Abode vs. Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm Home SecurityBy - 02/24/2019
abode held steady as our top recommended self-monitored home security system for a long while. It’s one I’ve tested, and feel confident in recommending to others. For most of 2017 and 2018, they held the title unchallenged, but with the release of Nest Secure and the Ring Alarm Security Kit, abode now has worthy opponents.
|abode||Nest Secure||Ring Alarm||iSmartAlarm|
|Included in Base Price||1 Gateway, 1 Mini Door/Window Sensor, 1 Motion Sensor, 1 Key Fob||1 Nest Guard, 2 Nest Detects, 2 Nest Tags||1 Base Station, 1 Keypad, 1 Contact Sensor, 1 Motion Detector, 1 Range Extender||1 CubeOne, 2 Window/Door Sensors, 1 Motion Sensor, 2 Remote Tags, 2 Sensor Stickers|
|Battery Backup||10-Hours||12-Hours||24-Hours (More In Power Save Mode)|
|Cloud Dependence||Rules involving directly connected devices will work without internet.||If the power goes out, Nest Detect communicates with Guard via Weave + Thread.||The system will work locally.||Will function as a local alarm assuming the system has power.|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||$30/Month||$19.00-$29.00/month||Monitoring Included in $10/Month Fee|
|Keypad||$79.00||Integrated in the Base Station (1 Base Station per Home)||$50.00||$59.99|
|Automatic Arm/Disarm||Geofencing||Reminders via the Mobile App|
|Siren||Integrated in the Base Station||Integrated in the Base Station||Integrated in the Base Station||Integrated in the Base Station|
|Pet-Friendly Motion Sensor||$54.00||Integrated in the Base Station and Door Sensors||$30.00||$34.99|
|Glass Break and Vibration Sensor||Via Alexa Guard|
|Open/Close Sensor||$25.00||$49.00, includes Quiet Open, a Motion Sensor, and Night Light||$20.00||$59.97 (two-pack)|
|Indoor Camera||Yes, starting at $149.00||Yes, starting at $199.00||Yes, starting at $179.99||Yes, starting at $99.99|
|Outdoor Camera||No, but works with Nest.||Yes, starting at $199.00||Yes, starting at $99.99|
|Other Devices||Image Sensor, Smart Switch, Extra Siren, Temperature, Humidity & Light Sensor, Water Leak Sensor, iota, Danalock V3 Z-Wave + Bluetooth Smart Lock||Smart Doorbell, Range Extender, Smart Deadbolt Lock (Nest x Yale)||Panic Button, Smoke Alarm/CO Sensor Listener, Flood & Freeze Sensor, Door View, Video Doorbell (Pro, Elite, 2), Spotlight Cam, Floodlight Cam, Stick Up Cam, Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Panel, Solar Sign, Smart Lighting, First Alert Smoke/CO Alarm, Third-Party Z-Wave Locks (smart locks from Yale, Schlage, etc.), Danalock, August Smart Lock Pro||Satellite Siren, Smart Switch, Yard Sign|
|Return Period||15 Days||30 Days||30 Days||30 Days|
|Where to Buy||Amazon||Visit Site||Amazon||Amazon|
Abode vs. Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm Hardware
All three systems are contract-free, self-monitored security systems with the option to add professional monitoring and police dispatch. They all start with a base station, are easy to install on your own, and use wireless, battery-powered equipment.
Nest Secure Equipment
The brains of the Nest system is called Nest Guard which is an all-in-one device. Nest Guard has an 85dB siren, a keypad, motion sensor, and it communicates with all of your other Nest Secure sensors. Guard communicates using Weave over a Thread network which means that it can communicate with its sensors even if you lose internet and power.
The Nest Guard motion sensor can detect motion within a 90° field of view up to 10 feet away. It also includes tamper detection as well as a proximity sensor (wakes on approach) and will let you know if it’s moved or if someone tries to jam your signal. However, in testing, I found that none of the promised tamper sensors worked. I did not test jamming detection.
What sets Nest Guard apart from the abode and Ring’s base station is its intuitive nature. First of all, the integrated keypad is a smart choice because let’s face it; phones get lost. In addition to a keypad which accepts a numeric passcode, Guard has several buttons. You can press a button to quickly swap between modes (alarm off, home and guarding, and away and guarding) or you can press for immediate help using the panic button which is found on the back of the device.
Second, Guard’s different buttons will light up to indicate system status, something that is noticeably missing from abode unless you buy the keypad.
Third, Nest Guard has a voice. For example, when you arm your system, there is an arm delay which allows you to exit your home without setting off the alarm. Instead of an annoying beep that continues until the system arms, Nest Guard uses a friendly voice to tell you how much time you have left.
Fourth, Nest Guard has a second voice. It is literally a Google Home. The device includes one microphone which you can enable to access Google Assistant features. You can get real-time information, control smart home devices, and manage tasks using your voice. You can also use your voice to arm your system.
Finally, unlike abode’s base station (iota does not require Ethernet), Ethernet is not required to use Nest Secure. Nest likes to make things easy and they send everything you need, including batteries, to get your device up and running. Nest Guard ships with a 6-foot cable with a power adapter and CR123 batteries for the sensors. My system already had the batteries installed which made setup even easier.
In addition to Nest Guard, Nest sells two sensors. The first is Nest Detect, which is a door/window sensor. The second device is called Nest Tag, and it’s essentially an RFID tag. To use Nest Tag, you simply tap it on Nest Guard to arm and disarm your system.
Nest Detect is more useful. While Nest doesn’t offer the usual home security sensors, Nest Detect is multi-purpose. It’s a contact sensor, a motion sensor (15-foot range, 54° field of view), a night light (lights up at night when you walk by), and it has a special feature called “Quiet Open.”
Quiet Open allows you to bypass an armed sensor simply by touching it. For example, if your system is armed, but you want to check the weather outside, you can press the sensor, and open your door. While I’ve heard only praise for this feature, my initial reaction was that it seems like a security flaw. Your teenagers, for example, can press the sensor and sneak out. Furthermore, there is no identification tied to using the feature. For example, it won’t say, “Rose bypassed the sensor.” Fortunately, you can turn this feature off if you’re concerned.
abode Security Equipment
With abode, you have two paths to security: the Gateway and iota.
The Gateway supports Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, and it’s WiFi-enabled. It does require Ethernet and power, but it has a cellular chip which you can pay to activate for backup. Like the Nest base station, abode’s base station also includes a siren (95db).
The abode Gateway also supports limited local functionality. This is in part thanks to the Gateway’s ability to communicate using its own proprietary protocol called abodeRF. If your internet is down, your automated rules will continue to run, assuming that the devices involved are connected to the Gateway directly and not through a third-party service like IFTTT.
The abode Gateway is responsible for communicating with and controlling all connected devices. Compared to Nest Secure, abode offers a wider array of equipment. Unfortunately, their equipment isn’t as modern looking as Nest’s nor do they offer any multi-purpose devices. However, they do sell everything you need to secure your home. Each Gateway can support up to 150 connected devices and up to six IP Streaming Cameras.
Now, take everything I just said about Gateway and replicate it for iota. iota is basically the same as the Gateway with a couple of differences.
First of all, iota can function as a standalone security system. It’s an all-in-one device with a FHD camera and a built-in motion detector.
Second, it does not require Ethernet.
Both iota and the abode Gateway work with all of abode’s sensors.
Regarding sensors, abode sells several door/windows contacts that will notify you of open and close movement. Their classic Door Sensor boasts a battery life of 8-10 years.
Second, they sell a wireless keypad which can support up to 40 unique codes and includes an LED indicator so you can quickly see if your system is armed or disarmed.
Third, they sell a key fob which you can use to arm and disarm your system with a click.
Of course, abode sells lots of other sensors including an acoustic glass break sensor, motion sensors, image sensors, occupancy sensors, system status indicators, and even a temperature, humidity, and light sensor.
Ring Alarm Security Kit
There is one thing that sets Ring apart: it’s cheaper than both abode and Nest.
The system is built around the $199 Security Kit which includes a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender.
The base station connects to Ring Alarm devices using Z-Wave Plus and it’s also equipped with Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios. In theory, it should be able to connect to any device that uses Z-Wave; however, there are only a handful of third-party devices that are compatible with Ring, including the First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm and select Z-Wave locks. More on that below.
Ring, an Amazon company, also sells several security sensors. First is the keypad. The keypad runs on battery power, and you can wall mount it or place it on a flat surface. In addition to arming and disarming your system, the Keypad Control Panel allows you to choose between Armed Away and Armed Home. When using the keypad to arm your system, it provides a grace period to reduce false alarms. You can customize the grace period using the mobile app. Finally, you can simultaneously press and hold the check and x buttons for three seconds to trigger the panic alarm.
So this is a first. After testing alarms for 5 years, I just had the police show up. For those who care to know, Ring called two minutes after I triggered the alarm. If you trigger a panic alarm, they call the police before calling you. I’m soooo embarrassed right now. pic.twitter.com/aUKs8FnMhj
— Rose Thibodeaux (@Rose_Thibodeaux) July 25, 2018
Second, Ring sells a dedicated panic button that can trigger the panic alarm when pressed for three seconds. The button can be carried with you or you can surface mount it.
Third, Ring sells a contact sensor. The two-piece sensor can be placed on doors or windows and will notify you of open/close movements. Fourth, they sell a pet-friendly motion detector. Fifth, they sell a range extender. The range extender is the only sensor that requires AC power, but it also includes 24-hour battery backup. The Range Extender is used to boost the signal emitted by your Base Station to help eliminate dead zones.
Next, they sell a Ring Smoke & CO Listener that listens for the sound of your smoke detector then sounds your siren and sends an alert if anything is detected. Keep in mind that this is not a smoke detector, but rather a device that will supplement your current smoke alarm system. As already mentioned, you can also buy the First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO Alarm, which will connect to your Ring Alarm system.
Finally, Ring sells a Flood and Freeze Sensor.
Nest, Ring, and abode all sell cameras. Nest works with Nest Cams including the indoor and outdoor cameras, Nest IQ both indoor and outdoor, as well as Nest Hello. When Nest Secure detects an alarm event, it will trigger your Nest cameras to take a snapshot. If you have email alerts turned on, the cameras will email you a snapshot of the event. It can also send a push notification to your phone.
This chain of events will occur even if you aren’t subscribed to Nest Aware, Nest’s cloud service. However, if you want more than a picture, you will need to subscribe. The cost of Nest Aware starts at $5 per month and is not included in your Nest Secure subscription.
Ironically, abode also “Works With Nest.” As part of the Works with Nest program, abode is compatible with Nest cameras.
abode also sells their own line of cameras. They sell an image sensor, which will take three snapshots if it detects motion, and two streaming cameras. I’ve tested two of the three. The two cameras I tested were unfortunately unimpressive, and I found Nest cameras to be vastly superior. abode’s newest camera, not tested, offers two major benefits: FHD 1080P resolution and two-way audio. Of course, there’s also abode iota which offers the same camera specs as the newest abode streaming camera. The benefit of using abode cameras over Nest cameras is free cloud and local storage. abode’s streaming cameras support a microSD card and include three days of free cloud storage. Nest supplies just 3 hours of snapshot storage for free. As described above, if you want more Nest storage, you will need to pay for Nest Aware.
That said, using abode with a Nest Cam is my recommended solution, and integrating the two provides one major advantage: more free storage for your Nest Cams. The major disadvantage is that even if you are a Nest Aware subscriber, abode can only store snapshots. If you want video clips or continuous cloud access, you will need to pay for Nest Aware to access your footage via the Nest app.
|No Nest Plan||Nest Aware 5 Day||Nest Aware 10 Day||Nest Aware 30 Day|
|Without Abode||$0 / 3 Hours Snapshots via Nest||$5 / 5 Days via Nest||$10 / 10 Days via Nest||$30 / 30 Days via Nest|
|Abode Basic||$0 / 3 Days of Snapshots via Abode||$5 / 5 Days via Nest and Abode||$10 / 10 Days via Nest and Abode||$30 / 10 Days via Abode or 30 via Nest|
|Abode CONNECT||$10 / 10 Days of Snapshots via Abode||$15 / 5 Days via Nest and 10 Days via Abode||$20 / 10 Days via Nest and Abode||$40 / 10 Days via Abode or 30 via Nest|
|Abode CONNECT + SECURE||$30 / 10 Days of Snapshots via Abode||$35 / 5 Days via Nest and 10 Days via Abode||$40 / 10 Days via Nest and Abode||$60 / 10 Days via Abode or 30 via Nest|
|Prices are per month, Nest provides a discount for additional cameras.|
Ring also sells several cameras including the Ring Video Doorbell, the Video Doorbell 2, Ring Elite, Video Doorbell Pro, and Door View Cam. They also sell a Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam, and two versions of their Stick Up Cam. Most of the cameras are geared toward outdoor use with the exception of Stick Up Cam Wired and Stick Up Cam Battery. The two cameras can be used indoors or outdoors.
Unlike the other options, Ring cameras don’t fully integrate with the security system. You can monitor your security system and cameras using a single app and you can set the cameras to record when there is an alarm event or an Entry Delay, but you can’t view a live feed during an alarm event and you can’t set your alarm to trigger if your cameras detect motion.
There is one major benefit to using Ring cameras: If you pay $10 per month, you will gain access to cloud storage and professional monitoring with cellular backup. Of course, Ring cameras will work without a monthly fee, but Ring doesn’t offer any form of free storage beyond a free 30-day trial. Their first plan is Basic which is $3 per month per camera. This plan includes 60 days of cloud storage, video review, and video sharing. Their second plan, Protect Plus, is $10 per month. It covers unlimited cameras including both doorbell and security cameras. This plan also includes coverage for your Base Station. The same $10 per month that provides unlimited cloud storage also provides Ring Response (24/7 professional monitoring) and Cellular Backup.
Free vs. Paid Monitoring Plans
All three systems require that you purchase the hardware upfront, and they all offer some services for free including free app access as well as third-party integrations (though many of Nest’s and Ring’s integrations have yet to launch). However, they all offer paid plans too. Nest and abode have three options: self-monitoring, self-monitoring with cellular backup, and police dispatch with cellular backup. Ring has two options: self-monitoring and police dispatch with cellular backup.
|abode Basic||Nest Free||Ring Free|
|iOS, Android, and Web App Control|
|3G Cellular Backup|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||Optional On-Demand Professional
Monitoring (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)
|Timeline and Media Storage||3 Days||3 Hours (Additional Storage Starts at $5/month)||0 Days|
|Works With||ecobee , IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Works with Nest, LIFX, Philips Hue, Google Assistant, Danalock V3 Z-Wave + Bluetooth Smart Lock||Google Assistant, Works with Nest||Amazon Alexa, Third-Party Z-Wave Locks, August Smart Lock Pro, Danalock|
|abode Connect||Nest Cellular||abode Connect + Secure||Nest Dispatch||Ring|
|Price||$10/month or $96/year||$5/month||$30/month or $240/year||$29.00/month||$10/month or $100/year|
|iOS, Android, and Web App Control|
|Geofencing||Reminders Only||Reminders Only|
|3G Cellular Backup|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||Optional On-Demand Professional
Monitoring (3 Days: $8 / 7 Days: $15)
|24/7 Professional Fire Monitoring||First Alert CO Alarm and Smoke Detector ($)||Self-Monitoring Only using Nest Protect||First Alert CO Alarm and Smoke Detector ($)||Self-Monitoring Only using Nest Protect||First Alert CO Alarm and Smoke Detector ($)|
|Monitoring Provided By||COPS||COPS||Brinks||Rapid Response|
|Timeline and Media Storage||14 Days||3 Hours (Additional Storage Starts at $5/month)||90 Days||3 Hours (Additional Storage Starts at $5/month)||60 Days|
|Works With||ecobee, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Works with Nest, LIFX, Philips Hue, Google Assistant, Danalock V3 Z-Wave + Bluetooth Smart Lock||Google Assistant, Works with Nest||ecobee, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Works with Nest, LIFX, Philips Hue, Google Assistant, Danalock V3 Z-Wave + Bluetooth Smart Lock||Google Assistant, Works with Nest||Amazon Alexa, Third-Party Z-Wave Locks, August Smart Lock Pro, Danalock|
|HomeKit||Coming Soon||Coming Soon|
Nest Secure via Brinks and T-Mobile
Nest Secure’s monitoring service is provided by Brinks Security. Originally, service was offered by MONI before MONI, LiveWatch, and Brinks merged to form the Brinks brand. Monitoring of Nest equipment through Brinks is $29.00 per month plus the cost of equipment. If purchased through Brinks, equipment is only $299 for Nest Guard, two Nest Tags, and two Nest Detect Sensors. If you want a discount on Nest Secure services, your only option is to sign a contract. With a three-year contract, you’ll pay $19.00 per month; equipment remains at $299.
Cellular backup is provided by T-Mobile. In fact, you can also buy everything through T-Mobile. If you sign a two-year contract for cellular service, T-Mobile will finance your Nest Secure purchase. They require $20 down and $20 per month on T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan (full retail price: $500). The equipment charge includes:
- 1 Nest Guard base
- 2 Nest Detects
- 2 Nest Tag Key Fobs
- 1 Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
If purchased a la carte, the same equipment would sell in the $660-$700 range.
Buying through T-Mobile also requires that you pay for monthly service. The service plan is $15.00 per month and includes Nest Aware and cellular backup. It does not include professional monitoring.
|abode||Nest Secure||Ring Alarm|
|Modes||Away, Home, Standby||Home and Guarding, Away and Guarding, and Off||Disarmed, Home, Away|
|Exit Delay Minimum||30 Seconds||30 Seconds||30 Seconds|
|Door Chime Settings|
From the app, you can control and manage your Nest Secure system. Of course, you can arm and disarm your system, but you can also see sensor status as well as sensor history. For example, you can see if your door is open or closed and you can see when it was last opened and last closed. You can also use the app’s Remind Me feature to remind you to arm your system if you forget to do so.
So what happens if an Alarm is triggered? If an event is detected, you will get an email and an instant push notification to your phone which you can swipe to open the Nest App. From the Nest App, you can see which sensor triggered the alarm, and you will be presented with two options: call the police or turn the alarm off. If you have a Nest Cam, you will be able to view footage from the event simultaneously. If you have multiple Nest Cams, you can swipe through to a view a live feed from all of your cameras. If you’re subscribed to Nest Aware, the Sightline feature will bookmark the event so next time you access your camera’s timeline, you’ll see a red bar. Tap on the red bar to review the footage of the event. Of course, while all of this is happening, your siren will sound.
abode uses the abode app. If an event occurs, you will receive a notification on your phone. From the app, you can decide how to respond to events. You can review video footage, notify the police, the monitoring center, or even your family. You can also view sensor history and manage your rules. For example, you can create a “coming home” rule that turns on the lights and unlocks the door. And of course, you can use the app to arm and disarm the system.
Ring Alarm uses the existing Ring app. From the app, you will be able to manage your doorbells, Ring cameras, and your security system. From the app, you will be able to arm and disarm your system. You’ll also have access to Ring Neighborhoods.
Ring Neighborhoods is a service that lets you share videos with other nearby Ring users or anyone who has downloaded the Ring app. The service ties into another feature called Ring Locations. Ring Locations allows you to attribute your different Ring devices to different locations and customize user access for the same. For example, you might have your Ring Doorbell at one location where your kids have Homeowner user status, while you have Ring Alarm at another location and limit their access to Neighbor.
For me, the biggest miss with the Ring app is tied to the camera integration. Unfortunately, you can’t view video footage during an alarm event. However, they recently added a new feature that triggers the camera to record every time there’s an alarm or when the system is working through an Entry Delay.
While I’m a huge fan of the Nest app, the abode app isn’t shabby either. It currently holds 4.5 stars on Google Play and 4 stars on iTunes, both ratings higher than Nest’s current rating. Ring’s app hasn’t been as reliable as Nest and abode, but it’s still better than most.
Nest Secure works with Work with Nest, which means that you can expand your system with the new Nest Hello video doorbell, your Nest Detect, Nest Cam IQ, and even Nest Connect.
Nest Connect lets you use Nest Secure in larger homes by acting as a signal repeater for the Thread protocol. It also allows you to control the Nest x Yale lock (discussed below) from anywhere. Works with Nest also provides third-party compatibility with products like Philips Hue, Lutron, LIFX, Chamberlain MyQ, and more.
Second, Nest Secure works with the Nest x Yale Lock. Like Nest Secure, the lock uses Thread and Weave to communicate which means that it will remain operational even when your power and internet are out. Nest x Yale Locks can also trigger modes. For example, when you unlock the door, Nest Secure can swap to Home mode.
Third, while the device itself includes Google Assistant, it also works with other Google Home devices. You can ask your Google Home device to arm your system or report back your security system’s status. However, for your protection, you can’t disarm the system with your voice.
Finally, though Nest has a few IFTTT channels, Nest Secure is not currently compatible with IFTTT.
Keep in mind that though Nest offers other products, only Nest Secure is eligible for monitoring. While Nest will monitor your security system for breaches, they will not provide monitoring for fires or use your security cameras for verification.
The Alexa integration is worth discussing in detail. Using your voice, you can arm and disarm your security system (requires voice PIN), ask Alexa for the status of your security system (armed, disarmed, etc.), and ask for the status of door/window sensors (“Alexa, is my front door open?”). You can also trigger Alexa Routines (kind of like rules) using abode motion and contact sensors.
Through Works with Nest, abode works with Nest Protect, Nest Thermostat, and Nest Cam. Using this integration, you have the option to sync your abode modes with Nest modes or keep them separate. The abode system also offers deep integration with the Nest Thermostats. From the abode app, you can access and control your home’s temperature and create temperature thresholds. The same is true for ecobee users.
Next up, abode offers RGB light bulb support for LIFX and Hue. From the app, you can control brightness, hue, and saturation. The lights can even respond to alarm events. For example, they can turn red if your alarm is triggered or blue if your flood sensor detects water.
Finally, you can add third-party Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. abode has a list of compatible devices on their site. The list includes products by Aeon, Aeotec, Enerwave, Danalock V#, Fibaro, First Alert, FortrezZ, GE, Linear, Kwikset, Leviton, Schlage, Iris, Sensative, ZooZ, and Netvox. abode also sells their own Home Automation Power Outlet & ZigBee Extender. The device will turn any outlet into a smart outlet, allowing you to control plugged-in devices and include them as part of your automation recipes. The switch also acts as a ZigBee range extender.
Once devices are added, you can create rules through abode’s built-in automation engine which they call CUE. CUE works similarly to IFTTT in that you can create rules in an ‘If This Then That’ format, but it takes things a step further by allowing you to create an optional condition. For example, if the front door is closed, lock the front door, but only if it’s dark outside.
Ring’s third-party integrations are still limited. The Base Station communicates using Z-Wave and Zigbee, and I’ve confirmed both protocols were added for a reason, but they haven’t taken full advantage of them yet.
First, the system supports the First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO detector which is also compatible with the Ring Response service. Soon, it will also work with the Dome Siren.
Second, Ring has added compatibility with several Z-Wave locks including those made by Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, and DanaLock to Ring Alarm’s compatibility list. August, which is a sister company of Yale, also announced a Ring Alarm integration with their Smart Lock Pro line of smart locks. The locks connect to Ring Alarm’s Base Station and can be controlled using the Ring App. From there, you can lock and unlock your door, share your door’s access with trusted family members and friends, issue temporary access codes to dog walkers or babysitters, and receive notifications when someone uses their code to unlock your door. You can also set your Ring Alarm to disarm when you unlock your smart lock.
Third, Ring Alarm works with Alexa. This ability was added after I initially wrote this review. Using Alexa, you can arm and disarm the system, but if you want to disarm with your voice, you will need to toggle this feature on from the settings section of the Alexa app. Also, disarm requires a 4-digit PIN. If you turn on Alexa Guard, you can also use your Alexa device as a listening device. You can arm it by saying, “Alexa, I’m leaving.” Alexa will then listen for sounds like glass breaking or the sound made by your smoke or CO alarm. If she hears something, she can even notify Ring’s monitoring center if you’re subscribed to their monitoring plan. You can also use Alexa to check the status of a Ring Alarm-connected smart lock.
Finally, Ring Alarm currently lacks an IFTTT channel (though there is one for Ring Doorbells and cameras).
And to end things on a high note, Ring Alarm is the first product to feature the combination of Z-Wave Security 2 (S2) and Z-Wave SmartStart technologies. This technology protects the connection between the base station and the cloud as well as the communication sent between the base and connected devices.
Where They Win
Where Nest Wins: Nest has a better design, fantastic cameras, and cheaper cellular backup. Their multi-purpose sensors may cut down on the number of sensors you need, though they are more expensive than abode and Ring sensors. Also, Nest Guard is the most intuitive with LED lights, a keypad, a voice assistant, and voice feedback. Finally, Nest Secure offers a 2-year warranty where abode and Ring offer 1-year warranties. However, there are areas where abode and Ring win too.
Where abode Wins: abode offers free cloud storage, and they offer the widest range of equipment including glass break and flood sensors which are viewed as essential home security devices. Also, abode uses an open platform allowing more third-party integrations via Z-Wave and Zigbee backed by their CUE automation engine. It’s true that Ring offers Z-Wave and Zigbee too, but compatible products are still scarce. Fourth, abode has more home security experience than Nest and Ring.
Where Ring Wins: Spoiler alert on the cost analysis, Ring is the cheapest option of the bunch, and that sets them apart. They also offer the most affordable monthly service which includes cellular backup, professional monitoring, and cloud storage for just $10 per month.
So let’s talk cost for a minute. For $399, Nest includes a Nest Guard which also acts as a keypad, siren, and motion detector, two Nest Detects which are also motion sensors, and two Nest Tags. An equivalent package from abode would cost $479. A comparable package from Ring would cost $279. However, Ring doesn’t sell a key fob, and the kit includes a range extender, so that needs to be factored into the equation.
|Base Cost including Base Stations and Sirens||$399||$279||$199|
|Keypad||1x Included in Base||$40 (With the purchase of a Starter Kit)||1x Included in Base|
|Motion Detector||3x Included in Base||1x Included in Base, 2x $108||1x Included in Base, 2x $60|
|Door/Window Sensors||2x Included in Base||1 Included in Base, 1x $25||1 Included, 1x $20|
|Key Fobs||2x Included in Base||1x Included in Base, 1x $27||NA|
|Total Cost of Equipment||$399||$479||$279|
|+/-||Baseline||NA||Add Key Fobs (+$54), Subtract 1 Range Extender (-$25)|
|Adjusted Cost of Ownership||$399||$479||$308|
|Cost of 3-Years Cellular Backup||$180||$360||$360|
|Cost of 3-Years Professional Monitoring w/out Contract||$1044.00||$1080.00||$360.00|
|Cost of 3-Years Professional Monitoring With Contract||$684.00||$720.00||$360.00|
All that said, the biggest flaw with price is that purchasing Nest’s multi-purpose sensors may be forcing you to purchase more equipment than you need. Most homes don’t need three motion sensors, especially if the sensors have a decent range. Remember, Nest’s motion detectors only detect movement within a 10-foot range, the abode motion sensor has a 120° field of view and can detect motion within a 34-foot range so you would need at least two Nest motion-enabled devices for every one abode motion sensor. Ring’s motion sensor’s range is unlisted, but I tested it at 35 feet, and it worked perfectly.
After taking a long, hard look at all three systems, I’m giving them all a thumbs up. I think both Nest and Ring deserve a place on our list of Best Self-Monitored Alarms.
Right now, abode reigns supreme due to the number of integrations they offer, the variety of security sensors, and the fact that it’s an open platform not tied to Google (Nest) or Amazon (Ring). I would give Ring second place due to cost, and it’s bumped iSmart off of my list of recommended self-monitored security systems. Nest takes third, but I would still recommend it. It’s a beautiful system, easy to use, and thoughtfully designed. That said, Ring is improving quickly. Ring recently raised the bar on their camera integration and launched a bunch of sensors and accessories. If it stays on its current path, it might just become the system to beat.
Q: If you subscribe to Nest Secure’s professional monitoring plan, will you get a discount on Nest Aware?
A: You will not unless you purchase through T-Mobile as described above.
Last Updated 02/24/2019
Ring has launched new sensors including a panic button, Smoke and CO Listener, and Alarm Flood and Freeze Sensor. They’ve also launched an update that allows you to link devices to trigger a camera recording.
Read Previous Updates
02/06/2019 Nest Secure now includes the option to enable the microphone to access Google Assistant.
01/10/2019 Ring works with August and more Z-Wave locks. abode works with Dana Lock and HomeKit (coming soon).
12/14/2018 Ring has launched an Alexa integration and abode has expanded theirs.
11/29/2018 Ring has added Z-Wave lock compatibility.
07/22/2018 Finished testing Ring and Nest.
06/12/2018 Updated with new Nest pricing post-merger of MONI and Brinks.
01/11/2018 abode launched iota and added Google Assistant. Ring has settled their lawsuit with ADT, announced a new app (coming soon), an indoor security camera, and new outdoor lights.