Ring Camera Review
Ring goes beyond video doorbells to deliver an innovative and versatile set of home security cameras that are renter-friendly.
Owned by Internet giant Amazon, Ring is one of the most popular smart security companies on the market today. Worth over a billion dollars when they were purchased in 2018,1 the company offers a ton of products, from security cameras to video doorbells to security systems, but in this review, we’re focusing specifically on their cameras. There are nine cameras to choose from, from indoor to outdoor, from wired to wireless, with extra features like spotlights, sirens, and motion zones. What does it all mean and which camera is right for your home? Our experts are here to help.
Ring Camera Breakdown
|Ring Stick Up Cam Battery||Ring Stick Up Cam Wired||Ring Stick Up Cam Solar||Ring Stick Up Cam Elite||Ring Spotlight Cam Wired||Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||Ring Spotlight Cam Solar||Ring Spotlight Cam Mount||Ring Floodlight Cam||Ring Indoor Cam|
|wireless or plugged in||Wireless||Plug-In||Both; solar panel and backup battery pack||Plug-in||Plug-In||Wireless||Wireless||Hardwired||Hardwired||Plug-In|
|quality||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p||1080p HD||1080p HD|
|field of view||130||130||130||150||140||140||140||140||140||115|
|Color Night Vision||X||X||X||X||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||X|
|Infrared Night vision||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Two-Way with Noise Cancellation?||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|cloud||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Artificial Intelligence||X||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||X||X||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||X||X||X||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||X|
|Extras||Privacy zones, can disable motion recording, alerts and audio||Siren, up to three motion zones||Motion zones||Motion zones||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Two LED floodlights, siren, motion zones, scheduling||Motion zones|
What Do All Ring Cameras Have In Common?
Believe it or not, we discovered that all of the Ring cameras had a few key features in common, like:
Whenever any motion occurred in front of our Ring cams, we got alerted immediately via the Ring app,2 which we’ll describe more in a minute. Now, as you can imagine, we got a lot of notifications that just weren’t needed when our cameras were set to motion only; especially when we were cat-sitting for a friend, the Ring app kept us a bit too updated on its whereabouts. And for outdoor cameras, we received a notification each time a car passed by our place. Fortunately, we were able to adjust some of the cameras so that they only sent out notifications when it mattered, but again, more on that soon.
1080p HD Video
No matter which camera we used, when we live streamed we noticed that the footage had exactly the same clarity, resulting in video that was clear and beautiful. 1080p HD is actually our preferred video quality when reviewing cameras, so in that way, we were pleased. However, for those looking for even higher quality video, check out the Arlo Ultra, which has 4K video, twice as many pixels as 1080p HD.
Infrared Night Vision
Of course, we didn’t just test our cameras out during the day; we also wanted to see how they fared at night. Fortunately, all of the cameras have infrared LED sensors, which gave us a really nice image even in the middle of the night. What’s good about LED sensors in contrast to spotlights or floodlights is that they’re completely inconspicuous. We had a friend come over late at night after getting in from an international flight, and they didn’t even notice the camera recording them press our buzzer, when only the infrared sensors were on. This will definitely come in handy if we actually have a robbery, as the burglar will be less likely to notice our cameras capturing his or her every move.
Another really convenient feature that each camera had was speakers and microphones which let us speak to whoever the camera was on through the Ring’s app. Let’s go back to that international friend. Once they buzzed in, we could actually say “be right down!” through the camera itself, rather than having to depend on our very shoddy intercom system. We also used this feature to tell delivery men where to place packages, which was super convenient. And again, if we do have an intrusion, we imagine the burglar would be very scared of a voice telling them to go away.
When it comes to storing our cameras’ footage, we like to back it up in two ways; locally, like on a micro-SD card or hard drive, and on cloud storage. While none of Ring’s cameras have a slot for a micro-SD card, we signed up for 60 days of cloud storage, which starts at only $3 a month or $30 a year. From there, we downloaded the footage onto our phones, and from there, onto some hard drives we had lying around. So while local storage isn’t built into the Ring cameras, we managed to finagle it anyhow.
Storage Options Analysis for Ring Cameras
|Free||Protect Basic Plan||Protect Plus Plan|
|Coverage||x||One Ring Doorbell or Security Camera||All Ring devices at one address|
|Ring and Motion Alerts||✓||✓||✓|
|Custom Motion Detection||✓||✓||✓|
|Person Only Mode||x||✓||✓|
|Interact with Visitors Remotely||✓||✓||✓|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||Extended warranty|
|Length of Cloud Storage (in Days)||x||60||60|
|Review, Share, and Save Ring Videos||x||✓||✓|
|Professional Monitoring for Ring Alarm||x||x||✓|
|Exclusive Discounts at Ring.com||x||x||10% off Ring products|
Helpful Hint: Download your Ring footage from cloud storage onto a hard drive or another form of local storage. That way, if the cloud storage fails for whatever reason, you’ll still have a backup.
Alexa and Google Assistant Integrations
We used Alexa3 and Google Assistant to control all of our Ring cameras. With Alexa, we told our camera to talk to the backyard camera, meaning speak through two-way audio. We also had Alexa show our Ring Indoor Cam footage on the Echo Show in our bedroom so we could see what’s going on downstairs, which was very Jetsons-like. We could even tell Alexa to show some of our cloud storage, particularly a time when a friend tripped over a rock (don’t worry, they weren’t hurt). Once we wanted the footage to stop, Alexa took care of that as well.
Even though Amazon and Google are mortal enemies, we still used Google Assistant with our Ring cameras. However, we weren’t able to do quite as much; for example, even though we have Chromecast on our bedroom TV, we couldn’t show our Ring footage there, which was a bit disappointing. That being said, we had fun telling our Ring cameras to record using Google Assistant. Still, we think Alexa worked better with Ring’s cameras over Google Assistant.
FYI: Although Ring cameras work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, we’d recommend them for someone in the Amazon ecosystem more than someone in the Google ecosystem.
The Ring— Always Home App
Despite what camera we used, the Ring— Always Home app was our home away from home, but we’ll confess, we even used it at home when we were feeling particularly lazy. Whether it was livestreaming footage, speaking to our visitors through the cameras’ speakers and microphones, downloading the cloud storage onto our local hard drive, or what have you, all of Ring’s cameras fall under the same app, which was very easy for us to use.
Of course, we like to see exactly what’s going on at home using the Ring app, which didn’t require us to pay a penny. But it’s always good to have an extra set of eyes on anything, especially our home’s security. That’s why we signed up for 24/7 professional monitoring with the Ring Protect Plus Plan for $10 a month (or, if you don’t mind a commitment, $100 a year), which covered all of our cameras under one proverbial umbrella. This plan also gave us cellular backup, which kept all of our cameras on even when the power in our neighborhood went out. All of Ring’s cameras have this option, and we loved how the Protect Plus Plan covered each of the cameras at our house, keeping monthly costs to a minimum. Learn more about Ring’s pricing and professional monitoring options or check out our review of their security system, Ring Alarm, which we installed as well.
Not all of Ring’s speakers were created equal, but when it came to their audio, the quality was the same. All the latest Ring cameras have noise cancellation, so, we noticed that there was much less background noise from the street when we live streamed on the Ring app. The audio was also much more clear and less muddled. While we could still hear who we were talking to, the birds chirping was much quieter, as was the traffic that never ceases to exist in front of our stoop.
How Are Ring’s Cameras Different From Each Other?
Okay, now that we’ve established the commonalities between all the Ring cameras, let’s talk about the differences that came up during our testing.
We’re in New York, where we get pretty much every type of weather there is, from snow in the winter to rain all year round, with the occasional sunny day thrown in for good measure. While the majority of Ring’s cameras could withstand the elements, we kept our Ring Indoor Cam, well, indoors, as it’s not designed to be weather-resistant. However, with all of the other cameras, we switched between using them indoors and outdoors. Good news for your wallet, if you’re looking for an indoor camera only, the Ring Indoor Cam is by far their cheapest option at only $59.99, but more on pricing later.
Ring has a ton of options when it comes to how their cameras are powered. We plugged in the Stick Up Cam Wired, the Stick Up Cam Elite, the Spotlight Cam Wired, and the Indoor Cam, while the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery, Spotlight Cam Battery, and Solar cameras were wireless. Now, the solar cameras were our personal favorite; using Ring’s solar panel, we hooked up the cameras so that they could be charged by the sun rather than depending on their backup batteries. This was extremely convenient, as we didn’t have to worry about low batteries or pay to replace them. For outdoor cameras, solar power is a great and unique option from Ring. Otherwise, we were happy to have so many options available, as we prefer using wireless cameras outdoors and wired cameras indoors.
We paid a wide range of prices for our Ring cameras, with the least expensive being the Ring Indoor Cam at $59.99 and the most expensive being the Ring Spotlight Cam Solar at $229.
Camera Pricing Snapshot for Ring Cameras
|Ring Floodlight Cam||$249.00|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Solar||$229.00|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Elite||$199.99|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Wired||$199.00|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||$199.00|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Solar||$148.99|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Battery||$99.99|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Wired||$99.99|
|Ring Indoor Cam||$59.99|
Now, we buy and test out a ton of security cameras, and pricing-wise, Ring is on the lower end. Indoor cameras tend to cost around $100 to $150, while outdoor cameras are a bit more expensive at around $200 on average. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll find a Ring camera within your price range just like us.
Money-Saving Tip: If you’re only planning on using your camera inside, we recommend getting the Ring Indoor Cam, as it’s by far the most affordable.
Field of View
Field of view4 means how wide the viewing angle of the camera is, and it’s really important to us. After all, if a camera’s field of view is too narrow, we may have to buy multiple cameras, which could add up money-wise. Aside from the Ring Indoor Cam and the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery, which showed pretty narrow fields of view of 115 and 110 degrees, respectively, we were pleased with how much footage we saw from the other cameras, ranging from 130 to 150 degrees. How did this come in handy, exactly? Well, when we used the Ring Indoor Cam, we noticed that our kids were hiding out of the camera’s view during homework time. But when we switched to the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, which has a 140-degree field of view, we could easily see what they were doing in our entire living room. And if we had an intrusion, these degrees could mean the difference between gathering useful video evidence and missing it by a hair.
Color Night Vision
Although all of Ring’s cameras have infrared night vision, some of them could also show night vision in color due to their bright lights, namely the Spotlight and Floodlight cameras. As we said, this was pretty conspicuous when compared to infrared night vision stemming from the LED sensors; obviously, our guests were well aware of the fact that we had a spotlight streaming in their faces, which blinded people a bit when they were entering our home. Still, it was cool to see our visitors in color, even if they felt a bit surveilled. However, when we wanted to keep our cameras on the down low, it was easy to disable the lights in our Ring app.
A relatively new feature, we were thrilled when Ring announced that they added person detection to the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired, the Spotlight Cam Wired, and the Floodlight Cam with Ring Protect. Since we already had Ring Protect, we only got notified when the cameras saw people, not just any moving object. This feature seriously cut down the number of false alerts we got, although we wish it was available for all our Ring cameras. With our Spotlight Cam Wired, which we had hooked up near our front door, this feature was really useful, as we could ignore the traffic completely and only focus on people, who are undeniably more important to know about for our home’s security.
We don’t mind spending a little extra when it comes to our smart home technology, and Ring has options that go above and beyond what we normally would expect from a security camera, such as:
When we wanted to scare people who entered our home when our security system was armed, we turned on the siren, available on the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired, the Spotlight Cam Wired, the Spotlight Cam Battery, the Spotlight Cam Solar, and the Floodlight Cam. Again, we didn’t have any intrusions during our testing, but when we sounded the siren to see how loud it was, we were pleased, to say the least; it was about as loud as an ambulance siren, and our neighbors called us to see what was going on!
LED Light Strips
Not to state the obvious, but the Ring Spotlight and the Floodlight cameras had LED light strips that made our night vision turn to color. We chose when we wanted to use these lights and when we wanted to stick with the LED sensors; we had the lights on when we were expecting guests, so they could see the camera and say hi, but all other times, we had these lights off, as we didn’t want any intruders to know about our cameras in the first place.
Otherwise known as activity zones, motion zones let us tell our Stick Up Cams, Floodlight Cam, and Indoor Cam precisely what to watch and what to ignore. Here’s an example: we had our Stick Up Cam Solar set up facing the street, which included our little front yard. Now, this camera doesn’t have person detection, meaning we got notified whenever it detected movement. But with motion zones, we drew a section around our front yard so that the camera would ignore the sidewalk and street, which significantly cut down on the number of unnecessary notifications we received. In fact, the only notifications we got that weren’t needed were mostly from squirrels, which was a step up from cars, passerby, and the like!
If you haven’t figured it out already, we’re huge fans of home automation, which means that our connected devices work automatically without us even having to use the mobile app. Now, with most of our Ring cameras, we had to arm and disarm them manually each time we left and came home. But with the Floodlight Cam, we set it onto schedules so it would arm and disarm automatically at certain times each day. Sure, it wouldn’t have taken much more effort to change the toggle for the Floodlight Cam as well, but this is a feature we hope Ring adds to all of its cameras, eventually.
Ah, the dreaded p-word. Ring has had its fair share of issues when it comes to protecting customers’ privacy, to put it lightly. For example, at the end of last year, a data breach exposed 3,000 Ring customers’ data,5 so many of their cameras were hacked. In response to this breach, Ring made some much-needed updates, some of which are currently only available on the Stick Up Cam Battery. With this camera, we could set up what Ring calls “privacy zones,” areas that the camera completely ignored. We used this in our living room, which has a small bathroom on one side. While, of course, the bathroom has a door, we didn’t want to accidentally watch or record someone who forgot to close or lock the door, so these privacy zones came in handy. And during times when we wanted total privacy, we turned off all motion and audio recording and alerts, which was a relief. Hopefully, this will become a standard feature for all Ring cameras in the future.
Installing our Ring cameras was pretty easy, but for some, it was a bit more complicated, depending on where we wanted to place it. With any camera, we just went into the Ring app and added the device to our list, connecting it to our home’s Wi-Fi network. Next, we’d name it something obvious like “living room” or “front yard,” which helped out with those voice commands we discussed previously. Then, it was merely a matter of installing the physical cameras, which sometimes included mounting them for our outdoor cameras, or placing them on flat surfaces for our indoor cameras. Ring has a bunch of support videos on their website, which was helpful, and the app guided us through the entire process with each camera. Whatever camera we installed, the whole process only took a few minutes from start to finish.
Which Ring Camera Is Right for You?
Okay, that was a bit of a mouthful on our part, so if you want the short version, keep reading below. With so many options, you’re sure to find a great option to protect your home.
Get the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery if you’d like…
- Lowest price for an outdoor camera
- Privacy zones and the ability to disable motion recording, audio and alerts
Get the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired if you’d like…
- Widest field of view
- Person detection with Ring Protect plan
Get the Ring Stick Up Cam Solar if you’d like…
- Widest field of view
- Motion zones
Get the Ring Stick Up Cam Elite if you’d like…
- Widest field of view
- Motion zones
Get the Ring Spotlight Up Cam Battery if you’d like…
- Color night vision
Get the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired if you’d like…
- Color night vision
- Person detection available with Ring Protect plan
Get the Ring Spotlight Cam Solar if you’d like…
- Color night vision
Get the Ring Floodlight Cam if you’d like…
- Hardwired camera
- Powerful floodlights
- Color night vision
Get the Ring Indoor Cam if you’d like…
- Lowest price for an indoor camera
- Motion zones
Ring comes out with new products all of the time, so we’re excited to see what’s next.
CNBC. (2018). Amazon buys smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion.
Apple App Store. (2020). Ring – Always Home App.
Ring. (2020). Integrating Amazon Alexa-supported Devices with Ring Devices.
Edmund Optics. (2020). Understanding Focal Length and Field of View.
BuzzFeed News. (2019). A Data Leak Exposed The Personal Information Of Over 3,000 Ring Users.