is why you can buy them from an assortment of places. If you’ve done your research, you can choose to purchase one online through retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Newegg. Some popular consumer electronics stores like Best Buy have some on display to check out in person. You shouldn’t forget about home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. Those stores can be great places to ask questions about installation specifics.
Or, if you’d like to save a little time and money, we keep an updated list of the best current video doorbell deals you should check out.
Do video doorbells need a subscription?
No, video doorbells don’t need a subscription to work, but a subscription may be particularly important for some models. Subscriptions usually add a few features to doorbells, including:
- Cloud storage: This allows you to save video to the cloud for a certain period of time, where you can view and download it at will. Some plans, like Ring Protect, only add cloud storage if you pay for it. Others expand cloud storage capabilities or make them more useful.
- Better detection options: Subscriptions usually allow for more in-depth A.I. detection of faces, cars, packages, and so on. This comes with rich alerts that specify what it looks like happened, such as, “It appears a package was just dropped off at your door.”
- More customization: Subscriptions may also add customization options for your alerts, as well as the motion zones that trigger the doorbell.
Is my door large enough for a video doorbell?
First, there are narrow video doorbells, like the Nest Doorbell and similar models, that are designed to fit in narrow spaces. If your doorway has a reasonable amount of trim, that’s often sufficient. Doorbells may come with methods to angle them during installation so they face away from walls.
Second, you don’t have to put a video doorbell right by the door. It can go on a nearby wall or away from the entryway on an exterior wall. You will want to make sure they have some protection from the elements, though. Also, note that some siding is a lot harder to drill into than others (fiber cement may not allow it), and you’ll want to avoid any potential water damage.
Are video doorbells legal?
Privacy laws vary by state, but you don’t need to worry about using a video doorbell. By their nature, video doorbells are designed to view public entryway places and street sides where there’s no real expectation of privacy. They can’t really be repositioned to spy on neighbors or anything else illegal.
While video doorbells do allow for two-way communication, they don’t actually record the audio, which is what can trigger privacy laws, so there’s no concern there, either.