What should you look for in a video doorbell?
Although all video doorbells will transmit or record video and play a doorbell sound when rung, they can differ significantly across their other aspects. Here’s what we’d recommend you look for when choosing a video doorbell for your home.
Good resolution and field of view
You should strive to get a video doorbell camera with enough resolution for your needs. Video doorbell camera resolution can range from 480p to 1080p or even 4K resolution. While 4K resolution is not necessary for most people, 1080p can provide a crisp, clear picture and is the way to go if you don’t mind spending a little extra cash on your doorbell camera. In addition, detail and color will be more vibrant, and individuals will be easier to recognize with better video resolution.
You might also look into motion detection for your doorbell camera. Many doorbell cameras have motion sensors built-in by default, so they will alert you if someone is approaching or leaving your door. Motion detection features are best used if you want to monitor who comes to your home and when. Taking motion detection one step further, most modern video doorbells can now tell the difference between a person, vehicle, animal or package — and only alert you when an item you care about is detected. For example, you may not want to know every single time a car drives by your house, but you do want to know when FedEx has left a package at your front door.
Similarly, night vision functionality adds even more practical value to your video doorbell. Night vision cameras will continue to transmit and/or record video in black and white, and will allow you to clearly see who approaches your door even if there isn’t enough ambient light for color. This, in turn, can provide better security — for example, it may help you identify someone who attempts to break in while you are away on vacation. Newer cameras are now transmitting color video in low light environments.
Doorbell cameras are typically powered through one of two methods: hardwiring into existing wires with your regular doorbell, or battery packs. Battery-powered options are better if you don’t have a traditional doorbell installed in your home already. By contrast, hardwiring is more convenient and secure if you do have a traditional doorbell.
Smart home integration and cloud storage
Consider whether you want your video doorbell to connect with your smart home network, especially if you want to control it through voice commands. Smart home network integration is also excellent if you want to store video recordings in the cloud or on other non-SD card storage devices.
Through smart home integration, you’ll gain greater control over your video doorbell, including its extra features, such as permissions, face recognition, and more.
Cloud storage is also important to consider. Most doorbell video cameras have optional cloud storage subscription services. These require a monthly or annual fee, but mean you never have to worry about switching out microSD cards.
Before buying a video doorbell, investigate all the advertised features that it provides, such as two-way audio so you can talk to whoever is on the other side of your door without opening the door, or facial recognition technology. Most video doorbell owners will at least want the ability to set recognition zones, preventing false alarms from sending push notifications to their phones all day when leaves blow by.