Best Smart Doorbells Android Central 2021
Whether you're in a house or apartment, making sure your home is safe while you're away is a key priority, and there's no better way to do that than with one of the best smart video doorbells on this list. Our favorite smart doorbell that can deter thieves while providing you with peace of mind is the Nest Hello. But Nest isn't the only great smart doorbell available; we've compiled a list of eight of the best on the market! See which one works for you.
- Best smart doorbell overall: Nest Hello
- Best battery-powered doorbell: Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free
- Best smart doorbell on a budget: Ring Video Doorbell Wired
- Best smart doorbell with no monthly fees: Eufy Video Doorbell 2K
- Best smart doorbell for accurate detection: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
- Best mid-range wired smart doorbell: Arlo Video Doorbell
- Best smart doorbell for local storage: EZVIZ WiFi Video Doorbell
- Best smart doorbell peephole upgrade: Ring Peephole Cam
Best smart doorbell overall: Nest Hello
I love the Nest Hello. It costs a little more than other alternatives, but you get plenty of features that make the price worth it. For one thing, you can set it up to give you alerts whenever it detects motion in specific areas of your yard. What's more, it has facial recognition abilities, so it can tell you if a particular friend is approaching before they even ring the bell. The camera operates at 1600x1200 with HDR for clear video quality. When the camera senses that it gets dark, it automatically switches to night vision. It's in grayscale, but it's clearer than many other cameras on the market.
When I was trying to decide between doorbell cameras for my home, I landed on this one. Unlike some others, it's always recording. Motion-activated cams sometimes turn on too late, making it so owners can't see the faces of those who've stolen packages from their porch. With the Nest Hello, I can go through the log and see everything that happened within the past few days, in full color and resolution. The app even allows me to zoom in for a closer look.
There are a few things that might give people pause when buying this device. For one thing, it requires a hardwired connection. It needs to work with the proper transformer so some folks, especially those in older houses, might need to purchase one of those as well.
Finally, like many other smart doorbells, this one requires a subscription if you want to view recordings, and you'll need to pay per camera (though you do get the service at a discount if you have multiple cameras). The service is called Nest Aware, and you have the option of paying $6 per month for a 30-day plan, or $12 per month for a 60-day plan.
- Non-stop recording
- Great video quality
- Smart home integration
- Familiar face detection
- Can set motion zones
- Zoom ability
- Hardwired connection
- Subscription costs
- More expensive than others
Best battery-powered overall: Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free
Wireless video doorbells lack some wired doorbell perks, such as continuous video recording (CVR), and they often require a recharge every few months. But they're so much easier to install — particularly for renters or less handy homeowners. Out of the battery-powered options today, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell is our favorite by a mile (and has a hardwired option if you prefer).
This doorbell shoots in 2K HDR (1536x1536) with a 1:1 aspect ratio and 180-degree FoV, which translates into extremely clear porch footage in our tests, even at night. The Arlo Essential sends motion alerts as fast as the wired options we tested, avoiding the delay we've seen with other wireless doorbells. With a subscription, the doorbell will tell you if a person, animal, vehicle, or delivery person with a package triggered the alert. You can train your Alexa or Google Assistant speakers to ding when the doorbell rings; it even works with HomeKit, which many doorbells ignore.
Truly, the Arlo Essential gives you the "essentials" that most people need, except for CVR. You can record to local storage, but it requires a separate SmartHub that'll cost you as much as the doorbell. Just be prepared to pay monthly for an Arlo Smart subscription, which unlocks many vital features like smart detection and activity zones. That's on top of a doorbell that's already decently expensive in exchange for great quality.
- Months of battery life
- Clear 2K 1:1 footage with 180-degree FOV
- Person/ pet/ vehicle/ package detection
- Solid night vision
- Hardwired option
- Supports smart assistants and IFTTT
- Local storage requires expensive hub
- Best features require subscription
- Doorbell is pretty thick
Best smart doorbell on a budget: Ring Video Doorbell Wired
Most of the best smart video doorbells cost a couple hundred dollars, which correlates to excellent video quality but may fall outside your price range. For something low-priced but reliable, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired gives you many of the perks of the best Ring doorbells for a lower price.
It has all the standards you need: 1080p footage with IR night vision, customizable motion zones and privacy zones (which blocks out portions of the camera feed), two-way talk, and Alexa support. It requires hardwiring to your doorbell, but this extra power gives you six seconds of full-color pre-roll footage. Many battery-powered options only give you three seconds in grainy black and white.
In exchange for its budget price, you'll have to accept some trade-offs. The doorbell only records when it detects motion, which is true of many doorbells. Unlike other wired doorbells, installing it disables your current house chime, so you'll need a smart speaker or Ring Chime. It doesn't support dual-band Wi-Fi, so motion alerts could take slightly longer to arrive. And you'll need to pay a Ring Protect subscription to access video recordings, with no local storage option. At least a subscription isn't expensive, but competitors like Eufy that don't require one at all will save you money in the long run.
If you'd prefer a battery-powered option, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is still cheaper than most alternatives and has very similar specs with an easier installation process. However, the wired version is still much cheaper and gives you better pre-roll footage. Then, there's the Ring Video Doorbell 4, which offers some upgrades but at too high a price for diminishing returns.
- Can set motion and privacy zones
- Works with Amazon Alexa
- Six seconds of pre-roll footage
- Person-only detection
- Only 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
- Only records when it detects motion
- Requires a subscription for best features
Best smart doorbell with no monthly fees: Eufy Video Doorbell 2K
When it comes to Nest, Arlo, Ring, and other doorbell-makers, most make you pay monthly to fully unlock their devices' AI smarts or full cloud storage of video footage. Eufy is unique in that its doorbell and security cameras come with AI detection out of the box, limiting false alarms so you solely receive alerts if a person approaches — all without paying monthly. While Eufy does charge for cloud storage, the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K also lets you store footage locally, avoiding potential data breaches. Eufy also makes some of the best security cameras with local storage, so your whole security system can be subscription-free.
As an actual video doorbell camera, the Eufy measures up well on its own. This version has 2K resolution, a 4:3 aspect ratio for better viewing, and six months of battery life per charge — unless you buy the wired version with constant power. Not only can you interact with guests in real-time, no matter where you are, but you can also record up to three "instant" responses for visitors like solicitors, delivery drivers, or gardeners.
Your main question will be whether to buy the wired or battery-powered versions. The battery-powered version is particularly easy to install, but the wired version is slightly cheaper and offers three seconds of pre-roll buffering. The wired version bundles a free chime and supports 4GB of local storage while the wireless version makes you plug in a HomeBase hub that can act as a chime and gives you 16GB of local storage.
- Local storage included
- 256-bit encryption
- 2K resolution
- 4:3 aspect ratio
- Advanced AI human detection
- IP65 weatherproof
- Wireless version can't do pre-roll buffering, has no chime
- Can't do continuous recording
- Can be quite large
Best smart doorbell for accurate detection: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
Cameras and smart doorbells typically rely on infrared sensors to detect motion, which is decently reliable. For the best performance and the fewest false positives, you'll want the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, which uses a radar sensor for proper 3D Motion detection. If money isn't an object and you're willing to hardwire your doorbell, the is the undisputed upgrade buy for people serious about home security.
When you set up your Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, you use satellite data to configure a motion detection radius up to 30 feet out from your door. It knows when motion is coming from close by or further away on the street, so you can limit alerts from cars and pedestrians without blinding half the camera with motion zones. A simultaneous in-app bird's eye view tells you exactly where the tracked motion started and ended. Our reviewer found the doorbell perfectly accurate.
Its high price also corresponds to solid specs, from its 1536p HD+ resolution to its head-to-toe view that makes packages on your porch or tall people fully visible. It still has the same faults as other Ring cameras, however: no local storage, dependence on a monthly subscription, and no Google Assistant support. Unlike other Rings, it supports always-on recording and lets you check your recent history of motion events.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 really feels like a future-proofed device. You may want to wait for a sale, though.
- Crisp resolution with full view
- CVR with great event history in-app
- 3D motion detection with bird's eye view
- Person-only detection
- 6 secs of color pre-roll footage
- Compact compared to battery doorbells
- Sub required for person detection and saved clips
A true next-gen doorbell
Forget infrared; use radar and a satellite view to track anyone or anything that gets close, and keep false alarms to a minimum.
Best mid-range wired smart doorbell: Arlo Video Doorbell
The Arlo Video Doorbell doesn't bring much new to the table that the Arlo Essential doesn't. You get the same 2K HDR resolution, ultrawide 180-degree FOV, and 1:1 aspect ratio that makes everything clearer than the lower-res or stretched-out footage from rival doorbells. It also has a built-in siren and Arlo Smart categorization. Arlo doesn't sell your personal data like other companies, and its cameras work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit.
What's the difference? For one, it detects motion up to 16.4 feet (5 meters) compared to just 9.8 feet (3 meters) with the Essential. It costs significantly less, and doesn't require removing from your door to recharge every couple of months. It's more compact due to the lack of battery, so it won't stand out quite so much. Plus, it offers three seconds of Foresight (the Arlo term for pre-roll footage) while the wire-free model doesn't.
Generally speaking, we still recommend the Essential model. It's easier to install for renters or people without powerful-enough chime wires. However, if you want a wired doorbell, this falls in the pricing sweet spot between the base-level Ring Wired and premium Ring Pro 2. It's cheaper than most battery-powered options without giving up as many features as the Ring Wired model does.
- Arlo Foresight for pre-roll
- 2K 180-degree FOV with 1:1 aspect ratio
- Further motion detection than Arlo Essential
- Arlo Smart for AI detection
- Reasonable price for specs
- Works great with smart homes
- Requires sub for best features
- No local storage without pricey hub
Best smart doorbell for local storage: EZVIZ WiFi Video Doorbell
You might be noticing a trend on this list. Most of these smart video doorbells are made by companies that also make some of our favorite smart video security cameras. EZVIZ is another name that can be added to that list, and the company's video doorbell has quite a lot going for it.
For starters, it has an impressive 180-degree field of view. That in and of itself is impressive, and on the higher end of the spectrum as far as video doorbells go, but what makes this option really unique is that the 180 degrees is vertical. Yes, you can still see quite a bit side-to-side, but this camera lets you see as much as possible top-to-bottom.
Aside from that neat trick, this is an HD camera that supports dual-band Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz and has night vision capable of seeing out to 16 feet. The doorbell is also fairy weatherproof, boasting IP65 dust and water resistance. And it's more affordable than most alternative doorbells from bigger brands.
Best of all, you get a free, ongoing three hours of cloud storage to go along with support for up to 128GB in expandable storage via a microSD card. That cloud storage gives you plenty of time to check motion alerts and save important footage. As for local storage, most video doorbells either lack local storage or require you to buy a hub and plug a drive into it; this doorbell will store footage directly.
- 180-degree vertical field of view
- Three hours of rolling cloud storage included
- IP65 water and dust protection
- Supports microSD local storage up to 128GB
- Three different colored doorbell faceplates included
- Horizontal viewing angle is among the shortest we've seen
- No battery-powered option
Best smart doorbell peephole upgrade: Ring Peephole Cam
Sometimes pulling out your phone to check to see who's on your front porch feels a little slow or even a little silly, especially when you're standing right behind the door. In these situations, it would be nice just to have something that worked as both a door camera and a peephole. Enter the Ring Peephole Cam. It's small and installs in place of your existing peephole to give you both an in-person and digital view of porch guests.
You can also set motion zones and make it so that the Ring device only alerts you if it sees movement in specified areas of your yard. One of the reasons this device is so easy to install is because it's battery-powered. You don't have to do any wiring to make it function. Now, if you don't already have a peephole in your door, the installation will be more of a challenge. In that case, you'll either need to drill a hole into your door or hire someone to do it for you.
As far as doorbells go, this one has a decent camera. It features a 1080p video for a clearer viewing experience. Additionally, the device features both a camera and a microphone. Using the app, you'll be able to talk with porch guests and hear their responses from anywhere. However, while some other buzzers feature HDR video, that's not something you'll find with this unit. Since this is an Amazon product, the camera only works with one smart home service: Amazon Alexa. If you prefer a different smart home assistant, this won't be the ideal option for you.
- Physical peephole
- 1080p HD video quality
- Can set motion zones
- Two-way communication
- Only works with Alexa
- Drilling a peephole might be daunting.
- No HDR video
Best smart video doorbell Our top choice
When you're looking to protect your home and deliveries, a smart doorbell is the way to go. There are several options on the market to choose from. We did the research and collected the best of the best for a variety of uses. When you go to purchase a smart doorbell, you'll want to consider a few things. Things like whether or not you want a wired connection, what kind of subscription plan you're willing to pay for, the size of the smart doorbell, and of course, the price of the device itself.
We highly recommend the Nest Hello as it records non-stop instead of only recording when it detects motion. It also features 1080p of HDR video quality for a clearer view of guests and trespassers. Best of all, you can set detection zones and make it so the device can tell if a human is approaching rather than a car or animal. It even offers facial recognition to let you know if a friend or stranger is approaching your door.
Rebecca Spear loves keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest electronics. She is a life-long gamer and a writer who has written hundreds of online articles over the past four years. On any given day, you'll find her drawing with her Wacom tablet, playing video games, or reading a good book.
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
Michael Hicks is a former ebook dev turned tech writer whose career arc took him from VR to wearables, emerging tech to gaming guides, before arriving at AC to cover Android, Oculus, Stadia, and smart homes, among other things. A Bay Area native, he loves underperforming sports teams, running, and tormenting his friends as the DM for D&D and Star Wars RPG campaigns.
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