If you are interested in monitoring who’s at the front door, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd-generation) is one of the most consumer-friendly options around. Ring hasn’t slowed down when it comes to releasing video doorbells, but this one stands out as an affordable option that provides solid 1080p video, smart connectivity, and all the benefits of Ring’s expanding ecosystem of products.
There’s certainly an abundance of alternatives to check out, however, which is why we’ve put them to the test. You’ll also be astounded by some of the neat stuff they’re able to do beyond the obvious porch security cam benefits. Our experts have spent weeks with various doorbells to find their perks and flaws. We cover the spectrum by selecting video doorbells that are simple, effective, affordable, and packed with practical features.
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)
Best entry-level video doorbell
- Great app experience
- Privacy Zone censors specific areas
- Simple installation
- No removable battery
- Glitchy video and audio
The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is a massive update to the original Ring model. The 2020 version is ready for the modern home in every way, while remaining more affordable than elite models with features you may not need.
The main changes to the smart doorbell include an upgrade to 1080p resolution (up from 720p), two-way audio with noise cancellation, and adjustable motion zones that will monitor specific areas to lessen false alerts. You can also set “Privacy Zones” that allow you to exclude areas of the camera’s field of view from recording. Improve the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) with the $50 Solar Charger, which fits over the doorbell to supply it with power — reducing the need to remove the Ring doorbell and recharge its battery.
While the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) may not offer some high-end qualities found in other cams, like 2K resolution or object recognition, it's hard to overlook its very affordable price, as well as options like the Solar Charger that other doorbells don't really offer. However, you will need to sign up for Ring's security subscription to get any cloud storage, with the Protect plans starting at $3 per month.
Google Nest Doorbell
Best battery video doorbell
- Gorgeous minimalist design
- Intelligent alerts
- Doesn't require subscription for video history
- Useful quick responses
- Fine video details are on the soft side
- Inconsistent capture rates
Google didn't hold back with this Nest video doorbell, which blends practical features into a modern design that's easy on the eyes. Even better, Nest offers free video history out of the box, which is notable because this sort of feature typically requires users to pay for a subscription service.
This model is arguably one of the best-designed wireless doorbell options to date, sporting a matte plastic chassis that blends well with any décor. You'll also be treated to intelligent alerts because the smart doorbell's 1.3-megapixel security camera features HDR video, night vision, and detection for pets, people, vehicles, and motion. If you're not able to answer the doorbell, you can select any of the available Quick Responses options through the Google Home app to have the doorbell speak answers to whoever is at the door. A subscription adds more intelligent features, but this model is excellent all on its own thanks to the free hours of video storage, something few models ever offer.
There is also a wired version of this Nest doorbell, a 2022 model with a smaller design that adds always-one power, which enables extra features like continuous video recording, two-second previews, and more. Both are very good choices, but we're still favoring the battery model as it's so easy to install, and the battery lasts for a good three months before needing to recharge.
TP-Link Kasa Video Doorbell
Best video doorbell with chime
- Included chime
- Voice assistant compatibility
- No battery option
This hardwired video doorbell includes a chime you can set up exactly where you want it with a choice of sounds and volumes to tailor it to your home, something not every smart doorbell can offer. It’s also an affordable model that still includes important features like voice assistant compatibility, an impressive 2K resolution that includes night vision, and two-way audio for communication.
Options for the Kasa doorbell’s storage include either a microSD slot for local storage or 30-day cloud storage starting at $3 a month. The affordability, plus the unusual ability to place and control a new chime, make this model a standout in a field that’s quickly become competitive.
Wemo Smart Video Doorbell
Best Apple-friendly video doorbell
- Wide 223-degree field of view
- Compatible with Apple Home app and iCloud
- HDR support
- No two-way audio
- A bit bulky
Apple users may feel a little left out of the video doorbell scene, but Belkin once again comes to save the day with its Wemo brand. This doorbell is designed to seamlessly work with HomeKit, and that includes compatibility with iCloud for automatic cloud storage of captured video when the motion sensors are detected.
The doorbell also includes an extra-wide 223-degree field of view to capture as much as possible, along with infrared night vision technology. The camera boasts 1200 x 1600 resolution video with HDR support. Since it works directly from the Home app, Apple fans won't need to download any extra apps. However, this doorbell does not offer two-way audio options.
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Best business-friendly video doorbell
- Easy to install
- Durable build quality
- Excellent night vision
- Accurate motion alerts
- Need subscription for full features
- Only minor changes over previous model
- No Alexa Greetings feature
Ring's Video Doorbell 4 comes with a number of welcome upgrades, including a better Wi-Fi receiver so you don't have to worry about the doorbell dropping the signal, and a four-second video preview that allows you to review footage before alerts were even triggered. The design also received an upgrade that makes removing the battery for charging even easier.
The 1080p cam offers the Ring mainstays like motion detection, night vision, and triggered alerts, along with two-way communication. You can also set motion detection zones for greater accuracy, and create Quick Replies or automated responses to save time. There's also built-in Alexa compatibility for using the doorbell along with your Echo devices.
Keep in mind that like other Ring cams, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 does require a Ring Protect subscription to save video, which means it's required to make the doorbell useful for anything but live viewing.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
Best video doorbell for large yards
- High resolution
- High-quality video day and night
- User-friendly installation
- Radar detection
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is a substantial improvement not just over its predecessor, but to all video doorbells because it adopts a radar sensor to offer 3D motion detection technology. This model has the ability to tell exactly where it has detected people on your property, thus giving users a bird's-eye view of their movement across the front door.
You could say it's a game-changer, and beyond this new piece of tech, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 Pro also features a 1536p HD live video camera complete with color night vision, wide 150-degree views both on the horizontal and vertical, built-in Alexa greetings, two-way communication, and more. It's one thing to know who's at the front door, but it's also another to know their movements before and after.
Wyze Video Doorbell Pro
Best video doorbell for free video storage
- Separate chime accessory
- Great battery life
- 14-day cloud storage without a subscription
- A little bulky compared to other options
This wireless Wyze video doorbell includes all the important features, including a 1440p cam, up to six months of battery life, and extra easy installation options. But it's also one of the few cams to come with a separate chime speaker that you can install wherever you want. Since wireless doorbells can sometimes be lacking when it comes to real chimes, this is a welcome addition that allows you to customize the chime you hear from a variety of noises and loudness levels.
Two-way audio, night vision, and motion detection are all included here. The lens uses a 150-degree by 150-degree viewing angle to capture absolutely everything, too. A Cam Plus subscription is required to use extra features, but there is free 14-day cloud storage, making this one of the best options for avoiding fees.
Roku Video Doorbell and Chime SE
Best budget video doorbell
- Easy to stream footage to your TV
- Alexa, Google, and Roku voice assistant compatibility
- Wired model only
Roku makes a video doorbell? They certainly do as of 2022, and it’s an interesting alternative at a particularly affordable price if you’re looking for a model under $100. The video doorbell offers many of the important basics, including 1080p video and color night vision along with both motion and sound detection. Of course, there's the requisite two-way audio for communication. The cam’s aspect ratio is also excellent for your porch with a 120-degree vertical view.
However, there are also some welcome extras on this model, especially at such a low price. You can stream footage directly to your Roku TV or player, allowing you to see what triggered the cam while you’re watching TV, or get an immediate live view with a simple Roku voice command. The doorbell also supports Google Assistant and Alexa, so you have your choice of control options. You also get a new compatible chime with it, too. There’s no battery option, so you’ll have to do a little wiring work, but that's what helps keep the price so reasonable.
Video doorbells have many features in common, including video, alerts, motion detectors, night vision, two-way audio, and more. However, there are a few important specs to compare between models:
Size: Will the video doorbell fit in the space you have in mind?
Power: Do you need a doorbell with a battery? How easy is the battery to recharge?
Resolution: Usually, 1080p/HD is fine for video doorbells, but if you want more, you’ll need to look for a 2K resolution or higher model.
Storage: Does the video doorbell offer onboard storage? Any room for SD cards? Does it offer cloud storage? Do you have to pay for cloud storage, or do you get it free?
Detection: Some video doorbells are smarter than others. Newer models may have options to detect faces, cars, pets, and packages. Sometimes these features are free, but often you have to pay for a subscription to enable them.
Video doorbells can be relatively easy to install, especially if it’s battery-powered. All video doorbells are typically installed by fastening a mounting plate to an area near your door, whether that’s around the outside frame or somewhere else nearby. Once you screw the mounting plate into place, most video doorbells are then positioned on them — requiring a special release key to remove the doorbell to recharge it.
However, things can get a bit more complicated if you choose to install a video doorbell to an existing wired connection. Instructions on how to connect the appropriate wires to your doorbell vary, but you may want to hire a professional to ensure that it’s installed properly. The benefit of choosing to go with a wired connection versus a battery-operated model is that you never need to worry about recharging it. If you’re installing a Ring video doorbell, we break down the instructions on how to do it with our guide.
Video doorbells are extremely popular. If you’ve done your research, you can choose to purchase one online through retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Newegg. Some popular consumer electronics stores like Best Buy have some on display to check out in person. You shouldn’t forget about home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. Those stores can be great places to ask questions about installation specifics.
Or, if you’d like to save a little time and money, we keep an updated list of the best current video doorbell deals you should check out.
No, video doorbells don’t need a subscription to work, but a subscription may be particularly important for some models. Subscriptions usually add a few features to doorbells, including:
Cloud storage: This allows you to save video to the cloud for a certain period of time, where you can view and download it at will. Some plans, like Ring Protect, only add cloud storage if you pay for it. Others expand cloud storage capabilities or make them more useful.
Better detection options: Subscriptions usually allow for more in-depth AI detection of faces, cars, packages, and so on. This comes with rich alerts that specify what looks like happened, such as, “It appears a package was just dropped off at your door.”
More customization: Subscriptions may also add customization options for your alerts, as well as the motion zones that trigger the doorbell.
First, there are narrow video doorbells, like the Nest Doorbell and similar models, that are designed to fit in narrow spaces. If your doorway has a reasonable amount of trim, that’s often sufficient. Doorbells may come with methods to angle them during installation so they face away from walls.
Second, you don’t have to put a video doorbell right by the door. It can go on a nearby wall or away from the entryway on an exterior wall. You will want to make sure they have some protection from the elements, though. Also, note that some siding is a lot harder to drill into than others (fiber cement. for example), and you’ll want to avoid any potential water damage.
Privacy laws vary by state, but you don’t need to worry about using a video doorbell. By their nature, video doorbells are designed to view public entryway places and street sides where there’s no real expectation of privacy. They can’t really be repositioned to spy on neighbors or anything else illegal.
While many video doorbells do allow for two-way communication, they don’t actually record the audio, which is what can trigger privacy laws, so there’s no concern there, either.
No. That would be impractical for storage and would quickly wear out battery models. Video doorbells only record when their motion sensors are triggered, and many models have motion zones and other settings you can change so that only certain types of motion will trigger the video. Some models also have a background recording function that allows them to preview the first couple of seconds before the motion sensor is triggered.
That can depend on how often the doorbell is triggered by motion. In the best-case scenarios, we've found doorbells last around three to six months. But a doorbell on a busy street that gets triggered by cars or dog walkers will last far less, and a doorbell watching a long driveway that's only occasionally used can last much longer.
Sometimes these specs are included with the product, but usually, a good video doorbell will be able to see 20 to 50 feet in the dark. This is one feature that has advanced a lot in the past decade.
- The best Amazon Alexa smart speakers
- Amazon Echo Show 15 is $80 off with this Cyber Monday deal
- Get the Amazon Echo Dot for $15 for Cyber Monday 2022
- Lorex Cyber Week Sale: Save up to 50% on smart home security gear
- The best Amazon Cyber Monday deals for 2022