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Imagine you’re watching TV or browsing the web and an unexpected visitor knocks on your door. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see who it is just by looking at your phone?

Or imagine you’re at work and a delivery man comes with a sensitive package. Wouldn’t it be great if you could speak directly to them and give instructions over the phone? What if your doorbell could log all the times someone came to visit?

If these features seem like the perfect mix of practical and futuristic, perhaps you should consider installing a smart doorbell in your home.

What Is a Smart Doorbell?

When we talk about electronic devices, a “smart” device is any device that can connect to the internet that normally wouldn’t be able to. For example, a “smartphone” is an internet-capable phone and a “smart TV” is an internet-capable TV.

A smart doorbell is the exact same thing: an internet-capable doorbell. Most smart doorbells are easy and quick to install 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers Smart home automation sounds awesome in theory, but a lot of folks are hesitant to try it out because the learning curve seems hard. If that describes you: it's easier than you think! Read More , and come with built-in cameras, speakers, and microphones.

There’s no learning curve for your visitors. All they have to do is press a button the same way they would any other doorbell. When they do, you receive an alert on your phone. You can then see who it is (using the camera) and even communicate with them (using the speakers and microphone).

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The main benefit is convenience. Being able to answer the door from anywhere is huge! Not to mention the peace of mind that it brings. In the case of a suspicious visitor, you can see who they are without going near the door and can maybe even record their identity.

And when combined with a smart door lock Buy One of These Electronic Door Locks and Ditch Your Ancient Keys Buy One of These Electronic Door Locks and Ditch Your Ancient Keys One area where smart home technology shines is home security. And while security cameras and motion sensors are great, neither has more of a wow-factor than an electronic door lock. Read More , you can grant entry to visitors who stop by while you aren’t home. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Top Smart Doorbells on the Market

The market for smart doorbells is still relatively young — it’s only been around for a few years. In other words, while you can expect these products to work well enough, just be aware that manufacturers are still working out some kinks and evolving their functionality.

If you want a flawless device that’ll last decades, perhaps you should wait a few more years 5 Reasons Why Being An Early Adopter Is A Bad Idea 5 Reasons Why Being An Early Adopter Is A Bad Idea Are you the type of person who pre-orders the newest tech gadgets as soon as they’re available? Then you’re an early adopter. Is there a downside? Let's find out. Read More . Smart doorbells are definitely still in the “early adopter” phase. But if you want to try something new and exciting, then these are the best ones to get started with.

1. Ring

The Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is hands-down the most popular smart doorbell currently on the market, and for good reason. It’s a bit on the expensive side at $170 (£159), but it offers all the important features: visitor alerts, motion sensors, night vision, live HD video, and two-way communication.

The 180-degree camera has a 720p resolution. The motion sensor is extremely useful for notification of shady visitors who might be scoping out your house. And the night vision quality is surprisingly good. One more thing to note: it’s robust and weather resistant.

Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell, Satin Nickel Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell, Satin Nickel See and speak with visitors using your smartphone or tablet, whether you're upstairs or across town. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 209.00

As of this writing, a newer version called the Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell 2 is available with 1080p video and a rechargeable battery pack. But it costs a bit more at $200, and is currently out of stock for at least a few months. Something to consider if you’re willing to wait.

RING 8VR1S7-0EN0 RING VIDEO DOORBELL 2 RING 8VR1S7-0EN0 RING VIDEO DOORBELL 2 - Instant mobile alerts- 1080HD wide-angle video- Built-in microphone and speakers- Adjustable motion sensors- Infrared night vision- Live View on-demand video and audio- Hardwired or battery-powered Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 324.88

Alternatively, you might want to save up a bit more and get the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for $250 (£229). It’s expensive, but has the ability to automatically record footage when the motion sensor is triggered. Furthermore, the 1080p camera has a wider angle for greater coverage.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Ring Video Doorbell Pro Advanced motion protection: create your own custom shaped motion zones to activate video doorbell Pro and trigger Ring app alerts Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 279.95

2. SkyBell HD

The SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is the second most popular option. It offers a ton of excellent features, including a 1080p camera with a considerable amount of zoom, and only costs $160 (unless you opt for the bronze variety at $250).

This doorbell has sharp night vision, two-way communication, motion sensors, and on-demand viewing so you can tune in to the camera whenever you want, even when nobody has rung the doorbell.

But perhaps most important? It looks unremarkable, like any regular doorbell, and thus doesn’t draw undue attention to itself. The only downside is that the video can be a bit blurry at times, especially at night, and the motion sensor can be too sensitive to movement.

SkyBell SH02300 HD WiFi Video Doorbell, Silver (SH02300SL) SkyBell SH02300 HD WiFi Video Doorbell, Silver (SH02300SL) See your visitor up to 1080p HD and 5x zoom Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 455.98

3. VueBell

The VueBell Video Doorbell is the least-known option in this article, partly because it’s new and partly because the company is based out of Asia. Despite how new it is on the market, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-quality smart doorbell at this price.

For just $110/£95, you get a 720p camera with a 185-degree field of view, which counts as a wide angle. It has two-way communication, passable night vision, motion sensors, and the ability to take a snapshot whenever the motion sensor is triggered or somebody rings the doorbell.

While the aesthetics are sleek, it does look a bit futuristic and thus sticks out like a sore thumb. It may not complement your home’s appearance.

Vuebell WIFI HD Camera Video Doorbell, with Motion Detection,Two Way Audio ,and Wireless Door Bell Chime Included Vuebell WIFI HD Camera Video Doorbell, with Motion Detection,Two Way Audio ,and Wireless Door Bell Chime Included 185° wide-angle camera and two-way audio, pairs up with smart phone or tablet, seeing and talking to visitor anywhere,anytime. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 132.90

4. August Doorbell Cam

August is best known for its smart door lock, so it makes sense to offer a smart doorbell alongside it. Unfortunately, the reception for August’s door lock has been polarized, and much more so for the love-it-or-hate-it August Doorbell Cam.

Not that the smart doorbell is bad. The device is fine in terms of features: two-way communication, HD camera with a resolution slightly bigger than 720p, motion sensors and alerts, and recording of missed visitors. The performance of these features is also good.

Unfortunately, the software can be somewhat buggy at times, and you may experience lag depending on the age and specs of your smartphone. The doorbell’s square shape is also a point of contention for users. But overall, it’s a strong choice that you’ll most likely be satisfied with.

August Doorbell Cam, Dark Gray August Doorbell Cam, Dark Gray Always know who's at your front door Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 191.09

5. Zmodo Greet

The Zmodo Greet Video Doorbell is the absolute cheapest you’ll want to go as far as smart doorbells are concerned. Its $80 price tag might still be a bit much, but go any lower and you’ll have to sacrifice build quality, reliability, available features, or image and sound quality.

In addition to a 720p camera, night vision, and two-way communication, the Zmodo model has motion sensors that can send alerts and record footage when triggered. If you aren’t at home and don’t want to communicate directly, it can play a personalized voice message for visitors.

Zmodo Greet -WiFi Video Doorbell with Zmodo Beam Smart Home Hub and WiFi Extender by Zmodo Zmodo Greet -WiFi Video Doorbell with Zmodo Beam Smart Home Hub and WiFi Extender by Zmodo Zmodo Greet -WiFi Video Doorbell with Zmodo Beam Smart Home Hub and WiFi Extender Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 181.80

Which Smart Doorbell Is Right for You?

If money is no concern, go with one of the Ring models. If money is your greatest concern, go with the Zmodo. But if you’re willing to take a risk and you want the best bang for your buck, go with the VueBell.

The very concept of a smart doorbell is silly to some, but the convenience factor is off the charts. Once you can answer your door from halfway across the world, you’ll never want to go back. It’s one of several smart home features worth the cost Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Which smart home features are worth it? Which ones can be safely tossed aside and ignored? Let's take a look at a few that are actually worth the money. Read More .

Just be aware that, as with any internet-connected device, there will always be security concerns with smart home products 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home Many people attempt to connect as many aspects of their lives to the web as possible, but many people have expressed genuine concerns over how secure these automated living spaces actually are. Read More .

Which smart doorbell looks best to you? Are there any other good ones that we missed? Share with us in a comment down below!

Originally written by Dave LeClair on September 17, 2014

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  1. fcd76218
    July 11, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I notice the conspicuous absence of any discussion of how secure the 'smart doorbells' and 'smart door locks' are. Being 'internet capable' they are eminently crackable/hackable. Just think of the fun you can have watching your house being robbed when the thieves hack your smart entry.

    The following article from ArsTechnica may give you something to think about before installing a smart doorbell of door lock.
    http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/01/how-to-search-the-internet-of-things-for-photos-of-sleeping-babies/