The Best Video Doorbells
How We Found the Best Video Doorbell
13 doorbells evaluated
45000 user reviews considered
4 top picks
The Best Video Doorbells
The best video doorbell quickly connects you to any guests or visitors approaching your home. Doing so requires accurate motion sensors and a powerful camera. In addition, the best video doorbell is easy to install and customizable for any home. We ordered 13 of the newest smart doorbells, then tested each one for functionality and analyzed customer reviews. The result is four solid video doorbell picks to further secure your home.
How We Chose the Best Video Doorbells
Smart doorbells are a recent addition to the smart home concept; most video doorbell companies have only appeared in the last six years. As a result, you can still find some of the earliest models (like the original Ring) available for sale, but manufacturers have quickly developed and improved on their original models. To home in on the best, we only looked at the most recent releases from each brand.
That said, we did make an exception for Ring. It was the first company in the video doorbell space, and we were eager to see the progress made from its first video doorbell, the Ring, compared to the Ring 2, Pro, and Elite.
With our contenders in place, we turned to user reviews on Amazon and BestBuy to see which video doorbells were easily incorporated into people’s lives and which were returned. We dug into more than 45,000 reviews first by examining the proportion of high-star reviews to low-star reviews. While we didn’t immediately cut the Veiu Smart Video Doorbell or the Yale Look Door Viewer for having high numbers of one-star reviews (29% and 41% of all reviews were one-stars, respectively), we kept an extra close eye on seemingly low performers as we read into each smart doorbell’s user reviews.
We also dove deep into user reviews for each video doorbell to see what criticisms (or praises) were popping up repeatedly. If only one or two reviewers complained about poor motion detection or difficulties with setup, we noted the flaw but didn’t take points away from the doorbell. However, when a few dozen reviewers all talked about the same problem, we started to take away points. We found a few common complaints:
- Wi-Fi Connectivity: To work properly, each smart doorbell needs to be within range of your router. That said, some smart doorbells struggled to stay connected to the network even when users moved their router (or placed an extender) just inside the entryway.
- App Struggles: To view live footage, check out past events, and adjust sensitivity settings, you need access to the app. Users consistently criticized Yale’s Look Door Viewer and Netvue’s Vuebell for app issues, including frequent freezing, stuttering, and crashing.
- Motion Sensitivity: A few smart doorbells had issues with motion detection – by the time the camera activated, the delivery person was already halfway back to the street. The SkyBell HD struggled here, as did the original Ring – but it looks like subsequent versions of the Ring improved on these early complaints.
- Battery Life: Almost all of our battery-powered doorbells were called out for over-promising and under-delivering on battery life. Batteries lasted weeks rather than months and sometimes took as long as a day to recharge – making it more inconvenient to use them than to install a wired system.
Another interesting flaw users pointed out: Many of these smart doorbells don’t look like doorbells. Post office employees and guests alike resorted to knocking on their doors because they couldn’t find the doorbell.
The SkyBell HD, Veiu, and Vuebell were three doorbells repeatedly called out for being confusing. Some lacked the expected shape of a doorbell by not being rectangular, while others used a pressure sensor rather than an actual button – the flat surface can look more appealing but makes it hard for guests to tell if they've actually rung the doorbell. We experienced this firsthand when we tested the Iseebell; when we asked coworkers to locate the button, most reached instantly for the protruding camera in the center.
Based on the collective feedback from user reviews and our own in-office testing, we cut the nine which were the most confusing, frustrating to use, and hardest to set up. This left us with four video doorbells that will be welcome additions to any home.
The 4 Best Video Doorbells
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro -
Best Doorbell Upgrade
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 -
Best for Renters
- Nest Hello -
Best for Nest Smart Homes
- Zmodo Greet Pro -
Best Budget Doorbell
Why we chose it
We love the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for its sleek, modern design, rectangular shape, and raised button that makes it look close enough to a standard doorbell to not confuse guests. We also love that the Ring Pro comes with four different faceplates — silver, charcoal, black, and white — to help it blend in, no matter the color of your house.
Every video doorbell is larger than a standard house doorbell, since it has to fit in more technology. As a result, some video doorbells come out bulky. The Ring Pro is the smallest doorbell of our top picks. Instead of looking like a small brick, it can rest in the palm of your hand while you (just about) close your fingers over it.
The Ring Pro is one of the most advanced video doorbells available. It has a high resolution camera (1920x1080) and a wide field of vision (160 degrees) to help capture a greater image of your front door and its surroundings. It also comes with the invaluable feature to customize the motion detection sensor both by range and by sensitivity. If you live near a busy street or don’t want to be alerted every time a squirrel darts across your yard, you can adjust what and how much motion will trip an alarm. And although it can be used as a standalone device, the Ring Pro is a smart doorbell capable of integrating both with Alexa and Google Home.
Ability to withstand the elements
The Ring Pro can withstand a wide temperature range: from -5 degrees F to 120 degrees F. Even though this means that Minnesotans will likely have to bring their devices inside during the winter, both Ring products hold the widest temperature range of our top picks, making them the most versatile video doorbells on the market climate-wise.
Points to consider
Camera angle adjustments not included
The Ring Pro’s primary downside is that it doesn’t come with any wedges for adjusting the angle of your doorbell camera. While you can purchase a three-pack from Ring or find a compatible set on Amazon, we were disappointed to find that none were included in our initial purchase — the Ring 2 came with two. If watching the video of your smart camera gives you a good look at the sky, the ground, or the wrong area of the lawn, you’ll need to purchase a wedge to adjust the angle at which the Ring Pro sits on your wall or siding.
Why we chose it
The primary edge the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has over the Ring Pro — and all of our other picks — is that the Ring 2 can run on battery power. Like all of our other doorbells, you can choose to hardwire the Ring 2 into your pre-existing system (a fairly simple process). However, if you don’t have an existing doorbell, the Ring 2 lets you try out a video doorbell without needing to hire an electrician. This is particularly great for renters who may not have the ability to drill holes or adjust wiring.
Competitive tech capabilities
The Ring 2 has everything we love about the Ring Pro (except looks). With a high-quality camera, wide field of vision, and excellent motion detection system, both Rings earn their spots at the top of the list. The Ring 2 has the same wide camera range (160 degrees), temperature range (-5 degrees F to 120 degrees F), and customizable motion sensor as the Ring Pro.
The Ring 2 comes with two wedges already included, no additional purchase necessary. If you have siding that would automatically tilt the Ring 2 upwards (giving you a great picture of your roof or sky), you can use the vertical wedge to level the doorbell. If the wall where you’ll install your doorbell doesn’t give you the best angle to see inbound guests, you can use the horizontal wedge to adjust which angles of the yard are captured on-screen. Additionally, the two wedges stack, so you can use both at the same time, if necessary.
Points to consider
The Ring 2 is the bulkiest of our top picks. It still looks like a doorbell, with a rectangular shape and raised button, but it’s about the size of a walky-talky. This could be disorienting to guests, and it looks more dated than the sophisticated Ring Pro. What’s more, the video doorbell also only comes with two faceplates (silver and matte black) to the Ring Pro’s four. The black plate can be painted to match your home, but we appreciate the Ring Pro’s range of easy snap-on snap-off options.
Why we chose it
We were immediately drawn in by the appearance of the Nest Hello. Like the Ring Pro, it simply looks cool. With a slim profile and a white-outlined call button, it's one of the most attractive video doorbells on the market.
The Nest has an excellent camera resolution – 1600x1200 – and a wide camera range at 160 degrees. Even though this resolution is a slightly lower quality than either the Ring Pro or the Ring 2 (at 1920x1080), watching recordings or viewing the live feed through the Nest app still presents a clear picture of your porch.
The Nest Hello also uses face detection technology; in addition to letting you know that someone is at your door, Nest Aware can let you know who they are, allowing you to decide whether you want to interrupt work or dinner to answer the bell.
The Nest Hello is our only pick to integrate with all three of most common home automation systems: Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Nest itself. This gives the Nest the most versatility to fit in, regardless of which service you choose to have or switch to. If your smart home is already outfitted with one of these services, Nest is the best smart doorbell for broad integration.
Points to consider
Restrictive temperature range
The Nest has the most restrictive temperature range of our top picks: from 14 degrees F to 104 degrees F. As we mentioned for the Ring Pro, it’s possible that the Nest Hello would survive outside of those temperatures, but keeping it outside in the depth of Minnesotan winter or peak of Arizonan summer might freeze or fry your $230 device.
No vertical wedge included
The Nest Hello includes a horizontal wedge but not a vertical one. If you have angled siding that tilts upward, Nest doesn’t offer a way to level out the Hello.
Why we chose it
The Zmodo Greet Pro impressed us by providing great quality for its price. It’s the least expensive of our top picks, but it still holds some pretty competitive specs in terms of technology. It also strikes the middle ground for size among our top picks. About the size of a flip phone, the Zmodo is larger than the Roku-remote size of the Ring Pro and Nest Hello but smaller than the walky-talky bulk of the Ring 2; it’s a great compromise in terms of size and price.
The Zmodo boasts a camera resolution as powerful as the Ring Pro (1920x1080), and it has the widest camera range of our top picks at a full 180 degrees. That extra 20 degrees will give you more visibility in recognizing activity around your house and in your neighborhood. And since it does have a wide camera range, you might not need to tinker as much with positioning as with our other top picks. However, if you do find that your Zmodo aims too high, low, or sideways, you’ll have to hunt for a third-party wedge or live with a blind spot.
Points to consider
The Zmodo’s cheaper price comes with a few drawbacks. In our user reviews evaluation, its app was often criticized for being clunky and not customizable or integratable. Users couldn’t adjust how many notifications they received and complained about the device being incompatible with other systems (e.g., Google Home, Nest).
Like the Nest, the Zmodo has a somewhat limited temperature range (14 degrees F to 122 degrees F). If you have particularly cold winters, the Zmodo might need to go into hibernation from fall until spring. All that said, we do like the look, size, and functionality of the Zmodo — it’s just a little rough around the edges technology-wise.
Guide to Video Doorbells
How to find the best video doorbell for you
Decide the type of security you want
Video doorbells are a great way to keep tabs on package deliveries and unexpected guests, but the technology is still improving. If you want a more comprehensive way to monitor your home, it may be worthwhile to install a home security system with 24/7 support. Check out our review on the best home security systems if this sounds like you — but keep in mind, the packages that include video are usually more expensive.
Think about your location
Most of our picks have wide temperature ranges, but if you live in an extremely cold climate, then the Zmodo or Nest might not be right for you, considering their coldest temperatures cap at 14 degrees F.
Consider your existing systems
If you don’t have the resources or time to hardwire a video doorbell into your home (or if you live in an apartment), it might be more convenient for you to look into battery-powered options, like the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Additionally, if you’re an avid Google Home or Amazon Echo user, choose a smart doorbell that connects to these systems in order to streamline your device usage.
Video Doorbell FAQ
The Best Video Doorbells: Summed Up
Our Other Tech Reviews
If you’re looking to move beyond a smart doorbell and outfit your home with more smart devices, you may enjoy our reviews on similar, high-tech products. From the best security cameras to the digital assistants that tie your smart devices together, there are plenty of ways to make your home more tech-friendly.