Ring vs. Nest

Choosing between Ring and Nest for your home security and/or smart home features? The two companies seem very similar, but there are some things you should know before you make your pick.

Nest may be best known as the creator of the smart thermostat that changed the way we heat and cool our homes. But since the company was acquired by Google, it has expanded to offer customers a full array of home security equipment dubbed Nest Secure. It’s a full DIY alarm system that has customizable options, including professional monitoring. While Nest is on the pricey side for a DIY system, it is a great choice for anyone looking for a great service without getting locked into a contract.

Ring similarly began as a company offering a revolutionary home accessory; the smart doorbell. Like Nest, it has also expanded to offer a full home security system complete with professional monitoring called Ring Alarm Security System. Add in smart home options at a relatively low price, and Ring has become an ideal option for DIYers on a budget, all while the Ring video doorbell remains incredibly popular.

When deciding Ring vs. Nest, you should weigh different factors like cost, equipment and customization. The right system for you is the one that suits your home and security needs best. Consider what these companies have in common, their differences and each of their pros and cons.

Ring and Nest: What do they have in common?

  • Smart home features: Both Ring and Nest have many options if you’re looking to create your own smart home ecosystem. Whether you’re in the market for a video doorbell or smart smoke detectors, there’s an option with both companies.
  • Mobile app: Both Ring’s and Nest’s apps have mediocre ratings in both app stores. But both offer a way for users to control their home security from a smartphone.
  • Video monitoring: Both Ring and Nest offer indoor and outdoor security cameras along with doorbell video cameras. Both also have high-quality video doorbells.
  • No activation fee: Neither company charges activation fees like some larger traditional home security companies, so you won’t have to worry about that upfront cost.
  • Professional monitoring: Both Ring Alarm and Nest Secure allow you the choice of having professional security monitoring or not. If you’re comfortable keeping an eye on things yourself, you can save some money. But if you’d rather have a pro available to call emergency services for you in event of an emergency, you can pay a monthly fee for that.
  • Contract option: Both companies allow customers to steer clear from contracts. However, in order to offset equipment costs, you can sign a 3-year contract to make monthly payments.
  • Simple installation: Both Ring and Nest security systems allow for simple, DIY installation that can have you set up in an hour or less.

Ring and Nest: What are the differences?

  • Price range: When it comes to DIY home security, Nest is more expensive than the competition. Ring provides an incredible option at a much lower price if you’re looking to cut costs.
  • Recording options: Nest provides continuous video recording, while Ring only allows users to save video that has been recorded by a motion triggered event. While it does cost more money for monitoring, it may be worth it to get Nest if you are interested in continuous video recording options.
  • Installation: It’s important to note that both companies give you the option to install security and smart home equipment yourself. Nest does offer customers the option of professional installation, which could make a big difference if you aren’t comfortable with DIY projects.
  • Alexa vs. Google Home: If you have a strong preference when it comes to voice assistants, that might make your decision easier. Ring works seamlessly with Alexa. Nest, which is owned by Google, works well with Google Assistant. Although Nest also has some Alexa capabilities, you will not be able to arm your Nest security system with Alexa.

Ring Alarm Security System: What you need to know

Although Ring might be synonymous with the revolutionary video doorbell, the company offers a lot more than video doorbells when it comes to protecting your home. An Alarm Security Kit comes equipped with a base station, keypad and contact and motion sensors. You can add on features like cameras, a video doorbell, smart locks and more. Because Ring is owned by Amazon, it works seamlessly with Alexa, so customers can incorporate a range of smart home options. You can also opt for professional security monitoring if you choose. This is widely considered one of the best budget options in DIY home security.

Ring Pros

  • Price: For the quality of the system, Ring has a great price tag. A starter system is priced right under $200, which is significantly less than Nest. Even Ring’s doorbell is less expensive than Nest’s option. When comparing Nest Hello vs Ring, Ring’s option comes in over $100 cheaper for the starter doorbell.
  • Easy installation: Ring’s installation gets high marks from customers. The entire system setup reportedly takes under an hour.
  • No contracts: If you don’t want to get stuck in a long-term contract, Ring is a great choice because the company does not require customers to sign a contract.

Ring Cons

  • Unimpressive control pad: Some of the DIY companies out there offer some sleek control pads, and even tablets to control the system. If you’re looking for something high tech, you’ll be disappointed with this fairly basic control pad from Ring.
  • Sensor glitches: Online reviews signal a problem with glitchy sensors with the Ring system. The only good news is, there’s great customer service if you need to give them a call.
  • Stickers and yard signs not included: You're probably used to getting a yard sign or sticker decal for free with a starter security kit. But Ring only sells these if you want to add them to your yard.

Check out our full Ring Home Alarm review

Nest Secure: What you need to know

If you’re a Google Home fan, Nest might be an ideal choice for your home. After it was acquired by Google, Nest has turned into a more robust smart home company, adding doorbell cameras, smoke detectors and the Nest Secure alarm system to its popular smart home thermostat.

Although it’s more expensive than your average DIY home security system, Nest does offer some impressive features including continuous video recording, facial features and environmental monitoring. It may be worth the extra monthly cost if you’re looking to beef up your home automation options.

Nest Pros

  • Customization: Customers can buy Nest Secure and its features a la cart or purchase a bundle of products that fits the needs of their home. From a starter kit to a robust system complete with a video doorbell and environmental monitoring, there are many choices to fit just about any size home.
  • Easy install: Because Nest is Wi-Fi based, it’s generally pretty simple to install. But if DIY isn’t your cup of tea, you can opt for professional installation instead.
  • Design: Other than being aesthetically pleasing, Nest also has smartly designed products. For example, the smoke detector provides a “pathway” light that gently illuminates a room in the middle of the night. That way, you don’t trip when you’re up to grab a drink from the fridge.

Nest Cons

  • Price: A basic Nest Secure alarm system rings in around $400, which is higher than Ring Alarm and most other DIY companies. Even the doorbell is more expensive than Ring. Nest Hello vs. Ring Pro is a great example: Nest’s doorbell is the same price as Ring’s highest tier doorbell option. Ring offers other video doorbells at about half the price.
  • Limited monitoring services: While Nest does provide professional monitoring, there is a gap in its coverage. There is no professional monitoring for environmental monitoring, like its smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. So if those detectors go off, authorities will not automatically be called.

Read our full Nest Secure review

Ring or Nest? The bottom line

SecurityNerd chooses Nest Secure over Ring Alarm, thanks to its more elevated features and robust smart home integration options. Although the Nest security system is more expensive, we think it’s worth the extra money. However, both companies offer strong customization options and simple installation along with great customer service. You really can’t go wrong with either of them.

It’s also important to remember Alexa is compatible with Ring, while Google Assistant is compatible with Nest. If you’re on a budget and looking for a solid security system, Ring will provide what you need without breaking the bank.

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This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Participation in these programs helps us keep the site up, and to continue to help you find great products. Our editorial process is in no way impacted by partnerships.