Nothing is more frustrating than waiting all day for a package to arrive, only to miss it when it does. The best video doorbells can fix this problem, allowing you to see what's happening at your door, get notifications sent to your phone, and even speak to people without needing to answer the door physically.
In short, it makes life a lot easier and more convenient and, at a time when we're leaving the house more often than we have done in a while, it can also serve as a home security system keeping you and your family safer.
If you already have a doorbell, many wired models can connect to existing wiring, while others may require you to get expert installation.
Wireless doorbells, however, are super-easy to set up and use, only requiring a stable Wi-Fi connection and the means to mount it onto the wall with screws or very strong, weather-proof mounting tape. These could also be a great option if you rent or plan to move soon.
Whether wired or wireless, smart and video doorbells fit perfectly into a wider security set-up. If you're interested in investing in better safety, look at our roundup of the best security cameras.
Scroll down to see how we rated some of the top video doorbells available to buy right now, from Ring to Nest and beyond.
The best video doorbells in 2021
One of many more recent releases from market leaders Ring, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus is a video doorbell that turns every home into a secure smart home while providing multiple layers of protection for families.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the brand's largest doorbell and so will be hard to miss once installed. As well as the convenience of being useable either wirelessly or hooked up to your home's existing wiring, Ring also provides you with optional mounts that angle the camera's view slightly for a better line of sight.
If using the battery, you need to screw the doorbell to the wall in the desired location, charge the easily removable battery and download the app.
One note: if you don't live alone, then you will most likely need to invest in a Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro. These act as range extenders and noise-makers, but it's slightly annoying that they aren't included in the original purchase.
How it works
Equipped with a full HD 1080p camera and impressively wide 160-degree field of view, you'll get high-quality video footage delivered straight to your smartphone. So whether you're coordinating deliveries or simply checking who's at the door, it just makes things more convenient.
The model features two-way audio, making it a great video intercom system for co-ordinating visitors or couriers, and doubles as a customisable security camera with the ability to specify motion zones and areas you'd like to keep private (such as a slice of your neighbour's property that's in view).
The pre-roll feature is the exclusive selling point of the 3 Plus and basically allows you to playback low-res video footage of the seconds before an event. This is useful if you're unsure what caused the motion sensor to go off and is more of a security feature than anything.
Along those lines, you can use the app to customise the frequency of alerts, view an HD live stream of your front driveway, and switch the device between 'home', 'away' and 'disarmed' modes, much like Ring security cameras.
How it looks
Slightly chunkier than other Ring products, the 3 Plus does give you the option of either silver or nickel covers - both included, so you don't have to make any permanent decisions.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is definitely the best video doorbell we've come across but, if you're already using an older Ring doorbell with no problems, it's probably not quite worth upgrading unless you're super-keen on pre-roll, of course.
Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Designed with renters - and homeowners - in mind, there's no need to worry about wires or complex installation with the original Ring Video Doorbell (Gen 2). It still holds its own against the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus and others, with plenty of handy features offering more than required for the average user.
How it performs
Equipped with a full HD 1080p camera and impressively wide field of view, expect high-quality video footage delivered directly to your smartphone. So, whether you're at your desk, at the beach or simply lounging upstairs in bed, you're guaranteed a clear perspective on exactly who's at the door.
Like other models, you also get two-way audio, making it a great video intercom system. It acts as a regular doorbell, too, as long as you have a Ring Chime, so you don't have to rely on your phone.
How it looks
Perfect for those who rent or anticipate themselves moving in the not too distant future, this model does not require hard-wiring. Rather, it's powered by Lithium-powered batteries that can be removed and recharged with ease. Pick up two packs, and you'll never have to go without a charge.
And if you don't like the sound of having to recharge batteries at all, it's also worth noting that it can also be wired in.
Overall, the Ring Video Doorbell design is slightly less sleek and slimline than some other options available. But, really, this comes down to personal preference.
Our top pick for those seeking a hard-wired option, the Google Nest Hello is easy to use and offers everything you need in a smart doorbell. It's a great choice if you're a homeowner who doesn't plan on moving house anytime soon.
How it performs
Providing an impressive 160-degree view of the area, it's easy to see anyone who's directly outside and around your property without even having to open your front door. Instead, just talk with visitors to your home with handy two-way audio.
This is perfect if you're coordinating deliveries from your postman, even if you're at work, on holiday or pretty much anywhere else. If you've got a visitor coming round and you're still at the supermarket, you can let them know!
And connecting your video doorbell to the smartphone app is very easy, so tech-novices needn't be put off by a complex setup process.
How it looks
Boasting a slim and neat design, this smart doorbell fits right onto your doorframe, ensuring it can do its job without ruining the aesthetics of your porch area.
Unlike some video doorbells such as many of Ring, Google's Nest Hello needs to be wired in. This could be inconvenient for those who rent or just aren't confident with DIY, but in the long-term, it can add convenience by the fact that it never needs recharging.
Add-ons such as facial recognition aren't available without a subscription, but the Nest Hello is an excellent product with or without these features.
Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Nest Hello
Boasting a sizeable upgrade in video quality thanks to a built-in Sony 2K sensor and professional-grade lens, you definitely won't miss any details with the eufy Wireless Video Doorbell from Anker. It's not cheap, but it's not short on features to recommend it, either.
How it performs
The eufy Video Doorbell comes with local storage, so you skip the sometimes expensive cloud storage subscription that many brands advertise. This is an added security bonus since if something happens outside your home while you're away, you'll be able to save the evidence for use later.
Of course, in addition to the included chime, you can also get alerts (motion and doorbell) sent to your phone or another smart device.
How it looks
The doorbell comes with a base unit that acts as a chime and helps boost connection so, while you'll have to find room on a side table for the unit, it does mean you won't have to shell out for another item like some Ring offerings.
The only reason the eufy Video Doorbell doesn't score higher is that its main selling point - the crisp, high-quality video - won't make much difference to most people when viewed on a tiny phone screen. Otherwise, it's a great option.
Real Homes rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Most of the best video doorbells can double as security cameras, but the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell goes a few steps further.
How it performs
In addition to its 1080p HD video, motion detection and night vision, the Arlo Essential has a built-in siren that can deter unwanted visitors and alert you to anything untoward. It's also completely wireless and simple to install.
The 1080p video capture gives you a wider, square 180-degree view of what's going on outside, which will, among other things, allow you to see the full picture. This includes the package that your delivery person may have left on the doorstep.
Arlo claims it's the only video doorbell with a built-in siren alarm, and it's definitely the only one on our list. As a result, it's a unique selling point, boosting its credentials as a security camera as well as a doorbell.
How it looks
Minute and somewhat inconspicuous, the Arlo Essential is light and small enough to be attached to the front of your home without ruining its appearance. Unfortunately, this also means that, while those approaching your front door with a package (or visiting friends and family) will see it just fine, potentially intruders may overlook it.
The Arlo Essential calls your phone when someone is at the door, rather than sending a push notification that could be missed.
How to choose the best video doorbell for your home
Do you really need a video doorbell?
That's a question only you can answer. Still, if you're wondering whether they're a worthwhile investment, we'll say that they definitely can be if 1) you're concerned about home security in your area; 2) you get a lot of home deliveries and don't like waiting around. Also, video doorbells are proving particularly useful in quiet, affluent residential areas that are prone to burglaries; thieves like quiet back alleys and gardens, but they sure hate the idea of being recorded on camera.
Wired or wireless?
Video doorbells come as both wireless and wired. Wireless are easier to install and run on batteries; wireless ones require no ongoing maintenance but need to be installed.
If you are going to wire in and your home's electrics are old, you may find the existing doorbell wire isn't powerful enough (video doorbells generally need around 16 volts to work). The upshot? You may need to upgrade the doorbell's circuit with a transformer.
How we test the best video doorbells
There's really only one way to do so: in a real-life setting over a period of weeks. That way, our team can ensure that we can give you feedback that will relate exactly to your experience of these smart buys when you use them at home. So, no to lab tests, yes to the team testing them thoroughly at home.