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How a Smart Doorbell Can Tighten Your Home Security

smart doorbell

How a Smart Doorbell Can Tighten Your Home Security

Whether you’re binge-watching Netflix and don’t want to get off the couch or are a victim of porch pirates, a smart doorbell (also called a video doorbell) gives you a safe way to keep tabs on visitors. Look for options with two-way communication and a wide field of view.

Also, look for a model that stores recordings locally without a subscription. This reduces the risk of your doorbell being hacked.

Sense of Security

If you find yourself a bit uneasy about people approaching your home smart doorbell or simply want to know more about who is outside before answering the door, a smart doorbell is a great tool. Many models allow you to record video of anyone who sets off the motion detector, which can help police solve crimes. Additionally, you can share the footage via social media, alert neighbors about potential scams or even resolve issues with parcel deliveries.

A smart doorbell also allows you to screen visitors without opening your door. Simply use your phone to see who’s there and decide whether to answer, decline or talk to them through two-way audio (similar to an intercom) no matter where you are. You can even use it to speak to a dog walker or house sitter before they arrive, and make sure the kids get out of bed and turn off the TV before going to sleep.

Look for a model that can record in HD, offers night vision and has an easy-to-use app. Some even offer professional monitoring 24/7, giving you peace of mind when you’re not at home. And because they connect to your Wi-Fi, you can monitor your front porch from anywhere, no matter what device you’re using. This makes them a great addition to any home security system, adding an extra layer of protection from burglars who often knock on doors before breaking in as a way to see if anyone’s home before entering.


When someone approaches your home, a smart doorbell can notify you by sending a video to your smartphone. Depending on the model you choose, the notifications may be accompanied by two-way audio so that you can speak to your visitor without ever opening the door, a convenience that is especially useful when you’re unsure about answering the door or are busy working, caring for a child, or doing chores in the yard.

In addition to offering piece of mind when you’re away from home, smart doorbells can also help deter potential thieves or break-ins. Many models have motion detection capabilities and save recorded footage to help police or other authorities identify a trespasser or crime scene. Having access to prior recordings may even reduce your homeowners insurance premiums.

Most smart doorbells have a wide-angle camera that can provide you with a clear view of your front porch. Some models come equipped with night vision features, which can be a bonus if you live in an area with lots of street lights. You can use a doorbell cam to see who is outside smart doorbell when you’re unable to answer the door, or simply want to check in on your front door while you’re working, doing chores, or sleeping. This can be a huge safety benefit when you have young children, are worried about suspicious people or are limiting person-to-person contact due to Coronavirus concerns.

View Who’s At Your Door

A smart doorbell with a camera allows you to see who’s at your front door without opening it. You can also get activity alerts and watch video remotely, even when you aren’t home. Some smart doorbells have two-way audio, allowing you to communicate with people at your door, such as delivery drivers or the neighbor who wants to borrow your lawn mower.

Some advanced models come with facial recognition, which assigns a name to the person based on their appearance. This feature makes it easier for police departments to identify suspects and solve crimes. Watch this video from This Old House Home Technology Expert Ross Trethewey to learn more about smart doorbells and how they can help with crime-solving.

Most smart doorbells keep video recordings of motion alerts in a secure location in the cloud or on local storage, such as an SD card built into the device or an online service like Google Drive. This is a valuable security feature, especially if you’re away from your home for long periods of time or if your home is broken into.

Some smart video doorbells, such as Google Nest and the new Ring 3 Plus, offer free “Smart Detection.” This feature filters out motion reports by only detecting the presence of a human being, which can help reduce unnecessary notifications from things like rustling trees or passing cars. Other features you might want to consider include zoom, a wide-angle lens for a wider view, and color night vision, which can turn a darkened home into a safe haven at night.

Control Your Doorbell

If you want to really tighten up your home security, look for a smart doorbell camera that supports Apple’s HomeKit. This integration allows you to use your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV as an iCloud hub and connects the doorbell to the internet. The camera will also detect people, animals, and vehicles to help you stay aware of who or what is on your front porch.

Look for a doorbell that offers a variety of other features, such as night vision or two-way audio. Many models let you see and talk to visitors from anywhere with your smartphone or other connected device. This can make it easier to screen guests, greet housesitters or dog walkers, or simply give instructions to mail carriers where to leave your packages if you’re away for an extended period of time.

It’s important to note that the latency of a smart doorbell can be an issue. If it takes too long for you to receive a notification when someone approaches your door, you could miss them altogether. This may be a result of poor Wi-Fi or the camera’s motion sensor, so consider the quality of these elements in your home before making a purchase. Look for options that work with your existing smart devices, like indoor security cameras, alarm systems, and thermostats.

Smart Doorbells With Cameras

smart doorbell

Smart Doorbells With Cameras

The best smart doorbells let you see and talk to visitors via two-way communication on your smartphone (similar to an intercom) without opening the door. Some also offer security features like motion sensors and video storage.

A top pick is the Lorex LB200, which earns good scores for data privacy and video quality and offers affordable local storage instead of cloud storage. It has activity zones and a person detection feature to cut down on unnecessary alerts.


Many smart doorbell cameras function as traditional devices that chime when someone presses the button, but some offer additional security features. These include remote monitoring (often with two-way audio), which can help you screen visitors such as solicitors or porch pirates, even if you’re not home. Some models also provide automatic alerts to your smartphone when motion is detected, with some allowing you to arm or disarm your whole home’s security system, as well as view recorded video clips.

In addition to keeping you safe from unwanted solicitors and other unwelcome guests, a good quality smart doorbell can also help you protect your property against thieves who target home delivery shipments for theft. These criminals, known as porch pirates, often wait until a delivery is left on the front step of an absent house, then run up and grab it before it can be returned to the sender. Doorbell cameras can help you keep an eye on your porch and capture evidence when a package is stolen.

Look for a smart doorbell that offers high-quality video, night vision to make sure you can see what’s going on at night, weather smart doorbell resistance so it stands up to rain or snow, and integration with other devices such as lights that turn on when motion is detected. Most importantly, choose a model that works with the smart assistant you already use in your home.


The convenience of smart doorbells is that you can see who’s on your doorstep, even when you aren’t home. Some models have two-way audio for talking with visitors or scaring off porch pirates. Others connect to a smartphone app for remote monitoring and allowing you to check in on the kids after school or call the dog sitter to confirm she came by to walk your pooch.

Most models include motion detection and allow you to set designated zones and sensitivity settings to cut down on unwanted notifications or false alarms. Some have night vision to enhance visibility in low lighting conditions. Many also come with an attractive weather-resistant design to withstand common outdoor elements like rain, snow and wind. A few smart doorbells have the ability to integrate with other components of your home, such as lights or a security system for more protection and peace of mind.

One major consideration when selecting a smart doorbell is whether you want built-in memory or cloud video recording. While Google Nest and some other models require a subscription and use the internet for storage, Netatmo’s model includes free activity zones and up to three hours of event-based recordings, which cuts down on the need for cloud service (and monthly fees). Arlo doorbells, meanwhile, are battery powered and work with existing chimes or plug into an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart speaker to notify you of a visitor.

Animal Control

Whether you’re curled up on the couch or sunning on the beach, you can always check who’s at your door with a smart doorbell. The most advanced options feature a camera, so you can see who’s there without opening the door. Many also have two-way talk, night vision, and HD video resolution. They can also be integrated with your voice-controlled smart assistant.

The best smart doorbells are weatherproof, so they can handle snow, rain, and hot or cold temperatures. They’re also easy to keep charged, with some offering low-energy mode for power savings.

Most of the models we test offer cloud storage for up to three hours, though some require a paid subscription for unlimited recordings or e911 emergency calling services. These subscriptions range from $10 to $50 per month for one or more cameras, depending on the features you choose and the amount of cloud storage you need.

The best value in our ratings is the SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro SS3 (Wired). It’s a battery-powered model that can store smart doorbell up to an hour of video locally, and it has an option for cloud storage with no monthly fee. Its face recognition works great, so you can tell the dogwalker from the delivery guy. It’s also a good choice for people who prefer to avoid monthly fees, as the base price is lower than Ring and Arlo’s plans and twice as low as Wyze’s plan.

Access Control

A smart doorbell with a camera is an easy way to stay connected to your front porch when you’re away from home. Most of these devices can send you an alert when someone approaches the door and give you a live video stream to see who’s there. Some can even provide face recognition capabilities to let you know if it’s the delivery man or a criminal who’s on your doorstep.

Many smart doorbells also have two-way audio capabilities to allow you to communicate with visitors from anywhere in your home. This lets you tell a delivery person to leave a package in a more discreet spot, for example, or speak to neighbors in a noisy neighborhood. Some can also play prerecorded messages to scare off a would-be burglar or other intruder. Many of these devices are compatible with smart home security systems, so you can arm or disarm your whole home’s system with a single app and receive notifications about events at your door.

The Netatmo Smart Doorbell Camera is one of the few models in our ratings that supports Apple HomeKit, which means you can employ your iOS devices — like your iPhone or iPad — to answer your door, view a live video stream and more. It’s expensive, but it has a range of smart design features and captures video in sharp 1080p resolution in HDR.