Video doorbell cameras have grown tremendously over the past several years as more people choose to incorporate them into their home security systems. But what exactly does a doorbell camera actually do, and how does it work?
In this article, we dive into everything you need to know about these camera systems and offer guidance on choosing the right video doorbell for your home.
What Is a Video Doorbell Camera and How Does It Work?
A video doorbell, also known as a smart doorbell, is a wifi connected camera that notifies your smartphone, tablet, or computer when someone approaches your home’s door. While the primary purpose of these smart devices is to keep tabs on your home, the latest video doorbells are equipped with several features, such as motion detection, audio recording, and functions that allow you to speak directly to whoever is at your door.
Still, wondering how video doorbells work?
- Video doorbells consist of a ringer and an internet-connected camera. This device is either battery-operated or connected to a traditional doorbell’s wiring.
- The camera activates when someone pushes the doorbell. If you’re home, you’ll hear the doorbell sound. If not, the camera transmits a signal to your mobile or desktop app that shows you who’s at the door.
- Since the device is internet-enabled, you can be miles away from your home, and you’ll still know when someone comes to the door. For that matter, you could be in a completely different country.
- If you combine a video doorbell with a smart lock, you can allow the person at the door to enter your home without having to get off the couch, travel all the way home from downtown, or leave a key with the next-door neighbor if you are out of town.
Why You Should Add a Doorbell Camera to Your Home
A video doorbell offers two primary features: convenience and security. We briefly touched on the convenience aspect above. You can answer your doorbell from anywhere without having to get off the couch or hurry home to let in a visitor or pick up a valuable package.
Many homeowners, however, like smart doorbells because of their extra security level.
You Don’t Have to Go to Your Front Door to Answer It
It is always a little unnerving when a stranger greets you when you open your door. It may be someone as innocent as a Girl Scout selling cookies or someone trying to scam you into buying something you don’t need. For instance, in July 2018, police in Washington, D.C., arrested two men who went door to door offering dead tree removal services, for which they charged exorbitant prices and often left the job unfinished. They often targeted vulnerable seniors during their scam.
Having a video doorbell means keeping a safe distance between yourself and an unknown person at your door. It allows you to feel more comfortable deciding whether or not to admit them.
You’ll Always Know Who’s at Your Front Door
If you are home and you don’t have a video doorbell, the only way you’ll know who is at your front door is if you have a peephole, which is about as low-tech as you can get. It gets the job done — to a point — and is inexpensive to install. However, if it is difficult to get to the front door or if you don’t want anybody to know there’s someone home, a peephole is not much help.
A smart doorbell shows you who’s at the front door regardless of where you are. If it’s a friend or neighbor, you can tell them you’ll be down in just a moment. If it’s someone you don’t want to see, like a salesperson or someone stumping for a political candidate, you can tell them you’re too busy at the moment and that they should come back later.
If you buy a camera that includes infrared night vision technology, you’ll also get a clear picture of who’s at your front door in the nighttime.
You’ll Always Know When Someone Is Snooping Around Your Home
If your smart doorbell includes motion detection sensors, a person snooping around your home doesn’t have to ring the doorbell to let you know they are in your yard. Motion detectors can help you keep an eye on the outdoor areas of your property, even if you’re away on vacation. You can also connect your doorbell to your porch light, so anytime someone comes around in the evening, the light will automatically turn on.
If you see someone snooping around your home who shouldn’t be there, you can call the police to let them know. Even better, a video doorbell app allows you to record what the camera is seeing, so you’ll have evidence if needed.
Protect Your packages from theft
People stealing packages off front doorsteps across the country, more commonly known as porch pirates, have become a real problem. One 2017 survey found more than 11 million Americans had a package stolen off their front steps. Video doorbells are one of the best ways to combat this problem.
When a package arrives at your home, you can instruct the delivery person to leave it on the front porch or in a more protected area. If you have a smart lock, you can also allow the delivery person to enter your home or smart mailbox and place the package inside after showing their credentials. The survey we cited above also found almost 70% of respondents preferred to unlock the front door to a delivery person. Smart locks and smart mailboxes are becoming valuable companions to video doorbells.
You Can Record Suspicious Activity
Statistics show residential homes are the primary targets of burglars in the United States. They preferred to come in through the front door, most often between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when they believe people are either at work or school. Video doorbells not only alert you to the fact that someone may be trying to break into your home, and thus you can notify the police, but they also allow you to record those attempts. Police and prosecutors can use recorded security footage to help them make arrests, and they can be useful if you need to file homeowner’s insurance claims.
Even if the thieves are smart and try to damage or steal the video doorbell, your smartphone’s mobile app will record those attempts and store all the video leading up to that moment.
Keep an Eye on the Kids
If both parents work and can’t be home when the kids arrive from school, your video doorbell gives you the peace of mind of knowing everybody is home in one piece. Your children don’t even need to ring the video doorbell since its motion detection sensors will send you a notice when they arrive. It will also give you an idea if they brought home any friends from school and when those friends leave.
If you’re worried about your son or daughter being out late at night, your video doorbell will also let you know when they get home. Your video doorbell can also alert you if someone is trying to sneak late into the home past curfew. Your children may not always appreciate it, but as a parent, it provides you with a level of tranquility.
Sleep or Nap Peacefully
Who doesn’t enjoy a nice nap in the middle of the day? How often do those naps get disturbed by someone ringing the doorbell? Your video doorbell will often have a “do not disturb” function that turns off the chime but lets you know when somebody comes to the front door. That way, you can decide whether you want to end your nap or decide to quietly remain where you are and let them come back later.
The same is true of the night. If you have an early bedtime, you can set the alarm to do not disturb. If someone comes to your front door late at night, it notifies you, allowing you to choose whether to get up and answer the door.
Video Doorbell Features to Consider
Video doorbells can provide peace of mind and safety for your family and home. Review this video doorbell guide to know all the essential features.
Video Resolution and Zoom
You’ll want to look for high-resolution video doorbells. The higher the resolution, the sharper the video — 1080p HD produces a clear image, so try to get that resolution or higher. Some higher-end models also have a high dynamic range (HDR) feature that helps with glares and shadows.
Your video camera needs to show all of your property, so look for one with a wide field of view — at least 120 degrees. To get even more detail, look for a video doorbell that lets you zoom in on the app.
Ensure your video doorbell comes with night vision for extra safety. A few video doorbells can even help you see better with clouds or shadows. Some have subtle infrared night vision options in clear black and white footage.
You can connect some video doorbells with your porch light. When the motion detector goes off, the porch light will turn on and shine a light on whoever is coming to your door or wandering around your property.
Mobile App Connectivity
Most video doorbells use Wi-Fi to connect to your mobile device, so you can be anywhere in the world and still see who is on your doorstep. If you have voice assistants around your house, you can utilize them to cast your doorbell footage to a nearby device.
Most doorbells connect on a 2.4 GHz network, though some companies are upgrading to faster speeds so you can access your doorbell footage sooner.
Make sure the doorbell app is user-friendly since you must use it frequently. The best video doorbells will have an app that connects quickly so you can see who is at your door while they are still there.
Since your doorbell will most likely be installed outside, you’ll want to ensure it can withstand your area’s weather and temperatures. Check your doorbell’s temperature range to ensure it can withstand any extreme heat or cold your area may experience throughout the year.
You can also check the doorbell’s Ingress Protection (IP) rating. The IP rating is a two-digit number that signifies how the device stands up to various solids and liquids. Look for video doorbells with ratings 65 and up, as those with that rating can handle hits from objects and low-pressure water jets.
When considering video doorbell features, take a look at the warranty. You’ll want to know if you can return or replace the doorbell if there are any defects. Most doorbells come with at least a one-year warranty, though some come with a three-year warranty. A few offer customer satisfaction and a replacement guarantee if your equipment is stolen.
Wayne Alarm Offers Video Doorbells
If you’re interested in quality and affordable video doorbells, Wayne Alarm Systems recommends the SkyBell smart video doorbell.
Safehome.org, which reviews home security systems, gave SkyBell 8.6 out of 10. It awarded SkyBell 9.4 for features and technology and 8.6 for ease of use. The reviewers called SkyBell an excellent standalone system. PC Magazine rated it 4.5 out of five and gave it one of its Best of the Year Awards for 2018.
SkyBell records any activity triggered online in the cloud for seven days. Best of all, it does this for free, something other smart doorbells charge to do.
It’s ideal for homeowners or renters who want to start with a home security system that will not cost them a lot of money or take a lot of time to install. SkyBell allows you to answer your doorbell via your mobile device and use the two-way talk feature to interact with your visitors. It also offers a 180-degree field of vision, one of the widest ranges of all available smart doorbells. It also works with other smart applications like Alexa and operates in temperatures from 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather in New England may be crazy sometimes, but we’re not likely to see these extreme temperatures anytime soon, so you can count on your SkyBell smart doorbell to work year-round.
The SkyBell companion app is available for both iOS and Android devices. If there are times of the day when you want the doorbell to be quiet or not to send you notifications, you can use quiet mode to find a few minutes of peace. One nice feature of the SkyBell device is that you can enable user access for everyone in your family. So any family member can check the doorbell’s live stream at any time or can answer the door if you are unavailable.
SkyBell works as a standalone device or can connect to the Internet of Things and become part of a much broader smart security and home automation system. If you connect SkyBell to your lights, for instance, when you come home and press the doorbell, the lights in your home will turn on.
Contact Wayne Alarm to Get Your Video Doorbell Set Up
Wayne Alarm Systems has been in business for more than 50 years in Massachusetts, and we now cover all the states of New England. We’ve built our business reputation on our outstanding service in these areas. We believe in offering reliable, durable products. From the time we install a home security system, such as a video doorbell, we want to provide you with products and services that last a long time.
Our unmatched customer service has led to long-time customer loyalty. Our clients love the work we do for them.
All our employees have a certificate of clearance that provides evidence of a thorough background check. When you work with Wayne Alarm Systems, you can trust our professionals 100%. We provide fast and safe installation to protect your home.
We offer a free security consultation to help you make the right choice for your home. Call us at 781-595-0000, or visit our the contact us page to schedule a free consultation or request an online quote.