You don't have to look very far online or even in a retail store to find some outdoor lights that you can use to illuminate your walkways and home. I've been in the Ring ecosystem for about two years at this point, and have tried all the new hardware that's come across my desk, but I didn't think I needed a set of smart lights for my home until I tried them.
Being able to manage everything related to protecting my home from a single app has become invaluable to me, and Ring's Smart Lights are another reason why.
- Setup process only takes a few minutes
- Multiple style options
- Brightness can be controlled within app
- Each light has a motion sensor built-in
- Ring includes all tools / hardware needed to install them
- Requires a separate hub to connect to Wi-Fi
- Batteries are not included with purchase
- No rechargeable batteries or solar option
Ring Smart Lights What I like
Setting up the Ring Smart Lights takes just a few seconds for each one you want to add. Within the Ring app, you just tap "Add a device" from the menu and then you scan the QR code found on each piece. After a few seconds to connect, you're all set. Ring includes screws and a screwdriver with each kit so that even if you don't already have tools of your own you'll easily be able to install these lights. For the Steplight, the instruction manual even had a template showing you exactly how far apart to place the screws, making it basically foolproof.
While the main purpose of these is to be actual lights to illuminate areas, I found that the motion sensors and alerts sent to the app were actually more useful. You can define the brightness and motion settings from within the app, which allows you to receive fewer or more alerts based on your preference.
I used the Pathlight at my mailbox, which is at the front of the driveway. Not only does this help alert me when people are passing by but it also helps light up my driveway as my family approaches home, making it much more comfortable to park at night. As with other Ring hardware, you can link the lights to other devices, so once your Smart Light detects motion another camera can immediately begin recording.
The motion detection on these is extremely reliable, and the lights get much brighter than I would have expected — 80 lumens. Don't expect room-filling brightness, but in the dead of night these things pack a punch.
Ring says that the lights should last for about a year per set of four D cell batteries (yes, the huge round ones), though that is subject to differ based on your own usage. I've noticed that because of our dog we had to reduce the frequency of alerts in the back yard, though I wish there was a way to schedule down times for the motion so it could save some battery by using an automated schedule.
Ring Smart Lights What I don't like
While there's a lot to like about Ring's Smart Lights, there are a few annoyances, too. The fact that you need a separate hub to connect the lights to your network is frustrating. As someone who has a bunch of smart home gear, one thing I've tried to do in the past year is reduce the number of hubs I need to manage. Luckily, setup is fast and easy, and it comes with a built-in wall mount so you can hide it wherever you want.
I was very taken back when I saw the actual lights for the first time, as well. When I first unboxed the Ring Pathlight I was shocked at its sheer size. I realize that you have to be able to fit four D cell batteries inside, but it just feels too large, and I can't imagine having several of these lining a walkway without them looking weird. The Steplight is more of a manageable size, but may still be too big for some homes.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen the rest of the lineup, but the Spotlight and Floodlight are designed to be mounted, making size less of a concern with those.
I have had the Smart Lights installed outside of my home for a few weeks now, and on the Pathlight I have already begun to notice some condensation collecting inside of the unit. It has yet to affect the performance, and may never do so, but I also don't live somewhere that I have to worry about freezing. If I've already noticed it after just a few weeks, it does worry me about what could potentially collect over the course of a year or more using these.
Ring Smart Lights Should you buy them?
While the Ring Smart Lights are a great product, they only make sense if you have an existing Ring system at home. If you aren't already invested with a Ring doorbell, Spotlight cam, or even security system, these Smart Lights won't really benefit you at all.
That said, if you are invested and have some dark spaces at home that you don't want people creeping around in, these are a great deterrent. You can easily control the brightness and alerts you receive, and in my testing battery life doesn't seem to be a huge concern.
If you have a deck, a long walkway, or a space you want lit without running wires to, these are definitely an option worth considering.
3.5 out of 5
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