The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but before you checkout on your next order, there are a few steps you should take to keep your packages safe. You've probably heard the term "porch pirates" before--they steal packages from your doorstep before you ever get home. And since 56% of consumers plan to shop online this year, that's a lot of opportunity for theft. Thankfully, you can help safeguard your packages by using a smart doorbell. So, before you start ordering away (and even if you've already started shopping for the perfect gifts), here are seven ways that using a smart doorbell can keep your packages safe during the holiday season.
Do you want to see who's at your door without getting up, keep an eye out for criminals and hooligans, or simply make sure the delivery guy actually leaves your package while you're at work? With a video camera that lets you see who's at your door, two-way audio, and alerts that stream right to your smartphone, even when you're not home, a smart doorbell might be the perfect device to add to your home. To find out which will really ring your bell, I tested seven of the most popular models. With the most reliable connection and the fastest response time, the Ring 2 is the best bet for any house, especially because it's one of the only models that can run on batteries or be hard-wired. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 came out on top, beating out even the popular Skybell.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. If you want to see who's on the other side of your door without having to get up and look yourself, then the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best choice for most everyone. It lets you screen (and record) visitors and keep an eye out for package deliveries. Motion and ring alerts to a smartphone are typically fast, audio and 1080p video are clear, and the Ring 2 can be powered by either standard doorbell wiring or a removable rechargeable battery. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 performs like a cross between a modestly aggressive guard dog and a trusty digital butler. In addition to notifying you--audibly and via smartphone--of activity, it records all motion events to the cloud, letting you view those recordings (as well as live video) on your phone or computer any time. It's also compatible with a good number of smart-home devices, platforms, and monitored security systems. Though video recording and storage require a subscription, the $30 annual fee (a mere 8¢ per day) for 60 days of unlimited video storage is downright cheap compared with the competition. We like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for all the reasons we like the Ring 2. Additionally, it has a much slimmer and sleeker design that will fit in more doorframes and includes the option for customized motion-detection zones.
Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. It's not printed in big letters on the box, but many of the latest smart home gadgets require a monthly subscription to unlock all their features. It might only be a few dollars a month, but over the life of a product it can easily double the purchase price. I can be particularly onerous if you're paying subscription fees for more than device.