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Doorbell cameras are picking up a lot of steam lately. And there are plenty of reasons for that, too. They work great, they provide improved security, and you’ll get some nifty features that you won’t find elsewhere.
So, have you been considering adding one to your home security system? If you have, you’ll probably come across various models, as well as various factors that may impact your purchase decision a little, or a little more.
Without wasting any more of your time, what are some considerations that you should think about before you go out and buy a doorbell camera? What are some things to look out for?
A Good Wi-Fi Connection Is Crucial
When it comes to smart doorbells with cameras, they usually work on the same principle – they connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and use that for everything, from sending video to your preferred storage solution, to allowing you to remotely connect to them wherever you are.
However, in order for this to work as intended, you will need a good, solid Wi-Fi connection. One potential issue is that many of the cameras available out there only work on a 2.4GHz network, and homeowners tend to have a 5GHz one as the main network. Most routers are dual-band though, and in the worst case, you’ll only need to create a new network.
Is the Video Doorbell Compatible With Your Home?
That’s right, not all smart doorbells work with all homes. If you’ve got one of those old school doorbells with a metallic chime, you might be out of luck. Almost all models require that you have an electronic chime, and you’ll find some that even require you to attach a power board to it.
Another thing while we’re discussing compatibility is the power source. A safe estimate for most models is a minimum of 16V for your doorbell. There are some that will use that as a minimum and require as much as 24V in order to function properly. Now, note that even if you don’t have enough power, the bell will still work, but you’ll find strange things happening. It might take a few tries for it to ring, you might find video glitches, or it may even not ring at all.
How Are You Going to Store the Footage?
With doorbell cameras, similarly to other home surveillance systems, there are usually two ways to store your footage. You either save it to a DVR, locally, or you upload it to some kind of cloud solution, usually one that’s provided by the camera’s manufacturer. But which is better?
Well, with a DVR, you’ll need to provide the DVR, and you’ll need to provide hard drives to store that footage. This is an additional upfront cost, but if the DVR has loop recording, you won’t need to pay anything extra afterward and you’ll have the footage available at all times.
With a cloud storage solution, you often have a monthly/yearly fee, and they come with restrictions that might make them unusable for some. However, you don’t need to pay for an additional recording device, and you don’t risk someone accidentally deleting all your footage.
What Kind of Resolution Do You Really Need?
There’s one thing that’s constantly being said when it comes to any kind of cameras, from surveillance ones to smartphone and DSLRs, and it’s “if you can afford it, get a higher resolution”. However, with doorbell cameras, a higher resolution can easily become costly and to include the right monitors in the system as well. So, do you really need it?
Well, a higher resolution does result in a crisper, clearer image. However, in most situations, 1080p is going to be more than enough, and there’s plenty of 1080p doorbell cameras out there. A higher resolution and a better sensor might be beneficial if you don’t have sufficient lighting at the front of your home, as they’re more likely to pick up details such as faces and license plates when there’s a lack of light. However, if your porch is well lit, you don’t have to spend money unnecessarily.