A video doorbell combines convenience with security. But before you buy, you should ask yourself: Which functionalities do I need? An overview of technology, functions, and costs. With the help of a video doorbell, you can easily see who is at the door. But a bell with a camera can do much, much more. We will show you which functions could still interest you, what you should consider when buying a video doorbell and what they cost. In addition, we present five recommended models.
This Is How A Video Doorbell Works
At first glance, this seems very simple. Someone rings your bell, and not only can you hear it, but you can also see who’s there. And that without looking through a spy. But that’s the lowest common denominator for video doorbells. Because some models have a separate display to show the visitor, others send the picture directly (or just) to your cell phone. Some devices work with batteries. Others, you have to connect with a wire. Some systems save the video recording or can be expanded with a door opener. Others do not. So before you buy, you have to think about the features.
It Would Help If You Considered This Before Buying A Video Doorbell
As with many other products from the smart home sector, there is a wide range of equipment options for intelligent doorbells. So ask yourself what exactly you need or what the bell must be able to do. Key features include:
- video recording
- integrated door opener
- Push notifications on the cell phone even when movements are detected
- high resolution of the camera
- Live video transmission is possible
- Compatibility with (other) smart home solutions
- Expandable with additional cameras, motion detectors, and electronic door locks
- Voice control possible
- night vision mode
- face recognition
- streaming capable
- storage options
- wireless or hardwired
- extended perspective
- Weather resistance ( observe IP protection class )
These would be the basic functionalities that a video doorbell can have. Exactly what you want to use it for depends on your security and comfort needs. For example, experienced, smart home users will appreciate that the image can be streamed directly on some models. Or they want voice control via Alexa. For others, the pure video function might be enough.
Overview: Three Types Of Video Doorbells
To find your way through the massive jumble of offers, the market for smart doorbells can be divided into three categories. This gives you at least a rough orientation as to what model might be suitable for you:
Video Doorbell Over The Wire
You need two connecting wires for a two-wire video bell, which then carries power, audio, and video. This results in a fixed, wired connection between the outdoor and indoor stations. Many intercom systems today work on this principle. The advantage lies in the almost interference-free connection. With existing cabling, four-wire models with a camera are also available. The installation effort is higher here – but so is the range of functions in most cases.
Video Doorbell Via WiFi Interface
What might be a bit confusing: the WLAN version also works with cables. The outdoor unit is also connected to the indoor unit by a wire. The wireless communication via WLAN takes place here from the indoor unit to additional devices, for example, another monitor or the smartphone.
IP Video Doorbell
Now it’s truly wireless. With this variant, the outdoor station (similar to a computer) has its IP address. The connection to other devices is exclusively wireless. Either via the in-house WLAN or the mobile network. This allows maximum freedom of movement but also has a disadvantage. If the WLAN or mobile network fails, the video doorbell no longer works either.
This classification is not always obvious. The question of the right connections for audio, video, and electricity is super important! So be sure to clarify whether the selected model also fits your installation situation.
Save Recordings: Attention, Subscription Models
An essential detail with doorbells with video function is the question: is the picture recorded? And if so, where is it stored? There is an internal storage option on many models, either on a small hard drive or an SD card. Some providers also offer you a subscription model.
The recordings are then kept for an extended period. The advantage: You can still access the data after several weeks, but you have to pay a monthly fee. Some functional extensions are also only available with a subscription. So check very carefully whether a subscription is possibly associated with the purchase. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing per se. The only important thing is that you need and use the associated functions.
That’s What A Video Doorbell Costs
The market is enormous. Accordingly, the price range for video doorbells is wide. You can find models for less than 20 euros at many discounters. But it would help if you keep your hands off that. Such cheap devices are often defective after the first downpour because they are nowhere near as waterproof as advertised.
You have to reckon with around 100 to 150 euros for decent models. But you usually also have such valuable functions as voice control or live image transmission. For premium functions such as motion detection with an automatic push notification or even face recognition, you must invest around 250 to 350 euros.
Video Doorbell: The Pros And Cons
Who’s there? The question is quickly answered with a video doorbell. Before making a purchase decision, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages again.
Advantages Of Video Doorbells
- Increased sense of security: communication without being seen.
- Often expandable by many functions (door opener, alarm system, face recognition).
- Voice control is handy for people with physical disabilities.
Disadvantages Of Video Doorbells
- Assembly is not always easy.
- With non-wired solutions, the batteries must be replaced regularly.
- Reliability is not always guaranteed, especially with cheap models.
Who Is A Video Doorbell Suitable For?
Security is one of the essential points in the smart home area. Among other things, the question: “Why do you use smart home applications?”. Above all, 65 percent of those surveyed promised “more security.” This aspect was, therefore, even more important than “living more energy efficiently” (52 percent) and saving money (24 percent).
Simple communication with the person at the front door – without being seen yourself. First of all, this increases your sense of security. The video doorbell can gradually become a fully-fledged alarm system if other functions are added. But the essential functions also help many people in everyday life. Anyone who has had an accident, for example, or is no longer able to walk very well due to age, appreciates the increase in comfort.
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