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A robust video intercom system with customizable features
We recently put DoorBird doorbell cameras through our rigorous testing process. We’ve tried these high-tech devices in the past, but they’ve just added loads of new options to their lineup. What did we find? Well, we found that DoorBird soars above the competition when it comes to quality of build and customizable features. But you should know that it doesn’t come cheap.
Also, whatever you do, don’t call it a “doorbell camera.” DoorBird prefers the term “door station.” It makes sense, seeing that this brand offers powerful IP technology1 and geofencing, remote door opening, and two-way talk. But remember, these products are more expensive (by a long shot) than all other entryway systems we’ve seen. So they are not for the faint-of-heart.
Did You Know: DoorBird door stations are built with precious metals, not cheap plastic. From what we’ve seen, these products are built to last.
With that said, if you’re specifically looking for a robust video intercom system, then you’ll definitely want to read all about DoorBird. We thoroughly researched and tested these door stations. And we’re sharing everything you need to know, right here. So let’s dive right in!
The company behind DoorBird, Bird Home Automation GmbH, started back in 2004 by developing its own IP Video software. The Berlin-based company later released its first door stations in 2009, and over the years they steadily built their brand. Today, DoorBird is sold in over 160 countries across the globe.
It’s important to note that DoorBird’s equipment is built in Germany. And honestly, the look and feel of the door stations does give off that German engineering vibe. Another consideration is that DoorBird offers a few residential door stations, but they mainly focus on commercial sales and outfitting large buildings with entryway protection. It’s where the money’s at! Overall, we do think this award-winning company2 is worth a closer look.
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DoorBird offers 13 different IP video door stations that start at $384 and range all the way up to (gasp) $2,500. To be fair, if you own a single-family home and just want entryway protection, you wouldn’t even consider their high-end products. The base model would do you just fine. But to get a sense of just how steep the prices are — DoorBird’s cheapest doorbell camera is about the same price as Ring’s most expensive doorbell, the Video Doorbell Elite.
Did You Know: The premium DoorBird door stations can offer entryway protection on up to 100 units for multi-tenant buildings.
The D101 and D101S are DoorBird’s most popular residential door stations. For these base models, you can expect to pay $384 and $416 respectively. Compared to our top three doorbell cameras — DoorBird weighs in at twice the cost.
But then again, the other guys don’t offer the same German build quality as DoorBird… or automatic door/gate opening… or protection for multi-unit housing. You have to remember, these are full-on video intercom stations, not just doorbells. Also, you won’t have to worry about monthly fees, activation fees, or any other hidden fees. You just pay for the device and $19 for shipping… and that’s that!
Note that each device comes with free basic cloud storage that stores your 50 most recent doorway visits (accessed via the DoorBird app). But if you do want premium cloud-based storage, you can upgrade to the Cloud-Recording Pro plan, which costs $48 per year.
|Cloud Recording Free||Cloud Recording Pro|
|Format||VGA-Images (motion-triggered images)||HD-Videos|
|Storage||50 most recent visits||7-day history|
|Price||Free||$48 per year|
We found that patience is a virtue when shopping for DoorBird. The company sells 13 different door stations, and they don’t separate them by category. So it was a bit tricky to distinguish between the residential products and the multi-tenant devices. And the cryptic product names — like D101 or D2101KV — certainly didn’t help. Thankfully, DoorBird links a “data sheet” beneath each product, which allowed us to readily see the features and specs.
We went with a mid-level DoorBird door station, paid our $19 for shipping, and we were told it would take 4 business days to arrive. Not bad at all. The checkout process was really quite simple — but if you get overwhelmed easily, you’re probably not going to like it.
FYI: The DoorBird website offers categories for Door Stations, Indoor Stations, Accessories, Housing/Panels, Call Buttons, Add-On Cameras, Cloud Services, and the list goes on. So be sure to take a few deep breaths and try not to get overwhelmed!
We were expecting the installation to be more difficult than it was. DoorBird’s video doorbells come in hardwired and Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE) options.3 This is different from many of the wireless, battery-powered doorbell cams we’ve tested. But we like different.
All things considered, it was relatively easy to install, and it only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. It uses your existing doorbell wiring, so even though it’s more involved than its plug-and-play competitors, you don’t need to channel Bob Vila to install DoorBird. Once everything is ready, you activate it by scanning the QR code with a mobile device. The installation wasn’t as easy as wireless options from August or SimpliSafe, but it was simple enough.
Using DoorBird day-to-day is similar to using other doorbell cameras. Everything is controlled via the DoorBird app, which is well-designed and quite intuitive. We received instant activity alerts when someone approached our front door, and we were able to open the app for live video streaming. Our model only offered 720p HD resolution, which we didn’t love. But overall, the image quality was crisp and clear, day and night.
FYI: With DoorBird, you’ll have to spend $500+ to get 1080p HD resolution, while top competitors offer it for around $200.
It was the build quality of DoorBird that really impressed us. These door stations are made with high-grade materials, like precious metals, stainless steel faceplates, and polycarbonate housing. So we get the impression the equipment is built to last. Also, depending on the device you choose, you can get fancy features like geofencing — which allows for hands-free locking/unlocking of your door — and even automatic front gate opening — which is perfect for folks who live on a sprawling estate. Château Lafite, anyone?
You’ll want to consider two things when it comes to customer service. First, DoorBird offers fairly limited customer service options. We were able to access their support portal for self-service, submit a support ticket (which we don’t recommend), or call the company directly. At the risk of sounding old fashioned, we like to speak with real humans, so we called in.
Note that while DoorBird is headquartered in Germany, they have offices in San Francisco. Their stateside office hours are from 9am to 5pm PST, Monday through Friday. That’s right, no weekend hours, which is a definite drawback. But once you get an agent on the line, they really know their stuff!
Did You Know: Unlike many brands we’ve tested, DoorBird is laser-focused on only making door stations, so you’re sure to get someone who can help.
In our experience, this is the hallmark of DoorBird. The top-grade metals, sleek design, and the feeling that it can withstand even the harshest weather conditions. We think the design is second-to-none. You can also customize the color of your faceplate.
The easy-to-use DoorBird app allows you to get motion-activated alerts, view live video footage, and communicate with visitors using your smartphone. Although it’s a great app, mobile companion apps now come standard with almost all doorbell cams these days.
This is another way of saying that DoorBird offers two-way talk, allowing you to speak with delivery drivers at your door, from anywhere in the world. Just open the app and let them know where to leave the package. If needed, you can also say a few choice words to porch pirates.
Depending on the door station you choose, you can have full-on video and audio calls with your visitors. Just note that depending on your connection, the video can lag and become choppy.
This is one of the best lenses we’ve seen to date. The 180° field-of-view means you can view and record your entire entryway, not just a section of it (the more evidence, the better).
This cutting-edge technology is unique to DoorBird as far as we know. With select door stations, you can use geofencing to automatically open the gate to your property, and/or your front door.4 Pretty slick!
You can set DoorBird to contact up to 8 different mobile devices when someone approaches your door. We found this feature to be helpful.
Pro Tip: If your family is busy and always on-the-go, the ‘Contact 8’ feature gives you the backup you need. For obvious reasons, it’s not practical to have alerts sent to only one person.
Since DoorBird serves commercial clients, they support integration with a wide range of technology. Also, their open API means that third-party companies have everything they need to create custom integrations for their products.
Although DoorBird runs off a hardwired (or ethernet/PoE) connection, it only takes 15-20 minutes to install using just a screwdriver. With the more premium door stations, we’d recommend calling a professional.
So what happens if you fork out $1,000 or more on a DoorBird door station, only to have it break or malfunction just a few months later? Thankfully, the company does offer a full inventory of spare parts. These devices are built to last for years and years, so we think DoorBird will help you find the accessories, add-ons, and parts that you need.
The parts and accessories are too many to list. But you can expect everything from display modules and key fobs, to engravable stainless steel panels, replacement mounting kits, IP door chimes, converters, controllers, injectors, and on and on. Just be ready to spend a pretty penny on these parts, because they certainly aren’t cheap. In some ways, DoorBird reminds us of the Nest Hello video doorbell, which is also customizable (and a whole lot cheaper).
FYI: DoorBird is all about customizations. They offer nearly 30 door station “housing” options and custom panels, along with an add-on camera called the BirdGuard.
If you have $400-$2,500 to spend on a high-tech doorbell intercom station, then DoorBird might be a good fit. However, we’d sooner recommend looking into Ring’s Elite Doorbell, which is in that $400 sweet spot for a premium video doorbell camera. We think that DoorBird is probably best for commercial clients, unless, of course, you’re looking for that commercial feel to your entryway.
DoorBird certainly delivers when it comes to build quality, features, and technology. But remember, the base units only come with 720p HD image quality, which in our opinion is the resolution of yesteryear. If you’re paying $400+ for a door station, we think you should get at least 1080p HD resolution. Also, if you get overwhelmed easily, you’re probably not going to love all the device options and accessories to choose from.
All in all, we think DoorBird offers one of the best solutions for entryway protection, but it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. So we recommend exploring our top options before you go for the ‘Bird.
No, since they do not offer 24/7 professional monitoring, there are no contracts to sign.
Yes, but the cloud storage that’s included only offers look-back history of your last 50 visitors (not much). The paid cloud storage plans offer 7-days of video history.
DoorBird offers 1080p HD image quality on their premium door stations. But the base stations only provide 720p HD resolution.
Yes, although the company specializes in the commercial sector (multi-tenant housing, office buildings, etc.), they do offer a handful of door stations for single-family homes.
Yes, all of the door stations include access to the DoorBird app, which allows you to receive instant alerts, view live video, customize settings, and more.
Packetworks. (2016, September 26). What is IP Telephony?
DoorBird.com. (Accessed May 14, 2020). DoorBird Awards.
https://www.doorbird.com/awards (Link removed)
Versatek.com. (2020). What is Power Over Ethernet (PoE) and what is it used for?
CIO.com. White, S. (2017, November 1). What is geofencing? Putting location to work.