A smart video doorbell is a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell that contains a camera to provide security and convenience for homes and businesses. When someone rings the doorbell or triggers the motion sensor, it sends a mobile notification and live video stream so you can see and speak with visitors from anywhere using your smartphone.
Smart video doorbells provide many useful features beyond a standard doorbell. You can see, hear and talk to anyone at your doorstep through the video doorbell’s camera using the mobile app, even when you’re away from home. It gives you added security, convenience and peace of mind about who’s dropping by.
Many models integrate with smart home platforms to enable features like customized motion detection zones, facial recognition and two-way audio. Video can often be recorded to the cloud and accessed anytime. Some even have deterrent features like a siren. Overall, smart video doorbells aim to give homeowners more safety and control over their entryway.
Smart Video Doorbells Key Features
Smart video doorbells come packed with innovative features that set them apart from traditional video doorbells. Some of the key features to look for include:
Video monitoring – See who is at your door in real time with high-quality video streamed right to your smartphone. Many models offer HD video for crystal clear footage.
Motion detection alerts – Get notifications on your phone immediately when the doorbell camera detects movement. This allows you to see visitors even if they don’t ring the bell.
Two-way audio – Hear and speak with visitors at your door no matter where you are. The built-in microphone and speaker enable real-time communication.
Night vision – Infrared night vision allows you to see visitors clearly even in total darkness. The camera will switch to night vision automatically in low light.
Cloud storage – Video clips are stored in the cloud for easy access anytime. Storage duration ranges from 24 hours up to 30 days depending on the model.
Smartphone connectivity – See the live video feed, receive alerts, and control the doorbell right from the app on your iOS or Android mobile device.
Benefits of Smart Video Doorbells
Smart video doorbells offer many benefits that enhance home security and convenience. Here are some of the key benefits these devices provide:
Improved Home Security
One of the main benefits of a smart video doorbell is improved security. The camera lets you see and speak to visitors at your door from your smartphone, even when you’re away from home. This visibility deters potential criminals from targeting your home. You’ll also receive mobile alerts when the doorbell detects motion or visitors so you can monitor any suspicious activity.
See Who's at Your Door Anytime
With a smart doorbell’s live video feed and two-way audio, you can see and speak with visitors at your doorstep from anywhere. This allows you to answer the door, accept packages, and turn away unwanted solicitors remotely using your mobile device. You’ll always know who’s at your door even when you’re not physically there.
Video doorbells act as a surveillance camera to deter criminals. A visible camera makes intruders think twice about targeting your home. If any crime does occur, the video footage can help identify and catch perpetrators. Studies show houses with security cameras have a decreased rate of break-ins.
Receive Alerts When Someone Approaches
Smart doorbells send instant mobile notifications when their motion sensors detect activity. You’ll get alerts when a visitor presses the doorbell button, approaches your door, or lingers on your property. The alerts allow you to monitor and address any suspicious behavior in real-time.
Popular Smart Video Doorbell Brands
One of the most well-known smart doorbell brands, Ring was acquired by Amazon in 2018. Their video doorbells integrate with Alexa and feature HD video, motion detection alerts, two-way talk, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Owned by Google, Nest offers the Nest Hello video doorbell with HD video, night vision, motion and sound alerts, facial recognition, and the ability to distinguish between people, pets, and objects. It can be connected to other Nest smart home devices.
Known for their wireless security cameras, Arlo’s video doorbells provide wire-free installation, weather resistance, HD video, 180-degree field of view, motion detection, and night vision. The Arlo Video Doorbell and Arlo Essential Video Doorbell are two of their top options.
Installing a smart video doorbell is a relatively straightforward process, but there are a few key steps to get it up and running. The first decision is whether you want a wired or battery-powered model.
Wired vs. Battery Models
Wired doorbells are powered by your existing doorbell wiring. This means you don’t have to worry about changing batteries. However, you will need to have a current doorbell wiring set up with a transformer that can provide 16-24 volts of power. Replacing your existing doorbell is also more complicated than a battery model.
Battery-powered models are easier to install as you simply mount them and don’t have to mess with any wiring. However, the batteries must be replaced every 1-2 years depending on usage. They are also more prone to connectivity issues from weak batteries.
Where to Mount
The doorbell should be mounted at chest level, around 4-5 feet off the ground. This gives the best angle and view.
It’s best to mount it fairly close to your door, around 3-10 feet away. Consider sight lines as you don’t want it blocked by signs, plants, etc.
Connecting to Wi-Fi
After physically mounting your smart doorbell, you’ll need to connect it to your Wi-Fi. Most models just require going into your phone Wi-Fi settings to connect to the doorbell directly.
The doorbell will then guide you through some steps to connect to your main router network. This allows you to access the video feed anywhere.
If you run into issues with connectivity, try moving the doorbell closer to your router for a stronger signal. Weak Wi-Fi is a common installation problem.
This covers the key installation steps for getting your smart video doorbell up and running on your door. The specific process can vary slightly for each model, so consult the manufacturer’s instructions. But the basics are similar for most options currently available.
Smart video doorbells can range in upfront costs and monthly fees depending on the brand and features. Here are some things to consider regarding the costs of a smart video doorbell:
- Basic video doorbells start around $100, while high-end models with advanced features can cost over $200.
- Some brands charge more for premium materials like metal casings rather than plastic.
- Video resolution also impacts costs. 720p models are the most affordable, while you’ll pay more for 1080p and 4K video quality.
- Advanced motion sensors, mobile connectivity, and wide-angle views also increase the upfront cost.
- Many smart doorbells require a monthly or yearly service plan to access and save video recordings. These plans cost around $3-$10 per month.
- Some brands offer free basic plans with limited features or video storage. Paid plans offer more advanced capabilities.
- You’ll need an existing doorbell wiring power source for most smart doorbells. However, battery-powered options are available for around $40 more upfront if you don’t have doorbell wires.
Potential Hidden Costs
- If your home doesn’t have an existing wired doorbell, you may need to pay an electrician to install one, which could cost over $100.
- You may need a stronger Wi-Fi router or range extender if your doorbell location doesn’t get a strong enough signal, which can add $40-60 or more.
- If you want professional monitoring, some brands charge an additional monthly fee for emergency monitoring services.
While smart doorbells can provide helpful security and convenience, it’s important to consider both upfront and ongoing costs when selecting one to meet your budget. The cheapest options may lack certain features, while premium models provide more capabilities and flexibility.
Enjoy the Benefits of Smart Video Doorbells Today!
Smart video doorbells have come a long way in recent years and offer many benefits for home security and convenience. Key points covered in this article include:
- Smart video doorbells allow you to see and speak with visitors at your door from anywhere using your smartphone. This enhances security and convenience.
- Features like motion detection, night vision, cloud video storage, and integration with other smart devices make them more useful than traditional doorbells.
- Benefits include improved home security, screening unwanted visitors, keeping tabs on deliveries, and increased peace of mind.
- Popular brands like Ring, Nest, and Arlo offer a range of models at different price points. Consider video quality, features, subscription plans and compatibility when choosing one.
- Professional installation is recommended but DIY is possible for some models. There are both wired and battery-powered options available.
- Subscription plans provide access to advanced features like video recording storage and facial recognition. There are free and paid plans.
- Privacy concerns around data collection and hacking are valid but can be mitigated through security settings and precautions.
Overall, smart video doorbells are a worthwhile upgrade for many homeowners seeking improved security, convenience and connectivity. Carefully review features and options to choose the right solution for your needs and budget. For more information about smart video doorbells, contact one of our expert energy advisors and they will be able to assist you.