SwannBuddy Video Doorbell with Siren review: A doorbell camera that thinks security first

It might just be me, but since the pandemic, the little community I have lived in for nearly 45 years has changed. We live a few hours from a major metropolitan area with some of the highest rent and real estate prices in North America. So when the pandemic hit and the concept of working from home became a solid option, it drove a lot of people out of the big city and into the smaller communities in search of lower rent, cheaper housing prices and a slower pace of life. But a dramatic increase in population also increases crime, homelessness and general growing pains for a city experiencing such a big growth in a short period of time.

Since the pandemic we have seen a massive spike in theft of every kind and our home security has been a major concern. Even though we currently own an Arlo 2 Pro security system with wireless doorbell (link to updated Arlo Ultra 2 System), I have been very disappointed with the wireless doorbell. Not only because it did not have a camera, but after only two sets of batteries it completely failed due to a known issue. Netgear’s response was  crickets. This is where Swann’s SwannBuddy video doorbell saves the day. Swann is a company synonymous with home security. With a presence in over 40 countries, the company has built a name that both commercial and home consumers have come to depend on.

It was important to me to consider a video doorbell that prioritized security first. In other words, I wanted a security system that doubled as a video doorbell. There were other product considerations in this category like the Wyze video doorbell with chime or the Ring video doorbell 4, but both of these products were light on standard features and required monthly subscriptions to get the most out of their products. The Swannbuddy video doorbell pleasantly surprised me with a lot of extra features that in other products, would have required a monthly subscription fee for premium services.

For only $189.99 USD, the SwannBuddy comes included with a wireless chime, wired siren and a 32GB SD card ($149.99 USD without the wired siren). Setup was simple. After charging the doorbell with the included charging cable, downloading the Swann Security app and pairing the wireless chime, I screwed the mounting plate next to the front door, slid the doorbell into place and secured it with the small captive screw on the bottom of the device. 

Wired installation can also be accomplished by connecting power to the two wire terminals on the back of the doorbell. Inside, the wireless speaker with its multiple doorbell chimes (two AA batteries are included) is attached to the wall with included adhesive mounting tape. The siren needs to be plugged in, so I found a place in our hallway where I could mount the siren and connect it to power.

Functionality is similar to a lot of video doorbell devices. Through the Swann Security app, I can monitor the camera, communicate back and forth with people at my door and see them fully thanks to the 1080P camera’s 180 degree viewing angle. At night, the camera’s night vision, motion and heat sensors make sure that I’m never in the dark. The Swannbuddy also integrates seamlessly with Swann’s other security products through the Swann security app available for IOS or Android devices and talks to all of your favorite voice assistants.

Since we live on a busy street, false detections caused by passing cars or people walking by on the sidewalk happen frequently. Swann’s app allows for 4 different levels of motion detection to dramatically reduce the amount of false detections. I was also able to create a motion detection mask to mask out the areas I wanted the camera to ignore. It’s worth mentioning that this is a feature on my Arlo system only available by paying monthly for Arlo’s premium service. Lowering the camera’s detection distance and masking out problematic areas helped cut down on false detections but despite this, I did log a lot of false motion detections during a particularly snowy two day period. Another area where Swann’s app scores major points over its competitors is in the scheduling feature. For comparison, on my old Arlo system, in order to schedule the cameras to be armed during the night and switch off in the morning, the camera has to be triggered to come on at 10pm until 11:59 and then a second schedule entry is necessary at 12am until daylight since the app does not allow the schedule to roll over past midnight. Swann’s Security app solves this brilliantly by activating the camera until a new entry in the schedule is created. So by turning the camera on at 10pm, the camera stays active (in that mode) until you create a new entry in the schedule and set it to “day” mode. Problem solved!

It’s also worth noting that you can upgrade the performance of your SwannBuddy to include premium services like people, pet and package alerts, an extended warranty as well as insurance protection for $3.99 USD/monthly. Swann also gives you a free preview trial of this service so that you can determine if it’s for you.

All told, the only thing I would improve on this product is its motion detection. I’m still logging quite a few false detections. But I’m sure Swann will be improving this with newer firmware updates. I’m thrilled with its performance, the features and it’s solid build quality. Rest assured, the SwannBuddy Video doorbell will make a great addition to your home security system and its competitive price make it a solid buy among the other available options.

Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.