The Best Video Doorbells 2019
Author: Rob Binns
Published: Tuesday, 24 September 2019
It’s like a scene from a scary movie. It’s late, it’s dark, and you’re tucked up under a blanket on the sofa. And then the doorbell rings. You creep to the door, ask who it is, but get no response. The knock comes again. Hand shaking, you reach for the doorknob and turn…
Not a pleasant picture, is it? Whether it’s a travelling salesman, the pizza guy, or an elderly relative popping over for tea and biscuits, you can’t always be certain who’s on the other side of the door.
That is, until video doorbells came along. Complete with a camera, these doorbells not only notify you when someone’s at the door, but show you exactly who it is - and let you talk to them, too. You can open the door remotely, and even view a live feed of what’s happening on your porch.
Better still, video doorbells can help you catch burglars and trespassers in the act, and led to over 100 arrests in the UK between 2017 and 2018.
With a video doorbell, you’re always at home - even when you’re not. But which video doorbell is right for you? Here at the Eco Experts, we’ve done the research for you, picking out our top five video doorbells for UK homes.
Read on to find out more about the most savvy, stylish, and secure video doorbells on the market. Alternatively, use the form at the top of the page to give us some brief details about what kind of home security solution you’re looking for. We’ll match you with leading hi-tech alarm system suppliers, and you’ll receive quotes tailored to your needs.
What’s on this page?
Saved by the bell: Safeguard your home with a video doorbell, and answer the door without having to leave the sofa
What are video doorbells?
A video doorbell (also known as a smart doorbell, or a doorbell camera) is kind of like your current doorbell - you push it, and it makes a chiming sound. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Smart doorbells are equipped with a camera, allowing you to record and live stream video directly from your porch to your smartphone. You can see who’s stopping by without having to move the curtain, and let them in without getting up from the sofa.
And with a video doorbell, you’ll never have to miss the arrival of a package again, even if you’re out of the house. That’s right; you can have conversations with your visitors - whether they be couriers, neighbours, or Jehovah’s Witnesses - straight from your smartphone, wherever in the world you are.
How much do doorbell cameras cost?
The most basic smart doorbells (equipped with video and audio capture) start from around £100 per unit, while higher-end devices go for between £220 and £300.
Installation fees weigh in at between £75 and £120, while most video doorbell providers charge a monthly fee to store and access footage in the cloud. This ongoing charge usually comes to no more than £8 per month, but can be as low as £25 per year.
What is the best video doorbell?
We compared the video doorbells available for UK homes and selected our top picks for features, ease of use, and range of integrations with other smart home devices. For us, the best smart doorbell on the market is the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, for its discreet style, high quality video, and excellent synergy with Amazon Alexa.
Making up the rest of the top 5 video doorbells for UK homes are the Nest Hello, August Doorbell Cam Pro, Wisenet SmartCam, and the Byron WiFi Video Doorbell. Let’s find out why.
Top 5 video doorbells
We’re unpacking the key features of the best video doorbells for UK homeowners. Compare features, browse prices, and shop from a range of smart doorbells. Jump into the list below to get started.
The best video doorbells for UK homes:
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Best video doorbell that works with Alexa
“Alexa, show me the front door camera.”
Who said this? You, after installing the Ring Video Doorbell Pro in your home. The aptly-named video doorbell pioneers Ring were acquired last year by Amazon, so it’s no surprise that this gadget is completely compatible with Alexa.
The Video Doorbell Pro is equipped with 1080p HD video and infrared night vision, so you’ll get crystal clear coverage of your visitors at all hours. You’ll also get real-time notifications when any movement is detected on your property, sent straight to your tablet, PC, or smartphone. And the best part? If the doorbell gets stolen, Ring will replace it for free.
|Offers on-demand streaming and excellent motion detection functionality||You’ll have to pay extra to access your video recordings|
|Pre-buffering feature lets you see what happened before the motion detector was triggered|
Nest Hello: Best video doorbell for facial recognition
Facial recognition. Once confined to the canvas of grainy 80s sci-fi films, this innovation is now available on the threshold of your own home.
The Nest Hello app’s “Familiar Faces” feature lets you add faces you recognise to its database. You can give them a name, and even assign an automated welcome message to play whenever they turn up at your door.
Its built-in camera is high-quality (1080p), and always recording. That means you can stream live video at any time, or catch up on your porch’s happenings with a three hour snapshot history.
Plus, just as Amazon moved quickly for Ring, Nest has been snapped up by Google. While this is probably a good sign that Nest knows what it’s doing, it also means this smart doorbell is powered by Google’s leading AI-driven motion detection. What’s not to like?
|Motion detection and infrared vision included as standard||Can be tricky to install|
|Integrates with Alexa, Nest, and IFTTT (If This Then That) for complete synergy with your existing home technology||On the expensive side|
August Doorbell Cam Pro: Best video doorbell that works with a smart lock
August Doorbell Cam Pro (the smart home specialist, not the balmy summer month) marries a crystal clear doorbell camera to a mobile app that’s quick to set up and easy to use.
It is expensive, yes, and the square, slightly bulky design isn’t going to be winning any beauty contests. But where the August Doorbell Cam Pro excels is with its integration with the other crucial components of your home security.
August’s doorbell control works from within the same app as the August smart lock. That means you can lock and unlock your door, and converse with those on the other side of it… all from the same app. Better still, it works with Amazon Echo, Alexa, and the Fire TV Stick to send a live feed of your porch straight to your TV.
|Simple installation||Its 120 degree field of vision is narrower than most other smart doorbells|
|Battery-powered, which makes it immune to power cuts...|
|...and the batteries are included!|
Wisenet SmartCam: Best video doorbell for value
It may not be the most feature-rich or high-end smart doorbell on our list, but it is one of the least expensive - and the value that the Wisenet SmartCam offers shouldn’t be understated.
Why, you ask? Well for one thing, it boasts night vision that can see up to 32 feet - twice as tall as a giraffe, or six-and-a-half times longer than actor Danny DeVito. And, while it’s not traditionally a doorbell, its two-way talk feature and advanced motion and audio detection capabilities warrant it a place among the finest smart doorbells on the market.
|Sends push notifications straight to your phone when activity is detected outside your home||Doesn’t offer integration with other smart home gadgets|
|Integrates with Alexa, Nest, and IFTTT (If This Then That) for complete synergy with your existing home technology||Not technically a smart doorbell, but offers most of the functionality of one|
|Offers video streaming in full HD 1080p|
Byron WiFi Video Doorbell: Best video doorbell for price
If there’s anything the Byron WiFi Video Doorbell has shown us, it’s that you can put a price on your home’s security. That’s because in this case, that price is just too good to ignore.
Not only is it the cheapest unit to purchase, but you won’t have to pay a cloud subscription fee to store and access old videos. Byron lets you store recordings completely gratis - either on your Google Drive, Dropbox, or an included micro SD card.
Even aside from this one (big) benefit, Byron holds its own admirably amongst the big smart doorbell players. With a full HD resolution, wide motion detection zone and an impressive 160 degrees of camera coverage, this neat, no-nonsense doorbell will do everything you need it to - and more.
|No cloud storage subscription fee to store previous recordings||It’s not the nicest-looking video doorbell we reviewed|
|Quick and easy to install|
Finding a video doorbell for your home
These days, there’s no reason why every home in the UK shouldn’t be equipped with a video doorbell. They’re convenient, affordable, easy to use, and mean you’ll always have one eye on your home.
Plus, with houses getting smarter and burglars following suit, it might be time to embrace the windows (and doors) of opportunity that video doorbells present. The future is knocking - are you going to answer?
Let us help you make your home more secure. Simply provide us with a few details about the home security solution you’re looking to implement, via this form. You’ll then receive tailored quotes from leading hi-tech alarm system installers. It’s free, easy, and only takes a moment.
Do all video doorbells require wifi?
All smart doorbells require wifi to connect to your smartphone. So, if you want to benefit from your doorbell’s smart features, such as real-time video streaming or instant notifications when someone’s at your door, then you will need wifi.
The chime itself will continue to work in the absence of wifi, so you'll still know if someone’s waiting on your doorstep. However, you’ll be missing out on all the features of a smart doorbell that make it worth having.
Do doorbell cameras record all the time?
Not all of them. Some (like the Nest Hello) do, but these devices generally cost more, and you’ll need sufficient cloud storage, cash, and time to make all that recording worthwhile.
Most doorbell cameras start recording only when movement is picked up, which makes for a more effective, economical approach. Some doorbell cameras (such as the August Doorbell Cam Pro and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro) also come equipped with pre-buffering features that capture video immediately before motion is detected. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing!
Can video doorbells be hacked?
We were asked this same question in relation to other smart home components, such as smart locks and home alarms, and we gave the same answer - yes, video doorbells can be hacked. All devices that connect to the internet in some way, or that use Bluetooth to transmit signals, are vulnerable to malicious attacks.
But, to put this in perspective, Yahoo has been hacked. So has eBay, JP Morgan, and the Marriott chain of luxury hotels (as recently as last year, impacting 500 million people).
This stuff does happen. But it takes professionals to do it, and chances are that the deterrence value of a doorbell camera will put off more opportunistic thieves than it will attract master hackers.