Bottom line: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is worthy of your front door
Of all the Ring video doorbells—from the original to the Elite—our top pick for Ring doorbells is the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and under $250.
It’s pricier than its predecessor, the Ring 2, but its dual-band Wi-Fi and ability to record four seconds before a motion event are a nice step up. Its power source is another plus—you can hardwire the Ring 3 Plus for continuous power if you want, or you can take advantage of its easy-to-charge, pop-out battery.
The Ring 3 Plus isn’t as sleek as the Ring Pro, but its bigger size makes it easier for a DIYer to cover the hole left from an old standard doorbell. And since the Ring 3 Plus comes with a variety of wedges to adjust its angle, you can get just the right view from your front door—an advantage you don’t get with the Ring Peephole Cam.
Why isn't the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) ranked best overall?
You'll see some differences with how we rank the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) if you look at it next to our comparison of the best video doorbells. While we think the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is the best option for most people due to the features you get for the price, it's far from the most advanced doorbell Ring has to offer (though we admit that the Ring 3 Plus is too expensive for its own good).
As a Ring Doorbell 2 user, I’ve probably spent dozens of hours over the last few years using my Ring, and despite the sluggish app, I’m a happy customer.
To compare Ring 1 and Ring 2 and learn more about the other Ring video doorbell products, I spent about three hours combing the Ring website, researching each device. I also watched about half a dozen installation videos and talked with a security pro to better understand the ins and outs of installing each. Our full methodology gives more info on how we evaluate products.
Similarities and differences
Before we go into the nitty-gritty details, here are six things every Ring Video Doorbell has in common:
A video camera
A live video feed from the Ring app
Quick note on Ring doorbells
It’s important to note that Ring’s variations are mostly for customers with different needs than its original version could handle, like a doorbell for an apartment, or with a less bulky size.
One of the biggest differences between the five Ring video doorbells is installation. Pretty much anyone can install the Ring 2nd Gen, the Ring 3 Plus, and the Ring Peephole Camera since they require only a few screws. If you’re on the handy side and you feel comfortable with simple wiring (or are willing to learn to hardwire a Ring doorbell), then you might consider the low-profile, battery-free Ring Pro.
Quick note about the Ring app
Overall, we’ve found the Ring app to be a little bit on the slow side, and since it’s the same app for all the video doorbells, it’s something to keep in mind as you shop. The app gives you access to your live camera feed, but since it’s a bit laggy, we recommend adding a subscription to Ring Protect Plus (it’s only $10 a month) so you can use cloud storage and review feeds later.
Field of view
Depending on the area at your front door, choosing the wrong field of view could limit how useful your video doorbell is. If your front door is recessed, like many apartment doors, then a flat-mounted doorbell with a narrower field of view is fine.
But if you have a larger front porch or area you want your camera to cover, you might want to consider a Ring with a mounting wedge, like the Ring 3 Plus.
How often do you want to charge batteries? With the exception of the Peephole Cam, all other Ring doorbells have a hardwire option so you never have to worry about changing a battery.
If you do decide to go the battery-powered route, we recommend purchasing an extra battery for power while the other is charging.
Finally, think about internet speeds. For a fast, reliable connection, the Ring Elite is your best bet since it works with ethernet rather than Wi-Fi.
If you want to go the Wi-Fi route (as most DIYers do), remember that you may need a Wi-Fi extender, depending on how far your front door is from your router.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the sweet spot for Ring’s various doorbell offerings. Since it can run on battery power, there’s no need to hardwire it if you don’t have to, and the design of the Ring 3 Plus makes it easy to pop the battery in and out for easy charging. This feature makes it a great choice if you’re anxious about messing with doorbell wiring.
One of our favorite features on the Ring 3 Plus is its Pre-Roll feature, which saves four seconds of video from before motion triggers the camera to record. This is great for catching the whole event instead of capturing the back of a porch pirate’s head as they make a getaway.
The camera on the Ring 3 Plus has 1080p HD video with better night vision than its predecessor, and you can adjust the camera angle by adding one of the included mounting wedges to tilt it left or right. You can also adjust the motion sensor sensitivity so you’re not getting constant motion-activated alerts.
The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is a peculiar product. It’s a long-overdue update to the original Ring Video Doorbell (which released in 2014), but it’s also not the Ring 2, which is no longer available.
One big improvement in this new version is crisp 1080p video quality and a more polished design. But it still doesn’t have a removable battery. Charging the battery on this Ring is a bit of a hassle (since you have to pretty much take the whole doorbell off). But if you hardwire it to your old doorbell, you won’t have to worry about the battery dying.
It also lacks the fancy Pre-Roll feature that captures video from before motion events, which is Ring 3 Plus’s biggest draw.
If you still want a Ring doorbell but you’re on a budget, those little concessions are worth the $130 you save on the purchase price compared to the Ring 3 Plus.
But just because it’s budget-friendly doesn’t mean it’s without perks. The Ring 2nd Gen still has all the other bells and whistles we enjoy with pricier versions, including custom motion zones, motion-activated alerts, and a wide 155º field of view.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the device for people who want a subtler, sleeker video doorbell to greet their visitors. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is narrower than its bulkier cousins with a profile that resembles a standard doorbell.
But it comes at a price—the Pro is about $20 more than the Ring 3 Plus, and that lack of bulk is because there’s no battery. That means you have to hardwire it to your old doorbell.
It has 1080p resolution just like other Ring doorbell cameras, and it still manages to fit a motion detector and two-way audio into its space-saving design.
Hardwire installation only
Higher price tag
Ring Video Doorbell Elite: Best for new construction
The Ring Video Doorbell Elite is Ring’s top-of-the-line option with a top-of-the-line price to match. It’s hardwired to your ethernet connection, so you never have to worry about its proximity to Wi-Fi.
But since most homes probably don’t have an ethernet cable running to the doorbell box, the Elite is a better fit for new construction.
Ring recommends professional installation for this device due to the required ethernet connection and because it’s flush-mounted to your outer wall. On the plus side, the flush-mount design makes it a lot less bulky after installation than other Ring video doorbell models.
The Ring Peephole Cam is one of the newer doorbell cams in the Ring family, and it’s designed with renters in mind. The Peephole Cam fits right into your existing peephole hole, preserving your peephole function while adding a camera and other benefits of a video doorbell.
It has all of Ring’s regular doorbell functionality—like two-way communication, motion detection, and a doorbell button—plus a new feature: an impact sensor. The sensor detects any door vibrations to alert you when someone knocks on your door, even when you’re not home.
Because the Peephole Cam is a device designed for apartments, it also includes privacy zone settings for its audio and video to ensure you comply with privacy laws.
It connects to your Wi-Fi network so you can get motion sensor and impact sensor alerts and push notifications. And you can view the Peephole Cam’s live camera feed from your smartphone.
No camera angle adjustment
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is Ring’s most advanced doorbell camera. Its dual power options, mounting wedges, and innovative Pre-Roll feature help it easily capture a top spot among Ring’s doorbells (even though the cheaper Ring Video Doorbell is our favorite video doorbell overall).
Ring video doorbell FAQ
What kind of motion-sensing technology does Ring use?
Ring video doorbells use standard motion detection with passive infrared (PIR) sensors. PIR sensors have the benefit of using less power than more advanced motion sensors, so they’re ideal for saving battery life on battery-powered devices like the Ring Video Doorbell.
What other video doorbells are available besides Ring?
Since Ring hit the market, many other companies have gotten in on the doorbell cam action, like the Arlo Video Doorbell, Nest Hello, August Doorbell, Vivint, and more. The Nest Hello even has high-tech features like facial recognition and prerecorded messages you can use for visitors when you’re not available to answer the door.
A Ring Protect Basic subscription costs $3 a month for one video doorbell device. Your subscription gets you 30 days of rolling cloud storage for your doorbell camera video so you can save and share video recordings.
Ring Protect Plus is $10 a month and gets you the same video recording and cloud storage as the Basic but for unlimited devices. It also includes 24/7 professional monitoring for a Ring Alarm system and 10% off products at Ring.com.
How does Ring protect my privacy?
Ring has had trouble in the past with some privacy issues with people gaining unauthorized access to customers’ camera feeds which put a microscope on the company’s privacy policies. But the company is working to improve privacy for its customers in a number of ways:
It added a Control Center to the Ring app so customers can easily adjust privacy settings.
It now requires two-factor authentication on all user accounts for additional security.
We appreciate the company making improvements after listening to public feedback. But there’s still a ways to go since Ring continues to work with police departments and still shares customer data with a number of partners.
*Amazon.com list price as of 08/20/2020 at 5:04 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.
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Written by Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more