Eufy Battery Video Doorbell
After I released my Eufy Video Doorbell review last year I heard from a lot of people that said they couldn’t use it because they didn’t have wiring available at their door to power it. Well, Eufy just released a new battery powered version of their doorbell. How well does it work and do I recommend it?
There’s no shortage of video doorbells to choose from today. The market is full of options from Ring, Nest, August, and dozens of others. For a long time I used the Ring Video Doorbell 2, but last year ended up switching to the Eufy Video Doorbell. I’ll include links in the description to both reviews I published. With all of the options available, it really comes down to what features are important to you and price. And when it comes to price, it’s hard to beat the no subscription fee that comes with Eufy products.
The reason I went with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 originally, and probably the most critical part of deciding which doorbell is right for you: power. It was the best option that didn’t require existing doorbell wiring. Most video doorbells on the market require between 16V-24V of power, but the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has an onboard battery that gives you between 5-6 months of power before needing to be recharged. And in the past that was one of my recommendations for folks without existing wiring. That is … until now.
I’d like to thank Eufy for sending me the doorbell to check out. And just like with all of my reviews, whether I’ve paid for products out of my own pocket or been sent a review unit, there are no strings attached. My opinions are my own … no holds barred.
A few basic specs worth calling out are that the doorbell is IP65 rated for outdoor weather and has operating temperatures between -4 ° and 122 ° degrees Fahrenheit or -20 ° and 50 ° Celsius.
When it comes to power, the Eufy Battery Video Doorbell runs on a built-in, non-user-replaceable battery, which Eufy says will last 6 months on a charge. This will obviously vary depending on temperature and your doorbell settings, like how often it’s triggered to record or how often you watch live feeds. Since it’s a non-removable battery, that means having to pop the doorbell off the mount with the special security removal tool a couple of times a year. There’s a micro USB port on the back of the unit that has a water tight cover. It takes about 5 or 6 hours to charge up, so it’s something you’d most likely do overnight. The fact that you have to take the entire doorbell inside to charge it up like that is a little annoying. But if you do have existing wiring, you can wire it in and not have to worry about recharging every 6 months, and it can operate an existing chime. However, if you have existing wiring, I’d recommend going with a doorbell without a battery, like the wired Eufy Doorbell for some reasons I’ll get to in a bit.
In many regards this Eufy doorbell is very similar to the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Where I think the Ring has a slight edge with its removable battery. You can buy a spare battery to have it charged and ready to go for swapping, but you still need to use a special security tool to open up the doorbell and swap it out. The big difference is the doorbell being back and operational in a few minutes versus several hours. In the end I think it’s only a minor annoyance with the Eufy recharging routine since you only have to do it a couple of times a year at most. This is a problem that you’ll have to put up with, one way or another, with any battery-operated doorbell. And in the case of Eufy, there are other perks that far outweigh this minor negative.
One thing that surprised me was that the Eufy Doorbell comes with a HomeBase 2. Very different from the wired version. The doorbell itself doesn’t connect directly to WiFi, which is actually a good thing for power conservation. The system is running on a proprietary low-power wireless connection between the HomeBase and the doorbell, which avoids WiFi’s much more frequent keep-alive signal and helps to preserve power usage. That’s how it’s able to get 6 months of battery in a slimmer, more efficient package. The HomeBase also acts as a door chime, but you can add additional chimes later if needed, as well as use Amazon Echo devices as additional chimes. All of the videos are stored locally on the hub’s internal 16GB of storage. Since the HomeBase 2 works with the EufyCam E and EufyCam 2, you can add on additional cameras to this package. That’s pretty cool.
In addition to the doorbell and HomeBase, Eufy provides the mounting plate, screws, and an angled wall plate in case you need to adjust the camera’s angle. In my case I only attached the camera temporarily for testing, so ignore that awkward setup. I did it this way so I could have a nice side by side with my existing doorbell.
And this is going to sound very familiar to my other Eufy product reviews … installation is well presented and easy to do. You attach the mounting plate to the wall, then snap the doorbell into place on the mount. That’s it. On my other doorbells, I’ve had special mounts 3D printed to fit over my vinyl siding, like what you see here with my wired Eufy Doorbell. If you’re placing a doorbell over siding like this, I’d recommend doing the same thing. I’ll include a link in the description to the Etsy merchant I’ve worked with in the past. He can make a custom mount for this new battery model. It’s affordable and makes for a tidy installation.
The app setup process was just as simple. You plug in the HomeBase and set it up in the Eufy app. If you already have a HomeBase 2, like I do, you can jump straight to adding the doorbell. You’ll want to plug in and charge the doorbell before setting it up since it’s not going to be fully charged out of the box. After that you just tap to add another device in the app and follow the instructions. The HomeBase plays a chime that’s recognized by the doorbell, which allows them to authenticate. The first time user experience is really top-notch just like setting up the EufyCam E, Floodlight, or wired Doorbell. They have clear directions at each step and video tutorials to help as well.
Key features and performance
If you saw my previous review of the wired EufyCam Video Doorbell, some of what I’m going to say about features and performance is going to sound familiar. Most of the best selling video doorbells on the market have camera resolutions around 720P to 1080P. The top of the line Ring Doorbell Pro takes 1080P video and so does the Ring Video Doorbell 2. One downside of that type of resolution is the wide 16×9 aspect ratio. It’s using a lot of that resolution on a wider image instead of using it on more height. That’s why some video doorbells have gone with the 4:3 ratio, like the August Doorbell Cam at 1280×960 or the Nest Doorbell’s very high resolution of 1600×1200.
Well, both Eufy Video Doorbells have a 2K, 4:3 resolution at 2560×1920. To put all of that into context, the 1080P and Nest cameras have a little over 2x more pixels than the 720P cameras. And the Eufy has a little over 2x more than the 1080P cameras. At its highest settings the Eufy video quality is fairly crisp and easy to make out faces from a good distance away. At the lower video quality setting you tend to get some more macro blocking from the video compression, but it’s still good enough to see faces clearly. The video tends to blow out the brightest sections of the video, but that’s because the camera is adjusting to the lower light levels closer to the camera in my setup. It’s doing the right thing to ensure that faces are properly exposed at the expense of the sky being blown out. And the night vision mode works just as well as you’d expect. One interesting difference is that the battery doorbell doesn’t offer HDR control or distortion correction like the wired version. You may have also noticed the stuttering and dropped frames in the video samples I’m showing. I’ve been talking to Eufy about that issue and they’re currently looking into it, but it sounds like they might have a firmware fix in the works. If I hear any additional details, I’ll be sure to share updates in the description and a pinned comment.
The Eufy also has a built-in microphone and speaker, like pretty much every other video doorbell on the market. So you can hear and talk to people at your front door. One feature I think is pretty handy is the quick response feature. When you’re viewing a live feed, you just tap the little speech balloon icon, make your choice, and it plays the recording. There are a few pre-recorded messages that say things like, “Excuse me, can I help you” or “Please leave it at the door.” You can also record your own. Another nice feature is being able to save out screenshots in real time, as well as activating a recording.
The motion detection is also surprisingly good for a battery-operated camera. The wired version is always recording a 3 second buffer of video, so when a triggered event happens it’s able to include that buffer in the final recording. The result is having footage of someone walking up to my door from further down the stairs. My Ring Video Doorbell 2 was always hit or miss with triggering a recording, which was partially due to the type of motion detection, but also from the camera conserving power and only recording at the moment motion was detected. The battery-operated Eufy is also lacking in that 3 second buffer, but it’s done an incredible job triggering recordings quickly. I don’t get recordings of people walking all the way up to the front door, but I’m consistently getting them near the top of the walkway. My Ring usually had recordings of people walking away from the door, so we’d sometimes miss their face completely. That’s not the case with Eufy. Not only is it responsive, but it has face detection too, which cuts down on false positive notifications.
You can configure the sensitivity of the system to dial in how frequently it will record and notify you. And if you’d rather not use the face detection at all, you can customize motion detection zones to narrow down the notification frequency. One thing I really appreciate about the face detection is the actual notification you get on your phone. If it’s available, it will include a cropped thumbnail image of the person’s face. I’ve been really happy with how this has been working on the wired version, and so far the battery video doorbell has been working very well too.
The notifications are timely. I’ve been seeing the motion notifications pop up right around the moment the person actually reaches the front door. Doorbell press triggers a notification within a second or two on my phone. The only minor delays I’ve noticed are when talking with the push to talk feature, so it’s very similar to the wired version for that.
And probably my favorite part of Eufy’s products is encrypted local storage for all of your videos and no subscription fee. While the wired version stores videos on internal 4GB memory, the battery version stores videos on 16GB of memory in the HomeBase. In my review of the wired version, a bunch of people questioned what would happen if someone stole your doorbell. Well, with the battery version, there’s nothing to worry about because the footage is locked away on the HomeBase inside the house. Eufy does have an optional cloud service subscription for their Eufy Security line of products if that’s something you’re looking for, but it’s really not something that’s needed. Having all of my footage stored locally, encrypted, and in my control without an ongoing subscription is fantastic.
Price and integrations
Eufy’s Video Doorbell is priced competitively with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 at $199. Given the slim package, no subscription, 2K video recording, and excellent performance, I think it’s an extremely competitive product with Ring.
But the one area I’ve consistently dinged Eufy products is around integrations. The only integrations available right now are with Amazon and Google. If you link up your Eufy Security account with something like Google Home, you can view live video feeds on any Google smart device with a screen, like a Google Nest Hub. While it works, it’s very slow to respond. It’s 5 seconds or more for the feed to get going, which at this point makes it useless in conjunction with responding to a doorbell ring.
There’s no IFTTT support or integrations into platforms like Smartthings, Hubitat, or Home Assistant, which greatly limits some of the benefits of Eufy compared to other systems that do. For instance, with Ring I was able to trigger my porch light if motion is detected at the front door after sunset. I also wish the doorbell could send RTSP video streams to a Synology Diskstation or other device to backup your video recordings in a secondary location. You can do this with the EufyCam E security cameras, but not their other products like the Doorbell. And Apple Homekit is only partially supported on the EufyCam 2 right now and not at all for the doorbell. I understand that some integrations might need hardware changes, but I hope they’re able to roll out more of the software capable integrations over time for the Doorbell.
A lot of you already know this about me, but I like to maintain tight control over my privacy and data, so locally-hosted gear is a big selling point. Eufy has taken the path of local storage first for all of their products. This is a move and design direction I am 100% behind. You still get many of the great features of competing products, but with the benefit of your data being encrypted and in your control at all times. And for those that want cloud storage, there is an option for that.
The Eufy Video Doorbell is highly competitive on price and features, but falls a little short on integrations and the need to bring the entire doorbell in for recharging. If tying a video doorbell into services like IFTTT are a must for you, then I’d recommend looking elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a high quality, battery-operated video doorbell that remains local, has good picture quality and recording responsiveness for a battery-operated doorbell, then Eufy should be at the top of your list.