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Recording Video Doorbells Without Monthly Fees

The most popular video doorbells on the market all have one thing in common. They offer both a free and paid account. The free account lets you view your doorbell camera, start a 2 way voice and get motion notifications. These are all great features and if that’s all you need grab one of your favourite brands below. They all have these basic features. The 2 big video doorbell on the market are the Nest Hello (by Google) and Ring (by Amazon) products.

I’m guessing that’s not why you’re here. As a tech guy the biggest drawback with video doorbells is recording. Recording footage on video doorbells without monthly fees is almost unheard of. And when you pay your monthly fees you usually can’t record 24/7. Not that you would want to but I like to have the OPTION to. What if I told you I know of a video doorbell that connects to your existing camera system? What if I told you there’s a product out there that records and can do it all even without a camera system. Read on!

What is a Video Doorbell?

We’ve only seen the introduction of modern video doorbells for the last decade or so. Classic doorbells were simple buttons, sometimes light up buttons. So easy to understand. A video doorbell isn’t too complex. It’s got a bunch of parts that allow it to do cool things. All video doorbells have a button, security camera, microphone and speaker. Some have motion sensors and some have relays to trigger your existing chime or lock. They can log and notify you of motion events, when someone presses the button it chimes in the house and starts a 1-way video and 2 way audio call to your phone. All this is dependent on your brand of video doorbell but many have these features.

You don’t have to hook it up to your existing doorbell although I highly recommend it. By hooking up your video doorbell to the old doorbell lines you power the doorbell. This will keep your battery fully charged. Otherwise you may need to remove your video doorbell from the wall and charge the batteries. It’s not a fun experience I don’t recommend it. Save yourself the headache. Install it where your old doorbell was. Most come with simple instructions read over them. If you’re not confident hire a pro.

Recording Video Doorbells

So what options do you have if you want to record your video doorbell? Well if you go with one of the options above you’ll probably need to ask them what their monthly fees are and you’ll have to use their proprietary cloud service.

Video Doorbell with Built-In Recording

This Video Doorbell is made by the popular camera manufacturer HikVision. It makes sense to have a video doorbell made by a CCTV manufacturer. This has one of the best cameras in a video doorbell. Most top out at 2MP or 1080P, this one has a 3MP camera. Thanks to the built in SD card which allows you to record footage right on the doorbell. This is a very inexpensive unit which does all the same things that most units do. If this article helps you out you can help me out by following my affiliate link!

However, this doorbell, in my opinion is least reliable of the bunch. It usually works perfectly, which to me shouldn’t be acceptable where security is a high priority. It’s also the most budget friendly one on this list. The HikVision Doorbell has a max storage of 128GB if you need more you’ll need an existing camera system. If you need something to connect or integrate well with a higher end automation system check out the next option.

Video Doorbells That Can Record to an Existing Camera System

My most highly recommend video doorbell is the DoorBird. It has all the perks of the Nest or Ring doorbells. Except the monthly fee that is. It integrates with numerous control systems and even directly with products to do some really cool things. DoorBird products output ONVIF for integration with almost every IP camera system made in the last 15 years.

They have units for single family homes, multi-tenant residential and commercial systems. They have units ideal for gate or garage entrances. I love the DoorBird products. One piece of advice if you go DoorBird. Don’t lose that passport they pack in all products. It has a unique password on it. Snap a picture and send it to your email, DON’T LOSE IT!

I was going to mention another product with a lot of the same features. If this post gets over 100 views I’ll add a Bonus product similar to the DoorBird. Or if 20 people ask me what my DoorBird alternative in the comments!

Video Intercom for Business

Most of the products for commercial use are intended to connect to existing system. This allows them to record the intercom or at the very least have that ability to. Nowadays these systems can include the RFID card access components or even facial recognition! In my article about COVID-19 Prevention Technologies I talk about models that can even detect if your guests or staff are wearing masks. Some of these systems can even perform roll call to track employee time sheets using either their ID card or facial profile.


DoorBird is the winner in this list. It has the most features and connectivity! If budget is your main concern grab a HikVision and a 128GB SD Card! Otherwise if it’s important to integrate with your Ring or Nest ecosystem be ready to pay a monthly fee to record clips.

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