Best Wireless Video Doorbell Cameras – 2017 Recommendations

One of the hottest developments to hit the smart home market has been smart doorbells. Let’s just say it – a smart doorbell is one of the most exciting smart devices ever and really adds that cool factor to your home. Over the last 2 years, the humble doorbell has had a total makeover, taking on tasks that were hitherto the reserve of significantly more expensive security cameras.

The inherent advantage a doorbell has in becoming a smart video enabled device is the excellent vantage point. The doorbell is typically at the right height to get a clear face shot of anybody who shows up at your door. They are also then in good proximity for 2-way audio.

So you could answer your door as if you were at home, but without being at home! This is what a good smart video doorbell should be able to do. The experience should be so seamless that it should never occur to your visitors that you may actually not be in the house. What better way to scare of potential intruders casing your home and checking whether someone is at home.

I spent days researching and reviewing the dozens of smart doorbells on sale in 2017 to find out which ones are worth your hard earned money and which ones you should avoid. If you are not sure about a smart doorbell, I also suggest checking out my recent round-up of IP security cameras with audio features. These are often a great alternative to a smart wireless video doorbell.

Top 3 Wireless Smart Video Doorbells

The Best Smart DoorbellBest Bang for your BuckA Strong Contender
Rank 1 2 3
Model Doorbird WiFi Doorbell Zmodo Greet Ring Doorbell Pro
Resolution 720p 720p 1080p
Infrared Night Vision
Field of View 180° 155° 160°
Network Interface WiFi RJ-45 Ethernet PoE WiFi, Bluetooth WiFi
Power Source AC, PoE AC AC
Continuous video recording
Weather proof rating IP54 IP51
Read Review Jump to review Jump to review Jump to review
Price

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Best Wireless Smart Video Doorbells – 2017 Recommendations Summary

    1. 720p feature-packed PoE Cloud Video Doorbell: Doorbird WiFi Video Doorbell
    2. 720p smart doorbell that works without the cloud: ZModo Greet Video Doorbell
    3. 1080p Full HD Cloud-based Doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell Pro
    4. 1080p Full HD Cloud-based Doorbell: Skybell WiFi Video Doorbell
    5. 720p cheap doorbell that works without the cloud: Vuebell WiFi Video Doorbell

Doorbells we do not recommend:

    1. Style over substance: August WiFi Video Doorbell
    2. Bringing up the rear: Powerlead WiFi Video Doorbell



A quick note: This article may contain affiliate links from Amazon and/or other platforms. I don’t like ads and I’m sure you don’t either. So this is how we pay the bills and ensure a distraction-free experience for you, my dear reader. If you click on one of these links and then purchase something, I will receive affiliate income for referring you. This goes towards the costs of hosting and running this website and does not cost you anything extra. Thanks for your understanding! Also note that Hikvision and Dahua do not consider certain platforms including Amazon as an authorised seller, but personally I don’t mind the often lower costs.
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Wireless Video Doorbells – What to look for

The features to look for in a wireless smart video doorbell are:

      • Video Resolution – You should aim for at least a 720p resolution also caclled HD, Full HD or 1080p resolution (2MP) is better due to the increased chance of law enforcement being able to make a positive identification of faces
      • Night vision – An absolute must in a security camera, it should have InfraRed LEDs for true night vision. A true IR cut filter is good to have because this will ensure good night vision and true daytime colours (you don’t want that cheap looking purple hue!)
      • Field of view – Measured horizontally, it should be at least 90 degrees. This depends on the focal length of the camera lens.
      • Weather proofing – Good doorbells will have an IP rating which indicates its resistance to water ingress. Worth getting one with a rating as then you know your smart doorbell won’t fail in a particularly bad storm and become a very dumb and very dead doorbell.
      • Audio – A smart doorbell should have a microphone and speaker built-in
      • Local storage – in the form of a microSD card slot, or internal flash storage is very desirable because it means you don’t need to necessarily pay for a cloud storage subscription.
      • Software features – Live streaming capability is pretty much standard these days but the continuous recording feature is not. Email alerts on motion detection are essential, push notifications to smartphone app is ideal so that you know as soon as somebody is at your door regarldess of whether they actually push the button.
      • Cloud reliance – ideally not reliant on the cloud for operation, mainly because it introduces lag into your conversation.
      • Motion detection method – PIR motion sensor preferable to cut down on false alerts
      • Power source – Ethernet port preferable with PoE (Power over Ethernet) support, internal battery is good for power backup purposes
      • Wireless – Support for WiFi, Bluetooth
      • Advanced features:
        • Preferably API available for interfacing with home automation controllers
        • Preferably RTSP stream capable so that you can use 3rd party applications such as tinyCam Monitor Pro. ONVIF support is ideal as it means it can interface with hoem automation controllers such as my Vera Plus, and my existing DIY home NVR security system.
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Best Wireless Video Doorbells – 2017 Recommendations

Doorbird WiFi Video Doorbell – A feature-packed PoE cloud doorbell

The Doorbird is a very interesting doorbell that is developed, engineered and manufactured in Germany. It differentiates itself from the rest by having an insane amount of features and standards – it is the only smart video doorbell that I have seen to support the ONVIF protocol. It is also the only smart doorbell I have seen to have an RTSP stream, which means it can work with any app that can receive an RTSP stream (like tinyCam Monitor Pro). The RTSP stream can be accessed at rtsp://<device-ip>:<device-rtsp-port>/mpeg/media.amp

It also has an Ethernet port which supports Power over Ethernet (PoE 802.3af Mode-A) so is the perfect choice if you want to add a video doorbell to your existing standards compliant CCTV system (Synology or QNAP NAS/Hikvision NVR, BlueIris etc.).

The camera is only 720p which is only average, however it has a hemispheric lens which provides a brilliant 180 degree field of view just like the Skybell video doorbell. The vertical field of view is also a very good 90 degrees. 12 InfraRed LEDs provide very good night vision with a true IR cut filter.

Two-way audio is standard along with noise cancellation and echo reduction features.

On the communications front, it has WiFi, Bluetooth (optional) and uniquely an RFID system using a 433 MHz transceiver. This adds compatibility with Volkswagen, digitalStrom, Control4, RTI, Elan, URC, Nuki, and Zipato. It also has its own API which should be of interest to home automation fans.

Cloud features

Just as most of these smart video doorbells, the Doorbird is reliant on the cloud for advanced operations:

“Our products are cloud-based solutions (see also NEST, Dropbox, etc.). For reasons of reliability and security no port forwarding is conducted through the internet (using NAT or DynDNS). Our products establish an encrypted VPN tunnel connection to our cloud server (located in a highly secured data centre in Germany). Our products rely on the same secure communications technology used by financial institutions for online banking (SSL). The remote access via our cloud-server is free of charge. It is not technically possible to use our products autonomously without internet access or without access to our cloud servers, as otherwise key functionality like, for example, push notifications (special server security certificates required by Apple and Google), remote access, periodic free software updates etc. would not be available.”

PROS:
      • 1080p Full HD video resolution
      • 12 InfraRed LEDs for true night vision with true IR cut filter
      • Fish-eye lens with 180 degree field of view
      • IP54 weather rating
      • WiFi supported
      • Continuous recording feature
      • PIR motion sensor
      • Ethernet port with PoE
      • ONVIF and RTSP support
      • Has a 433 MHz transceiver
      • API for interfacing with home automation controllers
      • Supports a wide range of Home Automation protocols

CONS:
      • No local storage/SD card slot
      • Reliant on the cloud for operation/motion detection
      • No internal battery

DoorBird Video Door Station D101, Polycarbonate Housing, White Edition, POE WiFi

Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm

DoorBird WiFi Video Doorbell D101S, Strato Silver Edition

Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm

ZModo Greet WiFi Video Doorbell – A smart doorbell that is not reliant on the cloud

The Zmodo Greet can call you on your smartphone when someone presses its bell button. It can also send you a 30 second video clip if it detects motion in front of the doorbell. The 155° horizontal angle is excellent and should make it very difficult for someone to dodge the Zmodo Greet. The downside is that it has only a resolution of  720p, whereas the Ring Pro has a better 1080p resolution.

It has infrared LEDs for night vision with a rather limited range of 10 feet. It does however have a true IR cut filter. A light sensor lets the camera automatically switch to night mode when the sun sets.

Two way audio communication is possible thanks to the integrated microphone and speaker combo. Interestingly the Greet has local storage in the form of 8GB internal memory.

The ZModo Greet is weatherproof and has an IP rating but it is only IP51 rated – the 5 in IP51 means the Greet has limited protection against dust ingress and the 1 in IP51 means it is protected against vertically falling drops of water or condensation. Translation: the weather proofing is not great but its a start, it should be fine in a semi-sheltered porch.

Cloud Features

The ZModo Greet is the only half-decent smart video doorbell that I could find which is not crippled into relying on the cloud for basic operation. The camera makes a direct encrypted P2P connection from to your smartphone. Its internal 8GB flash storage means video clips and images are stored locally instead of a remote location.

Of course there is a risk that somebody may just steal the whole thing along with your precious video clips which you haven’t seen yet. Well there are two ways you can overcome this problem:

  • set up email alerts with attached snapshots which you should do anyway
  • the Greet has a high security theft proof screw which should deter all but the most determined thieves
PROS:
      • InfraRed LEDs for true night vision, true IR cut filter
      • Wide-angle 155° field of view
      • IP51 weather-proof
      • WiFi and Bluetooth supported
      • 8GB Internal Flash memory
      • Not reliant on the cloud for operation
      • PIR motion sensor

CONS:
      • Only 720p resolution
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No Ethernet port/No PoE
      • No internal battery
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

Zmodo Greet - Smart WiFi Video Doorbell

Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm
$105.04 $203.72

Ring Video Doorbell Pro – A popular yet flawed 1080p cloud doorbell

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the latest model in the Ring family of doorbells and was launched in March 2016. It is dependent on a power supply. It differs from the standard Ring WiFi doorbell in that it doesn’t have a battery but has an upgraded 1080p sensor. It can also send you motion detection alerts to your email or smartphone if it detects motion in front of it. However it cannot record video continuously.

PROS:
      • 1080p Full HD video resolution
      • InfraRed LEDs for true night vision, true IR cut filter
      • Wide-angle lens with 160° field of view
      • 2.4/5 GHz WiFi supported

CONS:
      • No weather-proof or water-proof rating
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No local storage/SD card slot
      • Reliant on the cloud for operation
      • No PIR motion sensor
      • No Ethernet port/No PoE
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

Check out my review below for more information:

Review: Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Video doorbells are a great addition to your home security arsenal. I am just about to embark on my home automation ...

7.5

I do not recommend the original Ring WiFi doorbell because it works only on an internal battery and is limited to a 720p resolution.

One point to note is that Ring doesn’t claim any weatherproof rating for its doorbells, which is one of my biggest bugbears with their video doorbells. The company seems to have been overwhelmed by the incredible popularity of its products, with customer service being less than stellar of late.

Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell

2 used from $149.99
Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm

Skybell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell – Another Full HD 1080p cloud doorbell

The Skybell is one of those rare products that is designed and manufactured in the USA. California to be exact. For many, that itself is a great advantage when buying a tech gadget.

The Skybell HD is a very small unit at 2.8 inches across and just 0.9 inches deep. It is a straight replacement for your existing wired doorbell if it uses a transformer. It comes with a mounting plate, so it is quiet easy to install to any surface.

The camera of the doorbell can do upto 1080p Full HD video, which is very good. It also has a class-leading 180 degree field of view. It has the standard features you would expect such 2-way audio using a microphone and a speaker. It has a unique multi-colour bell push button that can do 16 million colours, a nice personalisation touch to make your doorbell truly yours. Additionally it has a real PIR sensor which should aid massively with motion detection.

Alas the doorbell doesn’t have true night vision because it doesn’t have Infrared LEDs. Instead it has a standard white LED light to light up the person in front of the doorbell. This is fine if its a person standing right in front of the doorbell, but limited by the 15 feet range of the PIR sensor for triggering an alert at night. It doesn’t have a local storage option such as an SD card so all video is routed through their cloud servers. This means you need a decent internet connection with an upload speed of at least 1.5 Mbps.

The Skybell HD has an IPX4 weather proof rating, which means it is not rated for solid ingress but is protected against splash water from any direction. It is claimed to work between -40 and 140 degrees F.

So how does it work? There are 3 ways you can use the Skybell HD video doorbell:

      1. A visitor presses the bell button and you get a call on your smartphone.
      2. A visitor doesn’t press the button, but the PIR motion sensor detects motion and alerts you.
      3. Live view – you can check in any time to see what’s going on at your front door.

This image below should explain the details:

How about compatibility with home automation? It supports IFTTT, Alexa, Nest and many other home automation protocols and controllers.

PROS:
      • 1080p Full HD video resolution
      • Field of view not mentioned
      • IPX4 weather rating
      • WiFi supported
      • PIR motion sensor
      • Supports a wide range of Home Automation protocols

CONS:
      • No InfraRed LEDs for true night vision
      • No weather-proof or water-proof rating
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No local storage/SD card slot
      • Reliant on the cloud for operation/motion detection
      • No ethernet port/No PoE
      • No internal battery
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

SkyBell HD Bronze WiFi Video Doorbell

Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm

SkyBell HD Silver WiFi Video Doorbell

2 used from $179.99
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm

Vuebell WiFi Video Doorbell (Hardwired) – A cheap 720p doorbell that works without the cloud

Vuebell is a brand owned by the Chinese manufacturer, Netview Technologies (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. They have been in business since June 2010 and their camera are sole on Amazon and HomeDepot.

The Vuebell consists of an outdoor unit and an optional indoor chime unit. At just over 3.1 inches x 3.1 inches, the Vuebell’s outdoor unit has a very attractive design and looks very much a premium device. It is smaller than the standard video doorbell. Even so, it sports Infrared LED lights, a microphone, a speaker, and a Passive InfraRed (PIR) detector.

The video sensor has a max resolution of 720p which is about par for video doorbells but has an outstanding 185 degrees field of view. You can get a live view on your smartphone whenever somebody presses the doorbell, when the PIR detects motion within its range of 3 metres or you can simply check in any time to watch. It can send you motion detection alerts and save clips on either a micro SD card or on the free cloud storage account.

The outdoor unit of the Vuebell is very easy to install as it is a straight replacement for your existing hardwired doorbell. It just uses your existing hardwired doorbell transformer.

The indoor unit is a great touch and has a range of chimes. The chime volume can be adjusted and can be very loud if you need it to be.

There are several disadvantages but the biggest one is the lack of a weather-proof rating.

Cloud features

The optional cloud service is based on Amazon Web Services and costs $2 per month which is the lowest I have come across.

PROS:
      • InfraRed LEDs for true night vision, true IR cut filter
      • Fish-eye lens with 185° field of view
      • WiFi supported
      • Not reliant on the cloud for operation
      • PIR motion sensor

CONS:
      • Only 720p resolution
      • No weather-proof or water-proof rating
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No ethernet port/No PoE
      • No internal battery
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

VueBell WIFI HD Camera Video Doorbell, with Motion Detection,Two Way Audio ,and Wireless Door Bell Chime Included(Hard wired version)

Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm
$109.00 $259.99
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Smart Doorbells we do not recommended

August Wi-Fi Video Doorbell – Style over substance

The August Wi-Fi Video doorbell was one of the first smart video doorbells to hit the market. So its features now look a bit dated compared to the latest gen models such as the Ring and Skybell doorbells. It is designed to work with the optional Smart Lock so that you can answer the door and then unlock it if desired. With its smart industrial design and sleek looks, it won over many looking for a stylish and smart video doorbell.

The August Wi-Fi Video doorbell was selected by Fortune magazine as the Best Doorbell. However I find that very strange because it doesn’t have Infrared LEDs, it relies on a standard white LED for lighting the scene at night. This is fine for lighting up somebody right in front of the camera but in the absence of a PIR motion sensor, makes the camera very poor at detecting motion in the night.

PROS:
      • Needs a cloud subscription for recording and playing back videos
      • 960p HD video resolution
      • WiFi supported

CONS:
      • No InfraRed LEDs for night vision
      • No weather-proof rating
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No local storage/SD card slot
      • Reliant on the cloud for operation/motion detection
      • No PIR motion sensor
      • No ethernet port/No PoE (Power over Ethernet)
      • No internal battery
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

August Doorbell Cam, Silver

25 used from $97.99
Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm
$134.95 $199.99

Powerlead WiFi Video Doorbell – Bringing up the rear

The Powerlead Wi-Fi doorbell is a 720p video doorbell that is definitely from one of the lesser known brands.

It does have all the features you would expect it to have – InfraRed LEDs for night vision, photo-resistor for day/night mode auto-switch, Wi-Fi, a microphone and speaker.

It doesn’t look very great though and the bell button itself is not very prominent. I wouldn’t recommend this camera for a novice, but if you are looking for certain features such as the ability to work with a smart lock, this might be a good choice for you.

PROS:
      • InfraRed LEDs for true night vision, true IR cut filter
      • 120 degree field of view
      • WiFi supported
      • Not reliant on the cloud for operation
      • PIR motion sensor
      • RJ-45 Ethernet port present

CONS:
      • Only 720p resolution
      • No weather-proof or water-proof rating
      • No continuous recording feature
      • No PoE
      • No internal battery
      • No ONVIF support, not RTSP stream capable
      • No API for interfacing with home automation controllers

PowerLead Pdor D012 Doorbell Wifi Video Door Phone Doorbell Wireless Intercom Enabled Video Doorbell

Free shipping
Last update was in: October 23, 2017 5:47 pm
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Conclusion

There are dozens of smart video doorbells that I researched and rejected before arriving at the list above. Since these are products aimed at the mass market, most of them are designed as if you will not have any other smart device in your home. This is simply unacceptable as more and more homes are getting smarter with a multitude of smart devices that all need to communicate with each other. This is why I always check whether a product can work locally without cloud reliance and supports industry standards such as RTSP or ONVIF.

So the smart doorbell market has some way to go before it catches up with proper security cameras when it comes to integrating with a smart home. But now is as great a time as any to get your toes wet. So please let me know which smart doorbell you are going for, I would love to hear from you!

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5 Comments
  1. Reply
    Alex January 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I’m the developer behind tinyCam Monitor Android app and just found your article. The next update of tinyCam Monitor will add support for 2-w audio and RTSP for DoorBird into the app.

    • Reply
      Daniel January 12, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for the info, I am a big fan of your app and recommend it all the time!

      Daniel

  2. Reply
    Gerben June 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Any input on the dbell HD live (dbell.ca)? It does ONVIF but reviews are hard to come by.

    • Reply
      Daniel June 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      Sorry I have no experience with this camera. I will try to get a review done.

  3. Reply
    Ed September 23, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Any review of the dbell HD Live and how it compares?

    Leave a reply

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