Video doorbells like Ring have become an increasingly popular home security option in recent years. But are they really worth the often high price tags? This comprehensive guide examines the pros, cons, features, pricing, and alternatives to help you decide if a Ring video doorbell is the right choice for your home security needs.
An Introduction to Ring Video Doorbells
Ring video doorbells are WiFi-enabled doorbell cameras that allow homeowners to see and speak with visitors at their doorstep. When someone presses the doorbell or triggers the motion sensors, the Ring device will send a mobile notification and begin recording video. Users can then view live footage, engage in two-way communication, and choose whether or not to let the visitor in.
Most Ring models feature HD video, infrared night vision, adjustable motion sensors, and cloud storage options. Some models also have privacy zones, color night vision, and dual-band WiFi for more reliable connectivity. All video footage can be viewed remotely through the Ring app on your smartphone or tablet.
Ring first launched its original video doorbell in 2013 and has since expanded its product line to include a range of wired and battery-powered options at various price points. The company was purchased by Amazon in 2018 but continues to operate independently.
Key Benefits of Ring Video Doorbells
There are several reasons Ring video doorbells have become so popular for home security:
- See who is at your door anytime, anywhere with the Ring app
- Talk with visitors whether you’re home or away
- Grant access to delivery people when you’re not home
- HD video and infrared night vision provide a clear view
- Adjustable motion sensors let you customize the detection zone
- Get mobile alerts whenever the doorbell detects activity
- Visible camera may deter potential burglars
- Two-way talk acts as a digital peephole
- Can activate a loud siren if an unwanted visitor approaches
- Hardwired and battery-powered models available
- Battery-powered options don’t require rewiring doorbells
- Products designed for various home designs (chime kits, wedges)
Smart Home Integration
- Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT for voice control
- View doorbell alerts on smart displays like Echo Show
- Arm or disarm Ring Alarm security systems remotely
Factors to Consider When Buying a Ring Doorbell
There are a few key factors to weigh when deciding which Ring doorbell is right for your home:
Wired vs Battery Powered
- Wired are hardwired to existing doorbell wiring for continuous power
- Battery models are customizable but require occasional charging
- Higher resolution provides clearer video quality
- Options range from 720p to 1080p HD on select models
Field of View
- Wider angles (155°-180°) show more of the door area
- Narrower views (115°) focus tightly on the doorstep
- Advanced models have motion zones, privacy zones, color night vision
- Lower-end options still include basics like two-way talk
- Subscription plans provide 30-60 days video storage in the cloud
- Local storage with Ring Protect lets you store footage on a device
- Simple wired models start around $60-$100
- Advanced features like batteries or better video quality raise prices
- Consider monthly subscription costs for cloud storage
Ring Video Doorbell Product Line Comparison
Ring currently offers eight video doorbell models ranging in features and prices. Here is an overview comparing their key specs and components:
| Model | Video Resolution | Field of View | Night Vision Type | Motion Sensors | WiFi Connectivity | Power Source | Starting Price |
| Ring Video Doorbell | 720p HD | 155° horizontal | Infrared | Adjustable | Dual-band (2.4 & 5GHz) | Hardwired | $99.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell 2 | 1080p HD | 160° horizontal | Infrared | Adjustable | Dual-band | Hardwired | $199.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell 3 | 1080p HD | 160° horizontal | Infrared | Adjustable | Dual-band | Hardwired & battery | $199.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus | 1080p HD | 160° horizontal | Color night vision | Adjustable | Dual-band | Hardwired & battery | $229.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell 4 | 1080p HD | 155° horizontal | Color night vision | 3D motion detection | Dual-band | Hardwired & battery | $199.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell Pro | 1080p HD | 160° horizontal | Infrared | Adjustable | Dual-band | Hardwired | $249.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 | 1536p HD | 150° horizontal | Color night vision | 3D motion detection | Dual-band | Hardwired | $249.99 |
| Ring Video Doorbell Elite | 1080p HD | 160° horizontal | Infrared | Adjustable | Dual-band | Hardwired | $499.99 |
As you can see, prices, features, and specs vary widely between models. Consider your needs and budget to choose the right Ring doorbell security camera for your home.
Pros of Owning a Ring Video Doorbell
Ring doorbells are designed for quick DIY installation. Battery powered models use adhesive to mount to your existing doorbell spot without wiring changes. Hardwired models simply connect to your current doorbell wires.
Affordable Home Security
For their capabilities, Ring doorbell cameras are competitively priced, especially entry-level battery-powered models. Ongoing costs are also low if you forgo the cloud storage subscription.
Customizable Motion Detection
Adjustable motion sensors let you set specific activity zones to reduce unwanted notifications from passing cars or branches moving.
Helpful Video Evidence
If an incident does occur at your home, the video footage could help authorities identify or prosecute the perpetrators.
Deters Potential Intruders
The visible camera and warning stickers can make burglars think twice about attempting to enter your home. Two-way talk also allows you to confront visitors.
Convenient Smart Home Features
With Alexa and Google Assistant support, Ring cameras integrate well into smart home ecosystems, allowing for easy voice controls.
Cons of Owning a Ring Video Doorbell
Upfront Cost of Hardware
While competitive, Ring doorbell cameras are quite an investment, especially advanced models. Prices ranging from $60-$500 may not suit all budgets.
Ongoing Subscription Fee
To store, share, and save video clips long-term, you’ll need to pay a monthly Ring Protect subscription of $3-$10 after free trials expire.
Connectivity and Power Issues
Hardwired models need steady power sources to avoid outages. Battery-powered versions may run low on charge and cut out. WiFi connection problems can also cause cameras to go offline.
Motion Sensor Limitations
Motion sensors can sometimes be triggered by bugs, car lights, branches, etc. This may generate frequent notifications if sensitivity isn’t adjusted.
Potential for Hacking
Like any connected security system, smart doorbells could be vulnerable to hacking, especially if owners use weak passwords. Two-factor authentication provides added security.
Some critics argue Ring systems invade visitor privacy. Make sure to display notices and disclose if legally required. Position cameras responsibly.
How Much Do Ring Doorbells Cost?
Ring doorbell prices vary based on the specific model and features:
- Hardware: Ranges from $60 for basic wired models to $500 for high-end versions.
- Ring Protect plans: To save video clips to the cloud rather than just get live alerts, subscriptions cost $3/month per device for 60-day storage or $10/month for all devices with 30-day storage.
- Accessories: Chime kits ($30), plug-in adaptors ($25), security screw kits ($10), and wedges ($20) are available to enhance functionality.
- Shipping: Free standard shipping usually takes 5-7 business days on orders over $35, or pay for expedited delivery.
- Installation: DIY installation is free, while professional installation by Amazon starts at $99.
Extra costs like subscriptions can add up, so factor those in when purchasing. For the hardware alone, you can expect to spend anywhere from $60 to $500+ depending on features.
Alternatives to Ring Video Doorbells for Home Security
While Ring is the most popular, there are a few alternative smart video doorbells to consider for your home:
| Doorbell | Key Features | Starting Price |
| Nest Hello | 24/7 video recording, facial recognition, HD HDR video, Night Vision | $229 |
| Arlo Video Doorbell | 180° field of view, 1:1 aspect ratio, wire-free install | $149.99 |
| Eufy Security Wi-Fi Video Doorbell | 2K resolution, no monthly fees, local storage, AI-based alerts | $119.99 |
| RemoBell S | 180° field of view, good night vision, affordable | $99 |
| August Doorbell Cam Pro | Video calls, visitor alerts, integration with August smart locks | $199 |
Most alternative brands offer many of the same features as Ring but may excel in certain areas like wider fields of view, free cloud storage, facial recognition, or integration with other smart products. Always compare specs carefully with your unique needs in mind. Installation, power sources, and hardware design also differ.
For the most basic features at the lowest prices, brands like RemoBell can still provide good bang for your buck. At the other end, Nest Hello offers the highest resolution video and leading facial recognition capabilities for a premium price.
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FAQs about Ring Video Doorbells
How do Ring doorbells work?
Ring doorbells are WiFi-enabled cameras that connect to your home network and the Ring app. When someone presses the button or triggers the motion sensors, the camera sends you instant mobile notifications and starts recording video that is viewable remotely through the app.
Where should I install my Ring doorbell?
The ideal placement is comfortably within sight of the path leading to your front door, ideally 4 to 5 feet off the ground. Avoid pointing the camera at any public or shared spaces and make sure lighting is sufficient.
Do Ring doorbells require a subscription?
Ring devices will operate without a subscription, allowing live viewing, motion alerts and two-way communication. But to save video recordings, access advanced features, and connect multiple devices, a Ring Protect subscription plan is necessary.
Do Ring doorbells work without WiFi?
A working WiFi connection is required for Ring doorbells to operate, connect with your smartphone, and capture video. Without WiFi, features will be extremely limited. Hardwired models also require your existing doorbell wiring.
Can a Ring doorbell be used as a security camera?
While positioned to monitor your front door area, the camera and motion detection features of a Ring doorbell can also double as a basic security camera for that part of your home. But standalone cameras are likely a better option for broader coverage.
Do Ring doorbells work with Alexa and Google Home?
Yes, Ring has integration with Alexa and Google Assistant. This allows you to show live camera feeds on smart displays, arm and disarm Ring Alarm systems with voice commands, and more.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, only you can decide if an investment in a Ring video doorbell system is worth the cost for your home. If 24/7 surveillance, multiple camera views, and expansive yard coverage are critical, a more robust security camera system may be preferable. But for monitoring your front door area, deterring porch pirates, and having easy access to your doorbell from anywhere, Ring options present an enticing bundle of features and convenience in slickly designed products. For many homeowners, the ability to view and speak with visitors at their doorstep provides ample peace of mind.