Smart Doorbells With Cameras and Motion Detectors

smart doorbell

Smart Doorbells With Cameras and Motion Detectors

Having smart doorbells installed can make your home look occupied even when you’re not there. It can also ward off potential burglars.

A good smart doorbell offers top-notch motion detection, affordable options for storing recorded video, and useful smart home integrations. You’ll also want a design that fits your home and an easy setup.

Video Doorbells

Unlike a regular doorbell, which only lets you know someone’s presence when they ring the bell, video doorbells allow you to see who’s outside before opening the door. A motion detector triggered by someone approaching your home sends an alert to your smartphone or smart hub (like the Vivint Smart Hub). You can then check live video of the person at your doorstep, allowing you to chat with them via two-way communication or avoid an unwanted visitor altogether.

Video doorbells store footage either locally on the device or remotely in a cloud service. If you opt for cloud storage, review the company’s security credentials and encryption options before making a purchase. Many video doorbells have night vision capabilities, allowing you to see what’s happening around your door in the dark.

In addition to the ability to talk with visitors or monitor your front porch at any time, smart video doorbells have other convenient features. Some can be integrated with your voice assistant (such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home/Assistant), enabling you to control the camera smart doorbell with your voice. Others work with your smart lock, letting you open the door from afar. Some even feature an integrated speaker and chime so you can hear the knock on your door even when you’re not at home. Check the product specifications for a list of features, including monitoring zones; HDR for clearer video; three-second video previews; facial recognition; and package detection.

Wi-Fi Doorbells

A smart doorbell with a camera lets you see who’s there without even opening the door. It activates when someone pushes the button, and sends an alert to your phone showing a live video of the person or people at the door. You can then decide whether to answer or not.

Some models also have an integrated speaker and microphone, so you can talk to visitors before answering the door or sending them away. Others have built-in night vision, which makes it easy to see who’s there at night. And some let you set up a voice response, so your device can say things like “Leave the package outside”, or “Leave me alone”.

Most wireless doorbells with cameras are powered by low-voltage wires, but there are also models that work on battery power and don’t require any wiring. These are usually more affordable, but may have limited features and a smaller viewing area. If you’re looking for the best smart doorbell with a camera, we recommend the Ring smart doorbell Pro 2, which works with Alexa and almost all other platforms (it can’t work with Apple Home, but that can be worked around with extra hardware). It has a wide angle of view, color night vision, a powerful app, and many settings to tinker with. It’s also the only model we tested that has a built-in siren and emergency calling feature.

Chime Doorbells

A bang on the door or a shout-out used to get the attention of visitors, but today there are better solutions. Both homeowners and businesses can benefit from an easy-to-install smart doorbell upgrade.

Traditional wired doorbells use a button that closes an electromagnetic circuit, which activates one or more electromagnets inside the doorbell mechanism. This causes the chimes to play a two-note “ding-dong” or a longer sequence such as Westminster Quarters. Some also offer a flashing light to alert visitors to the door.

A smart doorbell combines these traditional elements with a remote power supply and a wireless transmitter. The transmitter sends a radio signal to the receiver, which then connects to your Wi-Fi network and your smartphone. This allows you to view and manage a visitor’s activity from anywhere. Some smart doorbells are wireless and work with your existing chime system, while others include a video camera for extra security.

Ring works with your existing chime and is powered by a rechargeable battery or can be hard-wired for added security. It’s easy to install and features an ultra-wide 180deg viewing angle to see people head-to-toe, as well as packages delivered to your front door. Receive motion-detection notifications and 3-hours of event video history on your phone, even when you’re away from home. With built-in intelligent alerts and 2-way talk, you can greet visitors, let in delivery drivers and warn porch pirates with your voice, or even speak to family and friends while on vacation.

Wireless Doorbells

A smart doorbell with a camera lets you see and talk to visitors, even when you’re not at home. These compact streaming cameras often include a built-in PIR motion sensor that distinguishes people from animals and cars. This feature helps you avoid porch pirates and keeps an eye on package deliveries. Some models also include two-way audio and can automatically video record a visitor the second they move close to your door.

The best smart doorbells are easy to set up and work with a variety of other devices. They connect to your home WiFi and use Bluetooth for backup if the WiFi goes down. Some use rechargeable batteries, while others use your existing doorbell wiring for continuous power. Look for a doorbell that matches your décor and sound preferences, and make sure it has a range wide enough to reach all areas of your home.

Some models require a monthly subscription to access premium features, like live video recording and 24/7 voice activation with Alexa. Google Nest, however, offers exceptional value without a subscription, with free smart notifications that tell you whether it’s a person, a possum or a car, and free activity zones to cut down on unwanted notifications.

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