The 7 Best Smart Doorbell Cameras of 2020

Always know who's knocking at your door

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"The Google Nest Hello is the best option when you need to record and stream video from your smart doorbell."
"A standout option for the wallet-conscious shopper and includes many great features."
Best Video Recording and Streaming:
Eufy Security at Amazon
"The Eufy 2K video doorbell is one of the very best when it comes to HD smart doorbell cameras."
Best Viewing Area:
Arlo Video Doorbell at Amazon
"The Arlo video doorbell is an excellent choice if you're in the market for a smart doorbell with a wide viewing area."
"No need to hardwire the RemoBell to your existing doorbell."
"With its app feature, it’s accessible to view live stream video from outside your home."
"Comes with a 16GB microSD to start, but the slot will accommodate up to 128GB."

Keeping your home safe is an important task and you shouldn't trust it to just anyone. If you want the the best smart doorbell cameras, you have a couple brands to choose from including RCA, Zmodo, VueBell, and others. Ring is a prominent name in the space, but we've chosen not to include them on this list due to known security issues and vulnerabilities. To ensure your security, we've researched and reviewed several doorbells to find the ones that can handle the outdoors, support multiple backup options, and offer high-quality wide-angle video recording.

For a more comprehensive smart home setup, check out our list of best smart home products.Otherwise, check out our best smart doorbell cameras below.

Best Overall: Google Nest Hello

What We Like
  •  24/7 streaming

  • 30 recording history

  • Create and share custom clips

What We Don't Like
  • Requires monthly or yearly fee

The Google Nest Hello is the best option when you need to record and stream video from your smart doorbell. This doorbell features 24/7 video streaming so you don't have to wait for an alert to know it's working. It also has continuous recording with three-hour snapshots and storage for up to 30 days of recording history to help identify unwanted visitors or criminals. 

You can create custom video clips and timelapse videos to share with family and friends as well as local law enforcement to alert them to suspicious people. The doorbell picks up on noise and motion alerts as well as when someone steps into frame and sends you a notification so you always know who is at your house. When you can't get to the door, you can record and play up to three quick responses to let friends and family know you aren't home or to deter criminals. Lifewire's review, by Erika Rawes, calls out the Nest's bumper crop of stellar features, including that package and person detection, and crystal clear two-way audio.

"The Google Nest Hello sets a gold standard for other video doorbells." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Budget: Zmodo Greet Smart Doorbell

What We Like
  • Budget price

  • Zmodo beam WI-Fi extender

  • Internal storage and subscription

What We Don't Like
  • No 1080p video

Zmodo’s budget-priced Greet Smart Doorbell is a standout option for the wallet-conscious shopper and includes many great features found on higher-priced models. The Zmodo offers two-way communication, so you can see and speak to visitors, plus smart motion detection that sends alerts via smartphone and records a short video clip whenever motion is sensed. And if you can’t answer the door, the Zmodo can play a brief, personalized voice message when you’re unavailable. Our reviewer praised the audio quality on both the device itself and the app.

Beyond its mainstream features, the setup utilizes existing doorbell wiring and adds the Zmodo Beam as a dual Wi-Fi extender and Wi-Fi companion to the bell, which pairs quickly to the downloadable Android and iOS smartphone app. Once it’s installed, the 720p camera helps capture up to 8GB of video storage with an option for a subscription-based cloud backup service that combines with night vision, so you can see and remember who is at your door no matter the time of day. While it doesn’t offer true “HD” video capture at 1080p, the Zmodo offers just about every feature a smart doorbell shopper could want at a price that’s too good to pass up.

"Past the prolonged setup process, I found the Zmodo app and the Greet performed well." Nick Jaynes, Product Tester

Best Video Recording and Streaming: Eufy Security Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

What We Like
  •  2K HD video

  • Facial snapshots

  • Military-grade encryption

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult installation

The Eufy 2K video doorbell is one of the besdt when it comes to HD smart doorbell cameras. It provides 2K HD video recording and playback with HDR support for clearer images and greater detail so you can more easily tell the difference between friends stopping by while you're out, package deliveries or service personnel, and suspicious strangers. Eufy stores your video recordings locally behind military-grade encryption so your footage stays private and secure. Our product tester, Erika Rawes, praised the clear video, and also called out the advanced motion zoning in her review.

The camera uses an AI algorithm to detect human body shapes and faces, so you never get false alerts from pets or stray animals. The doorbell will also send you a facial snapshot notification when triggered so you always know who stopped by. It's compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices so you can check your doorbell footage wherever you are in the house. When you can't immediately respond to visitors, this doorbell allows you to record up to three quick responses to deter criminals.

"The Eufy Video Doorbell is one of the better options for those who don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Viewing Area: Arlo Video Doorbell

What We Like
  • 180-degree field of view

  • Night vision

  • Siren

What We Don't Like
  • Requires monthly fee

The Arlo video doorbell is an excellent choice if you're in the market for a smart doorbell with a wide viewing area. The camera in this doorbell gives you a 180-degree field of view and a 1:1 aspect ratio that reduces distortion for easier identification of friends, family, and strangers. The camera also has a night vision mode to alert you to visitors even in the dark. With live, two-way audio, you can respond to visitors without having to open your door. You can also record up to three quick responses for when you aren't home or can't get to the door. 

The doorbell is motion-activated and makes video calls to your smartphone when triggered. There is a built-in siren that you can activate in an emergency to deter criminals or alert family in the house and neighbors to suspicious activity. The doorbell housing is water-resistant, ensuring that it will keep you alerted to visitors in almost any kind of weather.

"A budget-priced video doorbell with high-end specs and features." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Installation: Remo+ RemoBell S Smart Video Doorbell Camera

What We Like
  • No need to hardwire

  • Water and weather-resistant

  • 256-bit AES security

What We Don't Like
  • No local storage

  • Requires subscription

  • No desktop app

If you're looking for a smart video doorbell that's quick and easy to install, check out the one from RemoBell. Available right out of the box with six AA batteries, there’s no need to hardwire the RemoBell to your existing doorbell. Just mount the included bracket by screwing it into the wall, snap the main unit on the bracket and, for added peace of mind, screw in the additional security screw. Beyond fast installation, the RemoBell adds two-way audio, infrared night vision, advanced motion sensors, low battery reminders, 256-bit AES security and a 120-degree viewing angle. Erika also reviewed this RemoBell model for us, and awarded it 3.5 stars, saying it was aesthetically pleasing and sported good video quality and accurate motion detection.

Additionally, the RemoBell is water- and weather-resistant (it's capable of withstanding temperatures 0 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The included Cloud system for storing video is good, but it requires a small monthly subscription fee (and with no local storage, it’s a must if you want true security). Fortunately, each subscription works for up to five viewers, so it's possible to have multiple household members connected. Looking past storage, alerts come instantly via apps for both Android and iOS. While the lack of a desktop app is disappointing, the RemoBell offers great value, four months of battery life, inexpensive storage options and a great installation process.

"It has a modern design, and it doesn’t look flimsy or bulky." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Wireless: iseeBell Wi-Fi Enabled HD Video Doorbell

What We Like
  • Simple setup

  • Compact design

  • Includes night vision mode

What We Don't Like
  • No 1080p video

The iseeBell offers Wi-Fi connectivity at 2.4 GHz without the need of any wire setup or complicated installations. The tiny smart doorbell camera is compact (measuring 3.3 x 0.9 x 2.9 inches) and affordable. Erika reviewed the IseeBell for us and praised its wide viewing angle and low price.

With its dedicated smart app feature, the iseeBell connects to your iOS and Android devices through Wi-Fi, making it accessible to view live stream video from outside your home. The smart doorbell camera can also speak with visitors at your door, receive alerts and even snapshot pictures of any activity from remote locations. Shooting in 720p HD, the iseeBell gives a 180-degree ultra-wide lens field of motion, includes a night vision mode and pushes all its captured content to a convenient cloud storage system completely accessible from your mobile or desktop devices.

"A decent video doorbell for those who don’t want to spend a lot of cash." —Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Video Storage: RCA Doorbell Video Camera

What We Like
  • Supports microSD storage

  • 3MP sensor with Ultra HD video

  • 180-degree field of view

  • No monthly fees

What We Don't Like
  • Lesser known brand

  • No automatic backup option

Unlike most of the doorbell cams on the market, this option from RCA takes a more long-term budget approach when it comes to video storage. Most video doorbells will give you a free trial period on their cloud service, while eventually charging you a monthly fee. RCA skips those recurring fees in favor of microSD storage. The cam comes with a 16GB microSD card to get you started, but the slot will accommodate up to 128GB, making it a pretty versatile internal storage option.

The other features are pretty top-notch, too, with a 3MP sensor on-board to give you ultra-HD video recording with excellent clarity. The app lets you use a two-way talk feature even when you’re on the go to communicate with anyone at your front door, and the motion-sensing capability sends you notifications, too. Our reviewer particularly liked the 180-degree field of view which meant he didn't miss anything around your front door. It doesn’t have the same brand recognition as Nest or Ring, but the approach to video storage makes this RCA doorbell cam a perfectly viable option.

"The RCA Video Doorbell Camera hits a sweet spot in terms of quality, feature set, and price point." Andrew Hayward, Product Tester

Final Verdict

If you want to keep your home secure, the best smart doorbell camera to get is the RCA Doorbell Video Camera. It's not the best known brand, but it offers high-quality, wide-angle video recording and SD card storage to spare you from the subscription fees. If you're in a rental or don't have the ability to hardwire your doorbell, the Zmodo Greet is the best option for you. It's very easy to install, looks fairly premium, and comes at an affordable price.

How We Tested

Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate smart doorbell cameras based on design, performance, video quality, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases monitoring our homes. We also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nick Jaynes has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. With a degree in media journalism, he's previously been published on Mashable, Digital Trends, and other sites specializing in consumer technology. He tested the Zmodo Greet, praising it for the ease of its install and high-quality audio.

Andrew Hayward has been covering consumer tech since 2006. He's previously been published on TechRadar, Stuff, Polygon, and Macworld. His expertise includes smart homes, and he's installed a full smart home setup in his house, including the RCA Video Doorbell which he liked for the fact it doesn't rely on a subscription model.

The Ultimate Smart Doorbell Camera Buying Guide

Many of the smart home devices that have popped up in recent years are for the insides of our dwellings, whether they’re smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo, app-connected thermostats, or customizable lighting. Smart doorbell cameras are one of the most notable exceptions, essentially combining the utility of a traditional doorbell with a security camera—and then pairing it with access-from-anywhere app compatibility.

Installed on the front of your house, a smart doorbell camera from a maker like Ring, Google, or Eufy lets you peer out into the world without leaving the comfort of your home. You can watch the live video stream to silently see what’s happening out front, or get alerts when someone walks near. And if they ring the doorbell, then you’ll get an alert on your phone, allowing you to begin a call and decide whether or not you want to go to the door and engage.

There’s quite a bit of diversity amongst smart doorbell cameras, however. Some require wired installation, while others work wirelessly via a Wi-Fi connection. Some gate their more advanced features behind a monthly subscription fee, for example, while others require no additional payment after the initial purchase. And some have potentially compelling software features, or better compatibility with other smart home devices.

If you’re thinking about adding a smart doorbell camera to your home, here’s what you need to consider, as well as a look at which brands currently lead the pack.

Ring Doorbell Pro
Lifewire

Wired or Wireless?

Depending on the kind of home hardware you already have—or perhaps your general level of handiness—this might be read more like: Lots of hassle or little hassle? Wired smart doorbell cameras require your home to have existing doorbell wiring installed, plus you’ll need a transformer powerful enough to handle this kind of device. If you don’t already have that wiring intact, then you may need to hire an electrician to do it for you.

Depending on the location of your wiring, you might also be limited in the size and style of doorbell that you can fit on your home without significant additional work. There are also smart video doorbells, such as the Ring Video Doorbell Elite, that require power via an Ethernet cable. That might be a whole other can of worms.

Wireless smart doorbell cameras, on the other hand, offer a lot more flexibility in positioning because they run solely on battery power. You might want to buy a second battery pack or otherwise have to deal with a stretch of time in which your doorbell camera is down due to charging. That’s your call.

Zmodo Greet Smart Doorbell
Lifewire / Nick Jaynes

Video Quality

When looking out into your neighborhood at whoever might be in front of your place, it won’t be very helpful if that person looks like a pixelated blob. Video quality is a key component of a good smart doorbell camera, and as you might expect, you usually get better hardware the more you spend on a device.

At a minimum, you probably want something that records video at 1080p (Full HD) resolution, although some offer higher-resolution 2K (Quad HD) or 4K (Ultra HD) recording. Some of the cheaper models only provide 720p quality, which is considered HD, but isn’t going to be as sharp as higher-resolution hardware. That might get the job done, but it’ll be more difficult to make out faces and other details with fewer pixels in the mix.

Also, note that different smart doorbell cameras provide varying perspectives. Some give you a wide circular frame within typical widescreen dimensions, while something like Google’s Nest Hello doorbell opts for a 4:3 frame to give you a head-to-toe look at anyone at your door.

Design

As mentioned, there are practical considerations with smart doorbell camera design, such as whether you need to connect to existing wiring or install fresh wiring, as well as whether you’ll have enough room along your door frame to fit the device.

But aesthetics play a role, too, and smart doorbell cameras come in different sizes and styles. Some have the sleek and refined look of a futuristic gadget, such as the Nest Hello, while lower-priced models from RCA and Zmodo definitely look cheaper and less refined. That’s the trade-off, though—you get what you pay for with smart doorbell cameras.

Ring Doorbell Pro
Lifewire

App Experience

Smart doorbell cameras rely on smartphone apps for much of their core functionality, with a bespoke app from the manufacturer allowing access to live video streams, two-way talk with anyone at your door, settings and options, notifications, and movement alerts.

The quality of these mobile apps can range significantly. For example, the Ring app used across its myriad doorbells is a polished and well-designed experience that’s easy to navigate. However, the app for the RCA Doorbell Video Camera is clunky and inconsistent (but usable). You’ll want to do some research—including reading Lifewire’s reviews—to make sure that the doorbell you choose provides a quality app experience, as that is core to its day-to-day utility.

Some smart doorbell cameras provide extra perks or opportunities for fine-tuning, as well. You can usually use a smart doorbell camera app to change the distance at which the camera recognizes movement—for example, to make sure that every passing car doesn’t send you an alert. Google’s Nest Hello doorbell, meanwhile, has facial recognition to send special alerts for faces it knows.

Subscription Fees

Unfortunately, the more advanced that a smart doorbell camera is, the more likely it is to require some kind of ongoing subscription to access specialized features. For example, Ring doorbells have an optional Ring Protect service that activates the ability to automatically record movement and moments in which the doorbell is pressed. There’s also a pricier Ring Protect Plus service that bundles in 24/7 professional security monitoring. Google and Arlo smart doorbell cameras also have certain features tied to subscription plans.

Keep that in mind when considering the price of a smart doorbell camera, as the monthly or annual subscription fees could significantly amplify your long-term investment. It might be worth it, however, if you’re looking to make the most of your device and its capabilities.

RCA Video Doorbell Camera
Lifewire

Smart Home Integration

Smart doorbell cameras are part of an ever-growing suite of connected smart home devices, so it makes sense that some of them have ties into various ecosystems with other devices. For example, you could have your Amazon Echo or Google Home device announce when someone presses the doorbell, or view the live camera stream from your Echo Show or Google Nest Hub device.

The downside, however, is that these ecosystems don’t always play nice with each other—as of this writing, you can’t view footage from an Amazon-owned Ring device on a Google Nest Hub, for example. As with Apple and Android gadgets, you’ll benefit from sticking to one compatible ecosystem and buying devices that can work together in concert. Not every smart doorbell camera even allows connectivity with other devices, however.

Brands/Manufacturers

There are a few key makers of smart doorbell cameras today, and each provides a different balance of features, style, and affordability. Here are the standouts:

Ring:

Ring is arguably the best-known company in this space, having popularized the concept of smart doorbell cameras. The Amazon-owned company offers both wired and wireless models, and has a polished app experience that includes a social “Neighbors” component… which you might love or loathe. Given Ring’s recent security issues and vulnerabilities, however, we’ve removed their products from our list of the best smart doorbell cameras for the time being.

Google:

The Nest Home smart doorbell camera applies Google’s considerable AI smarts to deliver a feature-rich product that can recognize familiar faces, for example, and send you custom notifications as a result. You’ll also know if a package is delivered or snagged from outside your door via image recognition software, but you’ll have to pay for a Nest Aware subscription for some of these bonus features.

Eufy:

We’re fans of Eufy’s 2K video doorbell, which records video at a higher resolution than 1080p and doesn’t require any kind of ongoing subscription thanks to local storage in the device itself. It’s also compatible with both Google and Amazon devices, letting you watch the video feed from either an Echo Show or Nest Hub. Eufy offers both wired and battery-powered versions of its doorbell.

Arlo:

Arlo’s Video Doorbell looks a fair bit like Google’s Nest Home, but is compatible with Amazon’s Echo instead. It opts for a 1:1 square video feed, giving you a good look at the full bodies of any visitors, and is only available in a wired version. Like Ring and Google doorbells, there’s also a paid subscription service for advanced features, although you get the first three months free with purchase.

Zmodo Greet Smart Doorbell
Lifewire / Nick Jaynes

August

The August View smart doorbell camera is a wireless model with a rechargeable battery, and it pairs well with the company’s other devices. For example, if you also have an August Smart Lock installed, you can remotely unlock your door to let people in after answering their doorbell press. It also comes with a plug-in chime for your home, so that you get an audible alert within your home when someone presses the buzzer.

RCA

The longtime electronics giant doesn’t make a lot of smart doorbell cameras, but its device is unique for using microSD cards for local storage instead of having a paid cloud service. The app is a bit clunky, but the lack of any sort of ongoing financial commitment makes this straightforward wired model a potentially compelling one.

ADT

Security service ADT also now offers a smart video doorbell that integrates with the rest of its home security hardware. The 720p camera quality is a bit low, otherwise it looks to be comparable with many of the other leading smart doorbell cameras on the market today.

Accessories

Chime

Some smart doorbell cameras offer optional chime accessories, which plug into a wall outlet inside your home and issue an audible alert when someone presses the doorbell buzzer. This can help ensure that you are alerted in case your phone is on silent or not near you.

Echo Show/Nest Hub

As mentioned above, Amazon and Google both sell home assistant devices that have video screens, letting you view the feed from compatible smart doorbell cameras. Amazon has the Echo Show and Echo Spot devices, while Google’s Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max serve similar purposes. However, not every smart doorbell camera is compatible with either or both companies’ devices, so be sure to check the details.

Google Nest Hub
Lifewire / Andy Zahn

Other Considerations: Security and Privacy

Smart doorbell cameras offer a way to monitor who approaches your house and presses your doorbell, whether you’re inside or in a completely different location. Beyond acting like a security camera in some ways, it also provides the preventative element of surveillance hardware, potentially scaring off robbers who see that you’re recording them with a smart doorbell.

It’s good for peace of mind, and given the current pandemic situation and the social distancing measures that have ensued, it could also save you the stress or confrontation of having to answer an unexpected visitor. However, there are also downsides that come with having a smart doorbell camera, whether it’s the potential for data leaks (as seen with Ring) or having to pay a monthly or annual fee to access some of the more compelling features.

All of the leading smart doorbell cameras on the market today do all of the same core tasks of letting you view the world outside your door from anywhere and enabling two-way talk with anyone who visits. If you just want that bare-bones functionality, then you won’t have to spend a bundle or commit to a subscription plan. It’s the more advanced features, such as cloud recording and AI-driven facial recognition, that typically require additional investment.

Conclusion: How to Pick the Best Smart Doorbell Camera 

Before considering a smart doorbell camera, consider why you want one and which features are most important to you. Think about where you want to place the device around your door and whether you have existing doorbell wiring to work with—or if you’re willing to pay someone to add wiring, if you’re not equipped to do it yourself. Some smart doorbell cameras are much easier to set up than others, so bear all of that in mind before investing in one.