7 best video doorbells for upgrading your home security system

From battery powered to wired models, we tested for audio and picture quality, handy features and ease of set-up

Jacob Little
Monday 01 March 2021 11:27
<p>Battery options are the best for smaller living spaces while wired systems are better for larger homes</p>

Battery options are the best for smaller living spaces while wired systems are better for larger homes

The last year has collectively seen us spend more time in our own homes than perhaps at any point in the last decade. During lockdown, with our ability to leave the house curtailed, it has inevitably led to us ordering more online, getting more takeaways and having more people call at our doors in general.

For many, this has led to the decision of upgrading existing home security systems to reflect a modern and changing world, meaning smart or video doorbells. These not only allow notifications to be sent to your phone but give you the ability to screen callers at the door before you answer or let them in.

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Acting as the ultimate in-home gatekeepers, most video doorbells provide an opportunity to interact directly with people outside, and many we tested also have motion detection features which provide pre-warning of any immediate threat.

The camera and audio quality tends to be good, and many of the video doorbells with subscription options have the ability to save recorded files on the cloud, which is an excellent security feature for peace of mind should the worst happen and you get broken into.

But when it comes down to picking the right doorbell for you, the options could be overwhelming. If you have a doorbell installed at your home already, many of these devices will wire into your existing system and there tends to be good guides out there to do this yourself, including all the equipment you need in the box. For those less-inclined to do the work themselves, there are a number of battery-powered options which are systems that connect and go – they just attach themselves to your wifi and your door, and they’re ready to use.

Personally, we found that the battery options were the best bet for those with apartments, smaller houses and people who want something that’ll work out the box. We’d recommend finding guides online on how to install the wired ones yourself, as some can be incompatible with a range of existing systems, so it’s wise to double check before you make your purchase. For larger houses, locations in which wifi won’t reach or multi-device setups, we’d recommend the slightly more complicated but more reliable “always on” wired approach.

Here are our recommendations for some of the best video doorbells on the market at the moment.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. 

Ring video doorbell 3 plus

Battery/Wired? Battery

Video Quality: 1080p HD

Field of View: 160 degree horizontal

Dimensions: 128mm x 62mm x 28mm

Subscription: £2.50 a month or £24.99 a year

One of the more well-known options comes from Ring, a brand which offers a range of video doorbells to suit most needs and housing configurations. We liked the quality of the 1080p HD video on the Ring video 3 plus, and the clarity of the two-way talk was excellent. It also has a clever feature which records four-seconds of video automatically before the detection of a “motion event” – meaning that you have a recording of somebody before you even get a notification or they ring the bell. It’s one of the more expensive options, but certainly one of the better and more proficient.

Ezviz DB1C smart video doorbell with human detection

Battery/Wired? Wired

Video Quality: 1080p HD

Field of View: 170 degree vertical

Dimensions: 128.3mm x 46.3mm x 19.3mm

Subscription: £5.99 per month

The home security experts at Ezviz impressed us with this excellent smart doorbell, with AI-capability that works by using person-detection to ensure the bell isn’t triggered needlessly by animals walking by, for example. We liked this option as it was one of the simpler video doorbells on the market, compatible with both Android and iOS, functional over both wifi and mobile internet and easy to install and connect up to your devices.

Arlo AVD1001 video doorbell

Battery/Wired? Wired

Video Quality: 1536p HD

Field of View: 180 degree horizontal

Dimensions: 4.4cm x 3.3cm x 12.7cm

Subscription: £2.50 per month

When somebody rings the Arlo doorbell, you immediately get a call to your phone alerting you of their presence, which makes it a lot harder to miss those all-important deliveries. If you’re not in, you can even record pre-ordained messages to quickly reply to people who come calling. It’s weather-resistant and like others on this list, also comes with a night mode which makes it easier to see who’s at the door at night. The Arlo smart service is available, which extends the features and keeps your recorded clips for 30 days, but this is a subscription option.

Toucan wireless video doorbell

Battery/Wired? Battery

Video Quality: 1080p HD

Field of View: 180 degree wide-angled

Dimensions: 16.4cm x 16.2cm x 7cm

Subscription: Free to use buy £2.99 a month and £9.99 a month options available

One of the more affordable options on this list, we liked the Toucan wireless video doorbell for its simplicity, ease of use and the fact that it’s battery-powered, so you can mount it just about anywhere you need. It also has an impressive 180-degree field-of-view, meaning you can see the spots that other doorbells miss. Again, pre-recorded options are available for people knocking at the door, as there’s a premium subscription too, but we’d be happy without that and using out the box. Others on this list perhaps offer better motion detection, but this is a good option for the price.

Google Nest hello video doorbell

Battery/Wired? Wired

Video Quality: 1600 x 1200 HD

Field of View: 160 degree horizontal

Dimensions: 4.4cm x 2.6cm x 11.6cm

Subscription: £5 or £10 a month option

Although it’s one of the most expensive, this is one of the most comprehensive video doorbell options out there, with, as you’d expect from Google, top-of-the-range technical ability and some smart features that stand out. The facial recognition feature is good, as is all the usual stuff like video and sound quality, but we really liked the parcel notification feature and the continuous recording, which means you’ve essentially got a built-in security camera, too. You have to pay for the privilege however, as this is all stored on a Nest cloud account which is £5 a month.

Netatmo smart video doorbell

Battery/Wired? Wired

Video Quality: 1080p HD

Field of View: 140 degree diagonal

Dimensions: 13.5cm x 4.5cm x 2.9cm

One of the more stylish models we tested, we really liked the look of this doorbell. We also appreciated that it stores everything on to a micro-SD card, so you don’t have to keep an active subscription to cloud services. It plugs directly into Apple’s HomeKit framework, fully compatible through Siri, as well as other devices plugged into the network or Netamo’s own security app.

Eufy 2K video doorbell

Battery/Wired? Battery

Video Quality: 2560p x 1920p

Field of View: 160 degree 4:3 aspect ratio

Dimensions: 14cm x 5.4cm x 2.8cm

Subscription: £2.99 for 30 days, or £29.99 a year

This is a great battery powered device with 2K HD video and a simple self-installation, making it a great option for people who are looking for a simple/no-fuss setup. The quality of the video is sharp, and we also liked the fact that it stores all of your recording locally (so no expensive subscriptions) and that it has the option to automatically shut the camera off when you are at home so you don’t get endless hours of footage of your own movements. The only downside we found is that it has to be removed from its location in order to charge, but the battery does last a long time.

The verdict: Video doorbells

While we recognise that having another piece of technology connected to your smartphone won’t be for everybody, we also think that video doorbells are a useful addition to your home, especially in this era of more home deliveries in the current climate. In summary, we liked the battery-operated versions, as they appeared to be adequate for most homes, connected simply to existing wifi setups and could be installed in a matter of minutes.

The wired ones tended to be more complicated and expensive, and we would perhaps consider these for larger homes or to integrate into existing home security setups. Our favourite was the Ring 3, however we also recognise that the Google Nest Hello doorbell is on paper the best doorbell on offer provided you have the capacity and wherewithal to install.

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