Ring Doorbell, Cameras, and Home Security Review
Michael here. This post is way overdue, but I’m glad to finally get it up for y’all. Full disclosure, we were not paid for this post. Ring did send us the product, but my review is not influenced by this. Be sure to check out the end of the post for $30 off any device purchase!
We’ve had a Ring alarm and camera system for several months and have LOVED it. Given Lauren’s job and with the arrival of Shiloh, I wanted to make sure that our house was protected. You never know about the crazies out there…
I was originally drawn to Ring for their Video Doorbell. Lauren gets a lot of packages, so it would be nice to see who delivers those and make sure that no one else walks off with them. We got the Video Doorbell Pro since it’s wired in. I’ve heard great things about the Video Doorbell and the Video Doorbell 2, but those require batteries and I just didn’t want to have to deal with that. If you have an existing doorbell that’s wired in, you should be able to use the Video Doorbell Pro. With any of their doorbells, you can decide to get notifications for ring alerts (when someone actually rings the doorbell) and/or when the doorbell senses motion. Your phone and even watch will get notifications when these activities occur. You can also snooze these alerts if you want to. This has been handy when I’ve had workers coming in and out of the front door. So now that the doorbell is installed, what about the functionality and quality?
The camera on this doorbell is incredible. I have clear images both day and night in 1080p. Our porch extends significantly to the left of our door. You can log into your app and view previous events (motion or doorbell rings) as well as pulling up a live feed of the camera. Within the live feed you can even talk to the person at the front door. We had a hospital visit recently that extended longer than was expected. I had a contractor ring the doorbell while we were still at the hospital and I was able to connect in and tell him that we would be home in 10 minutes. What a neat feature!
I was having trouble viewing people coming up the left side of our porch for this reason. Ring sells a Corner Kit as well as a Wedge Kit should you need them. It would have been nice if these were included, but they’re only $20 so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I can now see the entire front porch.
The doorbell connects to your existing doorbell chime inside with an included kit. The installation is extremely simple and only requires a screwdriver. Our house is taller than it is wide, so I was having trouble hearing the doorbell from different floors (this was true even before we had the new doorbell). Ring sells something called a Chime and Chime Pro to solve this problem. The Chime simply plugs into a wall and rings whenever the doorbell rings. It will also ring if you have motion settings turned on on it. The Chime Pro does everything the Chime does, but it also extends your WiFi network to other Ring devices if they’re far away from your router. I use a Chime Pro in my garage to extend signal to my security camera in the alley. What’s really nice about these is that you can silence them individually. Once Shiloh arrived, we have silenced the Chime on our second floor where her nursery is. I don’t have to worry about anyone ringing the doorbell and waking her up. This is extremely clutch.
Speaking of the camera in the alley, I went with a Spotlight Cam. The features on the Spotlight Cam are pretty similar to those on the Doorbell. All Ring devices offer two-way talk, motion detection, and can be accessed through the Ring app. The main differences between each device is how it’s powered. The Spotlight Cam features two lights on each side of it that light up at night if it detects motion. This is great for getting a good shot of anyone who steps onto your property. It also alerts them that they’re on camera. You can also turn this feature off if you want the camera on a patio or somewhere where you’ll be hanging out at night. I didn’t have an outlet on the outside of my house where the camera is located and I didn’t want to deal with changing batteries, so I attached a Solar Panel to be able to forget about charging it. It’s been up for several months and I’ve never had to worry about it. (You can actually buy a Spotlight Cam with a Solar Panel for $20 less than buying them individually.)
Something important to note here, if you choose ANY Ring product and it’s wired/plugged in, you will be able to draw a zone in which you want the camera to monitor. Both wired and battery/solar devices allow you to control motion sensitivity though . So if you don’t want to get a notification every time a dog steps in your yard, you don’t have to. The app also gives you the option to control distance and zones (left, right, and center), but it’s mostly a guess as to where the area stops (See image below). This is kind of a bummer since my driveway is pretty short and I don’t want to get notifications of every car driving down the alley. Because of this, I don’t get a notification until people are right up next to my house, sometimes not even getting a picture of their faces. I might try lowering my camera to see if that helps. You can also set motion schedules. Maybe you only want notifications during the day or night, you can set specific times and days that the cameras send you notifications.
I recently got the new Stick Up Cam for my backyard. This one is a plug-in version so I can draw the boundaries of where I want it to monitor. It also gives me the ability to activate a siren from the app if I want to scare someone off (This is also available on other camera models). Unlike the Spotlight Cam, the Stick Up Cam doesn’t have any lights on it. I have a light that turns on in my backyard at night, so this feature wasn’t important to me. The nice thing about the Stick Up Cam is that it can be an indoor or outdoor camera. I personally haven’t gotten to a point where I want cameras inside my house, but should I ever decide to, the Stick Up Camera would be a great option.
Concerning the inside, I went with the Ring Security System for my doors and windows. This acts like just about any other home security system. You put Contact Sensors on each door and window that you want to monitor and when those are tripped, the alarm goes off. What’s nice, however, is that I can set my alarm to home, away, or off from the app… from anywhere. There have been times that we left the house and I forgot to set the alarm. I just pull up my app and arm the system.
The system is extremely customizable. Each door, window, and motion sensor is labeled in my app. I can turn off and on certain devices should I not want them to be monitored. I can also check their history. This would be convenient if you have teenagers that claim they were in by midnight when it might have actually been closer to 1. Glad my parents didn’t have this when I was in high school…
The number 1 reason why I was interested in the Ring Security System was because you don’t have to pay for monitoring. I mostly wanted a system that I could monitor myself, and this system lets you do that.
Ring also integrates with Alexa. If you have an Echo Show or any Fire TV, you can pull up the feed from any of your cameras. We used this feature on Halloween to see when kids were coming and try and beat them to the door (Shiloh was just a couple of days old and was downstairs with us). You can also ask Alexa to arm your Ring system when you walk out of the house. I imagine there are some great IFTT integrations as well. I haven’t explored those yet though. Alexa now has a new feature called Alexa Guard. You can set Alexa Guard to away mode and your echo devices will listen for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms going off. It also listens for glass breaking and notifies you if any of these are detected. This is a great feature to pair with your Ring Security System.
The smart home integration that I haven’t heard anything about yet is integration with a smart doorknob. I would love for my Ring Security System to disarm automatically should the smart doorknob be unlocked. Then if it the smart doorknob is locked again, the security system would automatically be armed again. This feature would be great for neighbors coming over to feed the dog, move packages inside, etc. If you know anything about this that I don’t, please say so in the comments!
Lastly, Ring is really pushing their “Neighbors” feature. Within the app, you can view videos that neighbors in your area have posted of incidents they’ve had. You can also publish your videos should you need to. This is a great way to alert everyone around you of suspicious activity around your house.
Overall I’ve loved every piece from Ring. The video quality, customization, easy setup and user interface are all tremendous. They also have an amazing customer service. The chat support on www.ring.com is a great feature that I’ve utilized several times for customer and tech support. Their team is extremely knowledgeable, quick, and friendly.
Other products Ring offers that I haven’t personally tried out are listed below.
- Video Doorbell 2 – Battery powered doorbell. Great if you don’t have an opportunity to wire it in. Also great if you need a second doorbell for a side or back door.
- Floodlight Cam – Similar to Spotlight Cam, but with Floodlights.
- Flood and Freeze Sensor
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Sensor
- Dome Siren
Be sure to check out www.Ring.com/collections/offers to view current discounts and bundles. As stated above, Ring has extended $30 off to LKS followers through 1/31/19 if you use the code: LAUREN30
Leave your comments below on your experience with Ring products! Also let me know if I’ve missed anything!
*I haven’t tried out Nest or any other doorbell/security system, so I don’t have any information on how Ring compares to other competitors.