Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit Review

Table of Contents

As multifaceted humans with multiple stages in our lives, it’s common to have baggage, whether it’s in the form of clothes, exes, or simply old security systems. If you have outdated, hardwired contact sensors that you want to integrate with your Ring Alarm security system, an easy option is this Retrofit Alarm Kit from Ring. It’s a singular component, available for $199, that brings your security baggage to the future. In this Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit review, we’ll see whether or not it’s worth buying.

Note: Since we lack a home with hardwired contact sensors, we didn’t actually test out the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit by installing and using it; rather, these are some of our takeaways from examining the Retrofit Alarm Kit in person.

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Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

This single component allows you to integrate your existing, hardwired security contact sensors with your Ring Alarm security system. 

System Components

Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

To call the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit a “kit” is a bit misleading, as it only consists of one component. Basically, this product is a bridge between your existing, wired contact sensors and your spanking new Ring Alarm security kit, which is mostly wireless. You can hardwire it no more than 250 feet away from the Ring base station. The component also has a backup battery with a life of five years, given there’s around 100 events per day. That means that even if your power is off, your Retrofit Kit will keep on working.

Back of Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Back of Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

Once you install the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit, you can control up to eight existing contact sensor zones from the Ring— Always Home app. That means that you’ll be notified if someone opens your doors or windows when your Ring Alarm system is on, even if the contact sensors themselves are not manufactured by Ring.

Installing the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit from SideRing Retrofit Alarm Kit from Side
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit from Side

Ring recommends that you get your Retrofit Alarm Kit professionally installed, as it’ll be hardwired into your home to connect to your existing hardwired contact sensors. This is a big change for Ring, as most of their products, from their cameras to their video doorbells, have easy, DIY installation. However, when you consider that the installation requires some work on your existing wired alarm panel, it makes sense why Ring recommend getting a licensed professional.

I would begin the process by inspecting your sensors and home wiring to get a sense of placement. Next, consult a licensed electrician or professional alarm installer to help you inspect and test it further. This ensures that your existing contact sensor zones are complete, closed circuits.

Ring Professional Monitoring

ring-protect-plans
Ring Protect Plans

One big advantage of being able to control all of your sensors in the Ring app is that you can sign up for professional monitoring. If you want some extra help in keeping your home safe, professional monitoring is the way to go. Let’s say one of your contact sensors goes off when your security system is armed. Of course, you’ll be notified through the Ring mobile application, but if you don’t answer, you’ll have a team of people who can check in at home. If they can verify an emergency, they can actually call the proper services for you, be it to the police, the local hospital, or even the fire department.

Professional Monitoring
Professional Monitoring

You’ll also get cellular backup, meaning that your system will stay on even if the power doesn’t. Throw in 60 days of cloud storage, the ability to download footage locally, plus a possible discount on the Ring website, and this is a really good deal starting at only a few bucks a month.

Cellular Backup
Cellular Backup

I recommend at least starting off with a Ring Protect plan. There’s no long-term commitments, so you can cancel anytime without having to pay a fee. Plus, no one is around to deal with emergencies 24/7, so what you’re really buying is peace of mind. Of course, if you don’t want to spend the extra dough, you’ll still be able to receive notifications about your Ring system and even livestream footage, if you have one of their cameras or video doorbells.

Ring Customer Support

We all need help at some point or another, and if you have an issue with your Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit, you’ll want it solved ASAP. Fortunately, Ring has a really helpful online support center with great articles and videos with step-by-step instructions, plus an email and phone line if you prefer to speak to an actual human.

Since this is such a new product, the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit only has 37 reviews on Amazon so far, only one of which mentioned customer support. Fortunately, it was positive. A reviewer in the United States wrote,

“[I] did have a pairing issue with the base and Ring customer support was able to quickly address. Very happy switching from my local alarm company to Ring.”

Amazon owns Ring and I’ve dealt with Amazon’s customer support team many times. It’s always been a good experience, with the reps really wanting to help you and fix the situation, so I’d say you’re in safe hands when it comes to customer support for the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit. 

The Ring— Always Home App

Ring— Always Home App
Ring— Always Home App

The Ring— Always Home app is your mobile control center when it comes to your security system. It’s here where you’ll receive notifications if any of your alarms go off or if your cameras detect motions, livestream footage, view or download old footage, and even receive crime and safety alerts from your neighborhood. Unfortunately, it’s not my favorite app in the world, and the ratings reflect that. The app has only a 2.9 on the Google Play store and a 3.2 on the Apple store. Tom Reno, an Android-user, summed it up nicely in a recent two-star review,

“Disappointing performance. The app used to work much better than it does now. Almost always get a “having trouble connecting” message now with a black screen.”

The app used to have 3.3 star ratings on both the Apple and Google Play store, so I’m hoping Ring can make the adjustments it needs to improve the app.

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Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit
Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

This single component allows you to integrate your existing, hardwired security contact sensors with your Ring Alarm security system. 

Recap

For most people, the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit isn’t going to make sense. Although it may seem cool to be able to integrate your new and existing security systems, for nearly $200, I’m not sure that this is worth it, especially when you consider that Ring’s contact sensors are only $20 each. So unless you have more than ten existing contact sensors you want to bring to the present, I’d just buy contact sensors that already work with Ring.

I’d buy the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit if you want…

  • Integration for 10 or more existing sensors: The Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit will pay for itself, given you have 10 or more existing, hardwired contact sensors.
  • Professional installation: Ring recommends that you get the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit installed by a licensed professional,  a sharp departure from the majority of its products.
  • Ring Alarm security system: If you’re sure that Ring Alarm is right for you, then it might make sense to bring your old sensors into the mix with the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit.

But it’s not worth it if you want…

  • Integration for less than 10 existing sensors: If you have less than 10 existing hardwired contact sensors, it will be cheaper to just buy the ones that Ring has for $20 each rather than investing in the Retrofit Alarm Kit.
  • DIY installation: Professional installation is recommended but not included, so that’s an additional cost on top of what you’re paying for the device itself.
  • System other than Ring Alarm: The Retrofit Alarm Kit only works with Ring Alarm, and not with any other security systems.

If you’re not sure which security system to get in the first place, I’d start with my review of the best home security systems of 2019.

FAQs

Does Ring Alarm work with existing sensors?

If you get the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit, then you can integrate existing, hardwired contact sensors into your Ring Alarm security system.

How much does the Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit cost?

The Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit costs $199 and requires the Ring Alarm base station.

Does Ring have a monthly fee?

If you want to avoid monthly fees, you can self-monitor your Ring products through the Ring— Always Home app. However, if you want additional features like 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular backup, 60 days of cloud storage, an extended warranty, or a discount on the Ring website, you can invest in a Ring Protect Plan. The Protect Basic Plan costs $3 a month or $30 a year and adds on cloud storage and the ability to download footage to your device, while the Protect Plug Plan adds the rest of the features for $10 a month or $100 a year.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.