Doing more online shopping means that some more expensive packages will be left on doorsteps, which is why more people are turning to video doorbells. The best video doorbell cameras help you keep an eye out for deliveries, watch for porch pirates, or just check on the weather. Recently, doorbell cameras have also become more affordable,and . Here are some of the best video doorbells of 2022 to add to your home security setup.
But not all video doorbell cameras are created equal -- design, installation cost, video quality and video storage subscriptions for each doorbell cam can vary immensely. Some also have features that may give you pause.
If you're not sure where to begin in your search for a smart video doorbell, I've rounded up my favorite models below. I've also offered a few general pointers on finding the best security camera device for you. So if you're looking for the best video doorbell, chances are it's among those we've tested. We update this list periodically.
Arlo's wired Video Doorbell cam is easy to install, performs well and has competitive features and cloud storage fees starting at just $3 a month. With a cloud storage subscription, this wired doorbell gives you access to advanced functionality like custom person, animal, vehicle and package alerts.
The Arlo Video Doorbell, our pick for best video doorbell overall and recipient of a 8.5/10 score in our in-depth review, also features HD video, a built-in siren, two-way audio, motion detection zones and arm/disarm modes.
The newest Google Nest doorbell typically costs $180, though sometimes it's discounted, and is a breeze to set up, whether you've got doorbell wiring or not. Easy setup, plus free, out-of-the-box smarts, including package, person, vehicle and animal alerts and three hours of event storage go a long way to earning the device an 8 out of 10 score in our review. While these features won't match the ones you get with a subscription -- with Nest Aware or another service, like Ring's or Arlo's -- they're a solid place to start if you're hoping to just try out a video doorbell for the first time. A nice bonus? The Nest Doorbell (battery) also works well with Google Assistant-powered devices like the Nest Hub.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wyze offers one of the best video doorbells for the price, with its $100 Video Doorbell Pro. Not only is this doorbell cam battery-powered (which usually adds $50 or so to a doorbell cam's price tag), but it also offers 2K resolution, a 150-degree field of view with 1:1 aspect ratio, free cloud storage and much more. Throw in an included plug-in chime and you've got an incredible deal.
The fact that you can use the Wyze Pro wirelessly makes it the best wireless video doorbell on the market, too.
The Ring Pro 2, with its $310 price tag, isn't the best value on the market, but if you're more worried about features than a cost-benefit analysis, this device won't steer you wrong. The Pro 2 has a superwide field of view, a 1:1 aspect ratio, 1536p resolution and all the basics you'd want your smart buzzer to have. What makes the Pro 2 stand out is its radar sensing and bird's-eye-view mode, which lets you track the movement of an interloper around your yard, to give a clear sense of their route and general activity. Beyond that, the Ring Pro 2 offers end-to-end video encryption.
If you're looking for solid performance and top-of-the-line features, the Ring Pro 2 is a solid bet.
The Peephole Cam is Ring's answer to apartment doors -- or any doors with peepholes. If you don't want to -- or can't -- drill into a door frame to install a hardwired or battery-powered doorbell, the Peephole Cam is a solid security system alternative. It's the first on our list to score below an 8 in our review (7.8), but it's still a great choice, especially for those in an apartment or condo.
Entirely battery-powered, the Peephole Cam replaces your standard peephole in a few simple steps. You'll still be able to see through it like a regular peephole, but you'll also be able to pull up a live video feed of your front door on demand and talk to any visitors. If you subscribe to Ring's Protect cloud service, you'll also be able to view saved Ring doorbell HD video clips. This bundle also comes with the first generation Ring Chime smart doorbell, that will send you real-time notifications when someone rings it.
With its streamlined installation and clever workaround for apartment dwellers, the Ring Peephole Cam is definitely worth considering.
How CNET tests video doorbells
Testing to determine the best video doorbell is similar to testing any other. First I download the corresponding app and create an account (if I don't already have one). While a lot of products include tutorial booklets in the box with your purchase, I prefer to start with the app. A good app includes detailed steps on the installation process, as well as how to connect to your Wi-Fi network and actually get the smart device up and running. It's your one-stop shop for taking your doorbell setup from start to finish.
Make sure the doorbell is installed based on the manufacturer's specifications -- either hardwired doorbell or battery- or solar-powered. As soon as it's connected and I'm able to view the live video feed, I check the settings. I make sure features like motion detection or activity zones are enabled (they aren't always turned on by default) to get a complete sense of what it's like to use the product -- and to see how well the device actually works as a replacement to a regular, nonsmart doorbell.
Video doorbell FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about video doorbells. If you have any others, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@david_p_priest) or you can email me from my author page (just click the little orange envelope).
How much is the monthly charge for a video doorbell?
It depends on which brand you purchase, but generally video doorbell monitoring subscriptions will set you back between $3 and $6 per month. Ring Protect and Arlo Secure both cost $3 for a single device and $10 for more. Google's Nest Aware service costs $6 for one or more. These services tend to get you cloud storage, more advanced notifications and a few extra perks.
Do video doorbells get stolen?
While some video doorbells are fairly easy to remove (looking at you, Nest), that doesn't mean they're likely to be stolen. There isn't much evidence that doorbell-swiping is common. It makes sense: you're likely to be filmed stealing the doorbell, after all. In addition, for the video doorbells that are easy to remove from the doorstep, there are just as many that are pretty rock-solid when installed.
How long do videos stay on video doorbells?
Again, this depends on your product and subscription. Generally, without a subscription, live viewing is the only option available. Some brands, like Nest, will keep event recordings for a short period. But if you purchase a subscription plan, you'll get anywhere from 10 to 60 days of event storage, and sometimes the possibility of 24/7 continuous recording.
Can you recover deleted doorbell camera videos?
For security purposes, your video doorbell videos are only stored with your account, which means once you've deleted a video, even accidentally, it's gone. The best way to prevent losing an important video is to download it to your phone or computer. Also keep in mind that, as mentioned above, cloud storage services may automatically delete events after 10 to 60 days, so be sure to check your doorbell camera's cloud storage frequently to avoid missing the window to save or download important videos.
What to look for in a video doorbell
Does it work with smart home platforms? If so, do the smart features work well together? Nowadays a smart home device is expected to work with at least one major smart home platform. Amazon Alexa, and are the main ones you need to look for.
How's the latency? If your smart doorbell camera takes a long time to send a push notification after someone rings your doorbell, then you risk missing your visitor completely. You also need to be sure you're getting notifications when something sets off the motion detector, as you can set the motion sensor of most video doorbells to notify you of activity happening near your door, even if no one rings the buzzer. If you have latency problems, start with your Wi-Fi connection. If it isn't strong where the doorbell is installed, you might consider moving it (or, more easily, getting a Wi-Fi range extender). But it could also be the way the software works.
How's the live view? Doorbells are often exposed to direct sunlight, but many others are installed under porches, near shady trees and in all sorts of other settings. It's important that the camera has night vision and can handle any of these scenarios so you don't get stuck with a nonfunctioning product that can't see faces under a porch.
How's the two-way audio? If the doorbell's microphone and speaker don't work well, you're going to have a tough time communicating with whoever's there. I tested this out multiple times to see how the doorbell's audio sounds over my phone.