Protect Your Home and Family With a Smart Video Doorbell

Smart Video Doorbell

Protect Your Home and Family With a Smart Video Doorbell

Video doorbells let you chat with visitors and see who’s on your porch—no need to get off the couch or rush home. They can also help protect you from porch pirates.

A good Smart Video Doorbell needs sharp video, the option of smart alerts and motion zones, affordable options for storing recorded videos, and useful integrations with other smart devices.

Do Not Disturb

Whether you’re home or away, a smart video doorbell can help keep your family and home safe. These doorbell cameras can notify you of visitors, provide two-way communication with them, and let you check on pets and kids from your smartphone. They can also integrate with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa.

Many models use HD video for crisp, clear images. They may also have motion detection and heat detection technology, which can help reduce false alerts from things like a passing car or a tree branch blowing in the wind. Several settings allow you to customize these features, including sensitivity, movement mode (which ignores brief movements), and the length of time that motion is recorded before it triggers an alert.

You can choose whether to store recordings in the cloud or on a microSD card. Cloud storage typically requires a subscription, but some models offer free or low-cost options. Those that record on local memory can offer more security, since the footage isn’t accessible to anyone else.

Some smart video doorbells include a feature that allows you to mask up to three areas of the live or recorded video. This is helpful if you don’t want to display your driveway or backyard on the Smart Video Doorbell screen, for example. The G4 doorbell also offers a voice-changing option that lets you alter the intercom audio to sound like an uncle or a clown, providing an extra layer of privacy and identity protection.

Motion Detection

The best smart video doorbells use motion sensors to detect movement outside your home and send an alert to your phone. Then you can see who’s there, and if it’s someone you know, schedule a time for them to visit. This is great for avoiding nuisance callers, keeping track of kids coming home from school and welcoming guests when you’re away.

Most smart video doorbells come with two way audio so you can speak with visitors and let them know where to leave your packages or ask how long they need to stay. A few smart video doorbells also have facial recognition features that can identify people and even differentiate between family members, pets or delivery drivers.

Many Smart Video Doorbells store footage on a server either locally or in the cloud. They can be powered by Wi-Fi or cellular connections, and some offer a battery backup in case of power outages. For security purposes, some models have built-in night vision and can capture infrared or spotlight images of the area around your door.

Some smart video doorbells are more privacy-minded than others, and you’ll want to be aware of what data the manufacturer collects and how it’s used. For example, Google will only share your footage with the police in rare emergency situations (read our Nest Doorbell 2nd gen review for more). Arlo and Wyze will not share your information without a court order or subpoena, and Ring uses end-to-end encryption for all its iCloud video recording.

Video Recording

Video doorbells allow you to see who’s at your door and communicate with them via two-way audio (similar to a smart speaker) no matter where you are. They also provide security and peace of mind by letting you screen callers or tell them that you’re busy. This can be an important safety feature for families with young children.

When evaluating these devices, look for a high-resolution video camera with a wide field of view. A good starting point is 1080p HD resolution, which produces a clear image. Some models offer additional features such as color night vision, activity zones and high dynamic range (HDR), which improve image quality and detail.

If you choose a model with cloud storage, the company will store your footage on a remote server. This can be convenient, but it should also be encrypted so that only the manufacturer has access to your data.

Edge technology is a newer approach that allows the device to process video footage and AI work locally on the device, rather than sending Smart Video Doorbell it to the cloud for processing. This can reduce latency and save battery life.

The best Smart Video Doorbells offer at least a few days of free online storage, or they allow you to pay a small monthly fee for a subscription that includes cloud storage. For example, Ring offers a monthly service for $6 that gives you access to 30 days of recorded video and a host of other features.

Alerts

Most burglaries happen between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when homes are most likely to be empty. With the right video doorbell, you can help thwart these crimes by having records of anyone who comes to your home or yard, even if they don’t ring your doorbell.

Some smart video doorbells include facial recognition that lets you name and label visitors to your home. That helps you tell the dogwalker from Grandma or the delivery man from the UPS guy. You can also set up custom alerts, triggered by your kids’ Alert 360 user codes or by specific events, like arriving home.

Other premium features include night vision, letting you see what’s around your doorstep in pitch black. And many video doorbells, like Nest’s, offer the option of a subscription to record and keep up to 30 days of footage. You can get a similar feature from Arlo, with its pricier $10 plan that also includes e911 emergency call services.

For those who don’t want to pay monthly fees, you can find models that let you store recorded videos locally or on your Wi-Fi network. For example, the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (Battery) offers plenty of local storage and doesn’t require a hub or broadcast its live feed on the Internet. You can also use the camera with larger security systems, such as those offered by ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, and SimpliSafe.

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