You already have enough bills to worry about, so the last thing you need is yet another subscription service that comes out of your paycheck each month. Before you know it, you’ve spent a few hundred dollars over the course of a couple years. It can feel like you’re paying for another streaming service, like Netflix or Apple TV+, but instead, you’re paying to just store your videos. We’re here to say, forget that!
The best video doorbells without a subscription will stop the bleeding by eliminating one less withdrawal to your bank account. For example, popular subscription services like Ring Protect and Nest Aware cost $4 and $6 per month respectively — where they store video clips in the cloud. Over the course of a year, you’re looking at $48 and $72.
Our SPY editors and writers know a thing or two about the best video doorbells. We’ve had extensive hands-on time installing them, in addition to letting you know exactly what features you need to look for to deter porch pirates. Similar to home security cameras that don’t require a subscription, you simply pay once for the device and nothing more after that with these smart video doorbells.
The Benefits of Video Doorbells That Don’t Require a Subscription
- Your recorded videos are yours (generally stored on a SD or microSD card)
- Once you buy your video doorbell, you’re set – no more fees
- You have access to most features found on video doorbells that require a subscription
At a Glance: The Best Video Doorbells Without a Subscription
- Dual cameras
- Package detection
- 16GB of local storage
- Not HomeKit compatible
Why We Chose It: The dual camera provides a collective full view of your front door so you can see who delivered your packages and keep an eye on your package once it’s left alone.
If you’re looking to avoid monthly subscription fees, but want your video doorbell to still have an abundance of features, this is a great choice for the best video doorbell without a subscription. We love the generous 16GB of local storage it offers, which essentially gets you upwards of 25 recordings per day — with each one lasting up to 15 seconds for 90 days. Unless you’re spending your life savings on Amazon package deliveries, that’s plenty of storage.
Speaking of packages, the dual cameras not only detect motion and humans, but also provide you with alerts that a package has been delivered and will remind you that your packages are waiting at your door. This video doorbell is also Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatible.
- Intelligent alerts
- Available both wired and battery powered
- Available in four colors
- Battery powered version doesn’t feature continuous recording
Why We Chose It: Even without a subscription to Nest Aware, it still has many smart features and enough local event recording to make it worth the price.
We’ve used the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) for a period of three months and love how it doesn’t compromise features that pertain to home security. Even without a subscription, you still get on-board AI detection that differentiates people, pets, and packages. There are also other advanced features like adjustable activity zones
Without a subscription, you still get some local storage that includes three hours of activity with two second video clips. It’s not the best local storage, but having access to all the smart features and having options for both battery and wired connectivity makes it a great choice for a video doorbell without a subscription.
SPY’s tech editor, John Velasco, found it incredibly useful when a power outage knocked out the internet service in his home. Instead of being rendered inoperable, the Nest Doorbell (Battery) kept on working and even saved video clips from events that triggered it.
Blink Video Doorbell
Who’s It For: Anyone with a tighter budget, but still wants access to core features.
Review: The Blink Video Doorbell Is a Strong Ring Competitor (From the Makers of Ring)
- Affordable cost
- Simple to install
- Sync Module 2 lets you save clips directly to a flash drive
- Uses AA batteries
- Softer image quality
Why We Chose It: The Blink Video Doorbell proves you can still have access to features without having to spend a fortune.
You really shouldn’t discount the Blink Video Doorbell because of its lower cost. In fact, it’s our budget pick for its simple operation, motion detection, and no subscription required service to save video clips.
William Goodman, SPY’s contributing tech writer, tested out the Blink Video Doorbell and was most impressed by the included Sync Module. In fact, he wished that Ring could steal this one specific feature because of its ability to save clips to a flash drive.
- 4:3 head-to-toe aspect ratio
- Activity zones
- Enhanced human detection
- No package detection
Why We Chose It: You get high quality video footage, local storage and features like activity zones without having to pay any monthly fees.
If you can go without package detection like the Eufy Dual Cam offers, you can save yourself about $50 on an (almost) equally great video doorbell camera. The 4:3 aspect ratio provides a full head-to-toe view of whoever is at your door.
There’s also adjustable motion detection and activity zones to negate receiving unwanted motion notifications. It also leverages artificial intelligence for human detection, which in turn can eliminate unwanted motion notifications, like if a cat runs across your porch. This video doorbell comes in both a wired and battery powered model, and you can expect about six months of usage without a charge.
- 2K HDR video video recording
- Wide 164-degree field-of-view
- Night vision
- Built-in LED light for security
- Boring looking design
Why We Chose It: It comes bundled with a 32GB microSD card to save your video events.
This is the no-frills video doorbell that doesn’t require a subscription. With its 2K video resolution and infrared night vision, your videos will look crystal clear. You’ll be surprised by what details it’s also able to uncover with HDR.
Speaking of stored videos, this video doorbell features a built-in microSD card that lets you keep your videos locally. Even better, Lorex throws in person detection at no extra cost, which is helpful at eliminating false alerts due to other types of motion.
- Up to 2TB of storage on the base station
- HD video quality
- 180 degree field-of-view
- Wired option makes for a trickier installation
Why We Chose It: With the base station, you get up to 2TB of local storage.
The Arlo Essentials Wireless Video Doorbell captures some of the best footage you’ll find thanks to HD and HDR video capabilities. And you can keep the video you capture – up to 2TB worth if you choose to store it locally with the separately purchased base station.
Otherwise, you’ll have to go the subscription-based cloud storage route. The wide 180-degree view also captures people on your doorstep from head-to-toe. And if you’re not available when someone rings the doorbell, you can utilize pre-recorded messages for quick responses.
Our No Subscription Video Doorbell Reviews: About Our Testing Process
Our editors and contributors have tested over a dozen video doorbells and frequently check out the latest models. With our testing process, we strive to use them for a period of a week at the minimum to get a good feel of their performances. However, there are also instances when we’ve used them long-term for upwards of several months.
Here’s the other set of criteria we look at when testing video doorbells.
- Installation: The last thing you need is a complicated installation process.
- Video Performance: The best video doorbells offer outstanding video to help you see the details. In fact, it’s imperative that you can make our the general details.
- Detection: Sure, it’s wonderful that a video doorbell can record motion, but we give extra points to models that are intelligent enough to know the different between leaves blowing in the background from an actual human being coming to frame.
- Storage: This is important because it means clips are stored locally. While models with built-in storage are great, we love the convenience of having them saved to a microSD card slot or USB flash drive.