Best Home Security Systems with Doorbell Cameras

While doorbell cameras may have started as a novelty, they are now vital for home security.

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SimpliSafe Image
SimpliSafe
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
SimpliSafe’s video doorbell is a safe bet for budget-conscious buyers. It doesn’t have cutting-edge features, but it does offer DIY installation and a neat pan and zoom feature. It also integrates seamlessly with SimpliSafe’s home security system.
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Vivint Image
Vivint
SecureScore™: 9.1/10
Vivint’s sleek doorbell camera looks just like a normal doorbell, adding a layer of hidden security to your porch. This camera recognizes people, differentiating them from shadows, passing cars, and animals. Other features include two-way talk and a 180-degree wide-angle lens.
855-934-0535
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ADT Image
ADT
SecureScore™: 9.2/10
ADT’s offerings include a standard video wireless doorbell, but the company has also partnered with Google and now offers the Google Nest product line. These are some of the best doorbells and are rich with features like AI facial recognition and package detection.
877-959-7762
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  • SimpliSafe Product Image
    SimpliSafe
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    SimpliSafe’s video doorbell is a safe bet for budget-conscious buyers. It doesn’t have cutting-edge features, but it does offer DIY installation and a neat pan and zoom feature. It also integrates seamlessly with SimpliSafe’s home security system.
    View Packages
  • Vivint Product Image
    Vivint
    SecureScore™: 9.1/10
    Vivint’s sleek doorbell camera looks just like a normal doorbell, adding a layer of hidden security to your porch. This camera recognizes people, differentiating them from shadows, passing cars, and animals. Other features include two-way talk and a 180-degree wide-angle lens.
    View Packages
  • ADT Product Image
    ADT
    SecureScore™: 9.2/10
    ADT’s offerings include a standard video wireless doorbell, but the company has also partnered with Google and now offers the Google Nest product line. These are some of the best doorbells and are rich with features like AI facial recognition and package detection.
    View Packages
  • Frontpoint Product Image
    Frontpoint
    SecureScore™: 8.7/10
    Frontpoint’s line of self-installation home security and home automation equipment includes a Wi-Fi video doorbell camera. Like the rest of Frontpoint’s equipment, the doorbell camera is easy to install and affordable at just $189.99.
    View Packages
  • Ring Alarm Product Image
    Ring Alarm
    SecureScore™: 8.2/10
    View on Amazon

While they were once a novelty, video doorbells are quickly becoming a must-have in terms of home security. Not only do they allow you to keep an eye on your entryways, they help protect you from porch pirates and intruders alike.

As good as they are at protecting homes, though, video doorbells alone aren’t enough. They are best paired with a home security system. And, thankfully, most home security systems today have a doorbell camera or two in their product lineups. Today I’ll walk you through the best systems that we’ve personally tested, and I’ll point out what’s unique about each system and its video doorbell offerings.

The Best Security Systems With Video Doorbells

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro Active Deterrence

  • SimpliSafe - With no mandatory monthly fees and an easy DIY setup, SimpliSafe is a simple and affordable way to protect your home — particularly the entry points. While its video doorbell requires some hardwiring, it offers reliability and useful integrations for an all-around more secure home.
  • Vivint - Vivint is known for its offering of home security and home automation devices. Its video doorbell is a little bit of both. It has necessary security features like two-way talk, clear HDR videos, and night vision. It also provides clips on-demand, custom alerts, and the ability to automate compatible products like smart locks and garage door controllers.
  • ADT - ADT offers the Google Nest Doorbell, one of the most feature-rich doorbells in existence right now. In addition to its excellent video quality, the Nest Doorbell offers customizable activity zones, facial recognition, person detection, and package detection. To sweeten the pot more, ADT occasionally offers a free Nest Doorbell to new customers.
  • Frontpoint - Frontpoint gets its video doorbell from one of the pioneer doorbell camera brands: SkyBell. It has standard features like two-way talk and night vision, but it’s one of the most affordable options. I got mine for $92.40, down more than 50 percent from the retail price.
  • Ring Alarm - Ring offers a huge range of products that can suit just about any need or budget. Their most affordable option costs just $64.99, and their top-of-the-line model comes in at $349. Most consumers will find themselves somewhere in the middle, though, in terms of price and features.

Our Methodology: How We Chose These Systems

To find the best security systems with doorbell cameras, I began by researching and testing all of the security systems myself — hands-on, in my home — for at least a week. This gave me a solid idea of what it’s like to work with these systems and discover any drawbacks they might have. I carefully considered all of the information gathered during this testing period, and ranked the systems based on my experience.

For this particular list, though, I was only interested in security systems that offered video doorbells. I looked at how easy they were to install, the features they offered, how well they worked day-to-day, and finally, their price. These determining factors helped me decide which systems made the cut, and which didn’t.

  • 1 SimpliSafe - Best DIY Option

    SimpliSafe Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    9.0
    Value
    9.4
    Equipment
    9.0
    Features & Technology
    9.2
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    It’s no surprise that SimpliSafe takes the number one spot in yet another one of our lists of the best security equipment. Their video doorbell offers reliability, ease of installation, affordability, and scalability. Use it on its own — or integrate it into a comprehensive SimpliSafe home security system, like I did when I tested the system out.

    As a complete system, SimpliSafe offers total protection and flexibility. I appreciate that you can choose to self-monitor your system, or you can sign up for their high-tech Fast Protect Monitoring service. When coupled with their new Smart Alarm indoor camera, this monitoring allows a SimpliSafe technician the ability to watch a live feed from inside your home and relay important information to the authorities.

    FYI: When I tested the Fast Protect Monitoring for my review of SimpliSafe, the response times were extremely fast (about 20 seconds on average), and the technicians were all very helpful and professional.

    • Affordable, easy-to-use equipment
    • Installation is a breeze
    • System is extremely responsive
    • App is well designed and intuitive
    • New monitoring is a major security bonus

    • Keypad is a little finicky
    • Mounting system could use some work
    • Some pieces of equipment are a little bulky

    SimpliSafe’s Doorbell

    SimpliSafe’s video doorbell is exactly what we’d expect from this provider. From the DIY approach to the no-frills, everything-you-need-and-nothing-you-don’t philosophy, this is a simple doorbell that just gets the job done right.

    When it comes to features, you won’t be blown away, but you won’t be missing anything, either. Maybe the lack of motion detection zones could disappoint some people, but I didn’t think it was too big of a deal when I tested the SimpliSafe video doorbell. Its wide range of vision, along with the unique pan and zoom feature, helped me see everything I needed to — including packages placed almost directly underneath it on my doorstep. And its smart features limited the number of false positives I received.

    One of the primary drawbacks is you have to hardwire the doorbell. Now, before you immediately turn your nose up, I understand that DIY isn’t everyone’s favorite acronym. Trust me, though, even if you’re not super handy, you can install this doorbell pretty easily. Just make sure you follow the instructions provided and turn your power off — you don’t want to get zapped like I did.

    And as far as pricing goes, this doorbell is right on the money. At just $169, it’s an option for most budgets; when you consider what you’re getting for that price tag, I think it’s more than affordable. And speaking of pricing…

    SimpliSafe’s Costs

    Another benefit of going with a SimpliSafe system is its affordability. I have more on this in my guide to SimpliSafe’s pricing, but here’s a quick breakdown of their security bundles:

    Package Name Number of Components Price
    The Foundation 4 $244.96
    The Essentials 6 $274.95
    The Lighthouse 7 $464.93
    The Hearth 9 $394.91
    The Beacon 10 $669.90
    The Knox 13 $469.78
    The Haven 14 $509.86

    Also keep in mind that SimpliSafe is always running a sale. I’ve been covering the brand for years, and I’ve rarely seen SimpliSafe charge full price for new customers. If none of these bundles work for you, though, you can always build out your own system using individual components. Here’s how the prices look with that option:

    Component Cost
    Entry sensor $14.99
    Motion sensor $34.99
    Glass-break sensor $39.99
    Outdoor camera $189.99
    Smart Alarm indoor camera $139.99
    SimpliCam indoor camera $99.99
    Video doorbell $169.99
    Water sensor $19.99
    Smoke and carbon monoxide detector $59.99
    Smoke detector $34.99
    Temperature sensor $29.99
    Panic button $19.99
    Key fob $24.99
    Extra-loud siren $59.99

    As far as monitoring goes, SimpliSafe is one of the best no-fee security systems out there; they allow their customers to self-monitor their systems with no additional cost. If you’re looking for professional monitoring, though, there are two options. The Fast Protect Monitoring that I mentioned above is $29.99 per month, and standard monitoring is just $19.99 per month.

    Checking out the privacy screen on SimpliSafe_s new wireless indoor camera

    Checking out the privacy screen on SimpliSafe’s new wireless indoor camera.

    Monitoring Options Self or professional
    Installation DIY or professional
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $249.96
    Monthly Monitoring Cost From $19.99
    Contract Length Month-to-month
  • 2 Vivint - Best For Smart Homes

    Vivint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.1
    Customer Service
    8.9
    Value
    8.4
    Equipment
    9.3
    Features & Technology
    9.5
    Ease Of Use
    9.2
    SecureScore™
    9.1

    Vivint is another one of our favorite home security providers, albeit for totally different reasons than SimpliSafe. Vivint takes a more white-glove approach to home security; when you use any one of Vivint’s cameras — the doorbell cam included — you’ll see what I mean. They place a heavy emphasis on customer service as well as home automation capabilities, so if you’re looking to live like George Jetson, you might want to check them out.

    When I tested Vivint, I really appreciated the professional installation process. While I’m a DIYer at heart, it was nice to kick up my feet and not have to worry about setting the system up. Then, once it was all up and running, I really enjoyed its home automation capabilities. For instance, I paired the system with my Amazon assistant and used my voice to control everything. This made things really convenient — so convenient, in fact, that Vivint is number one on my list of the best security systems for Alexa.

    • Wireless smart security system
    • Smart home automation
    • 7-inch touch screen smart hub
    • Award-winning mobile app
    • Indoor and outdoor cameras
    • Professional installation
    • Customized to your home
    • 100% cellular monitoring
    • Lifetime warranty

    • Pricey equipment packages
    • Contract required for at least 42 months
    • $100 installation fee
    • Short cancellation window

    Vivint’s Doorbell

    Like I said above, Vivint’s cameras are all well-designed and high tech. One of my favorite features of this particular doorbell is the active theft protection. Specifically, it uses light and sound to scare away would-be porch pirates; I have to say, when I tested it, I could see why. This thing makes quite a racket; if you’re trying to covertly swipe a package, it’ll make you think twice. I have more on this in my pricing section, but for quick context, this doorbell costs about $250. That’s a little expensive, but again, this is a high-tech piece of equipment here.

    Another thing I’m not a huge fan of, though, is that Vivint requires professional monitoring; since the equipment is proprietary, it stops working if you don’t pay the bill. That said, they do offer some of the best professional monitoring in the business, so you’re going to see where the money goes.

    Ringing the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro

    Ringing the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro

    Vivint’s Costs

    I’ve kind of hinted at it, but I’ll just come out and say it: The main drawback here is Vivint’s price. Put simply, this is a pretty expensive system. In all, my equipment cost over $1,000 when I was testing everything out, and their professional monitoring costs between $29.99 and $44.99 per month. If you’re willing to pay these prices, though, you’re going to be getting one of the most technologically advanced home security systems out there.

    Like I said above, each one of these systems is customized to your needs. However, here’s the price of each individual component to give you an idea of what your final tab might be.

    Component Price
    Smart drive (storage) $250
    Car guard $200
    Smoke detector $100
    Carbon monoxide detector $100
    Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide monitor $100
    Smart lock $180
    Garage door controller $100
    Smart thermostat $170
    Lamp module $50
    Doorbell Camera Pro $250
    Outdoor Camera Pro $400
    Ping indoor camera $200
    Indoor Camera Pro $200
    Spotlight Pro $250
    Water sensor $50
    Flood, freeze, and heat sensor $50
    Smart sensor $50
    Panic pendant $50
    Key fob $50
    Tilt sensor $50
    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation Professional only
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost Depends on system
    Monthly Monitoring Cost Starting at $29.99 per month
    Contract Length Starting at 42 months
  • 3 ADT - Best Traditional System

    ADT Product Image
    SecureScore™ 9.2
    Customer Service
    8.6
    Value
    8.7
    Equipment
    9.5
    Features & Technology
    9.6
    Ease Of Use
    9.6
    SecureScore™
    9.2

    ADT is one of the most well-known security brands in the industry, having been around for over a century and a half and currently serving more than 6 million customers. Those are impressive numbers, but their reputation is backed up by serious protections.

    When I tested ADT most recently, I was really impressed by the quality of the equipment and the service I received. Similar to Vivint, ADT is a more traditional system than SimpliSafe or Ring. I have a little more information about this in my comparison of ADT and DIY home security systems, but the long and short of it is: While you’re going to pay a little more and be committed to a three-year contract, the benefits of ADT often outweigh the drawbacks.

    One of those benefits, in particular, is that ADT has partnered with Google to provide their customers access to some of the most advanced security equipment on the market today. I have a complete breakdown in my review of the Nest Video Doorbell, but for now, let’s just say it’s feature-rich and will surprise you with its functionality.

    • Siren is loud enough to scare away burglars
    • The equipment is actually very well-made
    • Customer service went the extra mile (kudos to Patty and Ian)
    • The system is professionally installed
    • Paid hardly any money upfront
    • ADT now partners with Google Nest for security cameras and smart home equipment
    • Trusted brand with 150+ years of experience in security

    • No “silent arming” option from control panel
    • I spent hours troubleshooting their outdoor camera
    • Requires a monthly monitoring fee
    • Requires long-term contract
    • No DIY installation option
    • Installation tech left old equipment in our home

    ADT’s Doorbell

    The Nest Video Doorbell provided with ADT’s systems has some of the most interesting features I’ve seen in a doorbell to date. In particular, I’m talking about its ability to recognize faces.

    That’s right, facial detection. This doorbell actually learns the faces of people who frequent your home and will alert you when they’re arriving. During my test, the doorbell learned my partner’s face as well as the faces of a few friends who frequently stop by. This led to me getting a message on my phone that said “Brittney is at the front door.” Pretty cool!

    ADT’s Prices

    Similar to Vivint, ADT’s prices are the main consideration here. While ADT is a little more affordable than its competitor, it’s not by much. Here’s a quick breakdown of what everything costs.

    Feature Secure Home Smart Home Video and Smart Home
    Digital control panel 1 1 1
    Contact sensors 3 3 3
    Motion detector 1 1 1
    Smart door lock No 1 1
    Smart plug No 1 1
    Remote arm/disarm No Yes Yes
    Indoor camera No No 1
    Video doorbell No No 1
    Remote livestreaming No No Yes
    Customizable alerts No No Yes
    Monitoring Starts at $45.99 per month Starts at $49.99 per month Starts at $57.99 per month
    Equipment cost Starts at $599 Starts at $919 Starts at $1,049

    A little pricey, but keep in mind that similar to SimpliSafe, ADT is always running deals. Plus, since you’re going to be signing up for a long-term contract, these prices are split up into your monthly payments. This way you won’t have to drop a big chunk of cash all at once like you would with some of the DIY providers on this list.

    Testing the ADT Control Panel

    Testing the ADT Control Panel

    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation Professional or DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost Starting at $600
    Monthly Monitoring Cost Starting at $45.99 per month
    Contract Length Start at 36 months
  • 4 Frontpoint - Easiest Set Up

    Frontpoint Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.7
    Customer Service
    9.1
    Value
    8.8
    Equipment
    8.3
    Features & Technology
    8.9
    Ease Of Use
    8.6
    SecureScore™
    8.7

    As one of the best wireless security systems in the industry today, Frontpoint has always been a bit of an outlier. It bridges the gap between professionally installed and monitored systems with a more DIY ethos, but offers customers the best of both worlds in many respects.

    When I tested the Frontpoint system, I was impressed with the quality of the equipment they provide, as well as how easy everything was to set up. They’re one of the best DIY systems out there, after all; setup only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

    • High-quality GE equipment
    • Easy DIY installation
    • LTE cellular monitoring
    • Home automation
    • Geofencing feature

    • Somewhat expensive monitoring
    • Limited service hours
    • Touch-screen panel sold separately
    • Outsourced monitoring service
    • Limited keypad functionality

    Frontpoint’s Doorbell

    If you’ve worked with video doorbells as long as I have, you know that dialing in the settings can be a bit of a headache. Most video doorbells are extremely sensitive right out of the box — your phone will be buzzing with alerts every few minutes until you tweak some things. Not only is this really annoying, but it also drains the battery in your doorbell. Now you’ll have to recharge it far more often.

    Frontpoint - Doorbell Packaging

    Unboxing the Frontpoint Doorbell Camera

    When I was testing the system for my Frontpoint review, though, I realized I wasn’t getting all of those annoying notifications to let me know a tree was swaying in the breeze. This is due to Frontpoint’s energy-saver smart video analytics and activity zones that allow you to focus on specific areas of the frame and exclude others. You can also set times and days you want to receive notifications so your phone won’t be buzzing after bedtime.

    Frontpoint’s Costs

    Similar to SimpliSafe, you can select a Frontpoint package or build out a system from individual components. I have more in my guide to Frontpoint’s costs, but here’s a quick breakdown:

    Name Equipment Regular Price Sale Price
    Ultimate Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Touchscreen
    • Door sensors (5)
    • Glass-break sensor
    • Smart door lock
    • Flood sensor
    • Indoor camera
    • Doorbell camera
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $1,351.83 $419
    Premier Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Touchscreen
    • Door sensors (3)
    • Doorbell camera
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $771.90 $169
    Starter Home Security System
    • Hub
    • Keypad
    • Door sensor (1)
    • Yard sign and stickers
    $541.91 $79.99

    These prices are about on par with SimpliSafe and a little more affordable than Vivint and ADT. And as far as individual components go, here’s a rundown:

    Component Price
    Carbon monoxide sensor $65.49
    Door or window sensor $19.24
    Doorbell camera $109.99
    Extra keypad $30.24
    Flood sensor $24.74
    Garage door tilt sensor $24.74
    Glass-break sensor $41.24
    Indoor camera $65.99
    Keychain remote $17.59
    Motion sensor $38.74
    Outdoor camera $126.49
    Outdoor smart plug $27.49
    Premium indoor camera $109.99
    Smart door lock $109.99
    Touchscreen $82.49

    Do keep in mind when you’re budgeting, though, that Frontpoint does require professional monitoring; it’s not exactly the cheapest option out there. It costs $49.99 per month, which makes it some of the most expensive monitoring on my list. That can be a pretty major turnoff for some folks.

    Monitoring Options Professional only
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $219.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost $50
    Contract Length 1-36 months
  • 5 Ring Alarm - Best Video Doorbell Options

    Ring Alarm Product Image
    SecureScore™ 8.2
    Customer Service
    8.0
    Value
    8.3
    Equipment
    8.4
    Features & Technology
    8.2
    Ease Of Use
    7.9
    SecureScore™
    8.2

    And what list of security systems with video doorbells would be complete without Ring? Ring’s video doorbells are what popularized this category of security equipment in the first place. In the decade or so since that first model hit the shelves, they’ve only been improving their offerings.

    They’ve been expanding them, too.

    While you might only know Ring for their video doorbells and security cameras, they also offer a full lineup of comprehensive security systems and professional monitoring. If you’re looking to protect your home while keeping a close eye on things inside and out, Ring is a great option.

    • Competitive Equipment Costs
    • No Long-Term Contracts
    • Fast and Easy DIY Wireless Installation
    • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
    • One-Year Equipment Warranty
    • Free Theft Replacement
    • Environmental Disaster Sensors
    • No-Monthly-Fee Option
    • Very Low Monthly Fee for Video Recording and Rich Notifications
    • Intuitive Mobile App
    • Integrates With Amazon Alexa, Smart Locks, and Z-Wave Compatible Devices

    • No Video Recording Without Monthly Fee
    • Motion Sensors Are Not the Most Sensitive
    • Response Times Could Be Improved
    • No Silent Arm/Disarm Feature

    Ring’s Doorbells

    Up until now all of our providers have only offered one video doorbell, but Ring, as you might expect, has quite a few. The most basic is the Wired Video doorbell, which costs $49.99. The most high-tech is the Video Doorbell Elite, which runs $349.99. You don’t have to select between these two, though. There are plenty of other middle-of-the-road options available, both hardwired and battery-powered. You can read more about that in my guide to Ring’s video doorbells to learn the ins and outs of each one.

    Ring Video Doorbell 3, Installed

    Ring Video Doorbell 3, Installed

    When I was testing out the Ring Alarm system, I was impressed with the quality of the video doorbell I was working with. I went with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 — one of their higher-priced pieces at $229.99. I appreciated the crystal-clear 1080p HD video and the massive 160-degree field of view. I could see everything I needed to from my stoop out to the street. The two-way talk left a little something to be desired — I thought it was a little laggy. Though, to be fair, I have yet to test a video doorbell where that isn’t an issue.

    Ring’s Costs

    I have a lot more in my Ring Alarm prices page, but here’s a quick rundown of their most current alarm systems and costs.

    Package Price
    Ring Alarm 5-Piece $199.99
    Ring Alarm 8-Piece $249.99
    Ring Alarm 10-Piece $259.99
    Ring Alarm 14-Piece $329.99
    Ring Alarm Pro (Base Station Only) $249.99
    Ring Alarm Pro 8-Piece $299.99
    Ring Alarm Pro 14-Piece $379.99

    And for good measure, here’s a list of their current doorbell prices as well:

    Doorbell Power Source Cost
    Doorbell Pro Battery $229.99
    Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) Battery $99.99
    Doorbell Plus Battery $149.99
    Peephole Cam Battery $129.99
    Video Doorbell Wired $49.99
    Doorbell Plus Wired $149.99
    Doorbell Pro 2 Wired $229.99
    Video Doorbell Elite Wired $349.99

    Pro Tip: Since Ring is owned by Amazon, the brand is always offering deals, especially on Prime Day. If you’re looking to pick up a video doorbell on the cheap, that’s usually the best time to buy. Check out our roundup of Ring Deals and Discounts to learn more.

    Monitoring Options 24/7 professional and DIY
    Installation DIY
    Smart Platform Integration Alexa and Google Home
    Equipment Cost From $179.99
    Monthly Monitoring Cost $20
    Contract Length 1-12 months

The Security Benefits of Video Doorbells

While some folks think that video doorbells are a bit of a gimmick, there are actually plenty of real-world security benefits to using them. Here are just a few:

  • Deterrence: The presence of a visible video doorbell could be enough to dissuade potential thieves. People don’t like to be recorded when they’re up to no good, like trying to steal a package or making their way into your home.
  • Remote monitoring: How often do you wish you could check in on things while you’re out or on vacation? With a high-quality video doorbell, you’ll be able to see who’s at the door or if that package has arrived yet no matter where you are.
  • Two-way communication: If a stranger shows up at your door, you might not feel very comfortable answering it. With a video doorbell, though, you can communicate with whoever is there without having to open your door, increasing your safety.
  • Package theft prevention: Who doesn’t love online shopping? It’s a super convenient way to have all the things you need delivered to your door. However, it’s also really convenient for thieves to swipe whatever is sitting out for too long. Video doorbells are a great way to immediately know when something has been delivered and prevent people from taking that package if you can’t immediately grab it.

How to Shop for a Video Doorbell

There are several things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a video doorbell. Here are some of the most important considerations:

  • Video quality: You want to make sure that the video doorbell you’re thinking about purchasing is going to provide you with clear recordings, day or night. You want to find one that captures images in 1080p resolution or higher.
  • Field of view: Most video doorbells have fish-eye lenses to provide a wider field of view than would be possible with a standard lens. The best doorbells have fields of view around 140 degrees or more.
  • Installation: The two primary modes of installation for video doorbells are to either hardwire them where an existing doorbell was or to simply mount a battery-operated one. Obviously, the latter will be a little easier and give you more freedom as to where it can be placed, but you will have to charge it every so often.
  • Storage: Some video doorbells offer local storage on SD cards or something similar, but more services require customers to pay for cloud storage of their recordings. Generally speaking, this isn’t prohibitively expensive, but it’s something to consider when you’re budgeting for your purchase.

Video Doorbell Tips and Tricks

Want to get the most out of your new video doorbell? Here are few pointers from installation to day-to-day operation:

  • Turn off the power: If you’re hardwiring your video doorbell, be sure to turn off the power at the breaker! I’ve forgotten this step before, and the resulting shock isn’t something you want to experience.
  • Adjust as necessary: Many video doorbells come with angled wedges that can be added to the mounting hardware to ensure they’re pointed in the right direction. Test your doorbell to make sure it has the widest field of view possible.
  • Tweak the sensitivity settings: Most video doorbells allow the user to change the sensitivity settings that determine what will trigger an “event” and recording. Remember, every time your doorbell records an event, it’s going to take power. This isn’t a big deal if you go with a hardwired camera, but if you’re running on battery power, you’ll drain the battery fast.
  • Pay attention to your phone: If you’re self-monitoring your doorbell camera, you’re responsible for alerting the authorities if anything suspicious is happening. Make sure you’re reviewing your recordings often to see if anyone is casing your property or doing anything else untoward.

With these tips in mind, you’re going to be well on your way to integrating a video doorbell into a more comprehensive security system.

Features of Home Security Systems with Doorbell Cameras

The following are some common features found in home security systems that include video doorbell cameras:

Remote Access

Remote access is a key feature of the best home security systems with doorbell cameras. And it’s incredibly powerful. You can view your doorbell camera’s live feed on your smartphone from virtually anywhere in the world. Just log in to the companion app to access, monitor, and control your home security and automation setup. Welcome to the future.

Video Recording

Here’s another value-packed feature of doorbell cameras. Video recording captures suspicious activity, break-ins and burglaries, and even environmental hazards. Some high-tech doorbell cameras offer continuous recording, while others record intermittently when triggered by activity. A security camera with video recording, combined with a cloud storage plan, is your ticket to a safe home.

Vivint Doorbell in the Vivint App

Vivint Doorbell recording in the Vivint App

Mobile Alerts

Knowledge is power. That’s why mobile alerts are so popular. The best home security systems with doorbell cameras include mobile alerts in their suite of features. If and when your camera detects activity, it automatically sends you an alert so you can take action. If it’s a good guy, great! But if it’s a bad guy … it’s time to make him pay.

Entryway Sensors

Simply put, entryway sensors make the security system — they secure the perimeter of your home. Without the advance warning of a sensor, anyone could walk onto your property. (Or in reverse, your wandering toddler could escape out an unlocked door.) Magnetic sensors come standard with all systems, and when active in “arm” mode, the alarm will sound the moment a door or window opens. These add to the protection offered by a video doorbell camera.

Here I am installing the new and improved SimpliSafe Motion Sensor

Here I am installing the new and improved SimpliSafe Motion Sensor.

Motion Detection

Now that your entryway is secure with a doorbell camera and sensors, it’s time to round-out your home security system with motion detectors. These devices are strategically mounted throughout your home to monitor activity inside. If they detect movement, the alarm sounds and alerts are sent. Rest assured that if there’s any motion or commotion, you’ll be the first to know.

Home Automation

It’s true that doorbell cameras are the foundation of smart home security. But look for a home security system and doorbell camera that supports home automation features. This will allow you to remotely control everything from your door locks and lights to your thermostat, garage door, and more. Access the controls via mobile app or set up voice control for a future-forward lifestyle.

Two-Way Voice

Two-way voice comes with the best home security doorbell cameras. At work but have a visitor at your front door? No problem. You’ll get a mobile alert, allowing you to open the app and talk with the person remotely. If it’s the mailman, have him hide your package. If it’s a burglar, tell him to skedaddle. If it’s your mother-in-law … you’re on your own.

Night Vision

Night vision is another great feature that comes standard with many home security doorbell cameras. Some night vision cameras are black and white, while others boast full-color imaging. Both types leverage infrared technology to record crisp and clear video as if it were broad daylight. Impressive tech-forward functionality aside, night vision just sounds cool.

Ring Doorbell Camera Night Vision

Ring Doorbell Camera Night Vision

Live View

Live view, live stream, live feed — whatever you call it, just be sure your doorbell camera has it. This feature lets you tap into a real-time video feed of your doorbell camera. Simply log in to your home security system’s companion app, open the live view option, and get comfortable. This feature is especially powerful when combined with two-way voice.

Rob Gabriele
Written By
Rob Gabriele
Managing Editor & Home Security Expert

As a home security expert and Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles related to home security. His expertise is in smart home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in Indianapolis, IN.