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Choosing the Right Video Doorbell for Your Smart Home

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You’ve just seen a commercial showing a homeowner having a friendly exchange with their package delivery person via camera while they’re not at home, or another commercial showing a homeowner scaring away would-be burglars by shouting something witty into their smartphone’s microphone, sending the culprits scurrying into the night. You think to yourself, “That would be awesome—I need that, I can do that!” With the holiday season right around the corner, there’s no better time than now. That’s it! You’ve decided to purchase a video doorbell of your own. Your home’s security will never be the same.

The package arrives. Thankfully, it arrived safely, because without your new doorbell installed, every delivery is now a roll of the dice in your security-heighted mind. You open it, you install it, and you’re finished. Your perimeter is now secured. Does that sound too easy? Well, it should, because there are a few things you need to consider prior to getting your new doorbell up and running. Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t an overly difficult process. With a little planning, your doorbell can provide years of security and peace of mind. Those commercials I talked about, that really could be you, with a little less drama, of course. Now in a few easy-to-follow steps, let us help you get there.

Features

伊人网络在线综合视频在线视频At some point in the decision-making process you should ask yourself, “What do I want my video doorbell to do?” I’ll share my reasoning. I often have a lot of family over, even when I’m not home. The doorbell I chose gives me peace of mind, because I’m now able to monitor my front-door traffic in real time. At some point I also plan to add a smart lock—this pairing will allow to me unlock or secure my home easily, depending on who is at the door. It’s my hope to never capture anything nefarious, although if anything suspicious were to occur, it’s better to know sooner than later. However, it’s important to keep in mind that video doorbells are not alarm systems. They’re just not designed to secure all aspects of your home, but they are a great supplement. I often recommend them to people who already have alarm systems installed because the addition of a video doorbell raises your security measures to new levels. Most alarm systems focus on your home’s interior and monitoring break-ins. Adding a video doorbell gives you an outdoor view of your home, allowing you to see who’s knocking and possibly more.

Some common and maybe obvious features you can expect to find on video doorbells are Wi-Fi connectivity, high-definition recording, motion detection, night-vision support, wide-angle recording (some are wider than others), and livestream capability to smart devices. While each of these features is important—I can’t think of one I could do without—I find motion detection and night vision support to be most useful in my current setup. Features like built-in Wi-Fi and smartphone interaction are essential and cannot be ignored, but it’s the added extras that these features provide that help to elevate the experience. When it comes to wide-angle viewing, products like the SkyBell offer up to a 180-degree viewing radius, wide enough to capture more than just who’s at your door. While dedicated outdoor cameras are still better at recording your outside perimeter, especially when it comes to larger spaces and challenging angles, video doorbells do a respectable job at giving you a snapshot of what’s happening.

Honeywell SkyBell 1080p Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

Form Factor

伊人网络在线综合视频在线视频Look at the doorbell you’re replacing. Is it slim, tall, round, square? Does it protrude far from the door’s frame? Is it supported by another object, like a piece of wood? Is it screwed into your home’s structure or mounted with adhesive? Now consider your new doorbell—how will it look in place of your current one? Looks aside, will the new doorbell fit in your current mount? If your door’s frame is two inches wide and your replacement doorbell is three inches wide, there will be some overlap. Thankfully, manufacturers are aware of such potential challenges, and there are options for choosing the doorbell form factor that works best for your door frame’s dimensions.

The Ring Pro for example includes multiple faceplate options to better match the exterior of your home, because after all, aesthetics is important. The faceplates can be easily changed, so if you decide to do some exterior decorating, your doorbell can remain. At 1.9 inches, the Ring Pro is also slimmer than the Ring’s standard doorbell, which isn’t too girthy itself at just 2.5 inches. This allows the Ring Pro to be accommodated in narrower spaces, and such is the case with my door’s frame. If you need an even slimmer option, Skybell’s Trim doorbell is available in bronze and silver finishes and is a mere 1.44 inches wide.

Honeywell SkyBell Trim 1080p Wi-Fi Video Doorbell

Installation

Before you break out the power drill, you may want to check your Wi-Fi connection at the location you want to install your new doorbell (this applies to Wi-Fi doorbells only, and not all of them are). You can do this by simply taking a device that’s connected to your Wi-Fi network, like your smartphone, and testing your Wi-Fi’s range at the doorbell’s location. If connectivity is good, you can check that box and move to the next step. If connectivity is spotty, you may want to consider relocating your router to a location that’s closer to the installation site or picking up a wireless range extender to bridge the connectivity gap. While many video doorbell’s offer 2.4 GHz connectivity, Ring’s Video Pro and Elite also support high-speed 5 GHz networks.

Ring Video Doorbell Elite

The next thing you should consider is how your new doorbell will be powered. If your current doorbell is wireless or if you wish to convert to a wireless system, Ring’s Video Doorbell 2 offers a removable rechargeable battery that’s designed to last months before charging is required—it can also be hardwired for traditional installations. Hardwired doorbells allow you to keep using your existing chime. If you choose a doorbell that’s hardwired, the first thing you need to do is locate your breaker box and turn off power at the installation site. Before you remove your existing doorbell and disconnect the wiring it’s important that power isn’t actively being fed there. While these doorbells are designed for DiY installation, you may want to seek the help of a professional installer if the hard-wire installation makes you uneasy. Ring’s Video Doorbell Elite offers a hard-wire solution of a different variety, PoE (power-over-Ethernet). This wired method is popular in wired surveillance systems because a single cable is used to provide data and low-voltage power.

伊人网络在线综合视频在线视频If you get stuck along the way, many manufacturers offer web-based video tutorials that are designed to walk you through the installation process. Once your video doorbell is mounted, the next step is to connect it to your existing network, which is why it is so important to ensure reliable connectivity before the doorbell is installed. No matter which doorbell you choose, a strong network connection is essential.

Ecosystem

It seems as if every manufacturer is getting into the ecosystem business these days. When it comes to Smart Home tech, if you have multiple devices that can interact with each other or be controlled from a single app, it makes controlling those devices much easier. Honeywell, for example, offers its whole Total Connect 2.0 app, which supports products like its smart thermostats. So, if you’re already a Honeywell Total Connect user, you can continue using the interface with which you’re familiar. Similarly, Ring offers a complete family of products such as Floodlight and Spotlight cameras. While you can mix and match as you choose, sometimes we have no choice but to do so—staying within an ecosystem has its advantages when it comes to software and usability. It’s also worth noting that both Skybell and Ring offer doorbells that support Amazon’s Alexa-enabled digital assistant like the Echo伊人网络在线综合视频在线视频. So, you can do things like record video, without lifting a finger. When it comes to viewing your stored videos, Skybell allows you to view your recorded content from their cloud without a fee. At the time of this article, Ring’s recording plans start at $3 a month and allow you to view up to 60 days of stored videos.

You’re Almost There

You’ve measured your existing space, confirmed connectivity, and chose the doorbell system that’s best for you. You’re now closer to making your home smarter and beefing up security. It just took a little planning, but the result is well worth the effort. If you need help deciding which video doorbell is best for you, contact us: stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969, or contact us online via Live Chat.

Do you have a video doorbell or wish to add one to your home? Comment below, we’d love to hear about it.

2 Comments

Hi Nick - 

Rumor has it that the new Ring Video Doorbell 2 is Apple HomeKit compatible.

Have you found/do you carry any doorbells that are HomeKit compatible?  

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