Ring Video Doorbell Review 2019

The Ring Video Doorbell is one of the better DIY, standalone doorbell cams we’ve seen.
Ring Pro
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
DIY installation
HD video
Clunky design

From porch pirates to door-to-door salespeople, there’s 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 step without having to open the door, the Ring Video Doorbell is worth another look.

The Ring Video Doorbell rings in at $99.99 (pun intended), which makes it the cheapest Ring doorbell on offer. Even at such a low price, it comes chock-full of features such as two-way communication, 720p resolution, night vision, a 180-degree field of view, and a motion sensor.

Though a single doorbell cam can’t replace a regular alarm system, the Ring Video Doorbell is one of our favorite security devices—plus it just makes your life a little easier.

How the Ring Video Doorbell works

The Ring has DIY installation and comes with self-monitoring through a mobile app.

Source: Reviews.org

Ring currently has four video doorbells on the market. While the original is the cheapest (and the star of this 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 the Vivint Doorbell Camera.

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

Ring Video Doorbell model details
Product detailsRing 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 DoorbellView DoorbellView DoorbellView Doorbell

Data effective 9/16/2019. Offers subject to change.

Ring Video Doorbell installation

One thing we have to give Ring: ordering and installation are super easy overall. You order the doorbell camera online, and it arrives in a compact box with the cam 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 concrete 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 with just a screwdriver—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 follow 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 chimes the Ring can’t work with (check the list of compatible chimes), in which case you can use Ring’s external chime that lets you receive a notification anywhere in your house.

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

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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

Source: Reviews.org

The Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Video Doorbell 2 can both work from battery packs—you don’t have to hardwire them. That said, we don’t recommend the battery packs because they’re a pain to track and recharge. If you can hardwire your video doorbell then do it.

If you do decide to use the battery then just remember you have to disable your Ring every time it needs a charge. (Or you can buy an extra battery.) The battery is also a pain in the butt to get out of the camera.

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Heads up
The Ring Video Doorbell’s battery life is about six months (or longer) depending on how much you use the cam. So at least you don’t have to go swapping out the battery pack every weekend.

Ring uses special screws that require a specific screwdriver head to open the battery case. 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 take down the cam.

We get that the screws are an anti-theft feature, but they make dealing with a rechargeable battery a hassle. Hardwiring is more reliable and all-around easier. Do it if you can.

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Pro 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 someone sets off its motion detectors. (Basically whenever someone approaches your doorstep.)

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

Once you buy the Ring, the mobile app is free, which is great. Not every company does that. 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.

Source: Reviews.org

Ring Video Doorbell user experience

We like the Ring app overall, especially its neighborhood-focused app.

Once we paired the Ring Video Doorbell with our smartphone and installed it, we were good to go. We were also stoked to find out 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.

Source: Reviews.org

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

Ring also has a Neighborhood app. 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. That’s one way to make sure we never leave our wallets in the car again.

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 network 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 network, but if all else fails and you still want a doorbell cam, you may have to consider getting a faster internet provider.

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FYI about internet speeds
Ring recommends an internet speed of at least 1 Mbps. 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, or go for the Ring Chime Pro we mentioned earlier.

Ring Video Doorbell integrations

Ring products integrate with a bunch of different smart home devices, including smart lights, smart locks, and, of course, Amazon Alexa.

Ring smart home integrations:

  • Schlage
  • Kwikset
  • Yale
  • GE
  • Leviton
  • First Alert
  • Ecolink
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant

Of course, Ring doorbells also work with the full Ring Alarm security system.

Ring Video Doorbell pricing

You pay for the doorbell and that’s it, unless you decide to 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 footage and 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.

Ring monitoring plan comparison
Plan detailsProtect Basic PlanProtect Plus Plan
Monthly price$3$10
Annual price$30$100
Exclusive discountsNone10% off other Ring devices
Cloud storage60 days60 days
Video reviewYesYes
Video sharingYesYes
Lifetime warrantyNoYes
Professional monitoring for Ring Alarm?NoYes
Learn MoreView PlanView Plan

Data effective 9/16/2019. Offers subject to change.

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.

If that doesn’t sound like you then one of Ring’s competitors might work better for you.

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.

The Vivint doorbell camera is best for these consumers:

  • People who want a professionally installed security system that works with their video doorbell.
  • People who don’t mind paying a higher price for home security and cameras.

Nest Hello

The Nest Hello is very similar to the Ring Video Doorbell, but Nest gives you some unique devices to protect your home, including cameras and its iconic smart thermostat. And, of course, the Nest Hello doorbell camera.

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 the 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

Recap: Is the Ring Doorbell good?

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’d like to see more third-party integrations from Ring. But in the meantime, the Ring Video Doorbell is a good option if you just want to see who’s on your porch.

  • 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

    • disabledsfcvet

      You can still use with your own phone it doesn’t have to be monitored by them .it’s 30 a year and we’ll worth it.

  • 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!