How to Choose the Best Doorbell Cameras for You: A Buying Guide
Video doorbells, also called doorbell cameras, provide an added layer of security for homeowners and renters who want to be able to see who’s at their door anytime, whether they’re home or not. Your smart video doorbell will connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, and you’ll download an app on your smartphone where you’ll instantly receive streamed footage when the camera begins recording.
The best video doorbells give you options like two-way communication, live video streaming, easy installation, and integration with your existing smart home automation and IFTTT systems.
Video Doorbell Features to Consider Before You Buy
Here are the most popular features customers look for when shopping for a smart doorbell camera.
Resolution and night vision
Picture resolution determines how clearly you can see images and video that stream from your video doorbell to your connected device. The maximum resolution for video doorbells is 1080p, and the lowest is around 480p.
Some smart video doorbells have night vision, which is handy if you want to keep an eye on what’s happening on your front porch when it’s dark outside. Without night vision, it can be difficult to see faces clearly when motion is detected and your camera starts recording.
Doorbell cameras have two-way communication, which allows you to speak with whoever is on the other side of your door whether you’re home or away. The person at the door speaks into the doorbell’s microphone, and you can respond through your doorbell app. For doorbells that integrate with Amazon Alexa or other smart home devices, you’ll have to open your smart home app to communicate.
Field of view
The field of view refers to how much you can see from the camera. The best field of view for a doorbell camera is 180 degrees. It means that your camera captures everything that’s in front of it and to the sides of it. A 90-degree field of view shows only what’s in front of the camera and a little bit to each side. In general, you want a doorbell camera with a wide field of view so you can capture images and video on all of your porch.
Smart video doorbells include cloud storage up to a certain point for free. Usually video doorbells store videos for 30 days, but you need to check with each product before you decide whether you want to buy it. If you want additional cloud storage so you can review footage beyond what’s included, you usually need to pay an additional monthly fee.
Video doorbell cost
Of course, like any purchase, how much a video doorbell costs plays into your decision on which one you want to buy. Like most tech gadgets, more expensive doorbell cameras tend to be higher quality and have more features than cheaper video doorbells. However, that’s not always the case.
How much to spend on a smart video doorbell depends on why you’re buying one. If you’re worried about theft from porch pirates or a break-in, then spending a little more may be worth it to make sure you’re getting the highest resolution images possible. If you just want a doorbell camera so you can monitor package drop-offs and know when someone is at the door, then you may be fine with a cheap video doorbell with lower resolution.