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Best video doorbells in 2021: Top smart doorbell cameras rated

Best video doorbells
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best video doorbells could help prevent people from stealing packages from your front stoop — or at least identify the porch pirate. That's because a doorbell camera records all the activity happening in front of your front door, and sends you an alert to your smartphone. Some smart doorbells can also let you know when a package has arrived, helpful in this delivery-heavy era. 

The best doorbell cameras are also good for those with mobility issues. For example, if you can't get to your front door easily or quickly, you can use your smartphone to tell your visitor to wait until you get to the front door. 

We've tested dozens of video doorbells to bring you what we think are the best.

What are the best video doorbells?

After testing all of the top models, we think that the best video doorbell is the Nest Hello Smart Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. It has the highest video quality, can recognize individual faces and can even announce them, too. But, to get most of the Nest Hello's great features, you'll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, which starts at $6 per month, but includes 30 days of video for an unlimited number of cameras at one location.

If you're looking for a smart doorbell you don't need to wire, we recommend the Ring Video Doorbell 3, which can run off battery power alone (you'll need to recharge it every few months). The Ring Video Doorbell 4 also runs on battery power, and has color Pre-Roll feature that adds up to four seconds of video before a motion event occurs, so that you can better see people as they approach your door. It's currently available for $199; stay tuned for our review.

Check out our comparison of Ring vs. Nest if you're having a hard time choosing between the brands; we also have a comparison of the Ring Video Doorbell 3 vs. Ring vs. Ring Pro, as well as the company's other video doorbells. 

In the meantime, check out our picks for the best video doorbells.

The best video doorbells you can buy today

Best video doorbells: Nest Hello

Nest Hello (Image credit: Nest)

1. Nest Hello

The best video doorbell overall

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1600 x 1200
Field of View: 160 degrees
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 4.6 x 1.7 x 1 inch
Wired/Battery: wired
Starting Storage Fee: $6/month, $60/year for 30 days video
Reasons to buy
+Great video quality+Flexible scheduling+Facial recognition
Reasons to avoid
-Uses a lot of bandwidth to upload video-Requires hardwired connection

The Nest Hello takes the top honors as the best video doorbell overall, as it produced the best-looking video we've yet seen from one of these devices, and its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. This is one smart video doorbell, too: The Nest Hello can also recognize people's faces, and announce them via a Google Assistant compatible device when they come to your door. (It also works with Alexa). 

While the Hello needs a hardwired connection, it continuously records video, so you'll never miss an event. You can also set up specific zones, so you'll only be notified when a person or object appears in that area of the frame. To get most of these features, you'll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $6/month or $60 year for 30 days of video), but they're worth it.

Read our full Nest Hello review.

best video doorbells: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Ring Video Doorbell 3

The best video doorbell for wireless installation

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1080p
Field of View: 160 degrees
Works with: Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT
Size: 5.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes/Yes
Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 60 days video
Reasons to buy
+Can be wired or battery-powered+Pre-roll shows all movement+Works with a good number of other smart home devices
Reasons to avoid
-No package detection-No preview notification-Subscription required for many features

Because it can run entirely on battery power, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is the best video doorbell for homes or locations where there isn't already power. But the reason Ring's video doorbells also rank so high is that they can also run using a hardwired connection, making it very versatile.

This 1080p doorbell camera offers good customization for motion alerts, although it's not as robust as the Ring Pro's. However, you still get the same ability to share videos with neighbors, as well as Ring's affordable video-storage fees. 

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus — which has been discontinued for the Ring Video Doorbell 4 — also offers a feature called Pre-roll, which allows you to see the four seconds of video prior to a motion event. It's not as effective as similar features found on the Nest Hello and Arlo video doorbells, but Ring's is the only one that also works using battery power. 

Ring's video doorbell can also be paired with an optional Ring Chime ($29) or the Ring Chime Pro ($49), if you don't already have a doorbell chime inside your house. The Chime Pro also acts as a Wi-Fi repeater, good for if your front door is out of range of your router.

Read our full Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus review.

best video doorbells: Ring Video Doorbell (2nd generation)

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd generation) (Image credit: Future)

3. Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)

The best video doorbell value

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1080p
Field of View: 160 degrees
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT
Size: 5.05 x 2.50 x 1.08 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes/Yes
Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 60 days video
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Customizable motion zones+Good-quality video+Works wired or battery powered
Reasons to avoid
-No pre-roll feature-No package detection

Ring's original Video Doorbell has been upgraded: The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd generation) has a 1080p camera (up from 720p on the original), as well as improved night vision and better motion-tracking capabilities. And, at less than $100, it's still the best video doorbell for those on a budget.

Like the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 4, we like that you can use this model either wired or on battery power alone, and you can create custom motion zones, and also see what's going on in your neighborhood. Plus, Ring offers very affordable video storage plans starting at $30 a year.

Read our full Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) review.

best video doorbells: Arlo Video Doorbell. Credit: Tom's Guide

Arlo Video Doorbell (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Arlo Video Doorbell

Best video doorbell for animal detection

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1536 x 1536
Field of View: 180 degrees (diagonal)
Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 5.1 x 1.8 x 1 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes/No
Starting Storage Fee: $3/month (single camera)
Reasons to buy
+Great video/audio quality+Person, package, animal detection+Feature-packed app
Reasons to avoid
-Requires subscription for most features-Wired only

Arlo makes some of the best home security cameras, so it should be no surprise that the Arlo Video doorbell is one of the best video doorbells, too. It delivered high-quality video and audio both day and night, and features both person and package detection. Arlo's video doorbell also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so can receive notifications on smart speakers, and livestream video from the doorbell to an Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub smart display.

Arlo's app has a ton of features, but some of them, such as motion sensitivity, are difficult to find. Also, the video doorbell has to be hard-wired. And, for most of the smarter features, including video storage, you need to sign up for a subscription.  But, if you have Arlo's security cameras, its video doorbell will make an excellent addition, as you can add up to five cameras for $10 a month.

Read our full Arlo Video Doorbell review

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

RIng Video Doorbell Pro 2 (Image credit: Ring)

5. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

Sees more of your front porch

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1536 x 1536
Field of View: 150 x 150 degrees
Works with: Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT
Size: 4 x 1.8 x 0.88 inches
Wired/Battery: No
Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 60 days video
Reasons to buy
+Shows more of front porch than other Ring cameras+Great video quality+Slim design
Reasons to avoid
-No package detection-Expensive-Wired only

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is the first from the company that has a square aspect ratio, which means the video is as tall as it is wide. What that means is that it can show much more of your front stoop than other Ring doorbells — so you're more likely to see when a package has been dropped off. It also has customizable motion zones and a new "radar" feature that helps cut down on unwanted notifications. 

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 delivered excellent video quality, was very responsive, and wasn't too hard to install. Just know that it's not battery-operated, and you'll also need to subscribe to a Ring Protect plan (starting at $3/month or $30/year) if you want to get the most out of the video doorbell. 

Read our full Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review.

best video doorbells: Logitech Circle View Doorbell

(Image credit: Logitech)

6. Logitech Circle View Doorbell

Best video doorbell for HomeKit users

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1200 x 1600
Field of View: 160 degrees/3:4 portrait view
Works with: Apple HomeKit
Size: 4.68 x 1.65 x 1.1 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes
Starting Storage Fee: $2.99 per month/10 days of video
Reasons to buy
+Good video quality+Slim+Secure cloud storage
Reasons to avoid
-Setup could be easier-Only works with HomeKit/iOS devices-Expensive

If you're an Apple HomeKit user, you don't have many choices when it comes to video doorbells. The Logitech Circle View is one of the few options, and fortunately, it's pretty good. We liked its 3:4 aspect ratio, which shows more of our front porch, as well as its sharp video quality both day and night. It also has very secure cloud storage and it can identify people by face if they're in your iCloud photos.

However, the setup process — which is done entirely in the Home app on your iPhone — could be easier. And, the cloud storage plan ($2.99/month for 10 days of video storage) isn't as generous as other companies. But, if you're on HomeKit, this is one of your best — and only — options.

Read our full Logitech Circle View Doorbell review.

Best video doorbells: Ring Peephole Cam

Ring Peephole Cam (Image credit: Ring)

6. Ring Peephole Cam

Best video doorbell for apartments

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of View: 155 degrees horizontal, 90 degrees vertical
Works with: Amazon Alexa
Size: 4.4 x 2.3 x 1.2 inches
Wired/Battery: No/Yes
Starting Storage Fee: $30/year for 30 days of video
Reasons to buy
+Simple to install+Good video quality+Works with Alexa
Reasons to avoid
-Storm door can block night view-Doesn't work with Google Assistant

Can't install a traditional video doorbell, or live in an apartment? The Ring Peephole Cam is the best video doorbell for you. It replaces a traditional peephole, giving you an electronic means of seeing who's at the door. (Don't worry; it has a peephole built in). Because it screws into place, you don't have to drill any new holes into a door, so your landlord won't get annoyed. 

Because the Peephole Cam is battery-operated, you'll have to recharge it once every month or so, depending on how often you use it. And while it works with Alexa—you can view a feed from the camera on an Echo Show, for example—it doesn't work with Google Assistant.

Read our full Ring Peephole Cam review.

Best video doorbells

Ring Video Doorbell Wired  (Image credit: Future)

7. Ring Video Doorbell Wired

The cheapest Ring video doorbell — with some compromises

Specifications
Camera resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 155° horizontal
Audio: Two-Way Talk with Noise Cancellation
Night Vision: IR LEDs
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz
Size: 3.9 x 1.8 x 0.8 inches
Starting storage fee: $3/month for 30 days video
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Good video quality+Small
Reasons to avoid
-Does not work with existing door chimes-Requires purchase of Ring Chime if you want to hear a ring

The low price of the Ring Video Doorbell Wired — just $60 — is very tempting for those looking for a budget video doorbell from a reputable brand. However, there are a few caveats that will make the total cost a bit higher. That's because this video doorbell does not work with your existing doorbell chime, so you'll need to tack on an extra $20 or so to purchase a Ring Chime if you want to hear the familiar ding-dong in your home.

Otherwise, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired works well, produces a quality image, and has a slim profile. You'll need a Ring Protect subscription (starting at $3/month) if you want to save recordings, which also adds to the overall cost. But, this is a good video doorbell with a comparatively low entry fee.

Read our full Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

best video doorbells: Maximus Answer DualCam

Maximus Answer DualCam (Image credit: Maximus)

8. Maximus Answer DualCam

This video doorbell can show you if packages arrived

Specifications
Video Resolution: 1080p (top camera) 720p (bottom camera)
Field of View: 180 degrees (vertical)
Works with: n/a
Size: 4.5 x 1.8 x 1 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes/no
Starting Storage Fee: $4.99/month for 7 days video
Reasons to buy
+Dual cameras show more of visitors and packages on the doorstep+Installation is simple+Kuna app is easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-The volume of doorbell speaker is low-Doesn't work with other smart home systems

While many video doorbells claim to have a wide field of view, virtually none of them can see what's happening right at your doorstep—where the majority of your packages are dropped. The Maximus Answer DualCam solves this problem by packing two cameras: one that looks straight out, and one that looks directly down. That way, you can see if there's a package at your door—and if someone tries to steal it.

The dual-camera setup worked well, though this video doorbell has a few rough edges. Its speaker is pretty quiet, and there's a delay between the time you talk and a visitor hears you. Plus, the Maximus doesn't work with any other smart home system, such as Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Read our full Maximus Answer DualCam review.

Best video doorbells: Eufy 2K Video Doorbell

Eufy 2K Video Doorbell (Image credit: Eufy)

9. Eufy 2K Video Doorbell

An inexpensive video doorbell that delivers on the basics

Specifications
Video Resolution: 2560 x 1920
Field of View: 150 degrees
Works with: Alexa, Google Home
Size: 4.8 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches
Wired/Battery: Yes/no
Starting Storage Fee: $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year for 30 days of video
Reasons to buy
+Easy-to-use app+Doorbell chime included+Built-in storage
Reasons to avoid
-Requires wired connection-Doesn't support multiple users

The Eufy 2K Video Doorbell records good-quality video over a 150-degree field of view. While you can sign up for cloud storage (which starts at $30/year for 30 days of storage), the Eufy 2K also has a microSD card slot, so you can save footage locally, too. 

However, the Eufy 2K Video Doorbell has a few drawbacks: It's a wired-only device, only supports one user (so you can't share it with family members), and has limited smart-home interoperability. But for around $150, it's not a bad deal.

Read our full Eufy 2K Video Doorbell review.

How to choose the best video doorbell

Wired vs. wireless

Video doorbells typically require 16 volts or more to work. If you have a newer house, this may not be an issue. But as we found out, older homes with more-antiquated systems may not deliver enough juice. One of our test houses, which was built in 1946, was sending only about 10 volts of electricity to the existing doorbell, which wasn't enough to power the two doorbells in the roundup that lack built-in batteries.

After we upgraded the doorbell's circuit to a 20-volt transformer, everything worked as advertised. Most people shouldn't have to upgrade their transformers, especially with newer houses, and the two doorbells that have built-in batteries don't require power from the doorbell at all.

Some doorbells, like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, can run on battery power. This is incredibly helpful if your existing wiring isn't getting the job done and you don't want to upgrade the transformer. Just remember that you'll have to recharge these units regularly.

Doorbell placement

Your choice of doorbells will also depend on whether you're replacing an existing doorbell or installing a doorbell where there isn't one already. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the most flexible. While it can replace a hardwired doorbell supplying 8-24 volts of electricity, its rechargeable battery means you could put this doorbell anywhere. And the optional Ring Chime add-on can even sound an audible chime inside the house, just like a traditional doorbell would.

The August Doorbell Cam requires 16-24 volts of electricity and can replace only a wired mechanical doorbell.

Field of View

Do you want a narrow view of just the person at the door, or do you want to see everything around your entryway? The Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Ring Pro boast 160-degree viewing angles, which let me see my whole porch and driveway. 

Video Resolution

The higher the resolution, the sharper the image, which will make it easier to identify people at your door. Ring's higher-end doorbells record video in 1080p, while the August Doorbell Cam's resolution is actually 1280 x 960, not quite "full" 1080p resolution.

Night Mode

The video doorbells we tested take different approaches to capturing video at night. The August Doorbell cam uses motion-activated LEDs to light the area in front of the camera, so it can capture colors a little better. Ring's doorbells use infrared night vision to see in the dark, but the result is monochrome video.

Design

Aesthetics may be a concern. After all, you're bolting this thing to the front of your house! The Ring Pro looks the most like a traditional doorbell, and Ring even includes four faceplates, so you can choose which matches your house's trim or paint one exactly the shade you like.

Video doorbells vs. security cameras

Video doorbells don't necessarily make the best home security cameras. While the apps let you choose to receive motion alerts as well as doorbell alerts, motion-triggered events often resulted in video of a person or car just exiting the frame.

A dedicated home security camera may be a better choice if you're looking for actual security, because you can position such a camera in more places. And when you get a motion alert, you can back up the video and see what happened before the alert came in.

How we test video doorbells

To test video doorbells, we self-install the devices on houses and tested in real-world conditions with friends and family ringing the bells day and night. 

We evaluated ease of setup, the design and features of the app, and how well the app and doorbell kept us notified; some video doorbells can send you a large number of false motion alerts, which you don't want.  

Of course, we also look at video and audio quality, both during the day and during the night, as well as how quick the cameras were to recognize motion and start recording. 

We also factor in interoperability and compatibility with other smart home devices and security systems, as well as how much you'll pay for cloud storage to save the video.

  • amandapery345
    Skybell is hands down the top choice when it comes to doorbell cameras. The price quoted in the article is actually pretty high because Armorax has these same cameras for much less. In fact they even have an offer going on right now where they’re giving away doorbell cameras for free.
    Reply
  • luzgus95
    Just recently the Ring doorbell camera is compatible with the Armorax system too, so now you can use either the Skybell or the Ring doorbell camera with the system.
    Reply
  • jesujoseph
    Why isnt skybell in the list? I found it better than Ring and has free lifelong cloud storage.
    Reply
  • Khaydin1
    I feel like August bought the top spot or the home automation systems that the reviewer owns affected the outcome. You barely listed any of the home automation / smart home products that Ring integrates with and made that a con against it. You also said that people regularly would knock on your door when the August was up. I think the fact that that happened and that it looks nothing like a doorbell make it an immediate failure.

    I have never had anyone not push my Ring Pro Doorbell. Love having the chimes across my house since my home's mechanical chime isn't loud enough. Love being able to answer my Ring doorbell on my Echo Show or the Family Hub on my Samsung fridge. It also acts as a motion sensor for automations in SmartThings.
    Reply
  • dalbrand
    I have had a std. Ring for a few years. Motion sense wasnso bad I disabler. It rings when noone is there. Great delay in ring & opening app. Many hours with tech support useless. Garbage!
    Reply
  • richarddozier
    You forgot an extremely important consideration: sound quality. I have the Ring Doorbell Pro and, because of its size, it has a minuscule speaker-driver inside. What this means is that the sound level which the visitor hears when you try to talk with them is extremely low. In fact, it is almost completely inaudible. Most people don't even realize that there's someone talking to them. This is a big minus for their system. The other one is there very flakey Windows app for managing the Ring. They actually made it worse in a recent software revision.
    Reply
  • adrianhayden
    Doorbird? Has an API available too. More expensive, but has more inbuilt connections, better build, and even supports SIP for those who wish to use a local existing tablet. And no ongoing subscription service. Installs over wifi or Poe, plus Doorbird have a range of supporting products for it.
    Reply
  • iisaac
    European doorbell such as Doorbird or Fenotek - Hi should have been on this list...
    Way more expensive but their features are mad (4G, dry contacts, virtual keys).
    Both were the best I've seen at CES this year...
    Reply
  • skip.unsworth
    Again with the "cloud" storage. I would resist any device that requires cloud fees. FCS
    Reply
  • daevid.vincent
    That really SUCKS that all of these doorbell manufacturers (Ring, Nest, August, etc.) are trying to hawk their cloud pay services. I have multiple Trendnet cameras and every one of them has FTP and SMB saving of stills and video based upon motion detection zones. Why is it so "hard" for the doorbell ones to have this feature. Upsell your cloud "service" to people that aren't technically adept enough to have a network share/server, and let the rest of us manage our own video/images! The first company to implement this NECESSARY "feature" gets my business...
    Reply