Have you ever been away from your home, at work or out at the store and update your tracking number and see a package has been delivered? You get all excited, run home just to find that the package isn't there? Thankfully a housemate brought it inside so the wave of panic fades quickly.
But what if it was stolen? About 1.7 million packages are stolen every day and it's not known if your package could be next.
Since the increase of online shopping, smart home products are becoming increasingly popular with a number of products available that promise to make your life easier and provide a peace of mind. But are they for you?
While you are researching what to get next or if this fits your home, let's explore all you need to know about video doorbells.
What is a video doorbell/doorbell camera?
A video doorbell - also known as a doorbell camera- is a camera device to place outside your door to view if there is any activity on your doorstep. This doorbell can capture when someone walks by, drops off a package or in the worst case, trying to sneak into your home.
These doorbells act as an intercom system for your home with two-way audio connected to the provider's smart phone app so you are able to talk to anyone that comes by your door. The biggest benefit to a doorbell is being able to talk to someone at your door even when you aren't home since a video doorbell allows access to your camera through the app remotely.
What can a video doorbell do?
The main priority of a video doorbell is safety and home security. However, they provide a variety features that assist in other areas of your life like when you want to see your kids come home, to see a salesman at your door or a neighbor stopping by.
Video doorbells include a range of features including:
- Contact emergency services
- Get instant notifications to your phone when motion is detected
- Siren alarms accessible through your provider's smart phone app.
- Access your camera's live feed 24/7
- Set pre-recorded messages when someone walks back like "Hi, how are you?"
- PIR motion sensor so every movement is recorded and stored for viewing
- Motion zones to only capture items from a certain area
- Connect to your Alexa Echo Show or Google Home for additional camera viewing
Video doorbells provide an additional peace of mind as you are able to access the device where ever your smart phone has internet service. Camping, on a road, visiting your family members that are across the country - you can access your cameras from where ever you are.
Package Theft Prevention
With the increase of online shopping, wanting to keep an eye on your packages as they arrive is important! About 38% of those who responded in a survey said they have had packages stolen from their home after the package was delivered.
Doorbells can provide that extra eye on your porch with the ability to get a notification when motion is detected so you can quickly react if someone is on your porch trying to steal your belongings.
With two-way talk, you can even use the intercom feature to thank the person delivering the package or ask them to hid it behind a bush to keep it away from street view.
Having a doorbell camera on your front door is the most important thing to help prevent package theft. If you are online shopping, a video doorbell will be a must for your home!
Types: Wireless vs. Wired Doorbell
When it comes to the type of doorbell, there are two kinds available to look into.
A wired doorbell connects to your existing doorbell set up and wiring. These doorbells can even connect to your home's doorbell chime located in your garage.
This is popular for some because they want consistent powering through their own electricity system and have a home that can allow for a different doorbell outside of the one the house was equipped with.
A wireless video doorbell is a doorbell that does not have any wiring and operates solely on a rechargeable battery built into the device or a removable one.
These are available for those who want the flexibility to place your doorbell anywhere on your door and/or do not have an existing doorbell system on their home. This is a great option for those that live in an apartment, rental home etc. and cannot change the wiring in their home or plan on moving soon.
Both the wireless and wired doorbell camera require WIFI to operate. However, if the WIFI goes out on a wired doorbell, the doorbell is still able to operate as a traditional doorbell. You will be able to press the button on the doorbell camera and receive a sound if it is connected to your home setup.
Where are the footage and photos stored?
Cloud vs. SD storage
There are two ways that your video doorbell will hold the photos and videos. Storage is available through your provider's cloud system or locally through a smart hub and SD card.
Both of these storage opportunities have their advantages and disadvantages as it comes down to personal preference.
Most video doorbells hold their information in a protected cloud that transfers the recorded video accessible to your smart phone remotely. This cloud access comes with the purchase of your doorbell and allows you to even share the doorbell with other users on the app like your family members so multiple people can have access if they are granted permission to.
There are some doorbells that hold their storage within your home called "Local SD storage". These smart devices will require the use a smart hub (that you will need to purchase additionally with your camera) that takes an SD card to hold your photos and videos. People will choose an SD card based on security reasons and if they would rather than their information stored nearby.
Do I need a subscription for a doorbell?
To start getting a video doorbell up and running in your home, some companies do require a subscription to get all the basic features you would want. However, not all doorbell cameras need a subscription.
The benefit of a subscription
Subscription services can grant more features available to you including longer video history, unlimited downloads, access to camera sharing, special greetings, and extra settings. For those that want these additional options to get further customization to their device, a subscription should be considered when purchasing a doorbell.
Some doorbell services do require a subscription or offer very limited options on the free plan, that being apart of the subscription plan would essentially be required to get good use out of your smart device.
We recommending choosing a plan to have the options available when you want flexibility. The Toucan Shield Plan has many feature offers on their free plan but also provides a few additional features in their subscription to get further access for a low price starting at $2.99/month. Other companies monthly subscriptions can range from $2.99/mo to $14.99/mo.
If you're curious if you should be getting a video doorbell, we definitely recommend the Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell. Whether it's your first time looking into home security or have a few cameras in your home: a doorbell is a strong option for security and convenience purposes that you will not regret.
What other smart home hubs are compatible with Toucan and are you considering more interfaced devices like motion sensors, lighting, etc.?
After adding your cameras, I have noticed how much foot traffic is near my property. I haven’t used the audible alerts on the camera as it could draw attention to its location and become a target for intruders.
For future development or additional features, user capable self audio recordings could be a benefit as well.