Do Video Doorbells Work With Other Smart Home Devices?
Many home security systems offer video doorbells as add-on components, but these devices typically don't work on their own and must be connected to a system hub. However, they usually interact with other system components such as door locks, sirens, and lighting. If you want a standalone smart doorbell that will work with other smart devices in your home, look for one that supports the IFTTT (If This Then That) internet service. With IFTTT you can easily create mini programs, called applets, that let IFTTT-enabled devices interact with each other. For example, you can create an applet that tells a Wemo Smart Switch to turn on when a Ring Doorbell is pressed.
Another handy feature to look for is support for Alexa voice commands that let you view a doorbell's live stream on a compatible display. Once you've enabled the skill, simply say, "Alexa, show the front door," to launch a live stream on your Echo Show or Fire TV-enabled TV or monitor. Similar voice commands are also available using Google Assistant.
Video Doorbells vs. Smart Home Security Cameras
Video doorbells and home security cameras offer many of the same benefits. Both will show you what is going on outside of your home, both offer motion detection and motion-triggered recording, and in most cases, both let you speak to whoever is out there. That said, the simple fact is that security cameras lack the doorbell component. If you're downstairs doing the laundry and your phone is upstairs, a security camera won't tell you that someone is at the door, but the doorbell will (when pressed).
Moreover, unless they are battery operated, outdoor security cameras require a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet for power, which may limit potential mounting locations. Wired smart doorbells use existing low-voltage wiring and are relatively easy to install (they don't require a ladder, for instance).
With that in mind, these are best video doorbells we've tested so far. The category is evolving quickly, and we'll be adding to this list regularly as we test new devices, so check back soon.