The best video doorbells let you see and speak to anyone on your doorstep, even if you’re not at home – so you’ll never miss a delivery or get caught by a cold caller again. These doorbell cameras connect to your home Wi-Fi network and send an alert to your smartphone when the doorbell is pressed.
Using an app, you can view the video doorbell’s live feed, while a built-in microphone and speaker mean you can converse with whoever is at your threshold as well, so you can tell a delivery driver where to leave a parcel or simply alert your caller that you have mobility issues and it’ll take you a while to get to the door.
Video doorbells can also be used in place of the best home security cameras, as they’ll notify you if motion is detected in the camera’s field of view, as well as if the doorbell is pressed, and they also store the footage online so you can review it at a later date.
When it comes to home security, video doorbells can also be used to simulate occupancy if you’re not around, by working in conjunction with some of the best smart home devices. For example, you can ensure smart lights illuminate if the doorbell is pressed, or if the doorbell detects motion, your smart lock automatically secures your front door as a precaution.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to picking the best video doorbell for you, so we’ve put models from big names such as Ring, Arlo, and Google to the test to discover just which is the best video doorbell for 2021.
UPDATE: Google recently unveiled a new battery-powered video doorbell. The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) has the same great features as the Nest Hello, including facial recognition, but no longer requires existing doorbell wiring. It’s priced at 179.99 / £179.99 / AU$329 and we’re putting it to the test right now, so check back for our full review soon.
- 1 The best video doorbells you can buy
- 1.1 1. Arlo Video Doorbell
- 1.2 2. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
- 1.3 3. Nest Hello
- 1.4 4. Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
- 1.5 5. Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (Wireless)
- 1.6 Ring Video Doorbell Wired
- 2 How we test video doorbells
- 3 What to consider when buying a video doorbell?
The best video doorbells you can buy
In our opinion, Arlo’s first video doorbell is the best available on the market right now. If you already have other Arlo devices, then it’s a no-brainer; if not, then it should still be top of the list of considerations. Slim and stylish, it displays super-detailed footage. Thanks to the camera’s 180-degree field of view and 1:1 aspect ratio, you can view the full length of the person at your door, including any packages on the ground by their feet.
This is a mains-powered unit, so we’d recommended it’s professionally installed, but Arlo do offer a battery-powered version called Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free. Rather than send a notification to your smartphone when someone presses the doorbell, Arlo makes a video call over Wi-Fi instead. Just answer the call to speak to and see whoever is at your door. Through our time testing, we found this process far faster than having to open an app on receipt of a notification and then waiting for it to connect to the doorbell.
It’s one of a handful of video doorbells that integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit too. However, you’ll need to subscribe to the Arlo Secure service to get the most out of the doorbell, including features such as being able to go back and view who was at the door if you missed the call, and giving callers the chance to leave a message for you. Prices start from $2.99 / £2.49 / AU$4.49
Read our full review: Arlo Video Doorbell
Ring’s almost top-of-the-range video doorbell comes a close second to its Arlo rival – with footage that’s just as detailed and in the same 1:1 aspect ratio so you can see the full length of anyone on your doorstep and any packages they might have with them – although, at 150 degrees, it is a slightly smaller field of view than Arlo’s rival doorbell offers.
Where it betters its rival is with colorized night vision. The camera takes areas of ambient light within its field of view and applies a simulated color to them – tinting the sky blue, for example. It doesn’t create a full-color picture, but in our time with the product, we certainly found that it made night-time footage easier to decipher.
To get the most out of the Ring Doorbell Video Pro 2 you’ll need to subscribe to the Ring Protect service, whose features include the ability to review who was at the door if you missed the alert. The price is similar to Arlo’s service, starting from $3 / £2.50 /AU$4 per month.
Full integration with Amazon Alexa means you can use an Echo speaker to announce a doorbell press and converse with whoever is on the doorstep, rather than using your smartphone. If you’re in the US, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 even lets Alexa “answer” the door for you, taking a message as part of its Alexa Greetings feature. However, it won’t integrate with Google Assistant or HomeKit unlike the Arlo Video Doorbell above.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re on a budget, it’s worth considering its predecessor, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which is still available through some outlets. While it doesn’t have as high a resolution or a 1:1 aspect ratio, it’s still a good wired doorbell.
Read our full review: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
The Nest Hello video doorbell sports a similar rounded black-and-white design to the Arlo Video Doorbell. However, where it differs is that not only will it let you view who’s at your door, it will even attempt to identify them through facial recognition.
The Familiar Face function captures the face of all who approach your door, letting you assign names to those you know in the app. So, the next time they arrive at your door, the app will offer up a notification identifying them. The more times a person visits, the bigger the library of shots, thus enabling facial recognition to improve over time.
Of all the video doorbells reviewed here, the Nest Hello records footage at the lowest resolution. Nevertheless, we still found the image detailed enough to see exactly who was at the door. We were also impressed with just how easy the app was to use, too.
As is the case with most video doorbells, a subscription will be necessary to get anything more than the basics. Nest Hello will save video clips of detected motion and people from the past three hours, but footage older than that will be deleted unless you subscribe to Nest Aware, which costs from $5 / £5 / AU$9 per month. Also, the doorbell integrates with Google Assistant, unsurprisingly, but lacks Alexa or HomeKit integration.
Read our full review: Google Nest Hello
Ring’s battery-powered smart doorbell has a larger footprint than the Video Doorbell Pro, but it continues to offer many of the same great features. It can be mains-powered if you”d prefer, and the battery is removable, too, which means you don’t have to take the entire doorbell off the wall to recharge it either.
Images cover the same 160-degree field of view and, just like its more expensive sibling, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus records clear Full HD footage, and even stores the four seconds of black-and-white video recorded before the motion detection was activated – known as pre roll – to help you identify exactly what triggered the alert.
As with other Ring doorbells, subscribing to Ring Protect will ensure you can access all of the smart features, including being able to review who was at the door at a later date, if you missed the original alert. Prices start from $3 / £2.50 /AU$4 per month.
There’s full Amazon Alexa integration, too. If you have an Amazon Echo in the house, then you can set it to announce when the doorbell is pressed, or when motion is detected, and converse with the person at your door through the smart speaker – but it doesn’t work with Google Assistant and HomeKit.
Read our full review: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Of all the models here, Eufy’s video doorbell records footage at the highest resolution. As such, the video is extremely detailed, and a 4:3 aspect ratio means you can pretty much see the full length of the person on your doorstep.
Also notable with this doorbell is that it isn’t necessary to sign up for a monthly subscription to get the most from the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K. Rather than the video being stored securely online, up to 16GB of footage – around two week’s worth – can sit on the bundled base station, so there’s no on-going cost. But the base station does need to be connected to your wireless router using an Ethernet cable, so make sure you have a spare port.
The video doorbell was extremely simple to install, but in our tests, we found colors in the footage were more subdued than with rival doorbells, and the video could lose detail in very bright situations – but it excelled in darker settings.
Unlike Ring’s battery-operated doorbell, the battery in Eufy’s unit isn’t removable. As such, you’ll have to physically unmount the camera to recharge the battery for around six hours every six months.
Read our full review: Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (Wireless)
The Ring Video Doorbell Wired is the brand’s most affordable video doorbell and offers excellent value for money. Just like other Ring video doorbells, it records clear Full HD video and audio, but has a slightly narrower 155-degree field of view.
That said, this is such a small difference, we found you didn’t lose much from the picture and it’s a more than acceptable compromise to keep the price so low.
The Full HD color footage recorded the doorbell camera looked clear and detailed, and while video recorded after dark was in black and white rather than color, it was still easy to see.
There’s no option to use this Ring Video Doorbell on battery power and to make installation as simple as possible, it will stop any existing chimes you have in your home. This means they won’t sound when the doorbell is pressed – if you want an audible alert in your home to signal someone’s at the door, you’ll need to either link the doorbell to an Amazon Echo Smart speaker, if you have one, or purchase the Ring Chime ($29.99 / £29.99 / AU$59) or Ring Chime Pro ($49.99 / £49.99 / AU$79). However, while the doorbell offers Alexa integration, there’s no support for Google Assistant or HomeKit.
You’ll need to subscribe to Ring Protect to review who was at the door if you missed the original alert, but it also offers other smart features such as being able to set zones so you’re only alerted about activity in these areas. Prices start from $3 / £2.50 /AU$4 per month.
Read our full review: Ring Video Doorbell Wired
How we test video doorbells
To compare the best video doorbells we review the quality of the footage they capture both during the day and at night. We also judge the sound quality of the video, as well as when conversing in real-time with someone on the doorstep.
We also assess the ease of installation, and if relevant, the battery life, along with the how simple the app is to navigate, and the benefits offered by any subscription services, such as secure storage for footage, and handy features designed to identify what triggered a motion alert and reduce unwanted notifications about activity in the doorbell’s field of view.
What to consider when buying a video doorbell?
There are some aspects that you need to consider before buying the best video doorbell for you.
Video doorbells are available in both mains-powered and battery-operated options, but your current set-up will determine which option you choose; those with existing wired doorbells will easily be able to switch out their current model for a mains-powered video doorbell, and will ensure an existing chime in your home is triggered when the doorbell is pressed. If you don’t feel confident working on your home’s wiring, and you don’t have the relevant qualifications, then it’ll need to be professionally installed.
If you’re renting or you don’t have an existing wired doorbell, a battery-operated model that is powered by rechargeable batteries and requires far less DIY, is a better alternative to wired counterparts. However you may need to purchase an additional chime so you hear a sound inside your house when the doorbell is pressed, or set-up a compatible smart speaker or smart display to do this for you.
The quality the video doorbell records video in should also be considered – most record footage in Full HD, while others offer a higher resolution, which is ideal if you have a long driveway and want to see small details in the field of view clearly. If you get a lot of deliveries also consider a video doorbell that offers a 1:1 aspect ratio – so you’ll be able to see the full length of someone on your doorstep, as well as if they have a package at their feet too.
Finally, consider how video the camera captures is stored – does it require a subscription to save video in the cloud so it can go back and be reviewed after it has happened. These start from $2.99 / £2.49 / AU$4.49 per month, so remember to factor in this cost. Some video doorbells, such as those from Eufy, offer local storage so you don’t have any ongoing costs associated with the camera. While others, including the Google Nest Doorbell (battery) offer free cloud storage for a limited time after the video has been recorded.
How do video doorbells work?
Video doorbells work in much the same way as home security cameras, by connecting to your home Wi-Fi and sending a notification to your smartphone if motion is detected. You can log in and view a live feed from the camera, and even converse with whoever is at your threshold. Alternatively, you can ignore the notification and review the footage at a later date.
The higher the resolution of the doorbell’s camera, the more detailed the footage recorded. In addition, some video doorbells offer a wider field of view so you can see the full length of the person at the door, and any packages they may have with them. Find out in more detail how do video doorbells work in our article.
Do video doorbells work with Alexa (and other voice assistants)?
Most video doorbells work with Alexa, and other voice assistants such as Google Assistant or HomeKit, so a compatible smart speaker in your home will announce play an audible alert when someone is at the door, and let you converse with them through the speaker
On top of that, if you have one of the best smart displays; such as an Amazon Echo Show 10, you can also view the doorbell’s feed on its screen. A handful of video doorbells work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit; others only work with one or two of these voice assistants.
Can I use a Ring video doorbell without a subscription?
Ring video doorbells, and those from other manufacturers, can be used without a subscription, but this means you only get access to the most basic function such as getting an alert when the doorbell is pressed, and accessing a live feed from the camera. If you miss an alert and want to review video from the doorbell camera at a later date, you do need to subscribe to Ring Protect, or the relevant service.
These subscription services also ensure you can access handy features designed to reduce the number of false positive alerts issued by the video doorbell, such as identifying the cause of the motion and creating activity zones so you’re only notified about motion in these areas.