Ring Doorbell Review

Ring was the first company to bring video doorbells to the masses, and recent entries to their product lines continue to bring more innovations to this area.

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jul 7, 2020
9.7
/10
Editor's Rating
Ring has the most video doorbells to choose from of any company we've reviewed. There are options for indoor use, outdoor use, and even peepholes for the apartment-dwellers out there.
Page Contents

If you’re a fan of the show Shark Tank, you may remember the Ring Video Doorbell, then called Doorbot, from an episode in 2013. Sure, the company’s founder Jamie Siminoff didn’t walk away with any deals,1 but he did end up getting something better. After changing his company’s name, Amazon purchased Ring for over a billion dollars in 2018.2 Guess Siminoff is pretty glad he didn’t take Mr. Wonderful’s original offer! Today, Ring’s flagship product, the Ring Video Doorbell, is still available for purchase, along with six other new and improved versions. Overwhelmed? Our experts have tested out each of Ring’s video doorbells, and we’re happy to share what we’ve discovered.

Ring Doorbell Product Overview

Ring Video DoorbellRing Video Doorbell 2Ring Video Doorbell EliteRing Video Doorbell ProRing Door View/ Peephole CamRing Video Doorbell 3Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Price$99.99$169.00$499.00$249.00$199.00$199.99$229.99
Wifi Compatibility in GHz2.42.42.4 or 52.4 or 52.42.4 or 52.4 or 5
Operating Temperature-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit-5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
Hardwired or Battery?EitherEitherPower over ethernethardwiredBatteryEitherEither
Quality720p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD
Field of View180160160160155160160
Two-Way Audio with Noise Cancellation
Infrared or Color?InfraredInfraredInfraredInfraredInfraredInfraredInfrared
LocalNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Cloud60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans60 days with both paid plans
Smart Platform IntegrationAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Artificial IntelligenceNoneNonePerson detection with Basic or Plus plansPerson detection with Basic or Plus plansNoneNoneNone
RequirementsNoneNonePower over Ethernet adapter (included)16-24 VAC transformerDoor 34 to 55 mm thick, need standard width door with peepholeNoneNone
ExtrasMotion zonesMotion zonesMotion zonesMotion zonesImpact sensor, motion zonesMotion zonesMotion zones, pre-roll

Equipment Pricing

Let’s get down to brass tax. Ring has a wide array of pricing when it comes to their video doorbells, ranging from only $99.99 with the original Video Doorbell all the way up to $499 with their Elite version. For all the options except the Video Doorbell 2, financing is available through Affirm in either three, six, or 12-month contracts. This payment plan could be a good option for someone who doesn’t have the money at the time of purchase, but we decided to buy all of our video doorbells upfront over a few months to keep our monthly bills to a minimum.

Equipment Pricing Rundown for Ring Doorbell

CameraPriceMinimum Monthly Fee through Affirm
Ring Video Doorbell Elite$499.00$42
Ring Video Doorbell Pro$249.00$17
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus$229.99$20
Ring Video Doorbell 3$199.99$17
Ring Door View/ Peephole Cam$199.00$11
Ring Video Doorbell 2$169.00N/A
Ring Video Doorbell$99.99$17

FYI: If you don’t have the money upfront, you can pay monthly through Affirm for all of the video doorbells except the Ring Video Doorbell 2.3

Design

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Closeup
Ring doorbell cameras are sleek and have great features.

On the surface, all of Ring’s video doorbells looked pretty similar to us; silver, black and rectangular. Since we set them up outside, we were pleased to see that they all worked in temperatures from -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough of a range for the Brooklyn climate. We had all kinds of weather this year: snow, rain, hail, sunshine, wind, you name it, but the video doorbells weren’t affected, luckily. In fact, the majority of the design differences came down to how we hooked up each device to power, as well as how we connected each device to Wi-Fi.

Power

A huge positive of the Ring video doorbells is that for the majority of them, we could choose whether we wanted them wireless and powered by batteries, or hardwired into our existing doorbell setup. Now, hardwiring requires a lot more from us installation-wise, so whenever we had the option, which was the case for the original, 2, 3 and 3 Plus, we always chose to make our lives easier and use the built-in batteries, which lasted us anywhere from six to 12 months.

With the Peephole Cam, however, we didn’t have an option, as there was no port to plug everything in, so wireless it was. The only cameras we couldn’t have powered by batteries were the Pro and the Elite. For the Pro, we hardwired it into our home, and we connected the Elite to our home via a Power over Ethernet (PoE) cable,4 which Ring included in the box. But we’ll get more into our installation process in a bit.

Wi-Fi Compatibility

We’re millennials with tons of smart home technology in our apartment, so naturally, we prefer video doorbells that are compatible with a 5 GHz network as opposed to 2.4 GHz. Fortunately, we hooked up our Elite, Pro, 3 and 3 Plus up to the 5 GHz network, while the rest only worked with our 2.4 GHz network. However, we noticed that the former group notified us sooner when their cameras detected movement or people, so if you have a 5 GHz router at home, definitely go for those updated options.

Video

A video doorbell at its core is just a camera, so clear video was a necessity. After all, we primarily used these devices to greet guests, and if we couldn’t see who they were, the video doorbell would become kind of pointless. Luckily, Ring delivered in this area, for the most part, producing a clear and beautiful image.

Quality

Ring Doorbell Video Quality
Overall, we liked the video quality of all the Ring doorbells.

Watching the video doorbells’ footage on our phones, Echo Show devices, and Fire TV, we enjoyed seeing our guests and delivery people’s faces in 1080p HD, the standard that we expect from the smart security industry. However, with the original Ring Video Doorbell, we noticed that the footage was a bit more pixelated, which made sense as it’s only 720p HD. While we could still easily recognize what was happening in front of our camera, the details weren’t as clear, like the strangers passing by on the sidewalk. Of course, we spent the least on this camera by a good $70 margin, so we can firmly say we paid for what we got.

Field of View

Of course, we also wanted our cameras to capture the most possible in terms of their viewing angle. In case you missed seventh-grade math class, the widest possible field of view for a camera is 180 degrees. Strangely, the original Ring Video Doorbell showed us the most of our front yard, with a field of view of 180 degrees. The rest, except the Ring Peephole Cam, had 160-degree fields of view, so we could see less of the yard, but still all the space necessary. The Peephole Cam’s footage was pretty close, with a 155-degree field of view. No matter which video doorbell we used, we could see all of what we wanted to see, namely, our stoop and front yard area, so we were satisfied with all of them in that respect.

Audio

Aside from being able to see our guests before we answered the door, we could also speak to them. Each video doorbell came equipped with speakers and noise-canceling microphones, which really cut down on the background noise from the street (we live in Brooklyn, so this is always an issue). So, not only could we greet our guests, but they could talk back, making us more hospitable than ever. The two-way audio also came in handy when we got takeout delivered; rather than having to go all the way downstairs to get our food, we simply gave the delivery guy our smart lock’s passcode and told him to leave it inside. Sure, we may have startled more than one delivery guy, but ultimately, it was worth it to be able to communicate so easily with whoever was at our front door.

Night Vision

Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro Night Vision
Our Comparison of Ring Video Doorbell Cameras

Listen, we’re pretty popular, and that doesn’t stop just because it’s dark outside. Also, considering the sun goes down at 5 PM in the winter in New York, we knew we needed a video doorbell with some LED sensors so that we could see clearly at night. The Ring Video Doorbells had just that. Last winter, we had a friend over for dinner around 8 PM, which is basically the middle of the night in February. But just because it was dark and gloomy didn’t mean we couldn’t see our friend clearly, thanks to all the video doorbells’ LED sensors. Sure, the footage we live streamed was in black and white, but as far as identifying our friend went, it was as easy as if it were daytime.

Storage

Although we didn’t have an intrusion while testing our Ring Video Doorbells, there was still footage we wanted to keep: our grandparents visiting our apartment for the first time, the kids coming home from their first day of school, or even that time that we missed a step, because hey — we can laugh at ourselves.

Local

None of Ring’s doorbell cameras had slots for micro-SD cards, which was a bit of a shame; it meant that all of our footage would be on cloud storage, which brings us to our next point…

Cloud

While Ring didn’t give us any cloud storage for free beyond the 30-day trial of Ring Protect that came with each video doorbell, we opted to sign on for 60 days of cloud storage. Now, since we tested out seven different video doorbells, for us it made sense to get the Ring Protect Plus plan, which covered all of our Ring devices at our Brooklyn apartment. This plan costs only $10 a month, although we could’ve saved some money and paid $100 for a year (if we weren’t so darn non-committal!).

From there, we downloaded the clips we wanted to keep onto a hard drive we had lying around as a backup. This process was a bit more work than if they all saved directly on a micro-SD card, but overall, we didn’t exactly break the bank paying for 60 days of cloud storage. Now, Ring Protect actually gave us more services than just cloud storage, but we’ll get to that in a little.

Smart Home Integrations

Like we said, Amazon owns Ring, so it wasn’t surprising to us that we could use Alexa to control our Video Doorbells totally hands-free. But we were a bit surprised to find out that we could also use Google Assistant, although our capabilities were much fewer.

Alexa

Echo Show 8 and Box
We loved that our Ring doorbells paired with our Echo Show.

Here are some commands we had Alexa5 carry out with our video doorbells from Ring:

  • “Alexa, answer the side door.”
  • “Alexa, show the front door on the Echo Show.”
  • “Alexa, stop the front door camera.”
  • “Alexa, show me the most recent activity from the side door.”

It was really cool to be able to see and speak to our guests without even having to push a button. Because sometimes, our phones are just too far away! In fact, to make things even easier for ourselves, we set it up so that whenever anyone was at the door, the footage automatically showed up on our Echo Show. Talk about futuristic!

Google Assistant

With Google Assistant,6 we could only say:

  • “Hey Google, talk to Ring about starting a new recording.”
  • “OK Google, talk to Ring about the health of my devices.”
  • “OK Google, talk to Ring about the last time my doorbell rang.”

While we have Chromecast, we couldn’t show our video doorbells’ footage on it, which seemed like a bit of a waste, although we showed it on our Nest Hub.

Clearly, Ring’s video doorbells worked better with Alexa than they did with Google Assistant.

Third-Party Compatible Devices

Not only did we command our Ring Video Doorbells as if we had telekinesis, but we also hooked them up with a slew of connected devices from third parties like Dome, Ecolink, and GE. When we had our grandparents staying with us, who are hard of hearing, we had our Dome siren go off every time our Ring Video Doorbell Elite detected a person so they’d know about visitors.

All in all, we loved integrating Ring’s doorbell cameras into our smart home, although we’d recommend it to someone in the Amazon versus the Google smart home ecosystem.

Artificial Intelligence

No, it’s not just something you see in sci-fi movies. Today, smart security cameras can tell the difference between people and other moving objects; animals, cars, drones, you name it. However, most of Ring’s video doorbells notified us when there was movement of any kind, and given they were facing the street, we received a ton of notifications that were less than necessary. However, with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Elite devices, we set it up so we only received notifications when they detected people. This setting seriously cut down the number of notifications we got, which was a huge relief. Hopefully, Ring will add this feature to all of its video doorbells, as it made keeping up with our front door security much easier.

Hot Tip: If you only want notifications when your video doorbell sees someone, go with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro or the Ring Video Doorbell Elite.


Installation

Installing the Ring Video Doorbell 2
We found that some Ring doorbells were easier to install than others. If you don’t have a doorbell currently, opt for a battery-operated Ring doorbell.

We touched on this topic previously, but setting up each Video Doorbell took only a few minutes, especially if they could be powered by a battery. First, we downloaded the Ring app and created our account. Next, we added each device one by one, naming it based on its location, i.e front door or side door, and added it to our home’s Wi-Fi network. From there, we had to actually install each video doorbell, which, for the battery-powered devices, required only some screwing. With the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, we had to hardwire it to our doorbell and chime setup, which worked as we had a 24-VAC transformer, although if we didn’t we could’ve just used a power adapter from Ring. As for the Ring Video Doorbell Elite, we connected this via a Power over Ethernet cable, which, again, was included.

If you’re looking for faster setup, we’d recommend any of the video doorbells except the Pro and the Elite; otherwise, they’re all battery-powered, so you’ll only have to mount it where you want, which took us only a few minutes instead of about an hour.

Extras

That’s our basic experience with each of the Ring doorbell cameras, but some of them gave us a few extras that we found even more helpful.

Motion Zones

Motion Zones on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Setting up our custom motion zones allowed us to have more control over our Ring app notifications.

Since our doorbell cameras were facing the street, even with person detection turned on on the Pro and Elite, we still got some notifications that just weren’t necessary. For example, since we live in Brooklyn, there’s always a good amount of people passing by on the sidewalk in front of our brownstone. That meant we got notified whenever anyone passed, even if they weren’t on our specific property. That is, until we turned on motion zones.

Motion zones let us draw lines around our property so we only got notified by movement or people with that area. Even for our video doorbells without person detection, this really decreased the amount of notifications we got, and pretty much ensured that we wouldn’t get any false alerts.

Impact Sensor

Now, for the door to our actual apartment, we don’t have a doorbell but instead, a peephole to see guests. This was perfect for the Ring Door View Cam, otherwise known as the Ring Peephole Cam. When people knocked, we were alerted, due to the Door View’s impact sensor which felt the knock. It was really awesome to get notified on our phones when someone literally just knocked at our door, and for anyone with a peephole, we’d highly recommend this option.

Pre-Roll

Now, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus may not have person detection yet, but it did have one unique feature called pre-roll. Pre-roll made it so our camera recorded the previous four seconds before a motion event. We turned this feature on to test it out and were surprised to see that the pre-roll section is in black and white, even during the day, and lacks audio.

So, when did it actually come in handy? For us, not very much; after all, before motion, not much was going on in the area we cared about, i.e., our front stoop and yard area. Plus, this extra four seconds didn’t make much of a difference, especially since it’s footage wasn’t in color and was silent. To us, this feature seemed a bit unnecessary, so we turned it off on our 3 Plus.

Monitoring Options

Remember when we said that the Ring Protect Plans are more than just cloud storage? Yea, we’re going to explain that more here.

Ring Doorbell Monitoring Matrix

FreeProtect Basic PlanProtect Plus Plan
CoveragexOne Ring Doorbell or Security CameraAll Ring Devices at One Address
Ring and Motion Alerts
Custom Motion Detection
Person Only Modex
Interact with Visitors Remotely
Livestream
Warranty1 Year1 YearExtended Warranty
Length of Cloud Storage (in Days)x6060
Review, Share, and Save Ring Videosx
Cellular Backupxx
Professional Monitoring for Ring Alarmxx
Exclusive Discounts at Ring.comxx10% off Ring Products
Monthly Price$0$3$10
Annual Price$0$30$100
Annual Savings$0$6$20

Again, to cover all our doorbell cameras, we got Protect Plus, which gave us 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup. Now, we also got cellular backup, which meant that our cameras stayed on and connected to our app during a power outage. Along with those features, we also got an extended warranty for all of our devices and a discount off products off the Ring website. Not too shabby for only $10 a month, less than the cost of a day’s lunch!

If you want to dive deeper into Ring’s pricing, check out our page on Ring’s doorbell camera costs.

The Ring App

Ring Door View Cam on Ring Always Home App
Motion Settings on Our Ring App

Say we weren’t home and we wanted to tell the Amazon guy to leave the package at the door; no matter which video doorbell we had installed, we live-streamed footage and spoke through the Ring— Always Home app,7 available for both iPhones and Androids alike. The app was also where we reviewed cloud storage and downloaded it to our phone for safekeeping, received person and motion-activated notifications, connected our video doorbells to our voice assistants and other IoT devices, and more.

In our experience, the app was easy to use, and it was simple to turn on those extra features we mentioned, like motion zones and person detection. Of course, we wish that we could’ve controlled all of our video doorbells like that, but with so many updates, we expect that the app will have even more functionality for each doorbell in the future.

Recap

There, that’s everything our experts know about Ring’s impressive lineup for video doorbells! Still confused? We broke it down for you below.

Buy the Ring Video Doorbell if you’re looking for:
  • Most affordable option
  • Widest possible field of view
  • Hardwired or battery-powered
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell 2 if you’re looking for:
  • Hardwired or battery-powered
  • Second most affordable option
  • 1080p HD video
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell 3 if you’re looking for:
  • Compatibility with a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network
  • Hardwired or battery-powered
  • Financing through Affirm available
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus if you’re looking for:
  • Compatibility with a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network
  • Pre-roll
  • Hardwired or battery-powered
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell Elite if you’re looking for:
  • Person detection available
  • Financing through Affirm available
  • Motion zones
Buy the Ring Peephole/ Door View Cam if you’re looking for:
  • Lowest monthly pricing through Affirm
  • Video doorbell compatible with peephole
  • Privacy zones
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell Pro if you’re looking for:
  • Compatibility with a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network
  • Person detection available
  • Financing through Affirm available

If Ring’s video doorbells don’t seem like the right fit for your home, check out our list of the best video doorbells of 2020. Or, if you want to read about even more Ring products, check out our reviews of Ring Alarm or the Ring cameras.

Citations
  1. Inc. (2015). After This Entrepreneur Got Nothing on ‘Shark Tank,' Richard Branson Wrote Him a Check.
    inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/he-got-nothing-on-shark-tank-then-richard-branson-gave-him-28-million.html

  2. CNBC. (2018). Amazon buys smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion.
    cnbc.com/2018/02/27/amazon-buys-ring-the-smart-door-bell-maker-it-backed-through-alexa-fund.html

  3. Ring. (2020). Financing Available Through Affirm. shop.ring.com/pages/financing

  4. NETGEAR Support. (2019). What is PoE? (Power over Ethernet).
    kb.netgear.com/209/What-is-PoE-Power-over-Ethernet

  5. Amazon. (2020). Ring. amazon.com/Ring/dp/B01JTL2PYE

  6. Google Assistant. (2020). Ring.
    assistant.google.com/services/a/uid/000000e4ac17fd8b?e=-WebDirectoryEmbeddedWebviewExperiment&jsmode=o

  7. Apple App Store. (2020). Ring – Always Home App.
    apps.apple.com/us/app/ring-always-home/id926252661