Note: abode now offers email and phone support to all of its customers regardless of their monitoring plan. They have also added an integration with Apple HomeKit, enabling voice commands through Siri. Finally, abode has lowered it’s storage and monitoring prices, reflected in the written portion of this review.
Looking for a new kind of home security? You’ve come to the right place. The world first met Ring Alarm on Shark Tank, where they left without a deal. After a rebranding and an additional five million in sales, they were purchased by Amazon in 2018— no big deal. Competing against Ring Alarm is abode, a startup founded in 2014 by a former ADT executive who wanted to create a security system that users could totally customize based on their wants and needs. Neither system disappoints, so this is going to be an interesting review.
Today, I’m comparing the abode Essentials Starter Kit with the Ring Alarm Security Kit in terms of system components, installation, professional monitoring, customer support, and their mobile apps. Who will win? Keep reading to find out.
Key Similarities of abode vs. Ring Alarm
Before I go too far into detail, I want to make sure you’re reading the right review.
- DIY installation: You’ll install both the abode and Ring security systems yourself.
- Option to self-monitor: Choose from either professional monitoring or self-monitoring through your app.
- Flexible contracting: Both companies offer month-to-month contracting without cancellation fees.
Key Differences of abode vs. Ring Alarm
Now here’s an overview of the main ways in which abode and Ring differ, which will probably have a huge effect on your buying decision.
- Customer support: With abode, the customer support you receive depends on which plan you choose, while Ring takes a more traditional approach— all of the customer support features for all customers.
- Apps: While abode has a higher rated app for iPhone users, Ring has a higher-rated app for Android users.
- Return policies: Ring gives you 30 days fo return your system, while abode only gives you 14.
Now let’s open these boxes and see what these systems are all about!
System Components of abode vs. Ring Alarm
I bought the abode Essentials Starter Kit and the Ring Alarm Security Kit. I also threw in the abode Cam to my Starter Kit. Both systems come with base stations, which abode calls a gateway, entry sensors, motion sensors, and security cameras. Ring throws in a keypad, range extender, and the Ring Video Doorbell 2, while abode also gives you a key fob to control your system remotely.
Installing abode vs. Ring Alarm
You’ll install both the abode and the Ring Alarm systems yourself, so I tested it out to make sure the process was easy and breezy.
As there aren’t many system components, installing abode didn’t take me too long. You’ll follow step-by-step instructions either on the mobile or web app. The first thing you’ll install is the Gateway, which has the activation code. All you have to do is plug in the ethernet and power adapters. Next, you’ll install the motion detector and entry sensors, both peel-and-stick. Finally, you’ll install the camera, which was much easier using the web app over the mobile app. Just plug the camera into its ethernet adapter, connect it to Wi-Fi and boom— you’ve got a home security system!
Installing Ring Alarm
You’ll begin installing your Ring Alarm system by plugging in the base station, which will light up.
Next, you either connect it to Wi-Fi or hardwire it via an ethernet cable (I chose Wi-Fi). Then you have to sync the rest of the system with the base station. I recommend syncing each device on at a time. I tried to sync multiple at once and it caused a lot of confusion. If you follow the instructions and don’t try to do too much like me, the process should only take about ten minutes.
Top System for Installation
This was a tough one, as they’re pretty neck-in-neck, but I’m going to go with abode for slightly easier installation.
Professional Monitoring with abode vs. Ring Alarm
With abode and Ring Alarm, you have the flexibility to self-monitor through your app or get 24/7 professional monitoring, but I recommend the latter. While avoiding monthly fees is nice, you aren’t always going to be around to handle your home’s security issues. Say you’re on vacation and someone breaks in. You’ll be alerted via a mobile notification, of course, but so will your professional monitoring team. They’ll be around to handle the situation in terms of contacting the police (remember that if you’re away, you won’t be able to contact your local authorities).
abode vs. Ring Alarm Monitoring Options
To get 24/7 professional monitoring, you’ll need to either do the abode Secure Plan or the Ring Protect Plus Plan. Both plans also give you cellular backup which ensures that your system will stay on even if the power goes out. What plan you pick will also affect your amount of cloud storage, and for abode, the types of customer support you get (more on this later).
Overall, abode wins by a hair when it comes to 24/7 professional monitoring. The one thing abode does offer which Ring, and all other security companies I’ve reviews lacks is on-demand professional monitoring.
For only eight dollars for three days or $15 a week, you can get abode’s professional monitoring à la carte. This is great for someone that wants to get their feet wet but isn’t sure if they want to commit to professional monitoring, or someone that only needs it sometimes but not others. I love that abode gives you so much flexibility here, and I urge more companies to follow suit!
abode vs. Ring Alarm Contracts
Both abode and Ring offer month-to-month contracting, which I love because it doesn’t force the customer into a big commitment. I’m not saying I’m a commitment-phobe, but I do like to keep my options open. Abode also offers a yearly plan, but it’ll only save you four cents, so I’d go with monthly for the flexibility.
abode vs. Ring Alarm Moving Policies
As both abode and Ring have DIY installation, if you’re moving to a new crib you can just pick up your system and move it yourself. You won’t have to pay any fees, a huge advantage of DIY.
Top System for Monitoring
I have to call a tie for this round. 24/7 professional monitoring will cost $100 a year with either system, but go with abode if you want to pay monthly, or you want on-demand professional monitoring. If you want to self-monitor, however, Ring makes more sense.
abode vs. Ring Alarm Customer Support
Remember when I promised I’d get back to customer support? Now is that time. With abode, the types of customer support will change based on which plan you choose. If you don’t do a paid monthly plan, you’ll only be able to reach out to customer support via email or their support site— you won’t be able to call them directly. Both of the paid plans allow you to call customer support directly, but with the top-tier Secure plan, your calls will be prioritized. I’m not thrilled that abode doesn’t let all of its customers call them directly for help, so this is a definite negative for abode.
Ring, on the other hand, has a more typical customer support system. All customers will be able to call them directly over the phone or check out their online FAQ’s.
What do real customers think of abode and Ring’s customer support? Currently, the abode Essentials Starter Kit has a 4.3 out of five star Amazon rating, with about 3/4 of the ratings at a perfect five stars. Out of the eight reviews that mentioned customer support specifically, half were positive and half were negative, which wasn’t the most promising thing in the world. The Ring Alarm system I bought has a 4.4 rating on Amazon from over 1,100 reviews. Out of the six reviews that mentioned customer support, four were positive, or two-thirds.
Unfortunately, abode didn’t have any Google reviews that I could find, but Ring Alarm has a Google rating of 3.6 at this time. Again, out of the 18 reviews that mentioned customer support, exactly half were positive and half were negative. It really seems like your experience with both abode and Ring’s customer support team depends on who you get.
Top System for Customer Support
Overall, I’m going to give abode the crown for customer support because of its higher overall rating. Unfortunately, it seems like neither company has consistently good customer support. If you’re looking for the best customer support, you might want to check out Frontpoint.
abode vs. Ring Alarm Apps
Finally, I want to compare abode and Ring’s apps. If you’re not home or you’re just feel a bit sluggish, it’s how you’ll monitor and control your security system, so a good app is a necessity. Let’s see how they stack up.
The abode App
From the abode app, you’ll be able to livestream footage, receive notifications, and control any connected devices you have. The app has a great 4.2 star rating from the Google Play store and an okay 3.1 star rating from the Apple store.
The Ring—Always Home App
From the Ring— Always Home app, you’ll be able to speak through your Video Doorbell or two-way audio on your camera, livestream footage, control connected devices, receive notifications, and even receive crime and safety alerts from your neighborhood.
The app has ratings of 3.3 on both the Apple and Google Play stores, which is pretty middle of the road. Many people had issues with not being able to turn off notifications or not being able to turn on notifications, both huge issues.
Top System App
Overall, abode has a better app than Ring. The customer reviews do not lie! However, for iPhones, the Ring app is higher rated.
Recap of abode vs. Ring Alarm
This is a tough call. While abode has a better app, superior customer support, and easier installation, Ring does take the crown for professional monitoring, equally as important. Overall though, I would recommend abode over Ring Alarm, despite its more expensive professional monitoring.
Still not convinced? Let me break it down.
Pick abode if you’d like…
- Better app for Android users: The abode app has higher ratings than the Ring— Always Home app on the Google Play store.
- On-demand professional monitoring: Only abode lets you pay for three days or a week of professional monitoring.
- CUE home automations: You’ll be able to have your connected devices trigger each other, making your life even more convenient.
Want more information? Read our full review of the abode Essentials Starter Kit.
Pick Ring Alarm if you’d like…
- Better app for iPhone users: The Ring— Always Home app works better on iPhones than it does on Androids.
- All users can call customer support directly: Unlike abode, all Ring customers can call them directly for support.
- More affordable self-monitoring: 60 days of cloud storage with Ring costs a minimum of $3 a month, while 14 days, less than a fourth of that, will cost $3.33 a month with abode.
To learn more, read our review of the Ring Alarm security system.
Not a huge fan of either? That’s totally fine. I’d recommend reading our review of the best home security systems of 2020, or leaving a question below. I’m always happy to help.