Ring Alarm Home Security System Review

We tested the no-frills Ring alarm system in our home to give you the lowdown on all the equipment.
Best budget-friendly security system
Ring
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Contract-free
  • pro
    Easily expandable
  • pro
    Professional or self-monitoring
Ring Protect plan
Monthly
price
Annual
price
Professional monitoring
Self monitoring bullet
Number of cameras
Without a plan$0.00/yr.
bulletNo
bulletNo
Unlimited*
Basic$39.99/yr.
bulletNo
bulletYes
1
Plus$100.00/yr.
bulletNo
bulletYes
Unlimited
Pro$200.00/yr.
bulletYes
bulletYes
Unlimited

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
*You can access a live view, motion alerts, and two-way audio without a paid plan. Other camera features require a subscription—such as video recordings and person alerts.

Alina Bradford
Nov 17, 2023
bullet11 min read

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

Looking to learn more about Ring? Here's our take. Ring Security has the best security cameras, bar none. Plus, it's affordable. You can snag starter equipment for under $200, and pro monitoring costs $20/month.

It’s also easy to assemble, attentive with its alerts, and expandable so it can grow with your family. Amazon owns Ring, so it integrates well with your Alexa too.

In the UK? Check out our Ring UK Review.

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pro
Pros
pro Affordable price
pro Huge range of cameras
pro Clever Neighbors app
pro No contract required
con
Cons
con Confusing keypad
con Tough features to reset
con Self-monitoring requires subscription

How much does a Ring security system cost?

The Ring security system costs peanuts compared to other self-installed systems like it. The base price for the starter security kit is under $200. Self-monitoring on cameras is free without video storage, but video recordings and self-monitoring on the alarm system start at $4 monthly. Ring’s professional monitoring is $20 per month.

We see the Basic plan as best for singles and couples. Ring Protect Plus is great for other families and folks wanting cloud video storage for additional cameras.

Ring Protect Pro includes a lot of features not found with the other packages:

  • Professional monitoring
  • 24/7 backup internet
  • Cybersecurity features with eero Secure
  • Hands-free emergency helpline with Alexa Guard Plus

Video: New Ring Alarm Pro, Ring Protect Pro + Virtual Security Guard

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Ring security tech and equipment

ring pro kit items on desk

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

All of Ring’s standard tech has a simple white cover with the signature blue LED ring. The ring of light on the sensors illuminates when they catch motion or the system is armed.

We like the minimalist look of Ring’s equipment (you probably recognize its popular doorbell), and the chime feature on the door/window sensor is comforting to hear when you come home.

In the beginning, Ring offered roughly the same package in three sizes that just offered a basic base, keypad, range extender, and differing amounts of sensors.

The company now has a wider selection of security options since it introduced the Pro series of security systems in the second half of 2021.

The Ring Alarm Pro series features a TrueMesh Eero Wi-Fi6 router and 24/7 backup internet to keep your Ring security system working when your internet is disconnected, and local storage for your security cameras.

Some Pro and not-Pro packages also come with an Alexa device, Ring Video Doorbell, or a Ring camera.

bullet
How to pick the right kit

The right kit depends on the size of your home. It’s best to cover all main entrances with a contact sensor and put motion detectors in the main entryways. The large and medium kits have all the essentials but with more sensors.

Compare Ring Alarm security kits

Kit
Equipment cost*
Estimated household coverage
Included equipment
Learn more
Up to 1,000 sq. ft. Base station, Keypad,
Contact sensor,
Motion detector,
Range extender
Up to 2,000 sq. ft.Base station, Keypad,
Contact sensor (3),
Motion detector (2),
Range extender
Over 2,000 sq. ft. Base station,
Keypad (2),
Contact sensor (8),
Motion detector (2),
Range extender
Up to 1,500 sq. ft.Pro base station,
Keypad (1),
Contact sensor (4),
Motion detector (1),
Range extender,
Eero WiFI router
Up to 3,000 sq. ft. Pro base station,
Keypad (2),
Contact sensor (8),
Motion detector (2),
Range extender,
Eero WiFI router

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Video: Ring Virtual Security Guard

Need a little more security? You can also opt into the Ring Virtual Security Guard service. With this service, you can have security professionals check in on cameras when motion is detected to see if there is a problem or a threat. This service can be just for one of your cameras, like the one watching over your car, or for all of them.

What happens when a problem is detected? The security professional will work to scare off intruders with the two-way talk feature and siren. If that doesn't work, they can dispatch emergency services.

You can learn more about this service and some other new goodies Ring now offers in the video below.


Video: Is Ring alarm right for you?

With few frills, large camera selection, and affordable equipment prices, Ring Alarm is best for people looking for standard security. And the option to monitor the system yourself or have the pros help out for just $20 a month lightens the burden of buying equipment up front.

Plus, Ring consistently ranks well in our lists of best self-monitored home security, best cheap home security, and best smart home security.

Play Video

Ring Alarm security system equipment

Ring Alarm 2nd gen base station

Base station

This is the core of the system. The base station connects all Ring Alarm devices. The Ring siren is also located within the base station.

Ring Alarm 2nd gen keypad

Keypad

The keypad gives you physical control of your security system. You can arm and disarm the system and view the system status.

Contact sensor

This functions as either a window or door sensor. The contact sensor monitors when doors and windows are opened.

Motion sensor

This motion sensor provides motion detection in any area or room where it’s placed. It uses a passive infrared sensor (PIR) that can pick up movement in a 90° radius.

Ring Alarm 2nd gen range extender

Range extender

This device strengthens the Ring Alarm Z-Wave mesh network to amplify the signal from the base station. This lets you place devices further away from the base station to cover more area. Learn more about Z-Wave in our guide.

Equipment highlights

Range extender included: The Ring alarm kit is the only security system we know of that comes with a range extender. This is usually an add-on that costs extra, so it’s helpful for those with larger homes or outdoor equipment. Range extenders boost your home’s Wi-Fi reach and strengthen connections for additional devices.

System control: The Ring base station and keypad control the system as a whole. Both have the signature ring light to indicate system status.

More equipment: In addition to traditional home security tech, Ring has a suite of advanced indoor and outdoor cameras, environmental sensors, and more. We tested only the starter kit, but these other accessories are easy to add to your home system and play well with others.

Update old security equipment

The Ring Retrofit Kit ($80) works with preexisting door and window sensors and motion detectors to modernize old security equipment. It still requires the base station that comes in Ring Alarm's starter kits but could save money if you already have the infrastructure.

Ring setup and installation

person installing ring alarm

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

The Ring security system has everything you need right in the box. It’s easy to find all the sensors, instructions, and cables you need. Once your base station has a connection, the setup is simple.

1. Find instructions: Ring provides directions from the app and printed materials in the box.

2. Identify hub: installation starts with your base hub (the “brain” that ties the system together).

3. Have Wi-Fi password handy: There’s no “cancel” option if you enter it in wrong. To skip a headache and time wasted, type carefully.

4. Choose a four-digit entry code for the keypad.

5. Choose a place to put your sensors. These devices take just moments to install.

You'll need to restore factory settings if you’re getting a Ring system secondhand or giving yours away. This process takes a while because you have to manually reset each device. Plan on a few minutes for each.

Want to learn how to connect Ring with Alexa? Read our guide and watch the video.

Pro install option

Ring does have a professional-install option through a partnership with OnTech. But it's not the best deal. You pay on a per-device basis, which adds up. We recommend sticking with Ring's DIY route. If you want professional installation, see how Ring compares to ADT or Vivint, who specialize in professional installation.

User-friendly base station, tricky keypad and sensors

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

During our Ring Security System review we found Ring's base station easy to set up, but the keypad and sensors posed difficulties.

Arming or disarming was confusing, and it was hard to tell if we’d successfully changed the system’s status until the alarm sounded. (The neighbors loved that.)

We decided to use the Ring app instead of the keypad, and it went much smoother. So, while a keypad is helpful when you have an armful of groceries, the app is much easier to understand.

The contact sensor also acted up. If your door and window frames have molding, you might have trouble too. The doorframe was too high for the sensors to match, so the system showed that the door was open.

Thankfully, we found help through Ring’s guide to different door and window trims.

bullet
Ready to install a Ring doorbell?

Check out our Ring doorbell installation guide for extra help. If you need help with set up, check out our Ring doorbell troubleshooting guide.

Ring smart home features

Ring Neighbors app

ring doorbell camera screenshot on Neighbors app

Image: Ring

Ring's Neighbors app allows Ring users post suspicious activity, report crimes, and even share the occasional wildlife encounter. It's a unique supplement to your home security system, and it can be a quick, anonymous way to keep your neighbors in the loop.

While we like a lot of things about the app, it’s wise to think about posts critically. There’s no vetting required, so we’ve seen a lot of posts unnecessarily raise alarm.

Further, organizations (including law enforcement) have tried to co-opt the app and its posts to try to identify protesters across the country. And police can request your video footage.

We strongly encourage reading all the fine print about how Ring handles privacy issues. That way, you can make the choice that feels most comfortable for you and your approach to community safety.

Learn more about Ring's police partnerships in our Ring FAQ.

Smart home devices that work with Ring Alarm

This system has seen a fast evolution since it first hit the market.

It debuted without any home automation integration (not even with the Ring video doorbell or cameras), but today you can control many smart devices through the Ring app, and you can use the Ring Alarm base station as a smart home hub.

Smart home featureCompatible smart home brands
Smart lock controlKwikset, Schlage, Yale
Smoke and CO monitoringFirst Alert
Garage door controlEcolink
Smart lighting controlGE, Leviton
Small appliance controlGE smart switches and outlets,
Leviton smart outlets
Voice controlAmazon Alexa,
Google Assistant

Get the most up-to-date details on the Works With Ring list of compatible devices. If home automation is a priority, see how Ring compares to Abode home security systems.

Ring cameras

Expand your Ring Alarm security system with a Ring doorbell, security camera, or motion-activated light. All of Ring's equipment works together, and you can control Ring products from the Ring app.

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus Battery

Spotlight Cam Plus Battery

This battery-powered camera includes LED spotlights, motion detection, and a siren.

Check out our Ring Spotlight camera review to learn more.

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

This is Ring’s entry-level battery doorbell camera. It delivers motion-activated alerts, two-way talk, and night vision.

Find out more in our full Ring video doorbell breakdown.

Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

Ring Stick Up Cam Battery

This battery-powered camera is one of the most useful cameras in the Ring cam lineup. It doubles as an indoor cam/outdoor camera and costs around $100.

Learn more in our Ring Stick Up Cam review.

Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus

Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus

A motion-activated camera that features floodlights, two-way talk, voice control with Alexa, and a siren. Take a look at out Ring Floodlight Cam review for more info.

Need help with setup? Check out the Ring cameras troubleshooting guide.

bullet
Changes to the Ring app

All Ring doorbells and cameras now require a Ring Protect Plan subscription to access the Home and Away Modes feature.

Ring Alarm customer service

Between the box instructions, online support, and the Ring app, we solved most of our issues with each Ring device. We found articles that helped us reset the system and install a contact sensor on a tricky door.

You probably won’t have to call Ring for help, but if you need to, there are call centers in three time zones with 24/7 customer service.

Here’s a look at some of Ring’s customer ratings.*

*Ratings as of post date

Final word

The Ring Alarm system can support small homes, tight security budgets, and home security newbies. It’s hard to beat $240 a year for pro monitoring (or $200 if you pay for a year in advance).

It's easy to install and adjust, but we ran into a few hiccups when we relied on the keypad for arming and disarming. Overall, we found it easier to control the system through the app than with the keypad.

Best of all, Ring has a wide selection of cameras to choose from. It's a great option if you want to build your security system around security cameras.

bullet
Still not sure if Ring is for you?

Compare this system to our overall lineup of home alarm systems or other DIY systems.


Ring Alarm home security system FAQ

If you want standard equipment and a budget-conscious option, yes.

Before you jump in, consider if you’d prefer to monitor your system or have help from the pros. (We recommend leaving it to the pros.) It’s easy to find a security system with professional monitoring, but it’s hard to beat the rate Ring sets at $20 per month.

Plus, Ring comes with a lot of options for monitoring, equipment, and add-ons. Ring security cameras and environmental sensors like smoke or flood detectors are just as affordable as the core system.

You are eligible for a refund if you cancel an annual Ring Protect Plan subscription during the first 10 months of the subscription. Ring will charge you the monthly subscription price for every month you used the monitoring plan service. After that, any remaining funds will be refunded. If you cancel the plan after the tenth month, there is no refund available.

Yep, pre-existing equipment is okay, but only if your current cameras are from Ring. If you want video monitoring with your Ring Alarm system, you can get it with a Ring security camera or Ring smart doorbell as part of the Ring Protect Plus plan. Because you can control multiple Ring devices in the Ring app, you can monitor both your cameras and your Ring Alarm system with the same tool.

The Ring Alarm security system's built-in battery backup offers about 24 hours of use if you lose power. For those who have a Ring Protect Plus plan, the Ring Alarm also has cellular backup.

Yes. Ring provides alarm certificates that customers can provide to their insurance company for a discount. The certificate can be downloaded online.

  • Log into your Ring account
  • Click the menu icon in the top left corner (it looks like three lines)
  • Click on Location Settings
  • Click on Monitoring
  • Click on Certificate
  • Download or print the certificate

A couple years ago, Ring partnered with police departments to distribute free/discounted Ring video doorbells while incentivizing doorbell owners to share footage in the event of crimes. Police could also request footage from Amazon (Ring's parent company) if people denied sharing footage.

This partnership bred privacy and surveillance concerns.

In June 2021, Ring announced that police and fire departments wanting Ring footage now need to make a public request in the Neighbors app. This will boost transparency for how footage is used.

In July 2021, Ring rolled out end-to-end encryption for video streams—a huge win for those concerned about Ring or law enforcement accessing their footage.

Encryption is an opt-in feature for customers in the US, along with two-factor authentication, CAPTCHA, and support for authenticator apps.

Learn more about Ring's police partnerships in our Ring FAQ.

Video: Ring's new end-to-end encryption and other security measures

Play Video

Ring's self-monitoring on security cameras is free without video recording. The features are limited and you can't control the alarm system with the Ring app.

However, $4 monthly will get you video recording and self-monitoring for the security system on Ring Protect Basic. At $10 a month, you'll unlock Ring Protect Plus video recordings for unlimited cameras.

If you want professional monitoring, Ring Protect Pro's $20 monthly cost is pretty average for a DIY security system.

The Protect Basic plan offers perks like video backlog and discounted equipment. Other systems like Frontpoint and SimpliSafe have these features, but you’d have to pay up to $40 per month.

Learn more about Ring vs. Frontpoint or Ring vs. SimpliSafe.

Ring isn't one of our top picks for renter-friendly security, but it does sell some battery-powered doorbells that are perfect for rentals. Check out our round-up of the best Ring doorbells for renters.

Ring Alarm works in Canada and the UK but there are some feature, equipment, and price differences compared to the US market.

Check out our take on the best home security systems in Canada and best home alarm systems in the UK to see how Ring stacks up.

How we reviewed Ring Alarm

ring alarm system just out of the box

Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

For our Ring Security System Review, we wanted to see the Ring alarm home security kit in action, so we took one home. Our tester set it up and is using it long-term in their home to get a real feel of how the system works in a home.

During our Ring Home Security review, we have tested Ring for everyday situations—like arming and disarming it remotely and through the keypad. We left it on while our tester was home and armed it when they left. We caused a couple of false alarms while learning the Ring alarm security kit, but we were able to disarm it quickly through the app.

Learn more about how we tested for our Ring alarm review and other systems in our full methodology.

Related articles on SafeWise

Disclaimer

*Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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