Smart doorbells are becoming increasingly popular due to the consumer market becoming more involved with the Internet of Things or IOT (noun: “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data”). For instance, asking your Alexa or Google Assistant to turn the lights off without having to move a muscle is an example of the Internet of Things as one device communicates with another via the internet to complete an action with the command of your voice.
Smart doorbells work in a very similar way as when activated (in numerous ways depending on the brand and model) it sends a notification onto your smart phone via the designated app. But are smart doorbells secure and how do they work?
How do Smart Doorbells Work?
Smart doorbells work much like a standard doorbell; they sit on the wall outside your home and have a button to press so visitors can ring your doorbell and alert you to their presence.
The difference is you can see who is visiting your home even if you’re not there as they are fitted with cameras and many are fitted with two-way audio systems. The majority of smart doorbells work with Wi-Fi and link through an app on your smartphone or even through your smart home hub.
Are Smart Doorbells worth it?
Yes, for security. Above all smart doorbells help improve the security of your home as someone is always ‘home’ or rather you the homeowner can always monitor your home. Here are a few reasons on the benefits of installing a smart doorbell.
Smart Doorbell Video Camera
The video camera element on a smart doorbell adds an extra layer to your home security as it allows you to see who is at your home without having to open the door. If there is a shifty character at the door, opening it will leave you vulnerable to a potential attack and home invasion. Additionally, if you are worried about a burglar approaching your door or if a burglar has attacked your home, you can show the police video evidence which will significantly increase the chances of them catching the culprit.
Furthermore, if you are expecting a delivery you can see exactly the time of day it was delivered and where the worker left your package. As well as that you can rewind the video to see if any friends or family visited whilst you were out and can see the exact time the kids get home when they ‘promised’ they were back before curfew.
Many smart doorbells are fitted with a two-way audio system meaning you can talk to someone who is stood outside your home through your smart home and the smart doorbell device. Any potential burglars are more than likely to make a run for it if you speak to them through the smart doorbell once knowing that you can see and hear every move they are making.
Can’t make it to the door in time for the speedy delivery driver with your parcel? Not to worry, with the two-way audio you can let them know you are on your way to the door or if you’re not home tell them to leave it in a safe place to avoid a time-consuming trip to the post office.
Not only are smart doorbells compatible with your smart phone and smart home system they are also compatible with smart locks. Smart locks in connection with a smart doorbell unlock your door through facial recognition. For one this combination is great if you have your hands full and your keys are lost in the bottom of your bag and secondly, you can never get locked outside as you won’t need your keys!
For more information on smart locks check out our smart home door locks guide here!
What is the Best Smart Doorbell?
Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ring Video Doorbell 2 is one of original smart doorbells on the market that offers a wide range of features. We’ve chosen it as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 as our top smart doorbell. It is currently achieving a 4.5* rating on Amazon with 6,222 review (September 2020)
1080p HD Video
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 features 1080p HD video with a live view feature and infrared night vision so that homeowners can manage their properties security with a crystal-clear view.
The two-way talk feature is very handy and includes noise cancellation so you and your visitor can communicate easily.
With built-in motion sensors you can set up alerts to your smart phone, tablet or computer every time that the motion sensors are activated.
The Ring Doorbell 2 works in conjunction with Amazon Alexa including all Echo devices and Alexa enabled devices such as the Fire tablets.
It is possible to rewind, save and share the footage captured by the Ring smart doorbell with the additional monthly subscription of cloud storage via Ring. Prices start from £2.50 a month for one device.
At the time of writing the Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs £119 at a discounted rate on Amazon. The usual price of this smart doorbell on Amazon is £179.
What is the best Budget Smart Doorbell?
360 D819 from Gearbest
We’ve chosen the 360 D819 as our best budget smart doorbell as it includes many of the top smart features of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 at a cheaper price without the need to pay monthly for cloud storage. The only difference we notice from the specs is that it doesn’t seem you can connect this smart doorbell to your wider smart home devices.
1080p HD Video
Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 the 360 D819 features 1080p HD video quality and a 162-degree wide-angle view so you never miss a beat!
AI Facial Recognition
This feature is learnt after it sees a face over a number of times so that it can accurately detect family, friends or strangers.
Again, like the previous smart doorbell this one features two-way talk so that you can communicate with your visitors without having to open the door and even when you’re not home!
A smart feature this doorbell offers is that if it suspects suspicious activity outside your door then the video shooting will be pushed to your phone so you can keep an eye on it.
What makes this device more affordable than its counterpart is that there is no need to pay a monthly subscription for the cloud as 48 hours of cloud storage is included free of charge. You can also buy an extra memory card up to 128GB to store the files on.
The current asking price on Amazon for the 360 D819 is £84.95, including free delivery.
Smart Doorbell vs. Security Camera
Like most things there are pros and cons to video doorbells and they are often looked at in comparison to home security cameras. Take a look at our pros and cons list of smart doorbells and home CCTV below:
Smart Video Doorbell pros:
Easy to operate: Smart video doorbells are user friendly as it usually requires just one interface and an easy to use app on your smartphone.
Features: Smart doorbells now come with a wide range of features including two-way audio and can be programmed to work with your smart door lock.
Affordability: Smart doorbells are less expensive than a complete CCTV system and require only one device to install and set up.
Motion detection & notifications: Smart doorbell features are accessed usually through their bespoke app. Smart doorbells include features such as motion detection so it will either automatically start recording and/or send you an alert directly to your smartphone when movement is detected.
Wide angle lens: Most smart doorbell cameras feature a wide angle lens so you can be sure to see who is outside your door.
Smart Doorbell cons:
Fixed point of view: smart doorbells lack in the fact that they require additional cameras and set ups if you have multiple access points that you require monitoring around the home.
Camera quality: The video quality is not as advanced in most smart doorbells and so may produce grainy night time images or wide-angle distortion.
Home CCTV Pros:
Coverage: You will often find that home CCTV bundles will come with multiple cameras so you can monitor your home from all angles.
Camera Quality: CCTV cameras are more often than not include a higher video resolution than its smart doorbell counterpart.
Storage: CCTV cameras benefit from a wider range of storage options as most smart doorbells rely on their own storage software.
Complex set-up: CCTV cameras are more complex to set up than smart doorbells as there is often multiple devices that need installing.
More expensive: CCTV cameras for the home often run at a higher price tag than video doorbells.
Less features: Home CCTV systems are not as updated as smart doorbells and so lack some of the top of the range, new features the doorbells include.
Interested in upgrading your locks to smart locks? Take a look at our Smart Door Locks here!
Smart doorbells allow the homeowner to become notified via an app on their smartphone as to when someone arrives at their home and even communicate with from anywhere in the world. Smart doorbells can even be used in conjunction with smart door locks so that the homeowner can unlock their door via the app also.
Yes, as with everything connected to the internet smart doorbells run the risk of being hacked.
No, not all smart doorbells require Wi-Fi but the majority of the features need Wi-Fi to work such as notifications and two-way audio.
Yes, many smart doorbells charge a monthly fee for storing the video it captures. Allowing you to playback if necessary.