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Smart doorbells are the latest must-have connected gadget, and with sales on popular models doing the rounds for Black Friday, you might be tempted to take the plunge.
But not all doorbells are created equal – there are additional factors, like subscriptions and installation to cover, plus we’ve found a range of doorbells from lesser-known brands that could be a security risk.
Read on for our selection of some of the best deals, and to find out more about buying a smart video doorbell you can trust.
Read all our reviews of smart video doorbells to find out which impressed in our tough tests.
Best deals on Ring doorbells
Ring video doorbell 3 – was £179, now £119 (34% off according to the retailer)
We liked Easy to install and easy to use – plus it comes with an easily removable battery.
We didn’t like Video quality isn’t up to scratch compared to some higher-end models
The Ring Doorbell 3 is an attractive option at a decent price. It offers 1080p video resolution with both night vision and motion detection, along with two-way talk for communicating with visitors.
It’s very similar to the 2nd generation Ring, but a removable battery makes it a bit easier to charge.
Ring video doorbell Pro – was £229, now £149 (35% off according to the retailer)
We liked Accurate motion detection, no need to worry about battery life
We didn’t like Requires a wired installation, which might cost you extra
A more permanent solution to smart comms in the home, the Ring Pro is a bit more expensive, and requires wired installation, which may well cost you more unless you’re confident enough to try yourself.
It’s a sleek, attractive unit though, slimmer and lighter than other models, so we doubt you’ll ever want to take it off. Feature-packed with 1080p video, infrared, and two-way talk, there are also a range of colours available.
Ring video doorbell (2nd gen) – was £89, now £59 (34% off according to the retailer)
We liked Simple to install and use, affordable price tag
We didn’t like Battery isn’t removable so you’ll need to factor in recharge time
As the ‘cheap’ option in the range, this entry-level Ring model is now under £60, thanks to Black Friday discounts. Despite the low price it still offers the same 1080p video as more expensive versions, and a similar array of features.
There are some caveats – while it’s battery powered and so can be installed easily yourself, you will need to remember to keep it charged.
Best deals on Nest doorbells
Nest Hello – was £229, now £149 (35% off according to the retailer)
We liked Responsive, accurate, with a range of useful features
We didn’t like Requires professional installation and additional subscription for full functionality
Ring isn’t the only doorbell in town – Google’s Nest Hello is a worthy alternative, and part of the Nest smart family that includes thermostats, wireless cameras and smoke alarms. It has a wide array of features including the important motion detection, infrared night vision and two way comms, but does need an existing wired doorbell feed for installation. You can buy a kit to do this, but most would be better off paying a professional.
How to buy a smart video doorbell
Not so long ago there were only a few models to choose from in this market, but today you’ll find dozens across online retailers and marketplaces.
As with many such devices, all video doorbells are absolutely not made equal. There are a range of things to consider before you buy, not least additional installation and subscription costs.
Our guide on How to buy the best video doorbell can get you started.
Beware smart doorbells from little-known brands
Another important consideration is security. While you’re less likely to have issues with the big brands, the same can not be said if you roll the dice on a cheap doorbell from a brand you don’t recognise.
We bought 11 little-known or unknown brand doorbells from online marketplaces Amazon and eBay, and found security issues with every one. These ranged from weak passwords, to more serious vulnerabilities on models that send your wi-fi name and password to servers in China unencrypted. Many doorbells were filled with positive reviews, and some were even branded Amazon’s Choice or found on the bestsellers list. Read our smart doorbells security investigation for more. You can also read our guide to video doorbell security for tips on staying safe.
If you’re picking up a video doorbell we’ve reviewed, you can rest easy. All models have been put through a thorough security test, as well as assessments on performance, ease of use and even theft protection. Find out how we test video doorbells.
More on Black Friday
- Black Friday Insider’s guide
- How to check if a Black Friday deal is real
- Your rights on Black Friday deals
- Top shopping tips for Black Friday sales
This story was originally published on 20 November 2020. We’ll keep updating it whenever we spot new deals that our experts believe are worth buying.