The most important things to know

to choose meaningfully.


Doorbells are devices located close to the main home door and created with the scope of allowing home visitors to notify hosts by their arrival. When activated, usually through the push of a button, doorbells communicate with other devices like chimes, responsible for emitting an alert to the hosts of the home.

It is important not to confuse doorbells with intercom systems and video entry phones.

The first difference falls on the installation location. While guests interact with doorbells in front of the main house door, the interaction with the other two systems occurs at the entrance of the condominium or of the house premises.

The second difference relapse in the interaction type enabled: although as we will smart doorbells are becoming closer to intercoms and video entry phones, traditional doorbells do not allow any kind of direct communication between visitors and hosts. Instead, intercoms will enable them to hear and talk to each other, and video entry phones additionally let hosts see who is at the door.

The third and main difference relates to the capacity of unlocking the door. While doorbells have not been conceived for that, both intercoms and video entry phones are connected to the door lock and enable the disengagement of the deadbolt or latch from the door frame.

That said, new types of doorbells are bridging the gap between traditional doorbells and video entry phones. New doorbells do not just activate your chime to inform you about the presence of a guest in front of your home but also send you a remote mobile alert to keep you informed even when away. They present integrated cameras and support two-way communication, meaning that you can see and talk to the person that is in front of the main door from wherever you want, just with the support of a mobile device like a smartphone. Some doorbells also integrate motion sensors, allowing them to indirectly act as security cameras that register what is happening, discourage burglaries and notify you when a suspicious movement is detected.


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Time saved thanks to the possibility of seeing who is at the front door avoiding displacements.

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No direct impact on the physical environment.

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Peace of mind increased thanks to the possibility of viewing who is outside your home at any time, without opening the door.

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No direct impact on home costs.


Nowadays most mechanicals doorbells have disappeared in benefit of electric ones. Electric doorbells, in turn, can be wired or wireless. However, the aspect that puts one type of doorbell apart from another is the type of interaction that they enable between visitors and hosts:

These are the typical doorbells that do not allow any kind of interaction between home visitors and home hosts. When someone uses the push button of the doorbell, a chime or similar product is activated inside the house to alert about the presence of somebody waiting outside. Hosts at that time will use the peephole to see who is out there. Some of these doorbells are also able to send remote mobile alerts to hosts so that they can be alerted even when away. However, they will not be able to see who it is.

These devices work the same way as doorbells with the added convenience for the hosts of being able to, through the use of a mobile device like a smartphone, see and talk to whoever is ringing.


Choosing a doorbell for your home should not be that difficult, especially if you decide that a standard doorbell is a right choice for you. The design of the doorbell, like in most home devices, might play an important role. It is one of the first objects with whom we interact when visiting someone. However, there are some other variables and features that we consider relevant to take an informed decision:

Video doorbells offer some additional possibilities in comparison to standard doorbells. This, however, does not mean that they are the right solution for you. They can be suitable in case you own or plan to buy an electronic door lock. Video doorbells will allow you to see who is at the front door and based on that grant access to your home without sharing any key code. They are also useful as security cameras, not just to identify burglars but also to understand specific situations like when for instance, you arrive home and surprise, and you find that a dog has peed at your front door. Or only when you are busy or relaxing, and you appreciate the possibility of checking and talking to the person outside without approaching the door. It can be however that you already have a security camera pointing the main entrance. Or that you do not see the value of talking to the person that waits outside while you are cooking. In those case, you might want to stay with a standard doorbell.

Most doorbells use low-voltage wiring. This set-up is especially advised for video doorbells, particularly for those models that may register in continuous mode. Wireless doorbells that run on batteries are also available, and some even come with integrated solar chargers. Their main advantage is the added flexibility they offer when deciding where to place them, avoiding the need of running an extension cord or contacting an electrician to change the installation location of the doorbell. Some other doorbells come with a battery and at the same time offer the possibility to be hardwired. In case you decide to hardwire them, the battery will be in most cases charged to a certain percentage every day so to avoid overcharging the device and keep it up and running all the time.

There are two main compatibility aspects to be checked when buying your doorbell. The first one is the compatibility with the power system and the second the compatibility with your current chime. If you are already using a wired doorbell with a chime and you decide to buy a wired doorbell, in most cases you will just need to replace the doorbell and keep the current chime. However, it is not always the case. Sometimes it could require an additional transformer to make it power compatible and the use of a specific chime to enable the audible alert, both generally included with the purchase of the doorbell. Wireless doorbells instead are independent of any power source and normally require the use of a specific chime which is in most cases included in the purchase of the doorbell.

Like with all internet-connected devices, it is essential to consider the distance between the doorbells and the Wi-Fi router and the Hub. Consider that the communication range specified by manufacturers correspond to ideal conditions, not taking into account the obstruction that walls may oppose. For wireless doorbells, it is also essential to consider the distance between the doorbell and the chime.

While some video doorbells allow you to save registrations for free, either locally (in microSD cards for example) or at your cloud, some other video doorbells are designed to store the contents directly at the cloud of the brand. In this case, registrations can generally be accessed for free within a limited amount of time, a period that can be extended through a subscription plan.

To experience an excellent live view, you need a video doorbell that can offer a proper resolution. The higher the resolution, the finer and better details will be displayed, and vice versa. So, if the video quality is crucial to you, look for devices that can offer HD video. As well, if the doorbell will be installed in an area with light variations, you might want to look for a device that can offer HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging. This will enhance the level of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene.

Most video doorbells support night vision to allow you to see who is at the main door after sunset. Most of them use infrared lights that illuminate the person, being the output a black and white image. Some others instead integrate a standard LED light that increases the level of brightness of the scene. This increases the visibility level of the camera that will be able to register the images in colour. This can one side facilitate the identification of burglars, as clothing colours are captured. On the other, however, some details can be lost, as burglars will not be seen until they enter the illumination area created by the light.

This refers to the area that the camera in the video doorbell can see. Cameras with a greater field of view cover a wider area with, generally, a lower level of detail. Cameras with a smaller field of view cover a narrower area with, typically, a higher level of detail. For instance, a camera with a field of view of 180º creates a “fisheye” effect that allows covering everything in front of it.

Some video doorbells come equipped with motion and sound detection that notify you in case they detect any activity. To limit the number of notifications some video doorbells can distinguish kids, pets and objects from people and additionally, some will let you select the zones of the scene that makes sense to monitor.

Some video doorbells come with facial recognition. This means that they can differentiate between unknown people, and therefore potential threats, or family members and friends. Some video doorbells offer this feature for free, while others require to join a subscription plan.

Some video doorbells register both image and sound, while others register just images. As well, some video doorbells offer non-stop continuous video recording (CVR) while others will do so only in case some activity is detected.

This refers to the possibility of communicating with whoever is at the door. As per seen, just video doorbells are thought to support this feature. Make sure that the one you choose integrates a microphone that cancels the surrounding noise to enhance the communication. 

Most doorbells combine different types of alerts to inform you about the presence of someone, both when you are at home and when are you away. These can be audible alerts (sound emitted through a chime), visual alerts (light integrated into the chime) and remote mobile alerts (push notification, email and others). Choose the one that provides you with more flexibility. Additionally, if you want your chime to emit different sounds based on the type of activity identified, or even upload a preregistered noise or your favourite song, look for that in your new doorbell and chime.



While wireless doorbells give you further flexibility in terms of positioning, wired doorbells should be installed on the wall, either to the right or the left side of the leading home doors. In both cases, doorbells should be visible and within the height range indicated by your local regulations. In case of installing a video doorbell, if possible, avoid its' exposure to sunlight.


Depending on the type of doorbell and the chime available, the possibilities may be different. Regarding the chime, some useful settings can be the selection or upload of a personalised tune, the definition of the duration during which it sounds, and the possibility to mute it for a while, for instance, while your baby is sleeping, or to turn it entirely off. In regards to the doorbell, the main settings are related to the management of specific activity alerts, like the deactivation of motion and sound notifications, for instance, while you are at home and you expect lots of people passing by in front of your door. Or the activation of the camera and registering just after some type of activity is detected.


Make sure that your doorbell is always in place, and that is not obstructed by any object or plant, both for your visitor, who does not expect a hide and seek game at that time and for you, so to not miss a delivery and to reach unobstructed views of what happens outdoors.


Standard doorbells do not generally require any type of maintenance except for wireless ones, which require a periodical replacement of the batteries. Video doorbells instead, being part of home safety and security system, need some additional maintenance: verify that the recording function works correctly and that is geared to capture the areas of interest, clean lenses regularly to reach a right quality image, check the seal of the doorbell to prevent the penetration of any water or moisture, delete registered media after a certain amount of time to free up storage space and keep the doorbell up to date with the last version of the software.

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