Best Video Doorbells of 2021
Consumer Reports' tests identify the best models to ward off so-called porch pirates and ding-dong ditchers
It’s easy to see why you might be tempted to get a video doorbell. These compact streaming cameras let you videochat with visitors and keep an eye on package deliveries from the screen on your smartphone. Porch pirates, beware.
These devices are proving to be quite popular, too. It’s estimated that the number of video doorbells sold in the U.S. in 2022 will top 5 million, according to market research companies Parks Associates and Statista.
To help you find the right doorbell for your home, we’ve rounded up the best video doorbells from our tests and listed them below in alphabetical order. (CR members can access full ratings for each model.) You’ll find doorbells here from Google Nest, Logitech, Lorex, Ring, and SimpliSafe. They all feature night vision, high-definition video, and two-way audio.
5 Best Video Doorbells
Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Free video storage: None, but 3 hours of snapshots
Optional subscription: $6 per month (or $60 per year) for 30 days, $12 per month (or $120 per year) for 60 days
CR’s take: The Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell is one of the best you can buy. It receives an Excellent rating for response time and offers terrific video quality and data security. But it falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to data privacy and its smart features. The Hello’s features include high dynamic range (HDR) video for vivid picture quality, geofencing, person alerts, unusual sound detection, voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, recorded messages for when you can’t answer the door, and a rolling 3 hours of motion-triggered snapshots (not video clips).
If you sign up for a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get either 30 or 60 days of cloud storage for motion-triggered video clips (depending on the plan), 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recordings (only with the $12-per-month plan), facial recognition, package detection, monitoring zones, and e911 to call your home’s 911 dispatcher regardless of your physical location. The Nest Hello is offered only in a hardwired version and can’t run on battery power. If you have an existing doorbell that’s hardwired, it will work just fine.
Logitech Circle View Doorbell
Free video storage: None
Optional storage plans: Requires an Apple iCloud storage plan of $3 per month for 10 days of storage for one camera or $10 per month for 10 days of storage for up to five cameras
CR’s take: The Logitech Circle View Doorbell is unusual in that it works only with a special feature of Apple’s HomeKit smart home system called HomeKit Secure Video. Through this software, it uses end-to-end encryption to keep your video secure. As a result of this tight-knit integration, the Logitech doorbell works only with iPhones (sorry, Android users), stores your videos only in Apple iCloud (if you pay for a storage plan), and requires an Apple home hub (either an iPad, a HomePod smart speaker, or an Apple TV streaming box) to process motion alerts for people, animals, and vehicles. In fact, there’s no Logitech app for the doorbell; instead it uses the Apple Home app.
But if you’re a big fan of Apple products, this doorbell will work quite well for you. In our tests, it receives a Very Good rating for video quality and offers great data security and speedy response time for alerts and loading live feeds. Its only flaws are that its data privacy isn’t very good and it doesn’t offer as many smart features as other top-rated options. Its other features include monitoring zones, facial recognition, a night light for color night vision, and high dynamic range (HDR) video for more vivid video.
For 10 days of cloud video storage for one camera, you’ll need to subscribe to a 200-gigabyte iCloud storage plan at $3 per month. For up to five cameras, you’ll need a 2-terabyte iCloud plan at $10 per month. The Logitech Circle View Doorbell requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power and can ring your home’s existing doorbell chime.
Lorex LNWDB1 1080P WiFi Video Doorbell
Free video storage: Yes, using the included 16-gigabyte microSD card
Optional subscription: Not available
CR’s take: The Lorex LNWDB1 1080P WiFi Video Doorbell is one of the more affordable options on this list, and it offers performance on a par with some doorbells that cost significantly more. In our tests, this Lorex doorbell earns a Very Good rating for data security and a middle-of-the-road score for data privacy. It also offers superb video quality and response time, as well as a decent array of smart features, which include monitoring zones, geofencing (this features uses your phone’s location to receive alerts only when you’re home), and voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
This Lorex model stores footage locally on a 16-gigabyte microSD card that comes with the doorbell. If you want to store even more footage, the doorbell supports up to a 64GB microSD card. It also requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power and can ring your home’s existing doorbell chime.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Free video storage: None
Optional subscription: $3 per month (or $30 per year) for one camera for 60 days, $10 per month (or $100 per year) for unlimited cameras for 60 days
CR’s take: For a battery-powered video doorbell with terrific video quality, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It receives an Excellent rating for video quality and offers great data security. It also falls in the middle of the pack for data privacy, but it could offer more smart features and faster response times for alerts and loading live feeds.
Its feature set includes a removable rechargeable battery, voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, monitoring zones, alert schedules, privacy zones that let you black out areas you don’t want to film (such as a neighbor’s house), and preroll video that gives you a 4-second clip of what happened before the doorbell detected motion. With an optional subscription to a Ring Protect Plan, you’ll get a rolling 60 days of motion-triggered video clips and photo snapshots between recordings.
If you’d like to pay $30 less for a doorbell, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3. It receives the same ratings in our tests and lacks only the 4-second preroll clips.
If you have concerns about Ring’s police partnerships, see our FAQ article on law enforcement footage requests.
SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro SS3
Free video storage: None
Optional subscription: $5 per month for one camera for 30 days, $10 per month for unlimited cameras for 30 days
CR’s take: If you’re concerned about privacy, then the SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro SS3 is the doorbell to buy, because it’s the only model in our ratings with a Very Good rating for data privacy (the highest of any doorbell in our tests). It also rates well for video quality and data security. The downsides? It lacks many smart features and is slow to send alerts and then load live video feeds. Its few features include monitoring zones, person detection, and HDR (high dynamic range) video, but there’s no support for voice control via digital assistants.
If you’d like cloud storage for video clips, you can get 30 days for $5 per month for one camera or $10 per month for unlimited cameras. The SimpliSafe video doorbell requires doorbell wiring for power and can ring your home’s existing doorbell chime.
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