There are a number of challenges when placing tech outdoor, not least the weather. But, you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s the sun causing video doorbell owners more hassle than the rain or snow.
Whilst we can choose between the different brands of video doorbell from Ring to Nest, we can’t choose where our front doors are. If the sunlight hits your video doorbell, whether directly or by bouncing of surrounding surfaces, it can cause poor image quality and can set off your doorbell.
In this guide are a few tips to minimise the impact of the sun and some great products you can purchase to protect your video doorbell from sun light.
Why the Sun Causes Issues
Here are the three issues that can be caused by the sun:
- Glare – One of the biggest issues caused by the sun is glare on your camera.
Depending upon where your doorbell is positioned, you’ll usually notice that the glare happens during a set period of the day when the angle of the sun aligns with your doorbell and is particularly prominent on doorbells facing west. It also causes backlighting issues so you cannot make out your visitor’s face.
- Heat – If the doorbell is in direct sunlight for most of the day, it can lead to damage.
One issue that frequently crops up is the doorbell button cracking due to continuous heating in the day and cooling at night. If your doorbell is out of it’s warranty period then it’s unlikely that the manufacturer will issue a refund or replacement for this type of issue.
- False Alarms – Many video doorbells use passive infrared (PIR) motion detection.
This measures patterns of light and the change of energy to sense when there is activity. This can sometimes be problematic as the sunlight can set off the motion sensor as it moves through the sky and results in false alarms. If you are having this issue, you’ll probably notice the false alarms at the same time every day when the rays of light hit the lens or bounce of reflective materials in the vicinity.
Ways to Protect Your Video Doorbell from the Sun
Here are four key ways you can reduce the effect of the sun on your video doorbell, ranked from the simplest to implement to the most significant:
1. Switch on HDR
One of the first things you should do is check if your doorbell has high dynamic range (HDR) and make sure it is turned on. This is simple to do and doesn’t require spending any money.
HDR has a higher contrast between dark and light which helps evens out the brightness in your images and video. So even if the sun is shining brightly in the background, you should still be able to make out your visitor’s face.
Many newer video doorbells have this feature but not all come with it turned on by default, especially if you have a Ring doorbell.
2. Use a Wedge
The most popular method which is suggested by Ring and other manufacturers is to use a wedge kit. A wedge kit can be used to angle your video doorbell so that the sun does not directly hit the lens. This helps combat any glare or poor image quality and can also reduce any false rings due to the sun.
There are all sorts of wedge kits available, some that angle the doorbell downwards and some that angle it left or right. The one you choose will depend upon your own circumstances and the problem you are facing.
Most wedges will have an angle between 5° – 15° and some are stackable so you can layer them until you get the right angle.
Here are some links to wedges for the most popular video doorbells:
- Wedge for Ring Video Doorbell 2
- Wedge for Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Wedge for Nest Hello Doorbell
- Other Video Doorbell Wedges
3. Get a Sun Shield
A second option is to get a sun shield, this stops the sun rays shining directly on the camera and can reduce glare and backlighting. This has long been a common way to prevent sun-related issues for home security cameras.
For video doorbells, sometimes these are built into a case that slips over the doorbell, but this can result in overheating so we’d recommend you get a separate sun shield that sits around your doorbell.
You can build you own sun shield as a nice DIY project, but if you don’t have too much time on your hands, here are two that we recommend:
Boulox Weather Cover
This Boulox cover that has a sun shield to protect from glare, but also incorporates a rain channel that drains away water to make sure your doorbell lasts. The internal cavity is 800mm wide so it is suitable for almost every device, including all of the Ring Video Doorbells.
Gestech Sun Shield
These Gestech covers look a little more pleasant than the Boulox cover and fit directly on to the doorbell so there is no drilling or screws required. The sun shield helps reduce the glare on the camera There are two sizes so you’ll need to make sure you get the right size for your doorbell:
- Small – Suitable for Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Doorview Cam, Nest Hello, Arlo, Eufy Wired
- Regular – Suitable for Ring Video Doorbell 2, 3, 3 Plus and Eufy Wireless
4. Upgrade Your Doorbell
A more drastic step might be to upgrade your doorbell. If you have a budget video doorbell such as the Heimvision or have an older Ring doorbell, you might want to consider upgrading to a newer device that has extra features built in to protect against the sun.
We’ve already mentioned looking out for HDR to even out the brightness of the footage but also look for advanced motion detection that uses zoning (such as that found in the Ring Pro or Elite) which can help reduce any false alerts.
If you have the Ring Doorbell V2 then overheating may be an issue for you, consider upgrading to the V3 which has heatsink
Are Video Doorbells Waterproof?
Aside from the glare of the sun, you might be wondering whether the rain has an impact on your video doorbell. Most video doorbells are water-resistant which means they can withstand water to some degree, but not fully water-resistant.
For example, the Nest Hello is IPX4 rated and the Eufy doorbells are IP65 rated. However, the Ring doorbell does not have an IP-rating and simple claims water resistance.
How Do You Protect a Video Doorbell from Theft?
The best way to protect your video doorbell from theft is to screw it directly to the wall, ideally to brick rather than wood. Make sure you keep cabling well hidden and use a tamper-proof cover if your manufacturer provides one.