It wasn’t long ago that “taking home security into your own hands” implied keeping a baseball bat by the front door. Fortunately, DIY home security has gotten a lot more sophisticated since then, and there are a variety of smart, high tech tools you can use to keep track of your home, no matter where you are. Best of all, many of these devices can be installed without professional help, saving you a substantial amount of money.
The first level of any home security setup should be a video doorbell. You can add to your setup with indoor and outdoor cameras, but the best video doorbells provide a convenient and reliable home security solution. Even when used by itself, these cameras go a long way in terms of protecting your home from the most common kinds of crimes like package theft. Since packages are typically dropped off by the front door, a smart doorbell can be a good way to keep track of your package. It can also be an effective deterrent for would-be thieves. Besides just the visual cue to a thief, most video doorbells also have motion alerts that send a notification to you, and you can even set off a loud siren.
Of course, a smart doorbell isn’t only good for keeping your home safe. Besides would-be intruders and package thieves, a video doorbell can also help you keep in contact with neighbors and visitors when you’re not home, by using two-way talk functionality. For example, you can let a visiting relative know that you’ll be home soon or use the app to check who is at the door without having to get off the couch.
The best video doorbells have apps, two-way talk and motion alerts, but there is substantial variation in video quality, file storage and app user-friendliness. To help you make the right decision to protect your home, we’ve rounded up some of the best smart doorbells available right now and broken down the differences between them.
1. Eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
Eufy is the home security wing of Anker, one of the top players in portable chargers and phone accessories. The Eufy smart doorbell isn’t as well known as other top video doorbells, but it has several features that set it apart from other brands. First, this product uses local file storage, meaning that you don’t have to pay for cloud services. The motion alerts are designed to be smart enough to tell when a person is at the door, rather than a cat, for example. Plus, the 4:3 aspect ratio is designed to give you a larger field of view.
Pros: No monthly fees. Smart detection distinguishes between human activity and other motion.
Cons: Installation requires an existing doorbell to hardwire to.
2. Arlo Video Doorbell
Arlo’s video doorbell makes home security intuitive and convenient. The square aspect ratio allows you to see more of the area around your front door, giving you a better view of higher things like faces and lower things like packages. For safety, this camera provides night vision and automatic or remotely triggered sirens.
Pros: Automated messages can be set up for expected visitors. Built-in siren and night vision.
Cons: Subscription required. Must be hardwired to the existing doorbell.
3. Remo+ RemoBell S WiFi Video Doorbell Camera
Remo’s smart doorbell is one of a handful of options that does not require a monthly subscription for cloud storage. Instead, it utilizes “rolling cloud storage.” What that means is that it saves the past three days of footage and then writes over it. If you prefer more storage, you can pay for a subscription plan but it is not required. The camera has a wide field of view, motion sensors and adjustable motion zones. You can also receive instant alerts when activity is detected via the app.
Pros: No subscription required. Customizable motion zones to reduce unwanted notifications. Real-time video viewing.
Cons: App is unintuitive. Video quality is lacking.
4. Amcrest 1080P Video Doorbell Camera Pro
Amcrest is an affordable option that offers some of the same features as its higher-priced competitors. You can talk to visitors at your front door through the app, and motion detection will alert you when you have a visitor. Plus, you can live stream at any time. Video files can be stored locally or in the cloud.
Pros: Multiple data storage options, including microSD or cloud. Livestreaming through the app.
Cons: Software could be better.