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Camera doorbells supplement your existing home security system since they stream live footage round the clock. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Set up a video doorbell, and you'll always be in the know about who stopped by and at what time. See if you've missed any deliveries while at work or let in guests when you're ready to host them. The addition of a camera gives you more control over your threshold and home security.

These smart devices replace your existing doorbell and link to the screen of your choice, so you can receive instant notifications on your smartphone or tablet. We spoke to a smart home expert about how you can benefit from installing a video doorbell and the features you should never compromise on.

Are video doorbells worth it?

When you already have a very convenient, low-maintenance peephole on all front doors, you might wonder if a smart doorbell is really worth your coin. Hisham El Zahhar, owner and managing director of Digital Homes in Dubai, says it's about your peace of mind at the end of the day.

"Whether you're at home or not, you'll know who is at your door. If you're expecting a certain delivery, you can see them leave it at the doorstep. You can even unlock the door when combined with other technology (like a smart lock). Without a video doorbell, you'll never know if someone came around," said El Zahhar, who has over 25 years of professional experience in smart homes, offices and cities.

If family and friends have come to an empty house or at a busy time, these smart bells can also respond with automated messages to let them know you're away or will be right there. While doorbells stream live feeds of what's happening, they shouldn't replace an outdoor security camera due to their limited field view.

That said, the embedded camera certainly adds security to a home. "They sometimes have auto-detection and facial recognition features, so the doorbell camera knows when someone is there and sends a notification of the visitor's name to you," explained El Zahhar.

What features do I need in a video doorbell?

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A two-way audio function lets you chat with your visitor when you're not at home. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The easiest way to narrow down your options is to pick the installation method that's best for you. There are battery-operated doorbells and those that are hardwired into the system with uninterrupted power. 

If you live in a rented property, you'll want a renter-friendly doorbell. "You only need to recharge the battery-operated ones. Wired doorbells completely replace your existing doorbell, so you have to put the old wiring back in place before moving out," said El Zahhar.

Then, consider models that offer these must-have features: "Some mandatory features are a good quality camera, a long-lasting battery that doesn't need to be recharged every two to three weeks, if you're going for a battery-operated doorbell, and two-way audio so that you can talk to visitors," our expert advised.

Then, there are those features that are optional but enhance convenience and might be only available through a paid subscription. "Integration with ecosystems like Alexa and Google Home is good to have. It makes the doorbell similar to an intercom, where your Alexa device can show you who's at the door. Another optional add-on is AI facial recognition to let you know who came by, at what time."

We've listed smart doorbell manufacturers approved by El Zahhar and reviewers to help you secure your doorway. Shop your kit with an Amazon Prime membership for free, fast delivery.

1. Best Overall: Ring Battery Video Doorbell Plus + Ring Chime

Pros

  • Connects seamlessly with Alexa devices
  • Simple installation with a rechargeable battery pack
  • Two-way audio from Ring app
  • Live view via an HD head-to-toe camera
  • Motion detection and real-time alerts
  • Can be hardwired with professional help

Cons

  • Needs a Ring Chime (included at a cost in this bundle) for audible alerts inside the house
  • Quick replies and record are paid features

For seamless integration with everything Alexa, especially your Echo devices, the answer is Ring, says El Zahhar. You can expect to get alerts and notifications on your devices in an instant. The all-new Ring Battery Video Doorbell Plus is an upgraded, renter-friendly model so it's simple to install (within five minutes) and recharge. See your visitors in an enhanced resolution of 1536p HD, which includes a head-to-toe view to check in on packages on the doorstep. Its colour night vision automatically activates after sundown, too. You'll need a Ring subscription to record and set preset replies, but two-way live talk, live view and real-time notifications are all free of charge. This kit comes with a Ring Chime for alerts inside the house, or else you can opt-out from the extra device if you're okay with getting visitor alerts only on Alexa devices or the phone.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

2. Best Battery-Operated Doorbell: eufy Security Wireless Video Doorbell

Pros

  • 2K video resolution
  • Long battery life of 180 days
  • No subscription fee to record and set up pre-recorded messages
  • Home base stores all video recordings
  • Motion detection, two-way audio, live view and real-time notifications
  • Can be hardwired

Cons

  • Recordings have a delayed start

Among battery-operated models, eufy's doorbell wins for long battery life, says El Zahhar, and this means fewer charging trips for at least 180 days. This model has a Sony 2K sensor with exceptional camera quality that still gives you the perfect head-to-toe viewing angle. You don't have to sign up for any paid subscription with eufy - all your data is stored locally on the home base (included). At this amazing value, you're getting real-time alerts on your Google or Alexa device, two-way audio, pre-recorded responses, and motion alerts. It even goes the extra mile to distinguish between humans and animals, using AI recognition. You could also hardwire it to your existing doorbell to avoid recharging the unit. Chime alerts are only sent to connected devices but you can always add a eufy doorbell chime for in-house alerts. Reviewers love the video quality and how there are no hidden fees involved. You might experience a lag in recordings after the doorbell detects movement, they point out.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh49.99 for 12 months with select banks. Add professional installation for Dh135.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh35 and two years for Dh49.

3. Best Wired Doorbell: Google Nest Doorbell Wired (2nd Gen)

Pros

  • Streams live footage with two-way audio and subject alert
  • Hardwired installation so recharge isn't needed
  • Set up activity zones
  • Integrates well with Google Home ecosystem
  • Free three-hour video history

Cons

  • Comes without a chime
  • Nest Aware subscription in not available in the region

With the help of an experienced electrician, you can replace your existing doorbell with the Google Nest system. This is a wired product that will work without batteries once it's powered by your home. Google uses a 1.3MP camera that delivers 1280p HD live footage in high dynamic range, together with night vision when necessary. Intelligent alerts tell you whether a person, animal or package is at the door, and, then, you can use the two-way audio to communicate with your visitors. If you want to see who stopped by, you can go back and browse three hours of free history footage to check on a missed guest. Facial recognition and longer video recordings are all part of Google's Nest Aware subscription, which is unfortunately not available in the region yet. The best part, however, is the integration with Google Home devices - you get to add the Nest doorbell to your list of routines in the app. Reviewers speak highly of how responsive the doorbell notifications are. Installation does need a pro's touch for the device to work properly with the indoor chime.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh50.42 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two years for Dh57.

4. Best Value for Battery-Operated Doorbell: EZVIZ DP2C 1080p Video Door Viewer Camera

Pros

  • Doorbell with built-in chime
  • Comes with an indoor 4.3-inch colour screen
  • Shows real-time footage on the app and on the screen
  • Two-way audio and five-metre motion detection
  • 90-day battery life

Cons

  • Battery life can be shorter than stated
  • Subscription-only services

An all-in-one budget solution is the DP2C peephole doorbell kit by EZVIZ. There's no wiring requried or the hassle of finding an indoor chime. The two-piece bundle consists of a camera that goes into your existing peephole, complete with a built-in electronic doorbell that sounds a chime when pressed, and a 4.3-inch colour screen for the indoors to help you see who's out there. You can also view your visitors and talk to them in real-time on the EZVIZ app. The camera has a wide-angle lens that can detect people up to five metres away, even at night. You get up to 90 days of battery before it needs recharging, though this can be lower, as buyers note. They're still impressed with the DP2C peephole camera, which lets them instantly check who's at the door without having to get up. Cloud storage is a subscription service but you can plug in your own SD card. 

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh23 and two years for Dh33.

5. Best Value for Wired Doorbell: Reolink Wired Video Doorbell WiFi

Pros

  • Wired doorbell with continuous power and its own chime
  • 2K video resolution
  • Streams live footage, sends alerts and allows two-way audio
  • Supports dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Local storage on SD card

Cons

  • Cannot purchase more Reolink chimes for a multi-storey house
  • Subscription-based services

Another pocket-friendly option is the Reolink wired doorbell that comes with its own chime device for the house. Unlike the EZVIZ doorbell, this device communicates with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, so you never have to worry about it disconnecting. To get started, plug the chime into any electrical socket at home and hardwire the video doorbell to your existing wires outside. The 5MP camera picks up 180-degree-wide footage and streams it to your device of choice. You can talk to visitors or set up a preset voice message to let them know you're away. For smarter, detailed notifications with snapshots and continuous recording, you will need a Reolink Cloud subscription. Though, there's always the option to store videos locally on a microSD card for free. It's best to get a pro to help with wiring, say reviews, despite the straightforward instructions. The app notifications are fast, and you'll find integration with Alexa and Google Assistant as well. Buyers do note that individual Reolink chimes are not available for purchase, which might be necessary for bigger homes.

Bonus: Add professional installation for Dh135.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh23 and two years for Dh33.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.