Rob Gabriele https://www.safehome.org/author/rob-gabriele/

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 $20 monthly, we have to say that Ring’s subscription 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.

Unboxing Ring Alarm

Unboxing Ring Alarm

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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? We recently spent close to 100 hours testing the Ring Alarm system powered by Ring’s monitoring, and although we didn’t get the fastest response times, we thought it was a steal for only $10 a month.

That being said, we have bad news for you: Ring recently launched a new plan tier, the Ring Protect Pro plan, that costs $20 a month. They moved some of the features of the Ring Protect Plus plan to the Protect Pro plan, including professional monitoring. So now, if you want professional monitoring, the price you’ll have to pay is $20 a month. It’s still affordable, but not as affordable as it was.

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 Ring Protect Pro
Protection Level Basic Intermediate to Advanced Advanced
Devices Supported 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Connection Type Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + Cellular Backup
Professional Monitoring No No Yes
Network and Connectivity Features (powered by eero) No No Yes
3 GB Monthly 4G Backup No No Yes
Contract Terms No Contract, month-to-month No Contract, month-to-month No Contract, month-to-month
Monthly Price $3 $10 $20
Yearly Price $30 $100 $200

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.

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) App

Ring Alarm App

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, which provides cloud storage for one camera or doorbell. If you have multiple Ring cameras, then Ring Protect Plus is for you, as it provides cloud storage for an unlimited number of Ring cameras. 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 Protect Plus and Protect Pro is professional monitoring. The Plus plan includes cloud history for unlimited cameras, while the Pro plan includes active monitoring in addition to cloud storage.

Now, if you go with the Ring Alarm or the Ring Alarm Pro, you’ll want the Protect Pro plan, as it’s the only plan with 24/7 professional monitoring. This connects your system to Ring’s monitoring partner for emergency response and dispatch.

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.

Ring Protect Plus

Basic and Plus actually offer the same benefits: 60 days of video history for Ring cameras. The only difference is that Plus provides cloud storage for unlimited cameras and doorbells, while Basic only provides the same for one. So, who do we recommend Ring Protect Plus to? It’s simple: If you have more than three Ring cameras or doorbells, go with the Plus plan. If you have four cameras, at $3 per month each with Basic, you’ll be paying $12 a month. With Plus, you’ll only pay $10, so it’s simple economics.

Ring Protect Pro

The Ring Protect Pro plan is reserved for those who have a Ring Alarm or Ring Alarm Pro system. It’s the only plan with professional monitoring, which enables Ring to call for help on your behalf in case of emergencies. And don’t worry, Ring Protect Pro also offers cloud storage for unlimited cameras, so it’s all you’ll need even if you have cameras and a Ring Alarm system. Moreover, the Protect Pro plan offers much more value if you have the Ring Alarm Pro system, which has a base station that doubles as an eero 6 router. If you have this system, you’ll unlock additional features such as network threat protection and a 3 GB per month backup cellular data for when your internet goes down.

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 three 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 Pro Plan
Instant Mobile Alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live-Stream Video Yes Yes Yes Yes
60-Day Video History No Yes Yes Yes
Video Saving & Sharing No Yes Yes Yes
Snapshot Capture No Yes Yes Yes
24/7 Professional Monitoring No No No Yes
Extended Warranty No No Yes 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 Pro 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 Pro 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 Pro, 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 Plus plan only costs $10 per month for high-quality video support, while the Protect Pro plan runs $20 monthly for video support plus 24/7 professional monitoring. Both options are about 55% cheaper than the industry average. Not bad.

Ring Alarm App Activity

Ring Alarm App Activity

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.