Video Doorbell Buying Guide

Safety Team
Updated Apr 26, 2021
3 min read
In today’s world, we no longer have to respond to a knock or rely on a fisheye lens to see who’s at the door. Since video doorbells complete with cameras have emerged, more and more homeowners are ditching the traditional doorbell for a safer way to respond to visitors.

What is a video doorbell?

A “video doorbell” is exactly what it sounds like: a doorbell with video capabilities. However, it’s even more than that. A video doorbell can also be a wifi-enabled smart device with motion detectors, recording capabilities and a microphone/speaker combination that allows you to chat with the person at the door. If a visitor is unwanted or may even be a potential intruder, a camera can help identify an unsafe situation.

How Does a Video Doorbell Work?

A video doorbell functions in the following ways:

  • It connects to your home’s existing doorbell wiring, audible alerts and wifi network.
  • It chimes just like a typical doorbell when pushed. Some doorbell camera models have motion detection that senses when someone is near your front door and will begin to record.
  • It sends a notification to your smartphone via your wifi network connection to alert you that someone is at your door.
  • The video doorbell's corresponding mobile app allows you to watch real-time video from the doorbell camera. Depending on your video doorbell model, it will start recording as soon as someone rings the doorbell or motion is detected.
  • Most video doorbell models will feature a microphone (within your mobile app) and a speaker that allows you to talk to visitors through the video doorbell. Some video doorbell models enable you to interact with your visitors via a two-way audio system.

The Benefits of a Video Doorbell

Let’s face it, opening the door to see who’s there isn’t necessarily an effective safety precaution. And sometimes, we just don’t want to open the door if we don’t know who the person is approaching. A video doorbell lets you safely view who’s at your door without having to put yourself at risk in case it’s a potential intruder. If you’re interested in improving the security of your home, a video doorbell is the home security tech for you. Here are the benefits of having a video doorbell:

  • Communicate with your visitors using two-way communication Away from your house or tending to small children? Answer your door by logging into the smartphone app and have a two-way conversation with your visitor. You can tell them to come back, direct them to leave any items or give them other directions.
  • Choose who you let in If you are hesitant to open your door without knowing who’s on the other side, you’re not alone. A video doorbell allows you to see who’s there before answering.
  • Have a wide view of your doorstep or porch A video doorbell lets you see much wider angles of your porch or doorstep. No more limited views through a peephole or peek through the window.
  • Enables night vision Depending on your video doorbell model, your doorbell camera might have night vision. This allows you to see your doorstep at night.
  • Keeps packages safe — More than two in five people have reported having a package stolen from their front porch. A video doorbell lets you see when your packages arrive so you can take measures to keep them safe. Plus, if your package is stolen, you’ll be able to see who it is so that you can file a detailed report.

Best Video Doorbell Features

Most video doorbells offer a similar suite of features, offering you a camera at your front door that lets you check what’s happening at home, even when you're far away. But not all video doorbells are made the same, and some offer advanced features that go above and beyond the standard offerings.
  • Person detection:

    Some video doorbells use AI and computer vision to identify people by their faces. This can help you determine who is at your door and how to interact with them.

  • Smart home integration:

    A video doorbell with smart home integration can be compatible with voice assistants like Siri or Alexa and can be used in tandem with other internet-connected devices in your home.

  • Professional monitoring:

    If you are concerned about safety or security, some video doorbells are compatible with professional monitoring services that respond to alerts and activity for you.

  • Built-in alarm/siren:

    A video doorbell with an alarm or siren can be a great way to deter unwelcome visitors who you spot on camera or alert you to a potential break in.

Ready to shop video doorbells?

Bottom line, a video doorbell provides a safe, reliable way to monitor what happens at your front door.

Home Security Experts

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.

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