Doorbell Cameras Guide

Scott Repasky
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What is a Video Doorbell?

A video doorbell streams video and two-way audio directly to your smartphone. It also gives you instant alerts when someone comes to your door. It’s a cool accessory for the home, but you’ve got a lot of them to choose from on the market today. All video doorbells are not created equal, so you can feel like an overwhelmed consumer when you’re attempting to getting the best for your needs.

Video doorbells are popular home security devices. Connecting is as simple as plugging them into an electric socket and it’s super easy to install. Both DIYer and professionals can complete the job within a couple hours. These devices work great at deterring burglars, intruders and package delivery thieves.

What are the Different Types of Video Doorbells?

Video doorbells have been around for a few years, and they’re now a standard staple of any package delivered to a home. In a home, however, you have a wide variety of possible video doorbells for your door. This variety can cause some frustration because the devices are not exactly created equal.

Different doorbell cameras have different features and styles. For instance, some use wired connections and others use WiFi. Some require professional installation while others need just a little handyman skill.

How Do Video Doorbells Work?

Video doorbells are popular options for modern-day homes. Just like a video baby monitor, a video doorbell not only lets you see and talk to the person at the door, but also stream live video from your front door. The video doorbell interface can be touch screen or the video can be viewed on your mobile device. This technology is similar to the security camera and baby monitor options on the market.

There are many reasons why you might want to install a video doorbell in your home.

Get a Safety Monitor
Video doorbells allow you to check in on your property when you’re there and not there. It’s especially useful when you have a home office or run errands during the day. With a video doorbell, you can keep an eye out, whether you’re a few steps away or can’t be there in person.

Know Who Is At Your Door
Video doorbells also allow you to see that the person at your door is who he says he is. A doorbell camera helps you feel more secure by keeping an eye on who is at your door and who it is that is visiting your home. This is a great tool for families with children and for managing the comings and goings of house guests.

Benefits of Video Doorbells

Concerned about who is at the front door while you’re not home? Then you should definitely consider installing a doorbell camera to make it easier to answer such questions. Video doorbells are a fantastic way for you to greet your guest at the front door without having to be there in person.

With this in mind, the outdoor video doorbells are one of the best options on the market today. Some of the most popular options include Ring WiFi Enabled Video Doorbell and SkyBell HD Video Doorbell. Each of these options offers unique benefits that may help you decide on the best choice, if these are the best options for your home, or if another option suits you better.

With the demand for and introduction of Wi-Fi enabled video doorbells, you no longer need to have a landline to see, speak with, and talk to your visitors. This simple addition is yet another perk of these devices that make them a great option for your home.

Doorbell Camera Buying Guide

The first step in buying a doorbell camera is to decide on the purpose of the camera. Is it just for security, or will you also want to use it to see who is at the door when you are not home?

The next step is to identify what you want from your doorbell camera. Do you want a wide-angle lens and will you want to see the front porch, or the driveway? Are you looking for crisp color video, or a sharp black & white picture?

The next step is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each doorbell camera. The majority of the current crop of doorbell cameras come with night vision, weatherproofing, motion detection recording, remote monitoring, talk and listen functionality, and smart phones and/or tablets for viewing and recording.

The next step in buying a doorbell camera is to identify the features that you wish to have, and that you must have. When the time comes for you to make your purchase, you will then be able to make your decision based on your knowledge and your needs.

The next step in buying a doorbell camera is to understand what is available. Think of what you want in your doorbell camera, and then start your research. Check out online reviews to determine if you have identified your needs. Check prices on online merchants, and comparison-shop.

Power

Camera: A security camera can be installed to monitor whether people are coming to your door or not. It can also be used as a safety measure if you live alone.

Home controller: Use the home controller app for mobile or tablet devices for 24/7 remote monitoring. Purchase wireless equipment to access the camera from anywhere in the world.

Night vision: Use the infra-red sensor to shoot decent quality images even in the dark with this doorbell camera. You’ll be able to watch incoming footfall in the dark and determine who is at the door.

Weather resistant: This camera guarantees you rain or shine use. It’s been shielded to shield out water, so reliable rain or shine coverage.

24 hour and dual stream video recording: This means you have double the recording periods as normal cameras. In the event of an attack, you’ll have double the recording time of other cameras.

Built in microphone and speaker: Connect to the doorbell via the speaker on the camera.

2 way audio: Both the camera and the phone can stream audio. This way you can communicate back and forth with the person at your door.

Homeowners vs. Renters

There are times where you would need a doorbell cam as a homeowner. For instance, I recently locked myself out of my home and the key was stuck inside. I was able to yell at my roommate to go to the store to buy a can of WD-40. I used the can to unlock the door while my roommate was on the way.

I have also used a doorbell cam on more of a security issue before. I had just had a break-in at my home a few months back. I tested the doorbell camera and I liked it so much I decided to write this article. Now, I use a doorbell cam every day and love it!

If your home is burglarized, you can see who did it.

If you ever get robbed, you can see who did it.

If you have a package stolen, you can see who did it.

If you have a friend or family member that comes over that you don’t know you can see who they are.

If you leave your home and want to know if someone is inside so you don’t freak out when you get home.

If you own a vacation home and you want to know if you came back to find something missing.

Video

Traditional doorbells are antiquated! Video doorbells offer tons of features that make your home more secure and you more connected to your home and neighborhood.

So what are some of the options available, and how do you choose the best one for your needs?

Option1: Video Doorbell

Video Doorbells allow you to see who is at your door and communicate via intercom from your mobile device. Each doorbell has its own unique features and associated benefits but the basic premise is the same: a doorbell body with wifi, a camera, and intercom capabilities.

You can greet your guest at the door without having to interrupt your day, send them an invite to your event, or even allow entry to your home directly from your mobile device. They are an affordable, easy solution that offer convenience and security. Many doorbells will save your recording in the cloud in case the battery runs out. Some even have replaceable batteries so you can increase the amount of time your doorbell can record.

Option 2: Video Door Viewer

Another option is to use a video door viewer. Video door viewers make it easy to see who is at your door without having to answer the door. Some models allow you to communicate via intercom, while others send you alerts when someone rings your doorbell, giving you the option of answering with your phone.

Audio

The Go!CamPRO security camera is designed to function as an additional doorbell and get your attention even when you are away at home. The camera lets you chat with the people outside your door.

It connects easily to your smart device and with live streaming video runs on app that is compatible with most smart devices, so you should buy it if you want to keep an eye on people coming to your door and enjoy video chatting with them. The app lets you enjoy 24-hour recording from anywhere with automatic uploading and notifications.

With this device you can pan, tilt and zoom in to get to see what’s going on outside of your door and get any needed information. The resolution is 720p (1280 x 720) and the digital zoom is 30X. It offers wide angle coverage of 170 degrees. Video chatting is a fun feature that works well and has pretty good clarity.

Another cool thing is the app integrates with your existing doorbell wiring so installation is done in a jiffy. It is compatible with most smart devices and it needs to be charged and then installed.

The motion detection will send an alert to your phone when the camera discovers something of interest on the monitored area. Night vision is included and works well, but it is not as clear as that of some other cameras.

Night Vision

Camera resolution is measured in megapixels and the quality relates to the number of pixels per inch on the image device. With the current technology, you can have a camera that records in very high quality, 800 x 600 in a png file or a higher resolution, 1280 x 720 in a mpeg file.

Higher resolution means that the image is better defined and the edges between objects are more sharp.

If you are looking for a higher resolution recording,a recording with better detail of what's being recorded, look for a png file instead of an mpeg file.

Although you may not be able to see the details on the smaller computer monitor, you can still make out much of the information in a png file image. There's also less dependent on your screen size in order to see the detail.

The night vision cameras use infrared lighting to illuminate a dark area. When it’s dark outside, you'll see the camera illuminate with a red light.

However, these cameras are not meant for day time use since the images that are viewed during the day are blurry and grainy.

The movement detection feature was just a way for the manufacturers to attract many buyers.

While it may seem like a wonderful idea, these cameras do you little good. The video doesn't come close to recording the movement or number of people visiting your home.

Storage

The main reason for having a doorbell camera is so that you can see and talk with your visitors as they arrive. Video can be a powerful tool for proof and evidence, but is useless if it’s not captured and stored correctly.

Your camera should store footage on the unit itself, but also on removable and/or internal flash memory. This ensures that your camera won’t be in danger of losing recordings if its battery dies or runs out of storage. It also allows you the option of removing the memory card for viewing, editing, and/or sharing videos.

Your storage configuration will impact battery life and recording resolution. For example, storing your videos directly on a removable memory card will require the device to work harder to write to a flash disk. This will drain battery life and make your video recordings drop resolution. The older SD cards are also not as fast as the newer micro SD, which will greatly impact your recording quality.

There are a variety of storage options for your recordings including internal memory, SD and micro SD cards, and even cloud based storage. Depending on your storage option, the resolution of your videos will vary.

Smart Platform Integrations

Because of the cloud storage being used in most modern doorbell cameras, they can easily be integrated with other smart platforms and connected devices, making it easy to use them with the devices you already own. Some of these integrations include – voice control (e.g., Alexa, Google Home), smartphone apps (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, OfferUp), and smart devices (e.g., Apple HomeKit, Nest, Wink).

Things to Consider before Buying a Doorbell Camera

Before you decide to buy a new digital video doorbell, make sure to first calculate your needs. The following are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:

What do you want your digital doorbell camera to do, which features are important to you? If you feel like you need more security, look for other features that would enhance security for example: Alexa integration (Amazon Echo, Blink Home) is a very useful integration for boosting the peace of mind that comes with a smart doorbell.

How much do you want to spend on this new doorbell camera? Is replacing your existing doorbell necessary? Or are you just trying to replace it with functioning camera for extra security? The options for security cameras are endless, and you don’t necessarily need to buy a new doorbell to get a good security camera.

Artificial Intelligence

One of the biggest trends in IoT devices is integrating intelligence to make the devices more capable and productive. IoT devices have become more than just sensors. They are being quickly equipped with capabilities, which were previously far beyond their performance threshold.

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence is a major factor in this fundamental shift. Artificial intelligence is enabling devices to continually learn and adapt over time. The integration of artificial intelligence creates a virtuous cycle. The more devices learn and function, the more they figure out what to do, and the more they are capable of doing.

Most smart doorbells have a microphone that is continually tuned for speech detection. This enables them to not only detect when a doorbell is pushed, but it also enables the product to record and upload video, when it hears a voice.

Speech detection is also allowing the smart doorbell to become a first step to intelligent home automation by smart doorbells. By integrating with home automation hubs, users can have the door automatically disarm their security system when the doorbell is rung.

Companies using artificial intelligence also have a strong technology foundation that enables them to make fundamental changes in the way the products are experienced. Artificial intelligence is going to be a powerful tool for the smart doorbell industry.

Connectivity

Connectivity for these devices is a lot easier compared to baby monitors since this is not an online version of a camera and requires no wifi connection. All the connectivity options depend on the location and how accessible the camera is. Most are designed to be used as a stand-alone camera that doesn’t require a smartphone or computer to operate.

Record

Make sure that the device is capable of recording continuously while the doorbell button is pressed. This feature is the most important to pay attention to when searching for a doorbell camera. Having a poor quality camera that may start recording only when the button is pressed could cause you to miss the very moment the doorbell is pushed. You wouldn’t know if you would like to record the full 30 seconds or until the very end.

Extra Features

If you are going to be using the camera as a security system, make sure to purchase one with the ability to record using motion detection. If you want the camera only to record when the doorbell button is pressed, then it is not necessary to have this feature. Some cameras require users to establish their preferences in the setup stage.

Durability

When considering a security camera for your home or office, you may want to make durability a main consideration. Some of these systems can easily be removed, either intentionally or unintentionally. To prevent this, look for a wired security system, which is mounted directly to your home or electrical outlet. This makes the system harder to steal or relocate without first making sure it's properly deactivated.

If a wire security camera system isn't available, select a kit that not only includes a camera and DVR but also an exterior casing or housing to prevent tampering. You may also want to take into consideration a security camera that records directly onto an SD memory chip. This means that no matter how the camera is moved, the contents with stay safely contained on the chip instead of being recovered by outside sources.

Because of their slim design and small size, many security cameras are portable. While this does allow you to move the system if needed, it also means that the camera is more susceptible to theft. Avoid this by reinforcing the housing using a locking mechanism such as hasp or a padlock to help prevent theft.

Installation

Installing the ring doorbell is pretty straight forward and you'll have everything you need in the box. The only tool you'll need is a screwdriver (Phillips). You can use any screwdriver but make sure you have one that works since you'll definitely need it.

The set up will guide you through the actual installation, which is a one-time task. The video will walk you through each step of the process and takes about 10 minutes. Once that's done, you're free to disconnect your phone from the doorbell and get it ready to use.

Next, you'll want to download the Ring app for your iOS or Android device. Then plug your doorbell in and when it's ready you'll be prompted to connect using the 'plus' button. After you press the plus button, you'll have the option to choose your Ring Doorbell as your device. Just enter your device's serial number. then you will be prompted to enter your Wi-Fi password (the Ring should have this). It's important to note that Ring Doorbell works via your home Wi-Fi. If you need to change your Wi-Fi password, you'll need to do that before you begin and you'll need to keep the doorbell and your phone connected to the same Wi-Fi network. After all this is done, the camera will begin to connect to the network.

App

Doorbell cameras are becoming more popular and they provide great security and extra home automation capability. They are a perfect fit for a smart home or a smart-first home.

A doorbell camera is a digital camera that is installed at the location of a doorbell button with the goal of recording activities in front of the door. It’s a camera that monitors the front door – the entrance to your home. The camera is mounted in the door frame area or on the actual door itself. When someone presses the doorbell button outside your home, the camera shoots video and save the images on a storage device – usually an SD card. The recording is only activated when the doorbell button is pressed, or when an email or phone call is triggered.

You can connect the camera to your home network so that the images are uploaded to a cloud server. This allows you to access the images from any computer or mobile device with Internet access. The camera can also be connected to your smart home eco-system, so that you can receive notifications on your phone. You can also create triggers based on the events detected. For example, an Amazon Echo trigger would send you a message with a live audio feed of the current scene when the doorbell button is pressed …

Apartment residents can also benefit from installing a doorbell camera.

Warranty

Most people don’t realize that most wireless doorbell cameras come with a warranty. The length of the warranty is anywhere from one to three years, but the fact that you even get one is what’s most impressive.

Most people can’t fathom needing to return the camera in the first year of the device’s life. The fact is mishaps happen, and it’s something to keep in mind and know that your warranty is there in case you need it.

Video Doorbell Costs

Video doorbells are the future of home security technology. Nowadays, an increasing number of homeowners are taking advantage of smart-home security solutions like video doorbells that can be installed easily and work your smartphone. Unlike traditional doorbells, video doorbells offer a far more effective form of security since they let you see who is at your door before you open it.

As the demand for this type of security continues to grow, so does the number of choices on the market. These days, there are a number of different options available in the market for video doorbells. You can find units that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, others that are hard-wired, and even those that are designed to be battery powered.

Whether you are looking for a video doorbell that is easy to install, simple to use, or even one that offers homeowners additional features and options, there is a smart-home security system that can likely fit your needs.

Package Theft: Can Video Doorbells Help?

Crime isn’t an oddity in today’s world. Every precaution is taken to ensure that this is not a concern. Doorbell cameras were created with this in mind. A modern doorbell is an access device that can be used to answer the door remotely through an application or your security provider. A video doorbell is a video intercom that transmits video and audio wirelessly directly to your device. Video doorbells are also video surveillance cameras that are app-based and connect directly to your WiFi network.

A video doorbell is a device that you can connect to your doorbell wires and the Internet. When your doorbell detects motion or sound, the resulting sound or video will be sent directly to your smartphone. While this is a great feature for anyone, it can be a useful tool for those bothered by theft in their neighborhood.

Many homeowners and businesses are left wondering what they can do about the problem of package theft. A video doorbell can help deter any possible thefts in your community.

If you have video doorbells installed in your area, the package thief is likely to think twice about stealing from your doorstep. Having security cameras and video doorbells installed are peace of mind for many people.

Where Is Package Theft Most Likely To Occur?

According to statistics, the most likely place for package theft is your front doorstep, followed by the mailbox at your home. When using a doorbell camera, you can find out who committed the crime and have them arrested. You can hear the doorbell ring on your phone and watch what happens when someone rings your doorbell.

Some criminals will climb up the side of the house and reach up to ring the doorbell. Using a doorbell camera will give you a clear view of the criminal and will warn you of any further burglaries.

Package Theft Statistics

According to the most recent study, 3.4 million Americans have experienced package theft. The total number of thefts has been on a slow rise ever since at least 2010.

In 2014, more than 70% of package thieves confessed to having committed the crime more than once. Some people even stolen shipments at least forty times.

Orlando, Miami, and San Diego metro areas are considered the most risky.

The most seasonal package theft happens in the last two weeks of December.

Two days before Christmas is the most risky day of the year.

According to the research, men are twice as likely to be the victims of package theft.

The older a person is, the more likely he/she will be the victim of package theft.

The majority of package theft cases (60%) were reported in the last year. 62% of those cases, occurred during the last year too.

One interesting fact based on the research is package thieves steal more packages from wealthier neighborhoods.

The most popular items delivered are televisions, toys, mobile devices, and furs and leather products.

Installing home security cameras is an excellent way to secure your home. In addition, home surveillance cameras, have increased in popularity. They are an effective way to prevent crime by monitoring your home. That is why we suggest you check our home security cameras guide.

How To Prevent Package Theft

Many people are looking into "video doorbells" or "doorbell cams" as a way to see who is at the front door before they have to answer it. Instead of having to open your door whenever a possible intruder rings the bell, you can see who is outside and decide for yourself if you want to open the door to greet them for a package delivery or takeout meal.

Video doorbells are also a way to deter package theft. While no security system is 100% effective, video doorbells can help prevent theft by recording who comes to your door. No one wants to get caught, which means they may be less likely to steal your packages if there is a chance they will be caught on camera.

What To Do After A Package Is Stolen

There is nothing worse than coming home after a long day of work, or running some other errand, and finding that your house has been broken into during the day (or night) while you were gone. As soon as you notice that your packages are missing, stop what you are doing and find out where your packages were shipped from.

It’s crucial that you contact the company right away to find out if they are able to give you a tracking number for the lost items. After you have the tracking number for the missing packages, you’ll need to contact the police and file a police report.

You can always file a police report online, but if you prefer, you can physically go to the police station to file a police report. If you do decide to file a police report, make sure that you are able to provide your tracking number and a description of the stolen packages. After filing a police report, it’s crucial that you call the police department to follow up on your case.

Getting Your Stolen Package Back

If you are able to have the police track your package, you might be able to get all of your stolen packages back. This is possible if the thieves are crazy enough to deliver the package and accept the package when they are aware it will be traced.

Recap

Doorbell cameras may be a relatively new concept for some people, but they have been around for quite some time. It is a type of camera that's hooked up to your doorbell; it is not the actual doorbell itself. So not matter if you're at home or away, with the help of a doorbell camera, you'll be able to see who is on the other side of the door.

With the right camera and the right online system, it is very easy to set up a home monitoring system like this for yourself. Now you won't have to worry about going home and wondering what is going on in your home while you are away, or going out of the house and wondering if there is anything going on while you are away.

When it comes to this type of system there really is something for everyone, especially when you use the internet to help you find the right system. When you go online today you will be able to have so many different types of systems to choose from it can be a little overwhelming.

Thankfully, for you this is a hard list to compile. I spent months going through hundreds of different systems and cameras to help me compile the list below. I started by picking out 20 of the most popular systems and then narrowed it down from there. After all of that I made sure that I had at least four different cameras available for you to use with the different systems.

FAQs

What is a doorbell camera? A doorbell camera is a combination of a camera and a doorbell, which allows you to remotely monitor your home through a digital doorbell. They are extremely popular these days and have become an additional security feature that not only enhance the security of your home, but give you peace of mind by being able to monitor your home from any smartphone or computer connected to the internet.

How does it work? The doorbell camera is connected to your home's existing doorbell circuit. When you push the doorbell button on your smart device, the digital doorbell will trigger the doorbell camera to send an alert to you through the smart device that you are using for monitoring. As you open the app on your smartphone and see the alert, you can view the live picture being sent from the camera to your smartphone.

Can I connect the doorbell camera to my existing digital doorbell? Not necessarily. Some of the doorbell cameras can be connected to an existing digital doorbell, but some digital doorbells will require a different wiring mechanism. If you have an existing device installed, it is best to consult the camera's instruction manual to see if it is compatible with the device you have.