Buyers Guide for the Top Doorbell Video Cameras in 2017
What are these video doorbell products that are taking the market by storm? A simple new way to see what is going on in the front of your home. Many women get nervous when the doorbell rings and they are by themselves. Thousands of packages get stolen off the doorstep every day. Maybe you just want to catch the punk neighbors kids who keep doorbell ditching your place. No matter the scenario, adding a doorbell camera to the front of your home adds security and gives you peace of mind.
Doorbell cameras are relatively new to the market making their introduction in 2014 and really just now becoming a big consumers product in 2016. By connecting through any smartphone via an app, it is very easy to take a quick glance at what is going on any time of the day. 24/7 video recording, monitoring, and notifications are all things these providers offer. With all of this said, let’s get into the reason you came here which is to see who is top rated.
These can save you a lot of money compared to buying outdoor surveillance cameras. They are also very small and most people who come to your home won’t even know it is there.
The 5 Best Doorbell Camera Reviews
When ranking who is best we took in these factors: Company history, ease of use, app functionality and design, price and customer reviews. The companies we reviewed that currently offer a viable product for consumers right now include: Vivint, Skybell, Ring, Wumal and Zmodo.
#1 – Vivint Doorbell Camera with Night Vision & 24/7 Video Recording
Vivint takes our number one spot by offering a full line of products that integrate with the doorbell camera. Not only that but it is also the highest quality and best functioning one of the 5 we tested. They were one of the first to come out with this solution and always do a good job of innovating in the Smart home niche.
Here’s a look at the good and bad of a Vivint video doorbell:
- Connect it to your home security system
- Professional free installation
- Night vision
- 24/7 video recording to a ‘playback’ device
- You can customize packages
- App is clean and simple to view what’s going on
- 2-way talk via built-in mic and speaker
- Monthly subscription
- Maybe an activation fee
Their doorbell camera will give you visitor detection and you can stream live footage of your front door. If you are at work and a package is coming, when the mailman rings the doorbell you can pull out your phone and talk to and see the mailman.
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#2 – Skybell HD Video Doorbell
Anytime someone pushes the branded Skybell button your phone gets a live video notification so you see what’s going on right away. Started because the owners felt that you should be able to see who is at your door first before answering it. Once someone rings the door, you can answer and talk with them through the doorbell. When testing it did work as advertised and connects to all major smartphones. The small white bubble you see in the image above is a motion sensor so you also get alerts anytime someone is near your front door (this is if they haven’t pushed the Skybell button or they knocked).
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of the Skybell video doorbell:
- 1080p HD video camera
- Color night vision
- Great app available for all smartphone & tablet devices
- Receive alerts even when people hasn’t pushed a button
- Talk through app directly to person at the door
- Durable product made in the USA
- Standalone device
- No way to save footage recorded
- Hardwire installation, not too easy to install by oneself
- Doorbell button is branded brightly with their name
When you get the Skybell up and working it is a great product. Most people have issues setting it up and because they don’t offer a full security system integration they don’t provide any professionals to do this for you like our #1 pick does. Once you have it up and working though you can rely on its performance, the app, and quality video feed.
#3 – Ring Video doorbell with Motion detection & HD Camera
The Ring wifi camera is the most marketed one out on the market right now. Originally started as Doorbot they re-branded to Ring after turning down an investment on Shark Tank in 2013. After the show, they were revived by a $23 million dollar investment by Richard Branson. When we originally saw this on Shark Tank we thought Vivint would be the company to call and invest but they made their own video doorbell product shortly after.
Let’s take a quick look at the good and bad of Ring:
- Initial creators and inventors of the doorbell camera
- Easy installation that can be done in minutes
- Lifetime guarantee
- Motion detection anytime someone is within range of doorbell
- Two-way microphone
- HD camera
- Easy to use app for any smart device
- Additional indoor siren available
- $199 – $80 more than #2
- Motion detector can set off easily, for example anytime neighborhood kids ride their bikes by your home
The Ring security doorbell is an all around cool product and worth the price tag of $199. With a big investor on board, they are sure to add more innovative products down the road and provide good customer support. While this doesn’t function as a full home alarm system it’s a good start for those worried about who is coming to their home all the time.
#4 – Wumal Wifi Doorbell Camera with Night Vision
If you don’t mind the bright green button with a bell icon in the middle than by all means, try out the Wumal wifi with HD camera doorbell system. It has some good extra features and positive customers reviews. Plus it is bigger than the top 3 coming in at 6″ x 5″ x 3.7″. It may take up more space than you originally thought and stand out from far with the green button.
Lets dive into the good and the bad of Wumal:
- Good price at $110 and free shipping
- 4.5 star reviews from 50 customers
- Remotely view and speak through it with your smart phone
- Video playback
- Wireless or hard wire connection options
- Bulky design
- Lack of customer support
- NO website for Wumal
- App lacks functionality and ease
If you like to test gadgets or just want a low price then this may be the one for you. Upon testing it and using the app we weren’t too impressed by it, though. They got a lot of things right but not everything to make it a good product for all consumers.
#5 – Zmodo Wifi Smart Doorbell
Don’t get too persuaded by the picture of this product, it looks better than it is. If it weren’t for the horrible customer reviews this may have come in the top 3 list. It has great design and features but lacks durability and a reputable history. In years to come if Zmodo introduces a new generation of this product it could be superior but for now they barely make the top 5 list in last place.
A look into the good and bad of the Zmodo smart doorbell:
- All the features you would expect to see and want
- On demand access
- Best priced at $95 and free shipping
- Sharing ability on app
- HD video camera
- Automatically records 30-second clips when a visitor is nearby. This is unique to them
- Modern and good looking
- App is unstable
- Customers complain about setup
- No night vision
- Cheap brackets for installation, also pieces chip or break easily
- Worst rated by users of all reviews
While it probably won’t help you catch a burglar coming in a black sweatshirt through your front door in the middle of the day like this picture depicts, it will automatically record anyone that gets near your front door during the day. Unfortunately customers have felt scammed after buying these and having them break easily during installation and other app errors.
Security Tips to Keeping the Bad Guys Away from the Front of Your Home
That sums it up for our reviews of the top 5. Now here are a few tips to increase the safety of the front of your home.
Keep it clean.
A front patio that doesn’t have a bunch of clutter is less inviting for a criminal to mingle around. Also, it is easier for neighbors to notice a package or item gone when there isn’t previously a patio full of items. We aren’t here to give you cleaning lessons but it’s been proven that a cleaner yard and entry way deters criminal activity.
Give your mailman a heads up
Let your mailman know you are installing a door camera and that you may be speaking with him/her upon delivering items. This will give you peace of mind knowing when the item was dropped off and you have video footage of it. If the package does end up getting stolen you can use that footage to charge presses against the person who stole it. This has been done already in a few cities!
If you haven’t already done this you may want to talk to your mail delivery person about using a different entrance. The only problem with this common method is that with all the various websites to buy items online, packages come from several different shipping companies. Your best bet is just to let them know there will be a 24/7 monitored camera there now and to feel free to push the button and speak to you when dropping off a package.
Get a ‘Protected by’ alarm sign
Having a deterrent such as an ADT yard sign will make burglars think twice about entering the premise. If you are going to be a cheapskate and not actually monitor or buy the security system make sure you put a sign that is an actual brand. Thousands of Americans have deterrent signs from companies that have gone out of business or re-branded which for any smart criminal is easy to locate. For example, many people still have a Brinks security sign in their front yard even though ADT bought them out over 8 years ago. Keep that and any stickers up to date if you are trying to fool the bad guys.
Now you can finally put an end to solicitors and the awkwardness of answering the door to an unexpected visitor. You don’t have to worry about high-pressure sales because you can avoid the situation altogether. Knowing who is at your door before you answer it can protect you from a home invasion and give you peace of mind. Getting one of the best doorbell cameras for your home is a great asset. If you have any experience with any of the products reviewed above please leave your feedback below.