The Benefits of Installing a Smart Doorbell

By Dan DiClerico

Updated January 21, 2021

Video camera in the intercome

If you’re not sure where to get started with your smart home, try beginning at your front door with the installation of a video doorbell. The device is loads of fun — allowing you to greet visitors from the office or other remote locations – and is easy to install and incredibly practical to boot.

For starters, a video doorbell lets you give specific instructions, say for a delivery person or the landscaping guy, without having to tape a handwritten note to the door. From a security perspective, the device’s built-in camera can be as effective as a surveillance system at driving away would-be burglars. And many doorbells include two-way communications, so you can tell the dog-walker who showed up early that you’re just a few minutes away.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best video doorbells out there, to help steer you towards the right one for your home.

The People’s Choice

Ring Video Doorbell 2, $199
Ring is the biggest name in video doorbells, and with good reason. Its clean design, intuitive controls and straightforward installation deliver universal appeal. Splurging on the second-generation model gets you 1080p HD video and two-way talk with noise cancellation, so you can communicate with visitors just as clearly as you can see them. I also like the fact that Ring comes in a battery-powered option, with a quick-release rechargeable battery that lets you keep the doorbell powered without removing it.

What the experts are saying
“A superb choice for buyskybeers looking for a great combination of price, features, and ease-of-use.”

Preferred by Pros

Skybell HD, $199
I like to call Skybell HD as the professional’s video doorbell, and not just because it’s distributed through a lot of commercial channels. The 1080p HD video with 5X zoom is exceptionally clear and the extra-wide camera angle makes it easy to see visitors, helpful if you have a large front entrance. Skybell HD also provides superb night vision and its motion sensor alerts you even if no one presses the buzzer, for added security. The app is intuitive and user-friendly, including the ability to hush the doorbell chime, say during baby’s naptime.

What the experts are saying
“SkyBell also beats others in value by offering a week of cloud storage for videos without a subscription fee.”

Best for Creating a Smart Entryway

August Doorbell Cam, $125
The August Doorbell Cam delivers many of the same benefits, starting with $75 savings compared to other top-rated video doorbells. While you do make some compromises at that price – giving up high-def video and quality infrared night vision — the doorbell integrates easily with August Door Lock, so you can talk to visitors and let them through the front door using the same app on your phone.

What the experts are saying
“Since August makes both the doorbell camera and smart lock, the integration is seamless, without the need for any extra smart-home hubs or mobile apps.”
Tom’s Guide

Dan’s Bottom Line

As smart home products go, it’s tough to top the ease, convenience and all-around value of a video doorbell. It’s no wonder smart doorbells are now among the most frequently installed smart home devices, according to a 2017 HomeAdvisor survey of smart home pros.

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