Video doorbells are one of the most sought after smart devices in the market today. And they are awesome! As long as you are prepared for the installation.
If you purchase the wrong video doorbell for your home, it will be a waste of time and money. Before investing in any smart device, or smart home security system, do your homework. By being prepared you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come with smart technology.
So you want a video doorbell? Well, that’s great, but there are quite a few options out there. Which one do you get? Will it work with your existing doorbell? What type of issues can come up? All valid questions you need to ask before making a purchase.
If you’re dealing with home security companies, they should help walk you through the requirements. If you are buying a doorbell from a big box store, or online, you need to do your research to make sure the one you get is compatible with your current set up. There’s more to having streaming video than just making a purchase and installing the device.
Since we started installing video doorbells at All About Security, there are a few things we learned that will help make your installation go a lot smoother.
1) What Type of Video Doorbell Will Work Best For Your needs? Smart or Connected?
This may sound like a dumb question but it isn’t. It’s probably the most important one you can ask yourself before even shopping for the best value. There are different features and benefits with different brands, and they all don’t work the same.
The main dilemma you’ll have is picking a smart doorbell that can work with other devices, or one that will work as a stand-alone device. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement but if you’re looking into turning your house into a smart home, you’ll want to make sure your doorbell will work with other devices. If you purchase a doorbell now, you may want to have other things that work with it in the future.
For example, if you have a security system for your home, having the doorbell work with your system is a major benefit. Not to mention, having one app to control everything. How about customer support? If your doorbell works with your home security, your security company should be able to help you out with issues that come up. Beats staying on hold for hours to speak with someone from another country who eventually tells you they can’t help you.
Even if you don’t have other devices connected to your home right now, things change. Having the option is always a plus. If you decide to add on in the future (and most people do), you will appreciate having a smart doorbell that will enhance your other devices.
Whether it’s a front porch light, indoor cameras, or door locks, when these types of equipment work together, you’ll enjoy them a lot more. Even if they aren’t part of a monitored security system, there will be plenty of benefits that will make your life safer and more convenient.
2) Will it Work with Your Current Doorbell?
This is something a lot of people don’t think about. If you have an existing doorbell, will your video doorbell replace it? Will you have 2 doorbells? That would kind of defeat the purpose.
If you don’t have a doorbell, like some of the older homes, you will want your new doorbell to be a battery powered device. While there are some advantages with battery powered devices,there are also some disadvantages. Mainly, making sure your doorbell is always working. If changing the battery is difficult, you’ll be stuck with an awesome device that doesn’t work at times.
If you have a doorbell now, your new video doorbell should have the ability to connect to the existing power and replace the current one. This makes things work a lot smoother. Video doorbells that don’t need to have an extra battery are also smaller and have a lower profile. May not sound like much of an advantage but having a low key device has its benefits. Especially when it comes to vandalism.
3) Is Your Current Doorbell Mechanical?
This is another commonly overlooked question. There are two types of doorbells in most homes. Mechanical doorbells are the most common. However, many homes have a digital doorbell.
How do you know?
You can find out which type you have by going to your current chime box. Remove the exterior cover and take a look inside. If there is something that physically moves to make a sound then it is most likely mechanical. If there is a speaker you can see, then it is a digital chime.
Most smart doorbells are set up to work with one or the other. Depending on what type you have, you may need to buy an adaptor. This is an easy fix, but if you don’t know about it, it can cause hours of troubleshooting that can easily be avoided.
4) Will Your Internet Have the Needed Upload Speed?
Most people don’t realize that video cameras that have te ability to be viewed remotely (Most commonly, on your smartphone) need to be connected to your internet at home. That doesn’t just mean having the internet, it also means having very fast internet.
Even if you have the best internet available from your carrier, issues may still arise. Most homes already have a ton of devices that are using their internet. Things like the amount of phones, tablets, and even video game systems greatly affect your service.
Most homes will need to have a router close to the front door, a wifi extender, or may even need to increase their service plan. The better your service is, the better you will be able to live stream video to your mobile device.
Before installation, check your upload speed. You can do this by using a speed tester that is available online. It isn’t enough to just test your upload speed. You will want to go to the location of the doorbell and test it from there. I know with our devices, a minimum speed 1.5 per second is needed for optimal use.
If your internet is a little bit slower, than you may want to see how it works. Depending on how much you use your doorbell, and even things like the time of the day it is being used, you may have issues with your notifications and mobile viewing.
If you are going to be setting this up as a DIY type of system you will need to check this yourself. If you are going to have a professional installation done, ask your provider to help. It’s a great way to know what type of customer service you can expect.
5) Will You Want to Record Clips?
This is something most people will want to have. Since you won’t be using a traditional DVR to record, you will most probably have the ability to record events on your phone. These events can quickly take up your storage and become a nuisance.
Many Video doorbells give you the ability to add cloud storage. This is a nice feature but will have some type of additional expense. If you will be adding a doorbell to your home security, your provider will include some type of plan for cloud storage. Most often, this starts with 1000 clips per month.
Having certain events recorded can come in handy if you experience some type of break in. If the burglar leaves out the door, there may be footage to help police apprehend the individual. Some of these cameras have HD resolution that will see events that go passed your front door. You never know when this may help.
Other Things to Consider
There are plenty of other functions that may benefit your home and family. Depending on what type of doorbell you decide is best for you, features like motion detection, customized sounds, and intercom capabilities are available.
By knowing what is most important to you, you'll be able to pick the best smart device for your situation. If having a clear picture is important, a certain video doorbell may be better. If the speaker quality is more important, than make sure you can clearly hear the person from your smartphone.
Since most of these devices cost between $150 and $300, your expectations should match the cost. You can read additional reviews, speak to your neighbors, or security system providers to get additional feedback before making a decision.
Whether you are looking at home security systems with additional smart home services, or if you just want a stand-alone device, you can make the best decision for your home by asking the right questions. If you would like to know more about doorbells, smart home devices, or home security, you can always call us at 317.559.3500.
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Until next time, stay safe and informed Indianapolis!