Never miss a visitor or a delivery again with these smart doorbell options
April 30, 2018
| Updated October 16, 2019
Courtesy of Nest
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Courtesy of Nest
Keep an Eye Out
Smart doorbells might sound over the top, but they’re a handy smart home security gadget, whether you’re creating a smart home or just want to know where your packages are vanishing to.
These gadgets let you answer the door even when you aren’t home, and record video when anyone approaches the door. How handy would it be to tell the post office that it’s safe to leave a package (or ask them to tuck it behind a plant) when you aren’t there to answer the door? Or get notified when a trespasser walks up to your door in hopes of helping themselves to that package?
Courtesy of Nest
2 of 5Courtesy of Nest
Nest has a doorbell--the Nest Hello ($229)--which pairs with its security system and smart lock. Like other smart doorbells, it allows you to stream video and audio to your phone when someone rings the doorbell, so you can make sure the delivery man doesn’t leave before you make it to the door, or you’ll be forewarned that there’s an unwanted salesperson ringing. The doorbell has a sleek look that fits well with the rest of the modern Nest product design, and it pairs with Google Home to literally tell you “Someone’s at your door” when it rings.
The doorbell can also use Nest Aware, Nest’s continuous video recording subscription (from $5 a month), previously only available on their smart cameras. Nest Aware can also learn facial recognition for people it sees over and over again, so your Google Home could tell you “Mom’s at the door.”
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Courtesy of Ring
3 of 5Courtesy of Ring
Ring was bought by Amazon as part of their move into the larger smart home market (i.e., part of their initiative to gain entry to your door for their deliveries). It was a shrewd move on Amazon’s part, as the nicely-priced Ring Video Doorbell ($100) was one of the first smart doorbells on the market, and has the appeal of multiple finishes to match your home and the option to wire it into an existing doorbell system or use a battery pack if there wasn’t a doorbell before. They also offer the Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199), which has 1080HD video and a quick-release rechargeable battery.
The Ring is handy for its battery-powered versions that only take minutes to install, while some smart doorbells require being hooked up to the previous system (which is especially a pain if you didn’t have a doorbell before.) Add on the Ring Chime ($29.99) to hear the doorbell and get a phone notification.
Courtesy of August Home
4 of 5Courtesy of August Home
August doesn’t just make smart locks anymore, but has entered the doorbell world as well. Their smart doorbell camera ($199) lets you see who’s at your door and speak to them through the app and microphone in the doorbell. If you want to let them in (maybe mom showed up early from the airport), you’ll be able to unlock the door from within the same app if you have one of August’s locks.
August also offers 24-hour free video storage, meaning that you can review any footage from the last day for free within the app. If you’d like storage beyond that, they offer plans of $4.99 a month or $49.99 for the year.
August’s lock is also the only smart lock (so far) that works with Apple, along with the other major smart home systems.
Courtesy of SkyBell
5 of 5Courtesy of SkyBell
SkyBell’s video doorbells, like the SkyBell HD ($175.70), share many features with the other players: 1080HD video streaming, motion sensor alerts, live monitoring. SkyBell stands out for its free video storage, allowing you to download or watch any activity it captures anytime. They also make versions of their doorbells with other security partners, like Honeywell and Alarm.com