Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm 2019

Nest and Ring both started out making impressive cameras, and now they have full security systems to match.
Best for Tech Geeks
Cool AI features
Expensive equipment
Best for Budgeters
Affordable monitoring
No AI functionality

The Ring and Nest security systems are among the latest and greatest DIY alarm systems on the market.

They both come from companies that started out making top-notch cameras. (Ring Video Doorbell anyone? How about the Nest Cam?) And now those cameras are backed up by classic security equipment like sensors and smoke detectors.

Ring Alarm works best for people who want a super affordable system backed up by excellent cameras, but as for which one is better, we have to give Nest Secure the edge for technology a geek can be proud of.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm plan comparison
Company
Monitoring price range
Starter package priceHome automation integrationsDetails

Nest Secure
$19–$29/mo.
$399
YesView on Walmart.com

Ring Alarm
$10/mo.$199YesSee System

Data effective 9/23/2019. Offers subject to change.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm pricing, contracts, and fees

Ring has cheaper security equipment and devices than Nest and no contracts ever.

If you prefer a total DIY approach, then both Nest Secure and Ring Alarm let you monitor your system from your smartphone for free. You can turn your sensors on and off and check out the livestream from your cameras.

But if you want a more professional touch, both these systems offer professional monitoring for a monthly fee.

Nest Secure monitoring plans
PlanPriceContract requiredIncludes camera cloud storageLearn more
3-year agreement$19/mo.YesNoView on Walmart.com
Month-to-month$29/mo.NoNoView on Walmart.com

Data effective 9/23/2019. Offers subject to change.

Nest Secure’s professional monitoring actually comes from Brinks Home Security, which explains why it’s double (or triple) the price of Ring’s. And if you want the cheaper of the two options, then you have to sign on for a three-year contract. Blugh.

Ring Alarm monitoring plans
PlanPriceProfessional monitoringExtended warrantyLearn more
Protect Basic$3/mo. OR $30/yr.NoNoSee System
Protect Plus$10/mo. OR $100/yr.YesYesSee System

Data effective 9/23/2019. Offers subject to change.

Ring Alarm’s professional monitoring plan costs $10 per month, which is the cheapest price we’ve seen for that service anywhere ever. If you go for a more traditional security company like Vivint or Link Interactive, expect to pay closer to Nest Secure monitoring prices.

Contracts

Most of the newer home security systems out there don’t even offer contracts. Ring Alarm and its contemporaries Abode, Cove, and SimpliSafe are all easy-breezy noncommittal systems that will never make you sign on the dotted line.

Nest Secure is the same way—mostly. If you opt for professional monitoring through Brinks for your Nest system, and you want a discount on your monthly bill, then be prepared to sign on for three years.

Ring Alarm contract: None

Nest Secure contract: None or three years (through Brinks monitoring)

Equipment pricing

If you want the cheapest starter kit on the block, then Ring Alarm is your pal. It costs $200 less than what you’d pay for Nest for a similar amount of equipment. And if you want to add on extras, like cameras and video doorbells, then Ring devices are cheaper than the Nest equivalents there too.

Ring Alarm starter kit price: $199

Nest Secure starter kit price: $399

Pricing winner: Ring Alarm

Ring takes this one for having lower monitoring and equipment pricing, including for its other devices like cameras. Ring also doesn’t have contracts, whereas Nest will have you sign one if you opt for the lower-priced Brinks monitoring plan.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm equipment

Nest’s equipment and devices have some cool features Ring can’t beat. And neither can anyone else.

Ring Alarm’s security equipment will probably look the most familiar to you. It’s a pretty standard setup with door/window sensors and motion detectors, plus an analog keypad.

Nest Secure’s equipment, on the other hand, brings some fun new toys out to play. Its entry sensors have a motion sensor feature we haven’t seen anywhere else, and Nest gives you multiple options for controlling your security system.

Nest Secure security equipment

Source: Nest

Nest’s security equipment has some space-age vibes. It’s the first company we’ve seen to combine a motion sensor with its door and window sensors. Instead of having to put up two devices, you can just stick up one that does both jobs.

Source: Nest

We also love a feature called Quiet Open, where you can press the little button on the bottom of the Nest entry sensor and open a door from the inside without setting off your system. Great if you need to sneak out at 10 p.m. to put the garbage out after your teenager forgot it was their chore—again.

Ring Alarm security equipment

Source: Ring

Compared to Nest’s stuff, the Ring Alarm equipment looks a little simple—and it is. It takes a much more analog approach, with a minimalist keypad like the kind you’d see from SimpliSafe, and traditional-looking motion detectors and door/window sensors.

We do like that the Ring equipment starter pack comes with a range extender. If you’ve had issues with your Wi-Fi reaching all corners of your house, then that range extender can make your life much easier.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm cameras

Both Nest and Ring have some cameras we love. The Ring Video Doorbell is one of our favorite doorbell cameras out there, and the Nest Cam IQ, both indoor and outdoor versions, have swoon-worthy AI technology.

Nest camera models:

  • Nest Hello doorbell
  • Nest Cam IQ Indoor
  • Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
  • Nest Cam Indoor
  • Nest Cam Outdoor

Ring camera models:

  • Ring Video Doorbell (including 2, Pro, and Elite models)
  • Ring Door View Cam
  • Ring Stick Up Cam
  • Ring Spotlight Cam
  • Ring Floodlight Cam

Nest Secure cameras

If you want high-tech camera features most other companies aren’t even offering yet, then Nest is for you. Its cameras come with AI features, like person detection, and they can even recognize familiar faces.

Some of Nest’s cameras (the IQ models) also come with 4K image sensors. It’s not quite the same thing as 4K resolution (which you can get from the Arlo Ultra), but it does mean you can zoom in really close on images and still see all the details clearly, whether it’s a license plate or a stranger’s face.

Megaphone icon
Heads up
The best Nest features don’t just come with the cameras. Plan on paying for a monthly Nest Aware subscription if you want a decent amount of cloud storage as well as the coolest features Nest offers, like facial recognition.

Ring Alarm cameras

Ring’s cameras aren’t quite as caught up with the robot future as Nest’s. (They don’t have any AI features to speak of.) But we still love them for their HD recording, and for the fact that Ring offers cameras with built-in security lights.

You’ll also get more free cloud storage from Ring than you would from Nest. Nest starts out with just three hours(!) of free cloud storage, whereas Ring gives you seven days. If you want more than that, you can sign on to a Ring subscription plan.

Equipment winner: Nest Secure

Nest takes the prize for flat out having the most impressive technology. Its security equipment has some unique features, and its cameras include artificial intelligence technology, like facial recognition.

While Ring’s cameras are great and its security equipment is simpler, on the whole, it can’t quite keep up with Nest’s stuff.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm home automation and mobile control

Nest and Ring both have home automation integrations, but not necessarily for their security equipment.

Nest and Ring both have a bunch of home automation integrations, including Z-Wave and IFTTT (two of our favorites).

But (and this is a big but) not all the home automation integrations work with the security systems. For example, you can’t control your Ring Alarm system from Google Assistant, but you can connect Google Assistant to your Ring Video Doorbell.

Similarly, the Nest Cam has Z-Wave support, but the Nest Secure system does not. You get the idea.

Nest home automation integrations:*

  • Z-Wave
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • IFTTT

Ring home automation integrations:*

  • Z-Wave
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • IFTTT

*Not all applicable to security equipment. 

Be sure to check if the home automation support you want is available with all of your equipment instead of just a camera or two.

Home automation winner: Tie

Both Ring and Nest have home automation integrations, but some work only for cameras or other devices and not for the security equipment. Double-check before you buy.

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm customer experience

Yikes, both Nest and Ring have work to do on their customer experiences.

Wowza, Ring and Nest both have a long way to go on the customer service front. Both of them have plenty of negative reviews on Trustpilot,1,2 and neither is accredited by the BBB.3,4

Nest’s mobile app gets slightly better Google Play reviews than Ring’s (3.2 vs. 3 stars),5,6 but neither gets a glowing recommendation.

Customer experience winner: Tie

Nest and Ring are about equal on the customer service front but not in a good way: customers are not big fans of the support they got.

If you want a much more reliable customer experience, then we recommend Frontpoint or Link Interactive.

Recap

Nest Secure and Ring Alarm are two of our favorite security systems, but we have to give Nest the overall edge.

Nest Secure and Ring Alarm are two of the best no-contract, DIY security systems out there. Aside from a lackluster customer service record, both have excellent cameras and compelling equipment.

We recommend Nest Secure for its better technology. But if you don’t want to spend a lot on a security system, then Ring is way more affordable.

Pricing winner: Ring Alarm—Ring is more affordable than Nest on every count. It has cheaper equipment and cheaper monitoring plans than Nest Secure. Even its cameras are cheaper than Nest’s.

Equipment winner: Nest Secure—Ring Alarm’s equipment is a bit basic compared to Nest’s, which has some really cool features we haven’t seen anywhere else. We also like that Nest’s cameras have AI functionality (if you subscribe to a Nest Aware plan).

Home automation winner: Tie—Both these systems have home automation integrations, but they might not apply to your security equipment specifically. Nest and Ring cameras have better support than the sensors.

Customer experience winner: Tie—Both of these companies have a lot of work to do on the customer experience front. Customers are not impressed with their support.

Still not ready to take the plunge on Nest Secure or Ring Alarm? Read our Best Home Security Systems review to get the inside scoop on more top systems.

Sources

  1. Trustpilot, “Ring
  2. Trustpilot, “Nest
  3. Better Business Bureau, “Ring
  4. Better Business Bureau, “Nest
  5. Google Play Store, “Ring
  6. Google Play Store, “Nest