Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Digital door viewers replace conventional door viewers. They are equipped with a camera instead of a lens. This transmits the image to a monitor. Some models can make and save video and photo recordings. Others work via WLAN and are Smarthome compatible. In this way, electronic door viewers increase security and make it easier to monitor the entrance.

But video recording is not the only function offered. Our digital door viewer test 2021 is intended to give you an overview of the different models and simplify the purchase decision. We have compared several variants with each other and sorted out the most important purchase criteria.




Summary

  • The digital door peephole is a more modern version of the optical door peephole. Instead of a lens, the digital alternative is equipped with a camera and a monitor. The power required for the digital door viewer is usually supplied by a battery or rechargeable battery.
  • This is particularly suitable for people with impaired vision, people in wheelchairs or children. Generally for anyone who has problems looking through the peephole and recognising who is on the other side.
  • When buying an electronic door peephole, it is important to pay attention to the thickness of the door and the diameter of the drill hole. If these aspects are not matched to the door in question, the digital door peephole cannot be installed.

The Best Digital Door Viewer: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a digital door viewer

How does a digital peephole work?

The digital peephole replaces the peephole with a camera. This films the outside of the front door. In most cases, the image is transmitted to a monitor via a cable. This is usually attached to the inside of the front door. However, there are also variants where the display does not have to be attached to the door.

Batteries power most digital door viewers. Some variants can also record and store images and even videos. This is usually done via SD card slot, but can also be transferred and stored via Wi-Fi on the smartphone.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a digital door peephole?

The digital door viewer comes with a few advantages, but also has a few disadvantages. Which is why this section compares the electronic door peephole with the conventional door peephole.

Advantages
  • Enlarged image
  • Adjusted height
  • Nothing to see from the outside
Disadvantages
  • Batteries
  • More expensive
  • More susceptible to defects

Thanks to the display, the image is enlarged. This makes it much easier to see who is in front of the door. With the conventional door viewer, on the other hand, the field of vision is small and blurred. Therefore, the digital peephole is particularly suitable for people with impaired vision.

The height at which the display is mounted on the front door can be adjusted. This benefits people in wheelchairs, children and generally anyone who cannot reach the height of the peephole. Thus, the monitor can be placed lower so that these persons can also check who is at the front door without difficulty.

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Digital door viewers look like optical door viewers from the outside, except that they do not allow light to penetrate from the inside to the outside. Therefore, it is not possible to look in from the outside.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Antonina Bukowska)

Last but not least, the camera of the digital door peephole prevents people from looking in from the outside. It is impossible to tell whether someone is behind the door or not. Thus, the electronic door peephole is more secure in this aspect.

Which electronic peephole fits my front door?

Not every digital door peephole fits every door. However, there is usually a suitable digital door peephole for most types of doors.

Door thickness and the diameter of the drill hole are particularly important.

Since the digital peephole is heavier than the optical peephole, special attention must be paid to the door thickness. This is determined by the thickness of the door, i.e. how deep the drill hole is.

If a conventional door viewer is to be replaced by the more modern version, the diameter of the hole must also be considered.

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Regardless of the door, a digital door viewer can be installed on practically any door. Nevertheless, attention should also be paid to the material if a hole has to be drilled.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Dil)

What does a digital door peephole cost?

The price of a digital door peephole varies depending on the functions that are offered. Basically, a price range of around 30 - 400 € can be set.

Type Price
General 30 - 400 €
Wired display from 30 €
With WLAN from 90 €

The classic models with a wired monitor are available for as little as 30 €. The simple construction and uncomplicated nature of the device allow for a low price: it only requires a camera, which is connected to a monitor and batteries. In this case, the monitor is mounted on the inside of the front door.

Significantly more money is required for the smart variants with WLAN function. These can transmit the camera image to a mobile phone, PC, tablet, etc.. This makes it possible to see who is standing in front of the front door from the sofa. Recordings can also be saved on a smartphone, for example, which can be very practical. For these reasons, digital door viewers with Wi-Fi connection are only available from €90.

What is the legal situation when using an electronic door peephole?

In order to be able to use a digital door peephole legally, some conditions must be met or not violated. In principle, however, the installation and use of a digital door peephole is permitted.

The personal rights and data protection of third parties must not be violated.

All persons concerned (e.g. family members, tenants, visitors, etc.) must agree to being filmed. Ideally, a sign should be placed at the entrance informing about the camera.

Attention must also be paid to the area that is being filmed. This must not be a public area or the neighbour's property. Only your own property may be filmed.

If recordings are saved, they must not be published on the web, as this would violate the data protection of the persons concerned.

What alternatives are there to digital door viewers?

In principle, the electronic door peephole can be replaced with some alternatives. But these all differ slightly and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Three alternative suggestions are:

  • Optical door viewer: Obviously, the classic door viewer is one of the best alternatives. It is the predecessor of the digital version. Instead of a camera, it has a lens and no electronic parts, which is why it is cheaper. It is also less susceptible to defects and does not need batteries.
  • Doorbellwith camera: Not only door viewers are becoming more modern, but also doorbells. These now also have cameras that record the outside area. For this purpose, they are connected to the doorbell, which can act as a switch for the camera.
  • Surveillance camera: If monitoring the entrance is not enough, you should consider buying outdoor cameras. These can monitor the entire property around the clock and thus offer a higher level of security.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate digital door viewers

Digital door viewers are offered in many different versions and models, which is why it can quickly become confusing. For this reason, we have sorted out the most important purchase criteria and listed them here in a table.

Purchase criterion This should be noted
Door thickness 38 - 110 mm are common
Drill hole diameter 14 - 22 mm are common
Image quality Viewing angle: 100 - 160° degrees
Motion detector Best with PIR sensor
Recording function Date function is very useful
Power supply Use rechargeable batteries

Subsequently, each criterion is explained further to simplify the understanding of the table.

Door thickness

If the door thickness does not fit the digital peephole, it cannot be mounted.

The door thickness is the thickness of a door. In other words: the depth of the drill hole in which the digital peephole is mounted. This plays a role in the length of the electronic door peephole. The electronic peephole or the cable must be long enough to reach from the outside through the hole to the inside. If the door thickness does not fit the digital peephole, it cannot be mounted.

Fortunately, most digital door viewers are compatible with door thicknesses of 38 - 110 mm, which covers almost all front doors. Nevertheless, it is essential to pay attention to the door thickness, because nobody wants to buy the wrong product.

Drill hole diameter

The diameter of the drill hole is also important, because the digital door peephole must fit into the hole. Most electronic door viewers are adapted to a drill hole diameter of 14 - 22 mm.

Particular attention should be paid to the drill hole diameter if a hole already exists and the door viewer is to be replaced.

Image quality

Surprisingly, the resolution of the camera does not play a very important role, as the person's face is usually directly in front of the camera. Much more important is the viewing angle and the night vision function.

Angle of view: With a large angle of view, it becomes possible to see if someone is next to the door. This makes it more difficult to hide. This is useful if several people are trying to enter the house or flat. Basically, viewing angles between 100° and 120° degrees are available. However, some models also achieve a viewing angle of up to 160° degrees. Depending on the entrance, a larger viewing angle is necessary.

Night vision: If it gets very dark at the front door at night, a night vision function can make perfect sense. With infrared sensors, it is possible to see who is standing in front of the door even in poor lighting conditions. If your digital door viewer has no or only poor night vision, a simple solution is suggested under Trivia.

Motion detector

If you want to know who is standing in front of the front door before the doorbell rings, the digital door viewer with motion detector is the perfect solution. It detects movement and automatically sends a message, e.g. via mobile phone.

Motion detection normally uses PIR sensors, which can pick up infrared rays. PIR sensor stands for "Pyroelectric Infrared Sensor", which can be translated as pyroelectric infrared sensor. This sensor therefore detects changes in temperature, e.g. when a person walks in front of the front door.

Another motion detection system works by analysing the pixels in the digital image. If there is a change in the colour of the pixels, motion is reported. However, this type of motion detector is not as reliable as PIR sensors because any major change in lighting conditions is considered motion. For example, the light from a car headlight can trigger a report.

Recording function

Some models also offer a recording function. Here, a distinction must be made between photo and video recording. Saving the recordings must also be taken into account.

  • Taking a photo: Being able to take a snapshot of a person can be very useful. The photo can be used as evidence afterwards, e.g. if a stalker or burglar was at the front door.
  • Video recording: The same applies to video recordings, except that they can give an even more detailed account of events and can be better used as evidence.
  • Storage of recordings: If recordings are made, they must also be stored somewhere. This is usually achieved with the help of an SD or microSD card. Digital door viewers with an SD slot usually support 8 - 32 GB of storage space. However, if the digital door viewer is connected to the Wi-Fi, recordings can be saved on the smartphone, PC, tablet, etc.
  • Date function: What can also be very practical is a date function. This always shows the date and time on recordings, whether videos or photos. This makes it easy to see exactly when the recording was made.

Attention should be paid to this: If recordings are made and saved, they must not end up on the internet without further ado. This would violate the data protection of the persons filmed or photographed. You can find more detailed explanations of the legal basis under Guide.

Power supply

Most digital door viewers are battery-operated. Here you must pay attention to the type of battery. Most support AA or AAA batteries.

Some models have rechargeable batteries instead of batteries. This is more practical because there is no need to think about changing batteries, only recharging them. Thus, there is no need to buy new batteries for the change.

On the other hand, rechargeable batteries can also be used. These actually work like a rechargeable battery, only they have to be removed for recharging.

Facts worth knowing about digital door viewers

How do I install a digital peephole myself?

If there is no hole yet, one must be drilled. First of all, pay attention to the material of the door. The drill bit should be adapted to the material. The drill hole should be at eye level, so that the face can be seen on the monitor later. During drilling, the diameter of the hole should be gradually increased. Afterwards, the assembly can be roughly summarised in three steps:

  1. First, the camera must be attached to the outside.
  2. Then the cable must be fed through the hole and connected to the display.
  3. Last but not least, the monitor is attached to the inside of the door.

However, we always advise reading the instruction manual and following the exact steps in it.

How long should the recordings be stored?

If the digital door viewer has a recording function, the memory space will become full from time to time. Therefore, the SD card should be emptied from time to time. The recordings can still be transferred from the SD card to another device before they are deleted from the SD card.

How often the recordings on the SD card need to be deleted depends on the one hand on the storage space and on the other hand on how often recordings are made.

As a rule, recordings do not need to be kept for longer than 7 days. However, if something happens, it is advisable to save the recordings for a longer period of time.

At night, nothing can be seen on the monitor: What to do?

The solution is so simple, it almost seems stupid: a lamp with a motion detector. This illuminates the entrance. This also improves the image on the monitor and makes it easier to recognise faces. Lighting is also useful to see the keyhole better at night.

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If the entrance is illuminated, the camera of the digital door viewer takes better pictures. If the front door is already well lit, night vision is not an absolute must.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Erik Mclean)

Image source: Lonescu/ 123rf.com

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