Smart Home

You won't have to guess who's coming to dinner with these smart doorbells

No peephole? No sweat. These smart doorbells can show you a live stream of who's at your front door.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Your front door is the gateway to your home, an entry point for friends, family and a whole lot of other folks, some welcome, some...not so much. Of course, you can always try to master the stealth-mode front-door tip-toe method to see who's there, but that isn't ideal. That's what smart doorbell manufacturers want you to think, at least.

These assorted Wi-Fi doorbells, ranging in price from $179 to $249, all offer built-in security cameras, microphones and speakers so you can see -- and even talk to -- visitors from your phone either on Wi-Fi or a cellular network. It's a seemingly-handy hunk of tech, but smart doorbells are a budding category and the earliest models had some significant flaws.

Still the market is growing, with a number of new and intriguing options -- check 'em all out here.

Now Playing: Watch this: August's Doorbell Cam is smarter than your front door...

August Doorbell Cam

August's $199/£155/AU$265 Doorbell Cam is a first-gen model with a 1,280x960-pixel high-definition (HD) resolution and on-demand live streaming capabilities. Yes, you do have to connect it to your existing doorbell wires and it will only work with traditional mechanical chimes, but this smart buzzer is a step above the the rest.

Beyond the solid HD resolution and live feed, the Doorbell Cam also works with August's Smart Lock and related accessories. Available on the same Android or iPhone app, fans of multiple August products will find this integration especially useful. The one caveat is its size -- this thing is pretty wide and simply won't fit on every door frame.

Read CNET's full review of the August Doorbell Cam.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Olive & Dove RemoBell

Unlike the Ring Video Doorbell and the Ring Video Doorbell 2's flexible battery or hardwired installation, the RemoBell only runs on batteries. Specifically, it takes six AA batteries to power this thing -- no fancy rechargeable design here. It also has 720p HD resolution and no current smart home partnerships. Considering the long list of features offered by other brands, the $199/£155/AU$265 RemoBell either needs to introduce new options or reduce its price to stay competitive. 

Read CNET's full review of the Olive & Dove RemoBell.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Ring Video Doorbell

The $179/£140/AU$235 Ring Video Doorbell is a 720p HD model that's powered by your existing doorbell wires or the included rechargeable battery. While the battery does allow for a more flexible install, you do have to remove the entire faceplate when you want to recharge it. That means you're unable to keep an eye on your front door every time you charge this buzzer -- which will happen more quickly if you use battery-draining features like the live feed on a regular basis. 

Read CNET's full review of the Ring Video Doorbell.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The $199/£155/AU$299 Ring Video Doorbell 2 has 1080p HD resolution and an entirely new battery design. Specifically, it has a removable, rechargeable battery. So, unlike the original Video Doorbell, you don't have to uninstall this buzzer's faceplate to charge it. Instead, simply take out the battery, charge it and put it back. You can also buy an extra battery pack for just $29 so you never have to wait to use your Video Doorbell 2.    

Read CNET's full review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Like the SkyBell HD, the $249/£195/AU$325 Ring Video Doorbell Pro has 1080p video quality. This hard-wired-only model also offers four interchangeable face plates and motion zones that you can customize to suit your needs. That means that you can ask the Ring app to ignore street traffic, but pay attention to anything that gets close to your front door -- a neat add-on security feature designed to enhance overall usability. 

And, at just 1.9 inches wide, this model is also smaller than most smart doorbells. That doesn't mean it will definitely fit on your doorframe, but it's much more likely to.

Read CNET's full review of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.

Chris Monroe/CNET

SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

SkyBell's $199/£155/AU$265 HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is my current favorite. It has 1080p HD resolution, two-way talk, push notifications, a hard-wired setup and compatibility with standard mechanical doorbell chimes. It also offers live streaming and motion-sensing capabilities, as well as smart home integrations with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and Nest. But the best part is its complimentary cloud storage -- August and Ring charge for this feature; SkyBell still offers it free of charge. 

Read CNET's full review of the SkyBell HD.