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Ring Security System Review (2021)

In this Ring Security System Review, our Reviews Team installed and tested Ring’s alarm system. Read on to find out how it performed during our tests.

Ring Alarm Base Station Courtesy Ring

What is a Ring Home Security Kit?

The Ring Home Security Kit provides you with an alarm system that can be tailored to your home’s security needs. The system comes in a 5, 8, 10, or 14-piece kit that is compatible with a variety of Ring products and is self-installed. Alongside the prepackaged kits, Ring offers users the ability to customize their security system and purchase additional add-ons such as a Smoke & CO Listener or Spotlight Cam.

Pricing as of April 2020

Our Findings

Summary

Ring offers homeowners a user-friendly and effective alarm system at an affordable price. Their application allows you to monitor your home wherever you are, and even provides you with regular updates on criminal activity within your neighborhood. If you choose not to self-monitor, Ring offers professional monitoring from $3 to $10 per month depending on your plan.

Ring’s DIY alarm system is a scalable security solution, as additional devices can be purchased as needed. It’s compatible with a range of Ring products, such as Ring’s video doorbells, so you can incorporate pre-owned devices into your new system. Plus, they allow third-party accessories, so you can complete your home security system without compatibility issues.

Pros

  • Affordable compared to other DIY security systems
  • Integrated app simplifies the use and monitoring of your system
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Allows third-party integration
  • Easy to install
  • No long-term contracts

Cons

  • Limited number of devices in starter kit
  • Keypad isn’t wireless
  • Motion detectors occasionally malfunction

System Unboxing

Ring Alarm Base Station

Ring Alarm Security Kit Courtesy Ring

Features

  • Internal, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that lasts up to 24 hours on one charge
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • 6.65 inches x 6.65 inches x 1.42 inches

Function

The Base Station acts as the command center for your entire security system. It connects all security devices to the Ring app, so you can control your system remotely. The central hub also functions as the security system’s speaker, sounding the alarm or notifying you when a door is opened.

Design

The Ring Alarm Base Station is small, only about 6 inches in length and width. With its compact size, the Base Station can be placed in your home without drawing too much attention. An LED light ring is situated at the top of the station, lighting red for armed and blue for disarmed. The smart base needs wireless connection to operate, and supports Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Cellular Backup (only included with a Ring Protect Plus Plan).

Ring Keypad

Ring Keypad Courtesy Ring

Features

  • 4.13 inches x 4.41 inches x 0.75 inches
  • Disarmed, Away, and Home Alarm Modes
  • 1-year limited warranty

Function

The keypad gives you hands-on control of your alarm system outside of the Ring app. Similar to the Base Station, the keypad contains a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, and connects to a power outlet through the included USB and cable.

Design

The keypad is designed to mount on a wall or place flat on any surface. Its numeric buttons are large and visible so that you can arm and disarm the system with your unique access code. To the right of the numbers, the pad displays a ring with three buttons that correspond to three alarm modes: Away, Stay, and Disarm. Additionally, the keypad contains X and ✓ buttons that can be pressed and held together to trigger a panic alarm for emergencies within the home.

Ring Contact Sensor

Ring Alarm Contact Sensor Courtesy Ring

Features

  • 1.56 inches x 2.09 inches x 0.55 inches
  • Uses two, CR2032 batteries that are included and designed to last up to three years
  • 1-year limited warranty

Function

The entry sensors alert you and your system to a window or door opening. The sensors link to your system using Z-Wave connectivity, giving you about 250 feet of range from the Base Station.

Design

The contact sensors are a bit bulky at over half an inch. They mount to windows and doors using the included tape or screws, and must remain within 0.5 inches of each other to function properly.

Ring Motion Detector

Ring Alarm Motion Detector Courtesy Ring

Features

  • 2.60 inches x 2.60 inches x 1.53 inches
  • 2 AA batteries are included
  • 1-year limited warranty

Function

The motion detectors alert you to movement within its range of view. Similar to the contact sensors, they utilize Z-Wave connectivity to allow for use up to 250 feet from the Base Station.

Design

The Ring Motion Detectors are recommended to be installed seven feet above the floor, and are capable of mounting flush on a wall or in a corner. They can be mounted using the included screws or tape.

Ring Range Extender

Ring Alarm Range Extender Courtesy Ring

Features

  • 3.15 inches x 1.81 inches x 1.10 inches
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Powered by AC Adapter
  • Rechargeable, 24-hour battery-powered backup

Function

The range extender widens the reach of the Z-Wave wireless network, connecting out-of-reach Ring devices to the Base Station. By extending the wireless connection an additional 250 feet, the extender prevents the need for purchasing an additional Base Station for connecting distant security devices.

Design

The small extender plugs into any standard outlet, but Ring recommends it be placed between your Base Station and the most distant device.

System Set-up

The Ring Alarm Security Kit is a straightforward set-up. Ring provides a succinct installation manual that gives direct instructions on how to get your system up and running.

The first step we took during installation was install the Ring app, available for iOS and Android devices. We were then prompted to create an account and input our location, though you can skip this step if you already have a Ring account. Once our user account was created, the set-up process began by selecting to install the Ring alarm, tapping security devices, and choosing Base Station. From there, the majority of the installation was done through the mobile app, with the installation guide providing additional information as needed.

Alarm Base Station (5 minutes)

Ring suggests the Base Station be placed in a central location where alerts and sirens can be heard. Since the Reviews Team was testing the system in an entryway and living room, we placed it on a side table about 10 feet from the front door.

After plugging the station in, we turned on its pairing function, located at the back of the device. The Base Station’s ring turned blue and began to spin. We then selected our Wi-Fi router to establish the system’s internet connection. We chose to connect to Wi-Fi, but ethernet connection is also supported. Once connected, the Base Station’s ring turned green and it needed a quick update before coming back online.

Before installing the remaining devices, the Ring app displayed its terms and conditions, requiring us to agree before moving on. From there, we were prompted to sign up for professional monitoring. This is an optional service, as Ring supports self-monitoring at no charge.

Contact Sensor (5 minutes)

To connect the contact sensor, we used the app to scan the device’s QR code, registering the device with our system. You can also connect a device by removing its battery tape or plugging it in. Once the device was connected, we identified it as a sensor for the front door, assigned it to the living room, and named it. The app suggests device names for you, but also allows custom naming.

Using the included installation kit, the Reviews Team attached the sensor and its magnet to the front door, making sure they remained the recommended 0.5 inches apart. Though we opted for the adhesive tape for installation, the kit contains screws that can be used to secure the brackets. However, the kit doesn’t come with a screwdriver, so that must be provided.

Installation was quick and simple, and the adhesive tape gripped the door frame firmly. Though the app was sufficient in directing our installation of the contact sensor, it does provide additional instructional videos if needed.

Motion Detector (5 minutes)

The installation of the motion detector was very similar to that of the contact sensor. We connected the device by removing its battery tape, assigned its location and name, and installed it on our wall using adhesive tape.

Ring suggests installing the motion detector seven feet above the floor, either flush on the wall or situated in a corner. Our team chose to install it in a corner, and we were very surprised by how secure the device was, even with just a small amount of adhesive contact on both edges. Like most of the devices, the motion detector can still be secured via the screws and brackets provided by Ring.

Keypad (5 minutes)

The Ring Keypad uses a USB to wall adapter for its power, so we simply plugged in the device to connect it to the system. As with the other devices, we identified the keypad’s location and gave it a name for easy identification.

Though the motion detector and contact sensor allowed mounting via adhesive tape, the keypad can only be mounted to the wall using screws or placed flat on any surface. We chose to place the device on the corner of the kitchen counter, footsteps away from the front door. The keypad takes up counter space and could look out of place, so mounting the device may be more functional and aesthetically pleasing.

After installation, we created a unique access code for arming and disarming the system and were ready to start testing it.

Range Extender (1 minute)

The Range Extender wasn’t necessary for our system’s setup; however, we went through the installation process to see how it worked. Its setup was simple—we plugged it into an outlet and were done.

Though we didn’t need the extender, if you are installing devices that are outside of the 250 feet of range the Base Station provides, it’s needed.

Takeaway

In total, installation only took around 25 minutes. Although setup can be quick, we suggest thoroughly reading the rest of the installation guide to learn more about how your Ring alarm functions. The guide provides key information such as how to arm and disarm your system, the differences in alarm modes, and understanding entry and exit delay.

Performance

The Reviews Team at This Old House tested the Ring Home Security Kit over three days. We went through all aspects of the alarm system, testing each alarm setting and the capabilities of both the Ring application and Keypad. We even conducted some test “break-ins” over the three days.

We were able to set and disarm the alarm using both the app and the keypad. When set, the keypad and Base Station both displayed red on their LED rings, and transitioned to blue when disarmed. During the test break-ins, the alarm was triggered and set to go off after a 60-second delay.

The Base Station delivered a sound notification every time the front door opened, and we were able to adjust its volume through the Ring application. We also tested the Ring Alarm Siren, whose volume is not adjustable. The siren was loud enough to be heard throughout the first and second floor of the home.

Specs

The Ring App

Ring Alarm Dashboard Courtesy Ring

The Ring application, which is available through the IOS and Android marketplace, is a one-stop shop for maintaining your entire security system. From the touch of your phone, you can arm or disarm your system, set up new system-compatible devices, and receive neighborhood crime updates and reports. All devices can be updated and managed through the app, so you can modify specifications like volume and brightness. And with the new features tab, you can stay up-to-date on what’s new with your system.

Customer Service

The app offers customer service through its help function. From there, users can contact support, request spare parts, and even propose questions to the Ring community. Help can also be received outside the app, with Ring providing online support through their website.

Subscription Options

Ring is convenient because you can use the system without subscribing to a monitoring service. If you choose to use the system as a way of notifying yourself of intruders so that you can call the proper authorities, you can. However, if you are worried about missing alerts or having the time to self-monitor, Ring offers protection plans that do the job for you.

With a subscription service, you get access to features such as video history, extended warranties, and 24/7 monitoring to help dispatch the appropriate authorities.

Ring Alarm Professional Monitoring Plans

Feature Included Basic Plus
Feature Included Basic Plus
Price Free $3/month or $30/year $10/month or $100/year
Motion-activated notifications X X X
Real-time video with Live View X X X
Two-way talk X X X
Lifetime theft protection X X X
Video history for 60 days X X
Video saving and sharing X X
Snapshot Capture X X
24/7 professional monitoring for Ring Alarm X
Extended warranties for all devices X
10% off select products at Ring.com X

Available Add-ons

In order to complete your home security system, Ring offers a variety of additional products to help your home feel safe and secure, like a Ring camera or floodlight. The company also offers a list of products from various manufacturers that are compatible with the Ring product line, so you can incorporate these devices in your smart home integration.

Ring offers additional devices like:

Pricing as of April 2020

When Using Your Ring Security System

As we were reading through the provided handbook, we came across some best practices that Ring suggests when using their security system.

Practice

Make sure that everyone in your home is comfortable with arming and disarming your system. This includes ensuring that everyone has downloaded and knows how to use the Ring app, and confirming that all users know the unique passcode. This will help your family adjust to the new system as well as reduce the chance of a false alarm.

Causes of False Alarms

When false alarms do occur, they are usually caused by:

  • Using entry and exit delays that are too short
  • Not answering calls from the monitoring center
  • Forgetting your verbal passcode
  • Arming in Away Mode instead of Home Mode while in the house

Preventing False Alarms

To help prevent a false alarm from occurring in your home:

  • Choose an easy-to-remember verbal password
  • Ensure everyone is comfortable using the system
  • Customize your entry and exit delays to provide enough time for you to enter and exit your home
  • Test your motion detectors to make sure they are not pointed at a heat source or windows, which can trigger the alarm

Bottom Line

This alarm system is best suited for homeowners looking for a DIY security system that covers a small area. The Ring Alarm System is an effective security system; however, the 5-piece kit only comes with one motion detector and contact sensor. That’s only enough to cover one room and a door or window.

Although the system can expand to fit any home, the cost increases with area as additional contact sensors, motion detectors, and base stations need to be individually purchased to cover the entire home.

If you are looking to secure a small area of your home, or don’t mind purchasing additional devices as needed, this system is a smart choice.