We’ve compared offerings from Google-owned Nest Secure and Amazon-owned Ring Alarm to see how they stack up and which offers you the best of both price and features.
Nest vs. Ring Home Security
Google has discontinued selling its Google Nest Secure system. It will continue supporting the system for existing customers and those who buy from third-party retailers. Still looking for a DIY security system? Check out best DIY home security systems to see our recommendations.
Bottom line: Nest Secure is better, but pricey
Compare Google Nest Secure and Ring Alarm
Google Nest Secure
|Base equipment cost*
Nest Guard2 Nest Detect sensors2 Nest TagsMounting accessories
Base stationKeypadContact SensorMotion detectorRange extender
30-day money-back guarantee
30-day trial with Protect Plus Plan
Wi-FiBattery backup (12 hours)Cellular backup for a fee, limited availablility
Wi-FiBackup battery (24 hours)Cellular backup with Protect Plus Plan
Smart home integration
|View on Kohl's
|View on Amazon
Google vs. Amazon in the home
Before we delve into the details of Ring and Nest, we should talk about how the home automation ecosystems of Google and Amazon might affect your decision.
Currently, the Google ecosystem, including Nest Secure, has more flexibility to integrate third-party devices. While Ring Alarm doesn’t work with as many smart products as Nest, the system does have the capability.
If you like your Echo and you’re willing to wait, Amazon will likely invest in making newly acquired Ring products integrate with its home automation ecosystem.
If you want to eventually add more products to your smart home, it’s easier to do so with Google Nest’s system than with Amazon's Ring system at this time.
The smart home devices you already have and prefer will likely be a big factor in which security system you choose.
What do Nest Secure and Ring Alarm have in common?
At first glance, Nest Secure and Ring Alarm seem to be similar DIY home security systems. They even look alike, with the same blue-circle branding and cleanly styled white equipment.
Both brands have the option to self-monitor and a no-contract approach that gives you the comfort of minimal commitment. Here are a few other ways Nest and Ring strike similar notes in their home security offerings:
- Easy, DIY installation
- Optional 24/7 professional monitoring
- Integration with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- No contracts
- Cellular and battery backup available
What makes Nest Secure and Ring Alarm different?
The brands differ mostly in terms of cost and smart home tech. If you’re trying to decide between these two DIY-savvy home security systems, it’s all about what features you’re willing to trade to keep the price tag affordable.
- Ring Alarm starter kit is $199, Nest Secure starter kit is $399
- Nest has a 2-year warranty
- Ring has a longer battery backup
- Nest has better smart home tech
Google Nest Secure at a glance
Nest’s security system fits seamlessly into its popular line of smart home products, but its higher price tag and alarm vulnerabilities may give you pause.
Nest Secure does better than average on integrating home automation and doubles as a Google Home hub. While Nest advertises their alarm functionality as less intrusive for busy families, some find the alarm delay and limited noise alerts concerning.
Like Ring, Nest has easy DIY installation and self-monitoring through the app, but it also offers a professional monitoring option if you’d like extra protection and convenience.
“You get what you pay for” is an adage that applies to Nest’s array of features. Even with the discount through monitoring partner Brinks, Nest Secure is one of the more expensive DIY systems in terms of up-front equipment costs. But if you want to outfit your home with a capable, high-tech alarm system, Nest Secure may be worth the investment.
Who Nest Secure Is Best For
If you’re looking for a flexible, DIY alarm system for a small to midsize house that plays nice with your home automation, Google Nest Secure should top your list. Its versatile integration of third-party devices like smart lighting and a large variety of compatible Nest devices make it a standout among DIY security systems.
But be prepared for the higher equipment costs that come with the luxury of all those technological bells and whistles. While the price tag includes the comfort of an extended warranty and the option of professional monitoring from Brinks, Nest is still best for those who want powerful smart home integration and are willing to pay a little extra for it.
Read our full Nest home security review to find out more.
Google Nest plans
Nest Aware Plus
|Includes professional monitoring
Info current as of 07/09/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Contracts and extended warranties
One of the benefits of both Nest and Ring is that they don’t require a contract, and both offer DIY monitoring, so commitment-averse folks won’t feel locked into their choice.
Nest, however, demonstrates confidence in its ability to keep customers satisfied by providing both a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty.
Unsurprisingly, Nest garners overwhelmingly positive reviews on its website, but a deeper dive into the company’s reputation turns up customer service concerns with long wait times and delayed camera connectivity.1,2
While there is the safety net of a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty, service complaints are an issue for Nest.
Smart home compatibility
The company’s user-friendly app lets you control Nest thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and several third-party devices like Philips Hue smart lighting. The Nest app also integrates and controls feeds from both outdoor and indoor Nest cameras as well as Nest Hello, the brand’s video doorbell camera.
You can arm Nest Secure using voice recognition through smart home hubs Amazon Echo and Google Home. The downside to this dynamic menu of compatible home automation features is that video storage and monitoring plans are more expensive.
Alarms, alerts, and notifications
Nest Secure is hampered by some vulnerabilities and limitations of the actual alarm system. Because the “brain” of the alarm exists in the same place as the keypad of the Nest Guard component, the system may be more easily disabled by intruders.
Customers also report sensors have a limited range of motion (about 10 feet) and the alarm is relatively quiet. Nest bills this as an advantage for customers who want a less intrusive home security system, but without the ability to add speakers (there’s just one located at the entry), Nest Secure may be too quiet for larger homes.
Ring Alarm at a glance
It all began with the wildly popular Ring video doorbell, but now the company also offers an attractive, easy-to-install security system at a significant bargain. While it does have some drawbacks, Ring Alarm is one of the most affordable DIY home security solutions available.
Ring Alarm puts DIY home security at your fingertips without a contract, but it does so by sacrificing some features and functionality. Currently, the limited smart home integration is Ring’s Achilles’ heel, and it makes the flexibility to build out a complete smart home difficult.
The Ring Alarm starter kit offers only one motion sensor and one contact sensor, but additional sensors and other add-on components are reasonably affordable.
Check out our Ring FAQ for more info on Ring.
Who Ring is best for
Ring Alarm is the more affordable choice for both equipment and monitoring, but it might not be your best option for long-term concerns like home automation integration and alert customization.
With easy DIY installation and sleek components, it can give you the styling of Nest without the price tag.
The absence of a trial period and extended warranty on the lower-tier plan can also be a red flag, but Ring’s reputation for reliable customer service should put some of those fears to rest. Hopefully, as Amazon invests in building out the Ring suite of home security products, we’ll get the home automation features and flexibility that the company has brought to other smart home devices.
Read our full Ring home security review to learn more.
In the UK? Check out our Ring UK Review.
For more information, view our in-depth guide to Ring video storage plans.
Info current as of 07/09/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Contracts and warranties
Ring Alarm is a no-contract, no-frills system, but its bargain-basement price means you get only a one-year limited warranty and no trial period with the Protect Basic plan. For an extended warranty and a standard 30-day trial period, you’ll need a Protect Plus plan.
We don't recommend the Basic Plan if you use this system, since it has no professional monitoring option and benefits only a single Ring security camera.
Ring offers 24/7 live customer service, though the Ring Alarm product is relatively new, and the jury is still out about how specific concerns are being addressed. But most retail customers give a better-than-average rating of four out of five stars for Ring Alarm products, and the Better Business Bureau grades Ring as an A+.3
Ring hasn’t disclosed who it partners with for its optional 24/7 professional monitoring. The relatively low cost of the monitoring plan and Ring’s lack of transparency could make you hesitant to sign up.
Easy, DIY installation
Once you get the packaging open, Ring’s tool-free installation is a breeze. One drawback of the installation is that Ring’s alert settings come pre-programmed, and while they can be adjusted, it can be tricky to figure out how.
Customers report that while there’s lots of instruction surrounding Ring's doorbell cameras, there is a limited amount of information about Ring Alarm available online.
Smart home compatibility
First, the good news. Ring Alarm has both Z-Wave and Zigbee connectivity, so it could integrate with a myriad of home automation devices in theory. Unfortunately, that capability isn’t fully functional, which means Ring Alarm is compatible with only some third-party devices, and the system is difficult to customize.
For instance, you’ll discover you can view Ring camera video in the app alongside your system status and alerts, but you can’t set up automatic recording for tripped sensors. While Ring Alarm can be armed and disarmed by Alexa, there isn’t much more integration in terms of smart home functionality.
One exception is that Ring Alarm’s system is compatible with First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and a limited number of Z-Wave electronic door locks.
Learn more in our Ring equipment and compatibility guide.
A word about wireless security
Several Ring Alarm and camera users have reported breaches in their accounts that allowed a stranger to use the two-way communication to intimidate them. This is a risk every user takes when they use any internet-connected wireless system.
The good news is you can minimize the risk with proper internet security. Here are a few easy tips for securing your system from online threats:
- Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts
- Opt for extra security measures like two-factor authentication
- Add shared users instead of sharing login credentials
- Change your home Wi-Fi password frequently
We still confidently recommend Ring and other similar wireless internet-connected systems. And while these threats are real, they can be avoided with a few extra precautions.
If your primary concern is affordability, Ring Alarm may seem like a clear-cut winner. However, once you consider the lack of compatibility and the bare bones equipment in the Ring Alarm starter kit, you’ll realize Google Nest Secure may be worth the extra up-front costs.
Check your list for which of these considerations means the most to you before you make a decision:
- Price and contract: Both Ring Alarm and Nest Secure come with no contract, but Ring scores in this category for more affordable up-front equipment and monitoring costs.
- Customer service: This is very much a mixed bag. Both Ring and Nest have customer concerns when it comes to service, but for now, Ring appears to have a better reputation for responsiveness. However, Nest holds its own with extended warranties and a money-back guarantee that ensures customer confidence.
- Features and tech: Nest Secure dominates this category with an array of compatible devices and customized settings. Ring Alarm does boast an incredibly loud alarm and longer-range motion sensors, which is one of the few problem areas for Nest Secure.
More smart home security options
Still looking for a smart home alarm system that fits the bill? Take a look at a few other options we highly recommend:
Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Check out our other comparison articles to see how Ring compares to top home security brands:
- Ring cameras vs Blink cameras
- Ring Alarm vs Frontpoint home security
- Ring Alarm vs SimpliSafe home security
- Ring Alarm vs Abode home security
Related articles on SafeWise
*Amazon.com list price as of post date. 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.
†Google, Google Nest Protect, Google Nest Secure, Google Nest Learning Thermostat, Google Nest Hello and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC.