The idea of the video doorbell came into the mainstream a few years ago. It’s not like what you saw on television ten or more years back where a closed circuit camera was located in the corner of the front patio and was viewed from a dedicated display in the kitchen.
No a video doorbell is much different today. In its basic form, a video doorbell is a one piece solution that combines a traditional doorbell with an integrated camera that features a microphone and speaker. Unlike a decade ago, a video doorbell can be installed by the homeowner and costs about what you would expect for a WiFi home security camera.
Why is a video doorbell a good thing to have? There are several good reasons to install a video doorbell. Let’s take a look.
Dude, where my package?
Ever see the video on the news of someone walking up to a stranger’s front door and steals their UPS packages? That’s generally taken with a do it yourself home security camera. If it’s the front door, there’s a good chance it was taken with a video doorbell. Most video doorbells have motion alarm capabilities. These motion alarms trigger events such as a message to the homeowner and it records video of the person causing the motion alarm to trigger.
A good video doorbell records video of at least 720p. It also writes the video to the cloud. The video can be accessed by the homeowner from the smartphone app that is used to control the video doorbell. At 720p, the image will be clear enough to identify the intruder.
Take in the outdoor action
Most home security cameras are made for indoor use only. A video doorbell is made to withstand weather extremes. Use a video doorbell to monitor the action in front of the house. A video doorbell has a wide angle lens. Depending upon the location of your doorbell, it’s often enough of an angle to see the entire front of the house. Combined with motion detection, this becomes an incredibly handy way to keep tabs on cars arriving in your driveway or people walking up to your door.
An outdoor home security camera is incredibly useful for simply checking over the house and providing peace of mind. I remember a few years ago I left all of my outdoor lights on then leaving for a few weeks. Fortunately I was able to see that and called someone to turn them off. Most models of video doorbell have night vision features that permit seeing what’s going on even when it’s the middle of the night. Not that I needed night vision when my house was lit up like a Christmas tree.
I’m not home but you won’t know it
This is my favorite reasons to install a video doorbell. When a person rings the bell, a video doorbell will alert your smartphone. Use the app to answer the door. You will see who it is and then speak to the person at the door. They won’t know if you are home or sitting on a bench at the mall. If it’s a bad guy checking to see who is home, it’s fairly likely this would send him to another house. Keep in mind that you also now have video of the person who rang the bell in case it’s needed.
Some Recommendations and Reviews
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the best that I have seen. That’s the one that is in the photo that accompanies this article.
This video doorbell records at 1080p high definition with a 160 degree wide angle lens. That’s up there with the ever popular Nest Cam. Amazing that a small doorbell can take 1080p high definition video. I like Ring’s products a lot because they also come with security screws that make it nearly impossible for a thief to steal the doorbell. They are so confident that they actually offer a free replacement if the product is ever stolen.
If you don’t have a hardwired doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell is what you would use. This is an older model but does record at 720p and has the same app and features as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
Both of these models include an integrated speaker and microphone so that you can speak with the person that just rang your doorbell. You can read a review of both of these video doorbells on our site.
Now, if they would just invent a way to sign for a package, there would be no reason to ever open the front door.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).