Ring Video Doorbell Review

The Ring Video Doorbell is one of the better DIY, standalone doorbell cams we’ve seen.

The Ring Video Doorbell is one of the better DIY, standalone doorbell cams we’ve seen.
Overall Rating4 out of 5
DIY install and setup
Easy monitoring via mobile app
Clunky design

Ring Video Doorbell overview:

Ring Video DoorbellRing Video Doorbell 2Ring Video Doorbell ProRing Video Doorbell Elite
Price$99.99$199$249$499
Resolution720p1080p1080p1080p
Field of vision180°160°160°160°
Battery typeRechargeable or hardwiredRechargeable or hardwiredHardwiredHardwired
Installation typeDIYDIYDIYProfessional
Learn moreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Price
Resolution
Field of vision
Battery type
Installation type
Learn more
Ring Video Doorbell Ring Video Doorbell 2 Ring Video Doorbell Pro Ring Video Doorbell Elite
$99.99 $199 $249 $499
720p 1080p 1080p 1080p
180° 160° 160° 160°
Rechargeable or hardwired Rechargeable or hardwired Hardwired Hardwired
DIY DIY DIY Professional
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

From porch pirates to door-to-door salespeople, there’s now more reason than ever to keep tabs on your front door. If you’re like us and want to take a peek at what’s happening on your front stoop without having to open the door, the Ring Video Doorbell is worth another look.

The cheapest option out of four available on the Ring site, the Ring Video Doorbell rings in at $99.99 (pun intended). Even so, it comes chock-full of features like two-way audio, a video resolution of 720p, night vision, a 180-degree field of view, and adjustable motion sensors.

Though it’s not the perfect solution, the Ring Video Doorbell is one of our faves for many reasons, which we’ll cover in this review.

How the Ring Video Doorbell works

The Ring is (almost) always DIY installation with self-monitoring through a mobile app.

Ring currently has four video doorbells on the market. While the original is the cheapest (and the focus of our review), it’s also the clunkiest. The Ring Video Doorbell has a boxy design that sticks out pretty far from the siding of our tester house and doesn’t look as sleek as something like the Vivint Doorbell Camera.

We like the streamlined look of the Ring Pro and the flush profile of the Ring Elite, but be aware that you’ll be paying significantly more to get a video doorbell with a better aesthetic.

Ring Video Doorbell model details

Ring Video DoorbellRing Video Doorbell 2Ring Video Doorbell ProRing Video Doorbell Elite
Price$99.99$199$249$499
Resolution720p1080p1080p1080p
Field of vision180°160°160°160°
Battery typeRechargeable or hardwiredRechargeable or hardwiredHardwiredHardwired
Installation typeDIYDIYDIYProfessional
Learn moreView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Price
Resolution
Field of vision
Battery type
Installation type
Learn more
Ring Video Doorbell Ring Video Doorbell 2 Ring Video Doorbell Pro Ring Video Doorbell Elite
$99.99 $199 $249 $499
720p 1080p 1080p 1080p
180° 160° 160° 160°
Rechargeable or hardwired Rechargeable or hardwired Hardwired Hardwired
DIY DIY DIY Professional
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Ring Video Doorbell installation

One thing we have to give Ring: ordering and installation are super easy overall. You order the doorbell camera you want online, and it arrives in a compact box with the doorbell cam itself and almost everything you need to install it. You’ll need your own drill if your wall is brick or concrete.

If you do have a masonry or brick wall, you will need to drill four holes for anchors. (Ring does give you the proper drill bit.) But if you have wood or siding where you want to put the Ring, you’re good to go—no drilling required.

Included Ring installation tools:

  • Charging cable
  • Screwdriver bit and drill bit
  • Mounting bracket
  • Screws and anchors
  • Level (mini)

Ring has setup guides and installation videos for all of its products, including all its Video Doorbells. The videos are easy to watch and make it clear what goes where.

And yes, the Ring works as a regular doorbell, even without its camera function. There are a few types of chime the Ring can’t work with (check the list here), in which case you can use Ring’s external chime that lets you receive alerts anywhere in your house.

Ring also offers the Ring Chime Pro, which combines a chime with a Wi-Fi extender.

Light Bulb icon Light Bulb icon

Voltage tip

Voltage tip

The Ring Video Doorbell requires a voltage of 8–24 VAC. If you get the Ring VIdeo Doorbell Pro, it’s 16–24 VAC. Especially if you live in an old house, use a voltage tester to check your power before installing the Ring.

Installation recommendations

Ring lets you use a rechargeable battery for both the Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Video Doorbell 2 models, but we don’t recommend it. If you have the option to hardwire your video doorbell, do it.

If you opt for the rechargeable battery, you have to either disable the device every time it needs a charge or buy an extra battery. The battery is also a pain in the you-know-what to get out. Ring uses special screws that require a specific screwdriver head to remove. It comes in the package with the camera, but even so, you have to track down that one specific screwdriver every time you need to remove the cam.

We appreciate the anti-theft feature, but it makes dealing with a rechargeable battery a hassle. Hardwiring is more reliable and all-around easier. Do it if you can.

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Tip

Tip

You can’t view a live feed of your Ring Video Doorbell unless you hardwire it—otherwise, you’ll only receive motion-triggered snapshots. One more reason not to go the battery route.

Ring Video Doorbell monitoring

Once you have the camera installed, you monitor the feed yourself through the Ring app on your smartphone. The camera will send push notifications to your phone whenever its motion detectors are set off and it senses someone on or approaching your doorstep.

We were pretty impressed with Ring’s 180-degree field of vision. We positioned our Ring camera on the sidewall of a hall-like entryway, and we still had a full view of the entryway. We couldn’t sneak up from the side without triggering the camera even when we tried.

We were pretty impressed with Ring’s 180-degree field of vision.

Once you buy the Ring, the mobile app is free, which is great. If you get your doorbell camera through a traditional security provider like Vivint or ADT Pulse, you need to keep paying for their monitoring services to have access to the app—regardless of whether or not you’ve paid off the hardware.

Considering a doorbell camera is useless without mobile app monitoring, we like that Ring makes its app accessible.

Ring Video Doorbell user experience

Our main beef with the Ring Video Doorbell is its aesthetic. Functionally, it’s pretty good, and we like the app.

Once we paired the Ring Video Doorbell with our smartphone and installed it, we were good to go. We were also pleased to discover you have essentially unlimited shared users, and it’s easy to add them—you just need their email address.

If you live in a house with a bunch of roommates, you don’t have to designate one person to watch everyone’s Amazon deliveries arrive. Everyone can access the camera, get alerts, and talk to people on the porch.

Additional Ring app features

All Ring Video Doorbell cameras have motion detection, and all of them let you customize how far you want the motion detection to reach. You don’t need a push notification every time a kid rides a bike down the sidewalk in front of your house, but you do want to know when the UPS guy drops off a package.

Ring lets you select motion detection zones, which make it pretty easy to limit how far your motion detection reaches. Maybe you do want to know about every kid on a tricycle who might trample your lawn. You do you.

If you opt for the RIng Video Doorbell Pro or Elite, you can actually draw the zones yourself instead of selecting preset ones.

Playing around with the RIng app, we discovered it also has a “location” feature. Here, you can see posts from other people in your neighborhood with RIng Video Doorbells, so if there’s a rash of package thievery or car break-ins, you’ll know about it.

We thought we lived in a pretty safe neighborhood, so we were surprised to see how many of our neighbors had packages stolen or witnessed people checking for unlocked doors on cars. No more leaving wallets in our glove boxes for us.

Ring Video Doorbell camera quality

Ring image and audio quality were both decent. Not amazing, crystal-clear, feel-like-you’re-right-next-to-me awesome, but decent. We could hear and see everyone who came on the porch, which is what matters. And, of course, one of the best things about any (good) video doorbell is that you can talk to visitors.

You can welcome your kids home from school or tell the postal worker to leave a package at the side door instead of on the porch.

We have heard the Ring can be a little slow at snapping motion-triggered images if your Wi-Fi speed isn’t up to snuff. If your signal is weak, you tend to get images of people leaving your porch, rather than arriving, which makes the doorbell cam a bit pointless.

You might be able to take steps to speed up your Wi-Fi, but if all else fails and you still want a doorbell cam, you may have to consider getting a faster internet provider.

Ring recommends an internet speed of at least 1 Mbps for best results. Quite frankly, we’d go a bit higher considering your housemates or family members will probably be watching multiple streams of Netflix at the same time your doorbell cam is trying to function.

If your internet is fast enough but your signal doesn’t quite reach the porch, you can get a simple range extender like this one, or go for the Ring Chime Pro we mentioned earlier.

Ring Video Doorbell integrations

Ring Video Doorbells don’t integrate with too many products right now, which is a bit of a shame. You can add the RIng as a “skill” to your Echo Show with the Amazon Alexa app. But you can’t use the Echo Show to talk through the Ring, so you’d still have to hunt down your phone if you wanted to speak to a visitor without opening the door.

Ring is making some forays into the home security field, and the Ring Video Doorbell does work as an integrated part of Ring’s overall security system. But as far as third-party devices go, Ring has a short list.

Ring Video Doorbell pricing

You pay for the doorbell and that’s it—unless you add cloud storage. 

Because you order online and install it yourself, the Ring Video Doorbell’s pricing is up-front and transparent. You pay for the device and that’s it—unless you want to add on a Protect plan.

You don’t have to subscribe to a Protect plan to use the Ring doorbell, but you do if you want to record any footage or save videos to the cloud—meaning that unless you plan to review your videos once and only once, you might want a plan.

Luckily, Ring plans are cheap. And if you pay annually instead of monthly, they’re even cheaper.

Protect Basic PlanProtect Plus Plan
Monthly price$3$10
Annual price$30$100
Cloud storageYesYes
Video reviewYesYes
Video sharingYesYes
Exclusive discountsNone10% off other Ring devices
Lifetime warrantyNoYes
Works with Ring base stationNoYes
See CameraSee Camera

We recommend the Protect Basic plan for most people who just want to save some videos to review later. At $3 per month, it’s about as cheap as it gets, and you save $6 if you pay annually instead.

The Protect Plus plan works best for people who want to add other Ring devices to their system. Not only do you get a 10% discount on any other Ring devices you want to buy (other cameras, security equipment, etc.), but you also get unlimited cameras.

If you’re a landlord who uses Ring cameras on your properties or you just want to turn your house into a Ring camera fortress, the Protect Plus plan is the way to go. And if you intend to keep the plan indefinitely, then we recommend paying annually. You save $20 that way.

Similar products

If the Ring Video Doorbell doesn’t feel like your jam, these products might work better for you.

We think Ring’s doorbell cameras work best for people who want an easy DIY, self-monitored option they can set and forget. Ring equipment also works well for renters who perhaps can’t hardwire their doorbells or need to take them with them when they move frequently.

If that doesn’t sound like you, one of Ring’s competitors might better suit your needs.

Vivint doorbell camera

Vivint’s doorbell camera is very similar to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, but you don’t have to do anything yourself. Vivint’s doorbell camera is part of Vivint’s smart home security system, so you get it as part of a complete security set.

Like Ring, Vivint’s doorbell camera lets you see and talk to anyone who comes up to your house. Plus, paired with Vivint’s smart locks, you can even lock and unlock doors from your phone. So when your kids come home from school, you can let them in the house and lock the door behind them—no matter where you are.

Vivint doorbell is best for these consumers:

  • Those who want a larger professionally monitored security system along with their doorbell cam
  • Those who want a holistic smart home system that includes a doorbell camera

Nest Hello

The Nest Hello is very similar to the Ring Video Doorbell, but Nest gives you even more devices to protect your home. Nest has been known for its learning thermostat and security cameras for a long time—now the Nest Hello completes the package.

You will pay more for the Nest Hello than you would the Ring Video Doorbell. But at $229, Nest Hello is priced right between the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.

Don’t forget—if you want to get the most out of your Nest devices, you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription plan. But if you already have some Nest tech (and already have a Nest Aware plan) then the Nest Hello is an easy addition to your existing system.

Nest Hello is best for these consumers:

  • Those who already have Nest equipment and want to add to their existing system
  • Those who like the idea of a DIY doorbell cam but who dislike Ring’s design

August Doorbell Cam

If you already have an August smart lock, then this doorbell cam is an easy yes. The August Doorbell Cam integrates with August smart lock so you can control everything from a single screen.

We also like that the August Doorbell Cam Pro model has a built-in floodlight. Infrared night vision is cool, but floodlights work well to scare away unwanted intruders and this way you still get full color footage at night.

You can see more details about the August Doorbell Cam on Amazon.

August Doorbell Cam is best for these consumers:

  • Those who already have August smart locks and want an integrated doorbell
  • Those who want their locks and their doorbell to work together, but who don’t want to invest in a full-fledged security system

The bottom line

The Ring Video Doorbell is a solid DIY option for those who don’t want a fully monitored security plan.

We liked the Ring’s original doorbell camera overall, even with its boxy design. We recommend hardwiring the camera so you can watch live feeds and don’t have to recharge a battery, and we think the Protect Basic plan is a good idea if you want to store any footage your camera captures.

We’re interested to see where Ring’s other security equipment goes and how the Ring Video Doorbell fits into a holistic security system. In the meantime, the Ring Video Doorbell is a good option if you just want to see who’s on your porch.

See full Ring Video Doorbell camera options on Amazon.

  • ar

    Please be advised that ring products record streaming only for 2 months then they charge you 30 dollars per device. ..so really not worth it…they do not mention that on sale…to be fair the video quality is very good but battery is not as they say…easy to install but not worth it as a system ..you can’t link it to smart home systems and it does shut off a even before it gets to -20 degrees. ..was a disappointment

  • sandy havlen

    I’ve had my ring for 2 months worked great at first now can’t get the app to work no response from Ring. they also want us to pay $30 dollars to record information no one or anywhere in the information does it say you have to do this. not worth the money, now it sits in the box

  • MR

    Well, I have not had any problems. This product works as advertised. Video freezes up occasionally but recovers quickly. I did move my router inside the house and went from -61 to -48. Camera resolution is acceptable and the IR emitters work well up to about 20 feet at night. Customer service is good (at least the one time I called them). I recommend this product. ADT installed our system and stand behind their work.

  • DoneWithYouTrolls

    This has to be some of the worst customer service I have ever experienced. The web site is very slick, and the pre-sales information is very well prepared. The product does not work, and my Wi-Fi extender (that I bought just for this purpose) didn’t even get a usable signal from 15 feet away with no obstructions. So, after long chats (and waiting a LONG time to get someone on chat in the first place), I convinced them after several conversations to give me a refund… which never came. Three weeks after they received the product back, there was no refund. I went on chat to find out why, and TWO HOURS of chatting later (after their chat system kicked me out for inactivity while THEY looked up my information), they say a refund was issued, but refused to provide any email documentation stating such. This is absolutely unacceptable. I wish I had come to this site to look at these reviews before I wasted time and money on a product that doesn’t work, and which is supported by an incompetent support staff. RUN AWAY from this company! They pretty much stole $500 from me!