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Apple’s been busy creating its own smart home ecosystem via HomeKit-enabled devices, however, the biggest video doorbell manufacturers have yet to add support (looking at your Google and Ring).
But, at long last, there is a good range of HomeKit enabled video doorbells and a few really exciting ones on the horizon. In this guide, I’ll share my top recommended video doorbells that support HomeKit straight out of the box.
In a rush? Here’s a quick summary of my 3 favorite doorbells for Apple HomeKit:
Best Overall: Arlo Essential• Calls your phone like a video call when rung
• Both wired and wireless installation options
• Advanced object detection
Runner Up: Netatmo• See who is at the door before you choose to answer
• Wired installation only
• Store footage on the device without the need for a subscription
With HomeKit Secure Video: Logitech Circle View• Only doorbell to work with HomeKit Secure video
• Store your footage securely with iCloud
• Not yet available in UK – Keep reading for US-UK shipping options
What is HomeKit Secure Video?
First things first, let’s run through Apple’s new Secure Video protocol as this will significantly impact video doorbells. Essentially, this means that Apple handles your video, rather than the doorbell manufacturer.
Doorbells and cameras with HomeKit Secure Video will encrypt the footage locally on a Homepod, iPad or Apple TV and upload it to Apple’s servers where you can access it via iCloud.
Here is a rundown of the key differences between standard HomeKit support and HomeKit Secure Video support:
|Standard HomeKit Doorbells||HomeKit Secure Video Doorbells|
Answer the doorbell
HomePod doorbell chime (With iOS 14)
Apple TV live view
Answer the doorbell
HomePod doorbell chime (With iOS 14)
Apple TV live view
End-to-end video encryption by Apple
10 days of iCloud storage
How I Choose the Best Products
As a video doorbell owner and user myself, I include products that I have personally tested as well as other recommendations from trusted contacts in the industry, forums, Facebook groups, and through 100’s of hours reviewing the specs and features of all the doorbells on the market. Please get in touch if you have additional recommendations for me to consider.
Here’s a comparison table with the specs and my ratings for each of the 3 HomeKit doorbells shared in this article. Keep reading for full reviews and feature breakdowns.
|Arlo Essential||Netatmo||Logitech Circle View|
|Value for Money||9||7||8|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||1200 x 1600|
|Wired/Battery Powered||Wired or Battery Powered||Wired Only||Wired Only|
|HomeKit Secure Video||No||No||Yes|
|Storage||Cloud or Local||Local Only||Cloud Only|
|Where to Buy||Amazon||Amazon||Coming Soon - See Below|
Best HomeKit Video Doorbells
Here are my recommended HomeKit video doorbells:
- Best Overall: Arlo Essentials
- Runner Up: Netatmo Video Doorbell
- Best with Secure Video: Logitech Circle View (coming soon to UK)
Below you’ll find some further information about each of these products.
Best Overall: Arlo Essentials Video Doorbell
Arlo have done a few things differently with their new video doorbell. One thing I really like is that when it rings, the doorbell calls your phone like a video call, rather than an app notification (see image below) so you’ll never miss a visitor again. It’s also very speedy with minimal lag between the doorbell press and the call, unlike other doorbells I have tested.
The Arlo Essentials is an upgrade on the original Arlo doorbell which also includes a battery pack so that you can install it wire-free.
It has advanced AI that can detect people, animals, and cars although a subscription is required for this. It has a wide angle lens of 180 degrees and a 1:1 screen ratio which removes any distortion like other video doorbells.
It can be used with or without a subscription depending on whether you want to store your footage in the cloud or in your home. However, if you want to use it without a subscription, you will need an extra piece of hardware called the Arlo Smarthub which sits in your home to store your footage. If you have other Arlo cameras, the same hub can be used for local storage across your network.
In order to use your Arlo doorbell when away from your home WiFi network, you will need an Apple Home Hub in addition to the Arlo SmartHub.
Runner Up: Netatmo Video Doorbell
The Netatmo is a long-awaited video doorbell with HomeKit compatibility. It has a 140 ° viewing angle (diagonal) with 1080p footage, infrared night vision and an IP44 waterproof rating.
One of my favourite features is that you get to see the live view of the doorbell before having to answer.
The Netatmo has standard HomeKit integration which means you can use your HomePod as a chime, and stream straight to your Apple TV (With tvOS 14). However, it does not support Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video at the moment.
Unlike the Arlo which allows both local and cloud storage, the Netatmo is local only. Your footage is stored on an SD card on the device itself, this is beneficial as it means you don’t need a subscription to review your footage and you don’t have to purchase any additional hardware, However, keep in mind that this means if your doorbell is stolen then all the footage is gone too.
The Netatmo device rivals the Arlo doorbell in terms of advanced features such as activity zones and person detection. However, it’s a wired-only device which is something that put me off because I don’t have existing doorbell wiring to use.
Best With Secure Video: Logitech Circle View
If you want an Apple-enabled HomeKit device but are willing to wait a little bit, then the Logitech Circle View is the first video doorbell to support Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video.
This allows an extremely well-integrated experience for anyone already engrossed in Apple’s ecosystem.
All of the video processing is done by Apple, as opposed to being done on the devices or by the doorbell manufacturers.
This includes end-to-end encryption via the HomePod, activity zones, facial recognition, and the ability to use your doorbell as a HomeKit enabled motion detector.
It also has the functions that a standard HomeKit integration brings, including picture-in-picture live view on an Apple TV and chimes via a HomePod.
Unfortunately, there is no native way to buy this in the UK right now (even though it was released years ago), however, as one reddit user pointed out, you can purchase it from Apple or Logitech in the US and have it shipped to the UK using Stackry.
Video Doorbell Buyers Guide
Here is a run down of some key specs and features to keep in mind when deciding which video doorbell to buy:
Video Quality and Viewing Angle
First and foremost, a video doorbell is a security camera, so you need to clearly see who is at your front door. Ensure a high resolution and ideally some infrared night vision to make use of it at night too.
The viewing angle is important, not just horizontally but vertically too if you intend to keep an eye on any packages delivered.
Wired vs Battery Powered
A battery powered doorbell is usually the simplest to install as no cabling is required, connect to the WiFi and attach to the wall. However, you will need to regularly recharge it, usually every month although some will last a lot longer.
The alternative is a wired device, this requires extra work to install as you’ll need to do some cabling, but you won’t need to worry about the battery running out.
An activity zone allows you to set certain areas of the camera to monitor for motion, rather than monitoring the entire view.
This is particularly important if you live on a busy street with people or cars constantly passing which could set off the motion detection.
How and where the video doorbell stores the footage is important. Some doorbells do not have local storage (on the device) which means it must use the cloud, usually with an ongoing cost.
For those that do store footage locally, the best option is a hub inside the house, otherwise thieves could steal the footage along with the doorbell.
Does Ring Work with HomeKit?
No, Ring doorbells, cameras and other devices do not work with Apple HomeKit out of the box.
Ring have repeatedly said they are working on HomeKit integration for a number of years, however with Amazon now at the helm, it’s unlikely that we’ll see this come to fruition.
However, with a third party go-between called HOOBS (Homebridge Out Of the Box), it’s possible to set up an unofficial integration between the two.
HOOBS is opensource software that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi or purchased pre-installed.
Find out more about this integration in my full guide on connecting Ring to HomeKit.
Does Nest Hello Work with HomeKit?
No, Nest Hello does not integrate directly with HomeKit. Google and Apple are fierce rivals in just about every market so this isn’t something I’d expect to see anytime soon.
That being said, there are a few unofficial ways to connect Nest Hello and HomeKit.
One is using HOOBS as mentioned above in the section about Ring, but a more streamlined way (and cheaper) is using the Starling Home Hub.
The Starling Home Hub is from the same makers as HOOBS, but it’s only purpose is to connect Google’s Nest products (including the Nest Hello doorbell) with HomeKit.
Find out more about this integration in my article on connecting Nest Hello to HomeKit.
Does Eufy Video Doorbell Work with HomeKit?
No, Eufy’s video doorbell doesn’t support HomeKit via official or unofficial methods.
However, hope is not lost because in 2020 Eufy upgraded a number of it’s security camera’s to support Apple’s Secure Video protocol, so fingers crossed their video doorbells will follow suit.