The Ring Video Doorbell was one of the first smart doorbells upon its release in 2013. It was the best doorbell camera you could buy until its successor, Ring Video Doorbell 2, hit the market in 2017. Even so, it remains one of the best video doorbells you can buy and is certainly more affordable than the competition.
Upon the release of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, Ring lowered the price of the original Ring Video Doorbell to $150 and later to $100 shortly after Amazon acquired Ring in March 2018. This makes it the most affordable smart doorbell on the market. The next cheapest video doorbell, RemoBell, costs $150, which means you could buy a Ring Video Doorbell and over a year's worth of cloud video storage for the same price.
You can subscribe to one of Ring's two recording plans if you want to save video from the smart doorbell. The cheaper Basic plan only costs $3 a month or $30 per year on one device. The second plan, Protect, costs $10 a month or $100 yearly and lets you record from an unlimited number of cameras, including Ring's line of security cameras. The higher-cost plan also extends your doorbell's one-year warranty to a lifetime warranty. The Protect plan might not be worth it for a single Ring Video Doorbell but could be worthwhile if you have more than three Ring cameras.
The Ring Video Doorbell has the lowest video quality among the smart doorbells we tested. In day and night tests, it couldn't match the clarity of any other doorbell camera. Despite having the lowest score, we think it's still good enough for most homeowners.
This smart doorbell has a 180-degree field of view, which gives its videos a circular appearance, similar to a vignette, that won't fill up the screen on your smartphone and distorts objects near the edges of the frame. Ring's other doorbells have a similar problem, but it's not as pronounced on this unit.
It's easy to install the Ring Video Doorbell in about 15 minutes, and it can use your current doorbell's electrical hookups. The doorbell works with mechanical chimes and even includes an optional diode for added compatibility with digital chimes.
If you don't have a doorbell or the electrical hookup for one, you can simply mount Ring and let it operate from its own battery. It can take four to five hours to charge using a 2.1-amp charger. You receive email notifications when the battery is running low. To recharge the device, you need to take the doorbell off the mounting bracket.
Unlike the Ring Video Doorbell 2, this version doesn't come with angled mounting brackets to help you install the unit in corners or near staircases. However, you can buy these brackets from Ring if needed.
Ring includes everything you need for installation in the packaging such as a screwdriver, a masonry drill bit, a level, screws and anchors. Additionally, the doorbell uses a non-standard security screw that makes it difficult to steal. In the case of a dedicated thief, you can notify Ring and the company will send a replacement.
This video doorbell operates on your home's Wi-Fi, so a spotty internet connection may affect performance. Once you install the Ring app on your phone, you can answer the door when someone pushes the doorbell button. The nice thing about the app is you receive notifications no matter where you are and can accept or deny them with the touch of a button. The two-way microphone on the device allows you to speak with whomever is at the door.
Ring Video Doorbell uses motion-detection technology, and you can adjust the detection range from 5 feet out to 30 feet. When the doorbell detects motion, you receive a notification through your phone and can view video of whatever triggered the cameras. Unlike the Nest Hello and Ring Video Doorbell Pro, there aren't customizable motion detection zones to help prevent false positives.
The motion detection requires some calibration, however. Through the app, you can adjust its range and set which directions it is triggered from. You can also adjust how often you receive notifications. If you're operating Ring on battery power, we recommend setting up fewer notifications, as the motion detection can drain the battery faster.
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Ring works with several different smart locks, including Kwikset Kevo, RemoteLock and Lockitron. You can't control these locks from the Ring app, but it gives you a quick shortcut to the lock's app. It also works with other popular smart home products such as Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, SmartThings, Wink, wemo and others.
The Ring Chime is an additional product that connects to the Wi-Fi doorbell and app. This is a small plug-in device that chimes out to the entire house when you receive a notification on the app. It is easy to integrate with and adjust through the app so you don't receive notifications when you're trying to sleep. If you have this doorbell connected to a traditional chime within your home, there's no option to disable the chime.
Contributing Reviewer: Eli McCormick