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Who Is Ring?
Ring is now a household brand, but it wasn't always as successful. Originally, the company was called Doorbot, but after its first internet-connected doorbell camera flopped, it rebranded into Ring. This proved to be a wise move, because its first product as Ring, the Ring Video Doorbell, became the company's golden ticket.
After 2013, Ring strengthened its lineup by launching a number of video doorbells: Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Elite, and Ring Video Doorbell 2. They also ventured into security cameras, eventually adding Ring Stick Up Cam, Ring Spotlight Cam, and Ring Floodlight Cam to the mix. In 2018, Ring acquired a smart light company, which led them to launch Ring Beams — smart lights that integrate with Ring's cameras. Finally, in the same year, Ring delved deeper into the home security market by launching Ring Alarm.
Ring's ultimate success, however, came in February 2018 when the retail mammoth Amazon acquired Ring for over $1 billion, one of the priciest acquisitions Amazon has ever made. Today, Ring continues to operate as a separate entity, but its products are continuously being integrated into Amazon's smart home AI, Alexa.
What Makes Ring Unique?
Ring operates differently from any traditional alarm company. For one, it's a contract-free solution. You're free to opt in and out of Ring's monitoring service any time you want. Ring is also the least expensive security system to use long-term. Professional monitoring will only cost you $10 per month and that's it. There are no hidden fees, no additional charges, and no penalties for moving or cancellation.
Ring's approach to home security is also unique. Most alarm companies offer security systems for indoor security. Ring offers Ring Alarm for indoor security and an extensive list of cameras and accessories to create a "ring of protection" around your home. Its products are also use-case specific. For example, its video doorbells are designed to enhance your front door security. It smart light-equipped cameras, on the other hand, are built for perimeter security.
Who's It For?
Ring's products and services are for anyone who wants to make their home more impervious to break-ins. It's built for homeowners and renters alike, and thanks to its flexibility, it will work even if you're leading a nomadic lifestyle. When it's time to move, simply box up the system, install it in your new residence, and re-activate your monitoring service by updating your address. Ring won't fine you for moving.
Key Features & Tech
- Ring of Protection
- Broadband Monitoring With Cellular Backup
- Ring App
- Ring Neighborhood
- Smart Home Integrations
Ring Of Protection
Ring's equipment offer is flexible, but they recommend building a Ring of Protection around your home using their cameras first.
For your front door, Ring offers video doorbells. There are battery-powered video doorbells for renters, frequent movers, and those who don't have doorbell wirings, hardwired doorbells for homeowners, and even a flush-mount video doorbell for those who want a more permanent and neater installation.
To guard you against porch pirates, Ring offers Stick Up Cam. There's a battery-powered version, wired version, and even a solar-powered version.
For perimeter security, ring offers smart light-enabled cameras. There's the Ring Spotlight Cam.
for those who want a quick and easy installation and Ring Floodlight Cam for those looking to replace their existing floodlights.
Broadband Monitoring With Cellular Backup
For indoor security, Ring offers Ring Alarm. Ring Alarm is a completely wireless security system complete with a Base Station, keypad, contact sensors, motion detectors, and range extenders to widen out the system's wireless range.
The system primarily relies on your internet connection for sending alerts, but if you pay for professional monitoring ($10/month), you get cellular backup. The use of cellular signal for communication is more reliable than both landline and broadband monitoring. It's our recommended mode of communication, so if you want the best, we highly suggest that you use Ring with the professional monitoring plan.
What ties together the Ring cameras and Ring Alert is the Ring App. Using the app, you can remotely monitor your cameras, speak to your guests through your video doorbell, quickly arm or disarm your security system, and control third-party products that work with Ring Alarm.
One of the app's best features is Ring Neighborhood. The idea is to create a virtual neighborhood watch where users can share their Ring camera clips with their neighbors. You can choose which clips to make public. Once you share the clip, anyone in your neighborhood who has the Ring App on their phone can access the clips.
Smart Home Integrations
Ring Alarm also includes a Zigbee and Z-Wave radio that it can use to connect with third-party smart home products. Currently, the list is limited to the First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO alarm (which is great because Ring doesn't offer smoke alarms) and a growing number of smart locks. If you connect First Alert to Ring, you'll be able to receive push alerts via the Ring App in case of fire or CO detection. The smart lock integration, on the other hand, will let you lock and unlock your door as well as share door access to guests using the Ring App.
Ring's equipment lineup is strong, but most of the included products are camera or camera-related. Unfortunately, Ring products that tie directly with Ring Alert are few in number.
- Base Station — Responsible for tying the system together and sending alerts to your smartphone or the monitoring station
- Keypad — A wall-mounted or free-standing device you can use to arm and disarm your security system, enter different modes (Arm Home, Arm Away), and call for help
- Contact Sensors — Sensors that detect when a door, window, cabinet, drawer, or vault it's attached to is opened
- Motion Sensor — Sensors that detect motion using PIR technology, which is effective at detecting human movement but immune to movement caused by pets
- Panic Button — A button you can carry with you or mount on a wall that calls the monitoring center when pressed
- Range Extender — A plug-in device that extends your Base Station's wireless range so you can connect sensors that are farther away
- Flood & Freeze Sensor — A sensor that detects the presence of water or extremely low temperatures so you can make repairs before things take a turn for the worse
- Smoke & CO Listener — A sensor that listens for the sound of blaring smoke or CO alarms
For more information on Ring Alarm, check out our full Ring Alarm review.
Under security cameras, Ring offers:
- Ring Video Doorbell — dual-power (battery or hardwired) video doorbell
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 — dual-power (battery or hardwired) video doorbell
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro — hardwired video doorbell
- Ring Video Doorbell Elite — flush-mount video doorbell
- Ring Stick Up Cam — wired, battery-powered, or solar-powered indoor/outdoor camera
- Ring Spotlight Cam —wired, battery-powered, or solar-powered spotlight-equipped camera
- Ring Floodlight Cam — hardwired camera with built-in floodlight
To learn more about Ring's security cameras, check out our in-depth review and guide of Ring's lineup of cameras.
Ring offers two monitoring options for Ring Alarm: professional and self-monitoring.
Self-monitoring is free, but it lacks police dispatch and if you have security cameras, they won't be able to record. It also lacks cellular backup.
Professional monitoring will set you back $10 per month, but this already includes professional monitoring, cellular backup, cloud recording for an unlimited number of cameras, extended equipment warranty, and equipment purchase discounts.
Ring's customer service is stellar. They are quick to respond to chats and calls, their phone support is US-based, and policies are well-beyond customer friendly. For one, there are no penalties for moving or even cancelling service. If you think you don't need professional monitoring anymore, simply cancel anytime and you're free. In contrast, most alarm companies would lock you into a multi-year contract.
Ring's customer support is available 24/7 via live chat and phone. In addition, there's an exhaustive FAQ section and knowledge base that you can freely browse on Ring's website.
Where can I use Ring?
Ring is available all throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and parts of Europe.
Are there contracts?
No. Once you have the equipment, you're free to opt in and out of service. However, if you choose to pay on a yearly basis, you won't get a refund if you decide to end the service before the year ends.
How is Ring Alarm installed?
Ring Alarm is a self-installed system. Our testers have hands-on experience installing Ring Alarm and they can attest that the system is indeed easy to install.
Is the system covered by warranty?
All Ring products, including cameras and video doorbells, come with a 1-year warranty. Paying for professional monitoring will extend the warranty period.
Can I try the system and return it if I don't like it?
Ring offers a 30-day return period. If you return the system in good condition complete with all the boxes and accessories, you'll get a full refund. However, you will cover the cost of return shipping.
Is there a free trial of the monitoring service?
As soon as you activate Ring Alarm, you'll instantly receive a 30-day free trial of Ring Protect Plus, a $10/month value.
Where can I find out more about Ring?