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Video doorbells
Video doorbells guide darcella

Ring is the most popular and widely advertised make of video doorbells on the market. They were one of the first companies to really showcase the benefit of being able to answer your door from anywhere.

Customizable motion detection zones

We think that what separates this doorbell from the rest, is the inclusion of motion detection technology. Ring has invested wisely in innovation that allows you to customize specific zones to detect. This means you won’t end up with hours of wasted recordings because of a drape flapping in the wind or your neighbor’s garage door opening. You will notice that the doorbell records about 5 seconds before the motion triggers occurs indicating that the device is recording constantly and simply adds a few seconds either side of the snippet, ingenious!

Creating the zones is easy, you simply drag and drop and shape them in the admin panel. You might need to tweak it over the first few weeks but when you get it right you can guarantee that the doorbell will be recording legitimate events each time.

As for the recordings, we found them to be a decent length of time at just over 1 minute compared to some other brands that only capture 30 seconds. You will find that the battery powered models capture less recorded time to reduce the drain on the batteries.

Ring Motion Detection Zones

Installation

Ring will be insistent that you get an electrician to install your new video doorbell. If you’re not sure, here’s a good test. The package with a transformer which steps the voltage down to 24 volts, if have no idea what we just said then we recommend that you seriously consider calling in the professionals and factor about $100 into your budget just in case.

Final thoughts

The ultimate irony is someone stealing your theft prevention system but funnily enough is does happen. Should this happen and if you are unable to identify the culprit with your Ring Video Doorbell then Ring will kindly replace it.

Another admiral quality of Ring is their latest app update that has a community feature that lets you share concerning videos with nearby Ring users. You aren’t identified by name or address, but a recent update lets you leave comments on neighbors’ videos to ask for more info or compare notes.

Key facts

  • 1080p full-HD video recording
  • 160-degree field of view
  • 2-way audio with echo cancellation
  • night vision
  • -20 to 50-degree operation
  • 2-year warranty
  • Community video sharing
Video doorbells guide darcella

Parcel theft on the rise

According to USA Today, parcel theft is increasing with over half of Americans knowing someone who has had a parcel stolen and 30% who have been victims themselves.

Of course, CCTV is one answer but we advise that you read this guide first. A video doorbell is so much more and in this guide for buying the best video doorbell, we will explain exactly why.

Wired or battery powered

When you come to buy a video doorbell you should decide if you want to have it wired into your home for power or use batteries. There will be a big difference in price between the two types. The wired devices generally have more features and higher resolution and can be complicated to install, whereas the battery powered ones can be set up in a matter of minutes.

Wireless battery powered video doorbells

The biggest advantage of a wireless video doorbell is that you can attach it to any part of your property. As long as you can get wifi signal then you can place it pretty much anywhere you want. Make sure you read the guidance for the best position but of course if you’re not happy with it then you can always reposition it with ease.

The biggest disadvantage of a wireless doorbell is that you will need to replace or charge the batteries about every 2-4 months. This depends on how much it gets used and also how many people approach your property. Some devices will record every person who gets near to your door and those recordings will use loads of power. We also learned that people who live in colder climates find that batteries drain a lot faster.

Video-doorbell-battery-recharge
Battery operated video doorbells can be easily charged

Permanently powered wired devices

For wired devices, if your home doesn’t have the wiring in place already, then our advice is to get someone to install it for you. It will involve connected it to the mains electricity with a step-down transformer to reduce the voltage down to 16-24volts. However, if you are replacing a traditional push button doorbell then it should be simple as disconnecting the old bell and wiring up the new video doorbell with the two wires. Make sure you read the instructions carefully at this point.

Video doorbell wired
Installing a video doorbell with existing wiring

We recommend the wired doorbells. Having them wired into your home means that they will be constantly powered, you will have access to high-resolution video, quality sound and it will have a better chance of keeping you and your property safe against unwanted visitors.

Design considerations

Video doorbells come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, expect the battery-powered doorbells to be bigger to contain those batteries but the wired doorbells are slimmer and tend to be better designed.

Generally the more expensive the item the nicer the finish and with more choice of colors.

Camera technology is so advanced these days that the device doesn’t have to be big. In fact, if the device has two-way audio, which allows you to have a conversation with the visitor, then the speaker will be the largest component in the box.

Smart features

Answer from anywhere

Ring answer from anywhere
Answer your door on a computer, tablet or cell phone

The most exciting feature of a video doorbell is that you can answer without being physically in your house. This is done by streaming the video to your cell phone via an app. The doorbell can sense movement and send you an alert even before they get to the door. This is a great security feature as you can pretend that you are in but you can’t make it to the door right now. If it’s the parcel delivery man then you can give them directions to leave it somewhere out of sight and that you will collect it shortly.

Safe storage for your recordings

We haven’t found a video doorbell that offers local storage for recordings yet. That doesn’t mean to say they don’t exist. But for now, most video doorbells come with the ability to stream your video to cloud storage. This may come at an extra cost but usually only a few bucks a month. We think this is worth it as those recordings could mean the difference between a successful and non-successful insurance claim. No-one will be able to break into your house and steal the video recordings to cover their tracks.

Motion detection

One of our favorite features. Motion detection allows the video doorbell to start recording people as they approach your property. In some cases, they can even detect the difference between animals and people. You can even set up motion detection zones so you can ignore a road or footpath nearby and prevent it from capturing every person that walks within view.

Ring Motion Detection Zones
Ring motion detection zones

The more expensive models come with facial recognition software that will identify and even alert you to who is about to knock at your door. You can have a voice say it to you or set a different chime for different groups of people, for instance, people you know and don’t know. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you being nosey and just using your app to stream from your camera on demand to look outside your home.

Integration with other smart devices

The beauty of the internet of things (IOT) is the interoperability of smart devices and their ability to integrate with each other. If you have an existing video surveillance system, you may be able to link it up with your new video doorbell. Also, you might want to link it with your house alarm and set certain conditions. This uses a new protocol called ITTT (If This Then That) and becomes easy to include your video doorbell in your security plan.

It may come as no surprise that you can link the video doorbell to Alexa or Google Assistant. Therefore you can say “Alexa, show me who is at the door on the TV”.