Our homes offer us respite from the world around us, providing us with relief from the stress of school, work, or any curveballs life throws. Our homes are a place to relax, to hang out with friends, and to connect with family. We feel a sense of safety and security in our homes, partly due to security systems in placeanything from a simple door lock to more advanced holistic security or alarm systems. However, it’s an unfortunate reality, but we must protect ourselves from outside threats and those who may attempt to do harm to us or our property.

Research from the FBI indicates that over 1.4 million burglaries occurred in the US in 2017 alone, a 7.6% drop from the previous year (and down a whopping 37.1% since 2008), but still a substantial number. Almost 60% involved forcible entry, and victims cumulatively suffered billions of dollars in property loss or damage. Even simple security systems can prevent or dissuade potential burglars, but additional protection may be a welcome investment for some.

While door locks have existed for millennia, and home alarm systems have existed for many decades, only in recent times has smart security emerged as another security measure. Smart security is a branch of smart home technology which, of course, aids in the security of one’s home through electronic means. Smart security cameras, smart locks, and smart home security systems all offer an additional level of protection over more conventional security offerings. All connect to the internet and integrate with other smart devices, letting the end user control this level of security from their smartphone alone.

Smart doorbells are another piece of the smart security puzzle, and no exception to this rule. It may at first sound like a gimmick, but smart doorbells certainly have an important place in the smart security market, filling a niche no other product does.

 

SO WHAT IS A SMART DOORBELL?

Apart from acting as a standard doorbell, a smart doorbell is capable of performing several additional functions. The defining feature of a smart doorbell is its camera: the feature which sets this product apart. Without ever having to open your door, you can see exactly who’s on the other side with a live HD video feed streamed straight to your phone through a specialized app. Many smart doorbells even come with proximity sensors which send a notification to your phone. This also works whenever the doorbell is rung.

Two way communication is also available, and means that once you know who’s there, you can speak to them using a microphone and speaker integrated in the device. Again, this can be accessed through your phone, meaning you can speak to someone through the doorbell even if you’re not home.

 

THE CONTENDERS

The smart doorbell market is surprisingly saturated. While all these devices share a central function, not all of them are equal in terms of features, ease of installation, and quality.

Our first choice is the popular Ring Video Doorbell 2, one of the best smart doorbells on the market. Integrating with iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows devices, this offering from Ring features two way audio, motion sensing, cloud recording, and infrared night vision. With its external battery pack, the Ring can last between six months and a year before needing to be recharged again, and its durable, water-resistant design means it can withstand the weather. Finally, its easy installation (hardwiring is only optional) means you can have your new Ring up and running very quickly.

If you don’t mind hardwiring, the Google Nest Hello is not only a worthy adversary to the Ring, but in some ways is an upgrade. Featuring one of the sleekest designs in the segment, the Nest Hello is unobtrusive and can fit a wider range of door frames. It also records and stores video 24/7, unlike the Ring, which only records when motion is detected. Facial recognition software learns and identifies faces, automatically tagging clips which feature people into Nest’s cloud service, although in its present state, this face recognition software can be unreliable.

 

ABSOLUTE SECURITY

Smart security may not be necessary for every home, but provides an extra level of safety, incorporating features which can’t be matched by traditional devices, with the exception of home alarm systems. If you are hesitant to fully adopt smart security into your home (check out our guide for additional information), installing a simple smart doorbell like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 or Google Nest Hello can be a good first introduction.

The only prohibitive factor may be price, but a smart doorbell is well worth the investment. Although no one will be able to tell you a knock knock joke again (you’ll already know who’s there!), a smart doorbell can be a valuable addition to the security of your home.