- There is no lack of smart doorbells products including current best cloud doorbell Ring 2 ($99.99).
- Recent issues with information security made many people look for alternative solutions for the best doorbells without internet
- In this article, we looked at all the available options on local cloudless doorbells. After testing and using a dozen of models, we have found three main options:
- Amcrest AD110 1080P HD Doorbell ($77.61) is the best overall choice for amazing value for money and great optics
- DIY option ( Pi Zero ($27.99) + Pi Camera ($13.99) + Zigbee Button ($17.99) will cost you less but need some skills
- For no-hassle buy-and-forget option, DoorBird WiFi Video Doorbell D101S ($422.37) is the best doorbell without internet option
- What is the issue with cloud-based doorbells?
- Recap: Smart Doorbell Use Cases:
- What are more technical requirements for doorbells:
- What are the main options for cloudless doorbells?
- Top cloudless doorbell: Amcrest AD110 1080P HD Doorbell
- Best DIY doorbell without cloud: Pi zero plus a push button
- Best Premium Smart doorbell: DoorBird D101
What is the issue with cloud-based doorbells?
One of the main benefits of having a smart doorbell is the ability to see on your phone the person who came to your door. You clearly need to connect your device to the internet for this, but it can be done in a number of ways. Many smart device companies were very negligent with security resulting in breaches. A possibility that the feed from your doorbells can be exposed to others feels very uncomfortable.
Also, to be able to see the person in front of your door it is much better to connect to a smart hub which is usually a more secure option.
Another argument against the cloud-based smart doorbells is the reliance on cloud services. This means that if a company’s servers will go down, your doorbells will stop working. That is why having local access to the doorbell is crucial.
Recap: Smart Doorbell Use Cases:
- Motion detection: when somebody approaches the door, you are being notified even if they will not push the button
- Audio ring: when the button is pushed audio bell rings inside the property
- Mobile notification: when the button is pushed, you get a video/ picture of the caller into your mobile
- 2-way audio: when you get the notification you can talk to the person at your door
What are more technical requirements for doorbells:
- Easy to install
- Good battery life
- Constant video feed
- RTSP feed to access locally
- Button and chimes
- Motion sensor events, that I can then tie into automation.
- Fast responsiveness: even a few seconds delays seems too long.
- Easy integration to smart home systems like Home Assistant and SmartThings
What are the main options for cloudless doorbells?
We have a look at the main options available in the market for doorbells without the internet and it boiled down to three main options:
- Buy a locally accessible doorbell camera by Amcrest that can be easily
- Build your own doorbell if you have skills
- If you want to have bought and forget version, go for high-end version of the doorbell
We summarised the main pros and cons of each of the options below:
Top cloudless doorbell: Amcrest AD110 1080P HD Doorbell
- 1080p resolution
- Wide angle lens (140 degree)
- Build in night vision and PIR sensor
- 2 face plates plates
- Can record locally (up to 128 gB)
WHAT WE LIKED
- Access to video feed via RTSP, so you can integrate to Home Assistant, Smart Things and other smart hubs
- Local recording (no need for cloud subscription)
- Very responsive
- Mask the motion sensing area instead of a radius or distance to false alerts
- Good app to use
- Built in microphone and speaker allows for two-way audio and makes it easier to talk to visitors without having to get up and answer the door.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
- Need strong wifi
- Need an app for initial set up
- Works only with
- No battery
- Only 2.4GHz wifi
Why is Armcrest doorbell better than Ring Doorbell?
- No cloud subscription
- Local access
- Masking sensitive areas (avoids false alarms)
How to install Amcrest AD110
The installation process is simple. Key things to consider is to have strong wifi reception and the right size transformer for power.
For installation look at the installation videos online (we liked digiblurDIY)
Try to select the location and direction of the camera so it won’t get too many false positives. This means away from trees and ideally passing cars. Although you can edit the sensitivity, trying to find a good spot pays off.
For the setup, you will need a dedicated app (not Amcrest View Pro ). It allows basic live view and stored video playback. The configuration options are quite few. What we liked is the motion detection zones. They are designed in the form of the grid map you mark on/off.
Saying that you can get much more from the doorbell if you incorporate to your Smart Home Hub.
How to integrate Amcrest AD110 to Home Assistant?
There are many benefits of integrating the doorbell to the camera. Those are the main benefits:
- You can stop using an extra app
- You can set up actionable notifications to open your smart lock from your screen
- Notifications can go to all of your family members
- You can pause your media when someone rings
- Switch on lights based on the motion sensor
You can use amcrest integration which will make you camera and sensors showed up correctly (although AD110 is not ‘officially’ supported)
You will need to do two main things:
- Edit your Configuration.yaml:
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amcrest: - host: 192.168.1.xxx name: Doorbell Camera username: !secret amcrest_account password: !secret amcrest_password scan_interval: 1 stream_source: rtsp binary_sensors: - motion_detected - online
- Add the following to your ui-lovelace.yaml:
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- type: picture-glance title: Front Door camera_image: camera.doorbell_camera camera_view: live entities: - entity: camera.doorbell_camera
The sensor for doorbell ring status might not work, so you can use door sensor hack doorbell for that.
For the ones who are braver than us you can save some money but have some fun with DIY setup.
You will need the following things:
- PI Zero + camera + powersupply
- Weatherproof enclose (this one might work https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2300226 )
- Push button (we recommend Xiaomi buttons)
- Installed Home Assistant with Zigbee stick
The most difficult things will be to make the power supply work. So take care of the cabling and may be use some
Software setup for best local doorbell:
You will need three main software capabilities:
- Image analysis
- Notification engine (mobile and audio)
- Recording of the feeds
I currently use a this set up with camera module and then Aquara Xiaomi wireless button. The button triggers an automation to play a chime on the gateway, pause any media I have playing and also grab a snapshot from the camera and send it to me. If I long press the the button it turns the front outside light
A Pi-zero-cam solution is cheaper, has more capabilities and again: two way audio will be complicated and it has to be integrated in some aesthetically pleasing housing which is not everybody´s cup of tea. Someone mentioned a Pi-zero with MotionEyeOS would be good but be aware that MEye does not and will not support two-way audio.
Best Premium Smart doorbell: DoorBird D101
Very useful device, quick and easy to install. The plastic casing is sufficiently stable, easy to attach, start-up and connection with my smartphone went very quickly.
It is a pricey compared to Amcrest, but there is a great value for money. It also might be good for your parents as it requires limited hassle to install and use.
Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API