General discussion

Which video doorbell would you recommend?

Nov 15, 2019 4:26AM PST

Hi, my name is Sarah and I'm interested in buying a video doorbell for my house and my mother's house. This will not only serve as a peace of mind for security to know who's at our front doors, but also to hopefully deter would-be thieves from stealing packages from our porches which has happened in the past. My questions are, are these devices difficult to install? Are they easy to use, even for my mother who is 70 years young? There are also many different brands like Ring and Nest, which one would you recommend? And have these video doorbells ultimately helped you deter thieves? Looking forward to your recommendations. Thank you.

--Submitted by Sarah T.

Discussion is locked

Reply to: Which video doorbell would you recommend?
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Which video doorbell would you recommend?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Ring is my Opinion
Nov 15, 2019 4:02PM PST


I have the Ring video doorbell and its great, very easy to install just press button on the ring device after connecting to wifi and its up and running in 10 mins.

The app is great and records any activity however their is a small monthly charge for this of £2.50p/month however I think its a price worth paying if you want to watch footage back, if you just want to see live footage then their is no cost.

The picture quality is great both in the day and at night and the communication on speaker is also very good.

A solid quality item.


- Collapse -
Nov 16, 2019 8:59AM PST

I am 72 and easily installed the RING for my sister, 69.
it was easy to install. It is easy to use. My nephew can control everyone who comes to his mother's door.
Good product.

- Collapse -
I have a Ring, too!
Nov 16, 2019 11:46PM PST

I have a Ring doorbell that was installed at my front door as part of an ADT Security system upgrade for my home. The Ring doorbell replaced an existing powered doorbell so it's on house power, not battery power. The upgrade included a Kwikset smart deadbolt on the front door, and I bought (from Amazon) a Ring WiFi-enabled speaker. I plugged in the Ring speaker near the front door because the existing doorbell speaker is down a hall away from the kitchen, family room, and master bedroom. And, of course, I have the Ring App on my phone.

I'm an atypical 70+-year-old, retired from almost 40 years in computers and tech.

The Ring doorbell is pretty easy to install if you can operate a screwdriver and have wood trim or siding around your door. Brick, stone, stucco, siding that's not wood can make it considerably more difficult by requiring power tools, masonry bits, self-drilling screws, screw anchors and such. The Ring speaker just plugs into an available outlet. Setting up the Ring devices is pretty straightforward but can be intimidating if you aren't familiar with adding devices to your WiFi network.

We get frequent home deliveries but don't have any problems with package thieves because of where we live and because somebody is home almost all the time.

Our daughter is disabled and has a home health care worker who comes in 6 days a week. She usually arrives about the time we're getting up and opens the door using her personal code on the smart lock. I get an alert on my phone when she reaches the door and I can watch her come in on the Ring app.

The Ring motion detector triggers a wind chimes sound from the Ring speaker and an alert on my phone whenever someone comes to the door. So we're aware of any deliveries. We don't get many unexpected visitors so don't much use the intercom function.

We only use a subset of the functions that Ring offers, but we really like the functions that we do use. The Ring is the only smart doorbell we've ever had so it's the only one I can recommend.

For what it's worth, I also recommend the Kwikset smart deadbolt.

- Collapse -
RING has some issues...
Nov 17, 2019 1:11AM PST

My biggest concern with RING is they frequently give access to police without user permission..

- Collapse -
Hmmm, "Without user permission"?
Nov 21, 2019 1:45PM PST
- Collapse -
which is true but..
Nov 21, 2019 2:55PM PST

they cannot do it without that piece of legal paper from a judge.

- Collapse -
Re: RING has some issues....
Nov 22, 2019 4:39PM PST

Ring allows access to Police when YOU decide to join neighbors and share a video. Your statement is factually incorrect.

- Collapse -
Nov 24, 2019 1:01AM PST

Ring allows any police department using its police portal access to every Ring camera. The Neighbors app gives them warrantless access to anything shared by end users, but a warrant gives them complete access.

Amazon claims they're not allowing blanket access to Ring doorbells and cameras, but they've not denied blanket warrants for entire neighborhoods either.

- Collapse -
totally wrong
Nov 24, 2019 2:19AM PST
- Collapse -
Perception issues from the uninformed.
Nov 22, 2019 5:08PM PST

BTW, neighbors is a purely optional app, that is not required for operation of Ring. No need to join it, install it, or have anything to do with it (unless you really want to watch "neighbors" asking if anyone recognizes the person ringing their doorbell).

- Collapse -
Nov 23, 2019 11:39AM PST

I share your concern. I understand (now) that it should depend on your use of the Neighbors app as well as your local police using warrants etc. I also believe that we agree, as with any device or app, with a ridiculously complex EULA that is expressly designed by teams of expensive lawyers to allow the company to do whatever they want whenever they want without permission, and that local police also are not always particular about legal niceties. After all, don't we celebrate, in our popular culture, cops who see rules, like getting warrants and such, as bureaucratic obstacles to getting the "bad guy"? And who knows who that cop thinks the bad guy is...
This is why I'm not ready to get a connected doorbell, however convenient it might be.
On the other hand, if I could find a camera/doorbell that I could hook up to my own home server, that might be ok. But, of course, a lot more work.

- Collapse -
probably none...
Nov 17, 2019 11:32PM PST

...that connects to the internet because of privacy issues.

- Collapse -
Nest Hello
Nov 22, 2019 4:01PM PST

We have a Nest Hello and the video quality is superb and it was easy to install and connect. I think the real choice comes down to price (search Black Friday deals) and whether you are or want to be a Google Smart Home or an Amazon Smart Home. If that choice is Google then definitely go with the Nest because it seemlessly integrates with other Google Smart Home products.

- Collapse -
Nov 22, 2019 4:09PM PST

I have a Ring. It was was easy to install and works great. I'm not a fan of the Nearby Incident reporting. I was getting reports from outside my neighborhood which was annoying and it took me a while to figure out how to reduce the default catchment area. Some of the comments made by fellow Ring owners were stupid and offensive. Scott

- Collapse -
I have a Ring
Nov 22, 2019 4:16PM PST

Hi Sarah,

Ring doorbells are not hard to install and I don't believe Nests are either. A factor I considered is whether I might decide to install one or more outside security cams. Unless Nest has changed, their outside cams must be hard wired and that can be a problem. The Ring cams are available for hard wired, battery or solar.

As it turned out, I liked the doorbell so much I also bought three Ring battery spotlight cams and I am so glad I did. One month after they were up, a guy was going to try and break in until he saw one of the Ring cams and knew he was being videoed and since I was able to watch him through the cam, I set off the alarm and he left quickly. All you really need is a good wifi connection.

- Collapse -
Hi Sarah
Nov 22, 2019 4:20PM PST
- Collapse -
Ring is okay except for the delay
Nov 22, 2019 4:23PM PST

I have a ring due to the price. The problem is the 3 to 20 second delay before you see who is at the front door

Their are other products with faster respond time like Arlo or google top of the line hello. They have a faster response time. I am told it’s 1 second

- Collapse -
Nov 23, 2019 5:40AM PST

I also have the same complaint about Ring and the delay. I have an upgraded router and internet speed from WOW and by the time I get notified the people have left the front door.

- Collapse -
Ring user
Nov 22, 2019 4:26PM PST

I agree that the Ring is relatively easy to install ( I did install my first model). After a few years I decided to upgrade to a newer model. So, I purchased it through Amazon. Amazon offers an installation option, if you desire. I opted to go this route with the upgrade as my stucco was a bit of challenge to allow my first Ring mounting plate to lay flat against the wall. The professional installer did a great job and made sure everything was working properly before leaving. Something to consider.

- Collapse -
Ring was my decision.
Nov 22, 2019 4:48PM PST

OK, I'm 60 and refuse the silly "must be difficult for seniors because it is technology" comments. Recently I selected (among many options) the Ring system to install in my daughter's house. Not because of porch pirates, but due to an ex-boyfriend. For $100/year the system is professionally monitored, and there is a stick up cam that covers both rear sliding glass doors, and of course the front door by the doorbell. Add in a dozen door and window sensors, and it is a very good and cheap system. If you have difficulty installing either (in Arizona the "stucco" won't hold screws) just go to Home Depot or Lowe's and get some Gorilla Glue adhesive and glue them on. If you can work a smart phone, you can work a video doorbell.

- Collapse -
Zmodo is nice
Nov 22, 2019 5:26PM PST

We got the newer and slightly more expensive Zmodo doorbell. It was easy to install, the cloud storage is reasonable, it has a 180 degree view and notifies you when there is an alert. We have it set on the lowest setting and passing cars still get tagged, but it will pick up anything coming towards the house. It has 1080p resolution. Very happy with it.

- Collapse -
I went with the Arlo Q - an INDOOR unit!
Nov 22, 2019 5:29PM PST

I started looking at the Arlo because a police officer recommended it when he was taking my report after a missing Fedex package! I picked it over other contenders because the footage is available for free for 7 days and can be downloaded if desired. I thought that was a key feature. But the outside unit was a little problematic for me. Because it is wireless, you have to charge the batteries from time to time. In order for it to be secure, it ought to be mounted high enough out of reach -- which means difficult to access to change battery. I was told I could use it inside the house facing out the front door sidelights, but whoever told me that was mistaken. It doesn't detect motion behind glass so I returned it. With some effort there are ways to resolve but I didn't feel like getting into it

Then one of the Arlo forum members suggested the Arlo-Q. It is an indoor product and suits me fine It can detect motion behind glass and is just plug and play. No base station. Less expensive. really simple. Being behind glass means there are reflections from lights at night and I get false alarms, so I have it scheduled to only be armed during daylight, which is all I was interested in. I was able to tack the cord to the baseboard somewhat hiding the cord.

Works for me!

- Collapse -
I have a RING
Nov 22, 2019 5:38PM PST

Hi Sarah,

I chose the RING because on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday last year, they had a great deal. I didn't install it myself but listening to the other post, I could have. It works great. Now, every once in awhile your wifi might go down and your system will be off line. This was an issue for me because my RING was on my home in another state. However, it eventually came back on without me having to manually reboot my internet modem. I recommend the RING Chime too if you don't want to relay on your phone to ring to hear the door bell. As for the Privacy issue, I feel like this is the one device I want the police to have access too if necessary. That's the whole purpose. Anyway, good luck and let us know what you decided. : )

- Collapse -
Any good non-proprietary doorbells?
Nov 22, 2019 6:46PM PST

I'd like an answer to a subset of this question. I use my own security software so I need a doorbell that will work with 3rd-party software. Ring is out. What's a good option that supports video security standards instead of only proprietary systems like Ring?

- Collapse -
Look up about the Arlo Q.
Nov 22, 2019 6:57PM PST

Since there are few standards in this product eco-system you either roll your own (nod to Rasberry Pi Camera kits) or look at other than Ring like that Arlo.

- Collapse -
Not cheap
Nov 22, 2019 9:11PM PST

My wife got a cheap knockoff of the Ring doorbell, looked exactly like it, however, it was less than half the price. It wasn't worth buying! To get video on her tablet, the delay was something like 20 to 25 seconds. By then, the delivery guy has driven away! The batteries lasted less than a week, had spare batteries and kept charging them and changing them, so had to wire it in to the old doorbell's wires so that we didn't have to keep changing the batteries.
In less than 5 months, the camera failed. It would only show the "night vision" mode of the camera, even in daylight, and at that. The normal color mode started showing nothing but pink and orange. Of course, the warranty period was only something like 90 days, so, what a waste of money. I said, forget it, and just wired back in the old doorbell. It's not like she's not home and can't just look out the window.
Beware of the cheap knockoffs, is the only advice I have.

- Collapse -
Rings really great, BUT...
Nov 22, 2019 11:05PM PST

I have a Ring doorbell an am part of their Neighbors group, BUT the one thing I've noticed is the delay in recording video and the poor quality. I've seen many videos posted of people stealing packages, however they usually start as the person is leaving with the package, rarely as they are walking up to the door, and the video quality would make it extremely hard to identify an individual. The one thing I like about it, and the main reason I still use it, aside from the fact it was too late to return by the time I installed it. is the fact that with the optional chimes, I know that someone has walked up to the door. As to the video, I'm installing a couple of cameras to cover the approach to the house as I think they'll be much more effective than the delayed video from our Ring doorbell.

- Collapse -
I bought the Nest Doorbell
Nov 23, 2019 1:46AM PST

I got the Nest doorbell for two reasons. First, I already have a nest network (sounds like I need an exterminator!). This made integrating it into the network easy and I can access it via the same app that I use for the other Nest products (camera, thermostat, smoke detectors, security system). The second was the size. The way that the existing doorbell was positioned, I didn't have a lot of room without cutting/repairing the location. The Nest fit without any mods. Others, including Ring, were too wide.

Installation was a snap. just remove the existing doorbell, attach the wires and screw it on. Nest products are about as simple to install as you can imagine.

You can set it to alert you if there is motion and/or sound and start recording. You always have a live view (both viewable from the app). You can also speak with the person on the outside without going to the door. I recently had a neighbor lock herself out. I wasn't there, but I was able to talk with her and ultimately help out.

Monitoring is not a requirement, but you can have it store video for $6 - 12 USD. It's one price for all your nest products.

- Collapse -
Skybell HD
Nov 23, 2019 3:55AM PST

I bought the Skybell HD over a year ago and it has worked great. No monthly fees. I got my daughter one for Christmas and installed it in no time. You can share the access to the app in case your mother wants you to keep an eye on her house. Or in case your mother needs to monitor your house.

CNET Forums

Forum Info