What Is the Ring Doorbell and How Does It Work?

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The Ring Video Doorbell is one of the easiest ways to watch for uninvited guests and porch pirates at front door. Let's dig into some frequently asked questions about how Ring's doorbells work and how to use its features. If you're looking for common questions about Ring's other products, check out our Ring FAQ.

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Best battery doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen)
Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)
4 out of 5 stars
pro 1080p video resolution
pro Battery, wired, and solar power options
pro Affordable

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

How does the Ring doorbell work

When a visitor presses the doorbell button on your Ring, you receive a notification on your smartphone. The video doorbell can also tell you when it detects motion. You also get a live view of your porch and can speak with guests to give instructions or let them know you're coming to the door with a quick reply.

Does the Ring doorbell actually ring inside the house?

Your Ring Video Doorbell can trigger an existing doorbell chime if you connect it to doorbell wiring. You can also buy an optional Ring Chime accessory that plugs into an electrical outlet. Without either of these chimes, you'll still get notifications on your phone when someone pushes the button—they hear a tone on the doorbell's built-in speaker too.

Are Ring's doorbells and cameras wireless?

Yes, Ring's cameras and doorbells connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. The company also sells a variety of battery-powered cameras that don't require power cables and even have optional solar charging mounts. Learn more about wired versus wireless security cameras to decide which is right for you.

Is there a monthly fee for the Ring doorbell?

You can view a live feed, receive push notifications, and talk to visitors from the Ring app without paying a monthly fee. But you'll need to pay if you want to record, save, and share video clips and snapshots. Some features also require a subscription, like person detection, package alerts, and photo-preview notifications.

Ring Protect plan options start at $3 a month for a single camera and $10 a month for unlimited cameras. All plans include 60 days of cloud storage, but the $10 Ring Protect Plus plan also includes an extended warranty and discounts on Ring products.

There's also a $20 Ring Protect Pro plan, but this only benefits the Ring security system and doesn't add anything to your doorbell camera. Still, it comes with all the same storage, discounts, and as the Protect Plus plan for cameras. So if you have a Ring Alarm system and a doorbell camera, the Protect Pro plan is a good fit.

Learn more in our guide to Ring camera storage plans.

Does the Ring doorbell record all the time?

Ring doorbells don't offer continuous video recording—they record only short video clips when detecting motion. If you want a video doorbell with constant recording capabilities, we recommend checking out the Nest Doorbell (Wired).

Does the Ring doorbell work only when pressed?

While a button press is the best way to know if someone wants to speak to you, Ring video doorbells can also notify you when they detect motion. If you get too many motion alerts, you can adjust the doorbell's motion detection sensitivity in the Ring app.

If you pay for Ring Protect, you can filter out generic motion alerts by telling the app just to send package and person detection notifications.

Do Ring cameras have night vision?

Yes, all Ring doorbell and security camera models come with infrared LEDs that enable night-vision recording.

Are Ring doorbells waterproof?

Ring doorbells offer weather resistance to keep rain and snow from sensitive electronics. This doesn't mean you can submerge them in water, but that's an unlikely scenario for everyday users.

Compare the best video doorbells

Best for
Resolution (aspect ratio)
Field of view
Power source
Prerecorded messages
Learn more
Best overall 960 x 1280
145ºBattery, wired
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best for smart homes 1536 x 1536
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best local storage 2560 x 1920
180ºBattery, wired
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best battery doorbell 1920 x 1080
155ºBattery, wired, solar
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best budget doorbell 1296 x 1728
Icon No  LightNo

Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

How to make your Ring camera work with Amazon Alexa

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Read the video transcript of How to Connect Ring to Alexa.

Ring Video Doorbell installation

Installing a Ring doorbell

Check out our guide to installing a Ring Video Doorbell for step-by-step setup instructions. Still having issues? Check out our Ring video doorbell troubleshooting guide.

Do you need a working doorbell to use Ring?

You don't need a working doorbell chime if you use a battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell model. Still, all Ring Video Doorbell models can connect to your home's existing doorbell wires. This provides power to the unit without charging a battery every few months.

Wired models like the Ring Video Doorbell Wired, Pro, and Pro 2 require existing doorbell wiring.

How long does the Ring doorbell's battery last?

In our experience, Ring's battery-powered doorbells and cameras can last for one or two months on a charge. This is shorter than the 6 to 12 months Ring states on its website.

What devices work with the Ring doorbell?

The Ring app works on both iOS and Android devices. Ring doorbells are also compatible with the Ring Alarm security system and Amazon Echo devices.

Learn more in our guide to Ring security compatibility and equipment.

Ring Video Doorbell troubleshooting

If I wire in a Ring doorbell and the power goes out, will the doorbell still work?

Many wired Ring doorbell models also have a battery that allows them to work 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
  • Ring Peephole Cam

But even if they work, your Wi-Fi and internet probably won't, so they won't record any video. Batteries in a Ring doorbell mean easier installation in places without wiring—they don't mean every feature will always work.

The Ring Wired, Ring Doorbell Pro, Ring Pro 2, and Ring Elite don't have a battery.

What happens if my Ring doorbell loses its Wi-Fi connection

Aside from ringing your mechanical chime (if you use doorbell wiring and the power's still on), your Ring Video Doorbell won't do anything without a Wi-Fi connection. Once the Wi-Fi's available again, the doorbell will automatically reconnect to your network. Ring support suggests troubleshooting your device's wireless connection to fix the problem if it doesn't come back online.

Can you hack the Ring doorbell?

No internet-connected device is immune to hacking. Regardless, you can reduce the likelihood of hacking by following good security practices:

  • Secure your Wi-Fi network by changing default names and passwords.
  • Set strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication on your Ring account. Consider using an authenticator app as your second authentication factor.
  • Apply the same security standards to other smart home accounts you use, especially if you link them to Ring.
  • Set up end-to-end encryption on wired cameras and wired doorbell cameras from Ring.

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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.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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