BEST HOME SECURITY
Ring Video Doorbell
BEST SMART HOME
Ring Peephole Cam
MECO WiFi Video Doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell is a Homeowners Top Pick
In recent years, many of us have started incorporating smart technology in our homes and video doorbell cameras are a popular part of this modern trend; no doubt, the Ring brand, specifically the Ring Video Doorbell, is a leading product in this movement. Once we took a closer look, it was hard not to see why.
One standout quality here, despite the fact that it is a sophisticated piece of technology, is that it is effortless to use. All you have to do is install it, and you have access to your home regardless of where you are. To this effect, it connects to your WiFi using the dedicated Ring app. It equally offers high video quality that’s as high as 720p HD, so it is nothing like the grainy security cameras from the 90s.
Now, for some background information; Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, is responsible for making the Ring Video Doorbell. So, you’re guaranteed that it’ll connect to your Alexa or Echo device. This feature further allows you to interact with people at your door handsfree.
The Ring app on your phone or tablet also lets you see, hear, and speak to anyone at your door, regardless of where you are. Another great reason why homeowners love this device is its motion sensors. Altogether, it offers increased security by triggering an alert on your device when anyone comes within range of its motion detectors.
Reviews: Best Video Doorbell Cameras of 2020
- Ring Video Doorbell
- Ring Peephole Cam
- MECO WiFi Video Doorbell
- Amcrest 1080P Video Doorbell Camera Pro
- eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
1. Ring Video Doorbell
BEST HOME SECURITY
Furthermore, this product is very easy to setup. It equally comes with all the tools you need to get started on that home protection within minutes of unboxing. Also, when you are away, you don’t have to worry about it going off because it has a built-in rechargeable battery, and also connects to existing doorbell wiring. With these two components, the Ring Video Doorbell will remain switched on so you’ll constantly have access to your home, even when you’re out and about.
Speaking of being permanently connected to your home, this product works hand-in-hand with the Ring app to make this happen. Using it, you can control every aspect of the video camera using your mobile device. Furthermore, the live view option gives you real-time access to your home from all your Ring devices. All in all, you can control your entire home security from the palm of your hands.
2. Ring Peephole Cam
BEST SMART HOME
In addition to replacing the traditional peephole, the Ring Peephole Cam is very easy to set up. You don’t have to be handy to install this product as it comes with all the necessary instructions and tools for quick installation. Just as it is easy to set up, it is equally easy to use. You have full access to the camera via the Ring app and because it is Alexa-enabled, you can control the camera with your voice.
There is no point in going for a security camera that doesn’t offer a preventive feature. That is why the Ring Peephole Cam is fitted with motion sensors. Thanks to this feature, you’ll get alerts when the camera detects movements within the preset motion zones. What’s more, because they are adjustable, you only get relevant alerts, based on your settings.
3. MECO WiFi Video Doorbell
Additionally, the MECO WiFi Video Doorbell comes with a free indoor chime, further equipped with adjustable volume and four different chime sounds. What’s more, when you want some quiet and don’t feel like entertaining visitors, it has a silent mode that mutes the indoor chime. One other great feature is its 1080p HD video quality, so whether it’s day or night, you have access to high-quality images from the doorbell camera. This particular product mainly uses infrared lights for excellent night vision capability.
Thanks to its intuitively designed CloudEdge app, ease of use is guaranteed. Wherever you are, and at any time, you have access to a 166-degree field of view using the camera. Even more, its highly efficient motion sensor and built-in PIR alerts you when there is any significant movement at your door. Altogether, the MECO WiFI Video Doorbell is easy to set up, and at circa $90, it’s one of the best bargains on the market.
More Video Doorbell Camera That Are Worth a Look
We found a few more video doorbell cameras that didn’t quite make the top three but had enough good qualities that we think they’re worth considering as you shop around.
4. Amcrest 1080P Video Doorbell Camera Pro
With features like PIR Motion Sensor and Night Vision, this product is a capable security mechanism for your home, day or night. This particular feature allows you to send alerts to in the form of emails or push notifications via the product’s app, Amcrest Smart Home. Once you get those alerts, you can communicate with anyone at the door using the doorbell’s two-way audio feature. The app also offers unlimited live streaming, which is particularly useful for days when you really need to keep an eye on things.
Though, the Amcrest 1080p Video Doorbell Camera Pro does not come with a microSD card, you can buy one, with up to 128GB of space for video recording. Also, you can subscribe to the Amcrest Smart Home Cloud to seamlessly store your video recordings online as backup or primary storage. Other impressive features include a full one-year warranty, a one-year free SmartHome Cloud subscription, and a lifetime of technical support.
5. eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
Also, this product allows you to record up to three automated responses. As such, you can have a message tailored to different sets of people. What’s more, the motion sensor records up to three seconds of footage of the initial alert and even takes a facial snapshot. This gives you a detailed view of an intruder, or lets you know who is at your door automatically. Another great feature for its extra cost is its compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control this device using your voice.
Other than all that, the eufy Security Wi-Fi Video Doorbell comes with all the necessary features that define the best video doorbell cameras. It has local and cloud storage, night vision, and motion sensors with trained AI to identify human movements. Also, it is easy to install, comes with installation tools, and has a free electronic chime, with up to eight different sounds and an adjustable volume.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
How to Install a Video Doorbell Camera?
As we mentioned earlier, video doorbell cameras, especially the good ones, are easy to install. Since there are two types of video doorbell cameras – battery-powered and hardwired video, the process of installation for each type differs. Here is a quick rundown on how to install each type of video doorbell camera.
How to Install a Battery-Powered Video Doorbell Camera
Gather Installation tools
Typically, the manufacturer attaches all the tools you need to install the doorbell camera. If your unit does not come that way, all you need is a screwdriver, screws and a charging cable (if it is a rechargeable battery). Gather these tools along with the product’s manual.
Before you mount the doorbell, charge the battery till it is full
For the most part, this can take up to four to six hours. Again, depending on the manufacturer, you will have to repeat this process every time you need to recharge the battery. However, some manufacturers attach an additional battery pack so you can swap it out when the doorbell battery is low. Typically, a fully charged battery should last between one to six months. It all comes down to the quality and frequency in the usage of the product.
After charging, mount the doorbell
To do this, start by attaching a mounting bracket to the wall of your home. Then attach the doorbell to the mounting bracket, using the dedicated screwdriver that usually comes with the product.
Download the doorbell’s app
To adjust the doorbell to your preferred settings, you need to have the app on your phone. Simply download the app on your primary device – your phone or tablet. Each product’s app has a distinct setup process, so be sure to follow it meticulously. One of the common things you have to do first is to connect your doorbell to your home WiFi network. In cases where the doorbell is too far away from the router, you will need to buy a WiFi extender to boost the WiFi signal.
Once your doorbell connects to the WiFi you can go ahead to customize the doorbell’s settings. You can then set features like video recording length, motion sensitivity, privacy settings, and more. After doing all of this, your battery-powered video doorbell camera is ready for use.
How to Install a Hardwired Video Doorbell Camera
Shut off the circuit breaker of your existing doorbell
Since you’ll be working with wires, and electrical connections, you need to ensure your protection. To do this, start by shutting off the circuit breaker that controls your old doorbell. If you cannot find the breaker that controls the doorbell, apply the trial and error method. Simply repeat until you identify the right breaker,.you’ll know which one is right when the doorbell stops chiming.
Identify your doorbell transformer voltage
Most video doorbell cameras typically operate with a voltage between 16 and 24 volts. Based on this, you need to be sure your old doorbell has the right voltage to ensure your doorbell works perfectly. If it does, that’s great and if it doesn’t, you will have to replace it. You can have an electrician do this for you, or you can connect the new transformer yourself by attaching wires from the old transformer to the matching terminals of the new one.
Identify and fix your doorbell chime
Regular doorbells have their own chime which can be digital or mechanical. Mechanical chimes have a hammer that hits the chime whenever someone presses the doorbell. Meanwhile, digital chimes are equipped with small speakers that play a preset tune. How you proceed depends on the type of chime and the instruction from the manufacturer.
Remove and replace the old doorbell
Once your chime is in place, the next step is removing the old doorbell by disconnecting the wires from the two terminals. They are usually located right behind the doorbell. Once you remove the wires, tape them to the exterior wall to keep them from falling inside the wall.
When that’s done, set up the mounting bracket and pull the wires through a hole in the mounting bracket. Proceed to directly connect the wires to the back of the video doorbell and then attach it to the mounting bracket. Once you’ve done that, screw the doorbell to the mounting bracket to keep it from falling off or easily get stolen.
Set up the doorbell app
Once you have the hardware in place, it is now time to set up the software of your new video doorbell camera. Start by turning the power back on from the circuit breaker. If the wires are correctly attached, your new video doorbell should come on (there will be a light indicator).
Once you have achieved that, download the doorbell app, then connect the doorbell to your Wi-Fi network. If the signal is too weak, you can boost it using a Wi-Fi extender. Once the doorbell has appropriate Wi-Fi connectivity, follow the doorbell app set up process and customize relevant settings to your preference.
Benefits of a Video Doorbell Camera
For all the question marks potential users might have about owning one of these handy devices, there are a ton of benefits that make it a smart move.
An efficient way for evidence collection
Security is at the heart of the invention of video doorbell cameras. One major way it helps is by collecting video evidence of break-ins or attempted break-ins. By having a doorbell camera installed in your home, you have an easy way to identify intruders and pass them on the police. It also comes in handy when you need to file an insurance claim.
The video footage benefit is not just limited to identifying intruders, it also covers package deliveries. We have all been there, a delivery company claims a package was delivered, but we never received it. Having a video camera that records every movement at your doorstep is an excellent way to know the truth.
A good way to screen visitors
You won’t always be in the mood for visitors and having to stand up to check who is at the door every single time is honestly a tedious process. With a good video doorbell camera, you can get alerts on your device that enables you to know who is at your door, without moving an inch from your cocoon.
The other side of this is when you’re just not in the mood for people, the alerts and notifications from your doorbell camera help you sift through your visitors.
Doorbell cameras are great visual deterrents for the home
Intruders are more likely to break in when they know they won’t get caught. So, having a visible security device in place is a great way to keep those burglars moving along. Also, the two-way audio feature embedded in video doorbell cameras helps you pretend someone is home, which in turn, keeps thieves and criminals away from your home.
They increase the value of your home
Potential homeowners want a safe neighborhood and as such, they are open to anything or anyone who contributes to that. Having a doorbell camera provides both of these things. With the camera, you have a treasure trove of evidence that proves how secure the neighborhood is. Also, a doorbell camera is part of the security infrastructure that gives a sense of protection which appeals to potential buyers.
Good way to protect vulnerable family members
We have discussed protection in terms of external danger. But another major benefit of owning a doorbell camera is that it’s great for protecting family members from themselves. If you need to keep an eye on your kids or elderly ones, a video doorbell camera lets you know when they wander into any potentially dangerous areas, so you can call for help.
Professionally Installed vs DIY Doorbell Camera
You have two options when it comes to installing doorbell cameras – professional and DIY (do-it-yourself) installation. Professionally installed doorbell cameras are security systems set up by trained and qualified technicians. DIY, as the name implies, are doorbell cameras you can install by yourself.
Just as it is with virtually anything in life, there are benefits to each choice. For one, there is a higher assurance that your doorbell camera is well installed in professionally installed security systems. Future maintenance is also guaranteed, and you are at a lower risk of losing your warranty when something goes wrong during installation. On the other hand, opting for a professionally installed doorbell camera translates to extra fees, for both the equipment and service. It also involves signing a contract, which can tie you down to a provider, and that can become a problem when you want to switch systems.
On the other hand, for the DIY doorbell camera, you don’t need a contract, and it is a better fit for people who rent or move often. However, it requires the ability to handle tools and an understanding of electrical systems. If you aren’t well- armed with either of these, it can lead to a hitch in the installation of the camera. You can also lose the warranty during the installation process.
Ultimately, professionally installed security systems are always the best option for home security. With them, there is an extra guarantee that you will get your money’s worth. However, a DIY doorbell camera is an excellent compromise, especially if you are living a temporary space.
Essential Components of a Video Doorbell Camera
If you are in the market for a video doorbell camera, here are some components and features that are a must-have so you can get the best buck for your money.
High Definition Video Quality: This is no longer the 80s, so grainy black and white security videos are no longer the only options. When you are buying a video doorbell camera, go for something with at least a 720p video quality. They offer sharp and crystal-clear images; 1080p, 2K, and 4K video quality are also great buys.
Intercom Speaker: A speaker allows you to communicate with the people at your door. To this effect, you have the option of leaving either a live message or a recorded message. Note that a video doorbell camera should also have a microphone that lets you hear the visitor.
Wi-Fi Connectivity: The selling point of video doorbell cameras is the ease of use it offers once connected to the internet. So, when you’re looking, go for a video doorbell camera with a Wi-Fi connectivity component, either with 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless frequency.
Infrared Night Vision Technology: Most criminals use the dead of the night as a cover for their illicit acts. So, it’s only wise to get a video doorbell camera that functions just as well at night as it does in the daytime. Look out for components like a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) which is essential to make the camera just as effective in the night.
Storage Options: There is no point in recording a video if there is no place to save it. For that reason, you need to opt for a video doorbell camera with storage options for video recordings. It can be in the form of local (memory cards and USBs) or cloud storage.
Motion Sensor: A motion sensor is another essential component of a video doorbell camera. With this addition, your camera can detect human presence on your doorstep and alert you immediately. Keep it in mind that its sensitivity must be well-calibrated to ensure you only get alerts when it is a person and not a pet.
Best Video Doorbell Cameras FAQs
What is a video doorbell?
A video doorbell is a security device that connects to the internet and notifies its owner when there is someone at their door. Depending on the manufacturer, it detects and alerts the user when anyone pushes the doorbell, or when the doorbell senses human presence with the aid of a motion sensor.
How much does a doorbell camera cost?
The price of a doorbell camera can range between $60 to $500. Nevertheless, the specific cost of each product depends on its features, brand, and whether it is part of a full home security system. For instance, lower video quality products (720p) go for less than $100, while higher video quality costs $100 upwards. There are also additional fees, like cloud storage for video recording, which can cost between $20 and $100 per year.
What camera quality should I expect from a video doorbell?
The good news is that most video doorbell cameras have high definition (HD) video, and they can range in resolution between 720p to 1080p. Nevertheless, some costlier devices can come with 2K or 4K video resolution. One thing is quite sure, you are likely to get crisp and clear image quality regardless of what you buy.
What audio feature is best for a video doorbell?
Two-Way Talk Audio allows you to communicate with the person at the door, there’s equally a provision for them to speak back to you. The great news is, for most new video doorbell cameras, this is an implicit feature.
What field of view is best for a video doorbell?
The minimum field of view you want in a video doorbell camera should be 120 degrees as it gives you a more expansive view of the person at your door and their surroundings. However, the best video doorbells have a FOV with 140 degrees or higher.
Are Video Doorbell Cameras Worth it?
Although they are on the expensive side, especially if you’re going for the best of all the features, video doorbell cameras are worth the cost. They give your home added security, so you can keep track of things wherever you are. We don’t know about you, no price is too high for peace of mind.
How We Picked the Best Video Doorbell Cameras
To determine which were the best video doorbell cameras on the market, we compared each product in different categories. They were price, features, customer satisfaction, ease of use, and ease of set up.
Features: In terms of features, we considered the range of actions you can perform with each product. For the best video doorbell cameras, we found that they offered multiple features. These features include two-way talk, local and cloud storage, voice control compatibility with Alexa or Google Assistant, motion sensor, and night vision among a few more. We also considered how many features were accessible at the base price and the ones only available at extra costs.
Price: Video doorbell cameras often range between $60 and $500. So, we looked at the products that offered the highest number of quality features for the least amount of money. The Ring and MECO doorbell cameras ranked highest in that ratio, costing just under $100. Meanwhile, the eufy doorbell costs a little over $100, but it makes up for it with its 2K video resolution and trained AI motion sensor.
Ease of Set-Up: Considering the fact that video doorbell cameras are mostly DIY products, these devices have to be easy to install, even for people with limited engineering know-how. These five products excelled in this category sporting an easy setup process, instructions, short installation time, and accompanying tools.
Ease of Use: Once we established how easy the installation process for each product was, it was a breeze determining their level of ease of use. We equally found that while a lot of products are easy to install, using them can be challenging. Buggy apps, erratic chime response, and ultra-sensitive motion sensors are several issues the users encountered. For the most part, these five products presented the least amount of problems during usage.
Customer Satisfaction: For this category, we peered through thousands of user reviews, examining what users thought of each product. Additionally, we considered the ways in which they offer support to users, like warranties and technical support. We also considered the availability of customer support, because the more accessible and helpful they are, the better.
All in all, our top five choices are the products that excelled after we collated their performance in each category.