As video doorbells like the Ring become more and more popular for people looking for additional home security options, many new options are appearing in the marketplace. So how do you chose the best video doorbell for your needs?
What do you need to consider when buying a video doorbell?
Let’s take a look at some of the factors you should be considering when it comes to selecting a video doorbell for your home…
First of all, almost all basic video doorbells these days have some common features. They have cameras that will activate when someone rings your bell and send a message to your phone or other device that will let you know that someone is at your door. In most cases, they will then let you have a two-way conversation with your visitor from wherever you are. In order to do this, video doorbells require a Wi-Fi connection.
Beyond that, different brands and models in various price ranges can offer a number of different features. Of course, the more you pay, the more features you are likely to get. It’s important to know which of those features are important to you and which you can do without.
Most people are interested in getting a video doorbell for reasons beyond just knowing who is ringing their doorbell. This would include looking out for package thieves and just generally knowing if someone is approaching the front of your house.
The bulk of video doorbells available these days have some level of motion detection available and they will alert you when there is motion within their range. Some models will even let you determine how much motion there needs to be before you are alerted, the better to avoid false alarms from things like swaying trees or animals running through your yard.
Wide-angle viewing and detection
Speaking of motion and sensitivity, another thing to consider is how big of an area you want to be able to monitor with your video doorbell. Some have wider angle lenses than others, and the ability to sense motion at a greater distance. Again, different models have different capabilities when it comes to these things.
If you have a smaller porch or yard in front of your house, you might not need the widest angle lens or the ability to detect motion as far away. People with larger houses might need a wider angle lens and detection capabilities.
The next thing to consider is what kind of resolution you’re going to get with your video. Today’s crop of doorbells all pretty much come with HD video standard, but if super-clear resolution is important to you be aware that you can get it — you’ll just pay a premium.
The next thing you’ll probably want to think about is how the doorbell is going to look on your house. Fortunately, most of them look like, well, doorbells (if a little bulkier).
If style really does matter to you, though, you should be aware that the latest models come in shapes that range from the tradition rectangle, to oval, to square to circular. Where you are mounting the doorbell will determine what works for you, but obviously we would recommend that this not be the determining factor for your purchase.
After you’ve decided what features you want and how you’d like it to look, you’ll want to consider the installation process. Most video doorbells are pretty easy to install, but one thing you’ll need to consider is if you want the doorbell to run on batteries or if you want it hardwired into your home’s electricity.
Either one is an option with almost every doorbell on the market, but be aware that if you want yours hardwired, you should feel comfortable doing an installation like that or know that you’ll need to hire an electrician to do it. There’s nothing wrong with running on battery power, but you will have to replenish them periodically.
Finally, when you’re purchasing a video doorbell, there are two costs to consider. The first, obviously, is the cost of the doorbell itself. The other is what is usually an optional plan you can purchase to add features and capabilities that you would not get if you just install the doorbell and leave it at that.
In some cases, paying the monthly or yearly fee for a plan means that you might get more control over what your doorbell can do — for instance, specifying the level of motion detection in a particular zone. But for the most part, you will be paying for cloud storage of video that your doorbell collects. If you are most interested in just seeing what is going on in real time, you can probably pass on this. If you don’t want to constantly be responding to alerts on your phone but still want to see what’s going on, you should consider it as an option.
A recent review by Consumer Reports puts their top-rated video doorbells in the $170-$200 range, with the various monthly subscriptions going from $5 on up.
Charis Brown, managing editor of ClarkDeals.com says it’s important to track prices on these doorbells to make sure you’re not paying too much. She especially recommends looking around the big shopping holidays like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, when big price drops are most likely to happen.
A video doorbell can be a great addition to your home when it comes to peace of mind. Figuring out which one to buy involves a lot of person preferences, though, and there are more and more options available. It’s important to make sure you have a good understanding of what your needs are before you ring that bell.