Whatever your price range, these smart buzzers will make a marvellously modern first impression. By Luke Rix-Standing.
To see how smart technology has revolutionised modern homes, you now needn’t look further than the front door.
Not so long ago, doorbells were actual bells, tinkling away in home, town hall, and corner shop. Now in the age of smart toasters, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, and refrigerators that can order your groceries, it’s no surprise that doorbells too have enjoyed a thoroughly modern makeover.
From motion sensors to infrared night vision, we round up the high-tech doorbells changing the game for guests and homeowners alike…
1byone Easy Chime Wireless Doorbell Kit, £10.99, Amazon.co.uk
A simple wireless doorbell that rings through a receiver in your home, the 1byone Easy Chime does exactly what it says on the tin. The 100-metre range should suffice even for larger lodgings (mansion-dwellers should get out the measuring tape), and comes with a 12-month warranty. The tough outer casing stands strong in heatwave and hurricane, while the 36 available chimes play in CD quality.
Slightly on the complicated side to set up (more IKEA dresser than IKEA shelf), this cheap and cheerful doorbell’s main downside is its need for batteries.
TECKNET WA888 Wireless Doorbell, £16.99, Amazon.co.uk
The perfect bell for more hard-of-hearing homeowners, the receiver plugs in anywhere in the house, can emit anything from 25-110 decibels, and lights up to provide an extra visual cue that someone’s at the door. The old “I didn’t hear the bell” excuse won’t wash with the WA888, while the waterproof casing has no difficulty with exposed locations.
With more than 50 different chimes to choose from, you’re sure to find one that isn’t nerve-shreddingly shrill, and there are plenty of other options when you get bored. Best of all – no batteries required.
Byron BY504 Wireless Battery Doorbell, £35, Argos.co.uk
A great, mid-range jack-of-all-trades, the Byron BY504’s portable chime unit will ring anywhere in the home up to 125 metres away from the bell push. A wire-free bell that’s much easier to install than many of its peers, the BY504 also boasts superior sound quality, but it’s limited to a choice of eight melodies and requires a sporadic supply of batteries.
EZVIZ Smart Video Doorbell, £134.99, Argos.co.uk
If you’re willing to fork out three figures, you can enter the brave new world of the video doorbell. A buzz on this bell brings up a video call on the accompanying EZVIZ mobile app, and its 180-degree vertical image should capture your visitor head to toe.
The microphone and speaker mean you can talk to your prospective guests anytime, anywhere, while motion sensors will alert you whenever there’s movement near your front door. The sensors use PIR technology to detect heat sources too, helping to reduce false triggers. It’s compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as iOS and Android operating systems.
Ring Video Doorbell 2, £179, en-uk.ring.com
The Amazon-owned Ring has spent the last couple years ascending to unofficial leader of the video doorbell market, even snagging Shaquille O’Neal as a stakeholder and the face of its advertising.
A Wi-Fi connected bell-cum-security camera with two-way intercom, this sleek little number has a similar base structure to the EZVIZ, bringing up a live stream of visitors on your mobile phone. You can direct deliveries from anywhere with internet, and as far as unwanted guests are concerned, you’re always home. The night-vision motion detectors mean 24-hour surveillance, and it’s easy to see how this doorbell cornered the market.
Google Nest Hello Doorbell, £229, Johnlewis.com
The Google Nest Hello Doorbell looks suspiciously like HAL 9000, and it took a giant stride towards world domination by joining forces with Google in 2014. The result is a bell with next-level video quality.
Its ace in the hole is facial recognition – which can learn to recognise and announce your guests by name – as well as package detection, which can alert you to a delivery in the same way. With each notification, your phone will also receive a snapshot, giving you a picture of what’s happening without having to open the app. This gizmo’s slick, elegant curves come with bundles or kerb appeal too.
Ring Video Doorbell Elite, £449, en-uk.ring.com
So here we have it – the pinnacle of the modern video doorbell, and it does not come cheap. A heavily upgraded version of the Video Doorbell 2 and Video Doorbell Pro, this sleeker, more compact model stands on the shoulders of its forebears to deliver the ultimate in high-tech doorbell wizardry.
Hardwired into your home, the Elite runs on Ethernet power, meaning there’s no fiddling around with battery packs and the connection is as crisp and clean as you’ll find. The motion sensors are back, this time with customisable motion zones, that allow homeowners to pinpoint areas of interest that will then trigger an immediate alert. The drawbacks are very straightforward – the need for professional installation, and the price.