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Technology.

Updated: 2 Mar 2022

Best smart video doorbells 2022: Which? Best Buys and expert buying advice

We've tested smart doorbells from Ring, Nest and other brands. See the best smart video doorbells to suit all budgets and needs, from cheap £50 doorbells to ones that cost well over £200.
Andrew Laughlin

Acting like a digital concierge, a smart doorbell is a fantastic device for more conveniently managing visitors to your home. 

These internet-connected doorbells will alert you if a parcel has arrived, or if there is a suspicious looking character taking a keen interest in your car. 

We've tested smart video doorbells from all the big brands, including Ring, Nest, Arlo, Eufy and more. 

Ahead we showcase what you should watch out for when buying a cheaper doorbell under £200, and what spending a bit more gets you. Also, see the Best Buy and high scoring models that have aced our in-depth tests. 

Smart video doorbell reviews - See all the models we've tested and that will suit any needs and budget.

Best cheap smart doorbells

You might baulk at the concept of spending hundreds of pounds on a smart doorbell. The models in the table below are slightly more friendly on your wallet, but without sacrificing on quality. 

Another factor of video doorbells, including lower-priced models, is whether you'll need to sign up to a subscription in order to record video to watch remotely. This can add to your costs. 

  • 74%
    • best buy
    £170.00

    Although this doorbell isn't cheap to buy, it is an excellent product that offers good overall value for money. It did well in our testing and will act as an efficient digital concierge for your front door.

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  • 73%
    • best buy
    £158.70

    Although it isn't exactly cheap, you'll love this battery-powered doorbell. It is simple to install, great to use and its picture quality is excellent.

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  • 73%
    • best buy
    £160.00

    It's another hard-wired doorbell, so you'll need to consider installation. It will be worth it, though, as this doorbell impressed in our testing and will do a great job of safeguarding your front door.

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  • 70%
    £39.00

    You might need to pay someone to install this wired doorbell, but after that it is a breeze to use. It isn't quite good enough to join our Best Buys, but you get a lot of value for the price you'll pay.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at March 2022

Best smart doorbells over £200

If you're willing to spend a bit more on your smart doorbell, you'll typically get a model that is wired into mains power and an existing doorbell chime. 

More expensive doorbells also tend to be slimmer and more compact, meaning they can blend seamlessly into the exterior of your home. 

  • 76%
    • best buy
    £179.00

    The premium smart doorbell is a superb product and among the best that we have tested. You'll know the brand and love the design, but more importantly find it easy to use with good video quality and features.

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  • 71%
    • best buy
    £229.00

    You might double-take at the price of this smart doorbell, but you’ll like its slim and discrete design. That should help it more easily blend into your home and not look overly bulky. See how it fared in our testing by logging in if you’re already a member, or joining Which?.

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  • 71%
    • best buy
    £299.99

    Among the most expensive doorbells we’ve tested, this slick and stylish model will appeal if you’re conscious of exterior design at your home. It blends almost seamlessly into your door and so will appear more discreet than most cheaper models. Read our full review to see what else you get from this pricey video doorbell.

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  • 69%
    £205.00

    It isn't good enough to join our Best Buys, but there is a lot of like about this smart doorbell from a well-known brand. It is well designed, looks good, and functions effectively as a digital guard dog for your home.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at March 2022

What is a video doorbell?    

A smart doorbell, also known as a video doorbell, is akin to a digital receptionist for your home. Alongside ringing like a normal doorbell, these internet-connected doorbells let you see who’s on your doorstep via a built-in camera, and talk directly to them from your smartphone.      

As well as letting you greet visitors, smart doorbells can help increase security at your home. They detect motion in front of your house, from wandering pets to possible burglars, and alert you to take action if required. 

How much do I need to spend on a good smart doorbell?

While it might seem like a fancy tech gadget, and therefore an expensive one, prices of video doorbells have dropped dramatically. You could pay as little as £30 – but be wary, models this cheap can be poor quality. You should also be careful shopping for video doorbells on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, especially if it's a model from a brand you haven't heard of. We tested 11 different smart doorbells found on eBay and Amazon that all failed our security tests.

Well known brands are a safer bet with video doorbells, or in fact any other smart device. Best Buy video doorbells are relatively expensive – expect to pay around £200, though there are well scoring and importantly, secure models in our smart doorbell reviews for under £100.

Pros and cons of smart doorbells    

Pros  

  • Convenience: With two-way audio, you can speak to whoever is at the door, whether you’re on the sofa or the other side of the world. You’ll never miss another parcel delivery or a friend who’s come to visit.
  • Security: As well as giving you valuable peace of mind, smart doorbells enable you to pretend you’re at home when you’re not and warn off unwelcome intruders. 
  • Never miss a visitor, even when you're out: The ability to receive alerts remotely means you’ll never miss a caller. Live-view footage will let you confirm parcels have been delivered or that your children have arrived home, for example. 
  • Smart home compatibility: As well as being compatible with smart home devices, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, some models are also compatible with smart locks. So you could physically open the door remotely to let in a visitor.   

Cons 

  • Size: While some video doorbells are sleek and can be installed so they blend into the wall or door where you want to place them, cheaper models tend to be bigger and bulkier than a standard doorbell, so they will look rather obvious on your door. 
  • Cost: Shelling out £100 or more for a smart doorbell will put a serious dent in your wallet, especially when a standard doorbell would cost less than £10. Don’t be tempted by a sub-£50 smart doorbell, however, as our testing has shown they generally aren’t worth buying. 
  • Installation can be tricky: You can install a battery-powered smart doorbell yourself - see how below. For models that require a wired installation we’d advise you get an electrician to do this, so bear in mind this extra cost. 
  • Subscription costs: Another extra outlay is video storage. Very few smart doorbells offer extensive free online storage for video clips, so you’ll need to sign up for a subscription, potentially costing up to £100 a year. See more on that below.  

Do I need a monthly subscription to use a smart doorbell?    

You can pay more than £200 for a smart doorbell, but you also often have to sign up to a subscription to get the most out of it. 

As well as being able to record and store video clips to access online, subscription services also often unlock extra features in the doorbell, such as customisable motion detection zones and more detailed notifications. 

Ahead, we explain what you get when you sign up to Ring Protect, available on all Ring doorbells, and with Nest Aware for the Nest Hello. 

Ring Protect

Ring Protect subscriptions

With every Ring doorbell, the basic functionality lets you see the live video and respond to motion alerts. To record and store video clips of events if you need them later, you’ll need a Ring Protect subscription. It breaks down into two options, with most Ring doorbells offering a 30-day free trial to try it out. 

  • Protect Basic: You get 30 days of video storage for a single Ring device for £2.50 a month, or £24.99 a year.  
  • Protect Plus: If you have more than one Ring device, such as a doorbell and a wireless camera, this tier enables you to record 30 days of video clips for unlimited devices for £8 a month or £80 a year.  
  • Do I need it? Unless you’re happy to use the doorbell for just live monitoring, you’ll need to factor in Ring Protect as an extra ongoing cost. 

Nest Aware subscriptions

With the Nest Hello, featured overleaf, you can store up to three hours of ‘event history’ video clips online for free to access remotely. That’s pretty meagre, so most people will feel the need to sign up to Nest Aware. There are two tiers and both cover unlimited Nest devices. They also enable more sophisticated controls to alerts and activity zones.

  • Nest Aware: The basic tier gives you 30 days of video storage for £5 a month or £50 a year.
  • Nest Aware Plus: For £10 a month or £100 a year, you can increase that to 60 days of event video storage and also get 10 days of constant 24/7 video recording, a bit like CCTV.
  • Do I need it? The basic three hours of free video event storage isn’t much, so if you want to get the most out of your Nest Hello, you’ll need to subscribe. 

How do I install a smart doorbell?    

All smart doorbells will need to be installed either on your door, or next to it. With a wired doorbell, such as the Ring Pro or Nest Hello, we’d advise you hire an electrician to do the installation. 

Wired doorbells require existing doorbell wiring, along with a standard 18-volt AC supply to power the camera. Installation requires turning all power off at the fuse board, wiring in the door-chime unit adaptor and then connecting everything up. 

While you do get all the kit included in the box, it’s complicated and also dangerous for the novice. Plus, the instructions can often be rather hard to follow. An electrician should be able to install a smart doorbell for between £50-£80.If you’re fairly comfortable at DIY, you can install a battery powered doorbell yourself. Below is typically what you’ll need to do - the approach might different slightly for each doorbell brand or type. For example, the Ring Door View Cam fits into an existing door peephole. 

Some battery-powered doorbells have removable batteries, and it’s advisable to have a fully charged spare battery ready to go if you need it. Others, such as the Ring Doorbell (2nd gen), have built-in batteries, so you’ll need to remove the entire doorbell to charge it. You can connect battery doorbells to the mains so that the battery is ‘trickle charged’ to keep it topped up. Again, we’d advise you get a professional in instead of attempting this yourself. 

How to install a battery doorbell 

  1. Unbox the smart doorbell and take out all the items you’ll need to install it, usually including a mounting plate/bracket and any specialist tools. At this stage, you also usually put the battery on to fully charge before fitting. 
  2. While the battery is charging, download the doorbell’s app to your phone and follow the instructions to get connected. This usually involves scanning a QR code on the doorbell using your phone’s camera. Then follow the instructions to get the doorbell on your home wi-fi. Some doorbells will only work on the 2.4GHz band, dual-band offers greater flexibility. 
  3. Now position your doorbell. Around four feet (1.2 metres) off the ground (to the bottom of the doorbell unit) is the best height as this should give good-enough coverage for most door entrances. Remove the mounting bracket from the doorbell and position it on the wall. Doorbells often come with a mini spirit level to ensure the bracket is level. Mark the screw holes with a pencil. 
  4. Once you’re happy with the position of the doorbell, you can screw it in. The approach is different depending on whether you’re fixing to wood, stucco or masonry. Follow the instructions supplied with the doorbell. Finally, attach the doorbell to the mounting bracket and secure it with screws or fixings. Now you should be ready to go. 

Can a smart doorbell be hacked?    

As well as how easy doorbells are to install, set up and use, we also assess whether their video quality is crisp and clear, both in bright daytime conditions and at night. We test whether the doorbells accurately detect when someone is arriving and send you easy-to-follow alert messages. 

We also put smart doorbells and their associated apps through an in-depth security assessment, covering aspects such as password policies, data encryption and more. In addition, we also check whether a criminal can physically detach the doorbell from your home and steal it. 

Smart doorbell brands 

Ring doorbells: Amazon's Ring is the most popular and well-known smart doorbell brand. It offers a wide range of doorbells, from the Ring Doorbell Wired at around £50, right up to the top-end Elite that costs more than £400. Another cost to consider with a Ring doorbell is video storage, as this requires an additional monthly subscription. Find out more in our Ring doorbells guide

Nest doorbells: Google's smart home brand Nest used to have just one smart doorbell, the Nest Hello, but now it has two models: the Nest Doorbell (wired), which uses mains power, and the Nest Doorbell (battery). As with Ring, some functionality on the doorbell requires a subscription plan.

Arlo doorbells: Alongside wireless security cameras, Arlo makes two smart doorbells: a wired version that uses mains power and a battery-powered version. Video storage requires a subscription just as with Ring and Nest, but an Arlo doorbell could still appeal if it fares well in our testing. 

Eufy doorbells: Eufy makes a range of smart products, including the Eufy Video Doorbell. Unlike the Ring, Arlo and Nest models, an advantage is that you can store video clips for free via a local storage device. That means you won't necessarily have to pay for video storage. 

Netatmo doorbells: French smart home company Netatmo's smart doorbell is one of the more expensive models we've tested. With a stylish look, though, it should appeal to anyone with an eye for design. Head over to our smart doorbell reviews to see how it fared under in-depth testing.