Ring Security System Review: Reliable and Affordable DIY Home Security

In Home Securityby ChristyLeave a Comment

For decades, home security systems have provided ways to monitor homes for burglaries and emergencies,  keeping your properties and family safe. The problem is, a lot of these traditional home security systems are costly, requiring a professional installation and a long-term contract that locks you in to their service.  That’s why we’re looking at the Ring Security System today.

The good news is that products like the Ring Security System allow you to install a professional home security system at a cheaper cost. You can do everything yourself in a matter of minutes. 

Let’s take a look at how the Ring System stacks up against the competition.

Here's what we'll cover:

Ring Security System – An Overview

Ring-Alarm

Source: https://www.crutchfield.com/S-qkFJ9eZIMQy/p_700ALARMKT/Ring-Alarm-Starter-Home-Security-Kit.html

Rating: 4.4/5

Price: $199

Monthly Fees: Starts at $3 and up

Plan Contract: None, you can cancel anytime

Pros:

  • Low-cost home security system
  • Easy DIY installation
  • At $10 per month, you get a complete video and monitoring service
  • Contract not required
  • Provides an option for self-monitoring
  • Compatible with Alexa and Z-Wave devices

Cons:

  • Basic package does not include cameras and two-way audio communication
  • Large door contact sensors
  • Limited options for security and automation devices
  • Limited options to arm and disarm the system

When compared to other big brands, Ring’s Security System doesn't have all the fancy stuff and conveniences the other popular competitors offer. However, it’s a great entry-level home security kit that already includes the essentials such as a keypad, motion detector sensor, hub, contact sensors for windows and doors, and a range extender that is all priced at $199. And for everything that Ring offers, this starter bundle price is competitive.

If you do like the added services and extended number of devices for your home, Ring offers a variety of packages for different needs. They are summarized below.

Comparison of Packages

Ring Security System 
5-piece Alarm Security Kit 
8-piece Alarm Security Kit 
14-piece Alarm Security Kit 
Price

$199

$259

$329

Base station

1 included

1 included

1 included

Keypad

1 included

1 included

2 included

Contact Sensor

1 included

3 included

8 included

Motion Detector

1 included

2 included

2 included

Range extender

1 included

1 included

1 included

Product Features

Amazon now owns Ring and is expected to keep expanding as a DIY, simple and low-cost home security solution. We've summarized below some of the features that you would want in a basic home security kit.

Simplicity

Sensors

Source: https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018549231-How-to-Install-your-Ring-Alarm-Contact-Sensors-on-Different-Types-of-Doors-Windows-and-Trim

Aside from the budget-friendly price, you also get an alarm system that is pretty straightforward to install. You get basic features you need to run your home security system such as battery and cellular backup during power interruptions, professional monitoring services, and easy-to-follow instructions to get your system running.

The parts included such as the motion sensors, contact sensors and range extended are already preset to pair with Ring’s hub. So, all you have to do is put the batteries in, scan the QR code found on the back of the sensor, and wait for the app to find the devices to set everything up.

Includes Accessories for Easy Installation

Installing the sensors takes only a few minutes. The basic Ring Home security kit includes double-sided tape to easily mount the sensors as well as screws and wall fasteners for robust and permanent installation.

Multiple Keypad Option

Keypad

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/3/17530782/ring-alarm-security-system-smart-home-review-price-features

The Ring system allows you to use multiple keypads which you can use for each entry way, such as on the main door and a garage door. You have the option to mount it to a wall or just place it flat on a table. According to Ring, the batteries can last for up to 12 months so you can install it anywhere you want without necessarily being close to a power outlet. You can even charge it occasionally through its micro USB cable. The keypad also includes an LED to let you know if the system is armed or disarmed.

Battery Backup and LTE Backup Comms

Power interruptions (whether from a burglary or from storms) are circumstances you don’t want to derail your security system. To keep you protected, Ring has designed their system to have a 24-hour backup battery and option to connect your base station to an LTE network. Unfortunately, you have to subscribe to Ring’s Plus monitoring service to use it.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring

One disadvantage of Ring’s basic alarm system is that it does not include monitoring for fire and carbon monoxide. To include this in your system, you have to buy a separate Alarm Smoke and CO listener at $35. It’s installed next to a smoke alarm so that whenever it “hears” the alarm, it will trigger the system to get you notified.

24/7 Professional Monitoring

When you subscribe to Ring’s Protect Plus service, you will receive professional services like automatic notifications to authorities in case of break-ins or emergencies. You (and your emergency contacts) will receive push notifications while the emergency services are being deployed. 

The service costs $10 per month and does not require a long-term contract commitment.  So, you can use it just when you need it.

Unlimited Cloud Storage

Included in Ring’s Protect Plus service is unlimited cloud storage for your doorbell and security cameras. So if you already have these devices installed, there’s no need to pay another fee for the service.

Neighbors App

Neighbors-App

Source: https://www.thecoastlandtimes.com/2019/07/31/nags-head-police-dept-using-neighbors-app/

One of Ring’s unique features is the Neighbors App.  It's available on Google Play and on Apple's App Store.

The concept of the app is that it allows a neighborhood watch where videos captured from Ring devices can be uploaded to crowdsource thieves’ identities or provide warnings about mysterious lurkers. Users can use this app to view videos and send alerts. However, you need to get Ring’s video doorbell or camera to record and upload footage, which is not included in Ring’s basic security package.

Compatibility With Third-Party Devices

Ring is compatible with Alexa so you can control your system using commands.  And, you can receive notifications for smoke alarms and sounds of breaking glass. However, Ring is not compatible with Google Home.

You can also integrate smart door lock systems to the Ring app such as Danalock, Kwikset, Lockitron, Kisi, LockState, and Schlage. 

Ring’s compatibility with other devices is still limited, even if it’s using Z-Wave on its devices. So if you’re looking for an alarm system that has a compatibility with common home automation devices, then Ring might not be the best option for you.

Ring Compared to Other Brands

Brand Name
Installation Price
Lowest Monitoring Price
Length of Contract

Ring

$0.00

$10.00 per month

None

Vivint

$99.00

$29.99 per month

None or 3.5 - 5 years

Frontpoint

$0.00

$34.99 per month

3 years

ADT

$99.00

$27.99 per month

3 years

SimpliSafe

$0.00

$14.99 per month

None

Ring Security System FAQs

What are the pros and cons in getting Ring Alarm System?

The pros of Ring Alarm System are the following:

  • Low-cost home security system
  • Easy DIY installation
  • At $10 per month, you get a complete video and monitoring service
  • Contract not required
  • Provides an option for self-monitoring
  • Compatible with Alexa and Z-Wave devices

Below are some of the cons of Ring Alarm System:

  • Basic package does not include cameras and two-way audio communication
  • Large door contact sensors
  • Limited options for security and automation devices
  • Limited options to arm and disarm the system

How much is the starter kit?

Ring’s starter kit costs $199.

What are included in the starter kit?

The starter kit includes one piece of each component:

  • Base station
  • Keypad
  • Contact sensor
  • Motion detector
  • Range extender

How many are the security kits and how much are they?

Ring offers the following security kits with their respective prices:

  • 5-piece Alarm Security Kit (Basic) - $199
  • 8-piece Alarm Security Kit - $259
  • 14-piece Alarm Security Kit - $329

What security equipment is available from Ring Alarm?

Ring’s basic kit includes a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, and range extender. Aside from the basic kit (5-piece Alarm Security Kit), other options are also available and these are the 8-piece Alarm Security Kit and 14-piece Alarm Security Kit. You can also extend the functionality of your kit by adding extra sensors, motion detectors, keypad, video doorbells, security cameras, flood sensors, CO/ smoke alarm sensors, range extender, open window magnet, panic button, and dome siren. Take note that these extra parts have to be purchased separately from the kit.

What are Ring’s best features?

One of Ring’s unique features is the Neighbors App. The concept of the app is that it allows a neighborhood watch where videos captured from Ring devices can be uploaded to crowdsource thieves’ identities or provide warnings about mysterious lurkers. Users can use this app to view videos and send alerts. However, you need to get Ring’s video doorbell or camera to record and upload footage, which is not included in Ring’s basic security package.

What smart home devices are compatible with Ring’s security system?

Ring is compatible with Alexa so you can control your system using commands.  And, you can receive notifications for smoke alarms and sounds of breaking glass. However, Ring is not compatible with Google Home.

You can also integrate smart door lock systems to the Ring app such as Danalock, Kwikset, Lockitron, Kisi, LockState, and Schlage. 

How do I set it up?

To set-up the Ring Alarm, first you need to connect your base station which is the brain of your system to your WiFi. Make sure that you are able to enter the correct WiFi password to your base station. After setting up the base station, enter a four-digit code to your keypad and put your sensors to the desired places. If you’ve purchased a secondhand Ring system, make sure that you restore everything to its factory settings.

How easy is Ring Alarm to install?

Ring is very easy to install since all the instructions are provided on the printed materials together with its packaging. The Ring app also provides easy-to-follow instructions to setup your system.

How is the Ting security system monitored?

The Ring Alarm System works by connecting to the monitoring center and your smartphone through your ethernet or WiFi network. Ring doesn’t have a local storage - all your data or video is stored through the cloud. If you subscribe to the Protect Plan Plus, you can get a cellular connection as a backup in case your internet goes down or there are power interruptions.

How does the Ring Alarm system work?

The Ring Alarm system works in three modes and these are: Disarmed, Home, and Away. These modes can be set using your keypad or smartphone app.

  • Disarmed Mode -  every time a sensor is triggered, the event will be recorded to your history log and the base station will chime (you have the option to turn this off).
  • Home Mode - the alarm automatically turns on when a window or door installed with a sensor is opened. The system will prompt the monitoring center to call and request a security code from you.
  • Away Mode - before leaving your home, you will be given an option to set your time of exit between 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Once the system is armed, a notification will be sent to your smartphone. Ring doesn’t have a key fob so you can only arm or disarm your system remotely using the app.

How are video recordings generated and stored?

Any live footage coming from your security cameras and video doorbell can be accessed through Ring’s app. When there is motion, battery-operated devices record a 20-second clip while hardwired devices record a clip for 60 seconds. You can store and access the clips for 60 days at $3 per month per camera. If you subscribe to the Protect Plus plan at $10 per month, you can store and access clips without limit to the number of cameras you have.

What home automation technology is integrated with Ring Alarm?

Ring supports a number of home automation devices such as smart locks, smart outlets, light switches, and garage door tilt sensors. You can also use Alexa and its Guard service with Ring to listen to breaking glass sound and smoke alarms.

Does Ring Alarm work well with smart door locks?

Ring works well with a number of smart door locks such as Lockitron, Danalock, Kwikset, Schlage, LockState and Kisi. However, not all of these locks can be used to enter a code to disarm the system.

Does Ring Alarm integrate with my thermostat?

No, Ring doesn’t work with thermostats.

How good is Ring Alarm compared to its competitors?

Compared to its competitors that also offer a DIY system such as Simplisafe and Nest Secure, Ring offers the lowest professional monitoring fee at $10 per month. For now, Ring has a limited support for third-party devices. But if your needs are basic, then Ring already provides all the essentials for a professional monitoring system. Ring’s competitors also offer add-on devices that are more expensive. 

What are the key factors that affect Ring's pricing? What add-ons are there?

According to Mike Harris, president of Ring Solutions, the main goal of the company is to produce inexpensive security kit so that it can be accessible to everyone. The basic kit offers all the essentials to monitor your home with the option to self-monitor or subscribe to a professional monitoring service at $10 per month, which is still more affordable compared to other brands. 

What are the most popular add-ons to the Ring system besides cameras?

Some of the add-ons for Ring include glass-break, smoke and CO alarm listener devices, panic button, flood detectors, smart door locks, and Echo devices.

How important are cameras to a DIY home security system? Do most customers choose to add them?

Unlike traditional players, Ring believes that security should start outside-in. Cameras play a critical role in monitoring and protecting the perimeter and outside of your home. Starting at the front door, going to the inside, the Ring Alarm becomes the innermost ring that protects your home through smart lights and sensors. Ring also launches new products that include indoor cameras that would link to other devices. 

Does Ring Alarm still work if my power goes out or I lose my Wi-Fi network connection?

Yes. Ring has a built-in battery backup that can power your device up to 24 hours in case of power interruptions. When you are subscribed to Ring’s Protect Plus plan, your devices can automatically connect to the cellular network when your internet is down.

Can I customize my Ring security kit?

Unfortunately, you cannot customize your Ring security kit. But you have the option to get the expandable kit or buy the add ons for more functionality.

How good is its customer service?

Ring provides a 24/7 customer support over the phone. On top of that, you can easily find answers to common questions through their online support and app. 

Does Ring Alarm have a reputation for good customer service?

Since Ring is a new player in the market (launched in July 2018), we can’t really tell yet the company’s level of customer service. Ring offers Assist Plus which provides a lifetime purchase protection plan and support through their VIP phone number where a dedicated team can assist you in your queries. Ring’s Assist Plus comes with a one-time fee of $39.95.

How do their customer service works?

Ring offers plenty of resources to help you answer your queries. Ring’s customer self-service hub provides topics related to your device or Ring’s services. There are also pages for frequently asked questions as well as tutorials to help you set-up your devices. To connect to customer support, you can use email, live chat, or a phone call to talk to Ring’s experts.

What are the add ons that I can buy?

Ring offers a lot of options for your home security system. You can add extra cameras  and sensors for smoke and flood detection to extend the functionalities of your kit.

What are the contract options?

Ring doesn’t have long-term contracts and you can cancel the monitoring service anytime without a fee. Ring’s Basic plan covers only a single camera to record, store and access videos up to 2 months. The Basic plan costs $3 a month or $30 per year and automatically renews at the end of each period. You can also have the option to subscribe to the Ring Protect Plus that includes 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, and storage and access to video clips from an unlimited number of cameras. Ring’s Protect Plus costs $10 a month or $100 per year.

What are the monthly monitoring fees?

Ring’s Basic plan costs $3 a month or $30 per year while Ring’s Protect Plus costs $10 a month or $100 per year. Ring’s Basic plan covers only a single camera to record, store and access videos up to 2 months. Ring’s Protect Plus covers 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, storage and access to video clips from an unlimited number of cameras, and all the features included in the lower tier plans.

Is there a fee on cancelling my professional monitoring plan?

No. With Ring, you can cancel the monitoring service anytime without a fee.

What is the cancellation process for Ring's professional monitoring packages?

Cancelling your monitoring plan with Ring is straightforward. You don’t need to call - simply go to their website and click Cancel Subscription. Ring will only charge you based on the number of months you’ve used the service.

Do I get a refund if I pay for a year of professional monitoring but cancel early?

Refund is only available if you cancel your annual subscription during your first 10 months. Ring will only charge you based on the number of months you’ve used the service. However, cancelling the subscription beyond the first ten months will not make you eligible for a refund.

Does Ring Alarm work with my existing security cameras?

Ring Alarm only works with Ring cameras. Ring’s video doorbell or camera is already included in the Ring Protection Plus plan so that you can access live streaming or video footage of your home anytime and anywhere.

Can I get a discount on my homeowners insurance with Ring Alarm?

Yes. You can download the certificate to send to your insurance company online in order to get a discount. Simply log in to your Ring account online and go to Menu, Location Settings, Monitoring, and click Certificate to download or print it.

What about Ring working with police departments?

Ever since Amazon acquired Ring, there has been a partnership between Ring and 225 police departments. Residents have the option not to provide the police access to their camera recordings. However, Forbes reported that the police departments can request access directly to Amazon if the footage has been uploaded to their cloud whether you agree or not. 

What are my options if I rent my home/apartment rather than owning?

Ring is a DIY home security kit and doesn’t require a contract so you can easily bring it wherever you want. 

Does the Ring Alarm system use a loud alarm to scare away intruders?

Ring’s cameras and base station uses a siren at 110 dB which is within the range of a common alarm siren. However, Ring does not offer an external siren for their alarm system.

What text and email notifications can I get – either in response to a home security alarm or for self-monitoring?

With Ring’s free plan, you can get notifications through email and Ring’s app. However, text notifications are not available.

Is the Ring Alarm system pet-friendly so that my pet’s movements don’t create an alarm?

The Ring app provides options to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors. You can set a Medium setting if you pets weigh 30 pounds or less, and a Low setting if they weigh 50 pounds or less.

Does Ring Alarm support an emergency duress or distress code?

No, Ring doesn’t have this feature.

Does Ring Alarm offer a panic function?

Yes. In case of emergency, press and hold the checkmark and X keys found on your keypad to send notifications to the authorities immediately.

What developments are on RIng's wish list? And can you tell us about common customer requests?

Ring is planning to bring in more third-party devices to work with their system so that you can expand or grow your home security kit. This includes smart lights for outdoor lighting and landscapes, light switches, door locks, additional sensors, and many others. Ring is also working with Amazon Key to extend the functionality of the system that includes receiving delivery services into your home.

Why did Ring choose the current smart home integrations it has, and what future integrations can customers expect?

According to Ring, most users want access door locks as well as take advantage of the Z-Wave technology where you can connect multiple devices. Ring is expanding to smart lights, switches, sensors and many others. Ring works with Amazon Key to extend its functionality such as delivery services.

How compatible are other companies' tools with Ring, say if someone wanted to incorporate them into an existing wired or wireless security system?

Incorporating Ring with an existing wired or wireless security system remains a challenge since most security systems are proprietary and may not be totally secure. 

Does Ring offer professional installation?

Ring does not require a professional installation since everything can be easily done. You can easily setup the base station and install the sensors with minimal effort. However, if you do want your system to be professionally installed, you can contact Amazon Home Services.

What sets Ring apart as a home security company?

Aside from the affordable monitoring fee, Ring’s focus is on the neighbor without compromising the features of the home security. Ring is also very easy to install, easy to use, and flexible in terms of expanding the kit and the subscription.

Wrapping Up

Ring is a new-comer in the market yet it has already offered features that are competitive to other brands at a low price. However, Ring has a way to go still in our opinion.  For one, compatibility with a wide variety of devices would go a long way and fixing some bugs (some users complain about the keypads freezing up if they are plugged in all the time). However, given its features and price, Ring already provides the essentials you need for a professional home security system. 

Do you think Ring is worth your time and money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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