Find out which smart buzzer is the best of the best.
The video doorbell is a pretty new smart home category. Video doorbells overlap with traditional home security cameras since they’re doorbells that come with built-in security cameras.
A video doorbell works by sending you a real-time notification on your phone with a live video look at who’s ringing your doorbell; you will also hear a regular ol’ chime sound. A built-in microphone and speaker in the doorbell allows you to chat with your guest, and in some cases, the device will also work with smart locks so you can let the person in without physically opening the door yourself.
Most candidates for best video doorbell camera today are Wi-Fi-enabled and offer features such as a rechargeable battery, two-way communication, a video feed and recording, along with the traditional doorbell button. But the designs, video quality, video storage subscriptions and installation process for each doorbell cam can vary.
We’ve highlighted our favorite models below, and we’ve explained exactly how we test video doorbells. So if you’re looking for the best video doorbell, chances are it’s among those we’ve tested.
The best video doorbells we’ve tested
Tyler Lizenby/CNET E D I T O R S ‘ C H O I C E Arlo’s $150 Video Doorbell cam is easy to install, performs well and has competitive features and cloud storage fees, starting at $3 a month. With a cloud storage subscription, you get access to advanced functionality like custom person, animal, vehicle and package alerts. The Arlo Video Doorbell, our pick for best video doorbell overall, also features a built-in siren, two-way audio, motion detection zones and arm/disarm modes. Read more about the Arlo Video Doorbell.
E D I T O R S ‘ C H O I C E In addition to the basics such as 1080p HD video footage live streaming and motion detection and alerts, the Hello camera also offers free person detection. Person detection won’t tell you who’s at the door (it’s not facial recognition — more on that below), but it will tell you it saw a person. For a monthly or yearly fee, you can also upgrade to the Nest Aware cloud storage subscription service. Along with access to saved HD video recordings (hello excellent video quality), this service adds facial recognition. Read the Nest Hello review.
Best for apartment-dwellers Ring Peephole Cam Chris Monroe/CNET The $199 Peephole Cam is Ring’s answer to apartment doors — or any doors with peepholes. If you don’t want to — or can’t — drill into a doorframe to install a hardwired or battery-powered doorbell, the Peephole Cam is a solid alternative. Entirely battery-powered, the Peephole Cam replaces your standard peephole in a few simple steps. You’ll still be able to see through it like a regular peephole, but you’ll also be able to pull up a live video feed of your front door on demand and talk to any visitors. If you subscribe to Ring’s Protect cloud…
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