Best Video Doorbells of 2019

Product Use case Rating
Nest Hello Best Video Doorbell 4.5
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Best Wireless Video Doorbell 3.5
August Doorbell Cam Best Smart-Home Integration 4
Ring Video Doorbell Pro Best Motion Detection 4

A video doorbell can let you see who's at the door and find out what they want — even if you're not home. After we spent more than 40 hours testing a half dozen video doorbells, we think the best you can get is the Nest Hello Smart Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. It has the highest video quality, can recognize individual faces—and can announce them to you, too.

Ring's doorbells are also solid performers, offering wide viewing angles, 1080p resolution and a great app. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is our favorite wireless video doorbell, good for those who can't or don't want to run wires to the door at which they want the doorbell. However, you'll need to subscribe to a cloud storage plan if you want to view any saved videos. 

Trying to decide which Ring video doorbell to get? We've put together a comparison of the Ring, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Ring Pro, and the Ring Door View Cam.

Latest News and Updates (March 2019)

  • August has a new wireless doorbell cam: The August View ($229, available March 28) has a traditional rectangular design (August's original doorbell cam was square), has a 1440p camera, and can be purchased with one of eight different faceplates, to better match your home's decor. Owners will be able to view 24 hours of recordings for free, and August also offers 15- and 30-day cloud storage plans. 
  • With a 180-degree field of view both horizontally and vertically, the new Remobell S ($99) might have the widest view of any video doorbell. The camera, which records at a resolution of 1536 x 1536, has customizable motion zones, full duplex audio, night vision, and offers three days of cloud recordings for free. It also works with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT. However, you'll have to purchase the indoor chime ($29) separately.
  • Ring's new Door View Cam ($199) adds a wireless 1080p camera to a traditional peephole. The device features motion detection, two-way talk, a removable, rechargeable battery, door activity detection and night vision. A glass viewer lets you peer through your door if you don’t want to use the app. It also has an impact sensor, so it will alert you if someone knocks, rather than ringing the bell. The Door View Cam will be available later this year.

Nest's doorbell cam produced the best-looking video we've yet seen from one of these devices, and its microphone and speaker were excellent, too. It can also recognize people's faces, and announce them when they come to your door. While it 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. While you'll need to subscribe to the Nest Aware service (starting at $5/month) to get all of its features, they're worth it.

Nest Hello - Sample Video (Daytime)

Because it can run entirely on battery power, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 can go anywhere, and with an optional Ring Chime device ($27), you can hear the doorbell inside the house. 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.

Ring Video Doorbell 2: Video and Audio Quality

August's video doorbell has a clever HindSense feature that includes a couple of seconds of video before the motion is detected, which means the device is more likely to capture a usable image. While August's doorbell doesn't have the highest resolution among the cameras we tested, the footage was clear enough that we could see people's faces, and we liked that its spotlight helped illuminate whoever was coming to the door at night.

August Doorbell Cam Pro: Motion-Detection Video

Because August's product looks the least like a traditional doorbell, visitors sometimes didn't know to press the device; they just knocked on our door instead. Still, it integrates tightly with August's excellent Smart Locks, which itself is compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, among other smart home systems — the most of any of the doorbells we tested.

Ring's smallest and best-looking doorbell has the most customizable motion zones of any doorbell we tested, letting you specify exactly which areas in the camera's field of vision should trigger an alert. It also has crisp, 1080p resolution and a wide, 160-degree field of view — tops among the cameras we tested — and the most-competitive storage costs.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Daytime Video Sample

Ring's app also lets you share videos with neighbors, so you can keep everyone informed if there's someone trying to break into multiple houses or steal packages. Installation is a little tricky, however; we had to install not just the doorbell, but also a separate device inside our existing doorbell's chime box.

Other Video Doorbells We Reviewed

The SpotCam Doorbell takes an opposite approach from most video doorbells, with its large button enclosure and a tiny ringer. The enclosure holds the 4 AA batteries that power the device, while the tiny ringer is no bigger than most USB power adapters and plugs straight into any two-prong wall socket. It doesn’t require any wire connection between the two, so it is more landlord-friendly than wired models. A microSD card slot lets you store video recordings.

Forget about motion detection triggering the doorbell cam unless you add a Spotcam Camera to your setup. A SpotCam app (available for iOS and Android) connects to the bell and ringer over the SpotCam cloud service, with only a short delay between someone pushing the bell and you being able to view the live image on your phone. (It was about 5 seconds in our testing.) Video quality was good, though there was a noticeable (and somewhat frustrating) 1 or 2-second delay in the video, which made having a conversation with the person at the door hard. The basic level of service for the SpotCam Doorbell is free, but there’s no online storage without paying $2.95 per month (or $29/year) for 180 days of storage to $4.95/month (or $49/year) for 365 days of rolling storage.

The  $158 Zmodo Greet Pro  is a small squat rectangle that has a low profile, projecting out just over 1 inch from the doorframe you mount it on. That makes it about the same size as the Ring Pro. Zmodo lacks the switchable panels that help it co-ordinate with your door color, though. It connects over the usual two-wire connection to the ringer that also carries power to the doorbell. Using the Zmodo app (available for iOS and Android), you enter your Wi-Fi details, then show the generated QCode app on screen to the camera on the ringer itself. The doorbell reads this and connects to your network.

We found that the combination of doorbell and app was not very responsive, with a 10- to 15-second lag to go from someone ringing the bell to viewing the live image. The video that the camera captures looksexcellent quality. Rather than show you the full near-180 degree view of the camera, the app shows you about 90 degrees, but allows you to pan left and right to see the rest by tilting your phone or swiping. That makes it easier to see the details of something that a visitor holds up to the camera (like a badge or paperwork) while still allowing you you to look around and see who else is out there.

Among the video doorbells we tested, the RemoBell was the largest and had the lowest resolution, and it does not integrate with any other smart home systems. We'd skip this option. 

RemoBell: Sample Daytime Video

How a Video Doorbell Works

When you push the button on a traditional doorbell, the action closes a circuit to ring a chime inside your home. Video doorbells are a bit more complex. When you push the button on one of these devices, the doorbell's camera sends a video feed to your smartphone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and you can press a button in the app to talk to the person at the door over a two-way speaker. Each doorbell supports ring alerts, which notify your phone when a person rings the bell, as well as motion alerts, which can be a little more hit or miss.

How We Test and Rate Video Doorbells

We self-installed the video doorbells on houses in Massachusetts and California, 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, how well the app and doorbell kept us notified, and video and audio quality. We also factored in how much you'll pay for cloud storage to save the video.

What to Look for When Buying a Video Doorbell

Power Requirements: 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 and the RemoBell, 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.

RemoBell also runs on batteries and can be installed anywhere. But it doesn't connect to existing doorbell wiring, which means the doorbell won't chime inside the house, only on your smartphone. 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. The RemoBell and August Doorbell cams have tighter angles, of 120 degrees.

Video Resolution: The higher the resolution, the sharper the image, which will make it easier to identify people at your door. Both of Ring's doorbells record video in 1080p, while the RemoBell and August Doorbell Cam record in 720p HD. August's resolution is actually 1280 x 960, but that's 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. The RemoBell and 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 great 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 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.

Create a new thread in the Off-Topic / General Discussion forum about this subject
14 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • jesujoseph
    Why isnt skybell in the list? I found it better than Ring and has free lifelong cloud storage.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • skip.unsworth
    Again with the "cloud" storage. I would resist any device that requires cloud fees. FCS
  • 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...
  • decklynn01
    Laview door bell has no subscription and it works the best overall!
  • hhjones43
    Regardless the features, these, like much other tech (phones) are ridiculously over priced. I've been in IT for nearly 50 years. I understand that miniaturization costs more, but also know that these things are built on automated assembly lines with little human interaction. Most of the price goes to CEO pay and maintaining stock prices.
  • jean.noon1
    which of these video doorbells work with dual-band and tri-band mesh routers? It seems odd I can't find any up-front information about this common problem. I have a google mesh router setup (2.4 GHz & 5GHz) and a SKYBELL HD which requires 2.4 GHz only. I'm looking for a workaround at this point, or I have to find a new setup and I'm open to anything that will work. any suggestions?
  • gabowhit
    The battery life on Ring Doorbell is unacceptable. When you first purchase it, it will last for around 6 months. After the warranty is up, the battery will only last for 2 to 3 weeks and takes about 8 hours or more to recharge. I bought my doorbell in 2016 and by 2018 was having issues with battery life. I called customer service and they advised that it wasn't under warranty and I would have to buy another $250 doorbell! Unless you want to buy another doorbell every couple of years, I do not advise purchasing this device!