These days, most of us are pretty guarded about our privacy and safety, so answering the door takes some thought. Few of us nonchalantly throw open our doors to strangers, without peeking through a peephole or a window. Oftentimes, we don’t answer it at all.
But, by taking advantage of audio and visual technology, homeowners now can easily see who’s at the front door whether they’re in the back yard — or in Singapore.
Not all video doorbells meet every need. You’ll want to decide whether you want a unit with a monitor, which you can place anywhere in your house, or if you’d rather go with a Wi-Fi-enabled system that allows your cell phone or tablet to act as monitor, via an app. The latter provides more options since you don’t have to be at home to see who’s ringing your bell — or to answer.
Here’s a look at two popular video doorbells currently available — one using a monitor and the other powered by the Internet.
Ring Video Doorbell, $199
With its massive advertising blitz, and prominent position in Costco, Ring Video Doorbell is probably the one you’ve already heard about.
Ring uses Wi-Fi to stream live footage of visitors at your door, then dispatching the video directly to your smartphone or other mobile devices.
You can set Ring Video Doorbell to detect outdoor activity so that when someone comes within the detection zone — as large as 30 feet or so — the Ring mobile app sends an alert to your device. The Ring Video Doorbell remains vigilant during nighttime as infrared LEDs allow it to capture video in the dark.
Note that Ring offers an optional cloud video recording that captures and saves every activity detected by the Video Doorbell motion sensors, including doorbell button presses, so that you can review them at a later time. However, you can still use Ring without a subscription as it provides the same real-time notifications and live streaming video of events without saving a video.
You can choose to have Ring operate wirelessly using its built-in battery or connect it to your home’s existing doorbell wiring. And it’s easy to set up.
With Ring Video, you can see who’s at your door and speak with them — or not — by using your smartphone or tablet whether you’re tinkering in the garage, bathing the dog or enjoying mimosas two states away.
It’s available at Home Depot and online.
1byone 7-Inch Colored LCD Touch Screen Video Doorbell, $157
The 1byone 7-Inch Colored LCD Touch Screen Video Doorbell allows you to see, hear and speak with visitors from the security of your home by using a dual-way intercom and video monitoring system. This kit includes one outdoor video doorbell, two indoor monitors (you don’t use your smartphone or tablet), and a simple two-wire system for easy monitor installation on an indoor wall, in a cabinet, or on a table or desk.
Even without Wi-Fi, a smartphone or tablet, you can answer your door without ever opening it. And you can check out what’s going on outside your door any time by simply pressing the monitoring button.
The unit takes videos and photos using an optimized 120-degree video doorbell camera and stores footage directly on the indoor monitor’s internal storage or an SD card for future playback. It supports a 32G SD card, which is not included.
The 1byone unit features IR Night Vision Rain Proofing — advanced infrared-assisted night vision allows a clear view of visitors in low-illumination environments no matter the time or weather. The weather resistance rating of IP44 keeps you from worrying about snow, rain, dust or intense sunlight damaging your unit.
You can purchase the optional Electric Lock, which will allow you to use the Electric Door Release, which opens exterior gates and doors with the touch of a button from inside your home.
It’s available online.