Arlo Essential Video Doorbell vs Nest Doorbell: Which one should you buy?

Cupertino, August 13, 2021

Security essential

Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell

Arlo Essential wired doorbell

Google's largest

Nest Doorbell (Battery) - Ash

Nest Doorbell Battery

The Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell's dual power options and support for Alexa and Google Assistant make it perfect for those looking for a flexible security solution. A convenient built-in siren and Arlo Secure Emergency Response features provide added security with one tap of distance.

$180 at Amazon


  • Long battery life
  • Wired or battery option
  • High 1:1 aspect ratio with HDR
  • Works with iOS, Android Alexa, Google Assistant


  • Expensive
  • No local storage
  • Does not support HomeKit
  • Most features require a subscription

Although Google's Nest Doorbell (Battery) requires a subscription to get the most out of it, the included free three-hour local recording capability captures everything, even if the wifi goes down. Excellent battery life and HDR video make this the best Nest doorbell yet.

$180 at Best Buy


  • Wired or battery option
  • High 3:4 aspect ratio with HDR
  • 3 hours local recording
  • Works with iOS, Android, Google Assistant
  • Long battery life


  • Expensive
  • Does not support HomeKit
  • Most features require a subscription

Although we're comparing two of the newest video doorbells in this versus battle, the truth is that both options are among the best video doorbells on the market. Both the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell and the Nest Doorbell (Battery) offer dual-powered installation options and excellent battery life, and they both offer sharp HDR images - so it's hard to go wrong with either one.

That said, the Nest Doorbell's built-in three-hour local storage gives it a slight edge overall when it comes to making sure all of your home's activity is covered 24/7. However, if your home includes Alexa devices, or if you want a doorbell with a siren that you can activate on demand, Arlo's offering might be better suited to you.

Arlo Essential Doorbell vs. Nest Doorbell: The breakdown

Nest Doorbell Battery in use outside

Source: Google

With front porch security in mind, the Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell and the Nest Doorbell give you the ability to call up a live view on-demand and capture motion events throughout the day. When someone rings the doorbell or motion is detected, you'll receive an alert on all devices so you can talk to your visitors or keep an eye on a potential intruder.

Because both doorbells are from different vendors, some features and alerts will come through differently depending on the devices in your home. If you already have a voice assistant and want to use it as a wireless doorbell, or if you want to call up a live feed while you have your hands full in the kitchen, you'll need to pay close attention to compatibility with smart homes. But let's start with the easy stuff, by taking a look at the technical specifications.

Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell Nest Doorbell Battery
Price $199.99 $179.99
Finish 2, Black, White 4, Snow, Linen, Ivory, Ash
Power Wired and battery option Wired and battery option
Battery life 6 months 6 months
Connectivity 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi
Weatherproofing UV & Weatherproof Yes, IP 54
Field of view 180-degrees 145-degrees
Aspect ratio 1:1 3:4 portrait
Resolution 1536x1536 960 x 1280
HDR Yes Yes
Night Vision IR, 20 feet IR, 10 feet
Local Storage None Yes, 3 hours
Uninterrupted recording No No
Speaker Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes
Siren Yes No
Chimes required No No
Smart alerts Yes Yes
Person/Face Recognition Yes Yes
Package Detection Yes Yes
Movement zones Yes Yes
Preset Responses Yes Yes
Smart Compatibility Alexa, Google Assistant Google Assistant

As you can see, the Nest Doorbell and the Arlo Essential doorbell have a lot in common. Both doorbells support all the package security staples, for starters: two-way audio, notifications, night vision, and smart home integration. Installation is also incredible, as both sport batteries that allow you to place them just about anywhere, and they last up to six months on a charge.

Both video doorbells also feature weatherproofing, keeping them safe from nature's elements year-round. Additionally, both doorbells offer hub-free Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning you can add them to your home network without having to manage another smart hub. Of course, technical specifications don't always tell the whole story, so let's take a look at what makes each doorbell unique.

Arlo Essential Doorbell vs. Nest Doorbell: Design differences

Arlo Essential video doorbell

Source: Arlo

Make no mistake about it; neither the Nest doorbell nor the Arlo Essential wireless doorbell will fool anyone into thinking there's no camera watching. However, both doorbells offer the latest trends in design, making them slightly less noticeable than video doorbells of the past with sleek modern frames.

The Nest doorbell is slightly more decor-friendly than the Arlo Essential doorbell, as it is available in a total of four color options.

The Nest Doorbell is slightly more decor-friendly than the Arlo Essential Doorbell, as it is available in a total of four color options. Despite having more than one color to choose from, all four of Nest's finishes - ivory, linen, ash and snow - are subtle and not over-the-top flashy. Meanwhile, the Arlo Essential Doorbell is available in just two finishes: black and white. Finishes aside, there's not much in the way of significant visual differences between the two. Inside, however, something you can't see is the inclusion of a siren in Arlo's doorbell, which you can manually activate at any time.

As mentioned earlier, the Arlo Essentials Doorbell and the Nest Doorbell support wired and wireless options. If you choose wireless, you have additional mounting flexibility because you can install the doorbell anywhere for optimal visibility or convenience.

With wireless use, you do have to consider some drawbacks: battery management and compatibility of the bell. For the most part, charging both doorbells is not a major ordeal, as they both last for months before needing to be recharged. However, the bell part can be a problem, as without wiring, you'll be relying on your phone or a smart speaker to let you know when someone is at the door. The good news is that you can always connect either one - if your home has the right wiring, transformer and compatible bell.

Arlo Essential Doorbell vs Nest Doorbell: Video and recording

Arlo Secure Timeline on a phone

Source : Arlo

The most important aspects to consider when choosing a video doorbell are video quality and recording capabilities. The Nest Doorbell and the Arlo Essential Doorbell are no underdogs in this department. They both support HD-quality video with support for HDR - albeit in different resolutions and aspect ratios.

Technically, Arlo's doorbell should produce a better overall picture with a resolution of 1536x1536 versus the Nest Doorbell's resolution of 960 x 1280. Still, it will be hard to tell the difference - especially when viewing on your phone. The field of view is where you'll see the difference, with the Arlo Essential Doorbell featuring a wider 180-degree FOV and a square 1:1 aspect ratio that allows you to see more area than the Nest Doorbell's 3:4 image and 145-degree FOV.

Nest Aware Features

Source : Google

When it comes to storing recordings, both doorbells rely on cloud services. Neither doorbell works with services like Dropbox or local NVRs or FTP servers, so to get the whole security experience, you have to pay a small monthly fee. The Nest Aware service - starting at $6 for 30 days of events on unlimited cameras and doorbells - goes up to $12 for 60 days.

Service plans for the Arlo Essential doorbell are a bit more complicated, with multiple tiers and varying prices depending on the number of cameras. The basic Arlo Secure plan starts at $2.99 per month for a single camera, which gives you 30 days of history, and $9.99 for the same with an unlimited number of cameras. The Arlo Secure Plus plan, priced at $14.99 per month, adds Emergency Response, which lets you use the location of your doorbell to notify authorities of potential problems, and unlimited cameras.

Arlo Essential Doorbell vs. Nest Doorbell: Smart features and smart home integration

Nest Doorbell Smart Home Integration

Source : Google

Along with cloud storage, both doorbell subscriptions include intelligent alerts and additional security options. Leveraging the power of the cloud, both doorbells use image analytics to determine who - or what - is in their view, so you can set notification preferences that filter out vehicles or pets. Image analytics can also determine when a package arrives and send a custom notification.

Arlo's Secure service plans also include a few additional security features that you don't get with the Nest Doorbell. One is the Emergency Response feature that provides one-tap access to police, fire, or paramedics. Another is the detection of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, although this is more tailored to indoor cameras, unless the alarms in your home are loud enough to reach the doorbell outside.

The Nest Doorbell plays nicely with Google's Android phones, Chromecasts, and voice assistant devices.

Another thing to consider is the app experience and smart home integration with the two video doorbells. The Nest Doorbell works well with Android phones, Chromecasts, and voice assistant devices from Google. With direct integration, you can use your TV as a big screen monitor for your doorbell, or you can have notifications sent directly to your Nest Hub screen, allowing you to quickly respond or view events.

The Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell, on the other hand, takes a more agnostic approach by working with Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. Working with multiple platforms means viewing your Arlo doorbell feed on a wider variety of devices like an Echo Show or Nest Hub, but it does require additional setup. One last thing to note is that neither works with Apple's HomeKit. If you want an option you can manage in the iOS Home app, you'll need a solution like the original wired Arlo Video Doorbell.

Arlo Essential Doorbell vs. Nest Doorbell: Which one should you buy?

Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell Weatherproofing

Source: Arlo

With monitoring deliveries being one of the biggest reasons to purchase a video doorbell, the Nest Doorbell gets our pick in this battle of porch guards. The Nest Doorbell's ability to record video for up to three hours, even if the Wi-Fi goes down, ensures that you'll always have footage of a potential theft available. Plus, the fact that it can be accessed for free without a subscription is the icing on the cake.

If you value flexibility in your choice of phone or devices in your home, we recommend going with the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell. Arlo's doorbell offers nearly the same level of integration with voice assistants and smart home platforms, so you can watch and respond to visitors from all your existing devices. Plus, if you ever decide to change things up, you can rest easy knowing that you'll still be able to receive alerts and monitor your front door.

An essential security feature

Arlo Essential wired doorbell

Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell

A little more flexible, but also a little more limited

The Arlo Essential wireless video doorbell protects your precious packages with HDR imaging, smart alerts, a built-in siren, and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant. Only problem? Most smart features and recording capabilities require a subscription.

The best Nest

Nest Doorbell Battery

Nest Doorbell (Battery)

A doorbell with a backup, backup plan

Google's Nest Doorbell (Battery) keeps an eye on your front door with or without an internet connection, thanks to its three-hour local recording feature. A long battery life of six months, dual power options and HDR images are just some of the many highlights with the latest and greatest Nest doorbell.

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