Peephole Camera: Best Options to Secure Your Home


As home security products get more sophisticated (and expensive), peephole cameras provide a unique opportunity to increase the safety of your home using a security feature that you may already have. If your front door already has a peephole, upgrading it with a camera will be more cost-effective and easier to install than adding a video doorbell. It also makes for a discrete, undetectable home security camera location. And “smart peepholes” can provide many of the same features as a video doorbell. If you don’t want to turn your home into a smart house, you can find a simpler peephole camera that allows you to “look through” the peephole with a high-definition LCD screen, rather than leaning your head into the door and squinting through a fisheye lens.

What is a peephole camera?

A peephole camera is exactly what it sounds like. It is a home security device that allows you to view and/or record what is happening outside your front door. Rather than pressing your head against the door to see a distorted view, new smart peepholes include features like wide-view LCD displays and even app-integration.

Some digital door peepholes, like the Ring Peephole Cam and the Brinno Duo Front Door Peephole Camera, are essentially video doorbells {like the Ring, Blink, etc. — w/ links} that are installed in the peephole of a door. These are the most sophisticated products available, with features like motion-activated alerts, smartphone integration, video recording, and two-way audio.

Other digital door peepholes, like the digitharbor 3” LCD Screen Digital Door Camera and the Brinno Peephole Camera Home SHC500, are less sophisticated devices that mainly function to enhance and digitize a traditional peephole. In other words, the product is installed in a peephole, and rather than looking through the peephole you can view everything on an LCD screen. Although these lack some app-based features and are not “smart” devices, you still get some functionality that isn’t possible on a traditional peephole. For example, some of these devices offer night vision, the ability to save photos, and a wide-view field of vision.

What features matter in choosing a peephole camera?

The first thing to decide is whether you need a smart device or a simple video screen. If you want 2-way audio, a live video feed, and app integration, you will need a smart device. If you only want the ability to see clearly through a peephole, a simple video screen will be sufficient.

Hidden vs. visible

An important consideration is whether you want a discrete device that is hidden from guests. Brinno products install almost entirely on the inside of the door, and people on the outside of the door will not be able to tell that you have a peephole camera installed. In other words, everything will look like a regular peephole on the outside of the door. Although the Ring Peephole Camera provides features that other products lack, the device is noticeable and obvious to visitors.

Video quality & field of view

Ring has best-in-class 1080P high definition with a 155 degree field of view. Brinno has only a 90 degree viewing angle, and also has a lower screen resolution at 480P. Digitharbor has a 120 degree viewing angle, and doesn’t specify the exact screen resolution, although they do claim to have one million pixels.

2-way audio

With 2-way audio, you can speak to and hear from guests, and answer the door remotely. If 2-way audio matters to you, I would strongly recommend the Ring. Ring has the most reliable app of any peephole camera, offers the best support, and has crisp audio with minimal lag time.

Live video feed vs. SD card storage vs. cloud storage

Depending on your privacy preferences, you may wish to choose a device with local storage (on an SD card) rather than cloud storage (on a server). If accessibility is more important than privacy, cloud storage may be preferable.

Night vision

If you have a porch light or flood lights near your front door, this feature may be unnecessary. But if your front door is usually dark, it will be worth it to choose a product with a high-quality night vision feature. One of the most valuable times to have a peephole camera is when you hear a knock at the door in the middle of the night, and a product without night vision may be useless in this situation.

Mobile alerts & smart integration

As mentioned above, Ring and Brinno have apps that allow for a sophisticated alert system. The other options, like the digitharbor 3” LCD Screen Digital Door Camera and the app-free Brinno (Peephole Camera Home SHC500), primarily function as digital screens. If you know how you wish to use your camera, it will be easy to decide which kind of product is best for you.

Subscription cost

The biggest downside of the Ring Peephole Cam is the monthly subscription cost. At the time of publishing, a Ring Protect Plan costs $3/month for a single device, or $10/month for an entire household. The Brinno Duo Front Door Peephole Camera uses an SD card for storage, and can be utilized fully without a monthly subscription.

Hard-wired vs. battery-powered

One big difference between peephole cameras and other home security cameras is that, due to being mounted on the door, hard-wired products are not feasible. Ring instead features a rechargeable battery pack. Brinno just uses 4 AA batteries. Digitharbor has a built-in 1200mAh lithium battery. 

Knocking sensor and/or doorbell sensor

Some peephole cameras feature knocking sensors and/or doorbell sensors. Just as the name implies, these will record (or take a photo) whenever someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell.


The most obvious benefit in installing a peephole camera is to increase the security of the entrance to your house. Having the ability to monitor activity at your front door is the first step in having a safe, smart home.

Another benefit of a smart peephole, rather than a video doorbell, is that a peephole camera is harder to steal. The majority of the peephole camera components are installed on the interior side of the door, so it cannot be easily stolen from the exterior. With video doorbells, the security factor drops to zero pretty quickly when a thief steals your device. However, because the peephole itself is visible to thiefs, it is still possible (and easy) to inactivate the device by simply covering the peephole.

Most users find that these products are easy to install, and often the installation can be completed in less than 15 minutes. With video doorbells, there is always a consideration of where to mount the device, and how to mount it properly. Smart peepholes eliminate the planning stage, because there is one and only one place to install it. Additionally, it can be installed without elaborate mounting brackets or causing any damage with screws.

Although prices are not unreasonable, we should also point out that peephole cameras are more expensive than the $10 old-school peephole that everyone is accustomed to.

Brands to consider

Ring Peephole Cam. This is the most sophisticated digital door peephole available. For all intents and purposes, this product is just a video doorbell that is installed in the peephole of a door. It features 1080p high-definition and a 155 degree field of vision. Enhanced features like night vision and 2-way audio are also included. Installation is simple. Because it is mounted to the door, it has a knock detection feature that can notify you when someone knocks. The Ring can send alerts to your smartphone, and the app is easy to use and reliable. 

The product also has some downsides. Although it can send alerts via Alexa, the device will not work with Google Assistant. A paid subscription is needed to utilize the app, so plan on spending $3/month or more to access all the features. As it is mounted to the door, the device has a rechargeable battery and cannot be hardwired. Many users complain of a short battery life. And although the software is impressive overall, the sensor cannot detect people versus other movement, so there are many false alarm notifications.

Brinno Duo Front Door Peephole Camera. This is the only real competitor for Ring. Although the software and app are better on the Ring, the Brinno Duo does have a few distinct advantages. First, the “concealed design” hides the fact that your home has a security camera. This also makes the device less likely to be stolen. Additionally, the Brinno Duo saves clips to an SD card, and no monthly payment is needed for a subscription. Like Ring, the device is easy to install and has good video quality.

Brinno Peephole Camera Home SHC500. This is essentially the app-free version of the Brinno Duo. This model lacks motion detection and smartphone notification, but is less expensive and simpler to use.

Digitharbor 3” LCD Screen Digital Door Camera. The digitharbor takes pictures rather than any video, and doesn’t have much storage space. But the display is clear, the battery is rated for a longer run-time, and the price is more affordable than competitors.

This is not the entire list of digital peephole cameras available. But these brands are among the most popular and easy to find.

Final thoughts

Digital door peepholes are an inexpensive way to increase the security of your home. These products can provide a high-definition view of your home’s entrance, rather than you having to blindly open the front door into the unknown. If you want a sophisticated, app-based product that is packed with features, there is a peephole camera for you. And if you prefer a simple video screen that doesn’t integrate with a smartphone, there are many options available.