The smart video doorbell has evolved into another form of security, convenience, and peace of mind. If you are 100 miles away, you can see who rings your doorbell and even communicate to them in real time. Depending on which doorbell you get and if there is a subscription fee, you can even download previously recorded videos. No surprise why millions of people have purchased a video doorbell or why Amazon purchased the big-name brand “Ring” for over 1 billion dollars!
After researching over 10 different video doorbells, I can finally say confidently that I recommend 3 video doorbell brands:
- Ring (Ring, Ring 2, Ring Pro, Ring Elite)
- SkyBell HD
- Nest Hello
Out of all 3 brands, we actually recommend the SkyBell HD. The reason is because the SkyBell offers no additional fees for video storage up to 7 days and has the best video and image quality. Unlike Ring and Nest who charge a monthly subscription of $3 or $5/monthly and offer lower quality video and images.
Any of these 3 brands however, will make the average person happy, but there are some differences to pay attention to.
Some doorbells require it be wired from your existing doorbell, while others can operate with batteries. Other doorbells only record one-way audio (the person ringing the bell) and not the person speaking to them (you). Some doorbells will happily let you look at videos 7 days in the past for FREE, while others unfortunately will charge you every year for the rest of your life if you want to go back into your video history.
These are some pretty important things to pay attention to, so keep reading so you can make the best decision before purchasing. Bonus suggestions – I will also mention some budget friendly options at the bottom of the post for those who are in a pinch!
why skybell is the better option
The SkyBell is the underdog compared to the other 2 smart doorbells but it can actually save you the most money out of all 3 options. The intriguing advantages it brings to the table are:
- The best video and image quality by far
- Free Storage! Up to 7 days (No Fee option is amazing)
- Silence Doorbell Chime option (Silence it for X hours & let your baby sleep)
Did I say Free Video Storage?! YES! The other big dog brands will charge you monthly, forever, to store the videos on their cloud servers. I’m a big frugal shopper when I can be and just imaging paying $50/year for Nest for the next 50 years is $2,500. That’s going to be a deal breaker for me.
The SkyBell however, isn’t perfect, there are disadvantages to be aware of like:
- Motion Detector seems elementary compared to others
- Records the slowest compared to Ring and Nest (a few seconds slower before or after a motion is detected)
- The installation and app navigation aren’t as fluid
ring is still king
Out of all the Ring options, the Ring 2 is the one we recommend. All ring products have very similar features and use the same App, but where it shines is it is better priced than other Ring models, has the option to be wireless using battery power, and the motion sensor customization is far superior.
To summarize the advantages:
- Wired or Wireless option (Can be Battery operated)
- Other Available Ring Devices (Security Camera, Alarm Systems) that seamlessly connect together
- App is the most user friendly
- 100% Replacement Warranty if stolen
- Better Priced than most high-end video doorbells
- The biggest temperture range to operate in at -5 to 120 F
The Ring 2 is certainly not perfect, and there can be a few things that deter people. Here are the major disadvantages to keep in mind:
- No Free Storage
- Image and Video Quality Aren’t Great
- Only records on when someone rings, live view, or during motion detection (Not 24/7)
- Larger than other doorbells so it may stick out of your door jams
why nest hello could sway you it’s the best
Nest Hello is easily forgotten when Ring is the most popular video doorbell, but with it’s unique features, it’s easily one of the best. This sleek Nest product brings a few features the other competitors don’t have. The main advantages are:
- Higher security because it records to the cloud 24/7
- Facial recognition (stores every face which you can label & Google Assistant can even tell you who is ringing!)
- Night vision is manual (which is good you can change it)
- Quiet time – Great for parents with sleeping children, allowing you to ‘Quiet’ your doorbell chime for up to 3 hours
- Able to set 1 of 3 preset messages to play when you are not home like “We’ll be right there”
Nest isn’t perfect though. Here are the few disadvantages that can keep buyers at bay:
- Recording 24/7 means it can end up storing a lot of data, 150 GB to 600 GB/monthly (Ouch)
- Voice recording only captures the person ringing the Nest doorbell (visitor), not the person speaking to them via the app (you)
- It’s a little more expensive starting at $5/month or $50/year (up to $30/$300 for monthly/yearly)
- Operating temperature is smaller range at 14 degrees minimum to 104 degrees
- Wired setup is required, no wireless/battery option
- No Free Storage option
- More expensive than it’s competitors
the most budget friendly option
Maybe you aren’t in the mood to shell out $150+ on a smart video doorbell. Let’s cover some options that won’t break the bank. The best alternative is to just buy the regular Ring for roughly $100. This is half the price of all the high-end video doorbells we just mentioned, but you still get a majority of the main features you need. Live communication, video recording of who rings, and motion detection.
If you want to save even more money, the cheapest doorbell we would recommend is the GJT Smart Video doorbell for well under $100. You lose out on a lot of extra features and quality, but it still serves as a general video doorbell that you can monitor with your phone.
ring elite review
The Ring Elite is the newest smart doorbell to hit the market. But why are just now mentioning it? This is actually the best video and image quality doorbell available. This is because it uses something called PoE which stands for Power over Ethernet.
It is the most expensive option out of all the current video doorbells out today ($500+) and that’s not including installation. The reason why professional installation is recommended is because it requires your Ethernet cord from your router to be wired all the way to your doorbell. This means that a huge part of the Ring Elite will need to sit inside your bricked house instead of just screwing it into place.
- Highest Video and Image Quality
- Instant video connection
- Constant power, no batteries needed
- The most expensive option available
- Professional installation highly recommended
- Ethernet wire may require cutting holes into the house, rerouting wires which can cost up to thousands of dollars
This is why we mentioned it last, because it is literally double or triple the cost of other video doorbells mentioned. If you have the bank roll to afford this option however, I do highly recommend. Get the professional installation because this project can turn into a real nightmare.
I hope this helped you make the best decision on choosing a smart video doorbell! There are a lot of options and they can cost hundreds of dollars. Make sure you know the big features out of your doorbell and what’s most important to you. Maybe its the wired option because you don’t have an existing door bell so the Ring 2 is perfect for you. Or maybe you don’t want to get stuck with a monthly subscription for the rest of your life so you chose the SkyBell. Perhaps, security and 24/7 video footage is a requirement to you and you ended up choosing the Nest Hello. These are all great video doorbells, good luck with your choice and I hoped we helped you make a decision!