Ring Alarm Security System Review 2021

Ring’s answer to DIY home security redefines affordable, but does it have all the features you need?

Ring
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • Check
    Low-priced starter equipment
  • Check
    Cheap monthly monitoring
  • X
    Lack of smart home integrations
Mindy Woodall
Managing Editor, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
Edited By Jessica Brooksby
Published on November 22, 2021
7 min read

Ring’s been making doorbell cameras since before they were cool, and its Ring Video Doorbell has long been one of our favorites. But what about security for the rest of your house?

As of 2018, Ring has a full security system on offer for people who want to go beyond the doorbell. But the new system is still having some growing pains—namely, customer service.

Even so, Ring's ultra-affordable, easy-to-use equipment is a compelling DIY home security option.

Ring Alarm plans and pricing overview
Plan
Professional monitoring price
Contract
Home automation integrations
Learn more

$3/mo. OR $30/yr.

No contract

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Z-Wave

$10/mo. OR $100/yr.

No contract

Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Z-Wave

Data effective 11/15/2021. Offers subject to change.

We love Ring’s low equipment and monitoring prices, but we expect more smart home integrations from it than the system currently has. Right now, popular devices like Philips Hue lights and Nest thermostats don't fit in with the Ring Alarm system.

We hope more integrations are on the horizon. But until they get here, this isn’t quite the one Ring to rule them all.

Is Ring Alarm right for you?

The Ring Alarm security system is perfect for you if you like the idea of low priced professional monitoring with your fairly-priced security cameras. 

This home security system also provides video with clear 1080p resolution and 60-day cloud storage. Ring Alarm is also easy to install yourself. 

Pros
  • Ring Alarm has low-priced starter equipment.
  • It has inexpensive monthly monitoring.
  • Ring is easy to install by yourself.
Cons
  • Ring Alarm doesn't have a key fob.
  • Ring has basic and standard features, but that might not be a bad thing with the low cost.

Ring Alarm monitoring and pricing

Ring’s monthly monitoring price is the lowest we’ve seen

Professional monitoring is the gold standard for home security systems. It means there’s a 24/7 team of people whose whole job is to watch your security system and call the police if any creeps come to call.

That service is often pretty pricey—we’ve seen professional monitoring plans that cost as much as $59.99 per month. But Ring’s system gives you a monitoring plan that won’t cost half your kid’s college fund.

Ring Alarm monitoring plan
Plan
Price
Contract length
# of camera support
Learn more

$3/mo. OR $30/yr.

No contract

One

$10/mo. OR $100/yr.

No contract

Unlimited

Data effective 11/15/2021. Offers subject to change.

We haven’t seen any other security company offer professional monitoring for this cheap. And if you opt for Ring’s annual plan, then it costs even less.

We recommend Ring's Protect Plus plan

If you already have some Ring cameras, then you might already have a Protect Plus plan. If so, you can add monitoring for your Ring Alarm system to your existing plan. The Protect Plus price stays the same, and you still get all those Protect Plus camera features.

Ring Protect Plus security camera features:

  • Support for unlimited Ring cameras at your address
  • Cloud storage for up to 60 days
  • Option to download footage from your Ring cameras
  • Extended warranties on all the Ring devices at your house
  • 10% discount on some other Ring products

Ring Alarm technology and equipment

Ring’s equipment is pretty basic, but it gets the job done.

Ring kept its actual security equipment pretty simple. It functions much the same way a SimpliSafe system does, with a single hub that communicates with all the various sensors, and a keypad you use to arm and disarm the system.

Ring Alarm control pad and sensors staged in a group

Source: Ring

Ring’s base station can either run off your Wi-Fi network or off an Ethernet cord you plug into your internet router. The base station also has cellular back-up so your security system will stay up and running even if your power goes out.

Pro tip
Light Bulb

If your internet router is somewhere out of the way, like in your basement or garage, then let the base station run off Wi-Fi and keep it out in the open. The Ring Alarm’s siren is in the base station, and you want it to be somewhere an intruder will hear it.

Ring Alarm motion sensors

Ring has a pretty standard array of sensors. You’ll find regular entry sensors and motion detectors, along with a smattering of environmental sensors like flood sensors. You can also get other Ring-branded pieces of equipment, like sirens, keypads, and smartbulbs.

Some of this equipment can be bought in an alarm kit, while some must be bought separately. And we don’t show some equipment here (like the Ring slim magnets and open window magnets) because you can only buy them directly from Ring.

Ring Alarm basic equipment and prices
Equipment
Learn more

Entry sensor

Motion sensor

Flood/freeze sensor

Smoke/CO listener

First Alert Z-Wave smoke/CO alarm

Ecolink garage door tilt sensor

Extra keypad

Range extender

Panic button

A19 Smart LED Bulb

PAR38 Smart LED Bulb

Pathlight

Smart Lighting Bridge

Transformer

Ring doesn’t have its own smoke and CO alarms (yet), but it does offer an option from First Alert. Ring also has a fire/carbon monoxide “listener.”

The listener is a little device you put next to your existing smoke and CO alarms and it’ll alert you through the Ring app if it hears them go off. Not a bad solution if you don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash to swap your existing alarms for “smart” ones.

Notice something missing?
Heads Up

Ring Alarm doesn’t have a key fob yet. Key fobs make it easier to arm and disarm your system without pulling out your phone or typing in a code, and most DIY security systems offer them.

Ring Cameras

If there’s one thing Ring has, it’s security cameras. You’ve probably heard of Ring’s Video Doorbell, but that’s not the only digital eye it has on offer.

Ring camera models
Camera name
Indoor or outdoor
Battery, wired, or solar
Resolution
Learn more

Video Doorbell

Outdoor

Battery

1080p

Video Doorbell 2

Outdoor

Battery or wired

1080p

Video Doorbell 3

Outdoor

Battery or wired

1080p

Video Doorbell Pro

Outdoor

Wired

1080p

Video Doorbell Elite

Outdoor

Wired

1080p

Peephole Cam

Outdoor

Battery

1080p

Spotlight Cam

Outdoor

Battery, wired, or solar

1080p

Floodlight Cam

Outdoor

Wired

1080p

Stick Up Cam

Indoor or outdoor

Battery, wired, or solar

1080p

Indoor Cam

Indoor

Wired

1080p

Data effective 11/15/2021. Offers subject to change.

All Ring’s cameras record in HD, and if you want options, Ring’s got ‘em. Many of Ring’s outdoor cameras (not counting the doorbell cams) come in battery-powered, hardwired, or even solar-powered models. For instance, you can buy the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery or the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired. Just make sure to choose the right one when buying.

Ring’s also the only company we’ve seen offer a “peephole camera.” Ring’s Peephole Cam is still brand spankin’ new, and it’s basically a video doorbell for the non-doorbell-havers among us.

Instead of replacing your doorbell, the Peephole Cam covers your existing peephole and gives you a motion-triggered camera at your front door so you can see and talk to visitors from your phone.

Video E2EE
Email

Ring has taken a lot of criticism for lack of privacy. Would-be users have long been concerned about law enforcement or Ring employees accessing video without their permission. But in summer 2021, Ring finally rolled out end-to-end encryption for its videos (Video E2EE). When you turn on this feature, no one will be able to view your videos without a key sent only to your mobile device. Just know that if you choose to use Video E2EE, many of your Ring video features will be disabled.

Ring Alarm Installation

Just like Abode, Nest Secure, and SimpliSafe, Ring Alarm is super easy to install—and you do it all yourself. You basically just plug in the base station, turn on the sensors, then put the peel-and-stick sensors where you want them.

Ring Alarm uses 3M strips, so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing your wall paint if you need to pull off a sensor and re-adjust it.

Cool feature
Bullhorn

When Ring packs up your security system, it programs the sensors you’ve ordered to communicate with your specific base station. That means your equipment is already connected when it gets to you, which makes setup super fast and easy.

What's new from Ring in 2020?

Ring Alarm home automation

Ring works with several different protocols

Ring Alarm works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It also uses Z-Wave, which is one of the most popular home automation "languages" out there. That means you can add on a bunch of different Z-Wave compatible devices, even if Ring didn't make them.

Be aware though that third-party devices don't work as well with your Ring system if they're not "certified" to work with Ring. Works with Ring products include GE and Leviton lights and Schlage, Yale, and Kwikset locks. But if you're a Philips Hue lights or August smart lock user, you're out of luck.

Ring Alarm does work with IFTTT, so you can make other smart devices play nice with your Ring system. But we'd love to see Ring offer more robust support for third-party smart home stuff.

Ring Alarm customer experience

Just like its parent company, Amazon, the Ring experience is basically all online

If you’d rather die than ditch your Amazon Prime account and you prefer shopping online to going to a store, then Ring’s ordering process is perfect for you.

Just like most other DIY security systems, Ring Alarm lets you order everything online. Just pick the equipment package you want, subscribe to the monitoring plan (if you want to), and press Order.

If you need help with something, Ring has a bunch of resources on its website as well as support through Twitter and email. If you really want to, you can also call in.

How does Ring Alarm compare to other companies?

If you’d rather die than ditch your Amazon Prime account and you prefer shopping online to going to a store, then Ring’s ordering process is perfect for you.

Just like most other DIY security systems, Ring Alarm lets you order everything online. Just pick the equipment package you want, subscribe to the monitoring plan (if you want to), and press Order.

If you need help with something, Ring has a bunch of resources on its website as well as support through Twitter and email. If you really want to, you can also call in.

Ring Alarm pricing compared to other home security systems
Provider
Monitoring price
Base price
Details
Ring$3.00–$10.00/mo.$199.99
Vivint$29.99–$44.99/mo.$599.00
SimpliSafe$14.99–24.99/mo.$229.00
ADT$36.99–$62.99/mo.Equipment bundled with monitoring
Frontpoint$49.99/mo.$99.00

*Data effective 11/22/21.

Recap

Ring Alarm is a super-affordable spin on DIY home security, but it's not a perfect system (yet).

If you want an affordable DIY security system backed by professional monitoring (that doesn’t cost an absurd amount of money every month), then Ring Alarm is your friend.

It’s still a pretty new system, and it's still expanding its smart home integrations. But overall, we think Ring Alarm is one of the most compelling DIY systems out there—especially if you already use Ring cameras like its Video Doorbell.

  • Monitoring: Ring’s Protect Plus plan is the least expensive professional monitoring plan we’ve ever seen, and it supports cameras too.
  • Basic security equipment: Ring has a standard array of security and environmental sensors, although it uses a smoke/CO “listener" instead of its own smoke or carbon monoxide detector.
  • Cameras: Ring has a bunch of different HD camera options, and its doorbell cameras are some of our favorites. We’re also pretty excited about Ring’s new Peephole Cam.
  • Home automation integrations: Ring Alarm works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Z-Wave.
  • Installation: Ring Alarm is easy to install by yourself, and you don’t have to drill holes in your wall.
  • Customer experience: Ring’s customer experience is mostly online, but it does have 24/7 phone support if you need it.

Still not sure the Ring Alarm system is the right one for you? Check out our Best Home Security Systems review to compare more options.

Ring logo
Ring Alarm Security System
Ring Protect Basic: $3.00/mo. or $30.00/yr.

Ring Protect Plus: $10.00/mo. or $100.00/yr.

Methodology

We research, test, and compare home security systems based on these four categories:

  1. Price (for equipment and monitoring)
  2. Equipment quality and features
  3. Smart home integrations
  4. Customer experience

To decide if a home security system is worth it, we look at innovative technology, smart home integrations, reliable security sensors, and professional monitoring. We look for more than just basic contact sensors and a control panel; we want the full smart home plus security experience, with cost being a secondary factor to value.

We performed hands-on testing with the Ring alarm system, and we’re testing systems all the time to gain new insights.

FAQs

Can I use the Ring doorbell without a subscription?

Yes. Without a subscription, you'll still be able to view real-time video, and receive instant alerts, and you'll have two-way talk if you'd like to talk to the person at your front door without opening your door.

But if you choose to get a subscription, you'll receive 24/7 professional monitoring and video cloud storage that saves for 60 days for only $3 or $10 per month. 

Do Ring cameras record 24/7?

Yes, Ring cameras record 24/7 when you subscribe. You'll also get 24/7 professional monitoring to give you a little more sense of security. 

Mindy Woodall
Written by
Mindy Woodall
Mindy has been writing about technology for seven years. She covers all things smart home for Reviews.org, and keeps track of the latest robot gadgets. Mindy attended the University of Utah and her work has been featured on the likes of Parents.com, Digital Care, Hostfully, and more.

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  • Carmen Garrett

    Has there been any upgrades to the Ring Home Security System? I am planning on purchasing this DIY home security system and would like to know if there has been any improvements?