The Best Video Doorbells for Seeing who’s Trying to get into Your HomeThe Best Video Doorbells for Seeing who’s Trying to get into Your Home

The Best Video Doorbell

Or how to freak the courier out by talking to them through a doorbell.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Aug 27, 2020
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At a glance

In the list of annoyances, the courier ringing the doorbell just as you pop to the loo is up there. Goodbye eagerly awaited shopping purchase. Hello long wait at your local courier HQ. Also up there is the unexpected visit by your mum / grandma / sibling / bestie when you’re sat in your underpants, surrounded by empty takeout containers.

You can banish these annoyances by investing in a smart doorbell. Acting like a digital bouncer, a video doorbell lets you know when a visitor arrives on your doorstep by sending an alert to your mobile. Unlike a regular doorbell, you can see, hear and talk to these visitors even when you’re not at home. A video doorbell connects to your device(s) which means wherever you are, you can see who’s at your door without opening it. 

Plus, by being able to talk to your visitors through it, you can let loved ones know if you’re not around or tell the courier where to leave your parcel. 

Here’s our guide to the best video doorbells in Australia, chosen from hours of research, including real Aussie opinions.

Best for most

Ring Video Doorbell 3

If you really want to part with your cash, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3. RRP $329, it has 1080HD video, 2-way audio, instant mobile notifications, adjustable motion detector sensitivity and a rechargeable battery pack. Be warned, it has poor Aussie reviews and you pay extra for video storage.

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Ring Video Doorbell 3
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A note on picking the best smart doorbells

We believe in buying better. Which to us means buying something once, that’ll last. Saving you the time of trawling the shops and saving the planet from 1 more item in landfill. When it comes to video doorbells, we’re not convinced that you can buy better – yet. 

Through our hours of research, we couldn’t find video doorbells that were both loved by Aussies and available in Australia. 

Some of this can be put down to people’s outrage at paying extra for cloud storage. Even a low amount proved too much for some people. It can also be put down to sketchy internet coverage, poor customer service and a lack of clear set-up instructions.

But it was obvious that even those niggles aside, video doorbell cameras aren’t great currently. Missed notifications, the inability to access footage, a lag between someone appearing on the screen, being alerted to it and the time taken to log onto the app to respond... In short, all the basics you’d expect a smart doorbell to do, they seem to struggle with.

We’re sure the technology will catch up to the intended purpose soon. But we don’t think it’s there yet.

How we picked

It was a tough process because consumer advocacy groups, like CHOICE and Consumer NZ, haven’t reviewed video doorbells. That meant we had no idea how they performed in test environments.

Instead, we turned to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website, to see Aussies’ thoughts. For starters, there weren’t many smart doorbell reviews. Normally, we want to see a decent star rating (at least 3 stars) from a decent number of reviews (at least 50). We couldn’t find any. Currently, there are no well-rated video doorbells in Australia, according to real Aussies.

We threw our net a little wider, hunting out expert guides internationally. Although we found some recommendations, they were either discontinued or not available in Australia. We did find 1 potential on the Wirecutter, an American shopping website like Cosier. 

Normally, we’d narrow down our picks by key features. There was no need to this time. We had just 4 contenders. 

The 4 best video doorbells in Australia

Best for most -> Ring Video Doorbell 3

Ring Video Doorbell 3

If you really want to part with your cash, consider the Ring Video Doorbell 3. RRP $329, it has 1080HD video, 2-way audio, instant mobile notifications, adjustable motion detector sensitivity and a rechargeable battery pack. Be warned, it has poor Aussie reviews and you pay extra for video storage.

Check price

As we’ve explained, we’re not quite sure the Ring Video Doorbell 3 justifies the title of Australia’s best smart doorbell. But it’s the best of a bad lot.

This sleek modern video doorbell boasts wide-angle 1080HD video, giving you good picture quality. It has live view on-demand video and audio, thanks to the built-in microphone and speakers. This allows you to see, hear and talk to whoever’s outside your door from your devices, wherever you are. This includes your smartphone, tablet or computer; it’s iOS, Android, Mac and Windows 10 compatible. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

Instant mobile notifications when motion is detected means you’re alerted when anyone’s on your doorstep. With adjustable motion sensors, you might be able to screen out next door’s cat strolling past your front door. It has infrared night vision too for 24/7 viewing. 

You can either hardwire it into your home or use the rechargeable battery – it comes with 1 rechargeable battery pack. It also comes with lifetime theft protection. If it gets stolen, report it within 15 days and Ring will replace it, free of charge. 

Which all sounds pretty good. Now let’s look at the not-so-great bits. 

It costs $329 but this isn’t the complete price. Although the doorbell will make a noise when someone presses it, and ring on any connected phones you’ve set up, if you want a loud chime inside your home, you need to buy an additional chime. This is $59.

Although you can get live streaming video and 2-way audio, you can’t record and store videos from the camera. If you ever need footage of a shady character, you need to pay for a subscription to the Ring Protect Plan. The Basic plan allows you to record, save and download video for 60 days. The Video Doorbell 2 comes with a free 30-day trial. After that, you need pay extra. It’s $4 a month or $40 a year for 1 doorbell. The Plus plan jumps to $15 a month or $150 a year. For the extra dollars, you’re getting extended warranties, coverage of unlimited doorbells and cameras and a 10% discount off some Ring products. 

The Basic plan isn’t a deal breaker – it’s affordable.

The real deal breaker? How much Aussies dislike it. It gets just 2.4 stars from almost 40 reviews. These reviews have titles like ‘Not good’, ‘Buy something else without hidden costs’ and ‘Waste of money’. The biggest complaints seem to be poor customer support if something goes wrong, having to pay extra to access videos and a loud chime, bad audio and a lag in activity and notifications.

But in between the bad, there are some happy customers.

Why buy the Ring Video Doorbell 3

Good picture quality

Thanks to the wide-angle 1080HD video.

Live view video and audio

Which means you can see what’s happening on your doorstep, wherever you are, from whatever device you’re on.

Hear and speak

The in-built microphone and speakers ensure you can hear what’s going on. You can also talk. 

Instant mobile notifications

If motion is detected, you’ll be notified instantly on your mobile.

Adjustable motion sensors

To avoid being alerted constantly when it’s just a cat enjoying a stroll, you can change the sensitivity of the motion sensors. 

24/7 viewing

Infrared night vision means good visibility, even at night. 

Easy charge

It comes with a rechargeable battery pack for quick and easy charging. It can also be wired into your home if you prefer.

Amazon Alexa compatible

So you can get security at the sound of your voice.

Lifetime theft protection

If it gets stolen, Ring will replace it for free.

The not-so-good bits

Additional extras

For $329, you’re getting a video doorbell and that’s it. If you want video storage, you need to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription fee. If you want a loud chime, you need to pay extra for that too.

Poor customer reviews

It’s not well-rated on ProductReview.com.au with plenty of unhappy Aussies.

In summary 

For $329, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 has everything you need in a smart doorbell. This includes wide-angle 1080HD video, 2-way audio, good software compatibility for live viewing and audio, adjustable motion detector sensitivity and a rechargeable battery pack. But what about what you’re not getting? You need to pay extra for video storage and for a louder chime. In short, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 sounds great in the marketing blurb. But the opinions of real Aussies don’t back up these claims. It has poor consumer ratings currently on ProductReview.com.au which is why we suggest caution if you’re considering spending $329+ on this video doorbell. But in between the bad, there are some happy customers.

The competition

Video doorbell cameras are still a growing tech area. We struggled to find many highly rated smart doorbells. Hopefully this will change as the year goes on. If you really want one and don’t want to wait for the hype to match the reality, here are some others to consider. 

DoorBird IP Intercom Video Door Station D101S

Not quite as Insta-pretty as the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the DoorBird D101S has most of the same features. This includes a free app that allows you to see and speak with whoever’s at your front door from your device, wherever you are. It too sends you a push notification to your smartphone or tablet when someone rings the doorbell. The 180° infrared motion sensor sets off an alarm or notifies you, even if someone doesn’t ring the doorbell. Like the Ring, the motion sensor sensitivity can be adjusted. It also has a light sensor for night vision, including 12 infrared LEDs.

How’s it different? Well you can go further with the DoorBird and open the door from your smartphone. It also has free cloud recording which stores visitor history with images, dates and times. You can get optional video recording which DoorBird claims doesn’t cost extra. We can’t find anything to verify that.

It has geofencing which means there’s automatic door opening when you come home. Unlike the Ring, there’s no rechargeable option, you need to wire it in. The chime is included too. The camera quality is less though, just HD 720p. Finally, it’s a lot more expensive - $675, over double the price of the Ring. 

It has 1 review on ProductReview.com.au, getting 2 stars. 

Choose this if...

You want to pay more than the Ring to get a wired video doorbell that has free cloud recording, geofencing and the ability to open the door from your smartphone.

Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (Wired)

The 2K in the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (Wired) name refers to its clear 2K image. This is achieved by the high def 2560 x 1920 resolution – way higher than our other reviewed products. It’s packing some smart tech, including AI which detects body shape and face pattern. This means you only get alerted when a human, not an animal, is at your door.

It instantly alerts you when a person approaches, and not only if they ring the doorbell. Even better, the alert includes a facial snapshot so you can see who’s there at a glance. You can set smart detection zones, so you only get alerted in the areas you care about. 

Plus, you can record and set up 3 instant responses. You can then select one of your pre-recorded responses when you’re alerted to certain activity, like your weekly food box delivery. It’s compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. 

It’s wired in which means a longer set up. But it includes a free wireless electronic chime. Our favourite bit is the storage. All your videos and images are saved to an in-built chip for up to 30 days. This means no ongoing subscription fees and no security issues with transmitting your data to the cloud. Of course, if your doorbell is stolen, your footage is too. 

We think RRP $349.95 is very reasonable for an all-in-one solution. The Wirecutter rates it too. 

It doesn’t currently have any Australian consumer reviews, so we’re not sure how it performs in Aussie homes. 

Choose this if...

You want a wired video doorbell camera that has in-built video and image storage, so no ongoing subscription fees, smart human detection technology and the ability to set up instant responses for recurring events.

Ring Video Doorbell

The most basic and affordable video doorbell we reviewed is the Ring Video Doorbell. It comes in at just $149. Like the Video Doorbell 2, it sends you instant alerts when people press the doorbell or trigger the motion sensors. You use the app to see, hear and talk to visitors via your devices, wherever you are. It too has customisable motion sensors and infrared night vision. It can also be wired in or you can use its built-in rechargeable battery. You pay for optional cloud storage too. 

How’s it different from the Video Doorbell 2? For starters the image quality is lower, at 720HD. The built-in battery isn’t as easy to remove. The field of vision is 180° compared to the Video Doorbell 2’s 160° horizontal, 90° vertical. Finally, you’re not getting live view – you can only use the app to view who’s on your doorstep when you receive an alert.

The main reason we’re wary of the Ring Video Doorbell is that is gets just 2.1 stars from almost 200 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. Ouch. Over 100 of these reviews are 1 star, with titles like ‘Avoid at all costs’, ‘Don’t do it’ and ‘Can’t give it a zero’. 

Choose this if...

You want to take a chance on a very affordable but basic video doorbell.

A note on picking the best smart doorbells

We believe in buying better. Which to us means buying something once, that’ll last. Saving you the time of trawling the shops and saving the planet from 1 more item in landfill. When it comes to video doorbells, we’re not convinced that you can buy better – yet. 

Through our hours of research, we couldn’t find video doorbells that were both loved by Aussies and available in Australia. 

Some of this can be put down to people’s outrage at paying extra for cloud storage. Even a low amount proved too much for some people. It can also be put down to sketchy internet coverage, poor customer service and a lack of clear set-up instructions.

But it was obvious that even those niggles aside, video doorbell cameras aren’t great currently. Missed notifications, the inability to access footage, a lag between someone appearing on the screen, being alerted to it and the time taken to log onto the app to respond... In short, all the basics you’d expect a smart doorbell to do, they seem to struggle with.

We’re sure the technology will catch up to the intended purpose soon. But we don’t think it’s there yet.

How we picked

It was a tough process because consumer advocacy groups, like CHOICE and Consumer NZ, haven’t reviewed video doorbells. That meant we had no idea how they performed in test environments.

Instead, we turned to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website, to see Aussies’ thoughts. For starters, there weren’t many smart doorbell reviews. Normally, we want to see a decent star rating (at least 3 stars) from a decent number of reviews (at least 50). We couldn’t find any. Currently, there are no well-rated video doorbells in Australia, according to real Aussies.

We threw our net a little wider, hunting out expert guides internationally. Although we found some recommendations, they were either discontinued or not available in Australia. We did find 1 potential on the Wirecutter, an American shopping website like Cosier. 

Normally, we’d narrow down our picks by key features. There was no need to this time. We had just 4 contenders. 

Important features to consider

If you decide you need a smart doorbell in your life, here’s what to look for.

Video resolution

The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Because it’s a video doorbell and the idea is to see who’s on your doorstep, pay attention to the resolution. High resolution video will capture people’s faces and other details better. Like the crowbar they might be holding.

Wide angle lens

Look for a camera that has a wide field of vision. A large field of vision ensures your doorbell camera can see a wider area of your home and all visitors’ faces – the tall and short ones.

Night vision

To help you feel safe at night, a video doorbell with night vision will help ensure a good quality image even after the sun’s gone down. This is especially useful if you’re ever visited by late night lurkers. You’ll be able to identify suspicious people or activity. 

Wired or wireless

Smart doorbells can either be wired into your home or be wireless. If you go for a wired option, you’ll probably need a certified electrician to install it. Wired video doorbells never run out of charge but won’t work if there’s a power cut.

Wireless video doorbells run off batteries, which might be rechargeable. If you opt for wireless, check how the battery pack is removed and replaced. With some of them, you need to remove the doorbell to get to the battery. Read reviews to learn how good the battery life is.

Software compatibility

The smart thing about a smart doorbell is how you can answer your door and talk to visitors from wherever you are. That’s because they all have (usually free) apps. Make sure the app is compatible with all your devices, including your smartphone, tablet and computer. Check to see if the app runs on Android, iOS, Mac or Windows devices.

Two-way talk

A video doorbell camera with a built-in microphone and speakers allows you to hear and talk to visitors through it. You can tell the courier where to drop your parcel or let your mum know you’ve gone to the loo.

This is basic functionality, because without it, what’s the point of a video doorbell? You might as well get a regular one. 

Motion detection

A video doorbell is a bit like a home security camera, in that it alerts you when it senses movement near your door. You receive an instant notification on your device when the sensors are triggered. Ensure that you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors. Otherwise you’ll get notified every time a cat strolls across your front lawn. 

Weather resistance

Living outside, your video doorbell is going to be exposed to a lot weather-wise. Check that your camera can withstand heavy rain, humidity and extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.

What you get if you spend more

The video doorbells we reviewed mostly fall into the affordable category, around $300. There’s 1 outlier, the DoorBird D101S, which comes in at a huge almost $700. So, what do you get if you spend more?

Enhanced technology

All the smart doorbells we reviewed send you instant notifications when someone rings it, or motion is detected. They also allow you to hear and talk to visitors, among other basic features. But more expensive models, like the DoorBird D101S, go further with their tech. More expensive features include opening your door from your smartphone and geofencing. This means your door automatically opens when you get home. 

Included cloud storage

One of Aussies’ biggest grumbles about smart doorbells is that usually you need to pay extra for cloud storage of your videos. Although you can view a live stream, get instant alerts and speak to your visitors without a subscription, you need storage to host your video footage. If you choose a more expensive model, it’s likely to include a cloud storage subscription plan.

You could also choose a model that has in-built storage, like a memory card. Although if your camera gets stolen, so does your footage.

Storage might not be a dealbreaker for you if you only want to check who’s at the door before you open it.

Live video streaming

The most affordable video doorbell we reviewed, the Ring Video Doorbell, doesn’t let you see what’s happening on your doorstep in real time. Instead, you can only see what’s happening when it senses movement and alerts you. 

Honestly, we think this is fine. It’s a video doorbell not a security camera. But if you want 24/7 live viewing of your doorstep, upgrade to a more expensive option. 

The bottom line

If you’re wanting to create a fully connected smart home, a video doorbell makes sense. Adding an extra layer of security, there’s no more peeping through spy holes to see who’s at the front door. Instead wherever you are, you’ll be alerted when someone turns up on your doorstep. Then, from the comfort of your device, you can hear and talk to them. And most importantly, decide who gets to come in. We’re not convinced that a video doorbell is worth the investment, yet.

But if you’re sold on them, we think the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is your best bet. For $329, you get wide-angle 1080HD video, 2-way audio, good software compatibility, adjustable motion detector sensitivity and a rechargeable battery pack. You don’t get video storage or a loud chime.

Although the marketing blurb sounds great, the opinions of real Aussies don’t back up these claims. It has poor consumer ratings currently on ProductReview.com.au.

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