Video doorbells are one of my favourite pieces of smart home tech. I get so many deliveries and pickups that it was incredibly stressful until I started using these amazing gadgets.
To some extent, I have gone full circle with the stress. While I don’t miss any packages, I do get notifications from security cameras, my doorbell and even a smart delivery box. So I now get stressed by being bombarded with notifications.
The video doorbell market has boomed in recent years, and there are an incredible amount of options on the market. But, they also seem to be a product category that draws quite a bit of criticism online.
Controversies and Privacy Issues
One of the reasons I am writing this post is the recent revelations about the privacy issues of Anker Eufy products. This made a lot of people question what the best doorbell camera is.
Two problems were highlighted:
- They were not keeping everything locally and uploading preview images to Amazon AWS for push notifications.
- It was possible to get the camera stream URL and use it remotely via VLC (probably using RTSP).
To exacerbate the problem, Anker didn’t deal with the problem in the best way. They were very dismissive about it, and therefore a lot of people have lost trust in them.
However, they have addressed these issues. They now highlight that if you have image push notifications that the images do get uploaded, and they have apparently locked down the remote streaming security issue.
Anker Eufy is not the only brand that has had security issues over the years. For a start, most competing brands, such as Ring, Arlo and Blink, already upload data online.
Amazon owner Ring has been plagued with bad press about privacy. In the US, Ring has regularly been sending footage to police without a court order or users’ permission. Ring has stated that the law authorises them to do this, and they only do so when the company believes that an emergency involves danger of death or serious physical injury to any person.
Ring is not the only company doing this, any brand can be forced to share data (in the US, at least) via a warrant. Google follows a similar procedure as Ring; they may share information with law forces without a subpoena (if there is a good reason).
Arlo and Wyze have stated that they will only share data if there is a warrant in place. At least with Eufy, they don’t have access to the full recordings, so they can’t be forced to share the data.
Arlo has also had their issues. Back in 2019 researchers found vulnerabilities could allow a potential attacker to take control of the cameras. More recently, Arlo has retired two of its older cameras, including the Arlo Gen 3 and the first-gen Arlo Pro. These are 8 and 6 years old, respectively, and once support is ended, the cameras will be all but useless, with no cloud recording. You’d need a cloud base to save any footage.
Overall, when it comes to privacy and security issues with doorbell cameras or any Internet-connected security camera, there are a lot of shades of grey. You have to evaluate the convenience benefits of a device that can be remotely accessed, and that’s user-friendly to set up vs privacy.
I think it is also worth remembering that thanks to social media, search engines and Amazon, most of us have willingly given up on privacy in favour of convenience.
What I Personally Use
I would normally have titled this section as the best overall camera, but factoring in the above, I would no doubt get some backlash on my recommendation.
I personally use the Eufy Security Video Doorbell Dual Camera, with an additional chime, and I also use the Eufy Security S300. I actually have one camera on my fence near my gate, so I get pre-warned when someone comes to my door.
Perhaps I am too apathetic to take privacy and security too seriously. But I am not ready to give up one Eufy. I have no cameras indoors, and I am sceptical of any other brand being significantly better for these issues.
There are, of course, wired cameras, and you can record to an NVR with these, you can also limit connectivity to your LAN. But, that’s a lot of effort that your average buyer isn’t going to do.
Best Battery Powered Doorbell Cameras
Eufy security Video Doorbell Dual Camera (expensive) or Eufy Security 1080P Video Doorbell (cheap)
|eufy security Video Doorbell Dual Camera (Battery-Powered)...||469 Reviews||£229.00||Buy on Amazon|
|eufy security S200 Video Doorbell Wireless Battery Kit with...||£98.98||Buy on Amazon|
The dual camera model is definitely the best doorbell camera I have used, and I have used quite a lot, but it is not cheap.
Most people will do fine with the more basic 1080P model, which comes with a doorbell chime (rather than Homebase).
Arlo Wireless Video Doorbell
|Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell Camera, 1080p HD...||£84.99||Buy on Amazon|
I am listing Arlo ahead of Ring due to the price. The Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell has an RRP of £180, which is the same price as the Ring Video Doorbell 4 or Eufy Dual. However, in the UK, it is currently around £108 and was consistently £80 during November. At £80 it is an incredible buy, but £108 is a good price too.
Pricing in the US isn’t quite as attractive. It is $140 from Amazon.com and has been as low as $120. It is quite unusual that UK pricing is cheaper than the US.
Ring Video Doorbell 4 (expensive) or Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)
|Ring Video Doorbell 4 by Amazon | Wireless Video Doorbell...||£139.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) by Amazon | Wireless Video...||£69.99||Buy on Amazon|
Just like Eufy, I am listing two models because the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is my favourite Ring camera that I have used, it is the most advanced battery camera they have, and therefore it also costs the most. If you want the best possible security, this is the one to go for.
However, most people that want basic security and mainly want notifications will be perfectly happy with the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen), which costs half the price. The dedicated Arlo Chime 2 is a bit of a rip-off at £45, but it has been as low as £27.
Nest Doorbell (battery)
|Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) - Wireless Video Doorbell -...||£129.00||Buy on Amazon|
The Google Nest Doorbell is one of the few doorbell cameras I have not tried out. It is a popular option, but it is a bit pricey at £180. The resolution is also very low at 960 x 1280 pixels. I wouldn’t personally recommend this camera, unless you are fully committed to good and want to keep everything within one ecosystem.
Best Wired Powered Doorbell Cameras
Most battery-powered cameras can be wired up to your existing doorbell wiring. But there are also some cameras that can only be used via wiring.
Nest Doorbell (wired)
|Nest Doorbell (Wired)||Buy on Amazon|
Unless you are fully invested in Google, I am not sure why anyone would buy the battery-powered Google Nest Doorbell.
However, the wired option is more appealing, I’d even argue it is the best-wired option in this section because it has the option for 24/7 streaming and continuous video recording. The resolution is massively improved as well with 1600 x 1200.
It is also a bargain on Amazon US, less than half price at $108. I can’t find a listing for Amazon UK, but you can import it from Amazon.com for an additional $8.99.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 + Plug-In Adaptor by Amazon |...||£169.99||Buy on Amazon|
This is basically an upgraded version of the excellent Ring Video Doorbell 4. The main advantage is the 1536p head-to-toe video.
Ring Video Doorbell Elite
|Ring Video Doorbell Elite||£295.00||Buy on Amazon|
I am not sure I would actually recommend the Ring Video Doorbell Elite. It is not as good as the cheaper Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, and it costs more.
However, it is one of the few cameras on the market that uses POE. If you are renovating your home and/or can’t get reliable WiFi to your doorbell no matter what you try, then this could be a viable solution for you.
Best Doorbell Cameras that have RTSP / NVR / NAS recording
If you are concerned about privacy and security, then these are likely your best options. The main downside to these options is that they need wiring up to your existing doorbell wiring (16V-24V) or POE.
However, if you can overcome that hurdle, they are fantastic options as they can record 24/7, thanks to RTSP, and you are not locked into an ecosystem for recording. You might want to use Synology or a dedicated NVR such as the Reolink RLN8-410 NVR
Reolink Video Doorbell
This isn’t on Amazon UK, yet. You can buy it from Amazon US for around $90.
There are two versions. One is POE the other is WiFi but it needs wiring into your existing doorbell wiring. The WiFi model doesn’t appear to be available yet.
It is a 5MP (2K+) camera with 180 ° FOV. It can record to a Reolink NVR, NAS, or you can use MicroSD or Reolink Cloud.
Amcrest AD110 1080P Video Doorbell Camera Pro or Amcrest AD410 4MP
Amcrest isn’t really a thing in the UK, but they are popular in the US.
The AD410 is the model I would go for, it costs around $150 and has a 4MP camera sensor and 164° viewing angle. For recording, you have microSD, Amcrest Cloud and RTSP.
Ubiquiti UniFi Protect G4 Doorbell
|Ubiquiti UniFi Protect G4 Doorbell, White, UVC-G4-Doorbell,...||£222.69||Buy on Amazon|
This doesn’t actually use RTSP that I am aware of. However, it is the best option if you use any Ubiquiti products already, and this can record the UniFi Protect Network Video Recorder or UniFi Dream Machine PRO.
Last update on 2023-03-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Friday 27th of January 2023
I switched from a battery powered Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus to the Ring Video Doorbell Wired during cold weather in December as my Ring batteries were suffering. Works perfectly, maintenance free and only cost me £34.99, the price seems to fluctuate between £30 & £50 on Amazon. If you have or can install the wiring then the wired Ring option should be considered.
Friday 27th of January 2023
Great tip, thanks. Yeah I agree, it saves a lot of hassle with the batteries.