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How to decide which Ring light to buy

There are several smart lights that connect to Ring's doorbell and security cameras. We'll walk you through the lighting options, considering where you live, how many spots need monitoring, and what you need to connect them all together.

Ring Lights and Connection Equipment

Figuring out your security needs.

The first step is to figure out where to put your Ring security lights. Knowing this determines which types of lights you need and how many. Home security installation experts suggest looking at your home and property during different times of the day. That allows you to see where there are shadows, especially around building entrances and where valuables are placed, like near parked vehicles, lawn ornaments or furniture. Also, take note of bushes and dense landscaping where creepers could easily sneak closer to your home undetected.

Consider your property size, too. A home in a suburban neighborhood won't need as many lights or lights as bright as homes on large rural properties. Figure out your driveway length and walkways leading to your home, and how well lit you need property further from your home. If you have a fenced yard, there are options for lighting the property line without it looking out of place.

Before purchasing or installing security lights, check with your city's planning commission to learn of any housing codes that need to be followed. This could include a limit on the number, the types of lights you can use, and would list any permits required or restrictions on who can install security lights, particularly wired ones.

What type of lights do you need?

Ring offers four basic security lights to cover the main spots around your home, spotlights, floodlights, landscape lights and step lights.

Spotlights illuminate specific, key spots without strobe-like intensity. You would typically place these above the front and back doors of your home or smaller entrances to garages or outbuildings. When triggered, these lights will brighten just enough to cover your entry.

The Ring Spotlight uses 400 lumens, which is about as bright as a standard outdoor porch light and has a motion sensor to pick up when someone is within 30 feet of it. This smart light runs on battery power, requiring four D-size batteries, so you don't have to worry about hardwiring it. Everything you need to mount it, including the screwdriver, comes with this light and should only take about 10 minutes to install. Ring Spotlights can work independently of each other. If you install more than one, you can program them all to come on when one sensor is triggered.

Floodlights are the brightest security lights available for home use. They typically have two or three heads that cover a large area when lit, usually between 18 and 20 feet in front of them and 10 to 12 feet from side to side. These are the most useful placed above overhead garage doors to light driveways. Mounted to corners of a home or outbuilding will help brighten lots of property surrounding your home. They are also suitable for pool areas. However, be cautious when using floodlights in suburban areas. Usually, a single floodlight above the garage is good enough. More lights on a small piece of property can easily overwhelm neighbors and cause light pollution.

Two types of floodlights available from Ring are a wired and a battery-operated model.

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The Ring Floodlight Battery requires four D batteries, and, as with the Ring Spotlight, only need a few screws to mount. You might like your security lights to be triggered farther than 45 feet from where they are installed. For that, you can mount Ring's standalone motion detectors throughout your property. These work well on far removed fenceposts and can trigger the floodlights from a much farther distance.

The wired Ring Floodlights includes a camera that will start recording in 1080HD when the motion sensor is triggered. It also features a loud siren and two-way communication system. You can playback the video roll from the Ring app on your cell phone, control where the camera is pointed and talk to anyone standing close to this light. You may need to hire an electrician to make sure this light is installed correctly.

Landscape lights are tall, like solar garden lights, that turn on when it senses movement to light walkways and garden paths. But they are also a convenient solution for illuminating around high shrubs and other landscaping features where traditional spot and floodlights don't reach. Most security and landscape experts suggest placing these lights between six and eight feet apart but you can set them closer for a more dramatic look.

Ring Pathlights stand just under 17 inches tall and are battery-operated, so they are super easy to install. They are designed to look sleek and compliment your overall landscape instead of looking out of place. Pathlights can be controlled from the Ring app or an Alexa-enabled device.

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Ring offers an unusual type of security light in the form of Steplights. These are good for lighting stairs, either those in a stairwell leading from a walkout basement, or for just a few steps leading to your porch. They are designed to be placed at foot level and are just bright enough to help you see to walk safely. These are also a good solution for along fence lines where a little light is enough to deter curious neighborhood kids or a cat burglar from tiptoeing onto your property.

The Ring Steplight produced 35 lumens, which is about double the brightness of a standard nightlight, and just enough to offer a soft glow without being overwhelming or looking tacky. Steplights use battery power, which makes them easy to install, and has a motion sensor to trigger them when someone gets close enough - about 15 feet. As with all RIng lights, the Steplight can be managed from the Ring app and connected to other Ring devices.

Connecting your lights to the Ring app

To use the smart features of your security lights, you need a Ring Bridge. The Bridge is sort of like an internet router box for your security system and is what allows your Ring lights to talk to its security devices and be controlled by the Ring app. The Bridge is also needed to connect Ring lights to Alexa-enabled devices. Connecting your lights to the Ring app lets you control which lights come on when a motion sensor is triggered, set limits for how long lights stay on before going off, and determine which lights come on when security cameras are recording.

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If you have non-Ring security lights already installed on your property, they may be compatible with the Ring app and security devices, too. This required both Ring Bridge and a Ring Transformer. The Ring Transformer allows compatible, non-Ring lights to connect to the Bridge, that in turn connects to the app.

The Ring Transformer is compatible with any smart-enabled light fixture that uses either 12V or 15V of power. You can connect multiple lights to a single transformer so long as it doesn't exceed a total of 200 watts. If you have lights in different zones around your home, you will need a transformer for each zone.

Getting started with Ring lights

The best place to start is with the Ring Bundle. This comes with two spotlights, the most common type of security light for most homes, and four Pathlights. From here, you can add and connect additional lights depending on your security needs. This Bundle also comes with a Ring Bridge to connect your lights together, to other security equipment and to the Ring app.

While you can purchase each of the components of the starter bundle separately, buying the bundle saves you up to $30.

What you need to secure your home

This is the bundle you need to get started using Ring security lights. Once these are installed, you can easily add more lights, including floodlights, step lights, or more spot and landscape lighting.

Additional Ring lights and equipment

If you need to add more lighting, Ring has a few other bright ideas.

Spotlight ($40 at Amazon)

This battery-powered light focuses on crucial spots, particularly over entrances. Its motion detector is triggered by movement up to 30 feet away.

Floodlight Camera ($250 at Amazon)

This wired security light brightens large areas and includes a camera that starts recording when the sensor detects movement.

Floodlight Battery ($50 at Amazon)

Using 600 lumens to light large areas this battery-powered floodlight is adjustable to point where you need it. Its sensor detects movement from 45 feet away.

Pathlight ($30 at Amazon)

These lights are perfect for lighting up walkways and garden paths without being too overwhelming. Its sensor picks up movement from 15 feet away.

Steplight ($25 at Amazon)

Put a little light in your step with carefully placed battery-powered step lights that are great for steps and stairwells, and along fence lines too.

Motion Sensor ($25 at Amazon)

Install the Ring Motion Sensor further on your property to trigger security lights before creepers get too close to your home.

Ring connection equipment

These pieces are needed to connect your Ring smart system together and enable smart features.

Bridge ($50 at Amazon)

This Bridge is needed to connect your Ring lights to the app. This enables them to work with other security devices and lets you manage smart features.

Transformer ($100 at Amazon)

Use the Ring Transformer to connect existing, non-Ring smart lights to Ring devices and the app. The Transformer works in conjunction with the Ring Bridge.

Nicole writes for multiple Future Publishing brands covering topics from antivirus to kitchen appliances to SAS. She has over 15 years of research and writing experience, including eight years of testing and reviewing consumer products. Nicole earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and Political Science with a focus on empirical research. In her spare time, Nicole serves as a member of several school councils and volunteers for a local arts board.