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Best video doorbell 2021: Security and convenience

Smart doorbells are popular for two reasons: they make life easier, as you can answer your door from anywhere, and they boost security to your home.

With plenty of models to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Fortunately, we’ve reviewed all of the major products, so can tell you which one is the best video doorbell for you.

All of the doorbells that we test go through the same rigorous procedures so that you can trust our results. And you can rest assured that every product has been installed and tested: we do not list products that we have not reviewed.

How we test

How we test video doorbells

All video doorbells are installed on the outside of the same property, wired where required and battery-operated otherwise. We test how easy it is to control notifications and motion events on each camera. As every doorbell is installed, we can record how well each works with real visitors.

We record samples during the night and day so that we can compare image quality between different models. We also test each camera’s compatibility with other systems, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and SmartThings.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

The best all-round video doorbell that we have tested
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Pros

  • Bird’s eye view is clever
  • Excellent motion detection controls
  • Improved video quality

Cons

  • Doesn’t support wired chimes

The original smart doorbell manufacturer, Ring is the biggest name in this market for a reason: its products are great. The wired Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is the pinnacle of the company’s technology, packing more features than anywhere else, including 3D Motion Detection.

Using radar, 3D Motion Detection lets you set the detection limit of the doorbell. Used in combination with standard activity zones it means that you won’t get troubled by alerts taking place outside of your front door.

As this model doesn’t have a battery, it’s slim enough to fit onto most door frames. You get a compatible transformer in the box, which may require professional installation. The downside of this model is that it can’t sound an internal chime.

However, you can buy plug-in chimes and you can also make Amazon Echo speakers sound when someone presses the doorbell, answering directly from Echo Show devices.

Image quality is excellent thanks to the high 1536 x 1536 resolution and lens that captures people head-to-toe. That’s great for talking to callers, but also increases this doorbell’s use as a security camera.

Video clips are saved to the cloud via a subscription (you can use this as a doorbell without recording for free), and you can pay one subscription to cover all of your Ring cameras. A subscription also lets the doorbell answer automatically with a message of your choice, recording the answer.

Full review: Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Nest Doorbell (wired)

The best video doorbell for Google Assistant users
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Pros

  • Fast response
  • Continuous recording option
  • Can silence internal chime
  • Facial recognition

Cons

  • Installation a little tricky
  • Few Quiet Time options

Ring might have the widest selection of doorbells but non support the Google Assistant. If you have Nest Home smart speakers, then the best option is the Nest Doorbell (wired), previously known as the Nest Hello.

Although this is an older product than the newer Nest Doorbell (battery), it remains the better product even though it has to be wired in place and may need professional installation.

What sets this model apart from the newer one is higher resolution video, with the 1600 x 1200 footage looking good, both at night and during the day. This doorbell has some very smart features via a Nest Aware subscription, including facial recognition, so that you know who’s at the front door.

With a Nest Subscription, this doorbell can record video to the cloud, and it even supports 24/7 recording if you opt for the more expensive monthly payment. You also get quick replies for when you don’t want to answer the door, such as “you can leave it” or “we can’t get to the door right now”.

Made by Google, this doorbell fully integrates with Google Assistant smart speakers, and you can answer the door from a Nest Home Hub without having to touch your phone.

Full review: Nest Doorbell (battery)

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Ring Video Doorbell 4

The best wireless doorbell that you can buy
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Pros

  • Clever colour pre-roll
  • Quality motion detection
  • Works brilliantly with Alexa

Cons

  • Small upgrade on last year’s model
  • No Google Assistant support

With the Ring Video Doorbell 4, Ring has taken battery-powered doorbells to the limits of what they can achieve. While this model still uses a PIR sensor to detect motion, the new activity zones feature means that you can filter out a lot of notifications and hone in on the areas you want to monitor.

This model adds colour pre-roll into the mix. Before an event is triggered, the camera records a few seconds of HD footage that gets appended to the final video. It lets you see what caused an event and means that you don’t miss valuable information; other battery doorbells can take a while to wake up and often miss part of an event.

Clips can be recorded to the cloud via a Ring Protect subscription, which has an option to cover all of your cameras via a single low monthly payment.

This model runs off of Ring’s standard battery packs, which should last up to six months on a charge. When flat, you can either recharge or swap the battery out for a fresh one. You can also wire the doorbell into place if you have a wired model, which keeps the battery topped up automatically.

Video is shot at a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and is good enough to see what’s going on, although video lacks the definition and sharpness of many of the wired models reviewed here.

Full review: Ring Video Doorbell 4 review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free

The best video doorbell for quality
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Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Calls your phone for incoming doorbell presses
  • Sends notifications via Amazon Echo speakers

Cons

  • Chunky
  • Terse automated replies
  • Can’t answer calls from a smart speaker

Best known for its battery-powered cameras, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free is the company’s first battery-powered doorbell. Unlike earlier cameras, this model doesn’t require an Arlo hub and can connect directly to your Wi-Fi.

Rather than sending a simple notification to your phone, the doorbell makes your phone ring as though there was an incoming call. That means that you’re far less likely to miss an incoming call.

Notifications can also be sent to the optional Arlo wireless chime or Amazon Echo speakers. However, you can’t answer the doorbell from a smart speaker and have to use the app.

If you can’t answer the door, there are automated responses that you can send, although they all sound quite terse (“Not interested!”, for example).

Although battery powered, with a battery that will last for up to six months, the doorbell can be wired to an existing circuit, which keeps the doorbell topped up automatically.

Image quality is excellent, with the doorbell shooting video at a resolution of 1536 x 1536 – that’s the same as on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, only the video here looks a touch sharper.

It’s worth paying for an Arlo Smart subscription (options available to cover all of your cameras), as this adds cloud recording plus the option to only be notified about your choice of people, animals or vehicles.

Full review: Arlo Essential Video Doorbell Wire-Free

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Ring Video Doorbell Wired

An excellent budget wired doorbell
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Pros

  • Extremely cheap
  • Decent video quality
  • Works brilliantly with Alexa

Cons

  • No HDR
  • Can’t ring a traditional chime
  • No Google Assistant support

Cheap products usually come with plenty of issues, but not so the Ring Video Doorbell Wired, which costs less than £50 and does everything you’d expect.

While lacking the clever 3D Motion Detection of the more expensive wired models, here you get Activity Zones to focus motion detection on specific areas and you get the People only mode, to only get notifications when a person is spotted.

There are all the features that you’d expect from a Ring doorbell: your Amazon Echo speakers can chime when there’s someone at the door; you can answer from an Echo Show; and pay for a Ring Protect subscription and you get cloud storage.

There’s a 1080p sensor in this camera, the same as on the battery-powered devices. The result is video that’s good enough, particularly for callers that you want to chat to, although a little softer than the higher-end competition.

There’s no power supply in the box, but you can buy a cheap one that’s either wired in permanently or you can get the Ring Plug-in Adaptor that goes into a regular socket. Overall, at this price, there’s very little to complain about.

Full review: Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Eufy Video Doorbell 2K

A great choice for those that don’t want to pay for a subscription
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Pros

  • Extremely cheap
  • Decent video quality
  • Works brilliantly with Alexa

Cons

  • No HDR
  • Can’t ring a traditional chime
  • No Google Assistant support

Most video doorbells share one thing in common: you need a subscription if you want to store video. The Eufy Video Doorbell 2K is different, as its footage is recorded to the provided base station. This isn’t upgradeable but you get 16GB of storage included, which is enough for a fair amount of footage.

This battery-powered doorbell can be connected to an existing circuit to keep the battery topped up, plus the doorbell can then ring an internal chime.

You can also set your Echo devices to ring, although you can’t answer a call from a smart speaker and have to use the app.

Otherwise, the battery should last around six months on a charge, after which you have to remove the doorbell and recharge it via its micro-USB port.

To help cut down the number of notifications that you get, you can draw activity zones around the areas of the image that you want to monitor. Plus, you can turn on object detection to only be notified when a person is spotted.

This doorbell has a high resolution 2560 x 1920, capturing very sharp footage during the day; at night, video was a little soft, with the camera lighting up the night with IR.

You can get more feature-packed doorbells, particularly if you want better Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integration; however, if you want a doorbell with no ongoing costs, this is a great choice.

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FAQs

Wired or battery powered, which video doorbell is best?

Wired doorbells don’t need recharging and they typically respond faster, making them a better choice where you can install them. However, you may need to replace your transformer, which could involve costly professional installation. Battery-powered cameras are easier to install and are catching up, feature-wise, with wired models.

Do I need a cloud subscription to use a video doorbell?

No, all models will work without a subscription to give you notifications and let you answer calls. Some doorbells support offline recording, but most models need a subscription if you want to record video. It’s a worthy upgrade, as your doorbell turns into a security camera. For that reason, if you have security cameras already, buy your doorbell from the same manufacturer so that you can save money on your monthly subscription costs.

Do I need Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant support?

Doorbells that support Amazon Alexa can usually use Echo speakers as internal chimes, making it easier to hear when someone is at the door. Only Ring doorbells can be answered from an Echo Show smart speaker. Only Nest doorbells can be answered from an Nest Hub smart display.

Comparison specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Resolution
Voice Assistant
Battery Length
Battery Length
Smart assistants
App Control
IFTTT
Camera Type
Mounting option
View Field
Recording option
Two-way audio
Night vision
Light
Motion detection
Activity zones
Object detection
Audio detection
Power source

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