SkyBell Doorbell Camera Review

We compared SkyBell to other video doorbells and talked to the manufacturer to clarify how to buy it.
Best for integrated security
SkyBell Trim Plus
  • 180° view
  • Standalone or integrated product
  • No activity zones
Cathy Habas
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
Read More
Published on May 27, 2021

SkyBell isn't a bad Wi-Fi doorbell camera by any means, but it hasn't been updated in several years. Even though SkyBell still offers crisp, clear video footage, you can find some extra features (like activity zones) in more affordable cameras. If you don’t need the latest and greatest tech, you’ll be happy with SkyBell’s quality and wide field of view.

The main hiccup? Purchasing it from the wrong site could render your SkyBell useless without a monitoring subscription. Where you buy SkyBell also dictates which app you use to control the camera. We’ve researched all the options and spoke with SkyBell Technologies, Inc. to clear up the confusion.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Industry-leading 180° view
Pro Bullet Withstands extreme temperatures
Pro Bullet Quiet mode
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Hardwire installation
Con Bullet Some mounting limitations
Con Bullet Confusing purchase info

Compare SkyBell cameras

SkyBell HD™ Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
SkyBell Trim Plus
Price
Image resolution1080p/720p1080p
Camera size2.8" x 2.8" x 0.9" 4.8" x 1.44" x 1.13”
Field of view
180°
180° horizontal, 120° vertical
Zoom5x5x
Motion sensor range15 ft.15 ft.

Amazon Disclaimer: *Amazon.com price as of 05/24/2021 at 7:54 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

What's in the box

  • SkyBell video doorbell
  • Quick start guide
  • LED reference chart
  • Flat mounting bracket
  • Anchors and screws
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver

An optional wedge mount is sold separately and comes with its own mounting hardware.

SkyBell video quality

Customers consistently praise SkyBell’s video quality:

  • Clear 1080p full HD image 
  • Possible to see visitors and street activity up to 15 feet away
  • Built-in LED lights offer a crisp, color video feed in dimly lit areas 
  • Digital 5x zoom preserves image quality, day or night
  • 180° field of view with little to no fish-eye distortion

In practical terms, the SkyBell video doorbell does its job and does it well. Instead of alerting you to the fact that “someone” is on your property, it lets you see who that person is. 

In the event you need to send photos or recordings to the police, SkyBell’s HD camera is also more likely to capture details that low-quality competitors might miss, like distinctive tattoos, scars, or hairstyles. 

SkyBell two-way audio quality

SkyBell offers two-way audio, a standard feature on Wi-Fi doorbell cameras. You can speak through the camera by tapping and holding the Talk button on the app. 

Audio from the SkyBell itself transmits automatically when you view the live feed, so you’ll hear everything going on outside. That means you might also hear your own responses echoing through the doorbell speaker, which can be distracting. 

Aside from that, audio transmits clearly through SkyBell. You can adjust the speaker volume through the app if someone talks too loudly or softly.

Doorbell chime customizations

When this smart doorbell button is pressed, SkyBell chimes inside and outside your home. Each chime has separate volume control. That way, you can lower the indoor volume if someone’s trying to sleep, or increase the outdoor volume if you plan to do yard work. 

We love SkyBell’s quiet mode, which shuts off both the indoor and outdoor chimes for those moments when you need total peace and quiet. (We’re talking to you, new parents and migraine sufferers.) Keep your phone on you; a push notification is the only way you’ll know someone’s at the door after activating quiet mode.

SkyBell motion sensor

The SkyBell doorbell camera automatically starts recording a video when it senses motion. This lets you passively monitor the camera rather than pouncing on every phone alert to check the live feed.

Bell
Video storage varies

How on-demand video clips are stored (e.g. on your phone or on the cloud) depends on the app and monitoring service you use alongside SkyBell.

One feature SkyBell lacks is the ability to mark “activity zones.” You can’t tell the camera to ignore certain areas, so you might end up with quite a few false alarms if, for example, the camera spots your neighbor’s kids playing in their own yard. Only the camera’s motion sensitivity can be customized.

Light Bulb
Want motion detection activity zones?

Check out these doorbell cameras if you want to set activity zones for more precise motion detection:

Durability of SkyBell doorbell camera

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you need a doorbell camera that won’t conk out in such conditions. SkyBell delivers on that front: it continues to work in temperatures as low as -40° F and as high as 140° F. 

SkyBell also has an IPX4 weather rating, which means it can withstand “water splashes,” but won’t necessarily survive being blasted by a fire hose or make it through a hurricane unscathed. We’re pretty sure that the integrity of your doorbell camera will be the least of your concerns in the event of a hurricane or house fire, though, so this weather rating seems fair.

Installation isn’t foolproof

SkyBell’s installation requirements and limitations are standard compared to other wired doorbell cameras:

  • You should already have a hardwired mechanical doorbell.
  • If you have a digital doorbell, you need to install an adapter. 
  • If you have a battery-operated doorbell, you’ll need to call an electrician to set up the correct power supply. 

However, we hesitate to agree with other reviews that say the SkyBell installation process is DIY-friendly. Installing a battery-powered stick-and-peel doorbell is absolutely DIY-friendly, but wiring a doorbell like SkyBell? It depends. There’s always a risk of electrical shock, among other hazards, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Check out SkyBell’s wiring guide to see what’s involved. 

Bell
Be careful

Don’t install SkyBell yourself if you’re not sure how to safely work with electrical wires. Call a local home security company or electrician for assistance.

Beware of another potential installation hiccup: the round HD camera doesn’t fit on all door frames due to its wide design. Measure the location of your current doorbell before deciding which SkyBell model to purchase. Door frames less than 2.8 inches wide can only accommodate the SkyBell Trim Plus. 

Confusing purchase options

Before you hop on Amazon and purchase the most affordable SkyBell model you find, take note: some SkyBell dealers require a subscription. Without a subscription, you won’t be able to activate the doorbell and view it through an app. 

If SkyBell is the only piece of home security equipment you have, a monitoring subscription may be too expensive. Fortunately, it can be purchased as a standalone product if you know where to go. 

It took us far too long to decipher the different purchase options, and we can only assume that consumers are equally confused by the conflicting information available on the web. We give the brand a solid thumbs-down for setting unclear expectations. 

If you do want the SkyBell doorbell camera, here are your purchasing options:

  • SkyBell: Use the free SkyBell app on the App Store or Google Play store. This requires no monitoring plan.
  • Honeywell: Use the free SkyBell app. This requires no monitoring plan, but you’ll need to call a local pro to complete your purchase.
  • Amazon.com: Sign up for an Alarm.com interactive residential services plan starting at $12.95 per month.
  • Frontpoint: Pay a $49.99 per month monitoring fee.
  • Brinks: pay a $39 per month monitoring fee.

Only Alarm.com currently offers the round SkyBell HD camera. All other providers exclusively sell the SkyBell Trim Plus.

Keep in mind that your experience with this doorbell camera depends on how well the provider’s app works. For example, if the app is slow, the push notifications might arrive 30 seconds after the doorbell rings. Pay attention to app reviews and warranties before choosing a SkyBell dealer.

Poor customer service

SkyBell’s customer service number is +1-888-423-9194. However, their site also lists two incorrect numbers, which is confusing and frustrating. The correct number took us to an automated menu and failed to connect us to a representative within 15 minutes. 

We didn’t leave a message for a callback but received one anyway about 90 minutes later. The SkyBell representative was friendly and helpful in answering our questions about purchasing a SkyBell. 

But most people don’t want to wait nearly two hours for assistance. If you have an issue with your SkyBell HD or SkyBell Trim and purchased it from a dealer, we recommend contacting the dealer for assistance.

SkyBell doorbell cameras vs. competitors

Best for integrated security Best overall Best for emergencies Best for local storage Best for extra features
Product
SkyBell Trim Plus
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 product imageRing 2 Video Doorbell
Arlo Essential Wired Video DoorbellArlo Essential Video Doorbell
eufy video doorbellEufy Video Doorbell
Nest Hello Video DoorbellNest Hello
Purchase price
Power supplyWiredWired or battery Wired Wired or battery Wired
Field of view180° 155° 180° 160° 160°
Video quality1080p1080p1536p2000p1600p x 1200p
Learn More
Read Review

Amazon Disclaimer: *Amazon.com price as of 05/24/2021 at 7:54 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Final word

SkyBell is a good option for people who already have (or are interested in) home security systems through Frontpoint or Brinks. Otherwise, it’s an impractical and expensive option for people solely interested in a doorbell camera. Competitors offer more accessible cameras with similar (or better) features and video quality for about the same price. 

How we reviewed SkyBell

We read hundreds of SkyBell reviews and spent hours researching SkyBell’s specifications and functionality. We used our knowledge of other doorbell cameras to determine whether SkyBell offers an exceptional, standard, or sub-par product. We also called SkyBell to clarify the purchase process and evaluate their customer service.

Check out our methodology page for more information about SafeWise’s review process.

SkyBell Doorbell Camera FAQs

Any hardwired, mechanical doorbell works with SkyBell. Digital hardwired doorbells require an adapter to work with SkyBell.

Smart hub compatibility depends on the app that controls SkyBell. For example, SkyBell is compatible with Amazon Alexa when connected to the Alarm.com app.

For best results, yes. SkyBell communicates with your mobile device via Wi-Fi, so you need a strong signal and high-speed internet connection to view the live feed and use the two-way audio feature without interruption.

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Disclaimer

*Amazon.com list price as of 05/24/2021 07:54 a.m. (MT). 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.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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