A smart video doorbell from the biggest name in home security
If you follow our research, you know that ADT is one of our favorite brands for total home security. So naturally, we were curious to see how the company’s DIY doorbell camera performed. Hold the phone… ADT is now DIY? Well, their new lineup of ‘Blue’ products offer do-it-yourself installation, including the video doorbell. Blue by ADT is a powerful doorbell camera with a sub-$200 price tag. We picked one up and we were (mostly) happy with the advanced features we typically don’t see in doorbell cameras.
A couple of features we liked most were the 180-degree field of view and custom motion detection zones. We also made quick work setting it up — so the DIY installation was simple, too. If you’re a current ADT customer, note that this doorbell cam will easily integrate into your ADT home security system, extending your home protection to your entryway. That said, we came across a few pain points you should know about. And we’re sharing it all right here! So let’s see if the Blue by ADT doorbell is worth your time and money.
ADT hardly needs an introduction. As mentioned, it’s a favorite brand of ours, but they are well-deserving of our praise. ADT has been in business since the 1800’s,1 way back when Honest Abe was President. Over the years they’ve offered reliable products and services to keep Americans safe and secure.
In our experience, ADT is synonymous with high-quality devices, tailor-made packages, and stellar customer service. But no brand is perfect — not even this pioneer in home security. As you’ll see, we found their video doorbells to be a little pricey, and they could use some attention in the looks department.
Did You Know: ADT has launched a new partnership with Ring, our highest-rated doorbell cameras. If you sign-up with an ADT Pulse home security system, you can connect a Ring Video Doorbell into your ADT system. We’re tempted to say it’s a match made in home security heaven (but we won’t).
The best price we’ve seen for Blue by ADT doorbell is $199.99. And we’ll go right out and say it — if you spend $200 (or more) on a doorbell camera, that’s fine, just be sure it comes stacked with advanced features. Otherwise, there are more affordable options out there. We especially like the Arlo Pro 2 starting at $179.99, and various Ring Doorbell models in the sub-$200 range.
But back to Blue by ADT. We do think it’s worth the price for the features it includes out-of-the-box. We’ll dig more into our hands-on experience with the device in just a bit. Just know that $200 is stretching it, but we think Blue by ADT is worth considering due to its advanced features like facial recognition and its backing by the trusted ADT name.2
FYI: You can have ADT professionally monitor your doorbell camera 24/7, but it’ll cost you. Their video monitoring plan runs $19.99 per month, but it connects you to the nationwide network of ADT-owned monitoring centers. There’s no contract, and you’ll get a free month of service when you sign up.
One other cost to consider is the monthly fee for cloud video storage. Thankfully, ADT only charges $2.99 per month for 60 days of video storage. We sprung for it, and we were able to safely store up to 60 days worth of visitors coming and going, packages being delivered, and any suspicious activity that took place at our entryway. Keep in mind that a cloud subscription is optional and not required.
From what we’ve seen, $2.99 per month is a great deal for 60 days of cloud storage. Most other brands charge at least $10 per month for similar plans. Also note that you can view 24-hours of video history without signing up for a plan (it’s what we call ‘free basic cloud storage’). So Blue by ADT does pretty well here.
We ordered the product directly through Blue by ADT.3 You’ll see that Blue has its own website and special branding, which is just ADT’s way of differentiating their DIY home security products from their traditional systems. The Blue by ADT logo and website are modern in design, like what you see with Ring, Nest, Arlo, etc.
Ordering was easy, but delivery took seven days. So you might want to pay for expedited shipping. It’s also worth mentioning that we were a bit disappointed with the 30-day money-back guarantee. Although a 30-day guarantee is better than nothing, we much prefer the 60-day guarantee that SimpliSafe and some other video doorbell companies offer.
Did You Know: The Blue doorbell is a rebranded version of ADT’s old video doorbell, which only offered 720p HD resolution, and none of the advanced features like custom motion zones and facial recognition. Needless to say, we’re liking the rebrand.
Blue by ADT is a hardwired doorbell camera. This means we had to hook it up to our existing doorbell wiring (requires 16- to 24-volt AC power, which is standard). It was fairly straightforward, and ADT has an easy-installation guide that helped us along. We’ve installed plenty of doorbell cams over the years, so we had our Blue up-and-running in about 5 minutes. But the average person can expect installation to take about 10 minutes. No sweat.
One thing that’s different about Blue by ADT is the mounting hardware. Most of the video doorbells we’ve used snap right into the mounting bracket, but Blue has a built-in battery in their bracket. This nifty little addition will ensure the doorbell keeps working even if your power happens to fail (we’re liking the innovation here). Once the bracket is screwed into the wall, a little LED light will display to show you have power. Then you’ll connect to your Wi-Fi by scanning the QR code on the device using the Blue by ADT app. And that’s it!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to turn on your device. There’s a small on/off toggle on the back of the ADT doorbell. It’s not something we’re used to seeing, so we almost missed it! Just keep your eyes peeled.
So what’s it like using Blue by ADT? That’s a great question. Overall, we enjoyed using the ADT video doorbell, and it certainly added an extra layer of protection to our home. But we did run into a couple of minor snags, which we’ll touch on soon.
Once the doorbell was installed, we began testing it with simulated package theft (porch pirate!) scenarios. Like other doorbell cams, Blue sent us instant alerts whenever it sensed motion. We could then open the smartphone app and view a live-video stream of our entryway from pretty much anywhere. Live video is nice, but it’s very standard nowadays. Almost every video doorbell offers this feature, along with night vision, two-way talk, and 1080p HD resolution. So we didn’t find anything extraordinary here.
However, we really liked Blue by ADT’s custom motion detection settings. We found three modes in the app: we could set it to detect everything (including passing cars), we could set it to “person detection” (ignores vehicles), or we could set a custom detection zone (and that we did!). We had the option of completely disabling motion alerts, too. We’re big fans of custom motion zones, this way we’re not bombarded with mobile alerts. After all, we don’t need to know about every squirrel in the neighborhood.
We also appreciated Blue’s ultra-wide 180-degree field of view. The wider the field of view, the more of your entryway you’ll be able to see. This can help you to see packages left at your doorstep and bad guys crouching in the corner. Most doorbell cameras we’ve used offer viewing angles in the 120- to 160-degree range, so 180-degrees is quite impressive!
Now, one of the things we didn’t like about Blue by ADT was the facial recognition. Don’t get us wrong, the AI technology is pretty solid, but we found that Nest and Vivint doorbell cameras were more accurate when it came to recognizing familiar faces. Also, we think there’s room for improvement in the design department. The Blue doorbell is large and kind of clunky; it doesn’t elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” like the Skybell HD or the swiss-designed August View doorbell by award-winning designer Yves Béhar.4
If you purchase an ADT doorbell camera, you’ll most likely get that quality customer service that ADT is known for. The company has always been responsive and friendly whenever we needed help over the years. This time around, we had the option of calling in directly, perusing how-to guides in their online support center, or getting help via email or live chat.
Also, if you’re looking for a complete home security system, note that ADT has one of the best field tech teams and professional installation offers in the business. We think DIY installation is great, but for some things, you just can’t beat an expert’s touch. So these are important things to keep in mind.
Did You Know: Blue by ADT plays well with Amazon’s Alexa for hands-free voice control. It also integrates with IFTTT for a smart home experience. However, this doorbell cam does not work with Google Assistant at this time.
Keep in mind that you have limited options if you want to customize your camera system, starting at your doorstep. The Blue by ADT equipment lineup is still fairly limited, but it seems like every time we test their products another device is added to the brand.
They currently offer an indoor camera, an outdoor camera, and a range extender. We found it a little peculiar that each of their cameras cost $199 across the board (we’re really not sure why that is). Also bear in mind that the doorbell camera integrates with ADT’s traditional home security equipment, which gives you more options than you’ll know what to do with.
|Blue by ADT Add-Ons||Product Type||Price|
|Blue Wireless Outdoor Camera||HD Outdoor Surveillance||$199.99|
|Blue Indoor Camera||HD Indoor Surveillance||$199.99|
|Blue Extender + Chime||Range Extender/Chime||$49.99|
|ADT Home Alarm Equipment||Door/Window Sensors, Environmental Sensors, Etc.||Varies|
From the built-in battery charger to the custom motion zones, we found a lot to appreciate with the new ADT video doorbell. If you already use ADT home security equipment, we think this doorbell camera will be a solid addition to your system. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a standalone doorbell camera, we think there are much better options out there.
When the dust settled, we just couldn’t get past the clunky design. And the greyscale, grainy night vision didn’t give us the nighttime image quality we were hoping for. We much prefer color night vision, which comes standard with many doorbell cameras today. Overall, we think Blue by ADT is a decent doorbell camera, but there is definitely room for improvement.
No, thankfully ADT does not require a contract for their video doorbells.
Yes, Blue by ADT offers 1080p HD resolution.
Yes, the Blue doorbell camera offers DIY installation. It is a hardwired camera, but you only need a screwdriver and about 10 minutes to set it up.
No, although Blue does integrate seamlessly into an existing ADT home security system, you can also use it as a standalone doorbell camera.
This doorbell camera offers 24-hour video history for free, and you can upgrade to 60-days of cloud recording for $2.99 per month.
CompaniesHistory.com. (2020). ADT Corporation history, profile and history video.
Trustpilot: ADT Reviews. (Accessed June 15, 2020). ADT Home Security User Reviews.
Blue by ADT. (2020). Home Security Products.
Yves Béhar. Wikipedia. Retrieved June 15, 2020.