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Video Doorbell Buying Guide

A home is likely your greatest investment, in more ways than one. It's where you live, along with any family members and pets—not to mention where you keep nearly all of your posessions and valuables. And it's all worth protecting. Up your security with a little help from our video doorbell buying guide and find the perfect pick for your lifestyle.
A Google Video Doorbell being rung by a woman with pink fingernails

What Are Video Doorbells?

You've likely seen a video doorbell before, whether they're on sale at a store or installed in your neighbor's house. They consist of a camera lens and a button that acts as the doorbell, all in one unit. Owners will get a notification when the button is pressed, can see through the lens and even speak to the person outside the home. These smart home devices are designed to give homeowners (and even renters) a good idea of what's going on near their homes, even when they aren't nearby. While these all-seeing eyes have only been around for about a decade, the field has become crowded with different products, brands and features, making it tough to weed out which model might be right for you. So, why buy one if you already have an existing, classic "ding, dong" button that has worked so far? These security devices add a major boost to the safety of your home and family. Below, we'll break down all the features that make a video doorbell perfect for you, or better for someone else.

Video Storage: Cloud vs Memory Card

Depending on the type of video doorbell, you may have some different options when it comes to data storage: choose between physical/local storage on an SD card or hard drive or opt for virtual cloud storage.

Local Memory Card

Some of these video cameras store visual and audio data physically in hard copy mode, like on an SD card or hard drive. With that SD card, you know you'll never have to worry about some of the problems that come into play with wireless data storage in the cloud. Some more of the benfits include a lower price (no cloud subscription fees) as well as more privacy thanks to storage that stays away from internet connections. No internet connections means less chance of hacking and cyber attacks, and more security for you. Some of the cons include vulnerability to camera theft, and the fact that you must purchase these data storage systems seperately. If you plan to go this way, make sure that your desired video doorbell has enough space for your desired local storage.

Cloud Subscription Storage

Meanwhile, cloud storage subscriptions can be better for you than local storage. The first benefit? Complete ease. These subscription storage plans store your video online for ease of access—a complete backup of everything the cam has seen for a certain period of time (often 30 days). Access these from an app on your smartphone or tablet. The downsides? These cloud systems come at a monthly or annual fee in just about every case. Plus, there's no need to deal with the mainenance of the data on a SD card or hard drive. Finally, there are two different kinds of recording when it comes to cloud systems: continuous recording (a camera that records constantly) or event recording. Event recording turns on the camera and records when a certain event is triggered via motion detection. Event recording helps save both power and data space in the cloud.
A man stealing a package from a front door and walking away on camera

Power Source

While choosing, some other aspects of your video doorbell might require some thought, this feature is likely an easy one: picking your power source. There are two options when it comes to video doorbells—you can choose a traditional hard-wired model, or a battery-powered pick. Hard-wired ones aren't difficult to install, and connect directly to your home's existing wiring. You likely won't need to conduct any maintenance on it, too. Meanwhile, a battery-powered version is better for those who rent or don't already have a doorbell installed. These wireless doorbells likely run on batteries, so make sure you stay on top of your battery replacement schedule. Choose the best option that fits your home (and lifestyle). If installing a hardwired model seems daunting, you can always come to the experts at Abt.
In rare occurances, some models may have their performance affected in extremely cold temperatures (like any tech with a lithium-ion battery). When temperatures drop below zero, some units are unable to charge. Look for customer reviews to see just how well your ideal model performs in truly sub-zero temperatures if you live somewhere cold. Keep in mind that battery-powered models will be more affected by cold weather than hard-wired versions—and while these extremely chilly temps can affect performance, they will not break the product.

Quality of Detection

This feature is one worth staking your entire budget on, and where video doorbells become worth their weight in gold. If you can't see what's been in your front yard or at your threshold, you'll want a replacement not long after you've installed it. Some of the features you'll want to look for include:
  • Resolution: When it comes to on-screen resolution, video doorbells run the gamut. With a 1080p HD model you'll be able to see every detail clearly, while some cameras boost quality all the way to 4K. You'll see lower and higher quality cameras for sale.
  • Upgraded Detection Technology: Can this camera tell different motions and subjects apart? An example would be a raccoon that wanders by: would you want an alert for this? A more important alert would be one for a person approaching your doorstep. Make sure you know whether your model records constantly or only when movement is detected, too.
  • Night Vision: Are you able to see subjects and spaces even in the dark? Depending on the camera quality, the answer is yes. That way, you'll be able to see clearer details of anyone or anything that approaches your home.
  • Field Of View: How wide is your field of view, and can you see all the space you need to? Some video doorbells have a 90° angle field of view, while others display everything in front of your home with a wide 180° viewing field.
Consider these main functions when comparing different home security products. When combined, they all amount to personalized safety features that fit your home or business perfectly. The goal is for you to keep your home safe, all while providing you with only the notifications that you need.

Smart Home Technology

These cameras are part of any smart home, and are designed to work well with other home automation systems for simple, complete functionality. Explore different models and see how they fit in with other tech you may have. Google Nest models work perfectly with the Google Home system and Google Assistant-enabled speakers. Many use Amazon Alexa tech, Apple HomeKit, as well as other compatible systems. With these, you can talk through your smart speakers to communicate with whoever is on the other side of the door as well as use other smart functionality.
Smartphone connectivity is a huge aspect of using these video doorbells. This is where you'll receive alerts that someone is at your home, see those on the other side of the camera, hear people speak, and interact with the product's app. From here, you can peek into the cloud to see your stored videos as well. When it comes to smart tech, it's all about the smartphone. One of the simplest interactions gets an upgrade here with two-way audio. It's one of the most crucial aspects of this outdoor tech, along with the level of weather resistance. When someone rings your doorbell, you'll get a notification on your smartphone that allows you to speak to whoever's at your home. Many even include a siren that can scare off burglars or unwanted guests when activated. Plus, some models allow you to leave a recorded message that plays whenever you're unable to reach the door.
A black video doorbell sitting against a stone home exterior

Now You're Ready To Choose!

Video doorbells might seem like the way of the future, but they're really the way of the present. With common package drop-offs, porch pirates and burglaries, it's more important than ever to equip your space with a video doorbell. That's true whether you live on a sprawling property, a condo or in an urban apartment. To make sure your home stays secure, make sure you have the perfect exterior equipment, from lights to outdoor cameras. To find just what you need, check out our home security products. And for the best in-home security, come to the true experts to set up a system that protects your whole home with Abt's Custom Security Service. We'll help you keep all of your valuables safe with an intelligent, next-gen system that's custom-made for your individual needs—all controlled from your smartphone. To learn more, call our team of specialists at 800-860-3577, or fill out the contact form on our website.

What Our Customers Say About Us

Great price and product came a day early.
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May 11, 2023
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May 15, 2023
Excellent service. The follow up and being on time was perfect. The install went well
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May 19, 2023
Delivery was great. Communication was excellent and the driver called 10 minutes before arrival.
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May 11, 2023
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May 16, 2023
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May 16, 2023
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May 19, 2023
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May 16, 2023
My experience with ABT was great! You were the only place that I contacted that had the range in stock. It was delivered a week before the expected date.
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