Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd Gen) vs. Nest Doorbell (battery): All about that power

Traditional doorbells have one purpose, to let you know someone is at your door when the button is pressed. But if you want to know who is there before you answer the door or know if someone's there when you aren't, that old doorbell won't help. Video doorbells also offer features like motion detection, two-way communication, and more. Which can make you wonder why you have stuck with that traditional hardware for so long. Google now has two options to replace that old method, Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen) and Nest Doorbell (battery). They are very similar, but one may serve you better than the other.

Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd Gen) vs. Nest Doorbell (battery): Tough call

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Nest Video Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

When it comes to deciding between these two video doorbells, it's hard to do so because they are so similar. The Nest Doorbell (battery) dropped in August 2021, bringing a whole new look and new features. 

Starting with the design, Google did away with the two-tone black and white style that had been on the previous Nest Hello, and many of the other excellent video doorbell options on the market in favor of a single-colored device with small accents. A standard white is on the list of color choices, called Snow, as are Linen, Ivy, and Ash. 

All of Google's current models of Nest Doorbells come in the same design aesthetic and colors, allowing for better matching to the owner's home exterior.

Looking at the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen), without close inspection and perhaps a ruler, you'd be hard-pressed to decipher whether it is the battery-powered model. The newest video doorbell from Google matches the design aesthetic of its wireless sibling for a cohesive style across the lineup.

I say you'd need a ruler because, due to the space requirements of the battery, the Nest Doorbell (battery) is slightly taller and wider but weighs about two-and-a-half ounces more. Not a significant amount, but something to be aware of depending on your home.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd Gen)Nest Doorbell (battery)
Doorbell Dimensions5.2 x 1.7 x 1.1 in. (42 x 28 x 131 mm)6.3 x 1.8 x .95 in (160 x 46 x 24.1 mm)
Weight4.9 oz7.3 oz
ColorsSnow, Ash, Linen, IvySnow, Ash, Linen, Ivy
Connectivity2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Wireless SecurityWEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3 encryption supportedWEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3 encryption supported
Expandable storage🚫🚫
Two-way communication✔️✔️
Speaker✔️✔️
Camera resolutionHD, 960x1280 pixels 3:4 aspect ratio, up to 30 FPS, HDR, 1/3-inch 1.3-megapixel color sensor, 6x digital zoomHD, 960x1280 pixels 3:4 aspect ratio, up to 30 FPS, HDR, 1/3-inch 1.3-megapixel color sensor, 6x digital zoom
Viewing area145° diagonal145° diagonal
Night vision10 850 nm IR LED up to 10 ft10 850 nm IR LED up to 10 ft
Smart featuresSmart intelligence detection for: person, package, vehicle, animal, familiar faces (paid feature)Smart intelligence detection for: person, package, vehicle, animal, familiar faces (paid feature)
WeatherproofIP54IP54
PowerHardwired (16V AC ~ 24V AC, 10 VA Minimum, 50/60Hz)Rechargeable battery, Hardwired (10V AC ~ 24V AC, 10 VA Minimum, 50/60Hz)
Wireless chime🚫🚫

When we move beyond the surface of these video doorbells, it's clear that the rest of these devices are the same. Video resolution, field of view, night vision, communications, status lights, and more are all the same. So, what is the deciding factor if there are so many similar features? Well, it comes down to power and feature availability.

Although the new Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen) must be hardwired to your home in order to work, during our review of the device, we found the process to be relatively straightforward. But, as easy as Google tries to make it, installing a battery-powered device like the Nest Doorbell (battery) will always be easier. But there's a price to be paid for that ease.

Which Nest Doorbell is best comes down to what features are most important to you and if your home has hardwiring available.

Right off the bat, if you go with the battery-powered Nest Doorbell, you'll need to keep an eye on the charge level of the battery. Depending on how many events are being detected, the battery could last from 1 to 6 months before needing to be recharged. But because the Nest Doorbell (battery) isn't dependent on external power, should there be an electrical outage, it will continue recording. Whereas the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen) can continue recording for up to one hour should the Wi-Fi go out, but will do nothing if the power does.

This dependency on battery power also comes with a limitation of recording. Both video doorbells offer a three-hour history of recorded events. But only the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen) can offer 24/7 continuous video recording because of the constant power available. This feature would drain the battery too quickly for the non-wired model. Even though you can hardwire the Nest Doorbell (battery) if you want, the 24/7 recording will still not be available.

Nest Doorbell (battery)

(Image credit: Google)

However, to utilize the continuous recording feature of the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen), you'll need to pay for the Nest Aware Plus subscription for $12/mo. This subscription also nets you 60-days of event history for both the wired and battery-powered video doorbells. If you opt for the basic subscription of $6/mo, you'll miss out on the continuous recording with the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen). Still, you'll gain 30-days of event history, Familiar Face, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide, and glass-breaking detections.

If you stick with the free plan for either video doorbell, you'll miss out on some of the more advanced features. But you'll still have the 3-hour event history, activity zones, and motion, person, animal, and vehicle detection available.

Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd Gen) vs. Nest Doorbell (battery): Which should you buy?

Nest Video Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Each of these video doorbells from Google is fantastic. They both have so many similarities that deciding depends on what features you value most and whether your home has wiring available. 

If you can hard wire the Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen), you'll have more features available due to the constant power. Primarily access to 24/7 continuous recording. But should your home lose power, the doorbell won't record anything. So if you want to ensure that your video doorbell is always active, then perhaps the Nest Doorbell (battery) is better for you.

But remember that you'll need to recharge the battery, and you won't be able to have continuous recording no matter what Nest Aware subscription you go with. Regardless of which option you go with, you'll have one of the best video doorbells and some truly impressive smart features to go with it.

Chris Wedel
Senior Editor - Smart Home
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.