These days, you can’t talk about DIY home security without talking about Ring. After the tremendous success of the Ring Video Doorbell1 back in 2014, the Amazon-owned brand has expanded to even wider popularity with a full line of indoor and outdoor security cameras that work in almost every corner, every surface, and every angle of your property.
And with all of Ring’s options for cameras, security system packages, alarms, sensors, monitoring plans, and other equipment, it can be difficult to narrow it all down and find the right home security products for you and your home. Luckily, in our vast experience testing and reviewing Ring cameras, we’ve come away with lots of insight and expertise on how to get the best value for your money.
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.
First, here’s a quick take on the standout features of Ring cameras:
As a top seller in the industry for the past five years, Ring has clearly figured out what today’s homeowners are looking for in home security. As technology evolves, we’ve seen the Amazon-owned company improve their products year over year and add more control and customization to their cameras, allowing us to learn and discover more about Ring cameras each time we test them.
But one thing we can consistently rely on with Ring cameras is their affordability. With 10 different camera configurations ranging from the plug-in Indoor Cam for $59.99 all the way up to the hardwired Ring Floodlight Camera for $249, it’s clear Ring is interested in keeping their prices low compared to rivals like Arlo and Google Nest, without compromising on equipment quality.
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 IQ Outdoor, 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.
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, 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 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 2-pronged lighting fixture perfect for backyards and big spaces.
At a cost of $249, you might think a camera like this is priced on the high side. But note that this is a solid, high-quality light fixture/camera combo that must be hardwired into your existing lighting. So this is something to keep in mind.
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 happens to be about $50 cheaper. To learn more, read our full review of Reolink Argus 3 here.
For $199, the battery-powered Spotlight Cam might not suit everyone’s fancy, especially not budget-conscious folks. But again, we’re talking about high-quality LED lighting combined with powerful security in one unit. Still, it’s a solid option, and you may even find one discounted in a Ring bundle or package offer.
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).
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 $60, 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).
|Ring Camera||Power Source||Equipment Cost|
|Spotlight Cam Battery||Battery||$149.00|
|Spotlight Cam Wired||Hardwired||$249.00|
|Spotlight Cam Solar||Solar||$229.00|
|Stick Up Cam Battery||Battery||$79.99|
|Stick Up Cam Plug-in||Wired||$79.99|
|Stick Up Cam Solar||Solar Panel||$148.99|
|Stick Up Cam Elite (2nd Edition)||Power over Ethernet (PoE)||$199.99|
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 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 Subscriptions||Included Free||Ring Protect Basic||Ring Protect Plus|
|Instant Mobile Alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Live Video Streaming||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|60-Day Video History||No||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
|Monthly Price||Free||$3 per month||$10 per month|
|Yearly Price||Free||$30 per year||$100 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.
Generally, bundling cameras together is the best way to save money on most any security purchase. With Ring, an Everyday Kit, which includes two Floodlight Cams and a Video Doorbell 3, is on sale for $598 – a savings of $100. Or, you could dip your toe in Ring’s line of DIY security systems, some of which come with a camera. There’s the 8-Piece Alarm Security Kit + Indoor Cam for $195, which amounts to a savings of $105 off retail – a great deal considering it’s not easy to find a home security system that offers this much gear for under $200.
To remain dominant players in the security industry, Ring has kept a tight focus on knowing what customers need most. What is that, exactly? We can’t speak for all customers, but as Ring Cam users ourselves, we know that when it comes to DIY installation, 1080p HD video resolution, night vision, and motion-triggered notifications, Ring cameras are second to none.
As we mentioned earlier, these cameras aren’t loaded with premium-level features or suped-up ultra HD resolution; you’ll find those in many of Arlo’s security cameras, if you’re interested.
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.
Yes. If you have an Alexa-enabled smart home device, you can use it to pull up live feeds from all of your Ring cameras on one screen. If you’ve got an Echo Show, this is a great way to get instant answers to what’s going on in and around your home.
Yes. Ring doesn’t have the option for local storage in their cameras, so you can’t pop in a micro SD card for this one. Luckily, Ring’s $3-per-month basic Ring Protect plan is an easy, inexpensive add-on and gives you a ton of space to store your videos.
Ring’s outdoor models, the Spotlight Cam and the Floodlight Cam, are outfitted with IP65-rated weather protection, which is the industry standard. We’ve watched our Ring cameras endure blustery Midwestern thunderstorms and torrential downpours for years with no apparent signs of damage.
Since Two-Way Talk can be a key tool in “spooking” criminals caught in the act, we always test the quality of the two-way audio in security cameras. For Ring, using Two-Way Talk was easy and yielded quality audio and smooth communication.
Mixed. As with any company of this size and reach, Ring’s phone support can be inconsistent. Live chat can be fruitless. But on the days we could get through to a human, we encountered friendly, helpful agents who made us feel like we were talking to a friend in the same room.
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.