Smart Video Doorbell

Smart Video Doorbell

Smart Video Doorbells let you chat with visitors and keep an eye on package deliveries—all from your smartphone. They can even call for help if someone is trying to break in.

If you’re shopping for a Smart Video Doorbell, look for one with a wide field of view that shows people head-to-toe. Also check its storage (some offer cloud video storage subscriptions) and data security.

Video Quality

A smart video doorbell sends an alert to your smartphone to show who’s there. It can stop porch pirates and help you keep track of packages. These devices can also record footage, but you’ll need a subscription to access that service (see our best picks).

Video resolution and field of view are important spec points to look for. You want a camera that can see your doorstep clearly, even at night. A camera with a wider field of view will let you see more of your driveway and front yard, which is helpful for keeping an eye out for critters that might be hiding.

Most video doorbells use motion detection to record short clips of activity, but some can do much more. The Nest Hello records up to 10 days of video in its cloud for free, but if you want more, you’ll need to sign up for Nest Aware starting at $6/month.

The Wemo Doorbell Camera supports Apple HomeKit and features a solid 1080p HD video stream with HDR. It can connect to your existing chime or be powered by batteries, which makes it a better option for those without an Apple TV. However, it doesn’t support voice control with Siri or Google Assistant. It’s also one of the most expensive doorbell cameras on our list.

Motion Detection

A video doorbell sends an alert to your smartphone when someone approaches your home. It can show a live feed of who’s there, and most models allow you to talk with visitors and ask them to leave. It’s also useful Smart Video Doorbell if you can’t answer the door—you might be on vacation or working from home.

Using motion detection, smart video doorbells can tell whether the movement is caused by a person, animal or car, and some can even recognize faces. This can help you keep tabs on your neighborhood and prevent suspicious activity.

However, many Smart Video Doorbells aren’t as reliable as a traditional doorbell. Some of them don’t have enough motion detection range or quality to detect people or cars nearby, or they can get easily confused with other things such as a rattling branch or a moving garbage can lid.

CR’s top-rated smart doorbell, the Lorex LNWDB1 1080P WiFi Video Doorbell, earns a strong score for data security and a middle-of-the-road score for data privacy. It offers impressive video quality and a good array of smart features, including monitoring zones, geofencing (using your phone’s location to receive alerts when you’re away from home), voice and app control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home/Assistant, and three free hours of event-based recording. It also has free smart detection, letting you know when it detects a person, vehicle or package.


Whether you want to see who’s there before answering the door, monitor delivery people or keep tabs on pets, video doorbells can help you do so. They can alert you when someone is there or when motion is detected, and some can also detect faces. Others can also provide two-way talk with visitors and offer live video streaming.

Some models allow you to create custom motion zones to reduce unwanted alerts, while others can detect specific objects like cars and bikes or notify you when a package arrives. Some even let you set a schedule for when you’d like to receive notifications and can send a snapshot of the video to your lock screen or turn on the camera’s night vision.

A few models, such as the Wemo Doorbell Cam Pro SS3, use Apple HomeKit Secure Video, which stores recorded videos in your iCloud account and uses local processing for smart alerts to cut down on unwanted noise. However, you need an Apple TV 4K or HomePod to use the device, and you can only get a limited set of smart features without a subscription.

Other models, such as the Ring Video Doorbell 3, have a more basic set of features but still earn good marks in our ratings for video quality and data privacy. The device doesn’t have 24/7 professional monitoring, but it does give you the option to self-monitor for free and has quick response times for sending alerts and loading live views.


Video doorbells store recorded footage on a local Smart Video Doorbell microSD card or on a cloud server that may be free or require a subscription. Some models also offer e911—a feature that connects you directly with first responders if the doorbell cam is triggered by a break-in or other emergency while you are away from home. This add-on typically costs an extra $8 a month or more, though some brands include it with their subscription plans.

Some video doorbells are compatible with a wide range of smart devices and home security systems. This flexibility is helpful if you want to monitor your front door in different ways. For example, you can use an Apple HomeKit-compatible model with a smart display or a home security system like ADT, Vivint, and Frontpoint to view a live feed of your front yard without opening the app.

CR’s top pick for battery-powered video doorbells is the Nest Doorbell (Battery). It uses Google’s AI to tell you whether a visitor is a person, package, or possum and offers three hours of free event-based recording. You can skip the monthly fee if you don’t need a subscription or opt for a higher-priced Nest Aware plan with 24/7 storage that starts at $10 per camera.

The Logitech Circle View Doorbell requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power and can ring your existing chime. It has a small footprint, is easy to set up, and has excellent video quality for the price. It stores video clips on a built-in 16GB microSD card, which you can download and share for free. You can also purchase a Ring Protect plan for up to 10 days of cloud storage for $3 a month or $30 a year.

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