Doorbell cameras (and smart home cameras in general) can sometimes feel like they’re ripped from the pages of 1984, but even so, there’s no way around it: they’re incredibly useful. Whether you’re dealing with a package thief situation or just want to see what the deal is with the random car that just pulled up in your driveway, the best doorbell cameras are hardly tech for tech’s sake.
Ring was one of the first major players to find a mainstream audience with their original Video Doorbell, which helped bring smart home tech into the mainstream but also underscored the importance and need for proper security protocols and privacy settings.
But others have since entered the fray, and there are a number of excellent options that can fit any digital (and real world) lifestyle.
Looking at the best doorbell cameras, there are certain features you’ll come across more often than not. These include:
- Recording that starts when something triggers the camera, such as someone walking up to the door.
- Installation that requires you to connect the doorbell camera to your home’s existing doorbell wiring and chime.
Subscribing to a cloud storage service to get the most out of the doorbell camera’s features. Without this, your doorbell camera is mostly limited to providing notifications and a live video feed, but you won’t be able to review old footage.
But there are alternatives. You will also find doorbell cameras that:
- Record footage 24/7 and upload it to your cloud storage.
- Operate off battery power and connect to a wireless chime, allow you to install the doorbell wherever you want.
- Forego cloud storage entirely and store your footage locally.
Whatever you’re in search of, you’re likely to find something you want amongst our picks for the best doorbell camera. Keep scrolling for more.
1. Google Nest Hello
BEST DOORBELL CAMERA OVERALL
When it comes to the best doorbell cameras, there are few that have the same breadth of features or advanced technologies as the Nest Hello camera. Once you wire this doorbell cam into the space your old dumb doorbell used to occupy, you’ll be tapped into a feed that captures high-resolution, 1600 x 1200 footage that lets you sneak a peek at who is at the door or get a good look at a package thief in action. If you’re a Google Assitant user, you can even command your Nest to display its live look on your TV (via Chromecast), or on a Nest Hub.
But it’s the software-driven features that really set this thing apart. There are pre-recorded messages that you can instruct the doorbell to deliver if you don’t want to talk with whoever is at your dor. If you live in a high-activity area, you can set specific activity zones so that you aren’t constantly receiving notifications when a random pedestrian moves past the camera. Nest’s AI software can has a person detector, so that it won’t mistake birds as visitors. If you have the Nest Aware cloud subscription, you can even tag faces and Nest will learn to recognize those people and announce their arrival by name when they ring the doorbell. Additionally, Nest is one of the only doorbell cams to offer 24/7 recording (provided you sign up for the $6/month Nest Aware service), so there doesn’t need to be a motion trigger for the camera to start surveying the scene.
2. Arlo Video Doorbell
The Arlo Video Doorbell may not have not have the same 24/7 recording or face recognition capabilities as the Nest Hello, but it does manage to top Google’s doorbell cam in a couple of areas. First, it has the ability to not only detect people approaching, but can also suss out whether a package has been dropped on your doorstep or a car has pulled up to your driveway. Second, it’s able to record HDR footage at 1536 x 1536 resolution, and the 1:1 ratio allows it to offer a 180-degree field of vision so you can see more of the world around your doorstep. Finally, a monthly subscription to the Arlo cloud service only costs $3 per month, which will save you money in the long run compared to the Nest Hello.
3. Eufy Video Doorbell 2K
BEST BATTERY-POWERED, NON-CLOUD OPTION
If you’re looking to install a doorbell where one did not exist before (or simply never had a doorbell at all), the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K is the best doorbell camera that operates off a battery, meaning that you don’t need to run wires or use existing wires to power it. As its name implies, the Video Doorbell Cam 2K features a 2K image sensor which enables it to record video at 1440p resolution.
One minor gripe is that the Video Doorbell 2K requires that you connect a hub to your router via ethernet cable, but it’s included in the package so there aren’t any hidden fees. There are perks with the hub: Since it doesn’t offer 24/7 recording, the hub allows the camera to spring into action quicker and it also functions as a chime. But the biggest thing is that the hub has 16GB of local storage, which means that you can store 180 days of footage without having to pay a monthly subscription fee for a cloud service, or worrying as much about your video footage falling into the wrong hands. That said, if you do want to keep your footage in the cloud, Eufy offers a plan starting at $3 a month.
4. Ring Video Doorbell
BEST BUDGET OPTION
The Ring Video Doorbell is the best doorbell camera for those who just want something simple that can give them a live look at their front door and deliver some basic notifications, like when there’s someone approaching the doorstep or when someone rings the bell. The Ring Video Doorbell only records in 1080p, but it does allow you to set active motion zones and gives you the option of whether it runs on wired or battery power. And, given that Ring is owned by Amazon, it fully integrates with Alexa, so you can have a hands-free experience.
While Ring has had some major issues with privacy and security when it comes to hacks and sharing your footage with neighbors and law enforcement, it has taken big steps to remedy this problem in the last year, including adding end-to-end encryption and giving you a control center in the app to let you easily adjust where you share your footage and who you share it with. While you should always be mindful of issues like this when dealing with connected home products, it does appear that Ring is moving in the right direction.
5. Ring Peephole Cam
BEST FOR APARTMENTS
If you live in an apartment, you may not have a traditional doorbell setup, or be allowed to install a battery-powered doorbell on the wall outside your door. Luckily the Ring Peephole doorbell cam installs exactly where the name implies: on the peephole of your apartment door. Aside from the differences in placement, the doorbell functions like a standard doorbell cam, and runs off a battery so you don’t have to worry about trying to wire the thing up. It even has knock detection, so if someone doesn’t think to press a button in the middle of your door, you can still be notified when there’s a visitor.