Homeowners are buying one of the most popular home security devices these days – the smart doorbell. This is exactly what it sounds like: a security doorbell that alerts you when someone is at your door can often broadcast and record video when it senses movement, at least giving you the ability to chat with people at your doorstep
Today, as in many other industries, home security is undergoing a massive digital transformation, bringing the power of advanced technology into the hands of consumers.
Rather than signing a monitoring contract with a security provider and paying them to install the system, DIY home security products from companies like Ring, Nest, and Arlo follow subscription-based models and provide smart devices that connect to your portable devices. and are easy to install and configure by yourself.
Start with a smart doorbell
If you’re just getting into DIY home security, smart doorbells are a convenient first step before you decide whether to expand your high-tech security system to include cameras, sensors, locks and other smart technologies. That being said, which smart doorbell should you buy? First, let’s see what they all have in common in order to truly differentiate each product.
Ring, Nest and Arlo offer their own smart doorbell options, while Ring offers several doorbells that are increasing in price. These aren’t the only companies to offer smart doorbells, but Ring and Nest are by far the most popular, and Arlo deserves a fair rating along with them, given that this is a new product that gets some attention and is slightly different from your typical smart doorbell.
When all is said and done, no matter which brand you support, you will get several key features and benefits from each company’s basic smart doorbell model:
- Anyone can be connected to replace your existing doorbell
- Each one offers a two-way communication with the people at your doorstep.
- Each one is weather resistant and able to withstand the harshest weather conditions.
- Each can be connected to other devices offered by each company.
- Each of them offers a free application with which you can configure, monitor and control your doorbell.
- Anyone can archive recordings in a secure cloud
This is what makes each of these products look similar. Let’s take a look at what makes them different from each other so you can decide which one is best for your home.
Ring Video Doorbell – $ 99.99
Video doorbell was Ring’s flagship product when the company launched as Doorbot in 2012. The product has come a long way since then and is now available in several models that offer more advanced features than the base model.
However, the latter is still equipped with high-tech home security features that make it a competitor in the smart doorbell space. The biggest advantage is that it is incredibly simple and affordable.
For starters, what’s great about the Ring Video Doorbell is its simple setup. It only takes a few steps to turn it on and start monitoring activity outside your front door: download the app, scan the QR code, initiate device setup, connect to Wi-Fi, and use the tools included with your smart doorbell to set it up.
Seriously, that’s all. You can access and control the doorbell from any of your handheld devices using the app, making it easy to operate.
You can receive free HD video with 180 degree viewing angle and 720p resolution, which is broadcast live to your portable device when triggered by motion, including night vision. If you want to archive these clips, you only pay $ 3 per month, which gives you 60 days of video storage.
If in the future you decide to connect other ring cameras, motion detectors, sensors, locks and other devices and accessories to expand your home security system, you can get archiving of all ring doorbells and cameras for as little as $ 10 per month.
There is an orange button on the back of the device that you press and release to start the setup. Many people complain that this does not work as expected, requiring a complete reboot of the product. In some cases, a hard reset still won’t fix the problem.
The Call video intercom is very sensitive to your WiFi connection and the company is not shy about admitting it. If you have any problems connecting a smart doorbell, the company suggests moving your router to it. Whether it’s a situational or aesthetic aspect of a proposed solution, it probably isn’t the ideal solution for most people.
The third problem people are raising is not the best battery life. Depending on how much activity is taking place outside your home, your video intercom doorbell can register many false positives, i.e. movement from harmless things – cars, animals – can trigger your smart doorbell camera, which drains the battery after so long.
But these motion sensors can be adjusted as well, so with some adjustments you can avoid or at least reduce the frequency of this problem.
Nest Hello – $ 229
Nest is another young company founded in 2010. Its flagship product was the Nest Learning Thermostat , which many are familiar with. In 2018, Nest launched its own smart doorbell.
So far, Nest Hello is the only smart doorbell that Nest offers, but like the company’s other products, it has a lot of smart features and an elegant design. If aesthetics are important to you, consider Nest Hello . The biggest advantage of Nest Hello is that it offers flexible video streaming and high visibility.
Nest Hello is always on, providing 24/7 streaming. This means you can scan a continuous recording, rather than just watching video clips triggered by motion or sound. But this is very important, which is why Nest Hello brings you a three-hour snapshot history.
In terms of archiving, you have three options for video subscription through Nest Aware, which vary in price: five-day, 10-day, and 30-day, at $ 5, $ 10, and $ 30 per month, respectively.
Nest Hello offers a 4: 3 HD video that should let you see someone from head to toe. And night is not a problem; HDR video of smart doorbell gives clear information about people and objects. From this point of view, Nest Hello isn’t just triggered by motion and sounds, it can actually detect when a person is at your door and recognize familiar faces (with a Nest Aware subscription).
And if you’re not in the mood or can’t answer someone at the door, Nest Hello lets you save pre-recorded responses that you can select and play from your phone.
The fact that Nest Hello offers 24/7 recording means that it requires existing doorbell wiring. If your home has a battery-operated doorbell for some reason, Nest Hello won’t work. If you want to purchase this particular smart doorbell, you will need to install new wiring (you may need a professional for this).
But the biggest problem seems to be that Nest Hello sometimes or regularly snaps notifications and even delays videos, which means you don’t get real-time alerts that someone or something is in your doors. In a way, this is a nuisance, but also a potential security threat, which goes against the whole point of a smart doorbell.
Arlo Audio Doorbell – $ 79.99
When the two most popular brands of smart doorbells include video capabilities in their products, it’s natural to assume that any new competitor in this space will follow suit. This is not the case with Arlo Audio Doorbell from Netgear, a company historically popular in hardware such as routers but which launched the Arlo security camera brand in August 2018.
The Arlo Audio Doorbell is obviously an audio doorbell and not a video doorbell, making it a little more affordable than other smart doorbells. While it doesn’t include a video (by design and we’ll come back to that), it does offer some notable benefits.
The Arlo smart doorbell allows you to receive mobile notifications that you can answer as if someone is at your door. All audio is stored in a secure cloud for free on a continuous seven-day basis.
If you are unable to answer someone at the door, you have the option to give an instant answer from a list of pre-recorded answers that you select in the app on your portable device. You can also allow visitors to leave messages that you can listen to later if you are unable to reply or use quick replies during this time.
Having a smart doorbell with sound only may seem rational to some – why use a video intercom if you have cameras elsewhere that can record footage for you. It looks like this was Arlo’s intention when designing his doorbell. You can connect the Arlo audible doorbell to Arlo CCTV cameras and it will beep when the CCTV cameras detect motion (if you purchased the Arlo Chime pictured above).
This is why the Arlo Audio doorbell is more of an accessory that you would include in your built-in home security system; however, it is still a powerful product that can be useful on its own if you’re looking for something affordable yet smart.
The biggest drawback of the Arlo Audio doorbell is obvious to most: it doesn’t have a video camera. Having to buy Arlo CCTV cameras separately to get one-way video increases overall costs and ends up being more expensive than an affordable all-in-one video door phone like the Ring. However, this argument is subjective. Depending on what you’re looking for, it might not matter that Arlo’s smart doorbell only works with sound.
What you can also take as a downside is that you have to buy an Arlo Chime ($ 49.99) to actually hear when someone rings your Arlo Audio doorbell, unless you agree to receive notifications. only to your phone. It would seem that due to the fact that there is no video in Arlo’s smart doorbell, the company would put these two accessories together. Instead, you need to purchase them separately.
When it comes to deciding which smart doorbell you buy, look at the big picture. Think what is most important to you – accessibility, visibility, rationality, etc.?
No matter which doorbell you choose, you get a DIY home security device that makes life a little safer, whether it’s the first smart security device you buy or an optional accessory you decide to add. Enjoy!