Video Doorbells

Lots of variety

We’ve covered security cameras and using your current (or an old) phone as a security camera but we haven’t discussed doorbell cameras so that’s the subject this week.

I’ve seen the 2013 presentation on Shark Tank when they were called Doorbot ( for their story) and they walked away without a deal. Today they’re known as Ring ( and are arguably the most popular video doorbell available today. I have one and we’ll discuss them but also talk about some of the other options. Of course, Ring and the others offer more than just video doorbells but we’ll restrict our discussion to doorbells.

The idea behind these devices is that they can show you video of what’s happened in their field of view, both live as well as recorded or historical videos. They all have a camera, a microphone, and a speaker so you can not only see but hear and talk with someone at your door. Some have pre-recorded messages that can be played for your visitor. They all connect to your WiFi for the interaction. They can also notify you of motion or the presence of people, animals, packages, etc by sending an alert to your phone or mobile device. They all require some sort of power source - battery or the power that drives your current “dumb” doorbell. They all have various mounting options, mostly just requiring a screwdriver but, in some cases, a drill. And most of them come in colors to match the color of your door handles. Mounting is usually pretty simple unless you need to mount them in masonry or brickwork.

In my case, my doorbell’s button was mounted on a wall that was at a 90 degree angle from my door which meant that a normal, flat mount, would be looking at the person at the door from them side and I wouldn’t see their approach. Ring has mounting hardware that allows one to mount it at an angle but it was just ugly and a mess so I decided to forgo the powered doorbell and went with a battery powered unit that I mounted on my door jamb. Ring provides a free replacement if any of their devices are stolen but, so far, I haven’t had any issue like that.

They have a whole range of doorbells and accessories but the one accessory I have and recommend is the Chime which, when paired with the doorbell, makes one of a number of sounds, one sound when motion is detected and another sound when the button on the doorbell is pressed. They have an app that will notify you for motion and button press and through which you can interact with your caller, view previous events, and control various aspects of your Ring devices including pausing notifications for those early morning Amazon deliveries.

Keep in mind that for Ring doorbells you need to pay monthly if you want to access video recording and get more advanced features like person detection. Today, the cheapest subscription plan is $4.99/month or $49.99/year which gets you basic video recording access for one doorbell.

Enough about Ring. Let’s briefly cover some other offerings. I’ll use,review-4468.html as my basis which gives an overview of their top picks for 2024 as well as links to a more complete review. I’ll give you my opinion of some of their picks, my favorites and my not-so favorites. Note that some doorbells require a subscription like Ring and some have special features. I’ll mention them along with my take. I also won’t discuss any of the Ring options since I’ve covered my own already. Also, I won’t discuss any item that doesn’t offer battery powered operation. All units offer activity detection zones, meaning you can customize where it looks for activity but some lock that behind a monthly subscription.

The Wyze Video Doorbell Pro has night vision, comes with a chime, and has a good field of view but requires a subscription of $1.99/month to get saved recordings and the package detection feature. The one downside, which is a big one in my opinion, is that, if you are battery powered, you must remove the entire unit to recharge the battery. Also, it’s a fisheye lens which means you only see an accurate view at the center of the camera’s view. Activity zones weren’t available for Tom’s review but they were told it would be coming.

The Eufy Video Doorbell Duo has TWO cameras - one to view straight ahead and one pointing down to view your stoop and hopefully see your packages. The battery isn’t removable which means, like the Wyze, you must remove the entire unit to recharge it. And it connects to a Eufy Homebase instead of directly to your WiFi but it has local storage so there’s no monthly subscription. For all that, it’s fairly expensive, at about $180 on Amazon for the doorbell and the HomeBase ( I was unable to tell if it has customizable detection zones but it does have an adjustable motion sensitivity.

The Nest Doorbell (battery) like the others we’ve discussed so far, the entire unit must be removed to recharge the battery. You get 3 hours of rolling video storage for free, package, animal, person, and vehicle detection for free. For more time you can subscribe for a minimum of $6/month. Also, note that it’s a Google product. Even so, if I were starting over, I’d probably choose this one or go to a more recent Ring.

Arlo’s Video Doorbell 2K is another device where the whole unit must be removed to recharge. Also, you have to pay for a subscription if you want any recording at all and that starts at $5/month. But, for that you get 12X zoom, package detection, really high resolution video at 1944×1944, and good night vision.

That's all for this week's column. I hope this gives you an overview of video doorbells. Don't hesitate to write to me if you have questions!

As always, my intent is to help you understand the basics and equip you to search for more detailed information.

Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, suggestions, requests for future columns, to sign up for my newsletter, or whatever at [email protected] or just drop me a quick note and say HI!

You’ve got choices as to how you read my columnfas! You can read all my columns and sign up for my newsletter to have them delivered to your email when I publish them at You can read the most recent column in the Hillsboro Times Gazette at - it should be updated shortly after this column appears in the online version of the newspaper.