Smart doorbells are becoming increasingly popular. More and more manufacturers are bringing models with and without a camera onto the market. Here is a brief overview.
When you think of smart doorbells, most people probably think of Ring products, which are arguably some of the best-selling video doorbells. The Amazon-owned company has now launched several different versions of the Ring Video Doorbell.
Ring is by no means the only manufacturer of smart doorbells. More and more manufacturers, such as Arlo or eufy, are bringing their own products onto the market.
What is the purpose of smart doorbells?
If you replace your normal doorbell with a smart one, you normally want to ensure that you are notified on your smartphone when the doorbell rings at the front door. This gives you the opportunity to speak to the person on the doorstep and, for example, give a parcel delivery instructions for filing the parcel. Of course, a smart doorbell with an integrated camera is best suited here, but there are also smart doorbells without a video function.
Of course, video doorbells also have a security aspect, as they are mostly used as surveillance cameras for the entrance area and can trigger a push message not only when the doorbell rings, but also when movements are detected.
Considerations when buying a smart Doorbell
Any doorbell can announce visitors - it cannot recognize faces, transmit live videos from the entrance area or send push messages to a smartphone. But who needs that anyway? On the one hand, parents can use it from the office, for example, to see when their children are coming home and open the front door for them (in conjunction with a wireless door lock ) on their smartphone . On the other hand, seniors or physically challenged people can see from the inside who has rung the bell without having to go to the door and open it.
However, buying just any video doorbell from a hardware store is not enough. A WLAN doorbell can only work effectively if it meets your own needs and the structural requirements in the house or apartment. If it can then also be networked with other devices or a voice assistant, all the better. The following factors are decisive when buying a smart doorbell:
- Range: The range of a WLAN doorbell specified in the respective product information only relates to a direct connection. If several house walls, ceilings or even bushes weaken the radio signals between the transmitter and the bell, the range must be designed accordingly higher.
- Weather Resistance: the bell button and transmitter of a wireless doorbell are usually installed outdoors and must therefore be weather-resistant.
- Power consumption: wireless bells also require energy, ie their batteries have to be changed regularly. To avoid an unnoticed failure, it is worth buying a doorbell with an external battery indicator or an automatic message in the manufacturer's app.
- Price: Particularly inexpensive doorbells with cameras are available for less than £30. Good models with live image transmission, two-way audio and voice control, on the other hand, cost at least £100-150. High-quality WLAN doorbells with useful premium functions (e.g. extra long battery range or particularly large viewing angles) are available from £250.
Beware of storage considerations for smart doorbells
When purchasing, it should also be ensured that many providers offer additional subscription models for storing the video material. So it's best to take a look beforehand to see what follow-up costs could be incurred. However, there are also manufacturers who completely dispense with subscription models. The video doorbell from eufy, for example, is completely free of additional costs and stores the data locally.
HomeKit users should also find out in advance which manufacturer uses HomeKit compatibility for their devices. If you want to display the picture of your video doorbell on an echo show, you should check beforehand whether a suitable Alexa skill is available.
Nest offers people and face recognition, which means you can choose to only show alarms when it detects an unknown face. This is preferable to the annoying general warnings that many surveillance cameras bombard you with. The name of the person who stands for familiar faces at the door can also be announced on a Google homepage.
Battery Vs' Hard Wired Smart Doorbells
The main decision, however, is whether you opt for a battery powered model or a hardwired bell.
Battery bells are relatively easy to install using simple tools. Don't connect to your existing internal ringtone, however, so you can get a notification even when you're home.
A hard-wired doorbell can be plugged into a ringtone, but it usually requires an electrician to find and install a special power supply. This increases the cost, but it also means you don't have to worry about the batteries running out at a critical moment.
A smart doorbell can make life a lot easier, especially for people whose physical limitations make it difficult to walk to the door every time the doorbell rings. Nevertheless, there are of course a few disadvantages that we do not want to withhold from you. For a better overview, we have therefore listed all the advantages and disadvantages that have been found in various tests.
Advantages of video doorbells:
- Mobile use and therefore easy to install
- Sometimes very long range of up to 300 meters
- Usually different ring tones and volume levels can be selected
- Partly operable from the inside with voice control (particularly helpful in the event of an accident)
Disadvantages of video doorbells:
- Not every bell is as weatherproof as the manufacturer promises
- Batteries need to be replaced regularly
- Especially with cheap video doorbells, there is sometimes no reliable radio connection