Still the king

Ring Protect

Much improved

Nest Aware

Ring's Protect plans have long been some of the most comprehensive and competitively priced security packages. They offer up to 60 days of video storage for all Ring cameras, as well as 24/7 professional monitoring, discounts, and extended warranties on Ring devices.

From $30/year at Ring

Pros

  • Cheaper lower-tier and higher-tier plans
  • Extended warranties for all Ring devices
  • 10% discounts on Ring.com
  • Seamless integration with Amazon Alexa

Cons

  • Doesn't work well with Google Assistant
  • Low-tier plan only covers one device

Google announced in 2019 that it would be changing the Nest Aware plans to be simpler, more affordable, and easier to understand, and for the most part, it succeeded. Now you can get an unlimited amount of devices on even the cheapest plan, with the differentiator being the length of your recording history.

From $60/year at Google

Pros

  • Intelligent alerts and activity zones
  • More fair pricing structure than before
  • Includes free Nest Mini device
  • Even the low-tier plan covers an unlimited number of devices

Cons

  • Doesn't work with Amazon Alexa
  • Doesn't have a single device plan
  • Top-tier plan is more expensive than comparable Ring offering

Amazon's Ring and Google's Nest brands are two of the most recognizable names in the home security space these days. Both companies offer an assortment of smart video doorbells, cameras, and connected lighting solutions, and both also offer home security systems connected to their respective personal assistants, Alexa and the Google Assistant. However, all of that smart video footage and safety alerts need to be stored and monitored somewhere, and that's where Ring Protect and Nest Aware come in to play. We'll go through their features, similarities, and differences to help you decide which is the best option for you.

Security showdown

Both Ring Protect and Nest Aware offer two separate plans with differing amounts of video storage, monitoring, other features, and at different price points. Let's take a look at the different options below.

Ring Protect Nest Aware
Plan Options Two: Ring Protect Basic and Ring Protect Plus Two: Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus
Video History Storage for 60 days on each plan 30 days event video history on Nest Aware
60 days event video history and 10 days 24/7 video history on Nest Aware Plus
Device Limits One device on Basic
Unlimited devices on Plus
Unlimited devices on both plans
Lifetime Theft Protection Yes Yes
Two-Way Talk Yes Yes
Video Saving and Sharing Yes Yes
Snapshot Capture Yes Yes
Facial Recognition No Yes
24/7 Alarm Monitoring Yes on Plus plan Available separately through Brinks
Extended Device Warranty Yes on Plus plan Not through Nest Aware
Product Discounts on Manufacturer Website Yes on Plus plan No, but free Nest Mini included
Price Ring Protect Basic: $30/year
Ring Protect Plus: $100/year
Nest Aware: $60/year
Nest Aware Plus: $120/year

Ring pros and cons

Ring Alarm Security LifestyleSource: Ring

Ring's Protect plans have always been straightforward. The company only offers two paid tiers, and both are cheaper than what competitor Nest offers. The Basic plan is only $3/month and gets you nearly all of the features of the pricier Plus plan. The only downside? It's only good for one device.

As soon as you move to want multiple devices covered, you have to pay more than three times as much ($10/month or $100/year) for the Plus plan. The bonus to the Basic plan though, is that if you only have one device (say an external camera or a video doorbell), you only have to pay for one device.

With the Ring Protect Plus plan, you get coverage for all of your Ring devices, not just one. In addition to everything that the Basic plan covers, you also get 24/7 professional monitoring for a Ring Alarm system (something Nest outsources and is a separate cost), extended warranties for all of your Ring devices, and 10% off select products at Ring.com. Ring's Plus plan gives you the same amount of video history as Nest's Plus plan, but it doesn't give you the 10 days of 24/7 history that Nest does. That being said, Ring's Plus plan is $20 cheaper per year than Nest's.

The other area that I think puts Ring ahead? You still get some basic (sub-basic?) functionality, even with the free tier. The no-pay option includes things like motion notifications, real-time look in and two-way talk, and lifetime theft protection with any Ring smart camera device. They're just enough to matter and to give you a taste of what you might be missing with a paid plan. Smart.

Nest pros and cons

Nest SecureSource: Phil Nickinson / Android Central

Up until spring 2020, Nest had a somewhat complicated and confusing pricing structure for its Aware security subscriptions. It used to be that customers could pay based on how long of a video recording session they wanted (5 days, 10 days, 30 days), and you had to pay that fee per camera or device. Now, there are only two pricing tiers, and both apply to all of the Nest devices in your home.

At first glance, the "basic" Nest Aware plan looks like a terrible deal compared to Ring Protect's Basic plan, coming in at twice the price, but once you read the details, you see that it's a better deal if you have more than one device. Nest's lower-tier Aware plan covers as many devices as you have with 30 days of event video history. True, this is less than what Ring Protect Basic offers (60 days), but it covers more devices.

The Nest Aware Plus plan builds on this with twice the event video history (60 days) and adds in 10 days of 24/7 continuous recording. Plus, you get facial and package recognition, advanced audio sensing by Nest speakers (kind of like what Amazon Echo speakers can do through Alexa Guard), and new signups will get a free Nest Mini. Okay, it seems like Google just throws Nest Mini speaker at anyone who walks by, but it's a great little smart speaker, and in my opinion, you can't have too many Minis in your home!

Which service should you go with?

I know it sounds like a cop-out when a reviewer says, "just go with whatever ecosystem you're comfortable with," but in this case, that rings true (no pun intended).

If you have a lot of Amazon Echo or Ring devices already, then going with Ring Protect is a no-brainer. If you prefer Nest hardware and the Google Assistant, and if you already have some of Nest's great smart home devices, then go with Nest Aware.

Both companies make excellent connected home products, and both video recording and monitoring plans offer similar features that are competitively priced. Yes, there are nuances in the structure and costs of each plan and tier, but that's not what's going to make you choose one service over the other. The ecosystem will.

However, if you want to know which one is the better deal, it depends on how many devices you have. Ring is cheaper overall with more features for that price, but it gets way more expensive when you have more than one device. Nest is more expensive, but is a better deal if you have a lot of devices.

I have smart devices from both Ring and Nest in my home, but we tend to rely much more on Amazon Echos and Alexa to run our connected home than our Nest speakers, so if I'm forced to chose right now, I will go with Ring. However, your choices will be influenced by how you've set up or plan to set up your home. Just know that either way you go, you're going to be getting an outstanding value.

Still the king

Ring Protect

Alexa's aide

The free and Basic tiers of Ring protect have great services, but only apply to one device. If you have more than one Ring product, opt for Protect Plus.

Much improved

Nest Aware

Nest nailed it

Nest nailed the formula when it changed its Aware plans to cover all of your Nest devices, regardless of tier. If they could bring the price of each down just a smidgen, it would be an easy first choice.