Nest Doorbell Review

We tested the Nest Doorbell (Battery) for two months to see how it stacks up against other video doorbells.
Best smart detection
Nest Doorbell Battery
Nest Doorbell (Battery)
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Pros
    Excellent smart detection
  • Pros
    Affordable cloud storage
  • Cons
    Above-average price
John Carlsen
Staff Writer, Security & Smart Home
Read More
Published on November 16, 2021

Google Nest offers perhaps the best smart detection in a video doorbell through its Nest Doorbell (Battery). This hot-dog-sized device makes it easy to speak with visitors, neighbors, and delivery people. Its video and sound quality come in clearly through the Google Home app, and installing the doorbell camera takes just a few minutes.

The Nest Doorbell (Battery) introduces a couple of firsts for Google's doorbell camera lineup—it runs on battery power and has a free cloud storage option. Plus, you don't need a subscription anymore to use most of Google's excellent smart detection features.

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Keep an eye on Google Store's Black Friday page to find deals on Nest cameras, thermostats, CO detectors, and more!

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Info current as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Three hours of free cloud storage
Pro Bullet Excellent smart detection without a subscription
Pro Bullet Battery or wired installation
Pro Bullet Affordable cloud storage plans
Pro Bullet Four colors to choose from
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Above-average price tag
Con Bullet Relatively narrow field of view
Con Bullet Facial recognition requires a subscription

Compare Nest Doorbell models

Product
Best for
Price
Field of view
Power source
Learn more
Nest Doorbell BatteryNest Doorbell (Battery)
Best smart detection 145ºBattery, wired
Nest Doorbell (Wired)
Best for continuous recording160º Wired

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Is Nest Hello being discontinued?

Google still sells the Nest Hello—the wired predecessor to the Nest Doorbell (Battery)—though it's now called the Nest Doorbell (Wired). (Hey Google, product names with parentheses are painful on so many levels.)

Is the Nest Doorbell (Wired) worth it?

While both doorbells offer many of the same core features, the Nest Doorbell (Battery) is superior in nearly every way because it doesn't require a Nest Aware subscription to use most features. Still, the Nest Doorbell (Wired) is a better choice for folks wanting continuous video recording with Nest Aware Plus—an option not available with the battery-powered version.

What's in the box

What's in the box with Nest Doorbell

Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

  • Nest Doorbell (Battery)
  • Base plate and release tool
  • Wall anchors and screws
  • Wire connector
  • 20° wedge, spacers, and screws
  • Charging cable
  • Quick start guide and warranty information

Nest Doorbell video

Nest Doorbell video quality

The Nest Doorbell (Battery) has a 960p video resolution that's lower than the 1080p you'll find on most video doorbells. Still, we think it looks great for something you'll almost exclusively use on a small screen. We like that the camera skips over widescreen video in favor of a tall aspect ratio, which makes it easier for the camera to see what's on your porch.

Nest Doorbell Battery Video Quality

Daytime video quality on the Nest Doorbell (Battery)
Screenshot: John Carlsen, SafeWise

The 145º field of view is a downgrade compared to the Nest Doorbell (Wired) and most competitors, which come in at 160º or higher. We prefer a wider field of view on video doorbells since mounting them on a wall means they aren't adjustable like security cameras with traditional stands. We think the Nest Doorbell (Battery) holds up well enough for the front door even with reduced peripheral vision.

It produced excellent daytime video quality in our tests, thanks to its HDR feature. This allows the camera to keep color and light stable in both low and bright lighting conditions, making it easier to see visitors at your door.

Nighttime video quality doesn't look nearly as good due to the doorbell's tiny infrared LEDs and their meager light output—Arlo and Ring doorbells have brighter nighttime video. Still, we think the camera captures more than enough detail when someone comes within 10 feet of the camera. Even though the night vision quality doesn't match daytime performance, this makes sense for a doorbell camera focusing on nearby objects and people.

If you're looking to monitor more than your front steps at night, we suggest getting an outdoor camera, which generally has better night vision than a doorbell camera.

Nest Doorbell video storage

Cloud storage

While viewing live video is always free, one of the biggest improvements with the newest Nest cams is three hours of free cloud storage. This is practically nothing compared to the 30- and 60-day options in paid Nest Aware plans. Still, it means you can download videos without a fee—an option you won't find on Ring and Arlo doorbells.

We think it's worth upgrading to a paid plan for added benefits like e911 emergency assistance and extra cloud storage, even with the free cloud storage.

Compare Nest Aware plans

Price
Event video history
Continuous recording
e911Icon Tooltip  Dark
Smart detection
Learn more
Without a plan3 hoursNone
Icon No  LightNo
Motion zones, people, animals, vehicles, packages
Nest Aware30 daysNone
Icon Yes  LightYes
Motion zones, people, animals, vehicles, packages, familiar faces*
Nest Aware Plus60 days10 days
Icon Yes  LightYes
Motion zones, people, animals, vehicles, packages, familiar faces*

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Familiar face smart detection is not available in Illinois.

While Nest Aware Plus has the option to record 10 days of continuous video, this feature doesn't work with the Nest Doorbell (Battery), whether you connect it to doorbell wiring or not. But we're glad the option's still available for the Nest Doorbell (Wired).

Local storage

We're happy to see that Nest's newest cameras have local video storage, which gives you even more independence from a subscription. The onboard storage holds only an hour of footage, but Nest says this is enough for about a week's worth of recordings.

Whether you have access to the whole week of event recordings depends on having a Nest Aware plan when your internet and power come back after an outage. Free users have only three hours to view and download recent clips.

Nest Doorbell smart detection

Nest Doorbell Smart Detection

You can customize recording and notification settings based on what your doorbell camera sees.
Screenshot: John Carlsen, SafeWise

We love the smart motion detection in the Nest Doorbell (Battery) because the camera can tell the difference between subjects. Nest kept smart detection behind a monthly fee in older doorbell cameras, but now you can do almost everything without a subscription:

  • Packages: the doorbell sends you an alert as soon as the box hits your porch
  • People: get a notification when somebody walks up the path to your door
  • Animals: find out when your cat returns home after a long night of patrolling the neighborhood
  • Vehicles: watch for cars arriving at your home, especially if you live on a quiet street
  • Motion zones: tell the doorbell where to look for motion in your front yard while ignoring anything off your property

This is all possible because of an upgraded processor on the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) that works independently of an internet connection. The only exception is that you still need a subscription for facial recognition, which tracks familiar faces for personalized notifications.

Unfortunately, the Nest Doorbell (Wired)'s older processor requires an internet connection for smart detection. Plus, you'll need a Nest Aware plan for everything beyond person detection—and it doesn't even support animal or vehicle detection.

Nest Doorbell features

Aside from the video-centric features, Nest Doorbell has a few perks that help make it a convenient tool in your tech arsenal:

  • The Google Home mobile app is a handy tool to set up your doorbell and manage your other smart devices without jumping between multiple apps. It sends you a notification when a guest hits the doorbell button so you can answer the door from anywhere. You also get a heads up when smart detection spots activity.
Nest Doorbell Mute Chime and Announcements

You can also mute notifications and your doorbell chime in the Google Home app.
Screenshot: John Carlsen, SafeWise

  • Two-way audio comes through clearly on both sides. Thanks to the noise and echo cancellation, this makes for effortless conversations with visitors using your phone or smart display.
  • Prerecorded messages give you an easy out from answering the door when you're busy or need a minute to tame your bedhead for an important guest.
Nest Doorbell Quick Responses

The Nest Doorbell has three prerecorded messages to choose from.
Screenshot: John Carlsen, SafeWise

  • There are four matte earth tone colors to choose from on the Nest Doorbell (Battery): snow (white), linen (off-white), ivy (green), and ash (black). We love that you can choose the best for your tastes, especially since the Nest Doorbell (Wired) comes only in a glossy black, which isn't nearly as stylish.

Nest Doorbell smart home compatibility

One of the main reasons to choose a Nest Doorbell is its compatibility with other smart home devices.

Google Assistant and Nest

You'll see the biggest benefits when linking your doorbell to other Nest products. We're big fans of linking the doorbell to a Nest x Yale smart lock since you have a hands-free way to let visiting family members in during the holidays while you finish prepping for dinner.

Another awesome companion device is a Nest Hub smart display, which announces when someone rings the doorbell and lets you speak with them without your smartphone. Fair warning, though, every Google smart speaker and display in your home plays simultaneous loud notifications, which is a bit jarring when you're enjoying a peaceful evening.

If you subscribe to Nest Aware, you can name frequent visitors through the familiar face detection. When you label familiar faces, your Google Assistant learns to announce their name when they arrive on your doorstep. Nest can also talk to your Google Chromecast and send the live stream to your TV.

Light Bulb
Google Assistant links your doorbell to third-party smart home devices

While the Nest Doorbell isn't directly compatible with most other third-party smart home devices, Google Assistant and the Google Home app are. This means you can link products from brands like SmartThings, Wemo, Wyze, and Kasa to control everything from the Google Home app.

Do Nest doorbells work with Amazon Alexa?

The wired Nest Doorbell has some compatibility with Amazon Alexa smart displays like Echo Show, which can show a live video feed from your doorbell. This isn't as robust as using the doorbell camera with Google Assistant, but it's a nice option for Alexa-centric homes.

Unfortunately, the Nest Doorbell (Battery) isn't compatible with Alexa yet, and Google doesn't say whether it's in the plan. We expect compatibility to improve with the new Matter smart home standard launching in 2022, but it's too soon to tell.

Nest Doorbell installation

Although installing a Nest doorbell camera is a straightforward task, small variations depend on choosing a wired or battery-powered installation.

Doorbell wiring

We prefer using existing doorbell wires with video doorbells since you have a way to charge batteries without dismounting the camera every couple of months to charge via USB. It also connects the doorbell to a mechanical chime inside your home so it can work as a low-tech doorbell button when you're not recording video.

Checklist
Wired installation requirements

Nest Doorbells should work with most doorbell transformers:

  • 8–24 volts AC for Nest Doorbell (Battery); 16–24 volts AC for the Nest Doorbell (Wired)
  • 10 VA transformer

The entire install process takes about 15 minutes with the following steps:

1.Charge the doorbell if using a Nest Doorbell (Battery).

2. Install the Google Home app on your phone and sign in with your Google account.

3. Set up your doorbell using the app.

4. Turn off the power to your existing doorbell and remove the old button to access the wiring behind.

5. Install the Nest doorbell mounting bracket where the old button was.

       a. Install the included wedge first if you choose to use it.

6. Attach the included wiring connectors to the back of the doorbell—it doesn't matter which wire goes on which screw.

7. Insert the doorbell wiring into the connectors and thread the excess wires into the wall before mounting.

8. Press the doorbell against the bracket and pull it down to lock it in place.

This process is the same for both Nest video doorbell models, though you might need to install an additional chime connector with the Nest Doorbell (Wired).

Light Bulb
What is the Nest chime connector for?

Mechanical doorbell chimes use an open electrical circuit to work—pressing a doorbell button completes the circuit to ring the chime. Unfortunately, an open circuit isn't a great power source for a video doorbell. This is where the chime connector comes in. It allows the Nest Doorbell (Wired) to access power without constantly ringing the bell or creating a buzzing sound.

Battery power

If you want more flexibility to install your doorbell wherever you want, then the Nest Doorbell (Battery) can work anywhere it has a Wi-Fi connection. The installation process is simpler, though you need to remove the battery for recharging. It comes with a USB-C charging cable and no USB adapter, but the odds are high that you have a spare adapter in your junk drawer.

Bell
Professional installation options

While this is an easy DIY project, you can also pay for professional installation:

  • Google Store: $99 on the first device and $59 for each device after that
  • Retailers with installation services—Best Buy charges $99.99, for example
  • Hire a local electrician

How the Nest Doorbell stacks up

Product
Best for
Price
Field of view
Power source
Prerecorded messages
Learn More
Read Review
Nest Doorbell BatteryNest Doorbell (Battery)
Best extra features 145º Battery, wired
Icon Yes  LightYes
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)
Best overall 155ºBattery, wired
Icon Yes  LightYes
Arlo EssentialArlo Essential Wired Doorbell
Best for emergencies 180ºWired
Icon Yes  LightYes
Toucan Wireless Video DoorbellToucan Wireless Video Doorbell
Best budget 180º Battery
Icon No  LightNo
eufy video doorbellEufy Video Doorbell 2K
Best privacy features 160º Wired
Icon Yes  LightYes

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Final word

The Nest Doorbell (Battery) is one of the pricier options on the market, but it makes up for the higher price with subscription-free storage and dynamic smart detection. Plus, it has more affordable cloud storage than Ring (if you have multiple cameras) and better smart alerts than Arlo. It's also one of the best choices for anyone building a Google smart home.

A Nest Doorbell is an excellent choice if you're looking to upgrade your current doorbell camera. But if you're new to smart tech or want to save money, you might start with a cheaper option like Ring. Or you can see our top picks by heading over to our review of the best video doorbells.

What to look for in a doorbell camera

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FAQ

There's no monthly fee if you're using a Nest Doorbell (Battery), which saves video for three hours and has built-in smart detection that works without an internet connection. You'll pay a monthly fee if you want more storage or facial recognition features.

If you have a Nest Doorbell (Wired), you can watch live video feeds without paying a fee. Features like video recording, smart detection, and facial recognition cost extra.

You can record three hours of video on the Nest Doorbell (Battery) and three hours of still images on the Nest Doorbell (Wired).

Unfortunately, yes. Google has a few tips, but your best bet for catching thieves is a recording of the incident.

The Nest Doorbell (Wired) requires doorbell wiring to work, but wiring is optional on the Nest Doorbell (Battery).

Google says the Nest doorbell lasts one to six months on a charge, depending on how often your doorbell records videos. You can adjust battery preferences in the Google Home app to eke out extra battery life. We tested the Nest doorbell mainly in standby mode, and it still holds around 90% charge after two months.

You can install a Nest doorbell in around 15 minutes with a few basic tools. If you're connecting it to existing doorbell wiring, you'll need to turn off the power first. We recommend hiring an electrician if you're not comfortable with simple electrical work or don't have spare time.

Yes, but there's an option to turn off audio recording in the app.

How we reviewed the Nest Doorbell

Google sent us the new Nest Doorbell (Battery), which we've been testing for two months—originally for our updated Nest cameras review. (We've also tested the Nest Hello Nest Doorbell (Wired) in the past.) We tried every feature we could find, looked at the video quality, and used it in a smart home environment to see how well it works with other smart devices.

Nest Doorbell Testing

Nest Doorbell (Battery) during our tests
Image: John Carlsen, SafeWise

We performed a basic installation using the battery-powered mode but didn't use existing doorbell wiring. In addition to our tests, we scoured the internet for tech specs, support articles, customer reviews, and videos for even more context. Read our full methodology to learn more about how we get our information and test products.

Related articles on SafeWise


Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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