Should I Buy a Wi-Fi Security Camera or Video Doorbell?

July 07 2021

Nothing feels better than having peace of mind and a sense of security when you stay home or go out. It’s always better to have another pair of eyes monitoring your home and alert you if there is a problem.

Photo by Ennio Dybeli 

Photo by Ennio Dybeli 

But you will be in a dilemma when thinking about choosing the solution. Should I buy a security camera or a video doorbell? Which one is better? In this article, you will get complete and in-depth information about both solutions so that you can make the perfect choice for yourself.

Why choose video doorbells

People accept video doorbells more readily because they offer more than one functionality. Video doorbells inform you when you have a visitor, but these smart gadgets also let you see who is outside without coming near the door.

Some doorbells also give you a broad view to check some of the surrounding areas even when you are away from home.

These are some of the pros and cons of a video doorbell

Pros:

  •      Video doorbells are smart devices that provide you with different security features. They are equipped with motion detectors, so they will instantly notify you via your smartphone if they notice any motion near your door.
  •       Even if your doorbell gets stolen or someone tries to destroy it, the video data will remain on the server, and police will use it to identify and apprehend the culprit.
  •       The video doorbells are very user-friendly and easy to install. There is no need to integrate it with other systems, and you will avoid any complex installation process.
  •       They are also budget-friendly, so most people can easily afford them without any renovation or installation expenses.

Cons:

  • When placing the doorbell, you have to take specific measures because they are not omnipotent. The doorbell can certainly record anyone who approaches the door, but it will not provide much assistance in the case of experienced criminals.
  • Video doorbells can be easily stolen, as reported in the media.
  •  Another problem with them is their limited usability because you can only install them near the front door and monitor a small area around your door.
  • They have a wide-angle lens which provides a broad view but might create distortions at a close range.
  • You might have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Security Cameras:

The security camera is not something new; almost everyone knows about them. These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a security camera

Pros:

  • One of the primary features of a security camera is its flexible adjustability. The camera can be installed where you want it, so it is customizable and covers a bigger area.
  •  Security cameras are often placed at hard-to-reach locations so it is not easy to destroy or steal a security camera as compared to the doorbell. Moreover, the companies also provide security gear to keep the camera safe.
  • A security camera can be used stealthily. It will be hard to notice for other people or use it as a deterrent by placing it at some visible but hard-to-reach location so the burglar knows they are being watched and can do nothing about it.
  • Lastly, video cameras can record video in high quality and even capture video in good quality in low light conditions or at night.

Cons:

  • Security cameras provide you with a sense of security as you can monitor most of your home, but you will have to sacrifice some of your privacy.
  • You have to pay an expensive monthly subscription fee in most cases.
  • The main problem is related to the installation. There might be some damage that will require repair and renovation after the installation. You might have to expend some extra bucks on post-installation damade control.
  • There are some homes where it might be impossible to install a security camera. Such houses can use the wireless version of the camera, which is much more versatile.
  • Using cameras will have a higher price tag, but that price will be justified by the level of security the camera will provide you.

Conclusion:

Video doorbell and security camera are both excellent choices, and your choice mostly depends upon your budget and preferences about what you want to install. Both the devices have their strong points. The security camera provides tight security but is expensive, whereas the video doorbell provides less security but is affordable.

Ideally, the perfect way will be to use both, so if you can afford it, you should utilize both of them to maximize the security of your home.

FAQ

Can doorbells be used as cameras?

Yes, the video doorbells can be used to see outside your front door to check who is visiting you.

Do cameras record 24/7?

Yes, the cameras record each and every moment 24/7. But to unlock this feature, you will need to pay for a monthly subscription. 

Comments:

After having our garage broken into, we decided to get some security cameras, and they’ve actually been quite useful. We haven’t “caught” anyone yet, but if we do get burgled again, we’ll at least be able to see where the weakness in our security was by looking back. My friend was able to catch the guy who stole thousands of dollars worth of power tools out of his garage. And having them visible from the front porch probably help act as a burglar deterrent, too.I’ve actually found them useful for other, non-security stuff too—like catching a conversation we had with our neighbor during a dispute. The video doorbell in particular is nice for warding off solicitors, or telling delivery people to slide the package under the gate. I was initially apprehensive about spending the money, but I’m ultimately glad we did.That was long-winded, but to answer your question Shep, I think the video doorbell is worth it for the front door—and then get a security camera from the same line of products for the backyard, so you can see them both in one app. (We went with Ring because its subscription cost was way cheaper than Nest for our number of cameras, but Nest is undeniably the more powerful product if you have more cash to throw around.) How many cameras you get and where you put them depends a lot on the layout of the property—in our new house, we only need the doorbell and one camera, but our last house required a doorbell and two cameras.
whitsongordon / 2021-08-02 22:33:49

I’ve considered a video doorbell, but my main concern is the cloud storage. Unfortunately I’m on a capped connection with overages and am already bumping up against that cap. I hoping this situation changes in the next year as a legitimate competitor should be rolling out to my area, but in the mean time the cap is still a problem. So have you noticed any spike in your monthly data usage since getting your video doorbell?
Vidikron7 / 2021-08-23 01:37:03

Video doorbells typically have very narrow field of coverage, especially in single family homes or town homes where the garage dominates the front of the house and door is tucked away deep to a side. Also, security cameras can be placed all around the house but video doorbells are basically meant for (mostly) front door only. Of course, you can build a consolidated system which utilizes both.Now, if you do go for a video doorbell, I recommend avoiding Ring 2. I have it installed and frankly speaking, I think they have not thought through the software. There is a road about 40 feet away from my door. Any car passing through triggers the motion notification. However, there is a footpath about 7 feet closer than the road. Anyone walking on it is not detected at all. I mean, a doorbell should be configured to avoid fast moving objects, right? How many cars would be driving up right to your doorway? Strangely, when a car drives in to my driveway or garage, it is not detected! Sometimes I feel my doorbell is just trolling me.I have given feedback wherever I can think of, but no use. Also, good luck gettting anybody on chat in the app. After some time you will simply disable the motion notifications completely or just not look at them at all. Also, video loads very slow on the app. I bought from CostCo and got one year plan for free. Once the plan is cancelled, I doubt I will be able to view any event in real time at all.
nottheone-wastaken / 2021-08-29 22:33:46

There is no option to set motion zone to ‘people’ only for Ring 2. You can drag to minimize ‘car’ zone but since ‘people’ zone is inside car zone, that means that your people zone will shrink to practically nothing. On top of that, what kind of setting detects cars passing by on the street but ignores one coming right up on the driveway? I have to question if you really have a Ring 2 at all.I don’t have a camera at all now, but there were 2 in our rental earlier. Since these are usually installed on top of garage etc, field of view is excellent. Video doorbell does not provide a similar field of view just going by where it has to be installed. I should know. There are video doorbells (Rings and Nest) at every house on our street.
nottheone-wastaken / 2021-09-12 04:40:18

The bad thing about the doorbell cameras, is they aren’t adjustable. They fit flat on the wall, and that’s it. For example, our front door is recessed a little, and because of this, a good 1/4 of the image is taken up by the adjacent wall, and outside of trying to make some sort of nice, decorative shim/plate that the door bell sits on to angle it, there’s nothing I can do adjust the camera.An outdoor camera, you could position where ever you want, tilt/angle/twist it however you want to get the best image.Just something to consider.
glyphon / 2021-09-19 01:37:01

What’s the geometry of your front door area like? Do you have an electrical line in the area that can be tapped into? How comfortable are you with hardwiring something into your electric lines? Are you ok with replacing/recharging the battery every now and then if it’s impractical to hardwire?The advantage of the video doorbell is that you’re certain to have built-in power at that spot, and it’s fairly easy to install even for someone unfamiliar with electrical work.Of course, what you gain in ease of install you lose in terms of mounting flexibility. You just get the one angle that may or may not be a good one.I have both a video doorbell and a battery-powered outdoor security camera (both made by Ring), and I like them both. The notifications from the doorbell are excellent for letting me know when someone is right outside the door. I have the notifications turned off for the camera (which is aimed at my driveway — too many false positives from the ), but if I’m expecting guests or a delivery, I can pull up the live view and see as they approach and meet them at the door.Do I need them? No. They’re more of a curiosity than anything else. Sometimes I stress out when I’m not at home and see an alert of someone ringing my doorbell, and I can’t answer it. It doesn’t matter — just a few years ago, before I got my video doorbell, I wouldn’t have even known someone was there, and I’d just go on with my day. But it’s nice to have that insight into what’s going on when I’m not around.So, which one is “better” really depends on the specifics of each homeowner’s situation. And you don’t have to rush into it — if you don’t have one currently, then you won’t miss it at your new place. You can take your time and figure out which one works best for you and your house.
duke-of-kent / 2021-10-01 19:56:38

Just remember that with each WiFi device you add to your network, your WiFi becomes a little slower. Especially when those devices are transmitting 1080p video. Wired cameras, I found out the hard way, are the better choice because once you get one, you’ll get more.  They’re addictive.  You just want to see more of your house/yard, and then you realize you need 11 cameras to leave no blind spots...yeah, try to stream Netflix with 11 WiFi cameras bogging your network with their traffic 24/7.  Hell, try loading a web page on a tablet.  I had to get a second router and set it up as it’s own secondary network for the cameras and all my WiFi switches and stuff.  That helped a lot.
forfuckssakestfu / 2021-10-08 05:06:26

We have Arlo cameras at our front door, dock, garage, living room (while we are away) and back of the house. Honestly the Arlo camera is too slow to pick up front door activity when it is running on batteries. It is common for the UPS guy to drop off a package and all the Arlo gets is his back as he is walking away. At some point I am going to hardwire my front door Arlo which will solve the timing issue since it can save video before motion is detected in this mode. We really like the Arlo security lights for our dock and front door. I love that I can set the color so that when I am leaving early in the morning I can turn on a red light which doesn’t mess up my night vision.The battery life is very good. I replace/recharge batteries every 2-6 months depending on usage. The notifications are nice as they are sent via email and/or app notifications. Another consideration is that the wind also triggers a lot of false activity. Best part is the free (for now) online viewing.
cameron007 / 2021-10-19 23:52:14

Both! I live in an up and down part of town. My setup is a video doorbell and cameras covering each exterior wall. One on the drive way and two to cover the backyard. Plus more than enough lighting and an alarm system. You deal with one criminal and after that nothing is overkill. Only thing stopping me from owning a gun to kill the next one is that the chances are slim to none of that being a realistic scenario. So making damn sure I have a good chance to at least put the next one behind bars afterwards.
swarovskicrystalpepsi / 2021-10-28 19:56:35

most of the houses in that area are pretty close together so if you did a full outdoor camera system, you may only get the tops of people’s heads if they’re using alleys to get into people’s yards but there’s also heavy foot traffic during the day so that helps. There’s some rougher neighborhoods near the german village area so if you can find angles that would cover approaches to your property from alleys a camera system may be a good idea but at the very least a doorbell camera or porch mounted camera would help to stave off porch pirates. I live in Grove City which is a suburb just south of the outerbelt so our properties aren’t as close together but a lot of people run doorbell cams and outdoor cameras around here too. My advice would be start with the doorbell cam and if you see other angles that another camera could cover, then add-on.
oldmanlight / 2021-11-09 01:55:29

I got in on the Eufy cam Kickstarter and have been quite happy with it. I have one in our entryway by the front door, which is set back a bit, and one on the garage for a wider view of the street - the angle is impressive, and sound and picture quality are great. It’s only been a couple months now, so we’ve yet to see whether the battery really lasts a year on one charge, but installation was super simple - the only real limitation is WiFi signal.
seancurry / 2021-11-18 21:33:39