The best Ring cameras can help you keep your home or office secure – but there are so many security cameras and doorbell cameras in the range it can be hard to work out which one is best for your needs and budget. This guide is here to help...
Depending how many doorbells you press, it’s hard not to recognize the rapidly spreading Ring brand, but the Amazon-owned company has taken that smart home knowledge and applied it to security cameras and security systems.
Ring has a distinct style and if you’re assembling a smart home, you’ll appreciate the benefits of devices which will communicate easily (as opposed to merely theoretically). That integration – via a well-maintained app with works for iOS or Android – is crucial to minimizing the effort of installing one or more Ring devices.
There is also thorough integration with Alexa and Echo devices, and Ring’s own security alarm systems (which can integrate and share the cameras as motion sensors). Everything on this list offers a live view which can be immediately seen via these means and two-way communication and simple motion alerts.
What separates the cameras and doorbells (which, of course, feature cameras) is whether they are weatherproof, how they draw their power, how they are installed and what extra features might be on offer, especially for cloud subscribers. All gain a little more, like storage of detected events for later review and identifying ‘Person’ from ‘Motion’ in alerts – but some can do more. There are two options for subscription; Ring Protect Basic ($3 / £2.50 per device) or Protect Plus ($10 / £8 for unlimited devices).
In this list we look at the cameras – including the doorbells – and pick out the best choice for different situations (and budgets). Most of the cameras are available with a choice of black or white bodies; we’ll leave the aesthetic to you but just remember the option will be there at the retailer’s site.
Best Ring cameras in 2021(opens in new tab)
Simple to install anywhere near a power outlet, the Indoor Cam is a high end security device. A really nice touch is that if you choose the black finish, a black power lead is supplied. Go for white and you get a white lead. In other words, it should match your décor. If you or your guests are concerned about privacy then, for complete trust, Ring offer a physical cover as an accessory (we’d prefer it was included, but it’s good that it’s an option). Because it is a powered camera, it offers Ring’s pre-roll feature for subscribers (clips feature a few seconds before the triggering moment), so it’s an ideal security camera. The two-way talk system means it can be used as a child monitor with the option to checking in on (or singing to) the little ones remotely. Unlike the next in our list, though, the camera is not weatherproof.(opens in new tab)
Sometimes Ring list this as the “Stick Up Cam Plug-In,” which highlights the key variation between Ring’s Stick Up cameras (Battery, Plug-In & Solar). Elite is another we’ll get to later. The cameras have a slightly narrower field of view compared to the Indoor Cam, which makes sense when targeting a door or driveway and retaining detail. The camera features Ring’s Color Night Vision feature, which adds tone to those areas of night where some ambient light is available where traditional security video would be entirely mono. It ships with a power adapter of up to 6.8m (20ft) which can be run from an indoor socket, giving plenty of DIY options, making this a great choice for a low-maintenance system in which the installer isn’t afraid of running cable.(opens in new tab)
Taking the weatherproof camera but providing extra options, the Ring Stick-Up is available as a Stick-Up Battery and Stick-Up Solar. These devices are actually the same; the solar panel is an accessory which tops the battery up. The camera is also broadly similar to the Plug-in powered Stick Up camera, though it does lack the color night vision feature (presumably minimizing battery draw). For some the advantage of wire-free installation will be avoiding a structural assault on their property, but for parents it might be useful to have a camera which can simply be moved around the garden depending on how it’s being used. The battery pops out of the bottom to be recharged, and Ring will gladly sell extra batteries so you can maintain near-continuous coverage, but positioning in a high place will be problematic. Taking the opposite perspective, anything you can reach, so can others. That’s why we appreciate that, should you come to re-think matters, you can always get a power adapter and turn the camera into (effectively) a Stick-Up camera with battery backup.(opens in new tab)
The Spotlight Cam combines the powerful deterrent effect of an infra-red garden light with the security advantages of the Stick-Up Cam. The bright lights mounted in either side of a weatherproof unit mean night-time video clips caught by the system are crisper. The IR sensor mean the device can only be mounted from a rear-mounted fitting, so it’s less portable than the Stick-Up, more like a traditional security camera in that regard. The battery-powered version still incorporates a quick-release design for its sizable 6,000mAH battery pack, while the camera features advanced motion detection with customizable motion zones and a security alarm you can choose to set off once you’ve checked the alert on your phone (rather than have it automatically annoy your neighbors every time). This is an especially thoughtful choice, especially when the device is new and you’re tweaking the zones in the settings. As well as warding off criminals, this can also be a handy way to light the drive when you get home, after all, which you wouldn’t want being too noisy!(opens in new tab)
Offered only as a hardwired camera, this is a serious floodlight which needs continuous power to provide 2000 lumens (total) illumination. The camera itself offers high dynamic range over and above the obvious alternative (the Spotlight Cam). It also features a remote-activated 110db siren, but perhaps the most interesting features are ‘3D Motion Detection’ and ‘Birds Eye View’, which detect distance & speed of visitors in range using camera and IR sensor data. In the app this is viewed with an aerial map of your property (downloaded from Google at setup) to plot the route people take when they stray from public areas onto your property, fascinating to review and (of course) useful in setting up zones for the lights to ignore if the light is near a street. It also improves smart zoom (cropping on subject). So long as you also have Ring Protect, the camera is capable of 6 second pre-roll so you’ll get to see the crucial moments before each recorded clip was triggered.(opens in new tab)
Traditional security camera companies haven’t stood still as wi-fi cloud connected cameras have entered their space; a technology called PoE (Power Over Ethernet) providing wired connections for digital video. The Stick Up Cam Elite uses the same system to side-step any tricky Wi-Fi dead zones you might have in your home; a single cable to the device (which is weatherproof) splits into a power lead and an Ethernet cable which you can connect to a PoE router. This also makes it easy to upgrade to Ring cameras from a PoE system, though for indoor use the USB adaptor in the box might be an easier option. The Elite also offers a different perspective, a wider field-of-view lens than its siblings, which might suit some locations around your property.(opens in new tab)
With a very welcoming price tag, you’d expect the Ring Video Doorbell Wired to be somewhat disappointing in terms of features, but in practice – if you’re able to provide wired power – it has one big advantage over some of its siblings: size. With no built-in battery it is relatively svelte for this kind of device (size isn’t everything, of course, but the fashion-conscious can also get a new look for the device by changing faceplates). You can nominate an Alexa device as a Chime, or acquire one as an accessory from Ring. We appreciated the wide field of view though – since it is traditional landscape – it is better suited to seeing a group than spotting any parcels left on the matt. On the plus side, it does feature noise cancellation for clear two-way conversations, and even captures 6-seconds pre-roll for events.(opens in new tab)
While the idea of the ‘Pro’ moniker might seem somewhat odd for a doorbell, we have to admit that – were it our profession – this is the doorbell has the features we’d want. That includes Quick Replies (pre-recorded messages like “sorry I’m not in”) you can play with a tap when alerted by the app, as well as Alexa integration. Mostly, though, the pro quality is evident in the 1536x1546 pixel square video which allows you to even see something left on the mat in fair detail. It’s got pro features as a security camera too; including the 3D sensing system the Floodlight Camera has which lets you see how people behave on your territory. The fact Ring stick with hardwired systems (though your phone and Alexa will alert you to a ring) meaning Ring subscribers are treated to pre-roll. Finally the Pro 2 includes the latest ‘Audio+’ improved noise cancellation and a corner installation kit. (Note the difference between ‘hardwired’ and ‘plug-in adaptor’ versions – the former is for doorbell wiring direct to consumer unit, whereas the later provides cabling and adapter to connect to an AC socket.)(opens in new tab)
The main Ring Video Doorbell is now in its fourth generation, and its main distinguishing feature is the option to install without new (or existing) doorbell hardwiring, but to instead use a battery which needs to be popped out and recharged, just like the Stick-Up Cam Battery. To hear the doorbell, er, ring, it can be paired with a Chime or any Alexa device and this generation is now capable of pre-roll even when the system is being used in battery mode, though the pre clip is lower quality than the HDR main camera. We’d strongly recommend you buy a second battery from day one, so you can swap charged for drained in a single step, rather than having to leave an awkward note on your door every couple of weeks, as only one is supplied.(opens in new tab)
We’ve mentioned the association with Power over Ethernet and professional security systems above (Stick Up Cam Elite), and Ring bring that option to their doorbells with a PoE-capable variant. The technology can be immensely helpful where thick walls hamper Wi-Fi signals as well as the relative reliability of hardwiring for power. The higher price has to be acknowledged, but Ring do provide a selection of faceplates (usually accessories at an extra cost) as well as other installation goodies. The HD video has a wide field of view, but is traditional horizontal and the noise cancellation – while present – hasn’t had the recent updates present in the Pro 2 doorbell. Other features, like Quick Replies are present, however.
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Best indoor security cameras (opens in new tab)
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