Two-way audio: All smart doorbells—not just Arlo’s—have two-way audio so you can talk to visitors on your porch. The audio kicks in after someone presses the doorbell button, and you accept the call on your smartphone.
Motion detection: Arlo doorbells have built-in motion sensors that send you notifications without a visitor pressing the button.
Easy installation: You can install these doorbells in less than 10 minutes—simply follow the step-by-step instructions in the Arlo App. Still, it might take a little longer if you need to drill new holes for the mounting screws.
No base station: Arlo Essential Video Doorbells work by themselves right out of the box. They connect directly to your Wi-Fi network after installation— you don’t need any extra equipment, so you spend less money. You can add an Arlo SmartHub base station if you want local video storage, though we're not sure it's worth paying more than the doorbells themselves.
Arlo’s video doorbell records 1536p videos in a square aspect ratio—similar to what you find in an Instagram post. This gives you a better view of your porch than Ring’s widescreen video. Some other brands—like Nest and August—use a similar aspect ratio for their doorbell cameras. But Arlo has the highest resolution of the bunch, making for crisp videos both day and night.
The Arlo Video Doorbell also uses artificial intelligence to distinguish between people, animals, cars, and packages. While other doorbell cameras offer similar features, online reviews say that Arlo is less likely to send you notifications that confuse dogs with people.
When a guest rings the doorbell, you can skip the small talk with one of five pre-recorded messages:
- “Leave the package by the door.”
- “You are being recorded.”
- “I’ll be right there.”
- “We can’t answer the door right now.”
- “Leave your message.”
These are great when you can’t come to the door or just want someone to stick around while you turn the stove off in the kitchen.
One noteworthy quirk is that Arlo treats doorbell calls like a regular phone call on your smartphone, where you choose to accept or decline a call. It can be confusing at first but is a bit easier than opening a tiny notification. There’s also a siren in the Arlo Video Doorbell, which you can activate in the app to startle uninvited guests trying to open the door.
Another feature we like about the Arlo Video Doorbell is pre-recorded messages you can play for visitors, an option that pops up after you accept a call. This is such a time-saver, especially with deliveries where face-to-face interactions are unnecessary or if you’re finishing an important email for work.
We think that Arlo’s best feature is its e911 emergency call service that you can use to contact emergency responders. During a typical 911 call, the police respond to your phone’s location, but e911 sends them to your home whether you’re there or not. While you need a multi-camera video storage subscription to use the feature, it’s worth checking out.
Arlo has some of the best smart home compatibility among security camera companies, so making it work with your favorite smart home devices is practically stress free. It’s easy to add Arlo products to the most popular smart home platforms (though your mileage may vary with what you can do):
You can connect these devices to your existing mechanical doorbell chime for continuous power and added convenience. By using your existing doorbell chime, the doorbell works like it always has, so you know when there are visitors even if your phone is charging upstairs.
The Arlo Video Doorbell requires a hardwired connection to your existing doorbell chime. This is standard practice for most video doorbells but comes at the cost of a slightly more complex installation. It also limits placement options when you compare it to battery-powered models like the Ring Video Doorbell.
The Arlo Essential Wired doesn’t have a battery, so it isn't as flexible as its wireless sibling. Still, we think it’s better for most folks because a wired connection is more reliable and cuts $50 off the price tag. Although the Arlo Essential Wireless doesn't require wiring, hooking it up to your doorbell wires is a handy way to charge the battery.