Video doorbells: An easy guide

What does the market have to offer and what is actually good in the Video Doorbell department? 

Having a video doorbell can really change your experience when you’re expecting a package or when you’re away from home.

We recommend these devices to people with big houses or just people who want to take home automation and safety to a higher level because nobody wants a doorbell licker at the front door! It is also useful if you have annoying religious people knocking at your door.

But what does the market have to offer? Let’s take a quick yet thorough look to what the market has to offer in the Video Doorbell department.

We don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options. So out of a list of 15 we narrowed down to 2 smart doorbells. The best of the best you can buy. We didn’t include any doorbell that was too slow to send notifications or that didn’t have good recording quality (Choppy footage or bad motion detection).

This selection is for the power user, someone who doesn’t like to fiddle with products that promise too much but deliver little.

We want to be honest and give you proper advice. None of these doorbells works perfectly how they show in their ads. There are many devices in the middle and one of them can fail or make something complicated. Beware that this is going to require your dedication and patience to properly install it. All these products offer you a subscription that you can pay to get extra features.

If you do not want to pay for an extra subscription, perhaps these products are not for you because the basic plan without subscription can ruin your experience.

Here is a small description of how the setup goes and the implications of it:

Easy distribution of a Video Doorbell
Easy distribution of a Video Doorbell

Implications of having a Wi-Fi doorbell

  1. The router should be close to the door bell, or having a good three-antenna router will do the job nicely!
  2. There are fees to use the online service or annoying ads using the app if you don’t pay the subscription.
  3. There is a considerable delay between pressing the button and getting the notification. Anything between 3 and 30 seconds.
  4. It is possible to have unwanted notifications due to the motion sensor sensitivity. In here, you may want to dimmer down the motion sensors to enhance user experience.
  5. If you do not buy a model with an actual chime, the notifications of someone at your door will only show up to your phone (and other connected devices). Meaning that if your wife is not home and you’re in the toilet doing your stuff, but your visiting cousin in at the living room, he won’t know there is someone at the door.
  6. There are safety issues involved. Let’s say you are no ordinary 7-9 worker like everyone else. Let’s say you work for the CIA or somewhere where you must be careful with your safety. Well, bad news, these doorbells are not safe. A good hacker can break in the security of the camera and observe when you come in and out. Of course, if you’re just an online blogger like us and you like tech that is no problem. Nobody wants to see me carrying my groceries in my boring lonely apartment.

We do not want to make this post about why you should not get one of these Doorbells. We actually like them it is just not how they show them in the advertisement, and we think is fair to inform you which one is the best and how these devices hold up to real-life situations.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The first doorbell in our list is going to be the Ring Video Doorbell 2. It is responsive and the motion sensor is very good.

For the Ring Video Doorbell 2 changing batteries should not be a problem. This model is hard-wired to your wall meaning that it would require some installation, but you do not have to worry about it later. It also has the battery functionality in case you want that to use it or want to relocate it from the original doorbell socket.

I just personally find it better to have it hard-wired because it takes some stress out of my mind, and that is the whole point of home automation.

Installation is relatively simple, you just need some screws on the wall and to connect two cables to the device. I feel more comfortable with hard wired doorbells because I find it cumbersome to have to wait to charge them. After all, you already have a doorbell and you’re just using the cables that were previously in use.

This doorbell comes with a monthly subscription that lets you record video and take pictures. It can get annoying if you do not pay it. If you want to go for this option, you can pay either 30$/year for the basic plan or 100$/year for the advanced plan.

Is it worth it? …¯\_(ツ)_/¯ depends on your needs. This doorbell is advanced, and the service seems to be Ok. If you have a Google Nest or the amazon Echo (both with screens) the Ring doorbell can connect to them and show you who is at your door. This connection always has a delay, but it is alright. (if the Wi-Fi signal is strong, if not it is a nightmare)

Video quality as you would expect is the highest you can need. 1080p the view angle is great. If it is located too low, you may have issues recognizing the person’s face. Be sure to install it to at least 1.50m (5ft) lower than this is not possible to see more than people’s shirts and pants.

Price of this baby is 130-150$ and it does not come with a chime (it is not required but recommended). It comes with the cable to connect it directly and it also comes with a battery. Important to mention about the subscription: even though they say “it works completely ok without it” we tend to differ. The banner offering you to pay takes some time to go off screen and all over the interface you’re aggressively reminded to pay. Our experience with the free version of the app was not positive.

Google Nest Hello video doorbell

Our second contestant today is the Google Nest Hello. If you want a smart doorbell, this is the smartest because it has Google DNA in it. The differences between this one and the other are huge. Not only this one has more technology and support, but it also has an enhanced video format to optimize a portrait video capture. The resolution of the camera is 1600X1200 pixels and the proportion is 4:3 in HDR. It looks very good in the screen of your phone and it is highly adapted for the screens in your Google Nest or Amazon Echo Display.

The Google Nest Hello has face recognition and is able to tell you through any of your devices the name of the person who’s at your door. Of course you have to configure that yourself but it is a cool feature to have.

This video doorbell does not come with a battery pack, that means that you have to get your hands dirty. The installation is very easy, and the manual is very good in explaining all the steps.

This doorbell also has a subscription that can be 5$ per month or 50$ per year depending the amount of days that you want to record. If you want to go for this option, you can use it without the subscription without it being too intrusive or uncomfortable. You can record up to three hours in a row. If you don’t mind being watched this is the one for you.

This bad boy is now 275$. This price may fluctuate a little, but it should not be too much. We know is pricey, but it is worth it. Security problems are not a big an issue as in other smaller brands as the information transmitted by this doorbell uses the encryption of google that certainly is harder to hack (not yet impossible).


If you want to have a doorbell that checks all the boxes and you have no issues with budgeting, we recommend the Google Nest Hello. It is safer, better supported, faster showing notifications and overall a no-brainer in terms of this market. Here is the link to all the specifications in the google website. 

Keep in the back of your head that the installation of video doorbells can be slightly inconvenient and that it is always preferable to pay the subscription, without it, you have limited functionality and overall a lower quality user experience. Google Nest Hello doorbell is at the top of this very competitive game and we really recommend it.

In case your are interested in learning what are the best Smart Security cameras out there, feel free to check this post!

Nelson Barbosa

I'm an engineer in love with smart home tech. On my website, I share useful tips and tricks to help my readers get the most of their devices and make their lives simpler by adding just a drop of technology in everyday routines!

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