As you probably know, Ring is a top contender in the doorbell camera arena. Our experts have been testing Ring doorbells since they hit the market a few years back. And we typically like what we see, though not always. During our latest round of testing, we got our hands on several of Ring’s video doorbell cameras to see how they measure up against the competition. With affordable monthly plans, no contracts to sign, and a decent feature set, let’s see how Ring performed during our comprehensive, hands-on analysis.
|Ring Video Doorbell Models||Price|
|Ring Video Doorbell||$99|
|Ring Video Doorbell 2||$199|
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro||$249|
|Ring Video Doorbell Elite||$499|
|Ring Peephole Cam||$199|
|Ring Monthly Subscription Plans||Price|
|Ring Basic||$3 per month|
|Ring Protect Plus||$10 per month|
Our experts have been interested in Ring products ever since they first hit the shelves. Back in 2016, Ring had pretty much cornered the market on video doorbells.1 But over time, we watched them expand their offerings to complete home security. Today, we see similar technology across all of Ring’s systems and services. With Ring, it’s not about how high-tech their products are. We found that it’s more about how user-friendly their solutions can be for everyday users.
So we researched and assessed Ring doorbells from every angle. One thing we like about these devices is that there is no monthly subscription required. However, we did opt for their low-cost premium plan to get Ring’s added features, but we’ll dive into that in just a bit. The equipment price is also fair, starting at $99 for the base model. Also, Ring doorbells can be accessed and controlled using your smartphone and other mobile devices, which is a nice feature that we use frequently.
Pro Tip: We recommend purchasing a video doorbell that you can manage on the go using the included iOS or Android app.
Of course, we find weaknesses with every product we analyze — and Ring was no exception. We’ll discuss the disadvantages of choosing this product, but don’t worry, there weren’t any deal-breakers. We are experts, and we know what to look for in terms of features, technology, build, and value. We always identify the options that are actually worth the money. So we had Ring’s latest doorbells shipped our way. In no time, we had them installed and ready for use. Here’s what we found.
Instant alerts are always great to have. When a visitor came to our door, they tripped Ring’s built-in motion sensor, which sent an instant alert to our cell phone. We also received alerts when someone pressed our Ring doorbell. Within Ring’s app, we were able to view a live feed to see who was at our door. Thankfully, most new doorbell cams include these features.
Depending on the Ring doorbell you choose, the two-way talk feature ranges from “just OK” to “very helpful.” We tested it on all Ring devices, and the audio is actually quite good in the Ring Doorbell 2, Pro, and Elite devices. It was not as good in the standard Ring doorbell. This two-way talk feature allowed us to greet our guests, and during a simulated break-in, we were able to scare off the would-be intruder. Essentially, this feature will enable you to answer your door from pretty much anywhere.
False alarms can cost you time, money, and unwanted anxiety. In analyzing Ring’s doorbells, we found that even the base model Ring Video Doorbell comes with custom motion sensitivity. The Ring Video Doorbell and the Doorbell 2 both featured three selectable motion zones, while the Elite and Pro models gave us fully customizable motion detection zones. Ring surpasses the competition in this category.
We always look for infrared night vision in the doorbell cams. Thankfully, Ring offers this feature on all of their devices. We experienced a clear picture, day or night. But we must say, the picture on the Ring Video Doorbell (base model $99) was a bit grainy at night. Here’s why: this particular device has a 720p HD resolution, while other Ring devices feature 1080p HD resolution.2 Overall, our testing revealed that Ring’s night vision works well.
Ring video doorbells come in several connection types. These include a battery (wireless), hardwired, and even a solar connection. So Ring offered us flexibility in this respect, which we appreciated. If we were renting our home, we could have easily installed the wireless version, with permission from our landlord, of course.3 However, we found that the hardwired options weren’t too invasive and were fairly easy to install. That said, if you don’t enjoy DIY projects, you may want to steer clear of the hardwired devices.
We’ve always liked Ring’s neighborhood watch feature. It’s aptly called “Neighbors,” and it allows Ring users to keep a finger on the pulse of crime in their neighborhood.4 If you see something suspicious, you can share it with others in the Ring network via video sharing. We’ve found that criminals often case neighborhoods for multiple targets, so this feature can keep your whole community prepared.5
We’ve also found that many security companies only send alerts to mobile devices. But Ring also sends notifications to Windows 10 and Mac computers, giving us timely alerts and access to our video doorbell from almost any device. This feature is nice, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking. After all, most users have smartphones, and we imagine that most folks would rather manage their system using their cell phones anyway.
Pretty much all video doorbells that have a mobile app can create an event history timeline. But it’s still worth mentioning. With event history, we were able to review all recorded events right in the Ring app. Scrolling back in time, we could see our visitors coming and going, allowing us to detect suspicious activity and take necessary action immediately.
Our home security experts looked at the following Ring Doorbells: Ring Video Doorbell, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Video Doorbell Elite, and Ring Peephole Cam. Here’s what we found:
The Ring Video Doorbell is Ring’s namesake device. In testing this smart doorbell, we were able to view visitors who came to our door. This doorbell has built-in motion sensors and infrared night vision. When we wanted to check in on our entryway, we logged into the Ring app to access the live view feature. This weather-resistant doorbell also comes with two-way talk. However, it only has 720p HD image quality, which resulted in grainy images during night testing. Installation was quick, as we had the option to go wireless or hardwire it to our existing doorbell. We went wireless. At only $99, it’s still Ring’s cheapest doorbell and an affordable option for many people.
Pro Tip: Set the Ring motion detector to pick up the widest possible view of your entryway, as the doorbell itself also sends alerts when pressed.
Next up, the Ring Video Doorbell 2, which costs $199. This doorbell came with a quick-release rechargeable battery pack, two faceplates, and it had a durable build. We really liked the improved 1080p HD video quality, which now comes standard on most video doorbells and security cameras.6 The Ring Video Doorbell 2 also gave us the option to hardwire it to our existing doorbell, but we chose the battery-powered wireless option here as well. Compared to the base model, we think the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is worth the extra money for the enhanced resolution and quick-release battery pack.
We then analyzed the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which costs $249. For this price, we were looking for a feature-rich doorbell camera. But the only benefits the Pro had over the Doorbell 2 model were customizable motion zones and a more streamlined design with customizable faceplates. Otherwise, you still get 1080p HD image quality, instant alerts, and almost everything that the lower-tier model includes. Also, the Doorbell Pro requires professional installation, or at least advanced DIY skills, as it requires you to hardwire it into your existing doorbell. It’s a great video doorbell, but we feel that it doesn’t include enough extra features to justify the price difference.
We also got our hands on Ring’s professional-grade Video Doorbell Elite, which runs $499. Yes, you heard that right, $499 for a doorbell camera. It’s not cheap, but this doorbell cam did have the best aesthetic during testing, with a flush-mounted design for a seamless look. It runs on a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection, so we didn’t need to rely on our Wi-Fi to access live video streaming and other features. The ethernet capability is what really sets this device apart. But again, for $499, it’s out of reach for many consumers. If it fits within your budget, it’s definitely worth a closer look.
Last but not least, the Ring Peephole Cam costs $199. It came with a 1080p HD door view cam, rechargeable battery pack, and it was pretty easy to install like Ring’s other options. It’s not a traditional doorbell camera, but it still offered us instant alerts and two-way talk from our smartphones. However, we did experience some image distortion, which can become particularly apparent if you have a two-door entrance. So if we’re spending $200 to secure our entryway, we prefer the Ring Video Doorbell 2 over the Peephole Cam.
We typically recommend purchasing a security system that allows for DIY self-monitoring using your smartphone. You may still opt for a professional monitoring subscription, but at least you’ll have the choice. Thankfully, Ring offers free self-monitoring and cheap professional monitoring. We looked at both, and depending on your situation, either will work fine. However, with self-monitoring, your device won’t automatically connect to emergency dispatchers during an emergency. So it’s important to keep that in mind.
With that said, Ring has two paid plan options that we discuss below. And here’s the nice thing: if you’re only looking to install a Ring doorbell camera, then Ring’s basic plan will keep you covered for just $3 per month.
|Ring Protect Plan||Number of Cameras||Monthly Plan Cost||Annual Plan Cost|
The Ring Protect Basic plan gave us 60 days of storage for our Ring videos, the ability to review videos even when we missed the alert, and video sharing functionality. This plan costs $3 per month (or $30 per year), but remember, this price is per Ring device. If you have other Ring cameras that you want to have professionally monitored, you will want to go with the Ring Protect Plus plan.
The Ring Protect Plus plan covers unlimited devices. Of course, we set up several Ring products around our home, and we got busy assessing Ring Protect Plus. For only $10 per month (or $100 per year), this plan did the job for a low monthly fee. It gave us all of the features of the Protect Basic plan, along with a 10 percent discount on Ring hardware, and an extended warranty. Not bad.
Ring also offers a free 30-day trial to test out their services. And it’s worth mentioning that plans automatically renew. You might find that you prefer self-monitoring for free, rather than having to pay $3 or $10 per month for a paid plan. So this free trial is certainly worth taking.
Overall, Ring has some of the lowest monitoring prices in the industry. But it’s easy to get carried away by purchasing several Ring devices, which can add up quickly in cost. All of Ring’s equipment requires upfront payment. However, if you’re willing to take a DIY approach with installation, and you don’t mind the lack of home automation features, then Ring is definitely a contender.
Ring doorbells and security systems are definitely easy to set up and easy to use. We had our video doorbells installed in about 20 minutes, from start to finish. If you opt for the hardwired devices, you might want to consider professional installation. This assistance will ensure that everything is correctly connected to your existing doorbell wiring. And it will help you avoid even the chance for frustration and headaches.
Did You Know: Most doorbell cameras include easy installation and setup with guided mobile app instructions. We highly recommend using them.
As far as managing the system goes, we found the Ring app to be relatively straightforward and streamlined. It doesn’t have the same appeal and feature set as, say, Vivint’s award-winning mobile app. But it did offer a simple interface, allowing us to move seamlessly between our Ring devices, access stored videos, watch live cameras, and communicate with two-way talk. All things considered, we found Ring video doorbells very easy to use.
Customer service is vital when shopping for a doorbell camera, or any home security system for that matter. So our team looked at Ring’s customer service in an attempt to identify any weaknesses. But the company makes the grade in this category. An extensive self-service section on the Ring website was our first stop for customer service. Ring also offers phone and live chat support, if needed. Each time we spoke with a Ring rep, they were friendly and helpful. Even though Ring isn’t known for offering outstanding service, they do have plenty of resources for customers who need a little extra help.
Ring also offers a premium support service for $39.95, called Ring Assist Plus. We haven’t tested this, but we’ve heard good things about it. The company bills it as “your very own dedicated support team that’s committed to helping you get the most out of your home security.” With Ring Assist Plus, you get VIP phone support, access to their top-tier agents, a two-year extended warranty, and lifetime free part replacement. The last two benefits apply to all Ring devices that you purchase, which we think is a pretty good deal.
In our latest round with Ring, we found a range of accessories to go along with their video doorbells and security cameras. Here are your options for upgrades, add-ons, and accessories:
Ring also offers traditional security cameras to add to your home security configuration. They feature custom motion sensors, robust motion-sensing technology, and multiple power options to fit your requirements.
The Spotlight Cam Battery costs $199 for 1, $348 for 2, $479 for 3, or $599 for 4. It records in 1080p, has LED spotlights, uses a rechargeable battery for power, and comes equipped with a 110-decibel siren. Since it’s completely wireless, you can install it nearly anywhere on your property.
Protect every corner of your home with Spotlight Cam Battery, a versatile wire-free HD security camera that lets you see, hear, and speak to anyone on your property from your phone, tablet, and PC. If you prefer a hardwired version, the Spotlight Cam Wired has the same design and features at the same price.
Prefer solar power? The Spotlight Cam Solar is $229 and connects to a solar panel for continuous power.
The Stick Up Cam is another addition to the Ring lineup that offers flexible usage and placement throughout your home.
Finally, the Spotlight Cam Mount is $249 and features three options for mounting it to your home. It works with your existing outdoor electrical boxes and delivers the same powerful technology in the other Spotlight Cam versions. This device includes three brackets for flush mounting it as well.
The Ring Floodlight Cam gives you the maximum amount of illumination when it detects activity. You can purchase this device at $249 for 1, $448 for 2, $649 for 3, or $849 for 4. The two LED floodlights make it impossible for someone to sneak around without you getting a clear view of them. The Floodlight Cam uses two sensors for detecting people and objects, and it has an ultra-wide angle field. You can zoom and pan with the camera for a closer look to identify foreign objects.
Ring has recently introduced a complete home security system solution, Ring Alarm, that works well on its own or in combination with other Ring products. The Ring Alarm Keypad is $50 and allows you to arm and disarm your system quickly when needed.
The Ring Alarm Flood and Freeze Sensor is $35 and tracks whether you have floods or freezing temperatures inside your property. If it detects one of these conditions, you receive a mobile alert so you can react rapidly. This option is ideal for tracking conditions at vacation homes and other remote properties.
The Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener is $35 and gives you mobile notifications if it hears your other smoke and CO detectors going off.
The Ring Alarm Contact Sensor is $20 and sends you alerts if a door or window opens up.
The Ring Alarm Motion Detector is $30 and looks out for movement indoors. If it detects anything, you will get an alert sent to your phone.
The Ring Alarm Range Extender is $25 and helps you cover more ground with your Ring security system. Sensors, keypads, and motion detectors can be farther away from the base station with this accessory.
The Ring Alarm Indoor Security Kit is $199 and gives you a complete starting bundle to protect your home. It includes the base station, keypad, motion detector, and contact sensors.
Our most recent analysis confirmed that Ring doorbells offer flexible home security with several accessories and configuration options. The devices worked well for us, with and without a monthly plan, though we’re partial to the affordable Ring Protect Plus plan at $10 per month. Ring’s video doorbells don’t have a lot of advanced security features, but still, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a basic entryway security system with a few unique features.
Of course, Ring doorbells aren’t perfect by any means. We would have liked to have access to more smart home automation features and options. The home automation industry is growing exponentially, so maybe we’ll see more smart features added in the future.7 As it stands, Ring is lacking in this category. We’d also like to see a slimmer profile and design on the more basic options, such as the Ring Video Doorbell and Doorbell 2. Overall, these doorbell cams performed well in practical situations, and they gave us peace of mind that our packages and home were a little bit safer.
Yes, Ring works with Alexa. This is the most direct option for connecting your Ring device to any type of home automation. Connectivity with Google Home and Apple HomeKit are more limitedly available.
Ring is known for its high-quality home security equipment. It has also developed a strong following for its high-tech features. Because you can link professional monitoring and have both indoor and outdoor monitoring, Ring rates highly for security overall.
Yes, Ring works with the Echo Show. The Echo Show is an Amazon device that uses Alexa for voice commands. Most Ring models connect with Alexa, creating a seamless process to see who is at your front door using the Echo Show.
Yes, Ring has an optional monthly fee. There are several plan options available. The basic plan fee is $3 per month, or an annual plan costs $30.
The battery on a Ring device will typically last between 6 and 12 months. This depends on the model and how frequently it sends notifications. Ring states that the battery will provide about 1,000 notifications before requiring replacement.
Yes, you can hear the Ring doorbell inside your home if it is connected to where your traditional doorbell was located. You can also connect it to the Ring Chime. This is a wireless unit that you can place in your home that has sounds if the Ring is depressed.
Ring stores videos it captures for up to 60 days. This includes all instances in which the doorbell is pressed as well as all motion-triggered events captured on camera.
You can connect multiple devices to your Ring doorbell camera. To do so, download the Ring app onto the device you wish to use. The company does not limit how many times you can do this or on which devices you can use it.
Yes, some Ring doorbells can be wireless. There are some models that need to be hardwired into place.
Yes, Ring doorbell cameras are designed to be weatherproof. However, they are not waterproof. They need to be used properly within their provided housing to maintain this type of protection.
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Torres, M. (2020, February 10). 720p vs. 1080i vs. 1080p. Lifewire.
Sternberg, J. (2019, March 11). Video Doorbells for Residential Landlords. The Law Offices of Kimball, Tirey & St. John. LLP.
Ring. (2020). Neighbors App by Ring.
Voien, G. (2017, November 7). This Is What Burglars Look For When Casing Your Home. Architectural Digest.
1080p. (2020, March 12). Wikipedia. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
Verma, P. (2017, June). Global Home Automation Market: Opportunities and Forecasts, 2017-2023. (Allied Market Research No. A00188).