The Best Smart Doorbells

best smart doorbell

The Best Smart Doorbells

A smart doorbell can alert you to visitors via video or audio. They can be battery-powered or hardwired and include an electronic chime.

CR’s top-rated wireless video doorbell earns strong ratings in our lab tests for data privacy, video quality and response time for sending alerts and loading live views. It also offers monitoring zones, person detection and color night vision.

1. Video Resolution

The best smart doorbells offer HD video, which gives you a clear view of visitors to your home. Some models also have a wide field of view, which allows you to see your entire porch and even some sidewalk action. Some smart doorbell cameras store footage locally on an included microSD card, while others require you to pay for a subscription to store video in the cloud.

For those looking for a wired, battery-powered model that works with Apple HomeKit (although you’ll need a HomePod or an Apple TV 4K to use it), the Belkin Wemo Video Doorbell is a solid choice. It’s easy to install and provides good performance in our tests, including a fast Wi-Fi connection and a HomeKit secure video stream that keeps recordings safe from tampering. It also has a convenient 1200 x 1600 HD camera that records a circular view of your porch, although it suffers from a discombobulating fish-eye effect.

The Wire-Free Lorex LNWDB1 1080P WiFi Video Doorbell is another top option. It earned a high score in our tests, with strong ratings for data security and best smart doorbell response time for alerts and loading live feeds, but its low-end price is a bit steep. It stores video locally on a microSD card and requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power. Like the Ring Pro 2, it offers smart alerts for people, packages, animals, and vehicles and a pre-roll feature to capture a visitor as they walk to your front door.

2. Motion Detection

One of the best things about a smart doorbell camera is that it can alert you when someone approaches your home, even if you’re not there. Some models also provide two-way communication with visitors, so you can see who’s there before opening the door. And they’re designed to work with other smart home devices, such as the best smart bulbs and smart speakers. This way, you can sync your lights to come on when someone arrives or use your speakers to communicate with guests through the front door.

The Logitech Circle View Doorbell is an example of a doorbell that’s tightly integrated with a larger smart home system. It uses end-to-end encryption and requires an Apple device (either a HomePod smart speaker or an Apple TV streaming box) to process motion alerts for people, vehicles, and animals. In CR’s tests, it performed well for data security and speedy response times for alerts and video playback. However, it’s an expensive option that limits your choice of devices and doesn’t offer night vision or the ability to record locally.

The Nest Hello builds on the features of our top pick with better motion detection, including an image classification mode that learns over time to recognize regular visitors. It also stores more footage on-device, unlike most wired options, and offers a battery backup for power loss protection. The Nest Doorbell Pro adds dual motion sensing with radar and PIR, a light for color night vision, customizable mode settings, and voice changer for two-way talk. It also includes a base station that plugs in and acts like a signal repeater and holds 8GB of on-board storage for recording.

3. Night Vision

The best smart doorbells can limit motion detection to people (and not, for example, tree branches or a moving possum), so you don’t get swamped with notifications and can focus on the real issues. Some can also pair with a speaker, so you can hear the alerts without looking at your phone. And some can work with home security systems or smart speakers, allowing you to check in from anywhere in the house (with the caveat that the doorbell will still need to be close enough to detect a ring).

The Ring Pro 2 is one of our favorite wired video doorbells, thanks to its solid performance and great features. It has an impressive array of alerts (people, vehicle and package), a customizable motion zone, and two-way talk with quick responses. It works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings, and it has a nice chime sound, plus on-board storage for capturing activity.

Another great wired option is the Byron, which plugs into your existing chimes and has a sleek design. It doesn’t offer quite the same features as some of the more expensive models, but it’s a solid entry-level choice that offers all the basics, including 1080p HD video, two-way audio and a variety of smart notification options (including smart human detection, customized zones and geofencing). Plus it’s compatible with the popular smart hub system Apple HomeKit, although you’ll need an extra piece of hardware to connect it.

4. Interactivity

The best smart doorbells offer plenty of interactivity options to let you customize how and when you receive motion alerts. Many also allow you to set privacy zones that the doorbell can’t see, so you don’t get notified about a neighbor’s tree branches blowing in the wind or someone walking up the street outside your house. Some also give you the ability to speak to your visitor through the doorbell camera (either audibly or through a speaker), which can come in handy if you don’t feel like opening the door or just want to keep an eye on things while you’re at work.

The Nest Hello and its wired equivalent, the Nest Doorbell Pro 2, have arguably the most complete range best smart doorbell of features available on a video doorbell. Both have 24/7 recording capabilities, facial recognition and can identify people, vehicles and parcels. They also have impressive image quality and smart features, such as a two-way audio chat. But that comes at a price — these are among the most expensive video doorbells on the market.

If you’re an Apple HomeKit enthusiast, check out the Wemo Video Doorbell 2. It has decent 1080p HD video and supports the HomeKit Secure Video feature that uses end-to-end encryption to keep your videos private. But it works only with iPhones and requires an Apple TV or HomePod to process your smart alerts.

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