There's a lot going on with the best video doorbells – great things are happening. Many major manufacturers are making better and better smart camera doorbells, from Amazon-owned Ring to camera-maestro Arlo to the likes of Netatmo. And they're increasingly popular not just for old-school doorbell reasons, but for their security benefits too.
A great smart doorbell means a great change. No longer will you have to drag yourself off the sofa to acknowledge a courier or tell the pizza guy to leave your order on the front step. No longer will you have to sprint to the front door from the garden when you're relaxing. No longer do you even have to be home to answer callers.
The best video doorbells (otherwise known as smart doorbells or cameras doorbells) change your life, streaming video to your phone, enabling two-way talk, and using motion detection to alert you of callers before they've even pressed that button.
So video doorbells are great for convenience, they are (much like the best security cameras) great for security, and they're a real upgrade to that front door. But choosing one isn't always simple – there are a few things to consider.
How to choose the best video doorbell
When trying to find the best video doorbell for you, firstly decide whether you want a wired version, or a wireless battery-powered model. Wireless video doorbells are normally a little easier to install, but you will have to charge or change batteries occasionally, and they tend to be bulkier, too.
If you have existing doorbell wiring, it's likely that a wired version will be able to tap into the power supply you already have installed.
Secondly, consider video resolution: footage captured at 720p is perfectly adequate, but 1080p will be sharper and more detailed. Check that the doorbell camera you’re looking at has night vision too, because, let's be realistic, a video doorbell that only works in daylight hours isn't a great thing if your door isn't well-lit.
Also, will you be able to hear your video doorbell at home if you don’t have your smartphone with you? Not all doorbell cameras come with a chime included: you may have to buy one separately, or wire it up to an existing chime, so factor this into the cost when you're doing your shopping.
Other features to look out for – aside from two-way communication, which is essential – include motion sensing technology (ideally with the ability to differentiate between people, animals and vehicles); face recognition technology; Alexa and Google Assistant support; and the ability to expand your smart home with a doorbell that works with smart lighting, locks and other smart home tech.
Finally, consider storage – some video doorbells offer local video recording via a memory card, while many offer cloud storage, for a monthly fee. The tech is constantly improving and getting better, so we're constantly revising this list. Here are the very best video doorbells you can buy right now…
The best video doorbell cameras right now
With the second generation of its bog-standard Video Doorbell, Ring really has let the best technology trickle down. The sensor gets a kick up from the 720p of its predecessor to a full 1080p number, there's newly-upgraded motion sensing and night vision, and a host of other tweaks that make this the best video doorbell, pound-for-pound, that you can buy today.
It's almost comical how good this is when the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is twice its price, given that the latter includes only small quality of life upgrades over this. Sure, there are downsides to the Ring Video Doorbell, the fact that you'll have to unscrew the thing from its wall mount to charge it being prime amongst them, but you only need to do this every couple of months, and it's probably worth sacrificing a little convenience for such a quality product at such a low price.
Bear in mind that the price you pay for any Ring product, like many others, is not limited to the initial hardware outlay. If you want to store your footage in the cloud, there's a fee. If you want a proper chime (and don't have an existing doorbell to wire it in to) you'll need to buy one – though the All-new Ring Chime is only around £30/$30. Even given all this, the All-new Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) is a superb option, even if it is difficult to recite its name ten times fast.
• All-new Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) vs Ring Video Doorbell 3: the choice explained
• Read our full Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus review
Rolling towards the higher end of the Ring lineup, you get a camera almost visually identical to the base level unit, save for the easily removable face plate. That's there so that you can pull out the rechargeable battery and quickly switch it out with a new one. You'll find mildly upgraded hardware inside, with a slightly different sensor and lens, and dual-band 5GHz networking, which isn't actually that big a boon for this type of product, but hey – it's here.
The key feature of the Plus over the slightly-cheaper Video Doorbell 3 (which we're not recommending because we thing paying the extra for this version is smarter) is its constant recordings; there's a low-energy sensor continuously filming in black and white, and when triggered by a motion alert, it stitches on a few seconds of pre-roll ahead of the full-quality video recorded after the motion alert, potentially giving you much more information in the case of a security breach. All in all, a great security device, and a great video doorbell.
One neat thing, too, is that the Ring Video Doorbell 3 includes mounting wedges in the box, allowing you to get just the right angle for your camera without paying extra for a chunk of plastic. These, plus the removable battery and pre-roll are the main reasons to get this version compared to the cheaper model above – they all certainly make it more convenient, but whether they're worth spending the extra on is up to you. We will say that the wedge mounts are more useful than you might be expecting.
Arlo's small doorbell camera doesn't exactly shout that it's a doorbell. That could be an issue, given that some callers won't look for more than a second before hammering on your front door with a closed fist instead, but that's just about the only thing it doesn't do well.
The key feature here is its camera, which has a 180-degree diagonal field of view and a unique square video ratio, meaning it can pick up the full length of whatever's in front of it. That makes it great for keeping an eye on packages that have been left on your doorstep, and recording footage of porch pirates scurrying off with them, if that's a concern.
You will need existing doorbell wiring to install the Arlo Video Doorbell (no batteries here)m though it doesn't explicitly need the Arlo Hub that Arlo's other security cameras (such as the Arlo Pro 3) rely on; it can do most things on its own. That includes not just alerting you of a motion event but video calling you as well, so you just swipe to see what's going on.
As Amazon picked up Ring, so Google picked up Nest, and it now has a great wireless video doorbell of its own: the Nest Hello. A lot of the features here (1080p video, night vision, a 160-degree field of view) match those that Ring offers, but Nest does them all just as well on the whole.
Where the Nest Hello does have a slight edge is with Google's AI-powered motion detection system: it's smarter at spotting the difference between a person and anything else, and can identify friends and family too, sending special prompts for those you know.
Like Ring, Nest also makes you pay if you want to keep your video doorbell recordings in the cloud, rather than just tuning in live whenever there's a button press or a motion alert. The price is higher though: a Nest Aware subscription plan will set you back £80 per year. The Nest is slightly bigger, too.
The Amazon-owned Ring puts out a Pro version of its video doorbell too, so if you've got a bit more money to spend you might want to choose to upgrade to this version. The Pro is slightly smaller and a little more aesthetically pleasing than the standard Ring Video Doorbell form, and the faster 5GHz Wi-Fi standard is supported, just like on the Ring 3 Plus. If you do opt for the Pro model you can draw out custom activity zones yourself as well.
All of the Ring video doorbells in this list offer 1080p HD video recording, but the Pro doesn't give you a wireless installation option – it has to be hardwired. It's really down to what you need and how much you want to spend. Whichever version you pick though, you've got one of the best doorbell cameras around.
Byron has been making doorbells for a long while now, so its foray into smart, wireless video doorbells comes with a guarantee of quality and heritage – even if the Byron Wi-Fi Video Doorbell itself isn't quite as sleek and stylish as some of its rivals.
All the key functionality is here ready and waiting for you to utilise, including two-way audio and companion apps that run on your smartphone and tablet. The video feed is 1080p HD and there's even motion detection as well.
There are two versions of this video doorbell: one that connects to your existing doorbell wiring; and a cheaper wireless option with 720p video. And there's no subscription to pay – you save recordings to the included memory card or link them to a service like Dropbox.
Another Ring doorbell, but this too is definitely worth a place in our best video doorbell list. The Ring Door View Cam is particularly good for anyone renting accommodation, because it fits simply in an existing peephole, with no drilling required.
Again, you've got 1080p HD video and two-way audio, as well as the very solid Ring app, so whichever Ring camera you decide to get from this list, you shouldn't be disappointed. Alexa support is included, as you would expect.
From built-in knock detection to night vision, it's another impressive option from Ring. It's also possible to set privacy zones that the doorbell simple can't see, so you could block out a door across the hall.
The Maximus Video Doorbell brings something new to the party by throwing two cameras into the mix – one to look your doorstepper in the face, and one to look at the packages being left down at foot level, just in case they get pinched.
Keeping an eye on packages seems to be one of the primary reasons people pick up video doorbell cameras in the first place, so Maximus might be on to something here. You get all the standard features included too, like motion sensor alerts and 1080p live video streaming.
You can control the doorbell with an app on your phone as well as with Alexa or Google Assistant, and you can view the live stream and the last two hours for free. The big issue, really, is availability; the product appears to be in limited supply, and readers in the UK are unlikely to find it for sale at all.
There's video and audio recording of course, and motion sensing alerts, and even people detection. You don't get a battery option though – this is a video doorbell you have to plug in, wires and all. You get 1080p video quality and night vision too for those evening callers.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Netatmo Video Doorbell is that you get all the features for your up-front payment, with no subscription required: video can be archived to a memory card, an FTP address, or a linked Dropbox account, so take your pick. We've been watching it eagerly, and think it'll easily deserve a much higher spot in our list of the best video doorbells once it's on sale.