Ring’s affordable, easy-to-use line of indoor and outdoor cameras are some of the best the industry has to offer
Ring is pretty much synonymous with DIY home security these days. After the breakaway success of the Ring Video Doorbell1 in 2014, this Amazon-owned company has exploded in popularly, expanding to a full lineup of indoor and outdoor cameras to keep your property protected at a price that won’t break the bank.
That said, Ring offers a ton of security solutions from video doorbells and security cameras to home security systems and professional monitoring — heck, they even have a camera you can stick in your car now. With all of these options, it can be difficult to narrow things down. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got lots of experience testing and reviewing Ring products, and we’re here to help you get the best bang for your security buck.
With that in mind, read on for our expert advice and insight on Ring cameras and how the brand can help you secure your home – inside and out.
Before we get going, though, let’s take a quick look at Ring’s standout features.
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As one of the industry’s top sellers for the past decade, Ring really understands what today’s homeowners need when it comes to a good security camera — flexibility, ease-of-use, high-tech features, and reliability. Through the years we’ve seen this Amazon-owned company constantly innovate and improve their products, from their sensors and cameras to their monitoring services.
One thing that consistently comes through in our tests is Ring’s affordability. With dozens of different cameras and configurations available, their most basic models start at just $55.99. Compared to rivals like Arlo, that’s pretty close to rock-bottom. If you’re looking for some more technologically advanced hardware, though, Ring has you covered with sophisticated equipment in the $300 dollar range. Well get into this more in a minute, but the long and short of it is no matter your budget, Ring’s got something for you.
Pro Tip: While Ring’s cameras are solid and built to last, we also think Google Nest’s line of cameras, especially the Nest Cam Battery and Floodlight Camera, has a slight edge in build quality over Ring. If durability is a top priority for you, we suggest looking into Google Nest, starting with our hands-on review of Nest Cam IQ cameras. The Nest Cam IQ is an older camera, but Nest’s newer (and cheaper) cameras inherited its smartest features.
Stick Up Cam is Ring’s go-anywhere security camera, with options for plug-in or battery power and simple mounting hardware included for installation. With a 130-degree field of view and sharp-as-a-tack 1080p HD video resolution, Stick Up Cam covers plenty of ground and is basically ready to use right out of the box, after some quick setup steps. We found it to be especially effective as a nanny cam.
But beyond the equipment itself, it’s refreshingly easy to use this camera day to day in conjunction with the Ring app. Alerts are sent to our phone instantly, and now, thanks to a fairly recent software upgrade, we can now get “rich notifications,”2 which means we can see instant thumbnails of our camera’s motion within the alert, giving us great insight so we can react appropriately.
We do wish it had more advanced features like facial recognition, but at $99.99, the Ring Stick Up Cam served us well as a reliable, user-friendly security camera with great coverage for every area of our home. So if you’re looking for a strong line of defense against intruders, this cam is definitely worth a closer look. We recently did a deep-dive Ring Stick Up Cam review here.
The Ring Floodlight Camera family of products combines 1080p HD resolution security with ultra-strong LED lighting, a sure win-win if you’re looking to add both lighting and cameras to your property. Ring’s signature outdoor camera is built right into an adjustable two-pronged lighting fixture perfect for backyards and big spaces.
Ring’s floodlight cameras have been evolving through the years, but the most basic model currently available from Ring — the wired version of the Floodlight Cam Plus — goes for about $199.99. While that might sound a little expensive to you, consider that you’re really buying two pieces of equipment here – a camera and a motion-sensing spotlight. Great for keeping an eye on the back yard, and deterring unwanted guests from entering it. Unless, of course, you’re a deer.
In our experience, a floodlight camera is the best way to discover what’s lurking around your property in the dark – especially when creatures of both the human and animal variety start showing up.
Thankfully, everything – the camera and the two LEDs flanking it – is adjustable, allowing you to fine-tune the camera to the needs of your property. And of course, it’s all controlled by the Ring app, so there’s hardly a learning curve.
Did You Know? Ring is not the only brand to make a floodlight-camera combo model. Arlo’s Pro 3 floodlight model is priced similarly to Ring’s at $250; Lorex’s security camera lineup includes a floodlight camera for $130; and Ezviz’s version retails for $150. If you’re on a budget, Lorex is a great option.
For a slightly different lighting-camera combo experience, there’s the Ring Spotlight Cam, which is essentially Ring’s standard 1080p camera wrapped in a durable outdoor casing. It’s got two LED spotlights that, like the Ring Floodlight, are triggered automatically by motion. Provided your Wi-Fi connection is stable,3 you’ll get excellent coverage for a driveway, garage, or another outdoor location that needs extra lighting.
FYI: If you’re not a Ring loyalist, we have a suggestion for an alternative spotlight cam that might be easier on your wallet. Reolink’s Argus 3 is packed with features similar to that of the Ring Spotlight, but tends to run a little cheaper. To learn more, read our full review of Reolink Argus 3 here.
Like the Floodlight Cam, the Spotlight Cam comes in several configurations. Ring announced the Spotlight Cam Plus and Spotlight Cam Pro at Amazon’s hardware event in September 2022, and these two will replace the base Spotlight Cam model that was released several years ago.
The battery-powered and plug-in versions of the Spotlight Cam Plus will both run you $169.99, and the solar-powered and hard-wired siblings will cost $199.99. If you want to upgrade to the pro model, it’s the same idea. The battery and plug-in models are $229.99, and the solar-powered and wired versions are $249.99. Not exactly cheap, but you’re going to be getting advanced features like radar-powered 3D motion detection. If that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, it’s because it is.
Although the lights on the Spotlight Cams are slightly dimmer compared to those on the Floodlight Cam, the former has a unique advantage: You don’t need wires. Both versions of the Spotlight Cam come in battery- and solar-powered configurations. Those setups make for easier installation.
We recently got some hands-on experience with the Ring Indoor Camera. Like its Ring siblings, this small but mighty cam provides top-notch security coverage and simple, no-fuss functionality. But unlike the other Ring cams, this one is plug-in only and has no battery option. We docked a couple points for flexibility once we discovered that, but we were overall pleased with how this camera harnessed all of Ring’s powerful features and tech (like infrared night vision, two-way talk, 1080p video resolution, and the streamlined Ring mobile app).
Did You Know? Ring’s a top pick, but there are other great cameras out there, too – with lots of ways to save. Explore it all in our guide to the best deals and sales on home security cameras.
At less than 3 inches tall, the Ring Indoor handled smoothly and precisely, delivering alerts to our smartphone in no more than 2 seconds after motion was detected. It’s also super easy to use and, at only $59.99, makes a great gift for the security aficionado in your life. As far as budget indoor cameras go, you really can’t beat the Ring Indoor Camera. But if you’re really looking to save a buck, we recommend looking into the Swann 1080p Pan & Tilt camera, or the Yi 1080p HD Indoor cam (believe it or not, the Yi Camera 3 falls in the $20-$30 price range).
|Indoor Cam (2nd Gen)
|Customizable Motion Zones
Live View with Two-Way Talk
|Spotlight Cam Pro Battery
3D Motion Detection
Bird’s Eye View
Built in Spotlight
|Floodlight Cam Wired Plus
Home and Away Modes
Record and Save
|Stick Up Cam Battery
|Record and Save
Home and Away Modes
Cabin-Facing Night Vision
Ring, like many DIY brands, is big on subscriptions. This brings us to a drawback we found in Ring cams: There’s no option to store video locally though an SD card or hard drive. These cameras are wireless and work by connecting through your home Wi-Fi network, so the only way to monitor your camera’s activity day to day is by signing up for a Ring Protect Plan.
Pro Tip: Ring does include a free option for monitoring without using the cloud, so you’ll still get motion-activated smartphone alerts, two-way talk, and live video streaming at no charge. But if you’d rather avoid a subscription, consider a camera that supports local storage via a micro SD card. Consider looking at Ezviz’s suite of cameras, many of which offer local video storage.
Luckily, Ring doesn’t require any contracts to use the cloud. Plus, Ring’s basic plan is relatively inexpensive at $3.99 per month. We can cancel our Ring plan at any time, so we’ll never feel boxed in or ripped off. We think that’s a big reason so many users keep turning to Ring and other DIY brands like SimpliSafe for home security; no one wants to be locked into contracts nowadays, and we’d definitely include ourselves in that lot.
For an in-depth look at Ring’s subscription plans, along with features and monthly fees, check out our guide to Ring Protect Plans.
|Ring Protect Basic
|Ring Protect Plus
|Ring Protect Pro
|Instant Mobile Alerts
|Live Video Streaming
|60-Day Video History
|24/7 Professional Monitoring
|$3.99 per month
|$10 per month
|$20 per month
|$39.99 per year
|$100 per year
|$200 per year
In Ring’s Indoor and Stick Up cameras, we could see, among other things, where our dog goes when he wanders the house in the middle of the night; how the kids are doing on their homework; whether the husband remembered to take out the trash; and who to blame for leaving the downstairs light on all night. And we didn’t even have to get out of bed to do it.
Outside between the Spotlight and Floodlight cameras, things look similarly positive. Our cameras alerted us promptly to a rare deer sighting, and on at least one occasion, to the arrival of an unexpected guest. And of course, depending on the Ring device, we’d be alerted to criminal activity like package theft and burglary. But how, you might be wondering, does Ring orchestrate all of this?
To answer that, here’s a breakdown of the features of Ring cameras:
Ring is pretty much synonymous with DIY, and that was evident in our installation of four Ring cameras – with one exception. Some Ring cameras are hardwired, so if you’re not adept at that kind of work, it’s best to leave it to a pro.
Instant Mobile Alerts
When Ring cameras detect motion, they waste no time getting you the information you need. Instant alerts are sent to your phone, accompanied by a thumbnail image of the activity, letting you see what’s happening in real time, and letting you take swift action if needed.
1080p HD Resolution
With a stable Wi-Fi connection, Ring gave us crystal-clear camera images and smooth video recordings in 1080p. This is the industry standard for security cameras, and it allowed our cameras to pick up detail like license plate numbers and car makes and models.
Ring’s motion detection settings are set up by modes. People-Only Mode, for example, tells the camera to ignore any motion except people. This is great for driveway or garage cams, and on especially windy or stormy days, we like being able to turn on this mode to avoid getting flooded with alerts for swaying branches or heavy rain.
Smart Home Integration
Since they’re owned by Amazon, Ring cameras work seamlessly with Alexa devices, allowing us to use voice commands to monitor our cameras and pull up our display on our Echo Show. Note that even though they’re fierce rivals, Google Home devices now work with Ring, too.
Ring’s infrared night vision is pretty impressive as far as image quality, but our favorite thing about it is how well it works in conjunction with LED lighting. Ring cameras can detect when it’s time to switch to night vision, so when night fell, our Ring Spotlight and Ring Floodlight went to work.
After being rejected on “Shark Tank” in 2013, Ring founder Jamie Siminoff4 rebounded and turned his nearly broke video doorbell business, then called Doorbot, into a multimillion-dollar Amazon acquisition. And even up until last year, Ring’s Video Doorbells still captured 97% of the market share of video doorbells.
With the introduction of a full line of security cameras and the whole-home wireless Ring Alarm system, the company became a stronger contender in home security with numerous packages, add-ons, accessories, and service plans that can be purchased individually or as a kit.
As recently as late 2020, Ring was still unveiling new products, including the Ring Car Alarm (because the world needs more of those?) and a Ring Car Cam. With such a meteoric rise to success, we’re happy to find that Ring is still innovating and evolving in both equipment and technology.
As we mentioned earlier, one of Ring’s greatest advantages is that it ties together everything your cameras offer in a neat, well-organized app. And best of all, the Ring app is free to use.
Here, we can control and customize video resolution, create motion zones, schedule alerts, sync more Ring devices, view video history, and adjust recording length. You can even adjust how you want to view your video history, either as a top-down list or as an easy-to-navigate timeline.
And beyond the camera controls, Ring also has Neighbors,5 a robust crimewatch platform built into the mobile app that lets users share their camera videos and communicate with one another about suspicious activity in the community.
While Neighbors doesn’t seem that different from other crimewatch apps like Nextdoor at first glance, it does have the added bonus of Ring’s massive network of users and a front-row seat to any camera footage they choose to share. And, truth be told, we haven’t seen this kind of hyper-local insight into neighborhood crime in any other security brand.
With so many users hooking into Neighbors, we were able to find out from two different neighbors of ours that two men were walking just a block from us, attempting to steal packages from front porches in the middle of the day. Fortunately, those gentlemen didn’t stay long; they received a visit from the authorities, who likely pondered why two men in broad daylight would scope out a neighborhood where literally every resident owns a Ring Doorbell.
Pro Tip: If you’re installing Ring cameras with a battery-powered configuration, we suggest plugging in the battery pack overnight so it’s fully charged when you’re ready to set it up.
Ring tends to mark down its security cameras from time to time, making it easy to justify adding more cameras as your needs grow and change. Their bestselling cameras are often discounted up to $80 off the MSRP, and you might also find several multi-camera bundles slashed, too. Here’s a quick breakdown of the deals currently available on Ring equipment:
|Ring Video Doorbell Wired
|Ring Video Doorbell 3
|Ring Stick Up Cam (Refurbished)
|Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro (Refurbished)
Generally speaking, bundling is a great idea when it comes to any security package, but with Ring that’s particularly true. Their Starter Kit – a Video Doorbell 4 and a Floodlight Cam Wired Plus, goes for just $319.99 right now. If you purchased that equipment individually, you’d pay $359.98.
FYI: Looking for big discounts on Ring products for Amazon Prime Day? Visit our in-depth Ring Prime Day deals and discounts guide.
Ring is one of the most dominant players in the security industry for a reason. They offer solid workhorse cameras in a number of meaningful configurations at affordable prices. While they aren’t loaded up with a ton of flashy features like you might find with Arlo’s security cameras, they provide power exactly where you need it. 1080p resolution, color night vision, motion triggered notifications — you’ll find all of these functionalities with Ring.
Are you missing out, though? We’d say no. Advanced features are great, but many of us aren’t looking for the camera with the most features; we’re looking for the camera with the best performance and protection against intruders. This practical approach to home security is why Ring shines in the DIY security space, and it doesn’t hurt that Ring’s mobile app, where all those features come to life, happens to be one of the best user experiences we’ve had with a security app.
And in our experience testing and reviewing Ring’s full suite of cameras, as well as numerous other camera brands in this industry, we found that Ring’s performance and value hold up against any home security camera in its class, and rightly deserves its spot at the top of the industry.
Gloomy Midwestern thunderstorms are no match for the Ring Floodlight. The camera is made to hold up in harsh weather like storms, wind, and rain.
Yes, with some exceptions. Ring cameras work with Amazon Alexa for hands-free voice control and video streaming on an Echo Show or Fire TV. Their compatibility with other ecosystems like Google Assistant and IFTTT are somewhat limited.
The two LED floodlights on the Floodlight Camera put out 1,500 lumens each, while the Spotlight Cam’s LEDs are 350 lumens. That makes Floodlight Cam about 4-5x brighter than the Spotlight Cam.
The Indoor Camera is susceptible to water damage and is not approved for outdoor use. The Stick Up Cam, on the other hand, is weather-resistant, but not fully waterproof, so keep that in mind when locating the camera.
A mixed bag, in my experience. You might not have the easiest time getting questions answered using Ring’s live chat, though it’s nice how easily accessible the chat feature is within their app. Other times, you’ll have better luck calling and speaking to a human.
Soper, T., Levy, N. (2018, Feb. 27). Amazon to acquire Ring video doorbell maker, cracking open the door in home security market. Geekwire.
Ring. (2020) Understanding Rich Notifications. Ring Help.
Fortinet. (2020) Understanding IP Surveillance Camera Bandwidth.
Montag, A., Berger, S. (2019, Feb. 22) Amazon bought ‘Shark Tank’ reject Ring last year—here’s what the founder says about Jeff Bezos. CNBC.com.
Business Wire. (2018, May 8). Ring Makes Successful Neighborhood Watch Network Available to Everyone with the Launch of Free Neighbors App.