Home security has evolved to new heights. Gone are the days when a simple lock and key were enough to protect your home. Today, smart technology is making homes safer and smarter, and one of the standout innovations in this realm is the doorbell camera. So, how does doorbell camera improve home safety?
These innovative devices, unassuming as they may look, can pack a hefty punch when securing your home. Imagine seeing and interacting with visitors at your doorstep from the comfort of your location, all while monitoring your property day and night. That’s what a doorbell camera provides.
From preventing potential threats to enhancing the overall safety of your home, doorbell cameras are a vital component of today’s home security ecosystem. Learn how these cameras work, their advantages, and other basics.
What Is a Doorbell Camera?
A doorbell camera, or video doorbell, is a home security device that blends the functions of a traditional doorbell with those of a security camera.
It’s intended to offer homeowners enhanced security and convenience by letting them monitor and interact with guests at their front door, whether at home or not.
These cameras are either battery-powered or hardwired into an existing doorbell.
Here’s what you should know about doorbell cameras:
- Integrated Camera: A doorbell camera incorporates a built-in camera lens at its core. The camera is well-placed within the doorbell unit and features a wide-angle lens to capture a broad view of the area around your front door. Most models have high-definition video quality for clear footage.
- Two-Way Audio: Doorbell cameras are outfitted with two-way audio communication capabilities, meaning you can see what’s taking place at your front door while conversing with the guest at your doorstep. This feature lets you interact with delivery personnel or visitors through your smart device.
- Motion Detection: Doorbell cameras often come with motion detection capabilities. They incorporate sensors that can detect movement in the camera’s field of view. The camera can trigger numerous actions when it detects motion, including recording video footage or sharing alerts to your smart device.
- Night Vision: Doorbell cameras are equipped with infrared (IR) or other low-light technology to provide around-the-clock security. It means the camera can capture detailed footage even in dark conditions.
- Remote Access: Doorbell cameras allow you to access live feeds and recorded footage from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. You can monitor your front door, whether on vacation, at work, or at home.
What Are the Advantages of Doorbell Security Cameras?
Beyond the convenience of viewing live feeds of the front door, doorbell cameras have numerous benefits that help protect your home from package theft and burglary. Sure, you can’t be home all day to deter intruders: you have work and errands to run. So, with these cameras, you can feel like you’re home when you are not.
Here are the benefits of doorbell cameras:
- Deterring Would-be Intruders
Doorbell cameras are great deterrents for potential burglars. Their presence at the front door sends a clear message: your property is under surveillance. No one appreciates being caught on camera, particularly not those with illicit conduct. Installing these cameras can be reassuring when you’re not around.
- Catching Porch Pirates Red-Handed
We’ve all heard stories about porch pirates storming in to steal packages or witnessed it firsthand. With online shopping becoming necessary, doorstep deliveries are ripe for the taking.
Fortunately, doorbell cameras add an extra layer of security. You’ll be notified the moment a stranger enters your property, plus you can track the delivery of your package, and if anyone tries to claim it, you have them on video.
- Helping Law Enforcement
Regarding catching perpetrators on video, doorbell cameras can help law enforcement agencies investigate. In the unfortunate event of a security incident, the footage from your doorbell camera can offer valuable information that helps law enforcement solve the case. This information can also help with insurance claims, offering a clear account of events.
- Two-way Communication
This capability lets you interact with anyone at your doorstep, including delivery personnel and guests, or prevent suspicious people. It improves overall convenience, saves time, and provides a safer way to see who’s outside without physically opening the door.
- Night Vision
Another remarkable feature of doorbell cameras is their ability to produce clear and detailed footage at night, courtesy of infrared technology. With this feature, you don’t have to worry about recording in low-light conditions, maintaining the camera’s effectiveness.
- Integration with Smart Home Systems
Doorbell cameras integrate with other smart home devices, allowing you to create customized routines or automation. For instance, you can program your lights to set off when motion is detected at the front door, improving security and convenience.
- Resale Value
You can increase the resale value of your home by installing a doorbell camera. In today’s market, homebuyers focus on security features, and a doorbell camera is an excellent addition that can make your home more appealing to would-be buyers.
- Cloud Storage
Most video doorbells support cloud storage for captured video clips. Cloud storage is secure and convenient, preserving your footage even if the camera is vandalized or stolen.
So that’s it! Video doorbells aren’t just for monitoring intruders; they are a tool for peace of mind.
How Do Doorbell Cameras Work?
Doorbell cameras have a similar working mechanism to security cameras. They capture video during the day or at night through infrared LED sensors, a spotlight, and audio via a speaker and microphone. The captured footage is stored locally in a built-in micro SD card or remotely via a cloud server.
When someone approaches the doorbell, the device will sense the motion and alert you through your smartphone’s app, which you can open to see a live video feed of the guest at your door. Even if you miss the alert, the doorbell camera will record the video so you can see it at your convenience.
These alerts are shared through a WiFi connection. However, some doorbell cameras support cellular or landline backup, meaning they can interact with the cellular towers or phone wires that remain on during power outages. Some models deploy artificial intelligence to differentiate between individuals, animals, and other moving objects; otherwise, the camera will send you unwanted alerts.
How to Install a Video Doorbell Camera
It’s easy to understand the appeal of doorbell cameras, but installation can be challenging based on the type of camera you want to set up. Battery-powered models are so easy to install: charge their batteries and mount them close to your door. Hardwired ones need a little more work. Let’s focus on installing battery-powered video doorbells.
How to Install a Battery-Powered Doorbell Camera
Step 1: Charge the Doorbell’s Battery
Begin by fully charging your doorbell’s battery before mounting it. Most models feature a micro USB cable for charging the battery (but you should detach the doorbell from the wall whenever it needs to be recharged). Some units have a removable battery pack that can be swapped without detaching the doorbell.
Step 2: Mount the Doorbell
Doorbell cameras come with a mounting bracket. You may need to use your own or included anchors and drill bits if you intend to set up the doorbell camera on brick, concrete, or stone.
After securing the mounting bracket, attach the doorbell to it and screw in the bottom of the doorbell using a screwdriver. If you stay in a rental property, you should first ask for permission from your landlord before installing the doorbell camera.
Step 3: Set up the Doorbell App
Next, download the doorbell app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer to access the video from your doorbell camera and set up your account. Connect your doorbell to your home’s WiFi network via the app. If you experience connectivity issues, use a WiFi extender to boost the WiFi signal near your doorbell camera.
After connecting the doorbell, customize the settings, including motion sensitivity and video recording length. The default motion sensitivity is usually set very high, so every moving object, like cars, gets picked up, which is very annoying if you reside in an area with high traffic.
Step 4: Set Up the Doorbell Chime
Most doorbell cameras have a plug-in chime. If yours doesn’t, you need to purchase one. The mobile app shares alerts when visitors are at your doorstep, but a separate chime lets the household members know when you have guests.
Plug in the chime and follow the setup guidelines in the doorbell app. Some of these chimes deliver different sounds ranging from the typical “ding-dong” to a gobbling turkey for Thanksgiving, which you can easily change in the app.
How to Install a Hardwired Doorbell Camera
Step 1: Shut Off the Circuit Breaker for the Existing Doorbell
First, find and shut off the circuit breaker, powering your doorbell to handle the electrical wiring safely. If you are unsure which breaker powers your doorbell, try switching off one at a time to confirm whether it still rings when you press it.
Step 2: Examine Your Doorbell Transformer
You should ensure your transformer delivers the proper voltage for your doorbell camera, usually 16 to 24 volts. If the voltage is below 16, there will be insufficient power to operationalize the doorbell. At the same time, if the voltage is too high, it might overload and damage your new doorbell.
To access the transformer, open the doorbell chime box and trace where the wire linked to the “trans” terminal goes. The transformer should feature markings such as “16-24V AC” to show the voltage. If you can’t spot these markings, use a multimeter to check the voltage.
Step 3: Examine and Rewire Your Doorbell Chime
Detach the chime’s cover and inspect the inside to see whether it’s a mechanical or digital chime. Mechanical chimes use a small hammer to strike a physical chime whenever the doorbell is pressed. On the other hand, digital chimes are tiny speakers that play a tune.
If you have a digital chime, install a special diode at the wire ends that link to the doorbell. Some doorbell cameras have a special adapter that should be installed in the chime itself, irrespective of whether the chime is digital or mechanical. It would be better to refer to the instructions to determine the requirements for your doorbell camera.
Step 4: Uninstall the Existing Doorbell
Remove the existing doorbell and detach the wires from the two terminals behind the doorbell. Ensure the wires do not fall back inside the wall; removing them will be difficult.
Step 5: Mount the New Video Doorbell
Attach the mounting bracket where you plan to install the doorbell. Pull the two doorbell wires through the center of the bracket before securing the bracket on the wall. Then, drill pilot holes and screw the bracket into the mounting surface.
With this done, connect the wires to the two terminals on the doorbell and gently place your doorbell over the mounting bracket, applying a little force if needed. Screw in the security screws to secure the doorbell to the bracket.
Step 6: Restore Power and Set Up the Doorbell via the Smartphone App
Now that you’re done with the installation, you can turn on the power at the circuit breaker. Download the doorbell app and create an account to set up the doorbell. Once installed, customize the settings for a better experience. You can lower the motion sensitivity to avoid unnecessary alerts or enable intelligent alerts, like package detection. Equally important is to set up two-factor authentication to prevent hacking.
Best Smart Doorbell Security Cameras
Doorbell cameras are the current trend in home security. They show who’s at your doorstep, and most can be conveniently configured with a smart device, allowing for a range of functionality, like remotely interacting with the person at the door. It’s an exciting new realm when it comes to the once-humble doorbell.
Keep reading this guide to discover the best smart doorbell security cameras available.
The Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell is user-friendly, fully featured, and offers real-time audio, night vision, and motion detection. The doorbell camera provides high-quality video resolution, adjustable between 1536p, 1080p, and 720p, while delivering 180 degrees of visibility, meaning you can see a person from head to toe or a package on the ground.
It is built to resist the rigors of outdoor installation; this camera installs easily through existing doorbell wiring, with a voltage between 16V AC and 24V AC. Also, the Arlo camera features a motion detector that triggers a siren when it picks up movement or alerts you through your smartphone if you opt for a paid subscription. The Arlo secure plan lets you access video storage and other features like person and animal detection.
What’s more? This quality bargain allows you to hear and converse with visitors with clear two-way audio or respond with pre-recorded quick reply messages.
- 180-degree viewing angle for extra adjustability and security
- Built-in alarm siren triggers to deter unauthorized guests
- HD with HDR quality footage ensures you view the details on your gadget, even in low-light or bright conditions.
- Connects directly to WiFi without extra gear
- Requires a subscription for advanced features such as video storage and object detection.
This camera may be for you if you want to scrap monthly fees. Eufy security camera includes numerous remarkable features for a very low upfront cost. The best part is that it has no hidden costs; it is meant to protect your home and wallet. This unit is a one-time purchase, blending security with convenience.
The two-way audio feature lets you speak directly with visitors at your front door. Also, you can respond with pre-recorded quick reply messages like “You’ve just run out to get some groceries.” It doesn’t end there! This video doorbell employs AI technology to intelligently detect body shape and face patterns, ensuring you only receive alerts that matter the most to you.
Another remarkable feature is the electronic chime, which supports 8 fun, holiday-themed ringtones and adjustable volume levels. The camera also provides a high-definition (2K) resolution along with advanced HDR to ensure you get high-quality video.
- HDR imaging provides a clear image day and night
- Activity zones allow you to set the areas in which the camera will detect motion
- You can record up to 3 quick reply messages to respond when you are notified of activity
- It is available at a low upfront cost and does not include hidden fees.
- The picture quality is good, even at night.
- Motion detection doesn’t work consistently.
This battery-powered video doorbell is great for those hoping to enhance home security. With the built-in 2K sensor and professional-grade lens, you can see visitors in sharp detail as they approach your door. Plus, it has an expanded field of view, so you’ll get a head-to-toe view of anyone at your doorstep.
The eufy security video doorbell also offers next-level detection. You’ll have control over what is detected using the motion sensor, smart human detection, and activity zones. One more interesting feature is the camera sends you real-time alerts when someone approaches, meaning you’ll never keep guests waiting.
- Customized detection lets you draw an activity zone so you won’t get unnecessary alerts
- The on-device AI instantly analyses each event to determine whether or not a human is present.
- Next-level AES-256 data encryption keeps your footage private on storage and transmission.
- Can pre-record responses for different expected visitors.
- The battery life could be better.
Factors to Consider When Buying Doorbell Security Cameras
Doorbell security cameras are one of the most significant smart home purchases, so you should buy a quality option to guarantee the safety of your property. Here are the essential factors to consider when buying doorbell security cameras:
- Wired vs. Wireless
Standard doorbells are hardwired to draw power from your home’s electrical grid. These cameras can capitalize on this same system. They are designed to wire into existing doorbells and chime systems for continuous power.
Before purchasing a wired doorbell security camera, check that the voltage is compatible. A high voltage may overload or damage your doorbell, while a low voltage may not deliver sufficient power.
Wireless doorbell cameras are much easier to install as there’s no circuitry to mess around with. Also, these models can be mounted anywhere. The only downside is that they demand occasional recharging or battery replacements.
- Smart Device Integration
Most doorbell security cameras work independently, but others are designed to work with a home security system or smart home devices. These doorbells can be set up to work with smart home technology, including Amazon Alexa. If you intend to use the camera with a smart home device, check that the smart video doorbell can integrate with your existing technology.
- Range of View and Resolution
A doorbell security camera with a broad view lets you see what’s on both sides of the door, not just what’s directly in front. Some models support a full 180-degree view range for monitoring deliveries and limiting theft opportunities. It would help to opt for models with at least a 160-degree range of view.
When it comes to resolution, the higher, the better. Higher resolution ensures a clearer video playback. Go for top-of-the-line doorbell security cameras with a resolution of at least 1080p to ensure clear footage.
- Video Recording
A doorbell security camera offers continuous or motion-activated recording, which you can watch later. Playback is instrumental should you want to review part of the video. For instance, you can replay a video to see where the delivery guy put a package if you can’t find it.
Motion-activated recording will halt recording when there’s no more motion, so you don’t need to navigate hours of recorded video to view a single event.
- Advanced Features
The best doorbell security cameras have modern features that enhance user experience and home security. These key features include:
- Motion Detection: With this feature, you can configure your camera to send alerts to your phone when a visitor approaches the door. If you live on a busy street, you may not appreciate alerts whenever someone passes by. You can avoid this by configuring your doorbell camera to start recording video instead of sending alerts.
- Night Vision: In dark conditions, doorbell cameras with night vision capabilities switch to infrared mode, meaning you’ll still see whoever is at your door. Like daylight imagery, a high camera resolution translates to clear and detailed images when night vision is activated.
- Two-way Audio: The latest feature in video doorbells is the ability to converse with the person at your door through a smartphone. This feature is instrumental, especially if you want to instruct a delivery person on where to place your package.
- Chime Settings: Doorbell cameras offer dozens of chime options, like music and holiday themes. Some can play files uploaded from personal sound libraries, like a favorite song. Other models also support placing additional receivers in different locations throughout the house so you can never miss a ring.
Most shoppers prefer an easy-to-install doorbell security camera, so wireless doorbell cameras are an attractive option. They must only be mounted with adhesive tape or mounting hardware and linked to your smart system before use.
Wired models are challenging to install because they should be hardwired to your existing circuit. However, installation can be easier, assuming the new doorbell is compatible with the old system.
Most doorbell security cameras are installed outside, so they should tolerate the hottest days of summer, the most frigid days of winter, and everything in between. Regarding durability, you should consider IP rating and temperature range.
An IP rating tells you how the camera will resist different solids and liquids. For example, a doorbell camera with an IP rating of 23 will be protected from objects larger than 12.5 mm, while one with an IP rating of 68 is dust-tight and can even be submerged in water. Opt for doorbell cameras with an IP rating of at least 65 to get the most out of your camera.
Storing your captured footage is critical because
video evidence may be useful in a criminal investigation. Therefore, choose a doorbell camera with both cloud and local storage to have a backup if one option fails.
Doorbell security cameras take front door security to the next level by allowing you to monitor who approaches your door. With lower price tags and user-friendly features, these innovative devices are becoming more accessible to the average shopper. But …
How Does Doorbell Camera Improve Home Safety?
Doorbell cameras offer numerous remarkable features that help enhance home safety. They have a built-in siren, which sounds immediately when the camera detects motion. These cameras also have two-way audio that lets you interact with visitors without physically opening the door. But that’s not all! There’s more to recommend doorbell security cameras, including the ability to remotely monitor your property via your smartphone and preventing opportunist burglars from invading your home.