The Best Smart Doorbell 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

A considerable number of home accessories and appliances now have smart varieties which are connected to the internet and give you remote access, and one of the most useful is the video doorbell camera.

They allow you to see who has rung your doorbell as an extra security measure. The live video feed is sent to your connected smartphone, where you receive a notification.

Most will allow you to have a two-way conversation with the visitor too, either to ask them who they are or to leave instructions with a delivery driver if you can’t make it to the door or have nipped to the shop. Much more secure than putting a note on the door for everyone to see or trying to guess where it has been left.

Getting the right one for your needs is an important security step. If you’re looking to upgrade your home security to include a smart video doorbell, take a look at our reviews of the best to buy this year:

The Best Smart Doorbells – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Ring Video Doorbell 2
  • Works With: Alexa/Samsung SmartThings/Wink/IFTTT. iOS/Android/Windows/MacOS
  • Power: Rechargeable Battery/Wired
  • Picture Quality: 1080p HD
Click for Best Price
Nest Hello Video Doorbell
  • Works With: Alexa/Google Assistant. iOS/Android/Windows
  • Power: Wired
  • Picture Quality: HD
Click for Best Price
Ring Video Doorbell
  • Works With: iOS/Android/Windows
  • Power: Rechargeable Battery/Wired
  • Picture Quality: 720p HD
Click for Best Price

Best Smart Doorbells

Nest Hello Video Doorbell

Able to send an alert to your smartphone whenever the doorbell rings, or when it detects somebody on your property, the Nest Hello smart doorbell is a great addition to any home security system and perhaps the best choice for the real security-conscious.

One of its selling points is that it can tell the difference between a person and something else. A lot of doorbell camera fans state that it can be annoying to constantly get motion notifications due to things such as the washing blowing in the wind or a cat going past, so this ability is welcome.

It gives you a full view of the area, from head to toe. This lets you see if any parcels have been left on your doorstep, or if something such as a charity bag has been collected. Through the Nest app, you can have a two-way conversation with visitors as well. Or, select a choice of pre-recorded greetings.

For an added extra each month, a Nest Aware subscription can further tell the difference between regular guests and strangers. If you have a Google Home smart speaker, this could come in handy as it can announce who is at the door without you checking the video footage.

There is live stream ability, so you can always check in on the camera should you be away and want to see if everything outside is still okay. Thanks to night vision and three-hour event history snapshots, you are on top of it all whatever the time.

The Nest Aware plan can also record and store up to 30 days worth of history, in case you have missed anything or want to revisit something suspicious. Unlike some other doorbells which only turn on when there’s motion or the bell is pressed, the Nest records and saves footage 24/7, and can tag clips based on movement or people.

Specifications

  • Works With: Alexa/Google Assistant. iOS/Android/Windows
  • Power: Wired
  • Picture Quality: HD

+ Downloads

Nest Hello Video Doorbell User Manual

Download

We like

  • Facial Recognition for extra cost
  • 24/7 continuous recording and access
  • Comes with everything needed to fit and install
  • Very clear footage

We dislike

  • Facial Recognition is sometimes unpredictable
  • Some extras come at a price
  • Overall price of item and installation

Final Verdict

The only true rival we found to Ring's cling on the market, and well-worth the extra money if you can afford to part with it.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The Ring range of doorbells are perhaps the best-known, and this model is one of the leading varieties regarding the combination of price, ease of use and the features available straight out of the box.

There is 1080p HD video footage, so there will be no difficulty in working out who everyone is who comes to the door. There is also two-way conversation ability, allowing you to ask all the questions and leave the instructions you could wish.

It comes with motion sensors too, so you can get a notification if there is anyone on your property before they ring the doorbell. This can be adjusted to focus on particular zones to let you see movement in the most important areas of your property.

Thanks to the night-vision sensors, security is made 24/7. And it is weather resistant too, so you can still see if anyone happens to be on your property on the darkest, stormiest nights.

Whether you are halfway around the world or just upstairs with the kids, receiving notifications and checking on the comings and goings in your home has never been easier.

If you would like to record and securely store all the footage it has taken, you can purchase the Ring Protect Recording Plan from an extra £2.50 per month. You get a free 30-day trial of this cloud service to see if it really will come in handy.

It is supplied with a quick-release rechargeable battery pack so you can give it a boost without removing the entire item, or simply connect it all up to the wiring. Charges last around a month.

There is the option to purchase with a chime for an extra cost, or with an Echo Dot.

Specifications

  • Works With: Alexa/Samsung SmartThings/Wink/IFTTT. iOS/Android/Windows/MacOS
  • Power: Rechargeable Battery/Wired
  • Picture Quality: 1080p HD

+ Downloads

Ring Video Doorbell 2 User Manual

Download

We like

  • Comes with two interchangeable faceplates
  • Battery is rechargeable

We dislike

  • Need to pay for Cloud footage storage

Final Verdict

There are extra costs involved, but in terms of the camera we would feel most secure using, this tops the list and seems the most reliable.

Arlo Audio Doorbell

Arlo is a strong name when it comes to smart home security, so we were excited for the release of their first foray into the doorbell market.

The most important thing to mention here is that this is purely for existing users of Arlo camera systems, or anyone looking at buying the whole collection. You need a camera already pointing at the outdoor area, as this is only the doorbell part of the setup.

It is going to be a winner for a lot of people out there for several reasons. The app is compatible with iOS and Android, it’s battery operated to reduce wiring, weatherproof, and gives pretty instant alerts straight to your phone.

Perfect for a household, a notification will let you know if another family member gets to the call first. You can even remotely select a pre-recorded message to answer the door for you if you’re too busy to speak. There is two-way audio in case you need to speak to whoever has rung the bell to ask them to wait or leave a parcel somewhere.

You can use an existing chime with it if you don’t want to be too reliant on your smartphone to give you the alerts. Or, you can buy the dedicated Arlo Chime. A rolling seven day Cloud storage system will keep your data there for long enough to check up on anything suspicious. It can also operate in temperatures between -20°C to 45°C. So, it is perfectly safe for use in the UK no matter how extreme the weather gets.

It currently only works with Alexa, not Google Home or Apple HomeKit. You do need the Arlo SmartHub for it all to work which you should already have if you own the cameras in the range.

We had a few issues with it. The battery life didn’t last anywhere near as long as stated, first of all. Obviously, this can depend on how sensitive it is and how busy things are, but it is still disappointing and changing settings to lower quality seemed to make little difference. If they happen to go offline, you need to basically start again and reinstall, so there may be issues with connectivity.

Having said this, it is a great addition to an existing Arlo setup and comes in at a reasonable price.

Specifications

  • Battery Life: 2 months+
  • Recording Quality: Dependent On Camera
  • Viewing Zone: Dependent On Camera

+ Downloads

Arlo Audio Doorbell User Manual

Download

We like

  • Can add multiple users
  • Works with existing chimes
  • Wire-free

We dislike

  • Battery life is poor

Final Verdict

Not the best in terms of video quality or connectivity, but a good add-on if you want to boost your security system

Ring Video Doorbell

If you’re after a smart doorbell camera under the budget category, takes things back to basics but is still worthwhile, then the original first generation Ring is a great bet. It doesn’t even seem that dated despite the range of latest models.

It has most of the features which are seen as a must. You can view or speak to visitors using your smartphone, and there are motion sensors to take care of anybody who doesn’t ring the doorbell, but you want to keep an eye on.

The removable rechargeable battery means a quick and simple set-up, or you can install it to your pre-existing wired doorbell for use with an audible bell.

There are four finishes available – Venetian Bronze, Polished Brass, Antique Brass and Satin Nickel – so you can choose the one which fits your decor and general look the best.

Concerning the negatives, there are a few signals which suggest it is an early model. Connectivity was a bit unpredictable even when tested with high broadband speeds, and there was sometimes a bit of a delay between receiving the notification that someone was at the door and them actually arriving. Not great if you’re getting a parcel delivered and you only catch them as they’re leaving when they think nobody is in.

If crystal-clear picture quality, ultra-reliability and a slimline design are a must then going with a later Ring model will be the best bet. But for something under £100 and having a doorbell camera for those ‘just in case’ moments is a priority, then it is a great budget bet. And, it is a well-known brand if you’re bothered about that kind of thing.

Specifications

  • Works With: iOS/Android/Windows
  • Power: Rechargeable Battery/Wired
  • Picture Quality: 720p HD

+ Downloads

Ring Video Doorbell User Manual

Download

We like

  • Price
  • Choice of colours
  • Audio is clear

We dislike

  • Speed of notifications
  • Motion sensor is either poor or ultra-sensitive (no in-between)

Final Verdict

Despite being the original older model, it was still ahead of its game and is still great for anyone not bothered about all of the latest fancy extras

Ring Video Doorbell Pro with Chime

Complete with a chime so you can’t miss the notifications if somebody is at the door, this Ring package has everything you need to get started. Plus, it is much more sleek than the original or Ring 2 models.

Firstly, the camera covers a full 180° view which is slightly more generous than a lot of others which usually sit at about 160°, so you have a complete view from side to side. The full HD 1080p recording quality also allows you to look back at all of the footage clearly, and there will be no confusion as to who is stood on your doorstep.

There is an IR LED sensor so it will still work perfectly when it is dark. It is also weather resistant, so a bad shower of rain won’t see it become entirely useless.

The chime can connect to the doorbell wirelessly which is great to cut down on the amount of installation and wiring needed. Through the app, you can adjust the volume and switched to ‘do not disturb’ if you have a sleeping little one or a pet who is easily startled.

It requires an existing hardwired doorbell or professional installation from an electrician, so it isn’t for anyone who wants an easy process.

Specifications

  • Works With: iOS/Android/Windows
  • Power: Wired
  • Picture Quality: 1080p HD

+ Downloads

RING Video Doorbell Pro with Chime User Manual

Download

We like

  • Slimmer and more modern-looking than Ring 2
  • Can set custom motion sensor area

We dislike

  • Price for additional extras is a bit steep
  • Needs a really strong WiFi connection

Final Verdict

Good clear pictures and we like the addition of the chime, plus it looks smart and works very efficiently if your WiFi is good.

EZVIZ DP1 Smart Doorbell

A smart doorbell which has pretty much everything you could want out of a product of its type. It is actually overall designed to replace a peephole in terms of placement as opposed to a traditional doorbell.

Three metres of night vision will have you covered even when it is dark outside, so you can still clearly see who is ringing or what is going on outside. The motion alert option can give you a notification when something sets it off, so you can investigate if necessary.

There is also two-way audio, so you can speak out and ask somebody who they are and what they want before going to the door. Or, ask your postman to leave your parcel around the side of the house if you are in the supermarket.

With the purchase comes a Smart Video Viewer, which technically acts as the other end of the peephole to be placed on the back of the door. So if it’s easier to see rather than grab your phone, you don’t have to open the door. It is also touch screen, so you can record what it sees and view previously recorded data. You can also change the settings such as the brightness and sensitivity to adapt it to your particular environment.

Unlike with a lot of other options, there is also a built-in chime so you shouldn’t miss a thing. The body of the camera is also very durable so it should be protected from vandalism or the weather.

It works with Alexa and Google Home, but not Apple HomeKit at the moment. The free EZVIZ app needs to be downloaded to get it up and running. It is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. Recordings can be stored both on a microSD and a cloud system, but the latter does cost.

We love how discreet it is and how it is pretty vandal proof. And how it gives you many ways to view what is going on. It is one of the more advanced options out there (with a price tag to show this). While it isn’t great for any renters because of how much drilling and setup it takes, it is a top choice for anyone who can indeed adapt their door to install it.

Specifications

  • Battery Life: 2 months+
  • Recording Quality: 720p
  • Viewing Zone: 124°

+ Downloads

EZVIZ DP1 Smart Doorbell User Manual

Download

We like

  • Discreet
  • Video viewer option
  • Two-way audio

We dislike

  • Cloud storage costs
  • May have to adapt your door and drill to install

Final Verdict

It isn’t going to be suitable for everyone, but if you do decide it is the one for you, then you’re going to be just as impressed as we are about how much it changes the game

Byron WiFi Wireless Rechargeable Video Doorbell

The video doorbell market is ruled by a couple of strong names, so we were very excited to try this option from a well-loved doorbell brand and see how it matched up.

There is a lot to shout about too. You can purchase it as rechargeable or wired, to suit your home and lifestyle. It gives you the option to see, hear, speak and record any visitors from wherever you are in the world. These recordings can be stored completely free on Google Drive, Dropbox or by adding a micro SD card.

The free storage is a huge point as many cameras require subscriptions as extra. If you really want to keep a record of all instances, perhaps because there has been a rise in crime in the area or you just like to be able to check out anything suspicious, then this is going to be very welcomed.

It is weatherproof so if you don’t have a closed porch, don’t be put off. The camera quality is high, and you can choose from three different melodies.

There is no internal chime for your home, so it only notifies your phone that someone has pressed the bell. But this is an issue with many products of this type so we can’t say it is particularly disappointing. We found a few problems with connecting to WiFi and our phones, but once it was done, the connection didn’t seem to drop which is good.

The big thing it lacks, however, is motion detection. Unfortunately, not every unwelcome guest will ring the doorbell.

Specifications

  • Battery Life: 4-6 months
  • Recording Quality: HD 720p
  • Viewing Zone: 160 degrees

+ Downloads

Byron WiFi Wireless Rechargeable Video Doorbell User Manual

Download

We like

  • Full charge lasts 4-6 months
  • Good quality video
  • Good sound when talking and listening
  • Free storage

We dislike

  • No way to hear the ring in your home (yet)
  • No motion detection

Final Verdict

Stylish, easy to set up thanks to the instructions and free storage - it is as though Byron has answered a lot of our prayers when it comes to video doorbell technology. Definitely one of the strongest on the market if the lack of motion detection doesn’t bother you

Help and Resources

Smart Doorbell Buying Guide

What You Should Look Out For

The main aim of a video doorbell is for you to see who is at the door, so make sure you get one which has good camera quality of at least HD standard. 1080p is the clearest, but this usually only comes with higher more expensive models.

Another point to look out for is motion sensors, which will notify you if there is any movement outside. Not everybody rings the doorbell, especially if they are acting suspiciously, so this adds an extra level of security. Try to get one with adjustable sensors, so things such as cats/cars going past don’t notify you.

The Nest Hello doorbell has facial recognition so the notifications can tell you who is at the door before you even view the footage, which would be great for anyone with a busy home.

Price

Prices generally start at just under £100 and increase to over £200.

From our reviews, video doorbells seem to be an item which paying more means better quality. None of those reviewed was 100% perfect, but those at the higher end of the scale were more reliable, had more features, and you got more for the money.

Doorbell cameras are no substitute for proper home security, but they can be a valuable part of your setup so spending that bit more will give a better peace of mind.

Battery Or Hard Wired?

Both are usually the same cost, but there are pros and cons of each.

Battery doorbells are the easiest to install but don’t connect to your installed chime as easily. If you want to be able to hear the ring as well as see the notification on your phone, you will probably need to purchase an additional chime.

A hard-wired doorbell will usually require a visit from an electrician, which obviously comes with additional costs and work. But there would be no worries about batteries running out at critical moments.

Operation With Other Smart Devices

You can link some smart doorbells with other items around your home to create a secure hub. If the doorbell rings and it is nighttime, you could arrange for your lights to come on in response. If you are inside the house and usually have the door unlocked, you can arrange for the door to secure if you have a smart lock. Look for a doorbell equipped with IFTTT if this appeals.

The Nest range will also be beneficial in this case as it works with an entire network of smart appliances.

Durability

This is a product which will be mounted on the outside of your home all year round. You want a smart doorbell which can put up with rain, wind, cold, heat, sunlight and everything else that the weather throws at us.

Try to look for a bell which is waterproof or think about keeping it in an enclosed shelter.

FAQs

Who Are The Biggest Video Doorbell Brands?

Ring are the market leaders, and Amazon has just bought them so expect them to cling on to the crown for a long while to come. Nest have emerged onto the market more recently, and are the real serious competitor to Ring’s rule.

Other companies which specialise in home security, such as Yale, have similar items on the market such as digital door viewers, so expect them to emerge with a video doorbell in the near future.

Doorbell cameras are more popular in the USA than the UK at the moment, and some leading brands over there include the Zmodo, RemoBell, SkyBell, and August Doorbell, which could be available at home soon.

Does A Doorbell Camera Store The Footage?

Some do, but this usually comes at a premium. Nest and Ring charge extra to store the videos taken, and many of the other companies also have plans in place.

It could be an essential feature to have, as if you miss a notification that someone has pressed the button, you may want to view the footage at a later date.

Some cameras have SD card capability, but they are usually the more unknown brands so you may have to miss out on something such as video quality or reliability if you go with these.

Will A Smart Doorbell Prevent Break-Ins?

Not directly, but it does allow you to see who is at the door and act accordingly. If it is a stranger or someone acting suspiciously you could deter them, making it unlikely they will come back. Or, just the sight of the doorbell may put them off.

Smart doorbells are not a guaranteed prevention, though. Still ensure windows and doors are locked, and you have no valuables on show. Other smart security options may also be beneficial.

Do I Need A Particular Broadband Speed?

Most smart doorbells will require at least 1Mb/s upload speed for the video to work. Some more technical models may need over 2Mb/s, so check the specifications.

You can check your speed with an online tester before you buy and make any relevant adjustments.

Can I Unlock My Door With A Smart Doorbell?

As of yet, not exactly. You may be able to purchase a lock which you can open remotely should there be somebody at the door you would like to let in, but there is no way to make a direct link.

Nest and Ring are apparently working on such an item, however.