The Pros and Cons of Nest/Ring Doorbells

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Written by Martin Banks

The world can be a scary place. With rising tensions around the globe, home security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Thankfully, modern technology means we have more than just barred windows and deadbolted doors to keep us safe. Networked video-capable doorbells like the ones manufactured by brands like Nest and Ring are growing in popularity. What are the pros and cons of these smart doorbells, and should you be considering one for your home?

Pros of Doorbell Cameras

First, let’s look at the positives of installing a smart doorbell in your home. These doorbell cameras are marketed as a way to improve your home’s security by monitoring who comes to your front door. Here are some advantages of this security method:

  • Pro: You can see who is at your door even if you’re not home. This setup is ideal if you’re worried about home security or are having packages delivered. It also lets you see who is at your house without peeking through the windows or squinting through the peephole. 
  • Pro: You can monitor your home and get alerts on your cell phone whenever someone comes near your property. 
  • Pro: Some models can lock the door if they see an unfamiliar face or unlock it as the home’s residents approach. This feature can be valuable if you have kids who get home from school before you get off work.

With these pros in your pocket, doorbell cameras sound pretty good. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be, though?

 Cons of Doorbell Cameras

Before you run to Amazon to buy a Ring or Nest, it’s important to know the downsides of these doorbell cameras:

  • Con: They require a Wi-Fi connection to function, so if you lose power or your internet goes out, they won’t send alerts or videos to your phone. Some may record video for you to access later, but you’ll need to choose a model with backup memory. 
  •  Con: Their facial recognition can be spotty. Instead of seeing your face, they could pick up a face on your T-shirt, triggering an alert. They may also send false alarms if they detect any motion — even if there isn’t a person on your doorstep.
  • Con: Not all video cameras are created equal. If you want high-quality video, you may have to pay extra for it. 

Even with these cons, doorbell cameras have plenty of potential applications. Of course, they’re designed for your front door. What about the other entrances to your home?

Do They Really Work?

Do doorbell cameras really make a difference concerning home security? Brands like Ring claim their products make neighborhoods safer, both by preventing crime and solving it with camera footage. While these devices sound like great tools, there’s very little evidence to suggest these doorbell cameras help with either of these things. Out of 40 surveyed police jurisdictions, 13 made no arrests as a direct result of Ring footage. 

Even Ring doesn’t know how effective their products are for issues like package theft, preferring to defer to law enforcement. We don’t know about you, but that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. 

 Securing Your Home’s Exterior

Smart home security isn’t limited to your front door. You can use networked technology in plenty of other ways to make your home safer and more efficient. Use a smart garage door opener to open and close your garage from anywhere, even if you’re not at home. Networked security cameras can help you keep a close eye on what’s going on in your home from anywhere. 

Programmable or smart thermostats can keep your utility costs down. Programming your lights to turn on and off when you’re not home can discourage burglars from targeting your property. With a solid Wi-Fi signal and a secure network, you can turn your residence into a digital castle. 

 To Buy or Not to Buy

Doorbell cameras like those made by Ring and Nest have plenty of positive applications. They’re great for monitoring your front door and tracking deliveries. If you’ve got kids who come home before you do, these cameras can be useful for letting your children in and making sure they’re safe. 

When it comes to deterring thieves, don’t rely on doorbell cameras as the only thing to protect your home. You might catch some footage of someone breaking into your house or stealing your package, but that might not help you seize the culprit or get your stuff back. Keep your doors locked and use your doorbell camera in addition to other security measures. They’re effective tools — just not by themselves.

 

About the Author:

Martin Banks is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modded where he covers survival, the outdoors, gear, cars, and more.

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