A Complete Guide to Video Doorbells

Possibly one of the most widely adopted security solutions in recent times, video doorbells have brought peace of mind as well as convenience to households and business premises the world over.

Video doorbells

Possibly one of the most widely adopted security solutions in recent times, video doorbells have brought peace of mind as well as convenience to households and business premises the world over. But when it comes to choosing a video doorbell, there is actually a great deal to think about, with things like features, capabilities and subscriptions all worthy of consideration.

If you are in the market for a video doorbell, or are considering buying one to protect a vulnerable relative, read on as we explore the ins and outs of this growing security measure that’s selling millions each year.

What are Video Doorbells?

Video doorbells have a built-in camera and are designed to protect homeowners by allowing them to answer the door without having to open it.

They are either wireless and battery-powered, or hard-wired into an existing doorbell system.

With a video doorbell, you answer your door as if you were taking a call on your smartphone. So you can talk to whoever is there, even if you’re not home, providing instructions, for example, as to where to leave parcels. It’s also a good way to create the impression of being home when you’re not.

Camera doorbells are also useful for people with mobility issues, so if you can’t get to your door quickly to answer it, you can let your caller know you’re on your way. They are also a great way to protect against package theft, and to deter intruders.

How Do Video Doorbells Work?

Video doorbells work in the same way as smart security cameras. They capture video and audio, with some offering infrared night vision. Some will allow two-way audio, so you can speak to the caller via your phone. Others offer a motion detection feature, which will alert you when someone is outside the door and allow you to speak to them, even if they haven’t pressed the bell.

When someone approaches the doorbell, the device will detect the motion and alert the user’s smartphone, usually via WiFi, but often with cellular data backup.

Alerts are sent through an app on the smartphone, which you’ll need to download and setup. Most are user friendly and intuitive, but it is important to check reviews to make sure your chosen video doorbell comes with an app you will get on with.

Some video doorbell cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence which aids differentiation between humans and other objects or stimuli. Being able to control the level of human detection is useful, as you may find in some situations that the camera is alerting you to all sorts of motion, such as branches of a tree swishing in the wind, which can result in an over-abundance of notifications.

Video doorbell storage

Video footage can either be stored locally on an SD card, or in the cloud. There will be limits as to how much footage you can store, although some will automatically delete files after a set amount of time, for example 48 or 72 hours, so the storage space doesn’t run out and prevent you from capturing new footage.

Some video doorbells offer a subscription upgrade service so that you can store more footage via a cloud service. Beware though, as some come with a mandatory subscription.

Always check the storage side of things, because you may find that you are forced to sign up for a monthly fee in order to be able to record any footage.

Video doorbell power

Doorbell cameras can be wireless or hardwired. The wireless models are battery powered and usually charged via USB, although some do come with non-chargeable batteries which need to be replaced. Do your homework on your video doorbell options and read the reviews regarding battery life, as this will vary from one model to the next. Amount of usage will of course influence how long the batteries last too.

Battery powered video doorbells have an advantage over wired versions in that they continue to work during power outages.

Wired doorbell cameras usually connect in to an existing doorbell and chime, which means you will need to remove your existing doorbell. If you want to make sure it still works during a power outage, choose one that switches to cellular data in the event of the power going down. These will usually be the models that form part of a larger security system.

Video quality

Video quality is another factor that varies from one video doorbell model to the next.

Most devices offer 1080p HD resolution, which provides clear footage. Others may only give you 720p HD, which will be lower quality. At the other end of the scale, there are some doorbell cameras that offer as much as 2560p HD, although this is rarely necessary.

Field of view is another important consideration. You will want to capture as much of the space outside your property as possible, so be sure to choose as wide an angle of vision as you can afford, aiming for 120 degrees or wider.

If you want to be able to zoom in to see fine detail, choose a doorbell video camera with an optical zoom feature. Not all of them come with this, so if it’s important to you, check it’s included.

Night vision doorbell cameras

If you want to be able to see who’s at the door during the hours of darkness, look for a video doorbell that offers night vision.

This feature can either be powered by infrared LED sensors, which gives black and white footage, or by spotlights, which work by lighting up the area, and therefore give colour night vision.

This is a personal preference choice, but infrared models tend to be less conspicuous.

Video doorbell installation

Some video doorbells require minimal setup and installation, whilst others call for professional installation.

Hardwired doorbell cameras can be trickier to install, as there is a need to connect the electrical wires of your existing doorbell to the new device.

Wireless models can either be wall mounted or stuck in place without the need for any electrical work. It’s just a case of getting it in the right place so that you benefit from the widest field of vision.

Need help choosing a video doorbell?

There are numerous doorbell camera models to choose from, so it can get confusing as to which would best suit your needs. Budget is obviously a major consideration, and factoring in any accompanying cloud storage subscription is important too.

At Barry Bros Security, we have been taking care of the security needs of businesses and private property owners for over 70 years. Our London showroom team is ready to guide you through your options by showing you a range of video doorbells within your budget. We also offer a full installation service.

Alternatively, you are welcome to get in touch with any questions.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of the type of premises you are looking to protect, Barry Bros Security has the solution. Contact us today for expert advice and the benefit of decades of experience in the security industry.