From its humble beginnings as a smart thermostat company, Ecobee is ever so carefully expanding its lineup beyond devices that can change the temperature in your house. A couple of years ago, it launched the Ecobee Smart Camera, a good-but-not-great indoor home security camera, as well as some door and window sensors to provide a whole-home security system.
Now, the company is launching the Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera, a video doorbell that features head-to-toe video, package detection, and integrates nicely with Ecobee’s other devices, as well as with Alexa and HomeKit.
I used the Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera for about two weeks in my home to see how well it compared to some of the best video doorbells. Read on to see if it should grace your door.
Price and availability
The Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera was announced on Oct. 17, 2023, and is on sale at ecobee.com and other online retailers; as of Oct. 23, it will be available at Best Buy retail locations. It costs $159.99, which is on a par with the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus ($179) and the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell ($149); both of those models also offer head-to-toe video and package detection, but they also can run off battery power alone, while the Ecobee needs to be hardwired.
Design and setup
The Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera has a nice modern look; like most video doorbells, it’s rectangular with curved edges. At the top of the front is a camera, while the lower section has a squarish button that’s ringed by a green LED. Unlike Ring video doorbells, the Ecobee is only offered in one finish — a glossy black face with a white body — so there’s no matching it with your home’s decor. Ecobee’s video doorbell needs to be wired to receive power, so there’s no battery option.
Size: 5.3 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches
Camera resolution: 1080p, HDR
Field of view: 175% vertical
Weather resistance: IP65
Temperature range: -13 to 113 degrees F
Battery powered: No
Wi-Fi: 2.4, 5GHz
Works with: Alexa, HomeKit, Yale, August
Package detection: Yes
At 5.3 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches, the Ecobee is a bit larger than other wired-only video doorbells like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, but barely so. It fit perfectly well on my door.
Like many of the best video doorbells, you need to attach a power adapter to your manual chime, so that it will ring when someone presses the doorbell button. Ecobee’s adapter is a bit bigger than Ring’s and other ones I’ve tested, so I found it a bit tricker to cram into my doorbell chime.
To install the doorbell itself, you first screw a base plate to your door frame, connect the doorbell wires to the body of the doorbell, and then attach the doorbell to the base plate, and secure it with a small screw. It’s pretty much the same system as used by most every other video doorbell I tested, and only took a few minutes to set up.
After that, it’s simply a matter of adding the doorbell to the Ecobee app and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network.
Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the video from the Ecobee doorbell. Images were sharp and detailed, and I could easily make out the features of anyone who came to the door.
Similar to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, the Ecobee’s field of view doesn’t quite get down to the very base of your door; it ends about a foot short, but it was close enough for me to see most packages that were left at my door.
One feature that was in beta during my testing is called Smart focus. When the camera detects a person, it will automatically pan and zoom to keep them in the center of the frame, so you can get a better look at their face (Arlo has a similar feature on some of its security cameras, though not on its doorbell). Ecobee’s worked well, but its usefulness is limited; unlike with a security camera, which is normally pretty far away from the subject, someone coming to your front door gets pretty close to the camera, zoom or not.
Similar to some Ring video doorbells as well as the Nest Doorbell, the Ecobee has person and package detection — so long as you sign up for a subscription (more on that later). Both were accurate.
Subscription and smart home features
If you have an Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium, you can view a live feed from the video doorbell on its screen, and even talk with the person at your door. It’s not as robust as what you can do with Ring’s video doorbells and Alexa smart displays — and how often are you near your thermostat when the doorbell rings? — but it’s a clever integration.
Thankfully, that’s not the only screen on which you can view a feed from the Ecobee doorbell, as it also works with Alexa smart displays. I tried it with an Amazon Echo Show 5 and an Echo Show 15, and it took about 5 seconds for a feed from the front door to show up. Not the fastest, but not too horrible.
You can also get a preview image on an Apple Watch, and receive an announcement on any HomeKit or Alexa speaker. (Google Assistant support is in the works).
In order to save videos, or to use the package detection feature, you have to subscribe to one of Ecobee’s subscription plans. The Standard plan, which costs $5/month or $50/year, covers one camera; the Complete plan costs $10/month or $100/year, and covers an unlimited number of cameras, and also includes 24/7 professional monitoring.
While the Ecobee works with HomeKit, it does not support HomeKit Secure Video like the Logitech Circle View — so you can’t circumvent Ecobee’s storage fees by using Apple’s.
Ecobee Smart Doorbell Camera review: Verdict
For a smart thermostat company, Ecobee makes one of the best video doorbells. It’s attractive, has package detection, and works with Apple HomeKit — something few other video doorbells do. And, its digital pan-and-zoom, so you can better see who’s at the door, is a clever feature.
However, its three biggest competitors at this price — the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus ($179), the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell ($149), and the Nest Doorbell ($179) can all work off battery power alone, whereas the Ecobee has to be hardwired.
I also think Ecobee falls a little behind the competition with its subscription fees. The $5/month starting fee is more expensive than comparable plans from major security camera storage fees; only Nest’s is more expensive, but its $8/ month plan covers every camera at one location.
Ecobee’s $10/month subscription is a great value for professional monitoring; most other DIY home security systems cost around $20/month. However, Ecobee doesn’t have nearly as many products as its competitors; it has its thermostats, one indoor camera and a video doorbell. By comparison, Ring has about half a dozen doorbells and just as many security cameras, which work both indoors and outdoors. So while Ring’s $10/month plan doesn’t offer professional monitoring (you’ll have to spend twice as much for that feature), it does let you record video from an unlimited number of cameras.
Right now, Ecobee’s video doorbell is an excellent bit of hardware. Once Ecobee expands its hardware offerings to include outdoor cameras, its $10/month subscription will be a bargain.