Note: Google has discontinued Nest Secure. So we recommend checking out our list of the best home security systems to explore your options.
When it comes to security systems, you don’t want to jump at the first one you see. The reason is simple: it’s your home and family that you’re trying to protect, and you do not want to settle for less than the best.
Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult to find a security system that fits your budget, lifestyle, and makes sense for your home. You just have to be honest about what you want your security system to do and how much you’re willing to spend.
With this in mind, we set out to compare two top brand names in the home security industry: Ring and Nest. Let’s jump in to find out which one makes sense for your situation.
Similarities Between Ring and Nest Security Systems
First things first! Let’s have a look at the overlapping features and tech. You’ll see that both Ring and Nest deliver some decent technology. But note that Ring offers both cameras and a home alarm kit, while Nest only sells cameras (the Nest Secure alarm has recently been discontinued). So if you’re looking for whole home protection, Ring is the way to go. But if you just want security cameras, Nest has some of the best.
Here’s a breakdown of the features that Ring and Nest security systems have in common.
Home Automation Options
One similarity between Nest and Ring is that they both connect to home automation systems. Automation systems allow you to monitor and control your security system and other smart devices remotely from your mobile device. This technology makes it easy to check in on the status of your home as well as control your system while you’re away.
FYI: The Google-owned Nest security cameras connect to the Google Home platform, while the Amazon-owned Ring Alarm works seamlessly with Amazon Alexa (go figure!). Also, Ring runs on the Z-Wave protocol and can connect to hundreds of third-party smart devices. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.
System Expansion and Add-Ons
Both Ring and Nest systems have many additional products you can choose from. For instance, you can purchase products such as doorbell cameras or smart thermostats from either company. This is important if you feel that you’ll ever want to upgrade or expand your system. This means that you’ll have plenty of home automation options to choose from as well. That said, Ring takes the slight edge when it comes to expansion and upgrades.
Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
You will have no trouble finding cameras and equipment that can be used indoors and outdoors from both brands. Want a basic indoor camera? Check out our Ring Indoor Cam review. Looking for something with cutting-edge features that can withstand the elements (and don’t mind paying for it)? Then check out the Nest Cam IQ lineup. Protecting the outside of your home is just as important as protecting the inside, so thankfully both brands offer camera equipment that will keep you covered.
Since there’s strong market competition for both the Nest and Ring security systems, you will find that both systems are relatively affordable and fairly priced. The price of home security systems can be outrageous if you are not looking at the right products or systems. Security systems that require hardwiring and professional installation are especially expensive. In our opinion, you should never have to go into debt for the sake of home security. With that said, you might find Ring to be more affordable than Nest due to their wider range of products to choose from.
Differences in Nest and Ring Systems
Although the list of similarities is quite long, there are a few important differences between Ring and Nest that you’ll want to consider before buying. Here’s what we found while testing the two systems:
Ring and Nest used to both offer 24/7 monitoring services, but ever since Nest discontinued their home alarm kit, they no longer offer monitoring. So if you want around-the-clock intrusion and environmental (smoke, fire, flood) monitoring from the pro’s, then Ring is your best bet. Also, at only $10 per month, the Ring Protect Plus plan is one of the cheapest monitoring fees we’ve seen. You can also get cloud storage with 60 days of video history for only $3 monthly.
The Flexibility of Nest
Google is known for tech and integration, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to integration and tech-forward features, Google Nest takes the cake. That said, since Ring runs on Z-Wave, you’ll have a whole world of integrations at your fingertips (we’re talking smart lights, smart locks, thermostats, garage openers, you name it). Overall, though, we like what Nest offers when it comes to flexibility.
More Product Options with Ring
Ring offers many different types of products. You can pick your favorite cameras, lights, alarm kit, sensors, etc. You can even purchase Ring products with solar-power capabilities that don’t rely on batteries or hard-wired electricity. This means that Ring has the potential to be fully customized to fit your exact needs and preferences. We’d like to say that Nest has a growing lineup of products — but it seems like they’re paring down the options if anything. They recently discontinued their Nest Secure home alarm kit! So Ring gets our vote here.
Ring Systems Are Installed in a Snap
Although each company has a couple of products that might require professional installation, for the most part, both systems can be installed easily and without professional help at all. Ring systems, however, were designed with user-friendliness in mind. Now, if easy installation is important to you, you’ll want to read our roundup of the best DIY home security systems.
Did You Know: The Ring Alarm system, Ring cameras, and Nest cameras are all DIY products (for the most part). This means they’re easy to install on your own, and you won’t have to pay for professional installation. Both brands do well here, though Ring is a little easier all around.
The last major difference that you might want to consider is how well each system could be used in an apartment vs. a house. If you are looking to use your security system in an apartment, you should consider using Ring. We’ve found Ring to be slightly more conducive to apartment use because of the camera’s user-friendliness, size, and overall design. If you live in an apartment, we recommend checking out our rundown of the best security systems for apartments.
Camera Options & Prices
The cameras are the meat and potatoes of your new security system. So let’s have a look at the different camera options offered by each company.
- Nest Cam: The Nest Cam can be purchased for use indoors or outdoors. Even though it is the base model for the company’s cameras, it captures 1080p HD video, streams live 24/7, and the indoor model plugs into the wall for more reliable power. The Nest Cam Indoor costs $129, while the Outdoor model runs $199. This is a bit on the pricey side, we must say.
- Nest Cam IQ: Available as indoor or outdoor models. This camera is like the basic Nest Cam but it incorporates Google Assistant, has a six-core processor, and has more high-tech features like AI-powered facial recognition (seriously). The Nest Cam IQs are Nest Aware compatible as well. Expect to pay $299 to $399 for the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor cameras respectively (expensive, but worth it!). To learn more, we recommend reading our full review of Nest Cam.
- Indoor Cam: This is the most basic option that Ring offers. This camera is intended for indoor use, plugs into the wall, has motion-activated notifications, and has excellent night vision capabilities. The video quality from this camera is exceptional considering it is the base model and is relatively inexpensive. All in all, it’s not bad for an indoor cam at $60. In fact, you’ll find in our Ring pricing guide that their camera costs are reasonable pretty much all around.
- Stick Up Cam: A step up from the indoor cam, this camera is wireless, has three power options, and can be used in indoor or outdoor situations. It also has sticky-mount options (hence the name) and is extremely easy to install. This easy-to-use camera is perfect for rooms that are subject to changing functions because it is so easily mounted and moved. $79 is the price for entry here. See our hands-on review of Stick Up Cam to learn more.
- Spotlight Cam: Equipped with LED spotlights that are motion-activated, this camera is perfect for use outside. It can handle the elements, streams and records 1080p HD video, and has four power options. 1080p HD video quality recordings ensure that you see everything that is going on without having to guess just what exactly you are looking at on the screen. $149 gets you a Spotlight Cam. We did a deep-dive Spotlight Cam review for good measure.
- Floodlight Cam: This camera is like the spotlight camera, but it can only be hardwired and it has a siren built-in. The LED lights are a bit more powerful, too. Having a motion-sensor floodlight can be a great deterrent for criminals and animals alike. At $249, you get plenty of bang for your buck. To read about our experience with this impressive camera, check out our full Ring Floodlight Cam review.
FYI: Although we really enjoyed using the Ring Floodlight Cam, it’s important to mention that the installation is quite involved (it’s a hardwire installation opposed to wireless). Thankfully, Ring partners with a company called OnTech for installation help. You’ll have to pay for it, but sometimes professional installation is the way to go.
Ring vs Nest: How to Choose?
The main question you must ask yourself is, “What do I expect from my home security system?” If you expect the most technologically-advanced equipment and integration, we think you will really benefit from Nest. However, if you live in an apartment or want something easy to set up, easy to use, and full of functionality, then Ring is the better option.
After having used both camera systems, we have to say that Ring is slightly better all-around. While Ring Cams might not offer native AI capabilities like Nest, they still stream and record in 1080p HD resolution, and offer lots of great features like two-way talk, night vision, and app-based controls. Also, with Ring you’ll be able to integrate your cameras into the Ring Alarm kit, something that Nest no longer offers.
But honestly, it’s a race to the top. That is, both brands are doing some amazing things and innovating some superb products. So you won’t be disappointed either way. With that said, hopefully this comparison of Nest vs. Ring home security systems has helped you choose which surveillance system is right for you.