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    Best Video Doorbell Cameras Without a Subscription

    These highly rated doorbells from Cree Lighting, Eufy, Lorex, Netatmo, and TP-Link store recordings locally to keep them private and save you money

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    TP-Link Kasa Smart KD110 and Eufy Video Doorbell 2K Dual Wired and Cree Lighting Connected Smart CMACC DRBL HWBAT WH Photos: TP-Link, Eufy, Cree

    Amazon’s Ring doorbell brand is arguably a household name in the U.S., and it has the sales figures to back it up. According to the market research firm Strategy Analytics, Ring is the biggest doorbell brand in the world, having sold 1.4 million video doorbells globally in 2021. That’s almost as many as the next big four brands—Skybell, Google Nest, Vivint, and ADT—combined.

    Ring doorbells are a great way to keep track of deliveries and visitors, and they even perform well in our ratings. But the recurring cost of cloud storage for the video captured by your Ring doorbell can add up, easily costing as much as the doorbell camera itself after just a few years. And on July 1, Ring increased the price of its Ring Protect Basic plan for one camera from $3 per month or $30 per year to $4 per month or $40 per year. 

    Ring did increase the length of time it will store videos and add some other new features, but when you consider rising inflation and the recent revelation that Ring and some other camera brands may share your video footage without your consent, you might want to look for alternatives.

    There are plenty of highly rated video doorbells without subscriptions. Instead of storing footage in the cloud, these doorbells store video locally, usually on either a microSD card or their internal memory. This frees you from paying a monthly fee and gives you more control over your recordings. But that doesn’t mean these doorbells don’t offer optional subscriptions if you ever change your mind and want to store your footage in the cloud for extra protection.

    Like security cameras without subscriptions, the main downside to doorbells that forgo them is that many lack intelligent object recognition of people, animals, vehicles, packages, and faces. That’s because the object recognition often happens on the company’s servers rather than the doorbell itself. Many video doorbell makers have been using these AI-driven features to entice consumers into paying for a subscription, including Ring. But there are still plenty of video doorbells without a subscription that will offer at least one of these intelligent features (usually person detection) for no extra charge.

    Below, you’ll find the six best video doorbell cameras without subscriptions from our ratings. The list, which is in alphabetical (not rank) order, includes video doorbells from Cree Lighting, Eufy, Lorex, Netatmo, and TP-Link. It highlights which smart alerts each of these doorbells provides, as well as whether they offer an optional subscription should you decide to store your video remotely. We also reveal how each doorbell fared in our tests for data privacy (how manufacturers collect, use, and share your data, including how transparent they are about this) and data security (whether the doorbell camera employs security measures such as encryption to protect your data from outsiders). For more options, check out our complete video doorbell camera ratings of over 50 models.

    Smart alerts: People only
    Optional storage subscription: No
    CR’s take: You might not think of a lighting company as a great manufacturer of security cameras, but the Cree Lighting Connected Max video doorbell is a surprisingly solid option. In our tests, it receives a Very Good rating for video quality and offers speedy response times, strong data security, and a decent array of smart features. Its only drawback is lackluster data privacy, but that’s par for the course in the video doorbell market.

    This Cree model features person detection, motion schedules, voice and app control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home/Assistant, and local video storage when you plug in a microSD card (sold separately). The doorbell can run off its rechargeable battery or be hardwired to existing doorbell wiring for continuous power. When hardwired, it will ring your home’s existing doorbell chime. A wireless plug-in doorbell chime is also available for $24.

    Smart alerts: People only
    Optional storage subscription: Yes
    CR’s take: The Eufy Video Doorbell 1080p (Battery-Powered) is a CR Best Buy because of its impressive video quality, response time, and $100 price. It also performs decently in our tests for data privacy and data security, receiving a Good rating in the latter test. This Eufy doorbell comes with a plug-in doorbell chime and features monitoring zones, person detection, geofencing, voice and app control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home/Assistant, and local video storage when you plug a microSD card into the doorbell chime. Because this doorbell is battery-powered, it also doesn’t require low-voltage doorbell wiring for power.

    Smart alerts: Packages, people, and faces
    Optional storage subscription: Yes
    CR’s take: The Eufy Video Doorbell 2K Dual (Wired) is one of a few video doorbells with two cameras, one pointed straight out to spot visitors (or intruders) and one pointed down to keep an eye on package deliveries. In our lab tests, it receives strong scores for video quality, data security, and response time for alerts and loading live feeds. It offers a decent amount of smart features and its data privacy is middling, receiving a Good rating, which is actually better than many competing doorbells.

    In addition to its two cameras, this Eufy features high dynamic range (HDR) for more vivid video, monitoring zones, 3-second video previews (to show what happened before the camera detected motion), facial recognition, person detection, and package detection. Notably, the last three features don’t require a subscription, which is common for other doorbells.

    The Eufy doorbell features 8 gigabytes of built-in memory to store footage, but the company also offers cloud video storage subscriptions. As its name suggests, the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K Dual (Wired) requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power but can’t ring your home’s existing chime. Instead, it comes with a wireless plug-in chime in the box.

    If you’re interested in this doorbell but need a battery-powered model, check out the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K Dual (Battery). It does well overall in our tests, but its video quality and response time aren’t as good when compared with the wired version.

    Smart alerts: None available
    Optional storage subscription: No
    CR’s take: The Lorex LNWDB1 1080P WiFi Video Doorbell is one of the more affordable options on this list, and it offers performance on a par with some doorbells that cost significantly more. In our tests, this Lorex doorbell earns a Very Good rating for data security and a middle-of-the-road score for data privacy. It also offers superb video quality and response time, as well as a decent array of smart features, which include monitoring zones, geofencing (this feature uses your phone’s location to receive alerts when you’re not home), and voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

    This Lorex model stores footage locally on a 16GB microSD card that comes with the doorbell. If you want to store even more footage, the doorbell supports up to a 64GB microSD card. It also requires low-voltage doorbell wiring for power and can ring your home’s existing doorbell chime.

    If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you might also consider the Lorex 2K QHD B451AJD-E. It performs identically to this Lorex 1080p model in our tests but adds color night vision and high dynamic range to the mix.

    Smart alerts: People only
    Optional storage subscription: No
    CR’s take: The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is one of the most expensive models in our ratings, but it’s worth considering if you want to keep your footage as secure as possible. All footage is stored locally on an 8GB microSD card that comes with the doorbell. Netatmo claims that only one screenshot per video—not the video itself—is uploaded to its servers, so some information is available to you in case the doorbell gets disconnected.

    In our tests, the Netatmo doorbell rates Very Good for data security and receives a middle-of-the-road score for data privacy. It also offers great video quality and a decent array of smart features, but its response time is on the slow side compared with the competition. Features include person detection, high dynamic range (HDR) for more vivid videos, and voice control via Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit/Siri, and Google Assistant.

    In addition to local storage, the Netatmo video doorbell can store videos on a Dropbox account or personal web server. It also requires doorbell wiring for power and can ring your home’s existing doorbell chime. It works with both low-voltage (usually 16 to 24 volts) and high-voltage (230 volt) systems, the latter being typically found in Europe.


    Home Content Creator Daniel Wroclawski

    Daniel Wroclawski

    I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).