On paper, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the original Ring Video Doorbell are nearly identical. However, the Ring 2 has better video quality, is slightly easier to use and is much easier to install. These improvements are enough to make the Ring Video Doorbell 2 the best smart doorbell available.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs around $200, which is average among video doorbells. However, the original Ring Video Doorbell costs half as much for a slightly less capable unit. Ring's cloud video storage plans are the most competitive in the industry, the lower-tier plan starts at $3 a month for 60 days of video storage per camera, which is the lowest price you'll pay for cloud storage. While August and SkyBell both have free cloud video storage plans, these don't offer as much storage space.
The other Ring storage plan costs $10 a month, but lets you have an unlimited number of cameras and adds the only lifetime warranty coverage of any video doorbell company. Naturally, both cloud storage plans apply to Ring's other products, which is one of the reasons the company dominates our smart doorbell rankings.
When we tested the 1080p video quality of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, it scored 94 percent, the fourth highest in our comparison. It showed clear details on our test chart during daytime tests but couldn't match the top performers. However, there was little to no distortion of the moving objects and the nighttime video clarity tied with the Nest Hello for first place.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 has a 160-degree field of view, which is narrower than that of the original Ring. However, this also means the video fills the frame better than Ring's other doorbells, all of which produce vignette-like circular video with black areas near the edge of the frame. Ring is the only video doorbell company with video like this, which gives it a certain kind of charm, but may be a drawback for people wanting more traditional video that fills a screen. The audio quality of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 passed our simple tests, so you shouldn't have any problems understanding visitors during a call.
Using the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a pleasant experience that's identical in form to that of the Ring Video Doorbell. The only difference we could find is that Ring Video Doorbell 2 reacts faster to visitors pressing the button on your doorbell. You can adjust motion detection controls, view recordings and link your Ring account to other smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, SmartThings, Wink, wemo and others.
This doorbell also works with a variety of smart locks, including Kwikset Kevo, RemoteLock and Lockitron. The Ring app can't control these locks directly, but provides shortcuts to the appropriate apps, which you access during a call. This isn't as intuitive as August's ability to unlock the door without leaving the call, but works well enough in practice.
We like that this doorbell has both wired and battery-powered options, which gives you more flexibility to install it anywhere you need it. The battery can trickle charge when connected to your existing doorbell's wiring, acting as a backup if your power goes out.
It took us about 15 minutes to install this doorbell by connecting it to a mechanical doorbell chime, though it also works with digital chimes. However, it takes less time if you use the battery-only option. That said, the battery-only option requires you to occasionally remove the battery for recharging. You can buy an extra battery to swap out if needed. This is easier than recharging the original Ring's battery, which required removing the entire unit from the wall.
This is the easiest smart doorbell to install because it comes with all the tools you need: a screwdriver, a masonry drill bit, a level, screws and anchors. It also comes with angled mounting brackets for corners and stairways, where a camera generally doesn't have a good view of visitors. We also like that the Ring 2 comes with two interchangeable face plates, satin nickel and venetian bronze, so you can choose the best one to match your home's décor or the lock hardware on your door.
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Unlike most of the doorbells we tested, including the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn't let you silence your doorbell chime, which makes it less convenient when you want a quieter home.