Amazon doesn’t just want to be your go-to for books, cleaning supplies, toiletries, furniture, and premium content. They also want to provide your home security with connected devices like security systems, cameras, and doorbells. After investing in Ring through the Alexa Fund, Amazon purchased the company for a reported billion dollars last August.
Jamie Siminoff, the inventor of the Ring Video Doorbell, got the idea from his wife, who described it as “caller ID from the front door”. Today, Ring’s mission is to reduce crime in neighborhoods without breaking your bank. They offer security cameras, video doorbells, security systems, protect plans, and accessories like solar chargers, smoke/CO alarms, and flood sensors. Today, of course, we’ll be talking about their security system- what’s included, how well it works, and how convenient it was to set up. I’ll also cover Ring’s professional monitoring options, customer support, and mobile app.
I want to see for myself how the Ring Alarm Security Kit works. Does it match up to industry standards like Frontline and ADT? We’re about to find out.
For those looking for the option to self-monitor, DIY installation, or a security system that integrates into the Amazon ecosystem, Ring Alarm is an obvious choice.
What’s Included in a Ring Alarm Security System?
After reviewing the Blink cameras, another Amazon-owned company, I’m excited to see how Ring stacks up. I purchased the Ring Alarm Security Kit, consisting of five pieces that make up the basics of your security system- a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion sensor, and range extender. I also ordered the Ring Stickup Cam plus a Ring Video Doorbell 2. Naturally, when the Ring box arrived, I couldn’t resist opening it right away.
The base station is the virtual center of your Ring security system. It connects all of the system’s components to each other, your home network, and third-party devices. I love that the base station has a built-in battery that can last for up to 24 hours in case your power goes out. Plus, the base station has a built-in 110-decibel siren– that’s about as loud as a jackhammer or a rock band. The base station is a simple white cube with rounded edges and a gray circle in the middle.
From the keypad, you can arm or disarm your entire security system, otherwise done through a smartphone or tablet. The system has three different security modes. “Disarmed” will deactivate the sensors, “Away” will activate all sensors, and the “Home” mode allows you to turn select sensors on and off. You can either mount the keypad on a wall or use it portably.
The contact sensors can tell when doors or windows are opened or closed and relay that information to your phone or tablet. You’ll also be alerted if someone meddles with the sensors.
On their website, Ring says that you can easily mount the sensors on a door or window frame, but we’ll see how easy installation is.
The motion detector, paired with your base station, alerts you when it detects motion. Like the contact sensors, Ring claims that the motion detector can be easily mounted on any flat wall or room corner. Don’t worry- this motion detector is smart. It can tell the difference between humans and pets so you aren’t bombarded with alerts that your cat is chasing its shadow.
If you have a larger home, the Range Extender helps the Base Station communicate with all of your system’s elements. Say you have the base station in the living room, but you have windows three stories higher that you want to protect- the range extender will make sure you stay connected. Like the base station itself, the range extender has a 24-hour backup battery. The majority of the time, though, it will be connected via a plug-in.
Ring Stick Up Cam Wired
Ring has a few different camera options, but we went with its latest and greatest, the Stick Up Cam Wired. I like this camera because it’s both indoor and outdoor. You can plug in the camera through a micro USB or ethernet cord. While you will never have to worry about running out of batteries, some might scoff at the visible cord- it’s really a matter of personal taste. You don’t need to buy the camera with the security system, but it has definite added benefits.
The camera is clear, with the industry standard of 1080p HD and an impressive field of view of 150 degrees. Unfortunately, it cannot pan or zoom.
As you can see, the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired has excellent infrared night vision that comes out crystal clear. I prefer infrared night vision to color night vision, as the camera remains in stealth. It’s a great way to catch someone red-handed without them even noticing.
The camera does have two-way audio, meaning that you can communicate with whoever is in the room that the camera is recording.
I am disappointed to say that the storage options are limited. To get any sort of local or cloud storage, you’ll need to pay for the Ring Protect Basic Plan. I will say that this plan is incredibly affordable- it’s only $3 for up to 60 days of cloud storage. From there, you’re able to download the footage onto any local storage device you have. While I am disappointed that there is absolutely no free storage, this is an incredible deal. Plus, all cameras come with a free 30 day trial if you want to test it out.
Smart Platform Integration
As Amazon owns Ring, the camera integrates with Alexa, meaning that you can tell Alexa to arm or disarm your camera, among other things. If you are looking for a device that integrates with Google Assistant, Stringify, and the like, this may not be the security camera for you. However, if you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem, it may make sense to purchase a Ring camera.
Unfortunately, the Stick Up Cam Wired does not have any artificial intelligence software. Many cameras come with person detection so the camera can tell the difference between people and animals. I will say that since the motion sensors can differentiate people from animals, person detection is less important. However, I still think the camera could benefit from facial recognition technology- it leads to smarter, more specific notifications. Given the lack of artificial intelligence options, I think it’s essential that you pay extra for 24/7 professional monitoring- but we’ll get to that.
There are two paid subscription options available- the Protest Basic Plan and the Protect Plus Plan. The Protect Basic Plan covers a single doorbell or security camera. Like I said previously, it gets you up to 60 days of cloud storage plus the ability to review, share, and download Ring videos. It’s just $3 a month, or $30 a year. The Protect Plus Plan gives all of the features of the Basic Plan plus an extended warranty, professional monitoring, cellular backup, and 10% off of Ring products. The Plus Plan is only $10 a month or $100 annually and covers all the Ring devices in your home. These plans are extremely reasonably priced, although I’m not thrilled that storage, professional monitoring, and cellular backup are not included- but we’ll talk about this more later.
Ring Video Doorbell 2
Not to nerd out, but I’m particularly excited about this video doorbell. I chose the Video Doorbell 2 because it doesn’t require professional installation nor a traditional doorbell. In a nutshell, the doorbell lets you see who is at your doorstep. Here’s how it works: your friend Sally steps onto your doorstep. The motion sensors detect movement, and instantly alert your phone. You’ll immediately see a livestream of Sally’s beautiful face and can speak to her via a built-in microphone and speakers. The doorbell’s camera is 1080p HD with an 160 degree field of view- it even has night vision. I also love the quick-release rechargeable battery. You can change the battery without needing to remove the doorbell from the wall. If that’s still too much work for you, you can have it hardwired- it would just take more work initially. Given the doorbell will most likely be outside, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 can withstand temperatures from -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, the doorbell integrates seamlessly with the rest of your Ring security features. Like the security camera, it’s unnecessary, but undoubtedly a nice touch.
Ring also offers more products to customize your experience. The majority of them are related to your home’s environment and monitor things like smoke, carbon monoxide, and temperature. We only ordered the basic security system, but I wanted to give you a little bit of information about all of the available options.
First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/ CO Alarm
If you don’t already have them, Ring offers a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that integrates with the rest of the Ring security system. You’ll get alerts on your Nest app if the alarm detects smoke or CO. The alarm is battery-operated and even has a 85 decibel siren, about as loud as a passing diesel truck or snow blower. I love that this alarm comes with a seven year manufacturer’s warranty provided by First Alert.
Alarm Smoke & CO Listener
Already have a smoke and CO detector? The Alarm Smoke & Co Listener allows you to connect your existing smoke and CO alarm with your Ring app. All you have to do is put the Listener within three inches of your existing alarm and you’ll receive mobile notifications if the alarm goes off. I love that Ring can make your existing devices “smart”. This seems like a really useful way to update your home’s security technology without having to buy a completely new sensor. The Listener comes with a battery which should last about three years and a has a one year limited warranty.
Alarm Flood & Freeze Sensor
Another optional feature is the flood & freeze sensor. Just put it on the floor or on a flat service near a water source like a sink or fridge. You’ll be alerted when water is detected or when the temperature goes below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps you catch leaks before they happen. It’s especially helpful if you live somewhere with a cold winter, as that is when the majority of pipes can freeze and burst. I love that the battery has a life of about three years, though I’m not thrilled with the one year limited warranty.
If your home is particularly large, it might make sense to invest in another siren. A white circle with a bright red rim on its face, the dome siren has flashing LED lights and an 105-decibel speaker, about as loud as a sporting event or table saw. Sirens are really important for a few reasons. One, it lets the intruder know that your house is armed. Two, it can let you know if there is an intruder, and three, it can let neighbors know if you are being robbed. With both the base station and the dome siren, you won’t have to worry about not hearing the alarm. The siren mounts on the wall and has about three years of battery life. Dome provides you with a one year limited warranty and of course, the siren is fully integrated with the rest of your Ring alarm system.
Installing the Ring Alarm Security System
The first thing you do to install your Ring security system is plug in the base station. Right away, you’ll see the circle (or Ring if we’re being literal) light up. You can either connect your base station to Wi-Fi or hardwire it with an ethernet cable— I opted for Wi-Fi. Next, you have to sync the rest of the system components to the base station. Now let me make one thing clear— I got the security system set up fine, but it wasn’t the smoothest process in the world. I recommend not syncing multiple devices up at the same time. Just go one at a time and follow the video tutorials on the Ring app. If you do that, the entire process will take about ten minutes.
Professional Monitoring with Ring Alarm
Unfortunately, the Ring security system does not come with any 24/7 professional monitoring or cellular backup. To purchase either, you have to buy a subscription.
How Monitoring Works
Professional monitoring means that a team of actual humans will make sure your house is intruder-free. If one of your alarms goes off, the monitoring team will be notified immediately and will look into the situation.
Cellular backup will kick in if your base station loses Internet connection. Keep in mind that the base station does come with a battery backup, but this only lasts for 24 hours. However, to get cellular backup of any kind, you’ll need to invest in the Ring Protect Plus plan.
As you can see from the chart, you really only have one option to get 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup, and that’s the Ring Protect Plus plan. It will also get you 60 days of cloud storage for your videos, plus an extended warranty.
There is no term-length for this contract- you can cancel at anytime.
For those looking for the option to self-monitor, DIY installation, or a security system that integrates into the Amazon ecosystem, Ring Alarm is an obvious choice.
Ring Alarm’s Customer Support
When it comes to your home’s security, you need a customer support team that’s easily reachable and super knowledgeable about how the Ring devices function. Let’s see how Ring customers get support, and what they had to say about their experiences.
How It Works
Like most security system websites, the Ring has a large FAQ section on their website. I was impressed at the depth of the topics discussed, and they were written in a clear and easy to understand way. I was able to find a few answers just by looking at the support section online. If you’re looking to speak to a human, you can call the customer support line, available 24/7. But is the Ring customer support team actually supportive?
I’ve already told you about what I think of the Ring Alarm Home Security System. Now it’s time to see what you think. Or, rather, what customers think of Ring’s system, specifically its customer support. I looked specifically at reviews from Amazon, Google, as well as the Better Business Bureau.
Overall, the Ring Alarm Home Security System has a 4.5 out of five star rating on Amazon, with a whopping 76% of the reviews at a perfect five stars! That’s extremely impressive, given how much people love to complain online. 17 reviews mentioned customer support specifically, and 11 of them were three stars or above. This means that the large majority of Ring alarm customers were satisfied with both the product and the customer support team. Kudos to Ring!
Ring has a 3.8 out of five star rating on Google, above average but not perfect. Out of the 11 reviews that mentioned customer support, it was split almost exactly evenly between five and one star reviews, although positive reviews won by a hair. I would say that the customer support fared pretty well on Google.
Better Business Bureau
I was thrilled to see that Ring is BBB accredited and has a rating of A+. That means that the BBB has determined Ring to be a trustworthy business, despite its poor customer reviews. Of the 21 customers reviews, Ring has a rating of less than two full stars. 10 reviews mentioned customer support specifically, about half of all the customer reviews, and only one customer had a good experience with the support team. I will say that someone from Ring did respond to these reviews trying to remedy the situation, which is more than I can say for many businesses. Concurrently, 134 people have complained about Ring to the BBB, largely regarding products and services. That’s pretty average for a company of this size, so I’m not concerned about the number of complaints.
The Ring— Always Home App
These days, there’s an app for everything, and that includes your home security system. You want an app that allows you to control and track your security system with minimal effort. Let’s see how the Ring app stacks up.
Through the Ring app, you’ll be able to livestream footage of your house via your security camera and video doorbell, if you purchased them. It’s also where you’ll receive crime and safety alerts not only from your home, but also from your neighbors’. Say your neighbor sees someone who they think might be an intruder. They can report it in the Ring app and instantly communicate with the whole neighborhood. The app also connects with law enforcement.
I’m not sure how to feel about this feature. On one hand, I’m all for keeping neighborhoods safe. On the other, I’m worried that the “neighborhood” concept could result in some unfair racial profiling. I guess a device is only as good as the person who is using it. Let’s see what people had to say about the Ring app.
I don’t trust companies’ websites to tell me about their products. I trust customers, who can provide real-life testimonies about their experiences. I was happy to see that the Ring app was generally well-received by customers.
The Ring app has an overall 3.3 out of five star rating on the Apple Store with almost 13,000 ratings. The majority of the reviews are five star. Plus, the app is the twelfth most-used app for the Utilities category, which is pretty impressive.
Amazingly, the Ring app also has a 3.3 star rating on the Google Play store, pulling from over 16,000 reviews. The great majority of the reviews are five star, plus, I see that Ring has responded to many of the reviews, be them negative or positive. Overall, people seem to be pretty satisfied with the Ring app.
Recap of the Ring Alarm Security System
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the Ring security system. If the following piques your interest, this system may be the one for you:
- 1080p HD video
- Field of view of 150 degrees
- Two-way audio
- Affordable cloud/ local storage options
- Integration with Amazon Alexa
- No term-length contract
However, nothing is perfect. The Ring’s disadvantages include:
- No artificial intelligence
- 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup not included
- Mediocre app
- Mixed reviews on customer support
And that takes us to the end of our Ring Alarm security system review! Please let us know if you’d like more information or have a comment. Happy security!
For more information, check out the best security systems of 2019.