It seems like everyday we're digging into some shiny new Ring products. We’ve tested everything from their uber-popular doorbell cameras, to their security cams and Ring Alarm system, and even their new smart lighting options. The equipment is pretty solid, but what about their monitoring plans? Do they have an option that makes sense for your pocketbook and home security preferences?
Great questions! We took Ring’s free and paid subscription plans for a test drive. Starting at only $3 per month and maxing out at $10 monthly, we have to say that Ring’s monitoring is downright cheap. But the plans really couldn’t be more different — as they each serve a very specific purpose. Sign up with the wrong plan and you risk not having the protection you need.
So let’s start with the pros & cons and then jump into Ring’s affordable, no-contract monitoring plans to see which one (if any!) makes sense for you.
- Low-cost monitoring
- No contracts, cancel anytime
- 60-day video history
- Smartphone controls
- Lifetime Theft Protection
- 24/7 professional monitoring (with Plus plan)
- Free self-monitoring option
- Response times could be faster
- No access to AI features
- Wi-Fi with cellular backup (not 100% cellular)
Ring Monitoring Plans & Prices
Similar to our top-rated security system SimpliSafe, Ring is all about keeping things simple and affordable. We appreciate the straightforward options, and we had no problems finding a plan that worked for us.
So… what’s it going to be? Do you have a new Ring Alarm that you want monitored by the pros? If so, then Ring Protect Plus has your name on it. We recently spent close to 100 hours testing the Ring Alarm system powered by Protect Plus, and although we didn’t get the fastest response times, we thought it was a steal for only $10 per month.
However, if you’re just looking to get video support for a Ring Video Doorbell or a couple of Ring Cams, then Ring Protect Basic will do the trick for only $3 per month. That’s half the price of a Pumpkin Spice Latte in exchange for home protection (a good trade in our book!). Here’s a rundown of your options, along with the most up-to-date Ring prices.
|Ring Subscription||Ring Protect Basic||Ring Protect Plus|
|Protection Level||Basic||Intermediate to Advanced|
|Connection Type||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi + Cellular Backup|
|Contract Terms||No Contract, month-to-month||No Contract, month-to-month|
Do I Need a Ring Protect Plan?
Technically, no, you don’t need to pay for a Ring Protect subscription to use any of your Ring products. You’ll still get standard features like instant mobile alerts, live-streaming video, and two-way talk without a monitoring plan. In fact, we self-monitored our Ring Alarm for several months for free. With that said, you should know that we don’t recommend it — especially considering how affordable Ring’s monitoring is.
Although you’ll have access to basic features without a Ring Protect subscription, you’ll be up-the-creek if your home is targeted and you’re unable to call the police yourself. With Ring Protect Basic, you’ll at least have video recording so that you can save and share hard evidence if a burglar breaks into your home or a porch pirate helps himself to your Amazon packages.
Trust us, we recently had someone on the prowl in our area trying car doors in the wee hours of the morning. A high-quality video of the perpetrator would go a long way in recovering stolen possessions. At any rate, it’s much better than no evidence! So while you don’t necessarily need a Ring Protect plan, you’re better off with one. The question is… which one?
Which Ring Plan is Best?
So which Ring plan is best for you and your family? Well, this depends on the Ring equipment you have installed. If you’re outfitted with a doorbell camera or 1-2 Ring security cameras, then Ring Protect Basic at only $3 monthly is your best bet. Just keep in mind this does not include professional monitoring — rather, it’s a video recording and sharing plan.
Did You Know: The main differentiator between the Protect Basic and Protect Plus plans is professional monitoring. The Plus plan includes 24/7 professional monitoring, while the Basic plan does not include any active monitoring.
Now, if you go with the Ring Alarm, you’ll want the Protect Plus plan with 24/7 professional monitoring. Another reason why you might go with the Plus plan is if you have multiple security cameras installed. Why? Because you have to keep in mind that the Basic plan costs $3 per camera per month for video support. So once you have more than 3 Ring Cams installed, you’re looking at $9 monthly, so it only makes sense to upgrade to the Plus plan, which offers support for unlimited cameras.
Ring Protect Basic
We’ve been subscribers of the Basic plan in the past. It’s one of the best subscriptions in the industry for video recording and sharing, and we think its biggest strength lies in the mobile controls. With the Ring app on our smartphone, we were able to access our Video Doorbell 3 and Ring cameras with a few swipes of the finger. We could view live stream footage, capture images, save video clips, download video, and share footage with friends, family, neighbors, and even the police.
Note that Ring’s Basic and Plus plans both come with 60 days of video history, which we think is plenty of storage for most people. Of course, you’ll get motion alerts sent straight to your smartphone, but remember the Basic plan does not include 24/7 monitoring, so if a break-in or package theft occurs, it’s up to you to contact the police. As you’ll see, the main difference between Protect Basic and Protect Plus is the 24/7 professional monitoring (and it’s kind of a big deal). Let’s have a look.
Ring Protect Plus
If you can spare $10 per month — which is cheap compared to the competition — then swing for the Ring Protect Plus plan. This subscription connects your home to Ring’s professional monitoring center for around-the-clock protection. If someone breaks into your house, the Ring Alarm will send a signal to the central station, and the emergency response agents can dispatch police if needed. We’re big fans of this plan for extra peace of mind. And again, it’s only $10 per month, which is just about the cheapest 24/7 monitoring we’ve seen.
Pro Tip: Consider taking advantage of Ring’s 30-day free trial of the Protect Plus plan. After all, you don’t get much cheaper than free. If you don’t like it, just be sure to cancel before your free trial ends.
We recently sized up Ring Alarm and compared it to other systems like Frontpoint and Abode, and while these other systems definitely have their strengths, we’ve found that Ring really stacks the value when it comes to monitoring. In our experience, there’s no other monitoring that really compares… not at this price point anyway.
And if you’re wondering how the two Ring plans measure up in features and value, here are the main things to consider:
Snapshot of Ring Plan Features
|Feature-Set||Free Plan||Basic Plan||Plus Plan|
|Instant Mobile Alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|60-Day Video History||No||Yes||Yes|
|Video Saving & Sharing||No||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||No||No||Yes|
A Few Gripes We Have With Ring Monitoring
Whether you sign up for Ring’s base plan for ultra-cheap video support, or whether you choose the Plus plan for video + intrusion monitoring, we think you'll be happy with the service. With that said, we did find a few chinks in the ol' armor. No deal-breakers, but it's important to know what you're getting into.
For instance, while testing the Protect Plus plan, we experienced 30-40 second response times on average. If you’re not familiar, that’s the time it takes for the emergency response agents to call you when your alarm goes off. Don't get us wrong, 30 seconds isn't bad — in fact it’s pretty standard for the industry. However, we were told by a Ring agent that they won’t even attempt to call before the 30-second mark (yikes).
Of course, we’re aware that this 30-second rule helps cut back on false alarms, but if there’s a real break-in or emergency, those precious seconds could really cost you. Honestly, we didn’t love hearing this from the folks at Ring. But we’ve come head-to-head with this same policy from other home security companies, too. So don’t be too put off by it.
Pro Tip: When signing up with Ring Protect Plus, you'll be asked to give a “safe word” or verbal PIN. Be sure to choose something memorable, as you’ll have to give it to a Ring agent when your system is triggered.
Another area where we found Ring could use improvement is with their connection speeds and reliability. Like many DIY home security brands, Ring uses a Wi-Fi connection with cellular backup. It’s decent, but we much prefer a 100% cellular connection, like what we’ve seen from SimpliSafe. Cellular signals aren’t affected by power outages or slow internet speeds, so cellular monitoring is just plain better than Wi-Fi. That said, this isn’t a huge deal for us, as we’ve been using Ring for years without problems. It’s just something to bear in mind.
Ring Monitoring: Putting it All Together
We’ve spent hundreds of hours testing Ring products and services. And in our experience, it’s hard to beat the ‘bang for your buck’ factor that Ring offers. The Protect Basic plan only costs $3 per month for high-quality video support, while the Protect Plus plan runs $10 monthly for video support plus 24/7 professional monitoring. Both options are about 55% cheaper than the industry average. Not bad.
Don’t forget that you can save even more money if you pay annually. But if you pay by the month, you can cancel your service at any time without penalty. That’s the beauty of no-contract monitoring, which we’re seeing more and more these days. In other words, Ring isn’t the only company serving up flexible subscription plans.
We’ll leave you with this: Ring’s monitoring isn’t bulletproof, but all things considered, we found that this uber-popular home security company delivers big when it comes to security camera and home alarm system monitoring. We’re excited to continue testing and reviewing their products for years to come.