Our security experts got a hold of Ring’s security cameras to see how they stacked up against the competition. There were numerous things we liked about these popular devices, including easy DIY install, motion-triggered notifications, two-way talk, and HD image quality. But we also found some room for improvement. If you’re considering purchasing a Ring security camera, this review is your chance to learn from our hands-on experience with the equipment. In this deep dive, we share our expert advice and recommendations on Ring’s security cam selection.
|Ring Indoor Cam||$59.99|
|Ring Stick Up Cam||$99.99|
|Ring Spotlight Cam||$199.99|
|Ring Floodlight Cam||$249.99|
|Ring Peephole Cam||$99.99|
Ring is a relative newcomer to the home security market. But after making a deal with Amazon in 2018, they have secured a substantial share of the market.1
It started with the Ring Doorbell, a product we’ve been testing since the early days of the company, back when it was called Doorbot. In 2015, the company released its first security camera, the Stick Up Cam.2 Then, in 2017, the Floodlight and Spotlight Cams hit the market, complete with motion-activated LED floodlights. A couple of years later, in 2019, they unveiled the Ring Peephole Cam at CES.3 Rounding out their offerings, Ring also has an affordable indoor camera. We got our hands on all of the latest Ring camera models.
Ring Security Camera Lineup:
Even though we’ve been researching Ring home security products for several years, they frequently update their devices with new features and technology. So, our experts are always testing the latest options to find out if the features and tech, ease of use, and customer service makes these cameras a good value for the money. Before we give our honest recommendations, let’s first have a look at the key features and technology responsible for propelling Ring to its current position as a top home security provider. (Spoiler Alert: While our findings are mostly positive, Ring’s cameras are not perfect.)
We liked Ring’s diverse range of cameras. The company offers indoor and outdoor cameras for almost every need. They come in several styles, each offering a unique feature-set. Did we find any of these features truly innovative and groundbreaking? Not really. But we do think they include enough useful features for the price. Here’s what you can expect from Ring:
Each of Ring’s security cameras offered a crisp and clear picture with 1080p HD image quality. When we tapped into the live video feed via the Ring mobile app, we could make out fine details, even at night.4 We found that Ring offers great video quality even in low-light and harsh-weather conditions. With that said, it’s important to note that 1080p HD is now standard in the industry. So the video quality we experienced with Ring wasn’t any better than the other cameras we’ve tried.
Ring’s infrared night vision feature worked well for us. We mounted the cameras around our home and in places with almost zero visibility at night. When we received an alert, we accessed the live view to see what was happening. The picture wasn’t crystal clear, but we could see enough to help put a criminal behind bars if needed.
Pro Tip: We recommend cameras with infrared night vision, as infrared night vision does not rely on ambient light like traditional night vision techniques.
This feature ensures that you always know what’s happening at your home, no matter where you are. When triggered, the built-in motion detector prompts an instant mobile app notification. We were impressed with the range of the motion sensors. Of course, Ring’s technology isn’t perfect, as we did receive a couple of false alarms. You can expect this feature built-in to many new cameras today.
We wouldn’t even consider purchasing a security camera without two-way talk. During our assessment, we found that Ring’s audio quality was decent, allowing us to communicate with visitors without interruption. In a simulated intrusion, we quickly received the mobile alert and were able to scare away the perpetrator using two-way voice. One thing we like about Ring cameras is that they offer noise cancellation, which helps to provide superior sound quality.
Ring’s outdoor cameras include a loud 110-decibel siren that you can trigger remotely. We can say that this feature is both ear-piercing and sure to create a reaction. It did provide us with a bit more control, but honestly, this siren would only be useful in rare instances. We think the two-way talk feature is enough to scare any intruders away from your property.
Ring security cameras do offer some home automation integration. However, the current system only works with Amazon’s Alexa platform. We tried it with our Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices, and we were able to control our cameras using only our voices, which was a nice touch. But we’d like to see Ring improve their home automation features. Compared to companies like Frontpoint and Vivint, Ring is lean on smart home automation options.
FYI: Purchasing a camera system that integrates with third-party home automation platforms allows you to construct a smart home ecosystem over time.
We liked the Ring app interface and how easy it was to manage our system from our smartphone.5 With one tap, we were able to move from one Ring camera to the next. Ring’s app acts as your central hub, where you can access and control your entire Ring system with a few swipes of the finger. While other brands offer mobile app technology with better features, we found the Ring app to be the most user-friendly and intuitive.
The Customized Zones feature enabled us to set up specific zones so that we could control our Ring alerts. The customized motion zones, which are generally limited to three areas per camera, ensures that you can target certain areas where intruders are more likely to lurk.6 If you purchase a Ring camera, we recommend setting the custom zones in a way that makes sense for your property. Each camera offers a variety of in-depth options and settings, including light customization, video alteration, and snapshot personalization, as well as alert settings. We enjoyed tweaking and modifying our settings to match our preferences.
What really sets Ring cameras apart is their overall versatility — especially when it comes to mounting options and connection types. Ring offers battery-powered wireless cameras, plug-in cameras, hardwired cameras, solar cameras, and innovative stick-on mounting (Stick Up Cam). In other words, these aren’t one-size-fits-all security cameras. Rather, you can purchase the cameras that suit your specific needs.
At only $59.99, the Ring Indoor Cam was a nice addition to our home. It offers a simple plug-and-play setup using a power cord. Once installed, we were able to view our live-video feed using our cell phones, even while away from home. This camera comes with most of the features of Ring’s other cams, including night vision, two-way talk, HD video, and motion-activated alerts. Our only complaint is that the power cord wasn’t long enough.
For the low price, we could envision using a few of these cameras inside of our home. Ring offers the cameras in two-packs ($119.98), three-packs ($179.97), and four-packs ($239.96). But if you do the math, they don’t really get any cheaper the more you buy, which is unfortunate.
The Stick Up Cam comes in battery, plug-in, and solar options. You can also install it with the innovative Power over Ethernet (PoE) architecture.7 We tested the battery-powered device ($99.99). It was quick to install, and we had the option of mounting it indoors or outdoors. It performed well as an outdoor camera, but we think the construction could use some improvement. It just didn’t seem like it would hold up over time in harsh weather conditions. Also, you’ll need a paid cloud storage plan to store video.8 Despite these drawbacks, the Stick Up Cam is a quality camera considering the price.
At $199, the Spotlight Cam is twice the price of the Stick Up Cam. But there are a few upgraded features, including a built-in LED spotlight. Like Ring’s other cameras, it features 1080p HD video, live view, and night vision. It also offers two-way audio with noise cancellation. In our testing, we liked the Spotlight Cam’s adjustable motion sensors, remote-activated 110-decibel alarm, and 140-degree field of view. These features gave us greater control over the camera. It’s nice, but for only $50 more, you might want to consider the Floodlight Cam to illuminate your home’s exterior.
As the Spotlight Cam’s bigger brother, the Floodlight Cam comes with two floodlights that produce a scorching 3,000 Kelvin. These powerful lights provided us with the best picture, day or night. We know that lights can also help to reduce criminal activity, as they expose prowlers in the dark.9 The Floodlight Cam comes with a remote-activated 110-decibel alarm, smart zoom with panning feature, and an adjustable mount for the camera. Unfortunately, it does require a subscription plan, which we didn’t love, unless you only want real-time access to your video. Overall, if this camera fits your budget, we do recommend the Floodlight Cam for outdoor use.
Ring’s newest addition to the camera lineup, the Peephole Cam, is actually more akin to the popular Ring Video Doorbell. It costs $199 and offers decent entryway protection. Our experts performed extensive research and analysis of this device, too. You can find our thoughts on it in our Ring Video Doorbell review.
Ring offers two paid monitoring plans for their cameras. These are the same no-contract subscription plans that monitor Ring’s home security system. But remember, this is an additional service, and it is not a requirement for the cameras to work. However, it does provide features such as video recording and video sharing.
We took a look at both plans, the Ring Protect Basic and Ring Protect Plus. Here’s what we found:
The Ring Protect Basic Plan ($3 per month or $30 per year) offered 60 days worth of video storage. We also had access to video-sharing, which allowed us to share our footage with neighbors, family, and police, if necessary. Although $3 per month sounds cheap, it’s per-camera pricing. So the more cameras you have, the more you pay. Since we set up multiple Ring cameras around our home, we opted for the Ring Protect Plus plan.
The Ring Protect Plus Plan ($10 per month or $100 per year) gave us unlimited coverage for multiple devices. This plan offered plenty of protection for an affordable price. In fact, the Protect Plus plan is one of the cheapest home security subscriptions we’ve seen. It also comes with an extended warranty on the equipment. If you have a Ring Doorbell or Ring Alarm system, you’ll want to consider this Ring monitoring plan for your cameras.
FYI: Save money by choosing to self-monitor your Ring security cameras for free. This option does not require a subscription.
Ring offers fairly simple installation with several of their cameras. But some options do require professional installation or at least advanced DIY skills. In our experience, we were able to mount and begin operating our cameras in less than 30 minutes, but time to install may vary from person to person.
Once in place, you can easily control the cameras using the Ring companion app. You can switch between cameras and even control the zoom feature on some camera models. All in all, Ring security cameras are among the easiest we’ve tested. Even if you don’t enjoy using new technology, you shouldn’t have a problem managing these devices. The truth is most camera systems today aren’t overly complicated to control or install.
While they aren’t celebrated for their superb customer service (like Frontpoint), Ring was there when we needed them. We were able to find answers to our questions using their customer support articles and guides on the Ring website.10 And if we couldn’t find answers there, we always had the option of calling Ring’s customer service hotline or getting help via live chat or email.
Of course, we did call their support center to see how they were over the phone. We spoke with a friendly and professional representative, and after a few minutes on hold, they answered our questions directly and effectively. We’re used to quality customer service from home security companies. So Ring gets decent marks in the customer service category. However, from some of the reports we’ve seen, don’t always expect them to be smiling from ear to ear when you call.
Now, for those who want continued or upgraded support, Ring offers a premium support service called Ring Assist Plus. This benefit will set you back an additional $39.95, but it provides immediate help from Ring’s best agents. It’s a nice offer, but we don’t imagine most people will be willing to splurge for this extra cost.
Our team got a lot of mileage out of our Ring cameras, and we’re still using them. We tested out the entire lineup, and we found a diverse range of features and options. They aren’t the cheapest cameras on the market, but you get what you pay for when it comes to home security setups. The video quality is on par with other home security cameras, and the devices come with plenty of high-tech features. We also found the in-app controls to be fairly simple yet streamlined.
Once again, Ring’s cameras are by no means perfect. We would like to see more smart home automation options. And if you want to record or share video, you’ll have to sign up for a monthly subscription plan. While some people will see that as a deal-breaker, others may find it to be a reasonable cost for the service, it just depends on your situation and security necessities. The good news, though, is that Ring’s subscriptions are quite affordable. Also, subscription plans are becoming the norm. Pretty soon, subscriptions will be the way everyone does home security.
Kim, E. (2018, February 27). Amazon buys smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion. CNBC.
Ring. (2016, January 5). Stick Up Cam: Creating a Ring of Security Around Your Home.
BBC. (2019, January 7). CES 2019: Smart doorbells ring in changes in Las Vegas.
Ring.com. (2020, March 6). Ring – Always Home. Google.
Ring. (2019). Ring – Always Home. Apple.
Ring. (2020). Utilizing Motion Zones With Your Powered Ring Devices.
Mesnik, B. (2016, May 17). How Power Over Ethernet Works. Kintronics.
Neelima, M. & Padma, M. (2014, May 5). A Study on Cloud Computing. IJCSMC, 3(5), 966-971.
Tan, Z. (2016, February 23). Should You Leave Your Lights On At Night? It Depends. NPR.
Ring. (2020). Welcome to Ring Community.