Ring Home Security System Review

We tested the no-frills Ring alarm system in our home to give you the lowdown on all the equipment.
Budget security system pick
Ring
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Contract-free
  • Easily expandable
  • Professionally- or self-monitored
Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
Read More
Published on July 14, 2021

With no contracts and no fancy extras, Ring Security is basic in the best way. You can snag starter equipment for under $200, and pro monitoring costs just $10/month ($20 below the industry average).

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

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Wildly affordable price
Pro Bullet Huge range of cameras
Pro Bullet Clever Neighbors app
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Few sensors in starting package
Con Bullet Confusing keypad
Con Bullet Tough features to reset
Bell
Deal alert: 20% off

Right now, Ring is taking 20% off of select products for military, veterans, first responders, students, and teachers. There are dozens of items to choose from.

Compare Ring Alarm monitoring prices

Monthly cost
Yearly cost
Video
Professional monitoring
Recommended add-ons
See Ring Alarm devices
Free
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Amazon Alexa
Protect Basic
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Ring cameras
Protect Plus
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Environmental sensors,
Motion detectors,
Ring cameras

Info current as of 07/14/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full Amazon disclaimer

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 is free without video, or you can add a camera with video recording for $3. And at $10 per month, Ring’s professional monitoring is one of the cheapest rates we’ve encountered.

We see the free plan as best for singles and couples. Protect Basic is great for small families, and Protect Plus can accommodate large families.

Perks like video backlog and discounted equipment come with the Protect Plus plan. Other systems like Frontpoint and SimpliSafe have these features, but you’d have to pay up to $40 per month. Unfortunately, Ring doesn’t offer professional video monitoring with any of its plans.

Bell
Things that cost more than Ring's monthly monitoring rate:
  • A Netflix subscription
  • A gym membership
  • A night at the movies

Ring Alarm vs. other brands

Top pickReader favoriteWhole-property pickPro monitoring pickNo-contract DIY pickSmart home pickCustomer-focused pickBudget pickSensor selection pickSimple package pick
Brand
VivintVivint
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
FrontpointFrontpoint
ADTADT
Blue by ADTBlue by ADT
AbodeAbode
CoveCove
RingRing
Link InteractiveLink Interactive
BrinksBrinks
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price$599.00$229.00$99.00$0.00$199.15$279.00Quote required$199.99Quote required$199.00
Contract required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon No  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Icon No  LightYes
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  DarkAmazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon,
Google
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, ZigbeeAmazon,
Google
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Learn more
Read review

Info current as of 07/14/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Full Amazon disclaimer
Full ADT disclaimer

Low pricing and low commitment distinguish Ring from similar self-installed security systems. It has all the same equipment and features as the big guys but for a fraction of the price. 

But you can’t design your system from the ground up. You can add on new devices or get an expandable security kit, but Ring security system packages won't give you the level of customization that systems like Frontpoint and Link Interactive offer.

Is Ring alarm right for you?

With few frills, complementary cameras, 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 $10 a month lightens the burden of buying equipment up front.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos like this one! Learn how to protect your home, your loved ones, yourself and your belongings.


Ring security tech and equipment

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.

Ring offers roughly the same package in three sizes: small ($199.99), medium ($249.99), and large ($329.99).*

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.

Info current as of 07/14/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full Amazon disclaimer

Compare Ring Alarm security kits (2nd gen)

What it looks like
Equipment cost*
Estimated household coverage
Included equipment
Learn more
Ring Alarm 5-Piece Ring Alarm 2nd gen 5-piece kitUp to 1,000 sq. ft. Base station, Keypad,
Contact sensor,
Motion detector,
Range extender
Ring Alarm 8-Piece Ring's 2nd gen 8-piece Alarm systemUp to 2,000 sq. ft.Base station, Keypad,
Contact sensor (3),
Motion detector (2),
Range extender
Ring Alarm 14-Piece Over 2,000 sq. ft. Base station,
Keypad (2),
Contact sensor (8),
Motion detector (2),
Range extender

Info current as of 07/14/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Full Amazon disclaimer

A look at 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 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 detector 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.

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.

Ring setup and installation

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.

User-friendly base station, tricky keypad and sensors

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.

Ring smart home features

Ring Neighbors app

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.

Screenshot from Ring Neighbors app

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.

More security options from Ring

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 everything from the Ring app.

Ring Spotlight Cam

Spotlight Cam 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 Ring's newest addition to its camera lineup. You can get this indoor/outdoor camera for around $100.

Learn more in our Ring Stick Up Cam review.

Ring Floodlight Camera

Ring Floodlight Cam

A motion-activated camera that features floodlights, two-way talk, voice control with Alexa, and a siren.

New Ring equipment

New Ring equipment to add to your system or build from the ground up:

  • Ring Retrofit Kit ($150): This 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's first-ever indoor camera ($60): This indoor home security camera is the cheapest camera Ring has to offer. It's wireless with Wi-Fi connection and works on a flat surface or mounted on a wall.

Ring Alarm customer service

Between the box instructions, online support, and the Ring app, we solved most of our issues. 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.*

  • Trustpilot rating: 1.5 stars (bad)
  • Ring Always Home app on Apple App Store: 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Ring Always Home app on Google Play: 3.9 stars out of 5

*Ratings as of 07/14/2021

Bottom line

The Ring Alarm system can support small homes, tight security budgets, and home security newbies. It’s hard to beat $120 a year for pro monitoring (or $100 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.

Still not sure if Ring is for you? Compare this system to our overall lineup of home alarm systems or other DIY systems.


How we reviewed Ring Alarm

We wanted to see the Ring alarm home security kit in action, so we took one home. Our tester set it up and used it over a weekend. During that time, they had a partner back home arm and disarm the system while they checked from the app.

We 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 system, 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.

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 $10 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.

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.

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

Subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos like this one! Learn how to protect your home, your loved ones, yourself and your belongings.

Ring's self-monitoring is free without video. Alternatively, $2 monthly will get you another camera and video recording. 

If you want professional monitoring, Ring's $10 per month is one of the cheapest rates we’ve seen. You can choose from the Protect Basic or Protect Plus plan.

The Protect Plus 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.

Related pages


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.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

Recent Articles

Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2021
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
couple sitting on floor with moving boxes and a dog
Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...
Neighbourhood homes in the United Kingdom
The Best Home Alarm Systems in the UK
Find the right alarm system to protect your UK home. SafeWise recommends security systems for...
security system being installed on wall
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2021
DIY install home security systems are cost-efficient, effective, and easy to install. See which DIY...
  • asgio2001

    I feel obligated to write some type of review on Ring security. I have spent hours, ordering, reviewing equipment, and finally received equipment. Upon calling for help, no one could find the order that I already received ! It was chaotic, and numerous times, with numerous people. I could spend 10 minute trying to remember the trail of confusion, lack of ability to answer questions on essentially anything. It has been one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve had, and so glad I did not even open the boxes, and again, after much ado, sent them back. Now, it is beyond explaining what I am going through to verify receipt, get the return – latest, and probably 5th call, verified return accepted, but she could not verity how many boxes, nor the amount of return. They have been sitting there for days, but since I called again, she promised me to issue return today, then, within 24-48 hours, I will receive confirmation of THAT . THEN, in another 3-5 business days, I SHOULD receive my credit, which she said usually takes 14-21 business days ! Absolutely amazing, and I did not even OPEN THE BOXES ! So, I am so happy I sent them back, but now hope to resolve this issue. Wow.

  • Eric Crammer

    I know this article is old, but I wanted to pint out the range extenders (at least in the Gen 2 kit) are Zwave extenders. Zwave is a mesh network that is superior in range and reliability to wifi. The device itself can be hardwired to your router, or connect via wifi. With Protect Plus, you pay $10 per month or $100 per year. You then have 4G cellular backup. I love this system and have no issues at all. Left ADT for Ring.

    • http://ppccampaigngenerator.com/ Jarad Collier

      Do you feel more protected with Ring Protect Plus vs ADT?

  • Bob A

    Hi. My question is, how does Ring notify the monitoring station or you? If it’s internet only then turning off the power to the home will shut down any routers or modems thus preventing any notification. More up-to-date systems use a cell phone module that’s part of the battery backup of the alarm system so cutting the power or the internet still leaves the alarm functional. I’ve read all kinds of articles and searched all over the Ring website, but I can’t find info anywhere on how the Ring security system sends its notifications.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      This is what we found from Ring: “Ring Alarm comes with a 24-hour backup battery that kicks in whenever the power at home goes out. You can also get cellular backup with a Ring Protect Plus Plan so your system can stay online during an outage.”

      • Bob A

        Thanks for that info. That’s great.

  • Peter Pumpkineater

    This article seems way out of date.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      You’re right! We’re in the process of updating it now. I’ll respond again when it’s live. Thanks!

      • Joscelyn Milstone

        Any updates on a new article? Want to know before we buy one for the new house. What’s the best available that integrates with mobile and can handle dog and kid traffic?

        • Rebecca Edwards

          Thanks for your question, Joscelyn. It’s smart to do your research prior to getting into your home so that you invest in a system that will work for you long-term. When it comes to the right security system, it really depends on what your primary goals are.

          If you simply want a security system that will potentially deter burglars and alert you and the authorities if someone tries to break in, I think you could go with the basic Ring system with added monthly monitoring.

          Securing all ground-floor doors and windows with entry sensors, placing a motion sensor near the front door and the base station alarm will be all you need for standard home security. And if you place the motion sensor at the right height, you won’t have to worry about false alarms from your dog and kiddos.

          The addition of the monthly monitoring will give you mobile access and control. It’s a bummer that Ring doesn’t offer that for free, but that’s pretty standard in the industry.

          If you also want to be able to check in on your kids and animals—and talk to them—you’ll want to add the Ring Stick Up Cam to your system. The camera gives you mobile access without a subscription, so that’s a bonus, but you won’t be able to store videos or have backup from the monitoring center without a subscription.

          I know this is a long answer, so please forgive me. I just want to help you make the best choice for your family. If you’re interested in a more extensive security system with smart home features and advanced security options, I’d look into Vivint or Frontpoint.

          With Frontpoint, you’re still in the DIY arena, but it’s a big leap from the Ring and SimpliSafe systems. With Vivint, you’re going full-on luxury brand (like the Mercedes of home security) and that will involve professional installation, a customized smart security system that fits your home, and required pro monitoring. Both will cost more than systems like Ring, but they deliver a lot more.

          I hope that helps. Good luck with your new home!

  • Robert Thomas

    Rebecca. What do you expect for 10 dollars a month or $8.33 if you buy the annual plan? If you want home automation get ADT.

    • Rebecca Edwards

      Robert, you have a great point. The bare-bones monitoring plan is exactly that. It’s standard home security monitoring that gets emergency responders to your home ASAP whether you’re there or not. And it’s at a price that makes home security accessible to more people

      It also gives you 60 days of video recording and Ring’s extended warranty. But there are other companies that can give you more and you’ll pay up for it. For home automation I’d recommend Vivint first, and then ADT. But it’s really all about your priorities and budget.