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The Ring Doorbell Buyer Guide

Ring doorbells, along with providing two-way communication, are efficient additions to your home security system.

The ring doorbell provides flexible packages for both apartment renters and homeowners alike, with prices ranging from $59 to $249. Amazon Alexa users will be happy to know that the Ring video doorbell systems integrate nicely with Alexa. Compatible Amazon smart devices include the Amazon Echo Dot and the Echo Show 5—plus other smart home hubs and controls.

Ring video doorbells range from basic and inexpensive to robust systems with multiple functionalities. Our buying guide will help lead you through the decision-making process of choosing the Ring doorbell that's right for your home or apartment. Whether you need a simple standalone doorbell or security features like motion detection, night vision, and Wi-fi integration, there's a ring device perfect for your home security needs.

Ring Doorbell Features and Considerations

When shopping for a doorbell or home security system, we recommend making a checklist of the doorbell features and security functions you require for your house or apartment. If you are a low-tech person, you may only need a simple doorbell, in which case, Ring has a basic kit for you. If you use Alexa or another assistant, you'll likely want a model with more smart home integrations.

Installing a Ring Doorbell can be an afternoon DIY project for handy individuals. However, if your home requires a lot of wiring, or if your smart home system is complex or you desire a complicated, multi-hub security system, it may be more preferable to hire a pro installer. Know that all of the Ring cameras feature 1080p HD video preview resolution (with the exception of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2). And all of the Ring systems include two-way talk. Here's a short checklist of features you might need:

  • Wi-fi integrations
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Motion zones
  • Security camera
  • Compatibility with existing doorbell
  • Notifications
  • Ring alarm
  • Video recording
  • Two-way audio
  • Video previews
  • Echo Dot and Echo Show 5 compatibility

Ring Video Doorbell Differences

The range in prices of the Ring doorbell packages is, of course, determined by their features. In general, battery capability results in a higher price tier for each model. Their most basic model (which runs around $59 at the time of this writing) is a hard-wired model with a small profile and gray and black color scheme. The Ring Video Doorbell Wired and the Ring Pro 2 are the only models that restrict you to hardwiring, so they're both small profile with faceplate color and style limitations (both are black and gray).

The models with switchable faceplates to match your decor are the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and the Ring Video Doorbell 4 models. These three models also include angled wedges to adjust the angle of your doorbell camera. This add-on must be purchased separately for the other models.

All of the Ring Doorbell systems feature two-way talk and motion sensors. The degree of functionality may differ among models, however, in regards to how they convey motion alerts and whether or not they log motion events. An example is 3D motion detection and advanced radar-enabled technology, which is available with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 model.

Other differences in doorbell packages are whether or not the batteries are replaceable or rechargeable. Some models require you to remove the mount in order to recharge the battery. This might motivate you to hardwire the Ring system, but, again, that is not always an option, depending on whether you own your home or not. How involved the wiring task is will depend also on your home's existing wiring. As an example, consider if you have any existing outlets on the entrance wall of your home. Hardwiring can be as simple as extending an existing connection from an outlet, but running wire along multiple walls can be tricky and time consuming.

A final word about battery-operated doorbells is that you might want to consider power outages. Battery-operated doorbells will still function when your power goes out. This is especially helpful if you have frequent power outages or if you have a large home (and might not hear a door knock).

Ring Video Doorbell Models

Ring Video Doorbell - Wired

The Ring Video Doorbell - Wired is a hard-wired-only option and costs $59, although sometimes it's offered at deep discounts. The difference between this model and the 2nd Gen and higher-tiered Ring packages is that it doesn't have a battery option, and it doesn't trigger your chime box. In order to hear it, you have to purchase an add-on Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro kit, which pushes the total cost of the doorbell into the range of the 2nd Gen Ring Doorbell below. The Ring Doorbell entry-level wired kit also has a smaller profile than most of the other models, because it doesn't have battery integration.

Ring Doorbell 2 (2nd Gen)

The 2nd gen Ring Doorbell 2 is the Ring basic model for homes with simple needs. While the Ring Doorbell 2 is a value-priced model, in no way does it skimp on features. The Ring Doorbell 2 comes in both hardwired and battery-operated models. The battery pack is built into the system and occasionally must be removed for recharging. If you find this to be cumbersome, know that the Ring Video Doorbell 2 can also be wired into your existing doorbell and connected to a transformer, which makes it low maintenance. Here’s a video on how to do it.

Other power options for the Ring 2nd Gen model are the Ring Solar Charger and the Ring Plug-in Adapter (2nd Gen). Of course, if you're a renter, you may want a battery-operated model unless your landlord permits hardwiring on their property. Note that the Ring systems have an optional mount kit (also perfect for renters) that provides drill-free mounting.

Features of the Ring Doorbell (2nd Gen) include:

  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Mobile notifications
  • Two-way audio
  • Wi-fi connectivity (2.4GHz Wireless 802.11 b/g/n)
  • Drill-free mounting (for apartments and rented properties)
  • Multiple power options (mentioned above)

The Ring Pro 2

The Ring Pro 2 (proper name is Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2), as previously mentioned, is one of two hardwire-only doorbell security systems. This model is a premium doorbell with 3D motion detection, Head-to-Toe HD+ Video, Audio+, Bird's Eye View, and Alexa Greetings (you must be a Ring Protect subscriber). The video previews on this model are 1536p HD, slightly lower than the other Ring camera models, which have 1080p HD video.

This is Ring's most robust model for homeowners, but remember it requires hardwiring, and consider the pros and cons of hardwired doorbells, i.e. low maintenance versus functionality during power outages. And if you are a renter, you'll need to check with your landlord to see if they permit wiring changes to their home. The Ring Pro 2 kit comes with everything you need to connect to your existing doorbell or an additional transformer (16 volts are required).

Ring Video Doorbell 3

If you're moving into a new home or apartment, accessibility and security are likely big priorities, so we hope this guide helps you in selecting the right smart doorbell for your home. If you're like most people, setting up your internet services is probably near the top of your to-do list. We can save you the hassle of research, as we've done it for you. Which means we can assist you as you look for an internet provider or a media package. Also, you might enjoy our related article on home security.

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