Ring Home Security Review
Home security company Ring first took the internet by storm with its video doorbell system that made watching video of porch pirates and front door hijinks possible from anywhere.
These days the Santa Monica, California company is doing a lot more than giving you a peek at the person knocking on your front door. Ring now offers a full array of home security products, from smart lighting to traditional security cams that can be mounted just about anywhere you might need an extra set of eyes.
Their popular Ring home alarm system has earned a reputation for being a solid user-friendly option for DIY home security.
Here’s how we graded Ring:
- Hardware: 3 out of 5. Ring offers a variety of products, from high def cameras to window and door sensors, and they’re all easy to install on your own. But the brand’s alarm system hardware is lacking touchscreens and other bells and whistles that are available from companies that do the installation for you.
- Customer Service: 4 out of 5. Calls to customer service are answered fairly quickly —our Security Nerd placed calls during the busy morning rush to judge call time and heard from someone in less than 5 minutes— and customer service reps are both friendly and extremely knowledgeable about Ring’s range of products.
- Pricing: 5 out of 5. Because the Ring system is a DIY install and doesn’t require a long-term contract, it’s tough to beat their pricing. The hardware is relatively inexpensive—at least when compared to other brands—and even those who opt for monitoring can get it for less than $10 a month without being locked into something long-term.
- The Mobile App: 3 out of 5. The system gets bonus points for having its own mobile app but it’s also where the brand could use some improvement. The Ring app loses out when it comes to timely response.
- SmartHome Capabilities: 3 out of 5. Ring works with a number of other systems, including Alexa, and the brand sells smart home products by other manufacturers that can be managed with its app. However app alerts are not available for all of the smart home products, which takes away from the “smart home” concept.
Ring Fees & Features
|Price||Pricing is largely a la cart;
$199 gets you 5-piece alarm kit;
Doesn't include cameras, yard signs, smart lighting, etc.
(not in basic home alarm kit)
|Video Monitoring||Cameras are $179 and up (not in basic alarm kit)|
|Motion Sensors||Included in basic alarm kit|
|Door/Window Sensors||Included in basic alarm kit|
|Doorbell Camera||$99 and up
(not in basic alarm kit)
|24/7 Monitoring||Optional/available for $10/month or $100/year|
|Warranty||1 year, limited|
|Yard Signs||Solar powered, Available for $49
(not in basic alarm kit)
|iTunes app rating||3.3|
|Google Play app rating||3.3|
With a five-piece alarm kit priced at just $199, it’s hard to beat Ring’s price point. The basic kit includes a base station, contact sensor, motion detector, keypad and range extender. You can opt for a more expensive and more inclusive kit, you can add on specific cameras, motion detecting lights, smoke and CO detectors and more from there … or not. Because Ring is a DIY system, it’s up to you to choose exactly what you want in your house—no more, no less.
Everything you need to install a Ring alarm comes in the box, from double-sided mounting tape to screws, and instructions are easy to follow. You can even turn to the app for an installation walk-through.
You can self-monitor or Ring offers a 30-day trial of its 24/7 monitoring for anyone who buys their home alarm system. After that, users pay $10 a month or $100 a year, but there is no contract to keep them tied in. Bonus: If you sign up for a protection plan, Ring will throw in a discount for future purchases of their other products.
Don’t expect an interactive LED touchscreen control panel. What you save in outlay on Ring shows in the basic screen-less keypad.
Although Ring’s customer service team gets top marks from customers for their friendliness and ability to answer questions, plenty of Ring customers get to know support because they’ve got an issue: Glitchy sensors.
Most professional monitoring companies throw in stickers and yard signs for free–after all, they’re free advertising in addition to being a warning to thieves. But Ring requires you to buy your own.
Equipment available from Ring
Ring offers three versions of its basic home alarm system, with the amount of coverage offered increasing along with the package price. To get video coverage or other services such as smoke and carbon monoxide detection or the brand’s famous doorbell camera, you’ll have to pay extra.
- Base station
- 5 contact sensors
- 2 motion detectors
- Range extender
- Smart video doorbells
- Outdoor cameras
- Indoor cameras
- Flood and freeze sensors
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Panic buttons
- Open window magnets
- Solar security signs
- Window security stickers
- Smart outdoor lighting
- Mailbox security
Ring works with a number of smart home products produced by other manufacturers, including:
- Keyless door locks
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Garage door tilt sensors
The Ring Mobile App
The Ring app powers many of its products and has a:
3.3 rating in the Apple App store
3.3 rating in the Google Play store
We found the app easy to use, even when it comes to use with non-Ring products. The app includes the ability to:
- Walk through installation
- Manage smart home products such as locks and lights
- View live camera feed and recorded video
- Talk to someone at your front door and hear them talk back to you
- View doorbell interactions including missed doorbell rings
- Set up motion detection zones, including spots in the house where you turn off motion detection so family pets don’t enact alarms
- Group Ring devices so they act intelligently together (e.g. turning on all lights at once)
- Set up different roles for different users (such as kids or contractors)
Receive notifications about activated sensors and alarms
In app-store reviews, the biggest complaint relates to delays in the Ring app live feeds, including doorbell camera interactions.
Ring Smart Home Capabilities
Ring has its own range of smart lighting products, and they’ve upped their game to compete with Nest thanks to Alexa integration and partnerships with smart home product manufacturers that can now work in conjunction with Ring’s own products—all under one app. Here are some of the smart-home features available:
- Smart lighting: Ring offers its own outdoor smart lighting options, including floodlights, spotlights and pathlights that can be turned on and off from its mobile app. The company also integrates with indoor lighting options from GE and Leviton to allow users to switch lights on and off one by one or as a group.
- Door Lock: Thanks to integration with Yale, Schlage, and Kwikset, you can lock and unlock your smart locks or deadbolt from the Ring app. You can also check the lock’s current status–no more wondering if you forgot to lock the door on your way out in the morning! Have a dog walker or a babysitter swinging by? Create individual or shared access codes in the Ring App to let guests control your lock.
- Garage Control: Check to see if your garage door is open or closed on your phone with Ecolink garage door tilt sensor integration.
- Carbon monoxide/smoke detectors: Ring offers its own CO and smoke detector, or you can link up with popular options from First Wave to set up alerts on your phone for emergencies.
- Outlet control: Smart plugs allow you to control power to any device using the app. No more forgetting about that curling iron on the bathroom counter.
Smart home integrations require the Ring Alarm system to work. Not all smart home integrations will prompt alerts on the Ring app.
Ring Customer Service
Ring offers 24/7 customer service with call centers based right in the United States. Known for friendly staff who follow up on online reviews to make sure their customers are truly happy with their product, the Ring team is known to offer up free sensors and other incentives to keep their customers.
To test customer service, our SecurityNerd tested each of the following:
- Sales: Calls to the sales team were answered within five minutes during the morning rush by representatives at Ring’s Arizona call center. There was no push to sell during calls, with friendly agents easily answering questions and allowing our Nerd to get off the phone without pushing for an order or asking for an email to make follow up sales pitches.
- Design: The knowledgeable staff members asked plenty of questions to help our Nerd build a system for their home, providing recommendations on alarm package size and the types of products homeowners tend to buy. If you have no idea where to start with a DIY alarm system, Ring’s customer service team will be able to walk you through it all.
- Install: Since installation for Ring is DIY, Ring offers easy-to-navigate installation tips in both the app and on the website.
- Alarm: Reviewers give the Ring alarm high marks for its monitoring services, which are inexpensive and on the ball. However glitchy motion detector sensors are a common complaint, with sensors dropping off the app and needing to be re-added, leaving vulnerabilities in the home system.
- Service: Ring’s online FAQ is extensive, which makes it easier on homeowners who don’t want to place a phone call to customer support. If you do have to call, however, reviewers say Ring staff is quick to address their issues and pleasant to chat with. It did take about five minutes for our Security Nerd to get connected with help when she called during the busy early morning hours, but the representative was easy to work with and helpful.
Ring covers the following areas
- United States
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
- Czech Republic
Ring pricing and packages
When purchasing a security system, here are the key costs to consider:
- Equipment costs: Ring’s alarm system packages start at $199 for a five-piece and range to $589 for a 20-piece kit. You can also buy items a la carte.
- Installation costs: Ring does not charge an installation fee
- Monthly costs: Monitoring is optional; you can do it yourself. But if you want Ring to take care of monitoring, you’ll pay $10 a month or $100 for a year. Although Ring doesn’t sell its cameras as part of its alarm system kits, if you’ve purchased Ring branded cameras, you can get camera coverage under the same monitoring plan.
- Activation fee: Some security system companies charge activation fees. Ring does not.
You can purchase equipment from Ring a la carte. Here are the a la carte prices:
|Item||$ / unit|
|Door / Window Sensor||$20|
|Outdoor HD Camera||$199+|
|HD Doorbell Camera||$99+|
|Keyless Door Lock||$139.99+|
|Garage Door Tilt Sensor||$29|
For renters and homeowners who aren’t looking to make a major investment or sign a long-term monitoring contract, Ring is a solid choice. It may not have the fanciest bells and whistles, but hardware and monitoring are inexpensive when compared to other companies, and the customer service is top notch. Being able to choose your own hardware via a la carte options is especially attractive.
When shopping for a security system, you have a few basic options:
- A large, national player like ADT or Vivint. Depending upon the time of year, you would likely get a lower price at ADT. However, you would be locked into a long-term contract.
- A medium-sized, local player. You get local service, but again you face contracts.
- A national, low-cost company that offers DIY products like Ring: You may not get the fancy touchscreens and installation that comes with hiring a traditional security company, but you retain a lot more control over your home security.