Ring Alarm Review
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Ring Alarm Review

Ring is one of the country’s fastest-growing security companies. Owned by Amazon, they’re constantly in the news whether it’s for their partnerships with police departments or their cameras that have been hacked. In this Ring Alarm review, we’re taking a look at the Ring Alarm security system, from its physical components to its installation process, monitoring options, customer support, app and more. 

  • Users can choose between self-monitoring or 24/7 professional monitoring for $10 a month or $100 a year.  
  • Ring has a large amount of cameras and video doorbells to choose from. 
  • Nearly Ring components have DIY installation.
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Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm
  • Price: $239 for 5-Piece Security Kit
  • Best Feature: Affordable monitoring
  • Great For: Anyone on a budget 

Overview

Originally named Doorbot, Ring was founded in 2013, crowdfunded for $346,000, which was more than the quarter of a million requested. Later that year, the company made its first big public appearance on the show Shark Tank, and believe it or not, they didn’t walk away with a deal. After Amazon bought the company for around $1.2 to $1.8 billion, they introduced a ton of other products aside from the video doorbell, and this review focuses on their security system Ring Alarm. 

<We Recommend For>
  • Anyone that wants self-monitoring will appreciate that they’ll still be able to livestream footage, control their systems remotely and receive notifications
  • Someone that wants easy, DIY installation and a mostly wireless system
  • A person already in the Amazon or Google smart home ecosystem
<We Don't Recommend For>
  • Someone who prioritizes a super user-friendly app
  • A homeowner or renter already in the Apple smart home ecosystem

Video Review 

This video covers the Ring Alarm Security Kit’s components, installation process, monitoring options, customer support, app and more. 

System Components

Ring has a plethora of system components on it’s website. The Security Kit we purchased, however, contained a base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector and range extender. While we have many of the cameras and video doorbells as well, in this review, we’ll focus on the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired and the Ring Video Doorbell 2. 

Base Station 

The base station is the security system’s command center, connecting all the components to the Ring— Always Home app.

LED Light on Ring Alarm Base Station
LED Light on Ring Alarm Base Station

A required part of any Ring Alarm security kit, the base station is what connects to Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, or Zigbee, depending on the component, in order to communicate if any of the sensors have gone off. It’s even smash-proof, meaning that if an intruder smashes it, it can still send an alarm signal. Plus, it has a 24-hour backup battery in case the power goes out, with cellular back if you buy the Protect Plus plan. If any of the sensors go off when the system is armed, the base station will sound an 104-decibel siren, nearly as loud as a table saw. 

Keypad 

Users can use the keypad to arm and disarm their security system by putting a passcode.

Ring Alarm Keypad
Ring Alarm Keypad

It can be used portable or mounted to a wall, with options for plugging in as well as battery power. The keypad is $50 each, but some users may want more than one keypad for multiple entrances. 

Motion Detector 

Placed in corners or rooms or on flat walls, Ring’s motion sensor can tell the difference between pets and people, saving users unnecessary notifications.

Ring Alarm Motion Sensor
Ring Alarm Motion Sensor

Sold for $30, this motion sensor is meant for indoor use only. Learn about some other options in our review of the best motion sensors

Window and Door Contact Sensor

To see when specific doors or windows have been opened or closed there’s the window and door contact sensor, sold for $20 each.

Ring Alarm Contact Sensors
Ring Alarm Contact Sensors

Wireless, the contact sensors have a three year battery life and must be placed within 250 feet of the base station. 

Find more great entry sensors in our best door and window sensors review

Range Extender

To extend the base station’s range for larger homes, the range extender comes in handy, available for $25.

Ring Alarm Range Extender
Ring Alarm Range Extender

It plugs into the wall, but it also has a 24-hour backup battery in case of a power outage. 

Panic Button 

If there’s an issue and the user isn’t near the keypad or their phone, the panic button can be used to sound the base station and contact the professional monitoring team, given the user has a Ring Protect Plus plan. The panic button, sold for $35, can be mounted to a wall or carried on it’s own. It has replaceable batteries with a life of three years and must be used 250 feet away from the base station or less. 

Video Doorbells

Looking for a video doorbell from Ring? Here are the options: 

We used the Ring Video Doorbell 2 with the Ring Alarm system.

Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ring Video Doorbell 2

Battery-operated or hardwired, the Video Doorbell 2’s camera has 1080p HD video plus a wide, 160 degree field of view. It features two-way audio, allowing users to speak to visitors remotely through the Ring— Always Home app, plus infrared night vision, integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant, plus, under a Ring Protect Plan, local storage and 60 days of cloud storage. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 retails for $169, an affordable price compared to its competitors. 

Explore more options in our list of the best video doorbells of 2020

Security Cameras

Ring is constantly coming out with new security cameras. Here’s what they sell currently: 

The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired, sold for $180, is an indoor/ outdoor camera that’ll work in temperatures between negative five and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ring Stickup Cam Wired
Ring Stickup Cam Wired

Here’s how it fared on Security Baron’s Necessary Features Test: 

  • Video: The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired has 1080p HD video display plus a wide, 150 degree field of view. Unfortunately, users won’t be able to zoom in optically or digitally. 
Ring Stickup Cam Wired Video Display
Ring Stickup Cam Wired Video Display
  • Audio: Like the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired has two-way audio so users can converse through the speaker and microphone. 
  • Night Vision: We were impressed with the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired’s infrared night vision, which provided a very clear picture even in pitch black conditions. 
Ring Stickup Cam Wired Night Vision
Ring Stickup Cam Wired Night Vision
  • Storage: The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired has the same storage options as the Ring Video Doorbell 2; namely, users will need to buy a Ring Protect plan to get local storage and 60 days of cloud storage, starting at $3 a month or $30 a year. 
  • Smart Platform Integrations: The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired works with Alexa and Google Assistant like the rest of the Ring devices. 
  • Artificial Intelligence: A drawback of the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired is its lack of person detection. For users, that may mean some unnecessary notifications stemming from movement of pets, cars, or other inanimate objects. 

Learn more about the best security cameras of 2020

That’s it for Ring’s security offerings, but they also provide some environmental sensors we’d like to go over. 

Smoke & CO Listener

While Ring doesn’t have their own smoke and CO alarm (although a First Alert Z-Wave Smoke and CO Alarm will work with the system), they do offer a smoke and CO listener for existing sensors. This sensor is placed no more than six inches away from existing smoke and CO alarms so that users can be notified if they go off. Like many of Ring’s components, the smoke and CO listener is wireless, has a three year battery life, and must be within 250 feet of the base station. It costs $35 each. 

Don’t have a smoke or CO alarm? Read our review of the best smoke and CO alarms of 2020. 

Flood & Freeze Sensor

Especially for homeowners, it’s important to catch leaks before they turn into full-on floods. In the same vein, frozen pipes can burst and lead to flooding, which can result in thousands of dollars worth of repairs. That’s why Ring’s flood & freeze sensor is useful, placed on any flat surface where water could leak like near a washing machine or sink. Users will be alerted either when the sensor touches water or if it senses low temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The sensor costs $35. 

Retrofit Alarm Kit

Finally, there’s the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit, which only applies to a small subset of users that have existing contact sensors hardwired into their home.

Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

In order to integrate these sensors into a Ring Alarm security system, users must buy this wireless component, which can be used on up to eight sensor zones. The Alarm Kit is one of the only products that Ring recommends professional installation for, as it requires work on users’ existing electrical panels. However, given the Alarm Kit costs nearly $200, it’s only cost-effective if the user has 10 or more existing, hardwired contact sensors, as Ring sells its own contact sensors for just $20 a piece. To learn more, read our full review of the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

How It Performs 

Now that we’ve seen what products Ring sells, let’s talk about how well they actually work in practice.

How Well It Works

Ring Alarm is pretty easy to set up, taking about 20 minutes for our team in total. Despite all of the components we added to our system, it all worked together in conjunction day in and day out, providing a robust and expansive security system.

Durability

We found that the sensors were a bit brittle and actually broke when we removed a tape and put a battery in and out, forcing us to replace the device. However, we do move our systems more than the average user, so it generally shouldn’t be a problem.

Smart Platform Integrations 

Since Amazon owns Ring, it’s no surprise that Ring works with their voice assistant, Alexa. Using their voices alone, users can have Alexa: 

  • Show their cameras’ footage (live streamed or cloud storage) on their Echo devices or Fire TV 
  • Control smart lighting
  • Adjust motion sensitivity 
  • Disable motion alerts
  • Arm and disarm the security system or ask about its status
  • Lock or unlock the door or ask about its status.

This is a pretty extensive integration, but while Ring also works with Google Assistant, the capabilities are not nearly as extensive as with Alexa:

  • Tell the camera to record
  • Get an update on the “health” of devices
  • Review previous notifications. 

All in all, Ring works better in the Amazon ecosystem than it does in the Google ecosystem, where it’s very limited. Aside from the voice assistants, Ring works with some third-party devices like: 

How to Set Up Instructions

Installation with Ring is DIY, and there’s a downloadable Ring Alarm setup guide available on their website. Here are the first few steps: 

  • Download the Ring— Always Home app on iOS or Android and create an account. Next, hit Menu, then Setup a device then Security Devices then Base Station to begin the process, guided step-by-step through the app itself.  
  • Press the pairing button on the back of the base station and the LED circle of light should start spinning blue when it’s ready to pair, and then will go to solid blue once it’s paired. For users that want 24/7 professional monitoring, now would be a good time to go into the app and sign up for Ring Protect Plus. Users with Protect Plus plans will then add emergency contacts and create a verbal password for the monitoring team. 
  • Next, it’s time to set up the rest of the devices. Make sure not to pull out all of the tabs at once; rather, do it once at a time. The app will walk you through the entire process, and it’s important not to try to get ahead, as this could end costing more time. 

Subscription Plans

Ring lets users choose between self-monitoring for free and 24/7 professional monitoring. With self-monitoring, the user will be totally responsible for their home’s security, but with 24/77 professional monitoring, a team of people will also get alerted if any of the alarms go off. If the user doesn’t respond to a notification or phone call, the professional monitors can dispatch emergency services for them, after verifying their necessity. We recommend getting 24/7 professional monitoring along with cellular backup to keep the system on if the power goes out. 

Price and Contracts 

Professional monitoring and cellular backup costs only $10 a month or $100 a year with Ring, one of the lowest fees we’ve seen across the DIY home security industry.

Ring Protect Plans
Ring Protect Plans

All plans are monthly, so there’s no need to sign up for a long-term commitment. Plus, you’ll get 60 days of cloud storage, an extended warranty and 10% off products on Ring’s website. For users that just want the cloud storage for a single doorbell or camera, the Protect Basic plan is only $3 a month or $30 a year. And all users will be able to livestream footage, receive notifications and speak through two-way audio, making Ring an excellent value no matter which plan the user chooses. 

Moving Fee 

Since Ring has DIY installation, users can just pick up their system and reinstall them in their new homes without having to pay any additional fees. 

Customer Support

Need help with Ring? Here’s how to reach support. 

Phone Number

To reach Ring support over the phone, call 1-800-656-1918

Email 

Email Ring at [email protected] to get help. 

Online Help Center 

Ring’s online help center is super-comprehensive with sections on:

  • Ring Protect Plan
  • Ring Alarm
  • Security Cameras
  • Doorbells
  • Ring App
  • Smart Lighting
  • Other Services and Products
  • Neighbors
  • Ring for Business
  • Ring and Alexa
  • General Questions
  • Legal
  • Shop Help. 

There’s articles on everything from a doorbell buyer’s guide to how to keep Ring accounts secure. With a search bar, well-written and informative articles and even community help, it’s easy to find your answer online with Ring’s online support center. 

Live Chat 

Ring also offers live chat on their website. 

Our Experience Contacting Support 

In researching and testing Ring, we’ve emailed them about 12 times times, typically getting a response within one to two days. However, there were some emails that never got answered, but we’re also asking more specific questions than most (although that doesn’t excuse ignoring support tickets). 

That’s our experience with support, but we wanted to see what other Ring customers thought. 

Amazon Ratings 

The Ring Alarm 5 Piece Kit we purchased has a rating of 4.5 out of five stars from over 5,100 ratings. Obviously, we couldn’t read all of the reviews individually, but out of the 195 reviews that contained the phrase “customer support,” we could see that it was a mixed bag. Some people were put on a hold for a long time while some people received prompt and informative help, which tends to be the case when it comes to customer support. 

Google Ratings 

On Google, Ring has a 3.3 star rating from 96 reviews. That’s not great, and some users complained of the customer support being outsourced since Amazon purchased Ring. EJ Gingras wrote in a recent one-star review, 

Horrible customer service.  Had to make several calls to get a billing problem resolved but keeping getting an off shore call center.  Never was able to get a resolution despite requests to be connected with Santa Monica Headquarters which were refused.” 

So clearly, customer support with Ring is a mixed bag, but we’d recommend email as a best bet. 

The Ring— Always Home App 

No matter the monitoring plan, users can monitor their Ring systems themselves through the Ring— Always Home app. Let’s take a closer look. 

The Ring— Always Home App
The Ring— Always Home App

Features

The Ring— Always Home app lets users livestream footage, receive notifications and crime and safety alerts from the surrounding neighborhood, review cloud storage, speak through two-way audio, set up smart platform integrations and triggers, and more. 

Google Play Store Rating

Ring’s Android app has a 3.9 on the Google Play store, a vast improvement from it’s score about a year ago. While app ratings tend to fluctuate, it looks like most users found the Android app to be user-friendly. One user named Adam wrote in a recent five-star review, 

I really enjoy this app. It is a little addicting and may create some paranoia at first but with that said I have already caught two people trying to steal property at my house and others across the street.” 

Apple Store Rating 

The app has also risen in favor with iOS users, going from a 3.3 rating about a year ago all the way up to a 3.7 rating today. Ring has performed many updates fixing the app’s bugs, so it’s definitely moving in the right direction. 

Comparisons

Now, let’s compare Ring Alarm to three of its harshest competitors, SimpliSafe, Nest Secure and ADT. 

Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe 

One major advantage of Ring over SimpliSafe is that with self-monitoring, users can still control their system remotely and receive notifications.

SimpliSafe vs. Ring Monitoring and Storage Options
SimpliSafe vs. Ring Monitoring and Storage Options

With SimpliSafe, those capabilities will cost $24.99 a month, although they also come up with 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup and 30 days of cloud storage, but all that and an twice as much cloud storage would cost only $10 a month or $100 a year with Ring. Both systems have DIY installation and integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant, but SimpliSafe also works with Nest thermostats and August smart locks, which may be preferable for some users. Despite this, we’d recommend Ring over SimpliSafe due to it’s more extensive app capabilities, lower costs and more affordable equipment. 

To learn more, read our full comparison of Ring Alarm vs. SimpliSafe

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure 

Ring is also less expensive than Nest Secure, Google’s version of a smart security system, in terms of both equipment and monitoring costs. 24/7 professional monitoring backup with Nest will cost either $19 or $29 a month, but if it’s the former, users will need to commit to a year.

Nest vs. Ring Monitoring and Storage Options
Nest vs. Ring Monitoring and Storage Options

However, when it comes to equipment, Nest’s is certainly superior, especially their Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor. When compared to the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired, Ring’s outdoor camera, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor offers 4K sensors with HDR making for a beautiful picture. The camera will even automatically zoom in when it sees a person, which the camera is smart enough to recognize.

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Video Display
Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Video Display

With Nest Aware, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor will also be able to tell specific people apart, leading to much more relevant and helpful notifications than with any Ring camera. Nest Aware also gives users 30 days of cloud storage for $6 a month or $60 a year, or 60 days for $12 a month or $120 a year, so clearly, Ring wins when it comes to cost. 

Although both systems work with Alexa and Google Assistant, Nest cameras also work with Philips Hue lightbulbs along with LIFX bulbs, the Nest Yale lock and products from Kasa like the Kasa Spot Indoor Camera and the Kasa Smart Light Bulb. Both systems have DIY installation that was pretty straightforward. Overall, we’d recommend Nest for users that want to prioritize the quality of the equipment, but Ring for those who are more concerned with budget. 

Read our full comparison of Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure or read our review of all Ring vs. Nest products

Ring Alarm vs. ADT

Ring Alarm and ADT are very different in terms of professional monitoring. While Ring makes it optional, all ADT systems require users to pay for 24/7 monitoring and cellular backup under a three year contract. Prices aren’t clear-cut like with Ring; rather, ADT bases it’s monthly fees on the amount of equipment and services that the user gets, so they can expect to pay twice as much to six times as much as with Ring.

And while ADT works with Alexa, Kwikset, and Liftmaster, it doesn’t work with Google Assistant in any capacity. Plus, ADT offers professional installation which users will have to pay for, unlike Ring. While ADT certainly has a superior app, Ring is a better option when it comes to affordability and flexibility, not to mention smart home integrations. Learn more about ADT in our full ADT security system review

Company Information

Here is more information about Ring as a company, including its history, where to purchase Ring devices, how to find Ring on social media and information about their warranty and return policy. 

Company History

Ring was founded in 2013 by Jamie Siminoff. Siminoff had crowdfunded $346,000 to create Ring, originally called Doorbot. The same year as its founding, Siminoff went on Shark Tank to pitch his product. Although he got an offer, Siminoff decided to go off on his own, rebranding the company and using Shaquille O’Neal as his partner and spokesperson. Later, Ring raised more than $200 million in funding rounds before being acquired by Amazon in 2018 for around $1.2 to $1.8 billion. 

Unfortunately, the company has had its fair share of media mishaps, as Ring’s devices had access to video recordings, the data was stored unencrypted, and other privacy issues. Earlier this year, the Senate investigated Ring doorbells, criticizing their 400 partnerships with police stations in the United States. Still, Ring continues to innovate, introducing many new products at CES 2020

Where to Purchase 

Users can either purchase Ring products on their website or on Amazon. However, the prices are the same on each, so we recommend buying on Amazon to take advantage of Prime memberships. 

Contact

Aside from the social media platforms listed below, users can contact Ring over live chat on their website, by calling 800-656-1918 or by emailing [email protected]

Social Media 

Follow Ring on social media with the following links: 

Warranty Info 

Ring offers a one year warranty from the date of purchase of its products. While the’ll replace or repair products within that time, they won’t repair damage if it’s the users fault or even the result of an environmental event like lightning. 

Return Policy 

Users have the first 30 days after receiving their Ring orders to return them for a full refund. They will have to pay a $5 Ground shipping fee. However, this return policy only applies to products purchased on Ring’s website directly, not on Amazon, where the return policies differ. Once the items are returned within that window, the user will be refunded within seven to 10 business days afterwards. 

Recap

Ring Alarm is definitely a worthwhile security system. It’s one of the most affordable DIY home security systems on the market in terms of both equipment and professional monitoring costs. Plus, users can avoid monthly fees by self-monitoring, which will still allow them remote control of their system, livestreaming and notifications. That being said, while I would recommend Ring overall, it’s not the best for those already in the Google ecosystem, as it’s capabilities with Google Assistant are pretty limited. 

Still can’t decide which home security system is right? Learn more about the best home security systems of 2020.

FAQs

How much is Ring Alarm monthly?

Ring Alarm doesn’t require monthly fees. However, it can cost either $3 or $10 monthly with a Ring Protect Plan. The Ring Protect Basic Plan gives users 60 days of cloud storage for one Ring video doorbell or camera, while the more expensive Protect Plus plan adds on an extended warranty, professional monitoring, cellular backup and 10% Ring products from their website. 

Does Ring Alarm work with Ring doorbells?

The Ring Alarm security system works with all of Ring’s video doorbells. Users can integrate them with each other on the Ring— Always Home app. 

Is Ring Alarm worth it?

Ring Alarm is definitely worth it. It’s one of the most affordable DIY home security systems on the market in terms of both equipment and professional monitoring costs. Plus, users can avoid monthly fees by self-monitoring, which will still allow them remote control of their system, livestreaming and notifications. With Ring, 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular backup cost only $10 a month or $100 a year, while other companies charge up to $60 for the same services. Plus, Ring’s contracts are monthly, making them even more flexible for users.

Do Ring doorbells get stolen?

Ring doorbells can be stolen but it’s much harder to steal one powered by battery, like the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the Ring Peephole Cam. However, a hardwired Ring Video Doorbell 2 or Ring Video Doorbell Pro is less likely to be stolen. In any case, Ring has a policy that if any of their devices are stolen, they will replace it for free within two weeks. 

Can Ring doorbells be hacked?

Like any electrical device connected to the Internet, Ring doorbells can be hacked. That’s why Ring recommends that users sign up for two-factor authentication which sends a passcode to their devices to make sure it’s the authorized user accessing the account. Recently, some Ring cameras and doorbells were hacked as a bunch of usernames and passwords were found on a third party website, so users should change their passwords periodically and make sure they’re long, unique and complicated.

Does the Ring security system call the police?

For users that sign up for the Protect Plus Plan, which costs either $10 a month or $100 a year, the professional monitors can call the police. However, users with no monthly fees or users under the Protect Basic plan won’t have professional monitoring available to dispatch the police 24/7.