Your front door is the gateway to your home, so it needs to be well protected. Whether you’re watching for trouble-makers, monitoring for parcel deliveries, waiting for friends to visit, or hiding from that weird neighbor who keeps asking to borrow your lawn mower, these dual-purpose video surveillance systems will help you keep an eye out.
If your house has existing low-voltage doorbell wiring, take advantage of it for uninterrupted service. If it doesn’t, we can recommend a battery-powered solution that’s more flexible when it comes to location. And if you’re renting and can’t mount anything to the wall—or you'd just prefer not to—we can recommend a couple of alternatives.
Most video doorbells come with motion detection, night vision, and smartphone alert features, so be sure to read our full reviews for details on how they performed. Many also require a monthly subscription to store video in the cloud, so factor a few years of service into the price before you make a decision.
And if you're also thinking of adding outdoor security cameras to your arsenal, or integrating a video doorbell into a comprehensive smart home system, explore your compatibility options so you don't find yourself juggling two or three different apps.
Updated August 22, 2018 to add our in-depth review of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. For some homeowners, the higher motion detection performance of the Pro will completely justify its higher price tag ($249 vs. $199 for the Ring Video Doorbell 2), even if you have to drag low-voltage wiring to its location (there is no battery option with the Pro model). But we didn't like the Pro enough to knock the Nest Hello off its perch as our favorite wired doorbell.
Latest smart doorbell news
Netgear announced on July 23, 2018 that it will launch the Arlo Audio Doorbell and Arlo Chime sometime this fall. While the AA-battery-powered doorbell won't have an embedded video camera, it will connect to your home Wi-Fi network, enabling you to interact with visitors on your smartphone or tablet.
The Arlo Chime accessory plugs into any AC outlet and receives alerts from the doorbell. Chimes can be installed in multiple rooms. If you have an existing doorbell chime, the Arlo Audio Doorbell can connect to it. The Arlo Doorbell and Arlo Chime can also connect and interact with Arlo security cameras and Arlo security lights. Pricing has not yet been announced. In the meantime, you can find additional details in this news analysis.
Best wired video doorbell
Nest Hello is the Apple of the video doorbell world. Great picture, good looking, and a slick app that rarely throws up any problems. It just works, but be prepared to pay for that. It’s also the most expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s worth the investment for the superior experience. Plus, it’s the only one that continuously records, so everything is captured even if it doesn’t trigger an alert.
Best battery-powered video doorbell
Ring pretty much created the video doorbell market, and its Video Doorbell 2 would be a good addition to any house. If your home doesn’t have doorbell wiring, this is the one to buy. A removable battery makes recharging easy, and the high-definition video picture beats many competitors.
Best video doorbell alternative
Here's a great alternative to the video doorbell. The Brinno SHC1000 sits behind your door and provides a peephole-level view of your porch and whatever lies beyond. It replaces your current peephole, so a bit of DIY is required, but it will record and log visitors to a microSD card. Video quality isn’t up to that of a doorbell cam, but if you can’t mount any of those, it's a solid alternative.
Another video doorbell alternative
Renters don’t always have the ability to change or install a doorbell. If that’s the case, consider the Remo+ Doorcam. Its nifty design sits over the top of your door, so you can keep watch without drilling holes or going inside a wall. It doesn’t have a doorbell function, but it will alert you to anyone on your porch. Two-way audio allows you to chat with people on the other side of the door without opening it.