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Do Doorbell Cameras Record All the Time? What to Know!

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hand pressing doorbell

As technology advances, we have found better ways to protect ourselves from crimes. For example, constant surveillance has allowed us to make calculated decisions and safeguard our families from possible threats. 

A doorbell camera also serves the same purpose. It protects the homeowner from possible theft or burglary and offers convenience. For example, even if you’re traveling or not at your home, you can still see people visiting your door with the help of smart doorbell cameras.  

But how do these cameras work? Do these devices record all the time? Let’s find out! Many doorbell cameras are motion-activated, but some can be set to record for hours at a time, and others do continuously record.

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Do Doorbell Cameras Record All the Time?

Not all doorbell cameras record all the time. In most modern models, the default doorbell recording setting is trigger-based. However, some cameras can be scheduled to record for longer hours. Apart from that, the continuous recording cameras record all the time.

In short, the answer is both yes and no. Doorbell cameras do not always record unless specifically built for that purpose. Doorbell cameras and CCTV cameras have different mechanisms. Therefore, they are not required to stay active throughout the day.

The active time of your camera can also be controlled by your phone. Since doorbell cameras usually come with an app, you can trigger the recording option from any part of the world through your phone.

video doorbel
Image Credit: Patryk Kosmider, Shutterstock

What Causes a Doorbell Camera to Record?

A doorbell camera records for different reasons. Here are the three triggers that activate your doorbell camera’s recording feature:

Motion Sensing

Doorbell cameras are infrared motion sensors that detect motion in their frame of view. The camera will still record the footage if someone stands at your doorstep without ringing your bell.

The efficiency of the motion detection system depends on the number of IR sensors. Therefore, the more IR sensors your camera has, the better the detection system.

However, the outdoor lighting and camera quality also affect the motion sensing capabilities. For example, cameras with weak night vision cannot detect any motion at night. Therefore, investing in a camera with sensors and night vision is important for better results.

Doorbell Ring

The most common trigger in a doorbell camera is a ring. When a visitor rings the bell, the camera starts recording for five to ten seconds.

The video stops recording if the homeowner answers the door in the first ring. Otherwise, the camera records a five-second clip after every ring. Some cameras also record a longer video which stops once the homeowner hits the stop button.

Most homeowners opt for this model because it is more energy efficient than other models. It will not start unless someone rings the bell, unlike the motion detection system, which starts recording before the person rings the bell.

delivery man using door bell
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

Live View

Some cameras also offer a live view of your doorstep. It starts recording when the homeowner opens the app and starts viewing everything in the camera’s field of view. This option signals to the server that the owner wants a continuous recording of the premises.

Mostly, you don’t need a server of cloud space to save live videos, but if you want, you can manually opt for the saving option. However, this feature can drain your camera battery rapidly, so use wired cameras.

You also need a higher bandwidth of internet and a bigger server to support live viewing. You can also send and receive audio in real-time while viewing live footage.

Why Doorbell Cameras Don’t Always Record

Doorbell cameras don’t always record to save electrical energy and storage space. Most homeowners don’t realize it can significantly increase their energy bills.

You also have to buy cloud storage to keep the recorded footage, which can be expensive if your camera is recording 24/7.

Can you Modify Doorbell Camera Recording Schedule?

Even when most doorbell cameras have a default saving duration, like 30–90 days, you can always change your doorbell recording schedule to suit your requirements. Each doorbell camera has different settings that allow you to change the schedule. You can either choose from the pre-set time slots or select a specific time manually.

You can turn the schedule on and off whenever needed. This feature is ideal for people who want constant surveillance of their house when not at home. In addition, it helps avoid potential gaps in the recording that can risk missing important information required to keep your house and family safe.

man using door bell
Image Credit: ranz12, Shutterstock

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With plenty of doorbell options on the market, choosing the right one for your exact requirements may be tough. However, once you recognize which features you need to prioritize, you’ll be able to choose a smart doorbell that caters to your needs precisely.

It helps you stay up to date with everything going right outside your house. Getting a reliable doorbell camera should be your initial step to enhancing the security of your house.

So, invest in a high-quality doorbell camera and stay alert about the security of your house whether you are at home or away.

Featured Image Credit: Forgem, Shutterstock

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.