How to Install a Smart Video Doorbell
Smart Video Doorbells look like your everyday doorbell and work hand-in-hand with other smart home gadgets. They ring a chime plugged into your wall (or a smart speaker if you choose one that works with Apple’s HomeKit system).
They also send an alert to your phone and offer two-way audio. The best ones have excellent data security and fast response times for alerts and loading live feeds.
Easy to set up
You can mount a smart video doorbell on your existing home’s wiring or install one as a standalone device. Whichever method you choose, it only takes 10 minutes or less to get your new device up and running. First, connect it to your WiFi network through the doorbell’s app. Then follow the onscreen instructions to name your doorbell and set its location (you can change the name later if you prefer).
If you’re installing it over an existing chime, shut off power to that part of your house at the circuit breaker box for safety reasons. Then, using a screwdriver or boxcutter, remove the old doorbell faceplate and expose the two wires that connect it to your home’s electrical system. If you have a digital chime, you may need to install a diode at the wire ends (as shown in our Ring Video Doorbell Pro review).
Plug your new doorbell’s battery into its terminals and attach the mounting bracket over the hole where your old doorbell was. Then, carefully pull the doorbell wires through the holes in the bracket and attach them to the two terminal screws on the back of the video doorbell. It doesn’t matter which one goes on each screw, so long as the wires aren’t touching each other. You’ll also need a transformer, which regulates the current between your electrical system and the video doorbell.
Great for couriers and posties
A smart video doorbell is a great way for couriers and posties to check who they are dealing with before they arrive. Smart Video Doorbell It’s also helpful if you’re out when they turn up, so you can ask them to leave the parcel in a safe place or with a neighbour.
Some models have a feature that can be activated with a button on your smartphone to speak directly to the courier so you can tell them what address you’re at and give them instructions. Many models can even detect a package being delivered and will automatically send a notification to you once it arrives.
Most smart doorbells offer facial recognition, which can quickly identify who is at the front door. This is an increasingly important feature as more people are concerned about strangers coming to their homes and the impact that could have on their safety and security.
Some Smart Video Doorbells have Edge AI, which combines Edge Computing and artificial intelligence to process data close to the source (as opposed to in the cloud), reducing latency and increasing response times. This is becoming more popular in Smart Home Devices as it reduces the cost of using a smart device by not having to use cloud services and increases security by not having sensitive information stored remotely.
Works with other smart home gadgets
A smart doorbell enables you to see who is at your front door without opening it. Some offer video and two-way audio, helping you to welcome visitors and interact with them – as well as deterring porch pirates. Some also feature motion sensors, so you can receive an alert when a delivery arrives at your doorstep or a visitor approaches. Others have features that make them better suited to particular situations, such as facial recognition or package detection, which can help prevent theft.
While Ring is the market leader, other smart doorbell brands like Nest and Arlo are growing in popularity. If you’re considering one of these, look for key features such as high-quality HD video; compatibility with your preferred home platform (Alexa and Google Assistant); motion detection that can distinguish between people and animals; and a battery or wired power supply to ensure that the device will work when the lights go out.
Wemo’s smart doorbell is an excellent choice for Apple Home users. It offers great video quality, supports HomeKit Secure Video and is easy to set up. However, it doesn’t have local storage and you’ll need a monthly iCloud plan to view recorded video clips – a drawback compared to some competitors. You can also opt for a Netatmo doorbell Smart Video Doorbell cam with built-in GPS to track the path people take towards your front door. This is particularly useful if you live in an area that’s prone to porch piracy.
Many smart video doorbells, also known as wireless doorbell cameras, run on batteries. That’s good news if you don’t want to install or pay for an electrician, but it means they can take longer to wake up and start recording when motion is detected. This can result in some clips only catching the back of people’s heads as they walk away, which is less than ideal if you are worried about porch pirates. True wired doorbells, which plug into the low-voltage wiring of your existing doorbell and are connected to your Wi-Fi router, don’t have this problem, but they may be more expensive.
A battery-powered option that avoids this problem is the Brinno SHC1000, which replaces your current peephole and provides a full body view of who is on your doorstep. It also records visitors on an internal microSD card, which is a great extra feature for those concerned about porch pirates.
This smart video doorbell offers impressive performance for a reasonable price, with an excellent score for data security and a solid rating for image quality in our tests. It can be used as a replacement for a wired doorbell with chime or to add a camera function to an existing one, and it works with all three major voice assistants. It also stores all recordings on its internal microSD card and doesn’t require a subscription.