Best Video Doorbells of 2020

  • Last Update: October 26, 2020
5/5
  • Great video/audio quality
  • Person, package, animal detection
  • Feature-packed app
5/5
  • Lets you customize motion alerts
  • Sleek design
  • Sharp 1080p video
5/5
  • Inexpensive
  • Customizable motion zones
  • Good-quality video

It’s easy to see why you might be tempted to get a video doorbell. These compact streaming cameras let you video-chat with visitors and keep an eye on dog walkers, kids coming home from school, and package deliveries from the screen on your smartphone. Porch pirates, beware.

Global spending on video doorbells is predicted to almost triple from last year through 2023, according to the data insights firm Strategy Analytics, from $500 million to $1.4 billion.

To help you find the best doorbell for your home, we’ve rounded up the best video doorbells from our tests, listed below in top rated order. (CR members can access ratings for each model.) You’ll find models from August, Eufy, Google Nest, and Ring. They all feature night vision, HD video, voice control via digital assistants, and two-way audio.

Best Video Doorbells

The Arlo Video Doorbell is our top pick because, along with its great hardware and fast response times, it was the only model we tested that could distinguish among people, animals, vehicles, or packages. This meant it also kept false alerts—a problem with many models—to a minimum. For that advanced sensing and the ability to capture video clips up to five minutes long, you need a $3-per-month Arlo Smart subscription. But we think these features are essential, and the price is fair (otherwise you’re restricted to motion/bell alerts and live video streaming). The Arlo also captures crisp video, with a 1536×1536 resolution and a wide, 180-degree viewing angle in a square format: This provides a comprehensive vertical and horizontal view of what’s going on in front of your door, whether it’s deliveries or visiting raccoons. It also integrates with other smart-home devices via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

PROS:

  • Great video/audio quality
  • Person, package, animal detection
  • Feature-packed app

CONS:

  • Requires subscription for most features
  • Wired only

Key Features:

  • Motion Detection and Alerts
  • Video Calls
  • 180° Viewing Angle
  • Weather Resistant
  • Hear and speak to visitors with 2-way audio or with pre-recorded messages
  • Built-in Siren
  • Works with Alexa

Specification:

  • Brand: Arlo
  • Model: AVD1001
Ring’s smallest and best-looking doorbell has the most customizable motion zones of any doorbell we tested, letting you specify exactly which areas in the camera’s field of vision should trigger an alert. It also has crisp, 1080p resolution and a wide, 160-degree field of view.
Ring’s Neighbors app also lets you share videos with people in your area, so you can keep everyone informed if there’s someone trying to break into multiple houses or steal packages. Installation is a little tricky, however; we had to install not just the doorbell, but also a separate device inside our existing doorbell’s chime box.

PROS:

  • Lets you customize motion alerts
  • Sleek design
  • Sharp 1080p video
  • Useful community features

CONS:

  • Setup requires an extra Pro Power Kit installation

Key Features:

  • Advanced motion detection
  • Non-stop power
  • Interchangeable faceplates
  • Works with Alexa
  • Two-way talk with noise cancellation
  • 160° horizontal, 90° vertical
  • 1080p HD Video, Live View, Night Vision

Specification:

  • Brand: Ring
  • Model: Video Doorbell Pro

Ring’s original Video Doorbell has been upgraded: The all-new Ring Video Doorbell (2nd generation) has a 1080p camera (up from 720p on the original), as well as improved night vision and better motion-tracking capabilities. And, at less than $100, it’s still the best video doorbell for those on a budget.

 

Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, we like that you can use this model either wired or on battery power alone, and you can create custom motion zones, and also see what’s going on in your neighborhood. Plus, Ring offers very affordable video storage plans starting at $30 a year.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Customizable motion zones
  • Good-quality video
  • Works wired or battery powered

CONS:

  • No pre-roll feature
  • 2.4 GHz wifi connectivity

Key Features:

  • 1080p HD video with two-way talk
  • Real-time notifications
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Works with Alexa

Specification:

  • Brand: Ring
  • Model: Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

4

Google Nest Hello

The Hello offers around-the-clock video recording, with AI-powered motion detection and facial recognition, so it’s a great home-security option. But for simply watching your door, it’s overkill.

The Google Nest Hello has 24/7 video recording and sophisticated facial recognition, making it a better option if security is your primary concern. However, the Hello itself is $80 more than the Arlo Video Doorbell, and a year of its required subscription service, Nest Aware, can run as high as $250 over the Arlo Smart service.

Whereas every other camera we tested waits to be activated by a button press or detected motion, the Hello is a visual vacuum cleaner that records 24/7. All of that video is sent to the cloud, where it is analyzed (more on this in a moment) and stored, and can be accessed for a length of time based on your subscription.

This is one smart video doorbell, too: The Nest Hello can also recognize people’s faces, and announce them via a Google Assistant compatible device when they come to your door. (It also works with Alexa). 

 

While the Hello needs a hardwired connection, it continuously records video, so you’ll never miss an event. You can also set up specific zones, so you’ll only be notified when a person or object appears in that area of the frame. To get most of these features, you’ll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $6/month or $60 year for 30 days of video), but they’re worth it.

PROS:

  • Great video quality
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Facial recognition

CONS:

  • Uses a lot of bandwidth to upload video
  • Requires hardwired connection

Key Features:

  • 24/7 streaming and continuous video recording
  • 4:3 video designed to show people from head to toe
  • HDR video shows sharp details even in bright and dark areas
  • Person, motion, and sound alerts to detect visitors
  • Can recognize family and friends and send a special alert
  • Prerecorded quick responses

Specification:

  • Brand: Google
  • Model: Nest Hello

The Eufy Security WiFi Video Doorbell almost instantly sends notifications over WiFi and data, offers crystal clear 2560 x 1920 pixel resolution during the day and at night, and—unlike our previous best value pick, the Zmodo Greet—Eufy’s doorbell includes free storage, so you can record and watch your doorbell’s video history without paying for a subscription.

(And, if you’re concerned about privacy, you’ll appreciate Eufy’s claim that there is a “military-grade AES-256 chip” to make sure your data is encrypted on transmission and storage.)

This doorbell, which requires existing doorbell wiring, integrates with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, both of which can announce when someone rings the doorbell. Or, if you have a video display like the Google Nest Hub Max or Amazon Echo Show 5, you can say things like, “show me the front door” to see a live stream of who is there. The only real issue we had was that, on a couple of occasions, the app would randomly log us out and stop sending notifications. But overall this wasn’t much of an issue as it only happened twice after 14 days of testing.

One thing we really like about this doorbell is the ability to watch the preview of the motion alert (including a “facial snapshot”) without opening the app like you can with the Google Nest Hello. It saves you the time of actually having to unlock your phone and open the app, which is helpful when you’re in a work meeting or running errands with kids and need to quickly check to see who is at your door.

Also like the Google Nest Hello, as well as Ring doorbells, features include the ability to set custom activity zones to help offset any false motion sensor alerts. And, the Eufy doorbell uses artificial intelligence to differentiate between actual people and other objects and animals, something that not all of the doorbells we tested can do.

Overall, the two-way audio quality is clear and without any real delays, but there were sometimes where the person on the other end had trouble hearing my responses when I was away from home. However, this could’ve been due to my cell reception at the time. It’s worth noting that the audio from the doorbell on my end was easy to understand.

PROS:

  • Free, encrypted local data storage
  • Custom activity zones
  • Works with Google and Alexa

CONS:

  • Some audio problems

Key Features:

  • A Crystal-Clear 2K Image
  • No Hidden Costs
  • Respond in Real-Time
  • Free Electronic Chime Included
  • Smart Detection Zones

Specification:

  • Brand: eufy
  • Model: FH50700

Because it can run entirely on battery power, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus are the best video doorbells for homes or locations where there isn’t already power. But the reason Ring’s video doorbells also rank so high is that they can also run using a hardwired connection, making it very versatile.

This 1080p doorbell camera offers good customization for motion alerts, although it’s not as robust as the Ring Pro’s. However, you still get the same ability to share videos with neighbors, as well as Ring’s affordable video-storage fees. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus also offers a feature called Pre-roll, which allows you to see the four seconds of video prior to a motion event. It’s not as effective as similar features found on the Nest Hello and Arlo video doorbells, but Ring’s is the only one that also works using battery power. 

 

Ring’s video doorbell can also be paired with an optional Ring Chime ($29) or the Ring Chime Pro ($49), if you don’t already have a doorbell chime inside your house. The Chime Pro also acts as a Wi-Fi repeater, good for if your front door is out of range of your router.

PROS:

  • Can be wired or battery-powered
  • Pre-roll shows all movement
  • Works with a good number of other smart home devices

CONS:

  • No package detection
  • No preview notification
  • Subscription required for many features

Key Features:

  • Advanced Motion Detection with adjustable motion zones
  • 160° horizontal, 84° vertical
  • Two-way audio with noise cancellation
  • 1080p HD Video, Live View, Night Vision
  • Real-time notifications
  • Removable rechargeable battery pack
  • Works with Alexa

Specification:

  • Brand: Ring
  • Model: Video Doorbell 3 Plus

August’s Doorbell Cam is one of the best video doorbells because it has a clever feature: HindSense includes a couple of seconds of video before the motion is detected, which means the device is more likely to capture someone as they approach your door. While August’s doorbell doesn’t have the highest resolution among the cameras we tested, the footage was clear enough that we could see people’s faces, and we liked that its spotlight helped illuminate whoever was coming to the door at night.

 

Because August’s product looks the least like a traditional doorbell, visitors sometimes didn’t know to press the device; they just knocked on our door instead. Still, it integrates tightly with August’s excellent Smart Locks, which itself is compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, among other smart home systems — the most of any of the doorbells we tested.

PROS:

  • HindSight captures video before motion alarm is triggered
  • Works with many smart home systems
  • Integrates with smart lock and keypad

CONS:

  • Can't set motion zones
  • Relatively narrow field of view

Key Features:

  • Instant Alerts and Motion Detection
  • Live HD video feed
  • Full-color HD at night
  • Free 24-hour video recording

Specification:

  • Brand: August Lock
  • Model: AB-R1

Can’t install a traditional video doorbell, or live in an apartment? The Ring Peephole Cam is the best video doorbell for you. It replaces a traditional peephole, giving you an electronic means of seeing who’s at the door. (Don’t worry; it has a peephole built in). Because it screws into place, you don’t have to drill any new holes into a door, so your landlord won’t get annoyed.

Because the Peephole Cam is battery-operated, you’ll have to recharge it once every month or so, depending on how often you use it. And while it works with Alexa—you can view a feed from the camera on an Echo Show, for example—it doesn’t work with Google Assistant.

PROS:

  • Simple to install
  • Good video quality
  • Works with Alexa

CONS:

  • Storm door can block night view
  • Doesn't work with Google Assistant

Key Features:

  • Knock Detection
  • Advanced Motion Detection
  • Privacy Settings
  • 1080p HD, Live View, Night Vision
  • 155° horizontal, 90° vertical

Specification:

  • Brand: Ring
  • Model: Peephole Cam

Features to Look for in Smart Doorbells

  • Installation Requirements

    For some video doorbells, you’ll be able to install them on your own if professional installation isn’t provided. Many video doorbell cameras require hardwiring, and if this is the case, you’ll need to turn off your power, find your existing chime box, and then install the doorbell. If you purchase a video doorbell as part of a full home security system that requires professional installation, then the device will be set up for you.

  • Resolution

    Most doorbell cameras feature HD video, for crisp and clear capture. Typically, you’ll find resolutions ranging from 720p to 1080p, with some cameras having higher resolutions like 2k.

  • Notifications

    One of the most important features you’ll need access to is activity notifications. This will allow you to be alerted in the event someone stops by or is lurking on your property. Generally, you’ll be able to view live streaming footage of your front door or review a video clip.

  • Storage Options

    Look for the storage options available when choosing your video doorbell. Do you want your footage stored locally to an SD card, do you want cloud storage, or access to both? Many companies provide access to cloud storage with a free trial period and subscription plans. On average, you can expect to pay about $5/mo. per camera for cloud storage, depending on the company.

  • Two-Way Audio

    Listen in and communicate with visitors through two-way audio. If the video doorbell comes with a mobile app, you should be able to get a notification when someone’s at your door and have the ability to speak to them. This feature can also be handy with unwelcome visitors that you want to scare away.

  • Night Vision

    Make sure you can see clearly at night with this feature. Most doorbell companies specify how many feet you’ll be able to see clearly in low-lit conditions. Cutting edge features like color night vision and LED lights make it easier to see around your property after dark.

  • Smart Home Compatibility

    Have Alexa or Google Assistant check the front door for you with smart home compatibility. While not all video doorbells have this functionality, many do and will allow you to issue voice commands for control. For compatible video doorbells, the company will specify how you can set up your smart assistant for voice commands.

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