Skip to main content

Video doorbell vs. security camera

When creating your smart home and considering increasing its security, cameras are one of the first things that come to mind. The two most significant categories of cameras to improve security include video doorbells and security cameras. The trouble comes when figuring out which will be a better choice for you.

There are various things to consider when choosing between video doorbells and security cameras. Things to evaluate include installation, which will have better video coverage, and ultimately which is better for your wallet, short and long term. We’ll cover all of these considerations below to help you decide which option or maybe both is better for your security needs.


The Arlo Pro 4 home security camera installed outdoors.

When it comes to video doorbells, the installation process is pretty straightforward. You install them on the front of your home, where your doorbell is (or would be), and there are wired and wireless models. The wired versions attach to your existing doorbell wires. They are low-static, so you don’t have to worry about getting shocked.

The best thing about video doorbells besides their easy installation. Unfortunately, they only show you what’s happening in the front of your home, which may be perfect for apartments but not ideal for standalone houses. Their easy installation also means they are easier to steal if someone has ill intent in mind.

Security cameras are on the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to installation because you can virtually put them anywhere inside or outside of your home. If you’re creative enough, one well-placed camera can view the inside and outside of your home.

So with the ability to place security cameras anywhere being their main pro, the con is that they can be more challenging to install. This issue occurs more when deviating from new-age smart cameras to old school NVR style cameras. Wiring and power cables can require professional installation.

Verdict: When it comes to installation, we recommend security cameras. They have much better customization in terms of where you place them, and depending on which models you get, they can be easy to install.

Video Coverage

Finger pressing the Eufy Security Video Doorbell Dual.

The main thing you’ll want with either option is video coverage with decent resolution. Video doorbells have a wide-angle lens that provides a pretty decent field of view of the front of your house. Most models nowadays have unique, innovative features to detect particular objects and people’s faces. That said, they may not be the best to see things farther away from the front door — like someone standing on the curb.

Security cameras are offering higher quality throughout and seeing objects farther away. They can be set to view all different angles around your house and many can even adjust their angles. The night vision is typically better as well, with security cameras to protect your home day or night.

Verdict: Once again, security cameras take the win because they have better quality resolution and a wider area of coverage.


The cost of smart home items is always hard to judge when they belong to popular categories. For example, security cameras can come in DVR and NVR versions, as well as smart or basic models. In general, security cameras tend to cost more than their doorbell counterparts — especially if you get outside cameras or dual-purpose ones.

Video doorbells typically won’t cost more than $200 MSRP. You can lessen the load on your wallet when you stray away from the more prominent name brands or specific features. Choosing battery-powered over wireless is one way to lower the price of a video doorbell. Also, due to its nature, you’ll usually only buy one doorbell, whereas you may end up choosing multiple security cameras.

Verdict: Video doorbells are the clear winner in the price category, and if your main worry is price, choose small brand names.


Overall, choosing between a security camera and a video doorbell comes down to answering a few questions. If you’re looking at cost over everything and mainly only need to monitor the front of your home, then a video doorbell is the answer. On the other hand, if you have a different area of your home you want to cover or enjoy a better view of the front of your house, possibly from a different angle, then a security camera is better.

In some cases, companies offer both video doorbells and security cameras, such as Nest or Ring. You could then essentially use a security camera as your video doorbell without the ringing functionality. The argument and comparison are still the same and will give you a pricier, better-quality front door camera.

Editors' Recommendations

Keyan Riddick
Keyan Riddick is a freelance writer based in the mountains on North Carolina. When he isn't writing you can find him behind…
Smart lock buying guide
Side profile view of August smart lock on a door.

Smart locks are an important part of any smart home. Not only do they give you useful features like the ability to unlock the door with a passcode or remotely with your smartphone, but they’re the first thing visitors see when coming to your home. Because of this, smart locks need to be both functional and appealing to the eye.

That’s a tall order for what’s essentially just a lock -- but there are tons of great products to consider in 2023. But if you need some help with your search, this smart lock buying guide will teach you what a smart lock is, factors you should consider when shopping for a smart lock, and everything else you need to know about these popular gadgets.
What is a smart lock?
A smart lock is not all that different from a traditional lock. What makes it smart is typically a Wi-Fi connection that allows you to link the physical lock to a companion app. The app allows for activities like remote access, geo-location features (to have your door unlock automatically when you pull into the driveway, for example), and even creating digital passkeys for other family members, friends, contractors, or visitors.

Read more
Save $300 on this Arlo 3-camera 4K security camera bundle
Arlo Ultra Smart Camera

You can't put a price on your family's safety, but you can enjoy $300 in savings if you take advantage of Best Buy's offer for the three-camera bundle of the Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight. Instead of $900, you'll only be paying $600 for this wireless security system. The price cut will only be online until the end of the day though, so if you're interested, you need to make sure that you complete the purchase before time runs out.

Why you should buy the Arlo Ultra 2
The Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight is among the most powerful devices of a brand that's a mainstay in our roundups of the best home security cameras and the best outdoor security cameras. It's easy to set up because it's completely wireless, as it's powered by a rechargeable battery and it connects to your home's Wi-Fi connection, and it's designed to withstand all kinds of weather. The Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight can stream and record videos in 4K quality with an ultra-wide 180-degree view, while an integrated spotlight can ward off unwelcome guests at night. You can also use the security camera's two-way audio to communicate with visitors, and it works with Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings for better integration into your smart home system.

Read more
Amazon Astro: everything you need to know about this home robot
Amazon Astro following a person through a door.

Amazon Astro came as a surprise when it was revealed in September 2021. The quirky device does a little bit of everything, serving as a robot companion that boasts facial recognition, impressive navigation skills, and tons of useful home security features.

But a lot has changed with Astro since it was first announced. Here’s a look at everything we know about Astro, including how you can get your hands on it and add it to your home.
Designed to rove around the home
Amazon calls Astro a "household robot." This little device is designed to be an assistant throughout the home, helping with everything from home security to carrying cargo. It has no arms, but does come with a cargo bin. Users can place an item in the bin (or in one of the accessories, like a cup holder -- sold separately, of course) and ask Astro to take the item to another member of the home. Thanks to facial recognition features, Astro can be taught to distinguish different family members from one another. If your spouse asks for a beer while watching the football game, just pass one to Astro and let it handle the job.

Read more