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Ring Home Security System Review

Is Ring the home security system to rule them all? We tested Ring home alarm’s equipment and took a close look at pricing and plans to find out.
Written by | Updated November 23, 2020

Budget security system pick

3.25/5
  • Contract-free
  • Easily expandable
  • Professionally- or self-monitored
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Last Updated: 1 week ago
Black Friday deal alert: Ring has a huge stack of deals this year. You can snag theRing Alarm 5-Piece kit for $80 off, the 8-Piece kit for $140 off, or the 14-Piece kit for a whopping $170 off.

Ring Alarm is budget-friendly DIY security

With no contracts and no fancy extras, Ring Security is basic in the best way.

This home alarm system is a good fit if you want a no-frills security system that gets the job done.

It’s easy to assemble, attentive with its alerts, and expandable so it can grow with your family.

Pros

  • Wildly affordable price
  • Huge range of cameras
  • Clever Neighbors app

Cons

  • Few sensors in starting package
  • Confusing keypad
  • Tough features to reset

Compare Ring Alarm monitoring prices

Monthly cost
Yearly cost
Video
Professional monitoring
Recommended add-ons
Best for
See Ring Alarm devices
Free Protect Basic Protect Plus
$0 $3 $10
$0 $30 $100
X
No

Yes

Yes
X
No
X
No

Yes
Amazon Alexa Ring cameras Environmental sensors
Motion detectors
Ring cameras
Singles and couples Small families Large families
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Info as of 11/23/2020 at 2:44 p.m. (MT). Offers and availability subject to change.

Ring costs peanuts compared to other self-installed systems like it. The base price for the starter 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.

The Protect Plus plan also includes 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. Unfortunately, Ring doesn’t offer professional video monitoring with any of its plans.

Things that cost more than Ring's monthly monitoring rate:

A Netflix subscription
A gym membership
A night at the movies
A week of groceries
Impulse purchases on Amazon

Ring Alarm vs. other brands

Brand
Logo
Lowest monthly monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Installation
Smart home compatibility
Learn more
Read review
Budget pick Best overall Smart home pick No-contract pick Most well-known Techie pick
Ring Frontpoint Vivint SimpliSafe ADT Nest
$10 $44.99 $29.99 $14.99 $27.99 $19.00
$199.00 $0.00* $599.00 $229.00 $0.00** $399.99
X
No
X
No
X
No˄
X
No

Yes
X
No
DIY DIY Pro DIY Pro DIY
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Z-Wave
View on Amazon View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages View Packages
Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review

Amazon.com List Price as of 11/23/2020 2:44 p.m. MST. (Full disclaimer)
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.
**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See SafeStreets.com for full offer details, terms, and conditions.
˄No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
† Professional monitoring provided by Brinks Home Security.

Compared to other self-installed security systems like it, Ring stands out for its low pricing and low commitment. It has all the same equipment and features as the big guys but for a fraction of the price. That said, Ring is still new to the home alarm game, so we’re excited to see how it can change the industry.

When stacked against systems like Frontpoint and Link Interactive, Ring does miss out on customizable product packages. While you can add on new devices or get an expandable kit, you can’t design your system from the ground up.

Is Ring Alarm right for you?

With few frills, complementary cameras, and affordable equipment prices, Ring Alarm fits the bill for people looking for standard security. And the option to monitor the system yourself or have the pros help out for an inexpensive $10 a month makes the burden of buying the equipment up front easier to bear.

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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, 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 ($289.98), and large ($369.98).*

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

*Regular list prices as of 11/23/2020

Compare Ring Alarm security kits (2nd gen)

Black Friday deal alert

Don't forget that you can save $80–$170 off the prices below if you take advantage of Ring's Black Friday deals. You can snag theRing Alarm 5-Piece kit for $80 off, the 8-Piece kit for $140 off, or the 14-Piece kit for a whopping $170 off.
What it looks like
Equipment cost*
Estimated household coverage
Included equipment
Learn more
Ring Alarm 5-Piece Ring Alarm 8-Piece Ring Alarm 14-Piece
Ring Alarm 2nd gen 5-piece kit Ring's 2nd gen 8-piece Alarm system
$199.99 $289.98 $369.98
Up to 1,000 sq. ft. Up to 2,000 sq. ft. More than 2,000 sq. ft.
Base station
Contact sensor
Keypad
Motion detector
Range extender
Base station
Contact sensor (3)
Keypad
Motion detector (2)
Range extender
Base station
Contact sensor (8)
Keypad (2)
Motion detector (2)
Range extender
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

*Amazon.com price as of 11/23/2020 at 2:44 p.m. (MT). Read full 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 status of the system.

Contact sensor

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

Motion sensor

This 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 ninety-degree 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

The Ring alarm kit is the only security system we know of that comes with a range extender. This is usually an add-on accessory that costs extra, so it’s helpful for anyone with a larger home or outdoor equipment to have it included.

Range extenders boost the reach of your home’s Wi-Fi and provide a better connection for additional devices.

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

Ring setup and installation

The Ring system has everything you need right in the box. The packaging is slick, and it’s easy to find all the sensors, instructions, and cables you need. Ring provides directions from the app and printed materials in the box—you just need to follow along.

Installation starts with your base hub, or the “brain” that ties the system together.

You’ll want to have your Wi-Fi password handy because there’s no “cancel” option if you enter it in wrong and this can add time to the process.

Once your base station has a connection, the rest of the setup is simple. You’ll need a four-digit entry code for the keypad and a place to put your sensors, but these devices take just moments to install.

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

Here’s what happened during testing

When we tested Ring’s system, we found that the base station was easy to set up, but we had some difficulties with the keypad.

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).

Eventually, we used 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.

During testing, we encountered issues with the contact sensor. 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.

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 smart home features

Ring has a unique feature in the app called the Neighborhood Feed. It gives you updates from other Ring users in your area. They post suspicious activity, report crimes, and even share the occasional wildlife encounter.

It can be a quick, anonymous way of keeping your neighbors in the loop and it’s a unique feature we haven’t seen on other home security systems.

That said, while we like a lot of things about the Neighbors app, it’s wise to ask questions and think about posts critically. There’s no vetting required, so we’ve seen a lot of posts that unnecessarily raise alarm.

In addition, people and organizations (including law enforcement) have tried to co-opt the app and its video or photo posts to try to identify protesters and other participants in demonstrations of civil unrest across the country.

We strongly encourage anyone using an app like Neighbors to read all the fine print about how privacy issues are handled. That way you can make the choice that feels most comfortable for you and your approach to community safety.

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 Ring video doorbells and 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

Ring is adding compatible devices pretty fast. 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 Floodlight Camera

Ring Floodlight Cam

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

View on Amazon

Ring Spotlight Cam

Spotlight Cam Battery

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

View on Amazon

Ring Doorbell Pro product image

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

This is Ring’s entry-level doorbell camera. It delivers motion-activated alerts, two-way talk, and night vision. Find out more in our full review.

View on Amazon

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.

View on Amazon

New Ring equipment

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

  • Ring Retrofit Kit for $199—Works with preexisting door and window sensors and motion detectors to modernize old security equipment.
  • Ring’s first-ever indoor cameraThis indoor security cam starts at $60, making it the cheapest camera Ring has to offer.

How we reviewed Ring Alarm

We wanted to see the Ring alarm system 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 Ring and other systems by reading our full methodology.

Ring Alarm customer service

Ring customer service provides help wherever you need it. Between the instructions in the box, online support, and the Ring app, we found answers to most of our questions.

We were able to find articles that helped us install a contact sensor on a difficult door and info on how to reset the system. You probably won’t have to call Ring for help, but if you need to, there are call centers in three time zones.

The company provides 24/7 customer service and technical help over the phone. Here’s a look at some of Ring’s customer ratings.*

  • Trustpilot rating: 1.6 stars, Bad
  • Ring Always Home app on Apple App Store: 4.3 stars out of 5
  • Ring Always Home app on Google Play: 3.9 stars out of 5

*Ratings as of October 9, 2020

Ring Alarm home security system FAQ

What should I consider before I buy Ring Alarm?

Ring comes with a lot of options for monitoring, equipment, and add-ons.

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.

You can also add extra equipment to your Ring system. Ring security cameras and environmental sensors like smoke or flood detectors are just as affordable as the core system.

Do I get a refund if I pay for a year of professional monitoring but cancel early?

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

Does Ring Alarm work with my existing security cameras?

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’ll only need to go to one source to monitor both your cameras and your Ring Alarm system.

Does Ring Alarm still work if my power goes out or I lose my Wi-Fi network connection?

The Ring Alarm security system has built-in battery backup in case you lose power. The battery backup should give you about twenty-four hours of power. For those who have a Ring Protect Plus plan, the Ring Alarm also has cellular backup.

Can I get a discount on my homeowners insurance with Ring Alarm?

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

What about Ring working with police departments?

There have been a number of reports about Ring partnering with police departments to give away free or discounted Ring video doorbells. The push to work with police came after Amazon purchased Ring.

At first glance this looks like a proactive move by a security company to get security devices into more homes. But there has been fallout related to privacy concerns and access to personal video footage captured on the Ring doorbell cams.

Part of the partnership between Ring and police departments includes police encouraging people to install Ring video doorbells and then agree to share video footage in the event of a neighborhood crime.

Residents don’t have to give the police access to their camera’s footage, but Forbes reported that law enforcement “can request the footage directly from Amazon if it has been uploaded to the cloud and the request is sent within 60 days of recording—even if you deny police access to footage.”

As of the end of February 2020, there were more than 400 police departments working with Amazon and Ring. Learn more about Ring’s police partnerships on our full page of Ring FAQ.

The partnerships also extend to Ring’s Neighbors app, where citizens and law enforcement can share suspicious activity or report criminal behavior that’s observed or captured on a Ring camera. You don’t have to buy a Ring product to use the app, and you can still see what neighbors and police are posting even if your home is Ring-free.

Bottom Line

The Ring Alarm system fits right in with small homes or anyone who wants to save money on their security budget. It’s hard to beat $120 a year for professional monitoring (or $100 if you pay for a full year in advance).

This system is easy to install and adjust, but we did run 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.

If you’re a security newbie and want to try out a system without a huge financial or time commitment, Ring Alarm is a great place to start.

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

Disclaimer

Amazon.com list price as of 11/23/2020 at 2:44 p.m. (MT). 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.

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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  • 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.

  • Kelsey Negron

    Hmm, a lot of people seem to be talking about Armorax. Why? What do they offer that the rest don’t?

  • 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.