Five Video Doorbell Options For RentersBy - 02/12/2019
Video doorbells used to be a smart home luxury, but now that they’re everywhere and considered a must-have security product. Unfortunately for renters such as myself, finding a landlord-approved video doorbell can prove to be a daunting task because most video doorbells require hardwiring and drilling. But don’t lose hope. We may have limited options, but the options we do have include some of the best options available.
Option 1: Battery-Powered Ring Video Doorbells
Ring is one of the leading video doorbell brands and some of their video doorbells will work for renters. The original Ring Video Doorbell and its successor Ring Video Doorbell 2 are both dual-power, which means they can be either hardwired or battery-powered.
For us renters, the ideal video doorbell is one that runs on batteries. Such doorbells don’t need to be hardwired, so there’s no negotiating with your landlord. That said, while Video Doorbell and Video Doorbell 2 don’t require hardwiring, a typical installation requires drilling. You will need your landlord’s approval for the drilling portion of the installation before purchasing a doorbell. If your landlord doesn’t agree, you have another option: permanent outdoor mounting tape.
Mounting tape, such as this one sold on Amazon, can be used in place of screws. When buying the mounting tape, be sure to get one that’s rated to carry at least 2 lbs of weight. Also, be sure to purchase a “permanent” tape rather than your standard double-sided compression tape. Removing properly installed permanent mounting tape requires effort so keep that in mind but also let it provide peace of mind as stealing your Ring device won’t be easy.
PRO TIP: Installing Ring Using Permanent Outdoor Mounting Tape
- Clean the surface where you will mount your doorbell using a dry cloth. Be sure that the surface is dry, dust-free, and oil-free.
- Attach the included level to Ring’s mounting plate and mark its mounting position using a pencil. Ring recommends placing the doorbell around 4 feet from the ground.
- Cut two 2″ pieces of mounting tape and attach them to the top and bottom of Ring’s backplate.
- Peel off the other side of the mounting tape and align Ring’s backplate to the marker you made earlier. Once aligned, attach the backplate to the wall and apply constant force for around 30 seconds. For best results, allow the mounting tape to cure for 24 hours.
- Slide the video doorbell into its backplate. Tighten the security screws using the included screwdriver.
- To check if the mounting tape properly cured, try giving the doorbell a good tug. If properly installed, the tape won’t budge.
What Doorbell Features Will You Get?
All Ring doorbells generally offer the same features. First, you get ring and motion notifications. You can respond to notifications by pulling up a live video feed via the Ring App. You can also use the two-way talk feature.
Second, if you want Ring to store video evidence, you can subscribe to a Ring Protect Plan. The $3 per month option gives one Ring camera 60 days of cloud storage, while the $10 per month plan provides cloud storage to an unlimited number of devices. You can learn more about Ring Protect here.
Third, you get smart home integrations. Ring works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and several smart locks.
Finally, with Ring products, you can become a part of a Ring Neighborhood. If someone in your neighborhood catches something suspicious on their Ring device, they can choose to share the footage with Ring users nearby, including you. It’s kind of like a virtual neighborhood watch program.
Now, between Ring Video Doorbell and Video Doorbell 2, I highly recommend that you choose the latter. Ring Video Doorbell 2 has three advantages over Ring Video Doorbell. For starters, Video Doorbell 2’s battery is removable. With Ring Video Doorbell, you’ll need to unscrew the entire device from its mounting plate to charge it. With Video Doorbell 2, all you need to do is remove the battery pack. You can even purchase an extra battery pack, which I highly recommend you do. You can use the extra battery to keep your doorbell running while the drained battery recharges. Ring’s battery-powered doorbells are promised to last 6 to 12 months on a single charge, but external factors could affect their battery life.
Another advantage, albeit a minimal one, is the video quality. Ring Video Doorbell is 720p, while Ring Video Doorbell 2 is 1080p. However, the original Ring sees things through a 180° wide-angle lens, while Ring 2’s viewing angle is only 160°.
Finally, each Ring Video Doorbell 2 kit includes interchangeable faceplates in Satin Nickel and Venetian finishes.
Where To Buy?
If you want to stick with Ring Video Doorbell, you can buy it on Amazon.com for $99.99.
If you prefer Ring Video Doorbell 2, it sells for $199.00 on Amazon.com.
Option 2: EZVIZ DP1 Smart Door Viewer
EZVIZ DP1 is a battery-powered video doorbell-like device, but it isn’t a traditional video doorbell. Video doorbells are typically installed beside the front door, but EZVIZ DP1 is designed to mount right on your front door. More specifically, it fits over your existing peephole.
EZVIZ DP1 is a two-part device. The outdoor unit is where the camera, doorbell button, and motion sensor are located. The indoor unit is a 4.3″ touchscreen display that acts as a controller and display module. The two components are connected by a short ribbon wire that runs through the peephole. Yes, you’re going to need to remove your existing peephole to use EZVIZ DP1. Be sure to keep it so you can put it back on when the time comes for you to move out.
One thing I like about EZVIZ DP1 is the fact that installing it involves no drilling at all. The indoor unit and the outdoor unit are held together by a screw that goes through the peephole, supported only by adhesive tape that prevents the outdoor unit from tilting.
PRO TIP: Installing EZVIZ DP1
- Remove your existing peephole.
- Measure your door’s thickness and choose the best screw for your door from the ones included in the box. The shortest screw is for doors 1.38 to 2.36 inches thick. The medium sized screw is for doors 2.36 to 3.35 inches thick. The longest screw is for doors over 3.35 inches.
- Take the screw you selected and insert it into the outdoor unit about half an inch through and then peel off the back of the adhesive tape.
- Carefully insert the screw and thread the connecting ribbon wire through your peephole.
- Align the outdoor unit. Make sure the doorbell button points downward. Once aligned, press the outdoor unit against the door to hold it in place.
- Take the indoor unit’s dock/base. Connect the ribbon wire to the dock’s port and then cover the port using the L-Bracket that came with the package. Arrange the excess wire using the included baffle.
- Hang the dock on the head of the screw attached to the outdoor unit. Tighten the screw.
- Slide the indoor unit into its dock. Make sure the dock’s connector and the screen’s port are properly aligned with each other.
- Press and hold the display’s power button to turn it on.
What Doorbell Features Will You Get?
EZVIZ DP1 is half video doorbell, half peephole viewer. That said, it offers traditional video doorbell features like ring alerts, motion detection, and two-way talk. It’s important to note that EZVIZ DP1 uses a PIR motion sensor. This type of sensor is a more reliable method of detecting motion when compared to computer vision, which is what most video doorbells use.
EZVIZ DP1 can also retain video clips of ring and motion events to its built-in local storage device. The device has a 128GB storage capacity, enough to store months of ring and motion events. If you’re willing to pay a monthly subscription fee, you can add cloud storage backup for as low as $5.99 per month. The cloud backup stores ring and motion events to the cloud so that you can access video evidence if EZVIZ DP1 is stolen or destroyed.
In addition to doorbell features, EZVIZ DP1 can work as a door viewer when you’re home. If someone rings the doorbell button, simply walk up to the indoor unit display. When approached, it will wake up and stream live video from the outdoor unit. If no one is outside, you can activate the live stream on-demand by pressing the wake button on the screen’s face. Of course, you can also access live videos using the companion smartphone app.
On the more technical side, EZVIZ DP1 offers a 720p resolution backed by a 124° lens. It has a limited 10-foot night vision range. As for the battery, it uses a 4600mAh rechargeable battery. EZVIZ makes no claims related to battery life, but it should be able to run for months. To recharge the battery, you will plug a microUSB power cable into the display unit’s charging port. You can then either temporarily remove the entire display unit and plug it into a power outlet or use a power bank to charge it in place.
You can purchase EZVIZ DP1 on Amazon.com for $189.99.
Option 3: August View
If you’ve installed an August lock, then August View is the perfect video doorbell to go with it. For a long time, August only offered hardwired video doorbells, which is a bummer because so many of their customers are renters. Fortunately, they now have a battery-powered doorbell, August View. View will officially launch March 28th of 2019.
August View runs solely on its built-in rechargeable battery and offers an estimated battery life of 3 to 6 months, depending on usage. Its battery is kind of like Ring Video Doorbell 2’s battery in that it’s removable, so you don’t have to take down the entire doorbell to recharge. If you want, you can even buy an extra battery to swap out as needed.
As August View isn’t wired and doesn’t connect to existing chimes, it requires that you use the included wireless chime accessory. It plugs into a wall outlet and pairs with the doorbell allowing it to chime when the doorbell is pressed.
Based on videos released by August, the doorbell’s installation process is typical. First, you install the mounting plate and then attach the actual doorbell. As with Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Video Doorbell 2, you can use permanent mounting tape if your landlord doesn’t want you using screws.
Finally, you can interchange August View’s faceplate. The doorbell ships with one but you can buy others. Faceplates are available in metal and plastic finishes in different colors.
What Features You’ll Get
Besides being the first battery-powered video doorbell made by August, August View is also the most powerful. It features a high-resolution camera that captures videos in 1440p, 33% higher than August Doorbell Cam Pro and other 1080p video doorbells. A higher-resolution camera doesn’t always guarantee a better image quality, but with a higher pixel count, images tend to be clearer and crisper.
Other features August View offers include motion detection, IR night vision, zooming, on-demand streaming, and two-way talk. These are all common doorbell features. What makes it stand out is that its part of the August family of products. As already mentioned, it pairs nicely with the August Smart Lock. From the app, you can lock and unlock your door while answering calls using the doorbell.
Unfortunately, August View’s cloud features are limited. According to August, the doorbell can only store up to 24 hours of event history for free and each event clip is only 5-seconds long. If you want longer event clips and more cloud storage, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium cloud subscription. August is yet to announce the features of their cloud service, but it certainly won’t be the same as the cloud service offered to August Doorbell Cam and Cam Pro users. The main difference is that Doorbell Cam Pro offers Hindsight if subscribed to a cloud subscription. Hindsight allows it to start recording seconds before an event happens. It’s a power-consuming feature because it requires the camera to buffer videos, which is why it most likely won’t be offered by August View.
Also, sorry HomeKit fans. Unlike Doorbell Cam Pro, August View isn’t HomeKit-compatible.
August View will be available on March 28th for $230. For that price, you get the doorbell, a default faceplate, wireless chime, mounting kit, and installation guide.
Option 4: Ring Door View Cam
At CES 2019, Ring introduced the Door View Cam. It’s not an option you can buy now, but it’s slated to launch later this year.
Like EZVIZ DP1, Door View Cam fits over your existing peephole. The exact installation process is unknown at this time, but the setup should be similar to EZVIZ DP1. And like DP1, the device has two parts. The outdoor unit is a slimmed down version of Ring Video Doorbell Pro that bears a doorbell button, a camera, and a peephole lens. There’s also an indoor unit (pictured above). The indoor unit carries Door View Cam’s batteries and has a peephole viewer with a privacy cover. If you want to see who’s at your door without looking at your phone, you can use Door View Cam as a regular peephole.
What Doorbell Features Will You Get?
Aside from the fact that it’s a peephole viewer, Door View Cam is a lot like Ring’s other video doorbells. You get alerts when a guest rings your doorbell or when motion is detected. You also gain access to a live stream wherever you are and whenever using the Ring App, and you get to use two-way talk. However, Door View Cam has an additional feature: knock detection. Knocks are treated like motion or ring events. If the Door View Cam detects knocking, it will send you a notification. If you have a Ring Protect subscription, it will also record.
Ring Door View Cam will offer a 1080p resolution, but the viewing angle is yet to be announced. We also know that it’s powered by removable batteries, much like Ring Video Doorbell 2, but we’re not certain whether or not it can use the same battery packs as the doorbell.
Ring Door View Cam is priced $199. It’s expected to launch this year assuming Ring can secure an FCC authorization. To learn more about Ring Door View Cam, you can visit Ring’s website.
Option 5: AIBell by Eyecloud
There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Eyecloud yet, but they are working on bringing formidable security cameras to the market. Their future lineup includes a traditional battery-powered doorbell and a video doorbell-like device that installs over your existing peephole, kind of like Door View Cam. These products fall under the AIBell category.
Details about the two products are scarce, but they do check the right boxes for this article. One, they’re battery-powered. They’re slated to offer up to 2 years of battery life according to the team behind Eyecloud. Two, they don’t require drilling.
What Doorbell Features Will You Get?
AIBell shares many of the same features as Eyecloud’s AI camera, a camera our editor reviewed here. Let’s start with the basics. AIBell (both versions) will offer an HD resolution with a 130-degree field of view, night vision, two-way audio, and local storage. You will be able to buy an 8GB or a 32GB version. AIBell will also offer live streaming via an app, motion detection, and alert recordings.
What’s impressive about AIBell is that despite the name of the brand including the word “cloud,” their cameras try to process as much as they can locally, including person detection. When they detect motion, they will try to analyze if the movement was caused by a human. Also, they will check whether the person is a recognized or unrecognized individual, a.k.a. facial recognition. However, person recognition, not to be confused with person detection, does indeed rely on cloud processing.
Finally, although Elecloud will offer cloud storage, AIBell stores event videos to its built-in storage device by default.
To stay updated on AIBell’s availability, you can visit Eyecloud.ai.