6 reasons why you should consider a Ring Doorbell (and 3 reasons you shouldn't)

Ring Doorbell
Ring Doorbell (Image credit: Android Central)

A $200 doorbell is a little exorbitant. Let's just get that out of the way now. But as I've said time and time again, the Ring Doorbell has quickly become one of those crazy pieces of tech that just works, and that has become damned near indispensable for me and my family.

If you have a door, you'll want a doorbell that can see what's going on. And for me that's been the Ring — OK, Ring Pro, actually. Here's why:

See Ring Doorbell 2 at Amazon (opens in new tab) $400 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)   See Ring Pro at Amazon (opens in new tab) $250 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)

1. It'll be your most-used security camera.

I have quite a few cameras on the inside and outside of my house, a side-effect of testing this sort of stuff for a living. For the most part, I could do away with the lot of them.

But not the Ring. While this is going to be different for everyone depending on your layout and circumstances, for my money the front door is where I want to see from. I can see who's coming to the house before they get there, and I can see who they were should something untoward happen while I'm not paying attention.

The package-on-the-porch scenario is the obvious one. Did the delivery driver even attempt to drop it off? Did someone make off with your Amazon loot while you were at work? Now you'll know.

But I also use the Ring while I'm home, should I be expecting someone to show up. Because nobody likes surprises.

It's also great to for knowing when the kids get back from school.

2. It's not that expensive.

As I said at the outset, upwards of $200 is a lot to spend on a doorbell. But that's how strongly I feel about this, and Ring in general.

It's easy to set up, whether you go with the Ring Doorbell 2 (that's the one with the internal battery that charges via your existing doorbell wiring, or by USB) or a Ring Pro (which requires the low-voltage wiring to work at all). If you have do basic home improvement stuff — as in, hold a screwdriver and maybe twist some wires — you're good here.

If you do need help (I had to deal with some voltage issues) their customer service is aces.

I went ahead and ponied up the $30 for 24/7 recording, but the Ring also works just fine, for free, should you decide to go without that. The live feed doesn't cost a dime.

3. It just works. Everywhere.

One of my favorite pastimes is hearing Windows fans grumble about not having proper Windows apps. My second favorite pastime is grumbling about not having proper Mac apps.

Ring works everywhere. Yeah, it's got a web portal, and that's just fine. But it also has native apps on Windows, Mac OS, Android (opens in new tab) and iOS, and they can all notify you when the Ring detects motion, or when someone actually hits the bell.

4. It gives you an excuse to buy an Echo Show.

Echo Show

Even cooler? It works with the new Amazon Echo Show (opens in new tab).

While it's more of a passive sort of camera in that sense — you have to tell Alexa to show you the front door; it doesn't automatically pop up on the screen just yet — it's a great alternative to finding your phone when the Ring sees someone coming.

5. It's got decent IFTTT support

Having a good native app is just start of things. Ring also works with IFTTT, as well as with other smart home manufacturers, so you can do things like have your connected lights blink when someone rings the bell. Or log all the times someone hits the button.

There's a world of clever stuff that can be done here.

6. It's actually for more than just doorbells

OK, OK. Ring isn't just a doorbell. (Or a trio of doorbells, actually.)

It's worth taking a look at the other options they've got. I have a Stickup Cam in my backyard, and it's powered by a solar panel, so I didn't have to deal with any wiring. That's cool.

And I'm getting close to picking up a Floodlight Cam (opens in new tab). Because it's floodlights, and a camera. (There's also a Spotlight Cam on the way.)

And once you have four (or more) Ring devices it's worth going in on the $100-a-year "Protect" plan, which lets you connect as many devices as you want, adds a lifetime warranty, and gets you 10 percent discounts on future orders. Not bad.

See Ring Doorbell 2 at Amazon (opens in new tab) $400 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)   See Ring Pro at Amazon (opens in new tab) $250 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)

Why wouldn't you want a Ring Doorbell?

Fine, twist my arm. I came up with a few reasons.

  1. You don't have a door. You poor, poor soul.
  2. You're renting and can't install stuff. This is actually a legit problem. Some landlords don't let you have nice things. I recommend moving.
  3. You don't like security. Don't be that guy.

Really, though. If you have a home, you should consider one of the Ring Doorbells, or one of the accessory cameras. It's one of those surprising connected home products that I've only been happy with, and that has proven itself time and time again.

Phil Nickinson
  • We have a Kuna, which is a cam built into a porch light fixture. It doesn't have a web portal (which bugged me at first, but it's not such a big deal really) but does have the mobile apps, of course. It's much less noticeable than the Ring. I mean, let's face it...you can tell someone has a ring all the way from the street. Most people who come to our house have no idea there is a camera right there at our front door.
  • You want them to see the camera as a deterrent in my opinion. But most people that come to the door don't even realize the Ring Doorbell is a camera. If you only have a "hidden" camera, then you're more prone to have something happen to your house. I'd rather them see I have cameras than hide them.
  • If someone wants to get in your house, they'll find a way. Seeing a Ring just means they have to find a way to either mask themselves, disable the device or find a different way in.
  • That is true for almost anything that you have as a deterrent. But past research has shown that a thief will find the easiest house they see. If they see one camera, most likely their might be more cameras and more than likely they'll move on. There is a never 100% protection. But saying you're not using this because a thief can still get in is like saying you won't use the lock on your door and window because they can knock door down or break the window.
  • This turned into wayyyyyy too much over-analysis on the pro/con for getting a Ring doorbell. Especially, citing what past research on thievery has shown...
  • Yep, I can see that now lol
  • I can only speak for up here, but the criminals here don't care. A snatch and grab of your just delivered items, they don't care. They know the odds of getting caught are slim. Even if they are caught, they will be held for a little bit, before making bail, and then back to stealing stuff. For the thieves that do care, the more visible your camera, the better they are at covering their face.
  • I would recommend getting a real security system made by Flir or Swann ... At least u can outfit your whole house with cams instead of just the front door. Still get push motion alerts and they have mics
  • That is definitely recommended. But swann wireless cameras have the same vulnerabilities, no power, no security. Unless it's wired with battery backup then the best option is a security alarm system with cell phone dial-up backup. At $200 it's not a bad choice if you can't afford a whole camera system that might require professional installation.
  • I'm waiting on the rumored Nest doorbell. I wish Nest would go all in and actually make stuff. No reason we can't have Nest door locks, garage door openers, lights, etc. I just want all my home stuff in my Nest app.
  • I have a Ring doorbell and a Nest outdoor camera. Nest offers the best experience from a software perspective and hardware perspective. However, Ring does offer a nice product with really good support. I have had nothing but good support from them They even sent me a replacement doorbell because the little security screws got so rusted that they broke off and ruined the threads after owning the original doorbell for 2 years. I recommend both companies and products. I do have some trouble with video quality on the Ring doorbell for some reason. The signal strength always registers "good" but it is capturing video at a relatively slow frame rate and also the video is too pixelated for my liking (worse at night even though I have a 60 watt light on right 5 feet from the doorbell). Hopefully the newer doorbells have stronger wifi because I think that's what the problem is. At my old house, the doorbell was only 7 feet from the router and I just don't remember having the same issue.
  • The Android app is atrocious! I love my Ring cameras - I've got 4 in total. But the app constantly notifies and turns my screen on and there's no granularity to the notification options! Plus, the video is substandard - last night at 1215,someone pulled into my drive and got out of their car. I've got great video of them getting out of the car only. Otherwise, it's just a frozen mess. I love the idea but they're a bunch of iterations away from being anything more than "acceptable...."
  • I believe there are 3 levels as far as motion.
  • is theft of the actual $200 doorbell an issue? even though you might have a recording of the start of that process... I like the idea of expensive security gear being hidden, not intentionally visible. a sign indicating video recording would be what I'd want on the intentional side of things.
  • If someone comes to your house and rips this unit off the wall you have bigger things to worry about.
  • This is actually becoming a problem in my neighborhood. We've had over 10 Ring devices stolen from our region in the last few months. Ring says they will replace for free, but they must first verify via the recording on their cloud storage. I've had many motion and doorbell rings not get successfully recorded. Luckily, my neighbors are all in the process of getting replacement units.
    Just a note from watching the recordings, these things are stupid easy to steal off the wall due to the two cheap little plastic hinges holding the unit to the mount.
  • I hope that ring blocks these devices based on serial number so they can't be used anymore. Otherwise they might have a problem on their hands. I guess a good solution would be a cage around it like some people put on security cameras.
  • I looked into getting this recently and had the same question. Ring has a lifetime replacement garantee if the device is stollen.
  • If they know what the doorbell is I would think that would be a deterrent itself.
  • I recall they replace the doorbell if stolen imho. Can't be used by the criminal, and less likely they'd do it since they can't use it.
  • So no recording at all unless you pay a fee?
  • Correct.
  • This is my barrier to entry on most of this stuff right now. I have an "automated" home, but I want to run it myself. I don't want to buy something for $200 (or more) and still have to pay a subscription. That's a nice option to have, but give me the option to record video to my own server that is managed only by me.
  • That also a hold up for me. I posted a question asking for a device that can be isolated from the internet, meaning it only has a local recording option. See the thread just below this one for the link from jsabo.
  • I think it's 30 bucks a year
  • Is there a CCTV hub that records and makes the video accessable via a self hosted web interface? Even with the Ring I don't like the idea of video being transmitted out of my home network to a mothership. I'd much rather just VPN to my network, access the web interface, monitor the video feeds from there, and explicitly block its ability to send information out of my network. I'll lose push notifications but I'm ok with that.
  • Synology has a security product for their NAS that sounds like what you're looking for: https://www.synology.com/en-us/surveillance I haven't played with it myself, but you might still be able to get push notifications via their apps.
  • Thanks, I'll look into that!
  • You can get the arlo pro security camera, which is wireless, for around $220 right now and Netgear allows you to save a week of video for free on their servers plus you can hook up a USB drive to save recordings locally. I think I'd go with that over the Ring simply for the free recording.
  • Didn't know that but being vested in Ring I am stuck. My only issue is the recording.
  • I run both the Arlo Pro and the Ring and I'll add that the reliability of the Arlo Pro is heads and shoulders above the Ring as far as battery life, recording quality, and reliability go. The only average to the Ring is having it mounted at chest level facing out to visitors, but the Arlo is the one I trust and use far more.
  • That's what we use. Great system.
  • May have to try that
  • I'll give you a fourth reason-- my doorbell is mounted perpendicular to the door, facing the road. I won't see anyone until they're right on top of the door, I won't get a head-on view of their face, and the constant traffic will drive the motion sensor insane.
  • The RING devices have serious deficiencies. They are limited to 30 feet in range and in some devices to 80 degrees in field of view. Products from other companies are 125 feet in range and 180 degrees in field of view. It means the cameras have LARGE blind spots where they will NOT activate or record anything. The worst blind spot is using these devices on the corner of your house. One should test the devices. If you can approach your house with the devices NOT recording, you need to return the device and look elsewhere for better devices. Hint: approach your house outside the field of view.
  • I'd also add that none of the doorbells that RING makes work 100%of the time (yes, I've tried every model including the 2)
    Like most tech, we're beta testing the product. Most common issues are the lag between motion and recording. You end up with a lot of videos of people's backs. Every software update takes the Network down and requires you to manually reconnect it to your WiFi. I think Phil is pretty honest reviewer, but I think a lot of these paid reviews are focusing on the potential, not the actual results. Feel free to review the Amazon reviews and you can start finding the fake ones to prove my point.
  • Is RING vulnerable to someone hacking into it to access to your home network?
  • Yes. They had a bug and patched it before it was known. The smartest way to do IoT now is two routers and a modem. Modem goes to both the main "home" router, and the dumb "IoT" router. You could do the same with a guest network, but it would be easier for them to get from the guest network on one router to it's main network than from IoT router to Modem to Home router. All IoT will be hacked. Question is, how quickly they fix the issue.
  • My only issue with mine is being forced to use the paid service for video storage. With so many cloud storage solutions and home storage items shouldn't force customers that route. i would rather pay a one time to enable that then to lose it after first 30 days or so.
  • Not sure I want to pay so much a month for it. I'd have one if I could store to my own cloud. I'm tempted to hook an RPi to the peephole on my door. Just as good as a doorbell cam, harder to steal, and it can backup to anything I want.
  • I've been thinking about adding the Ring Doorbell Pro to my home for several months. I decided to wait to see if Google announces their own smart doorbell offering next month. The problem that I'm having is that I have Google Home, Nest thermostat (Google), Nest smoke detectors (Google), smart garage door opener (Ryobi), and Arlo security cameras (Netgear). I'd really like to stick to only one vendor so things work more seamless and possible integrate with each other better.
  • RE: 3. It just works. Everywhere That is certainly not true, there are many bugs/features in the product and support are happy to chat with you as long as you will but they don't fix the problems or improve their software. I have (much) more than the minimum required bandwidth yet in a year I have not been able to answer a ring, I can use live view as a workaround, but then again sometimes it takes quite a while to get an alert. As another AGAINST:
    You have to pay a yearly subscription for each doorbell. There is no free (and someone useful) version, they should at least provide a day/week or so of recordings for free! All in all I wish I'd never bought these doorbells/chimes.
  • My Ring Pro did not stand up to Halloween last year. Halloween is a big deal in our neighborhood. We had over 500 kids trick or treat our house in 3 hours. The 1st hour the doorbell did fine, in hour 2 the recordings began getting choppy and having blackouts, by the end of the night, the doorbell no longer functioned.
  • I had my overpriced (AU$400) Ring Doorbell Pro for 2 days before I decided to return it.
    For a number of reasons:
    1. It has to be 100% connected to the internet at all times! You won't even get a chime if it's not. That's a pretty dumb doorbell.
    2. Buggy as all hell. Even with the supplied wifi extended it wasn't reliable. The video was grainy, and long lag.
    3. I've come to the realisation that I don't even need a 'doorbell'. There are numerous video cams, with motion detection and mobile notifications, and with two-way audio. Why do I need a physical button for someone to press?
    I'll now be investing in a Nest Cam Outdoor. I know it still needs the internet to function, but at half the price I can live with that.