Video doorbells are a cutting-edge way to keep your household safe. Typically activated by motion-detecting sensors, these cameras monitor the area around your home, including anywhere there is a door and, in some cases, on windows, too. There are a variety of video doorbell options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons.
While both SimpliSafe and Arlo video doorbells have solid customer service and are easy to install, the difference is in how much monitoring you want — one door versus the whole house — and who you want to do the watching.
Video doorbells are a great way to keep an eye on who is approaching your house, but SImpliSafe goes much further than that. Founded in 2006 by two Harvard students looking to keep their dorm secure, SimpliSafe has grown to be a standout in a crowded market. It offers DIY, whole-house security that doesn't require a monitoring contract.
A single SimpliSafe video doorbell costs around $170. Interested in more surveillance around the house? A 10-piece system with optional professional monitoring costs closer to $400.
Installation of the doorbell camera and security system is simple and easy. Place the doorbell and entry sensors where you want them and click "add device" from your SimpliSafe keypad.
These have two-way audio and motion detection, and some home security systems are available with secret alerts. These silently alert the police if an intruder is present.
Professional monitoring is available with a no-obligation contract for either $14.99 or $24.99 per month. You can also pay for camera recording alone, or you can opt for no professional monitoring.
No landline is required to activate a call to emergency personnel. Because they use cellphone towers, SimpliSafe cameras can also help direct emergency crews to your home if needed.
Only indoor recording is available; outdoor cameras simply monitor. And the video quality is not as good as it should be, given SimpliSafe's other solid features.
SimpliSafe only offers basic integration with home automation systems such as Alexa and Nest. This means you can turn it on and off, but there is less functionality when it comes to locking doors or other smart home functions.
SimpliSafe Doorbell: available on Amazon
This camera has a wide field of view for better pictures in light and dark conditions. The camera distinguishes between people and other forms for accurate recording in 1080p HD. It's compatible with other SimpliSafe home security systems.
SimpliSafe 10-Piece Wireless Home Security System: available at Amazon
This 10-piece system is available for use with professional monitoring. It installs without wiring or drilling holes. It comes with entry sensors for windows and doors. Use voice commands to activate. This features motion detection and two-way audio for easy communication with whoever is outside the door. Send secret alerts to raise an alarm without signaling the intruder.
Arlo is a relatively new player in the doorbell monitoring space. They were founded in 2014 as part of Netgear but branched out on their own in 2018. Their simple video doorbell systems and affordable monitoring plans have attracted more than three million registered users with almost 12 million devices.
Arlo cameras are known for video surveillance both inside and outside of the home. These can be used in conjunction with the video doorbell for safety and peace of mind.
Arlo video doorbells cost around $120.
Arlo really shines in terms of interacting with your third-party home automation. The Ultra 4K Surveillance system lets you control lights, lock and unlock doors and more. It's compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. Once your Arlo doorbell is installed, it automatically interacts with your system.
Installation with Arlo is DIY and easy, using strong magnets and brackets for drill-free, wireless installation.
Arlo's camera quality is sharp and clear, with a wide range of view. They feature infrared night vision and motion alerts.
Two-way communication is standard on Arlo's doorbell cameras, and activity zones can be programmed for monitoring and live streaming.
The video doorbell comes with a warning siren to hustle off unwanted guests or porch pests.
Arlo's customer service offers a variety of options for getting questions answered and troubleshooting installation. Their website has articles and videos, plus live chats if you can't find the information you need on your own.
If you prefer wired video doorbells, Arlo offers that, too.
Arlo does not offer professional video monitoring. Instead, they offer cloud storage plans for camera recording that range from $1.99-$14.99 a month.
These cameras are not professionally monitored. This means that there is no automatic call to authorities if the alarms are triggered. Users need to stay vigilant and call for help if needed. They also do not have the option of adding door or window sensors.
Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell: Available on Amazon
With its 180-degree range you can see a person from head to toe. It has motion sensors and the capability to call your phone before the doorbell is even pressed. Respond with two-way audio or a pre-recorded message. It's weather-resistant.
Arlo Video Doorbell + Arlo Essential: available on Amazon
This set comes with the Arlo Essential spotlight camera and the Arlo video doorbell. The added spotlight camera has the same 180-degree viewing area for better pictures, plus night vision and motion sensors.
SimpliSafe has been in business for a decade longer than Arlo, so they know the ins and outs of what works in a video doorbell. Even though Arlo's cameras provide a better picture, SimpliSafe has the edge when it comes to whole-house security and the features that most homeowners are looking for. They cost a bit more than Arlo, but the price is worth the bump in technology.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.