The front door of your home, be it a house or an apartment, is the front line when it comes to personal safety. Solid doors and strong looks are part of the story but are of limited use if you need to open the door to see who is there.
The venerable peephole has been the answer to this problem for decades, but they have limitations in how much you can see, don’t cover the doorstep where packages may be left, and it’s even possible for someone to look back through the peephole. With some technology, they can even capture clear images of your private life.
To mitigate this, and provide extra security monitoring when you are away from home, video doorbells have become a popular choice. They enhance the well-known benefits of conventional peepholes by providing real-time notifications of motion outside, recording those events for later review, and allowing you to speak to visitors without having to even be near the door.
For apartment and rental tenants, though, these devices may not be practical. While there are no-drill mounting options for these devices, you may still have issues with the landlord, or building rules around what you can put outside your door.
Peephole cameras offer an alternative that provides some of the benefits of a video doorbell but in a much more discrete form. By fitting through the existing peephole they don’t require any damage to the door, and they can look like a regular peephole to anyone outside.
The question really is: Do these devices deliver?
Ever since popular security camera maker Ring dropped its peephole camera product there hasn’t really been a major brand replacement option. Many cheap off-brand sellers have stepped into the space, but these are all cheap electronic devices with limited features.
David Mead from smart home site LinkdHome.com notes “These devices all look good on the surface, but when you dig into them you realize their quality and features fall far short of a video doorbell. It’s been very hard to find good recommendations”.
Still, so long as you go in with some healthy skepticism there are some products that are worth a look. These options can provide advantages for the elderly, disabled, and even young children in that the screen gives a much larger, clearer view of the outside than looking through a peephole, and being a camera means that no one can look in from the other side.