The 10 Safest Smart Doorbells for Your Home
Whether it's opportunity knocking, an annoying salesperson, or a suspicious stranger, now you can safely monitor your porch and decide if you want to answer the door—without getting anywhere near it.
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Protecting your property and loved ones
Thinking about getting a smart doorbell? Homeowners say it’s one of the smart home devices that’s worth every penny—and it’s easy to see why. It gives you the superpower of X-ray vision by allowing you to see and interact via your phone with whoever’s at your front door, whether you’re sitting on the couch or you’re thousands of miles away on a tropical vacation. And aside from the convenience factor, it provides an added layer of security that can help keep your property and your family safe.
For starters, almost every burglar rings the doorbell or knocks on the front door before breaking in. “The average burglar has no skills and is not hard to defeat since they principally enter through unlocked doors and windows,” says Leonard A. Sipes Jr., the former director of information services for the National Crime Prevention Council. “Department of Justice data from decades ago concludes that any indication that the property is protected will cause the burglar to desist or go somewhere else.” This technology can also help monitor your front porch and yard for suspicious activity and deter porch pirates from stealing your deliveries.
But with dozens of products on the market, it’s hard to choose the best smart doorbell for your situation…or is it? We’ve broken down top choices on the market for every individual need, concern, and budget. And you can feel confident that a system glitch or malicious hack won’t leave you and your loved ones vulnerable. Read on to discover our top picks, and if you’re looking for a more comprehensive system, you’ll also want to check out our list of the best security devices without monthly fees.
Best wireless smart doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 3
One of the first brands ever was Ring, and it’s still one of the best smart doorbell options on the market. “I prefer the Ring doorbell not for the quality of the product, but for the extensive ad campaign that backs it,” explains Sipes. “I also like Ring because law enforcement has access, with the owner’s permission, to the video footage.” Ring’s built-in motion sensors detect movement as someone approaches, triggering instant mobile alerts and initiating HD video recording. A two-way audio system allows homeowners to proactively protect their property—you can speak with postal workers to instruct them on where to leave a package if you aren’t home, for example, or scare off anyone on your property who might be looking to steal said delivery.
In order to maintain your device’s security, Ring recommends keeping your firmware up-to-date and using strong, unique passwords for both your Wi-Fi network and device account. The company uses encryption to secure video data when it is securely stored in your Ring account and when it is being transferred between your device, the Ring app, and the cloud servers. Plus, all Ring devices integrate seamlessly with Amazon Alexa. A few other Ring offerings also made our list of the best home security systems for apartment dwellers.
Best for protecting deliveries: Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro
With so many more deliveries these days—from office supplies to groceries—it’s nice to know a smart doorbell can protect your purchases. Vivint’s Doorbell Camera Pro notifies you when a package arrives and allows you to set a customized “deter” feature that chases off would-be thieves. When the device notices someone trying to take your package, it’ll activate an LED ring and a 65-decibel speaker, letting the thief know they’ve been caught on candid camera. The field of view is larger than its competitors, at 180-by-180 degrees, which means you can see everything (even at night, thanks to powerful infrared night vision). Vivint’s doorbell is wired to maintain constant connectivity, and it comes with a professional installation that’s free of charge. Protect yourself further by avoiding these things that make your house a target for burglars.
Best no-subscription smart doorbell: Eufy Security Video Doorbell
Looking for a smart doorbell with a one-time fee? The Eufy device allows you to skip the pricey subscription service each month, so the upfront cost is all you’ll ever pay. This wire-free, battery-operated version has a separate Wi-Fi chime you’ll place inside so you can hear the “ding-dong,” and you’ll get up to 120 days of coverage from a single charge. For another layer of protection, videos are stored locally (on an SD card in the chime) and can be accessed 24/7 via a secure 256-bit encrypted connection. When you do need to check footage, it’s captured in 1080p with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Finally, it seamlessly works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Speaking of our favorite digital assistant, here are 13 things you probably didn’t know Alexa could do.
Best video quality: Google Nest Hello
“I recommend Nest Hello because it offers the best video quality and integrates with Google and Alexa,” says Donna Childs, author of Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses. “You can also upgrade to a cloud subscription service, benefit from its facial recognition features, and save HD video recordings. I feel this is the best protection, and Google technology appears less vulnerable to being hacked—which is particularly important for the 10.4 million home-based businesses in the United States.” You might be surprised to learn that these other everyday devices can be hacked, as well.
On that note, a Google spokesperson says that Nest offers a bug bounty program to search for and address vulnerabilities. The company also works with reputable security companies to conduct independent third-party security audits of its products and services.
Best budget smart doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell Wired
Watching every penny these days? The best smart doorbell for a small budget is the new Ring Video Doorbell Wired—it clocks in just under $60. But don’t worry that you’re missing out on all the bells and whistles on fancier models, as this device is still jam-packed with all the features customers want: two-way audio with noise cancellation, customizable motion zones for specific monitoring, privacy zones, advanced motion detection that activates recording when movement is detected, and more. And because it’s wired, it receives nonstop power, so you’ll never miss a moment of coverage. No matter which doorbell you choose, though, be aware that when there’s a power outage, your home security may be at risk.
Best for ensuring privacy: ADT Doorbell Camera
Big names in home security have added video doorbells to their offerings. “ADT is a proponent of security and privacy principles, and our systems limit ADT’s ability to access our residential customers’ video footage, such as when needed to service a system for a customer,” explains Tim Rader, director of product development at ADT. “By policy and through technical restrictions, this footage can only be accessed once specific protocols are followed and use of those protocols is logged. Customers are also notified whenever designated ADT personnel have been authorized to access their system.” Sipes names this as his second-favorite choice in video doorbell brands, noting that customers have to “pay a hefty monthly monitoring fee.” Of course, it might be worth it, especially if you live in one of these 15 states that have the highest burglary rates in America.
Best under-the-radar smart doorbell: SkyBell HD
While there’s something to be said for choosing a big-name brand, don’t discount the lesser-known competitors on your quest for the best smart doorbell. In fact, some experts suggest choosing a video doorbell from a smaller company if you’re concerned about hackers, since the major tech giants have had security breaches in the past. “The Skybell HD encrypts its account passwords using WPA2, the current industry standard,” says Gabe Turner, an attorney turned tech guru who now serves as the director of content at Security Baron. “Its latest HD doorbell also offers waterproof protection, hard-wired installation so you don’t have to worry about a battery, 1080p HD video for a clear picture, and free cloud and local storage.”
One downside? There’s no person detection, which means every wind-blown branch and passing squirrel will trigger an alert. While monitoring your front porch with a smart doorbell is a smart idea, here are 10 more places smart homeowners install security cameras.
Best at keeping out hackers: Arlo Audio Doorbell Plus
For a simpler but still smarter-than-a-traditional-doorbell option, choose the Arlo Audio Doorbell Plus. There’s no video included, but that also means less security risk—a hacker can’t gain access to your feed and flip the script by spying on you. “I like Arlo as a company because they use AES to protect your information, plus Transport Layer Security to make sure your camera is communicating securely with the Arlo hub,” says Turner. “Arlo requires that you make up a long and complicated password with account authentication over an HTTPS connection, and they limit your log-in attempts to five, preventing bots or hackers from entering.”
If you like this option but want to kick things up a notch, pair the doorbell with Arlo Pro 2 indoor/outdoor cameras to create a true video doorbell. One important note: This product won’t work in temperatures over 113 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll want to opt for another video doorbell if you live in a particularly hot climate, like Phoenix or Las Vegas.
Best for accurate alerts: Scout Alarm Video Doorbell
Not willing to invest too much in a video doorbell? That’s OK—there are affordable options that don’t skimp on security. The easy-to-install Scout Video Doorbell provides HD video alerts, live streaming video with two-way audio, infrared night vision, and more, all for around $120. “We use state-of-the-art wireless encryption protocols, so you and your data remain safe at all times,” says Dave Shapiro, founder and CTO of Scout. “Our People Detection technology lets you stay alert without having to worry about passing cars or animals. This way, you aren’t overwhelmed by irrelevant notifications, and you know that each alert is a true event that requires your attention.”
Best for Apple users: Netatmo Smart
If you’re an Apple-only junkie, then the Netatmo is the best smart doorbell for you because it works with Apple HomeKit. “Netatmo uses state-of-the-art encryption methods, plus TLS, the most commonly used security protocol today,” says Turner. “This product has a huge advantage in terms of durability, as it’s completely resistant to all weather conditions. The camera itself has not only 1080p HD, but also HDR, which helps the camera detect natural light. Along with HDR, it features excellent infrared night vision, free cloud and local storage, and person detection.” As long as you’re looking for ways to keep your property safe, consider using these 13 sneaky ways FBI agents protect their homes.
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- KTVB7: “We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes”
- Leonard A. Sipes Jr., former director of information services for the National Crime Prevention Council
- Donna Childs, author of Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses
- Gabe Turner, director of content at Security Baron