Have you ever wanted a video doorbell that can capture everything going on in your front yard? These video doorbells are actually easy to install and are a great way to protect your home. Giving you the ability to watch everything going on at your doorstep, video doorbells often come with speakers and microphones allowing you to record both video and audio when someone is at your front door.
One constant complaint with smart doorbells is that you are often forced to sign up for an expensive monthly subscription. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best video doorbell without a subscription for your home security needs.
Best Video Doorbell Reviews
True Subscription-Free Video Doorbells
Eufy WiFi Security Doorbell features 2k resolution, which is the same as 1920p high-definition. This version requires installation on existing doorbell wiring, but you can also purchase a battery-powered version of this top-notch video doorbell. Featuring distortion correction and an advanced HDR, this security system has a professional-grade camera that provides excellent video quality.
The Eufy WiFi Security Doorbell offers smart notifications. With its HD 2K resolution, this doorbell makes it hard to miss anything that is happening outside of your home. It uses patented Al technology that can detect the face or body shape of someone at the door, so it won’t disturb you with false notifications for leaves blowing or a cat walking past the camera. The device has eight ringtones, including some non-standard options like holiday tones, and you can adjust tones and volume to meet your preferences.
Smart notifications of activity outside (with human-detection)
Private recorded footage with local SD storage
Less internal memory than other video doorbells (only 4GB local internal memory)
No continuous recording mode
Only able to use wiring for an existing doorbell
Lorex is a well regarded security camera company, and this video doorbell features 2k high-definition video with a 164 degree viewing angle. This model is hard-wired to existing doorbell wiring, which is a good thing overall but it does cause installation to be more challenging.
A clever feature Lorex added is an LED night light, which can be set to motion-activate. And the product also comes with an included 32GB micro SD card. We love using local storage rather than an expensive subscription, and the cost savings are even greater when a memory card comes included with the device.
The “smarts” on this device are comparable to Arlo and Ring doorbells, but without any need to pay for a subscription. Most home security products force you to choose whether you want a quality app or whether you want to avoid a monthly fee. However, Lorex (and Eufy) give you strong software and support, yet without a paid subscription.
The device is well built, with IP65 water-resistance. And the night vision provides a clear video.
Smart notifications of activity outside (with human-detection)
Private recorded footage with a 32GB micro SD card included with purchase
LED nightlight with motion-activation
Challenging to find the right sensitivity settings for the motion-detection
App experiences some glitches
Only able to use wiring for an existing doorbell
Many video doorbells achieve subscription-free function by recording locally to internal storage or a micro SD card. This usually means forgoing cloud storage.
With Remo+, you can get the benefit of cloud storage without having to pay a monthly subscription fee. RemoBell S provides free cloud storage for all motion from the previous 3 days. While this is a smaller amount of storage than you can get with most subscription plans, it is convenient to have cloud storage access to recent events for no additional fee.
The viewing angle on the device is 180 degrees. This sounds like a good thing, but this 180 degree field of view is achieved with a very distorted fisheye lens. In viewing video and photos from the RemoBell S, you can safely say that it would be better to have a narrower field of view with less distortion.
Along with the distorted fisheye lens, the video quality is noticeably lower than many premium brands. In a side-by-side comparison, Eufy and Arlo far surpass the video clarity of Remo+.
The device uses existing doorbell wiring, which means tougher installation but no concerns about battery life. And the product itself has a very stylish design.
Although the software allows for customizable motion zones, these zones can be challenging to set up, and are a source of frustration for many users. Overall, the software on RemoBell S is lacking. If you are accustomed to Ring, Blink, or Arlo, you will notice that the “smarts” on Remo+ are a few notches less.
While the device is far from perfect, we love the budget price combined with the free (limited) cloud storage.
Cloud storage with no monthly fee
Software is unimpressive
Fisheye lens is distorted and lacks video clarity
Only able to use wiring for an existing doorbell
Equipped with a 1080p HD camera, the Geree Wireless Smart Camera Doorbell has a wide-angle lens that can give you a record of everything happening at your door and driveway. It also includes 32GB of storage that is pre-installed, and it comes with all the necessary accessories (microSD card, indoor chime, batteries, etc.). This doorbell can also detect movement before it sends you an alarm to your mobile device.
The device comes with a 12-month warranty and a month free money-back warranty. The Geree Wireless Video Doorbell also comes with (infrared) night vision that provides a clear view in the dark. It also allows you to record 30 seconds of voice messages if someone rings your doorbell. Set the sensitivity to three different levels, and you can also set your detection area preferences.
Night vision is good quality for the price, and power consumption is low
You can set up multiple users on its app
Great value for the price, and has a wide lens and all needed accessories
The app is prone to crashing
Budget product that isn’t as “smart” as other video doorbells (lacks smart home integration)
The battery-powered version of the Eufy Security Doorbell also includes a 2K camera, which has 2560 × 1920 pixels for crisp video of all your visitors. With its AES 256 data encryption safety, you are guaranteed the footage will only be viewable by yourself. It also offers 16GB of local storage (vs. the Eufy hard-wired option, which only has 4GB of local storage). Another great feature offered by the Eufy battery-powered doorbell is the HomeBase, which provides local storage.
Unlike the Eufy hard-wired doorbell, which stores video on the doorbell device itself, the battery-powered Eufy stores video on the HomeBase, which you place inside your home. As a result of this design, even if someone were to steal your doorbell, you would still have the video files securely stored on your HomeBase. As video doorbells become more popular, thieves are aware that destroying or stealing a video doorbell is a good way to avoid detection. With HomeBase storage, you have an extra layer of security as a homeowner.
The Eufy Security Battery Powered Doorbell receives excellent marks for its motion detection, and activity zones allow you to “mute” alerts from areas that cause false alarms. For example, you can silence alerts from the road or sidewalk, rather than receiving a motion detection alert every time a car drives by your house. Using its own detection technology, the Eufy Doorbell will send you a real-time alarm when someone is at your door. The device is very durable, and rated IP65 weatherproof.
Compatible with Google Voice and Alexa
It features a 180-day battery life and free private storage
Human-detection technology works well
If we have to identify a downside, I suppose it is a little on the expensive side
Video Doorbells that offer subscriptions, but function without a subscription
With the Arlo Doorbell, you get a camera that has a 180-degree diagonal field of view with a best-in-class vertical field of view. This suggests that you will be able to see exactly what’s in front of your door. The Arlo Doorbell allows you to see what has been left on your doorstep and make sure no one runs off with it.
Arlo rates well for both device hardware and software, and the Arlo Doorbell is capable of distinguishing between packages, vehicles, animals, and people. Both audio and video quality is high, and the night vision is better than most video doorbells.
The Arlo Doorbell gives you the power to capture videos for up to five full minutes. We love the 180-degree (diagonal) viewing angle, which gives you both a horizontal and vertical perspective of everything that is happening on your doorstep.
Arlo loses points for hiding many of its features behind a paywall. Without a subscription, you have no ability to store video, either locally or on the cloud. However, the device does come with a 3 month free trial of the subscription, and the full price is fairly reasonable at $2.99/month. Because the device performs so well, and still offers live video, two-way audio, and motion detection on a high quality app, we still include the subscription-free version of the Arlo doorbell on our “Best Of” lists.
Simple, sleek design with great performance
It has many useful, integrated smart features
This doorbell has great video quality
It is hard-wired only
$2.99/month subscription is required for full functionality
(Note: The Ring Doorbell 4 recently became available. We haven’t yet tested the Ring Doorbell 4, but the Ring Doorbell 3 Plus is a great product and is likely to be on sale now that there is a newer model available. At this time, we still recommend the 3 Plus)
Featuring dual-band WiFi (meaning it can connect to either 2.4 GHz or 5GHz systems), the Ring Doorbell 3 Plus also includes a removable rechargeable battery pack and updated installation hardware. It includes mounting wedges that let you get just the right angle without paying more for a bit of plastic.
In order to access recorded video, a subscription is needed. It also includes a few seconds of pre-roll after a motion alert, which can potentially give you more information if there is a security issue at your home. Not only is this a good security device, but it also works really well as a smart camera doorbell.
The biggest disadvantage of the Ring Doorbell is that functionality is limited without a paid subscription. However, due to the excellent video/audio quality, reliability of motion alerts, and the user-friendliness of the device, we still put the subscription-free Ring Doorbell 3 Plus on our list of best video doorbells.
You can use it wired or battery-powered
It offers clear audio and video
Motion detection alerts are best-in-class
It has limited features when you use it without a subscription
It doesn’t integrate with HomeKit and Google
With the Maximus Answer DualCam, you get two cameras. One camera is positioned right outside the door while the other is positioned downward. This allows you to see that a package has been delivered, and then also see if someone tries to take it.
Most smart camera doorbells will give you an impressive field of view, but still don’t let you see what’s happening on your doorstep. With the Maximus DualCam, you won’t have to worry about missing any action outside of your door. The top camera is 1080p, and the lower camera is 720p.
Like Lorex, the Maximus DualCam has a downward-facing nightlight. This is a feature we love, and it makes a lot of sense with a video doorbell that is specifically made to monitor packages at your doorstep.
Like Ring, you lose some functionality if you bypass the paid subscription. And adjusting the motion-alert sensitivity requires a subscription. However, there is a lot of functionality possible even without the subscription. You can view live video, use two-way audio and pre-recorded messages, view the last 2 hours of footage, and still receive smart notifications. So, unlike many video doorbells that are useless without an expensive subscription, Maximus allows you to access the majority of the features without paying extra.
App is simple to use
Motion detection is unreliable, and speaker volume is limited
It doesn’t work well with smart home systems, and there are occasional connection issues
Video Doorbell Without a Subscription: Buying Guide
A smart doorbell allows you to not only see who is coming and going, but also see deliveries as they arrive. Some smart camera doorbells even allow for two-way audio contact with whoever is on your doorstep. They can recognize motion in front of your door or home and contact you immediately so you can see what is happening.
Unfortunately, many of these smart doorbells also require that you sign up for a subscription to take advantage of this service. Thankfully, there are some video doorbells that function without this expensive monthly subscription. There are several smart camera doorbells that give you the basic services you need by just purchasing the smart camera doorbell. And there are some video doorbells (like Ring) that allow for some functionality without a subscription, but leave other features locked behind a paywall.
How Does a Smart Camera Doorbell Work Without a Subscription?
Many smart camera doorbells can work without a membership and still allow you to have the benefits of the smart camera doorbell, like two-way chat, motion-activated alerts, and archived video.
Some smart camera doorbells do not include built-in memory, which will force you to pay for a cloud subscription in order to access your videos. But with many cameras, local storage can be used, which ensures that each of your recordings is kept safe on a base unit in your home or on your computer. Just remember that there is an increasing need for smart camera doorbells that don’t require a subscription.
If you save your videos locally then you will be able to see these old videos without being charged a recurring payment. Some smart doorbells do offer a locally-preserved video, which isn’t as easy to check since you can only do it at home (rather than with an app).
Video Doorbell Features
You can purchase smart camera doorbells in a wide range of sizes and styles. When your doorbell is pushed, a smart doorbell that uses a security camera will send an alarm to your smartphone along with a live video stream. Typically, cheaper versions will be a heavier unit that has few style and paint options, while more expensive models are inconspicuous and include a variety of finishes that match your home’s exterior. The unit connects to your smartphone app to view video and update the unit. You can also use the app to set up notifications and customize your wireless settings.
Choose a doorbell camera that has adjustable motion zones. This will help to prevent false alarms from strong wind, animals, and speeding cars in front of your home. Smart doorbells use technology like motion tracking, recording, and two-way audio that will allow you to communicate with anyone on your doorstep.
Using face recognition technology, a smart camera doorbell is able to recognize guests. This handy motion-sensing technology can distinguish between animals and humans. This technology can also use color night vision video and offers a variety of sounds and chimes that will tell you the difference between motion activation and a doorbell push.
Unfortunately, storage is something that you will often end up having to pay for. Many smart camera doorbells do not store your captured video locally. Instead, it will end up in the cloud where you can see your doorbell or motion-triggered recordings for a specified number of days.
Typically, you will get access for up to 30 days to see or upload your recorded content for a nominal fee. It’s important to archive older videos if you want to see the clips before they are removed.
With a subscription-free video doorbell, footage is usually stored locally (such as on a high capacity microSD card). Because video footage is data-intensive, especially for high resolution formats like 4K, you should choose an SD card with plenty of storage space.
However, there are some models that still offer free cloud storage without a monthly fee. Typically, this is capped at a small amount of storage (such as 3 or 7 days, and usually only for “events” rather than 24/7 recording).
Wired versus Wireless
When choosing a smart doorbell, you will need to choose between units that either use batteries or attach to low-voltage doorbell wiring. The easiest to set up, true wireless doorbells run on batteries and do not require any wiring. One drawback of wireless units is that the batteries they use run out quickly, typically between two and six months, so you will end up replacing them frequently.
A wired doorbell isn’t as easy to install, but it is still a fairly simple job. It allows the unit to work all the time unless you lose electricity. When you install a video doorbell it is as easy as just removing an old doorbell, disconnecting the wires, linking the video doorbell, and mounting the unit to the outside of your house. While this makes installation a little more challenging, it also ensures a constant, energy-efficient source of power to your doorbell, with no need to change or charge batteries.
It’s important to purchase a good quality video doorbell without a subscription based on the needs of your home and your own personal preferences. These systems work as a surveillance camera and are a great complement to any smart home security system. Although many premium brands sell video doorbells at an affordable price, a monthly subscription fee of $3+/month adds up very quickly. Remember that you can find many smart camera doorbells that do not require a subscription to operate.