Arlo vs Nest Doorbell — Which One Is Better?

by Joel Manansala

A video doorbell is an effective way to keep tabs on all the activity happening at your front door, especially when you're not at home. It allows you to view live feed so you can see who’s at your front door. Also, it records video whenever someone comes within its range. 

However, with manufacturers launching video doorbells more powerful than the next, choosing the best one can be a bit challenging. But it mainly depends on what you're looking for – do you want high-quality video and advanced features, or are you looking for a budget-friendly option?

Whatever your criteria, when choosing a smart video doorbell for your needs, it is essential you understand how the top ones differ from each other in both features and functionality.

In this article, we will compare two of the most popular brands - Google Nest andArlo. Both manufacturers offer battery-powered video doorbells with similar features, which make them direct competitors in the smart doorbell market.

Design & Main Features

When it comes to smart video doorbells, how they appear and what they offer in terms of features are essential considerations. In this section, we'll compare the brands' best-selling devices - the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) and the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell. We'll discuss their physical design, video quality, smart features, and all the other things they can do at your front door.

Design & Style

Image courtesy of Google

Google Nest and Arlo offer distinct design choices that cater to different preferences and exterior design styles. The Nest doorbell features a sleek and modern design, with a slim profile and a choice of colors to blend seamlessly with various architectural styles. On the other hand, Arlo's Essential Video Doorbell boasts a more robust, utilitarian design, which may appeal to those seeking a sturdier appearance.

Image courtesy of Arlo

In terms of size, the Nest Doorbell (Battery) is significantly longer and thinner than the Arlo Essential Wireless doorbell. While Nest provides color options in matte finish to match your preference, Arlo sticks to a more classic white colorway with a shiny finish. Both battery-powered video doorbells are compact and designed for easy installation, but the choice of design ultimately depends on your personal taste and home's aesthetic.

Video Quality

The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) offers impressive video quality with a 1.3-megapixel camera that delivers a resolution of 960 x 1280 at 30 frames per second (FPS). This results in high-definition video that is clear and detailed, making it easy to identify people and objects. The inclusion of High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology enhances the quality of images, ensuring they are well-exposed and vibrant.

Meanwhile, the Arlo Essential Wireless video doorbell offers a maximum resolution of 1536x1536. It supports multiple video modes, including 1536x1536, 1080x1080, 720x720, and a 1:1 aspect ratio. Additionally, it incorporates High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology for improved video quality and clarity. The doorbell also supports SIP video call functionality when the doorbell is pushed.

Verdict: Both devices offer impressive video quality, supporting HDR technology for enhanced image quality. However, Arlo's doorbell wins this round as it has a higher resolution than the Nest Doorbell.

Field of View

A wide field of view is crucial for capturing the entire scene in front of your door. The Google Nest Doorbell boasts an impressive 145° diagonal (super wide-angle) field of view, ensuring you can see anyone standing at your front door from head to toe.

Arlo's Essential Video Doorbell, on the other hand, offers a remarkable 180-degree diagonal field of view. This wider field of view ensures comprehensive coverage of your front door area, capturing more of the surroundings and potentially providing a broader perspective on events taking place near your entrance.

Image courtesy of LifeHackster on YouTube

Verdict: The Arlo Essential Doorbell takes the lead in this category with its wider coverage.

Night Vision Capability

Night vision is a critical feature of a video doorbell, as it ensures 24/7 monitoring and security. The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) employs infrared LEDs and IR cut filters to provide exceptional night vision. This technology allows you to see clearly in low-light conditions, and the black-and-white footage remains detailed and well-illuminated throughout the night. Color night vision, however, is not available on this model.

Arlo's Essential Video Doorbell excels in night vision capabilities as well, featuring high-powered infrared LEDs (850nm) with an IR Cut Filter. This setup ensures that the camera can capture clear and detailed footage during nighttime hours, allowing you to monitor your front door effectively, even in complete darkness.

Image courtesy of LifeHackster on YouTube

Verdict: While both devices have identical infrared night vision, the Arlo Essential's higher video resolution gives it the win in this round.

Motion Detection

Image courtesy of Tech Advisor

The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) is equipped with Passive Infrared (PIR) motion and proximity sensors that can detect any motion around your front door. What sets Nest apart is its utilization of artificial intelligence to distinguish between various types of motion, such as people, packages, animals, and vehicles. It sends customized alerts directly to your smartphone, providing specific notifications like "animal seen," "parcel delivered," or "person seen," allowing you to stay informed without being overwhelmed.

Image courtesy of Arlo

On the other hand, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell employs a single motion sensor with a 110-degree horizontal field of detection. This sensor is designed to detect motion within its specified range, and it triggers alerts to notify you of activity at your front door. However, compared to Nest's advanced motion detection capabilities, Arlo's single-sensor approach may offer a more simplified detection system.

Verdict: Google Nest Doorbell (battery) maintains an advantage in motion detection thanks to its AI-powered capabilities and ability to differentiate between different types of motion.

Facial Recognition Technology

The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell, with an Arlo Secure Plan, offers advanced Object Detection capabilities. This means the doorbell can distinguish between different objects, such as a person, package, vehicle, or animal. When an object is detected, you'll receive relevant notifications, allowing you to stay informed about specific events at your front door. Find out more details about the Arlo subscription options.

On the other hand, the Google Nest Doorbell takes facial recognition a step further with its Nest Aware subscription. With Nest Aware, the Nest Doorbell can provide intelligent alerts that not only detect the presence of a person but also identify familiar faces. This means you'll receive notifications with specific names, like "John is at the door," making it easier to identify visitors. Nest Aware also includes package alerts, notifying you whenever a delivery is within view of your Nest Doorbell.

Verdict: Google Nest Doorbell (with Nest Aware subscription) offers more advanced facial recognition capabilities, including specific notifications for familiar faces, package alerts, and differentiation between animals and vehicles.

Live Feed and Video Recording

Image courtesy of Google

The Google Nest Doorbell (battery) comes with a complimentary 3 hours of event video history, allowing you to review recent recordings directly by connecting the doorbell to Google Home. This means that when the doorbell detects motion or someone presses the doorbell button, the video is recorded and stored for up to 3 hours. Additionally, the Nest Doorbell has a fail-safe feature that ensures recording for up to one hour even if the Wi-Fi connection is lost, providing continuous coverage. With a Nest Aware subscription, you can get 30 days of event video history, along with other valuable features such as Advanced Object and Package Detection, cloud-based activity zones, Intelligent Alerts, and e911 calling for added security.

In contrast, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell focuses on cloud-based video recording. When motion is detected or the doorbell button is pressed, Arlo records video and stores it in the cloud. However, Arlo does not provide local storage options or the ability to capture pre-roll video before an event. To access recorded video, users are required to subscribe to an Arlo Secure plan, which starts at $4.99 per month. This plan offers rolling 30 days of video history and 2K recording for a single camera, along with features like Advanced Object and Package Detection, cloud-based activity zones, Intelligent Alerts, and Emergency Response.

Verdict: The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) wins this round with its free cloud storage option.

Two-Way Audio Feature

Image courtesy of Made by Google on YouTube

The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) is equipped with a high-quality speaker and microphone. It offers two-way audio with noise-cancellation technology. This ensures that audio communication is clear and free from background noise or interference, providing a high-quality conversation experience.

Meanwhile, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell features a single microphone array. It offers full-duplex two-way audio, allowing for clear and simultaneous communication between you and visitors at your front door. The doorbell also supports SIP audio/video calls initiated when the doorbell is pressed, facilitating real-time communication. Additionally, it provides the convenience of quick reply messages.

Verdict: The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) stands out as the winner in this category due to its high-quality speaker and microphone, along with noise cancellation technology.

Cloud Storage Capacity

Image courtesy of Smart Home Solver on YouTube

The Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) offers a complimentary 3-hour video history storage on the cloud for free. This means that it captures and stores video clips of activity within the past 3 hours, allowing you to review recent events. For users who require a more extensive video history, Nest offers subscription-based cloud storage options through Nest Aware. With a Nest Aware subscription, you can access and store event video history for up to 30 days. If you opt for Nest Aware Plus, this extends to a substantial 60-day event video history. The basic subscription plan starts at $8/month.

Meanwhile, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell relies on a subscription-based cloud storage model for video storage. Unlike the Nest Doorbell, it does not offer any free cloud storage or a local storage option. To access cloud storage with Arlo, you need an Arlo Secure subscription. Arlo Secure provides cloud storage for recorded video clips, with the option to store video footage for up to 30 days. Arlo Secure starts at $4.99/month for a single camera.

Verdict: The Google Nest Doorbell, with Nest Aware, wins this round. While $3 more expensive than an Arlo Secure plan, Nest Aware offers more advanced features that make it a value for money.


The Nest Doorbell (battery) is equipped with a 6000 mAh built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery life varies depending on the level of activity at your front door. For homes with frequent visitors and approximately 25-30 recorded events per day, the battery can last around a month before requiring recharging. In cases of lower activity, such as 2-4 events per day, the battery can last between six and seven months. You can also check our full comparison of the Nest doorbell wired vs. battery for more details.

The Arlo Essential wireless doorbell features a removable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 6500 mAh. Its battery typically lasts for six months, depending on activity. This translates to 4000 seconds of motion streaming per month, a daily 30-second two-way call, and a day/night event split of 2:1.

Verdict: The Arlo Essential Wire-Free Doorbell wins with its removable battery, which means you can have a spare battery ready for replacement to avoid any downtime.

Pricing and Free Features

In terms of pricing, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell is available at a lower retail price of $99.99, making it a more budget-friendly option for those looking to save on the initial purchase cost. However, it's important to note that Arlo's cloud storage subscription, Arlo Secure, starts at $4.99 per month for a single camera.

On the other hand, the battery-powered video doorbell by Nest has a higher retail price of $179.99. Its subscription plan, Nest Aware, starts at $8 per month. While the Nest doorbell comes with a higher upfront cost, it provides more extensive cloud storage options, including the availability of a complimentary 3-hour video history storage for recent events.

Ultimately, the choice between the two battery-powered video doorbells may depend on your budget and how you prioritize the initial cost versus ongoing subscription expenses, as well as the specific features and benefits that align with your home security needs.

Smart Home Integration Options

Both the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell and the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) offer compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings, providing you with a range of options for integrating them into your smart home ecosystems.

The Arlo Essential Video Doorbell offers extra compatibility with IFTTT (If This Then That), further enhancing its ability to work with a variety of smart devices and automation scenarios.

Arlo App (for Arlo Essential Video Doorbell): The Arlo App is designed to provide comprehensive control and management of your Arlo Essential Video Doorbell and other Arlo security devices. Here's what you can do with the Arlo App:

  1. Live Viewing: You can access a live feed from your Arlo Essential Video Doorbell, allowing you to see and hear what's happening at your front door in real-time. This is useful for monitoring visitors or package deliveries.

  2. Event History: The app stores a history of recorded events triggered by motion detection or doorbell button presses. You can review these events to see who approached your door and when.

  3. Custom Alerts: Customize notifications to receive alerts based on specific criteria, such as motion detection. This ensures that you're alerted to events that matter most to you.

  4. Two-Way Audio: Use the app to engage in two-way audio communication with visitors or delivery personnel at your front door.

  5. Integration: The Arlo App integrates with various smart home platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT, allowing you to control your Arlo devices through these voice assistants and services.

Google Home App (for Google Nest Doorbell - Battery): The Google Home App serves as the central hub for managing your Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) and other Google Nest devices. Here's what you can do with the Google Home App:

  1. Live Viewing: Access a live video feed from your Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) to see and hear what's happening at your front door in real-time.

  2. Event History: Review a history of recorded events, such as motion-triggered recordings or doorbell button presses, to stay informed about activity at your doorstep.

  3. Custom Notifications: Customize notifications to receive alerts based on specific events or criteria, ensuring that you're notified of relevant activity.

  4. Two-Way Audio: Engage in two-way audio communication with visitors at your front door through the app.

  5. Integration: The Google Home App integrates seamlessly with Google Assistant, allowing you to control your Google Nest Doorbell and other smart home devices using voice commands. It also supports integration with Amazon Alexa and SmartThings.

Full Comparison: Nest Doorbell (Battery) vs Arlo Essential Video Doorbell

To provide a comprehensive overview and facilitate an easy comparison, the following table summarizes the key features and capabilities of the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) and the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell:

Final Verdict

When comparing the Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) and the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell, both devices offer impressive features for enhancing home security, but they shine in different areas. So, deciding on the best smart video doorbell will be up to your preferences.

The Google Nest Doorbell boasts a sleek design and provides high-quality video with HDR support, making it easy to identify people and objects. It excels in motion detection, using AI to distinguish between various types of motion, and offers advanced facial recognition with Nest Aware, including notifications for familiar faces and package alerts. Additionally, it provides a complimentary 3-hour video history for free.

On the other hand, the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell features a wider field of view, excellent night vision capabilities, and a more budget-friendly initial cost. It offers robust integration options, including IFTTT support, and allows for longer battery life with its removable battery. However, Arlo relies on a subscription-based cloud storage model.

Ultimately, your choice between the two video doorbells should align with your priorities, whether it's advanced features and extensive cloud storage (Google Nest) or affordability and specific hardware capabilities (Arlo).

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