Ring Doorbell Comparison: Which One Should You Buy?

After hours of research and hands-on testing, we bring you our honest take on the Ring doorbell series.
Best overall
Best value
Best for budgets
Best for renters

Of all the Ring video doorbells—from the original to the Elite—our top pick for Ring doorbells is the Ring Video Doorbell 4. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and under $200.

It’s the same price as its predecessor, the Ring 3 Plus, and it features a few subtle upgrades like longer-lasting batteries and a "quick reply" feature. But a different Ring doorbell might be a better choice for you based on your budget and expectations.

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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.



Compare Ring doorbells 2021

Doorbell
Price
Power source
Installation type
Video quality
Field of view
Learn more
Best overall
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Battery, wiredDIY1080p160º
Best value
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

Battery, wired

DIY

1080p

155º

Best for budgets
Ring Video Doorbell Wired
Wired onlyDIY1080p155°
Best for style
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 product imageRing Video Doorbell Pro 2

Wired only

DIY

1536p

150º

Best for renters
Ring Peephole camera product imageRing Peephole Cam

Battery only

DIY

1080p

155º

Best for new construction
Ring Elite Doorbell product imagesRing Video Doorbell Elite

Wired (Power over Ethernet)

Professional recommended

1080p

160º

*Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Watch our Ring doorbells comparison video

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What to expect with Ring video doorbells

Before we go into the nitty-gritty details, here are six things every Ring Video Doorbell has in common:

  1. A video camera
  2. Motion detection
  3. A doorbell
  4. Two-way audio
  5. Night vision
  6. A live video feed from the Ring app
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How many Ring doorbells are there?

We discuss nine Ring doorbell models that you can still buy in this review. But it’s important to note that different Ring doorbell versions target specific needs beyond a what a single model could handle, like a doorbell for an apartment, or with a less bulky size.

Installation

A big difference between Ring doorbells is installation. Pretty much anyone can install the Ring 2nd Gen, the Ring 4, and the Ring Peephole Camera since they require only a few screws. If you’re on the handy side and 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 2.

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Laggy Ring app

Overall, we’ve found the Ring app to be a little bit on the slow side. 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 (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 Ring doorbell options with mounting wedges, like the Ring 4.

Power source 

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.

Internet connection 

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.

Bell
Wi-Fi extender

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 reviews

1. Ring Video Doorbell 4: Best overall

Best overall
Ring Video Doorbell 4
$199.99
Pro Bullet Dual power options
Pro Bullet Mounting wedges
Pro Bullet Pre-Roll feature

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The newly released Ring Video Doorbell 4 is basically the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus with an even better battery pack and a new "quick reply" feature. The Ring 4 is even the same price as the Ring 3 Plus ($199.99), so you might as well get the latest and greatest version and go with the Ring 4. 

One of our favorite features on the Ring 4 is the 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 4 has 1080p HD video with better night vision than other Ring video doorbells, and you can adjust the camera angle by adding one of the included mounting wedges to tilt it left or right. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 also includes a corner kit.

You can also adjust the motion sensor sensitivity so you’re not getting constant motion-activated alerts.

2. Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen): Best value

Best value
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)
$99.99
Pro Bullet Wide field of view
Pro Bullet Custom motion zones
Pro Bullet Easy installation

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is a peculiar product. It's a long-overdue update to the original Ring 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 4'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 4.

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.

3. Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Best for budgets

Best for budgets
Ring Video Doorbell Wired
$59.99
Pro Bullet Night vision
Pro Bullet Two-way talk
Pro Bullet Motion alerts

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired costs just $59.99, making it the most affordable Ring doorbell to date. But there's a catch: you can only use this version if you already have existing doorbell wiring. There's no battery pack.

Even though it's not a wireless camera, it still has all the perks you expect from a video doorbell: two-way audio, motion alerts, 1080p recording, and a Wi-Fi connection.

4. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2: Best for style

Best for style
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 product image
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
$249.99
Pro Bullet Slender design
Pro Bullet Two-way talk
Pro Bullet Motion detection

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is the device for people who want a subtler, sleeker video doorbell to greet their visitors. The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is narrower than its bulkier cousins with a profile that resembles a standard doorbell.

But that lack of bulk is because there’s no battery. That means you have to hardwire it to your old doorbell.

It has 1536p resolution, which slightly higher than other Ring doorbell cameras, and it still manages to fit a motion detector and two-way audio into its space-saving design.

5. Ring Peephole Cam: Best for renters

Best for renters
Ring Peephole camera product image
Ring Peephole Cam
$149.99
Pro Bullet Built-in peephole
Pro Bullet Impact sensor
Pro Bullet Privacy sensor

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

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.

6. Ring Video Doorbell Elite: Best for new construction

Best for new construction
Ring Elite Doorbell product images
Ring Video Doorbell Elite
$349.99
Pro Bullet Ethernet connection
Pro Bullet Two-way talk
Pro Bullet Motion alerts

Amazon.com list price as of 10/08/2021 at 4:46 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

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.

Other Ring video doorbells

Ring sells three other video doorbells that we no longer recommend. They're not bad products by any means; Ring has simply released better doorbell cams for the same or similar price, which makes these versions obsolete. (Though the original Ring Video Doorbell Pro is still a compelling alternative to the Pro 2.)

Which Ring doorbell should I buy?

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is the most advanced and newest Ring doorbell model. 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 (2nd Gen) is our favorite video doorbell overall).

FAQ

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.

Since Ring hit the market, many other companies have gotten in on the doorbell cam action:

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.

Check out our other video doorbell reviews to learn more.

A Ring Protect Basic subscription costs $3 a month for one video doorbell device. Your subscription gets you 60 days of rolling cloud storage for your doorbell camera video so you can save and share video recordings.

Ring Protect Pro is $20 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.

Ring has had trouble 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's added end-to-end encryption on wired doorbells that users can turn on in the lastest version of the Ring app.
  • 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.

Wired Ring doorbell models with a battery will still function when the power’s out:

  • Ring Video Doorbell (Gen 1 and Gen 2)
  • Ring Video Doorbell 2
  • Ring Video Doorbell 3
  • Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
  • Ring Video Doorbell 4

But even if they work, your Wi-Fi probably won’t. The Ring Wired, Ring Pro, Ring Pro 2, and Ring Elite don’t have a backup battery.

How we reviewed Ring doorbells

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.

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Disclaimers

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.

Kasey Tross
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.

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