Safety and security products are among the most important for testing in practice, but some are more difficult to assess than others. Leak detector either it works or it doesn’t, but what can we say security camera? Video doorbell?

Some video devices are better than others, of course, but many cameras are simple different from their competitors – offering unique features, aesthetics and comprehensive approaches to indoor or outdoor observation. And this is what you want! Pet camera must work differently from babysitter camera. Similarly, searchlight camera must include various features from video doorbell.

But at the end of the day, we at CNET have to tell you our choices for the best cameras, regardless of use. Here’s how we use hands-on testing in real-world scenarios CNET is a smart home to determine which home security cameras and video bells are best for you.

How we test the functions of external, internal and doorbell video cameras

Every time I test a security camera or video doorbell, I set it up with the included instructions and test all the advertised features at home for about a week – all with the purpose of the device in mind. For example, the outdoor camera must be weatherproof and have noise-canceling technology so that you can hear the sounds you are interested in over high winds. This means that I will have to do an outdoor sound check to see if I can hear my children talking at different distances while watching the live broadcast.

Similarly, the internal camera must include privacy features, such as a shutter. This means making sure the features work as advertised, and the shutter, whether open or closed, is suitably easy to check. Finally, the doorbell should have an excellent two-way chat with visitors and suppliers. This means talking to my wife on the porch and listening for clarity and latency.

There are many other unique features of different types of security cameras. Once the device is set up and all the features are on, it’s time to make sure they’re working properly. Some cameras allow you to define areas of movement where everything that moves in a particular frame will result in a mobile signal sent directly to your phone. I will move around the traffic area to see when I will receive a signal and when I will not. The goal is to find out how precise these areas are.

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Other such features include motion tracking for tilt cameras (can the camera track me at high speeds?), Two-way conversation (can I have a remote conversation with my wife?), Live surveillance (how much latency does feed have? ) and event saving (are traffic events recorded in an easy-to-understand register?). There are many more features from facial recognition to motion-induced messagesand each requires its own individual test to make sure it works as advertised.

Starting a business: Testing resolution, night vision and latency

After testing the unique features of a home security camera or video bell camera, the review becomes a little more demanding – especially in terms of camera resolution, night vision and latency.

Many cameras advertise 1080p or 2k resolution, but actually capture blurry or pixelated video. To find out how consistent the camera’s vision really is, I do a visual test (the kind you can see in the optometrist’s office) to see how clear the resolution is. really is at different distances. I stand a few feet from the camera, then back away once, then about 15 feet again, then finally 30 feet away.

To see how reliable night vision is, I apply the test again in the dark. I compare the results with the direct competitors on the market and give my recommendation based on the results.

Finally, I deal with latency as many people hope to use home security cameras and video bells to deter pirates on the porch or other potential neighborhood troubles (such as raccoons treating the trash can as a weekly buffet). If someone enters your porch, picks up a delivery left there, and walks away, do you have time to get the signal, pick up the canal, and intervene in two-way calls?


Video doorbells are a type of security camera with their own unique features – and you almost put them in one place.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Usually my video producer Chris and I do fake piracy on the porch, testing the latency of the camera or video bell. Most cameras at this time are not fast enough to catch a fast-footed pirate from the porch in action. But some are faster than others – and the best ones capture and record the whole act so you can see exactly what happened.

Determining the value of a protected product

Once I have completed all the technical tests, it is time to give an assessment of the security camera or video bell and a final recommendation. Here I take into account the features, performance, overall user experience (again, I usually use them at home for about a week) and the value of the product.

To determine the value, I have to compare the price with those of devices with similar characteristics on the market. In this category, a simple but reliable $ 30 smart camera outperforms the $ 100 full-featured camera – or a $ 200 video bell that checks each field can beat a $ 60 competitor that doesn’t surprise me in the same way.

Of course, no security camera or video doorbell will be perfect for everyone, so I also consider different uses and budgets. Regardless of the use case or the price, you can be sure that any security device I recommend will offer great value for what is on offer.


Testing home security cameras and video bell cameras can be quite engaging, but it is essentially divided into several testing categories. Here’s what we’re looking at.

  • The offered functions
  • How the functions are presented
  • Overall product performance for a test period of one week
  • Comparisons of resolution, night vision and latency
  • Total value

To see our tests in action, check out our recommendations for best video bells, the best home security cameras and the best outdoor security cameras for 2022. You can also watch us administer some of these tests in our video reviews.

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