Best doorbell camera
With 24/7 recording, facial recognition, reliable smart alerts, and some free video recording. Google’s newest wired doorbell is the best option for most people.
Video quality: 960x1280p, 6x zoom, HDR / Smart alerts: Person, package, animal, vehicle and facial recognition ($) Aspect ratio: 3:4 / Field of view: 145 degrees diagonal / Power options: Wired / Wi-Fi: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz / Storage: Cloud and local / Subscription fee: $3.99 a month / Works with: Alexa, Google, SmartThings
The Nest Doorbell Wired (2nd-gen) is one of only two video doorbells in this list that can record 24/7. Being able to scroll through a continuous timeline view of everything that’s happened at your front door is super helpful and means you won’t miss a crucial moment — even if something happens outside of motion-detecting range. This, along with a low price, good video quality, the ability to tell you who and what is at your door, and some free recorded video, make it the best doorbell for most people.
The Nest Wired is also the best video doorbell that works with Google Home, and the best for protecting your packages. Its proactive package watch feature tells you when a package arrives and sends another alert when it’s gone. In my testing, it worked very well.
Unlike most of the competition, Google doesn’t charge you for smart notifications. The Nest Wired will tell you if it’s a person, package, animal, or vehicle at your door for free. You also get free activity zones to cut down on unwanted notifications, and three free hours of event-based recordings, thanks to its local storage and local processing. You can, in theory, use this doorbell without paying a subscription.
But three hours isn’t enough time to be particularly useful. And the $8.00 CAD per month ($80 CAD / year) Nest Aware subscription is expensive compared to single-camera subs from competitors. It does cover all your Google Nest cameras for less than competitor multi-camera offerings and adds 30 days of event-recorded video storage, plus Nest’s excellent Familiar Faces feature that tells you who is at your door, mostly reliably. If you want the 24/7 recording, however, you need to up it to $16 CAD per month ($160 CAD / year), but again this subscription applies to all Google Nest cameras you have.
The Nest Doorbell Wired is essentially the same as the Nest Doorbell Battery. It costs the same, has the same tech specs, and looks identical beyond a size difference. But there is one key hardware change: the Nest wired is a true wired doorbell, which means it runs directly off your existing doorbell wiring.
Because it's wired, it can record continuously, which the battery version can’t. The wired power also means it’s faster and more reliable. Plus, as with all true wired doorbells, it catches more footage at the beginning of each event (about three to four seconds) — thereby avoiding the back-of-the-head problem many doorbells suffer from, where the camera takes too long to wake up to catch the visitor as they approach.
On paper, it doesn’t have the best specs; the Arlo and Ring Pro 2 look better technically. But you do get 960 x 1280 pixel resolution and a 6x digital zoom. And video quality is very good, thanks to some digital trickery. A 3:4 portrait aspect ratio and 145-degree field of view meant I could see my porch from top to bottom and a fair amount from side to side.
On-device AI makes the Nest speedy with notifications, and it delivers rich alerts to both your phone and watch. These are interactive, allowing me to press and hold the video to see a clip and activate one of the three pre-set quick responses. It’s also quick to call up live video.
Nest’s doorbells and cameras work with Nest smart displays and speakers to show and/or tell you who is at your door, and with Amazon Alexa smart displays to see and talk to your visitor. They also work with Samsung SmartThings, but there’s no native integration with Apple Home.
There are a few quirks. There’s no reliable way to snooze notifications from the doorbell, and if you use have multiple Nest speakers or displays, they’ll all announce your visitors. Not great if you have a Nest Mini in your kid’s nursery. It also doesn’t work with the Nest app, only the Google Home app.
The Home app is much improved, however, thanks to a big redesign that launched in May 2023. It handles video playback in particular much better than before. You can also now use a doorbell press to trigger an automation — such as turning on a light in the hallway.
Best wired doorbell camera for Alexa and Ring
The flagship Ring doorbell has the best video quality, good connectivity, and excellent motion detection. It works smoothly with Amazon Alexa, but is expensive, requires a subscription for most features, and doesn’t offer 24/7 recording.
Video quality: 1536 x 1536p, HDR / Smart alerts: Person, package ($) Aspect ratio: 1:1 / Field of view: 150 degrees horizontal, 150 degrees vertical / Power options: Wired / Wi-Fi: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz / Storage: Cloud and local (with Ring Alarm Pro) / Subscription fee: $5.99 CAD a month / Works with: Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings
The Ring Pro 2 is more expensive than the Nest Wired, but its video is higher quality and much brighter. It has an ideal square aspect ratio for a full front porch view, speedy notifications, and impressively accurate motion detection using three separate sensors — radar, video analysis, and passive infrared. It also has a nice slim design and multiple faceplate options to fit your decor. Those features combine to make this one of the best video doorbells you can buy. But it doesn’t have any free video recording, there’s no option for 24/7 recording, and the smart alerts are limited to people and packages only.
The Ring Pro 2 is the best doorbell that works with Amazon Alexa and Ring’s security system and cameras, but it has little to no integration with other platforms, so it’s not a good option if you use another platform and want to add your doorbell to smart home routines. It does work with Samsung SmartThings, and integrating it into Apple Home can be done, but it requires extra hardware.
A true wired doorbell, Ring Pro 2 has alerts for packages and people (but not for vehicles or animals), color night vision, dual-band Wi-Fi, and smart responses (which let your doorbell can talk to your visitor for you). The Ring app is excellent. There are pages of settings you can tinker with, and the timeline view to scroll through your recordings is very good.
The Pro 2 will work with existing doorbell chimes, plus Ring sells a plug-in Chime and Chime Wi-Fi extender that can help boost connectivity while providing a selection of fun doorbell tones. Of all the doorbells I tested, this had the best range and connectivity, and built-in, full-color pre-roll helps ensure you don’t miss any crucial action.
As with a lot of doorbell cameras, the Pro 2 can use Echo smart speakers to announce when there’s somebody at the door. Ring doorbells can also automatically pull up a live feed of your doorbell on an Echo Show or Fire TV-enabled television when someone presses the doorbell. This gives you an instant video intercom in your home — a super handy feature.
The downside is the Pro 2 is expensive, and you will need to pay for the Ring Protect plan (starting at $5.99 a month or $59.99 a year for 180 days of video storage) to view recorded footage and get smart alerts. This also adds an extra six seconds of pre-roll video, which, in lieu of 24/7 recording (not an option on any Ring doorbell), provides plenty of time around motion events to catch all the action. The digital zoom is good, but not the best on offer — Arlo wins that race with a whopping 12x.
The Pro does work with Ring Edge for local storage and processing of videos, plus the option of cellular backup. But you need a Ring Alarm Pro and Ring Protect Pro subscription for this ($20 USD a month, which includes professional monitoring), although compared to $15 a month for just video services with the Nest, it’s a pretty good deal.