Ring’s Alarm, which is finally shipping to customers starting today, is the latest in these new, do-it-yourself home security systems. It’s most similar to the Secure system that Nest released last year, and uses a variety of motion, entryway, and fire / carbon monoxide sensors, along with Ring’s other home security cameras to monitor your home for emergencies and intrusions.
I went with the Ring Pro over the Original Ring because I was going to be wiring it in place anyway. I also like the slender profile and the possibility to use wireless 5.0 in the future if I desire. Plus I live on a very busy road and wanted the advanced motion detection zones on the pro. Since I did my research, I was aware that the Ring Pro has a 160 degree field of view compared to the 180 degree view of the original. For this reason, I purchased fiberglass shims to angle it more towards my large 6 foot doors when I installed it.
If you are able to find your transformer you can inspect it and 95% of the time it will have the rating directly on the front side of the transformer where the wires come off. If the transformer says it is 10V it is not compatible. If the transformer says 16V or 24V then it is most likely compatible with the new nest hello doorbell. Below we show you what a non compatible transformer looks like and two options for compatible transformers if you end up replacing your existing doorbell transformer. You also need to check the amperage rating of the transformer, it is typically written as VA in the picture below it shows a transformer not compatible with ring doorbell pro that has only 10V (voltage) and 5VA (amperage rating). The Ring Doorbell pro requires 30VA of amperage for power, so you could potentially have a transformer that is 16V but does not provide enough amperage. Checking the amperage rating of the transformer you are using with the Ring Doorbell is important.
While the August doorbell offers a more symmetrical picture with no barrel distortion, it doesn't support IFTTT integration like the Ring Pro does, and Ring's monthly cloud fees are a bit more affordable. As such, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is an Editors' Choice for smart doorbells. The SkyBell HD is another top pick, and offers features that Ring doesn't, such as color night video, free cloud recording, and compatibility with Nest smart home devices.
This one is for anyone who lives in a medium to large size house. The Ring Chime Pro boosts the Wi-Fi signal from your router so that even your most remote Ring devices are supported. This also amplifies any notifications they send. Most users have found that this significantly improves the strength of their doorbells, which makes sense as the front door is often far away from your living room or office. Possibly the simplest item to install on this list, simply plug the Ring Chime Pro into a wall outlet and you’re good to go.
One of the chief concerns when buying a video doorbell is the video quality. The Nest Hello comes with a resolution of 1600 x 1200. That's lower than the Ring Pro (1920 x 1080), but Nest's camera also supports HDR, which we found helped when a visitor was shaded (when standing on a covered porch, for instance) and the background was brightly lit. Both cameras have a 160-degree field of view and infrared night vision.
The Base Station keeps your Alarm system online and connected to your mobile devices. It connects to your home network via ethernet or wi-fi and links to all your Alarm components and select third-party devices via Z-Wave. Also included are a built-in 110-decibel siren, 24-hour backup battery and optional cellular backup (with a Ring Protect Plus subscription).
How To: Wemo Light Switch Installation No Neutral Wire. We teach you what you can do if you don’t have a neutral wire in your existing switch boxes but still want to install a Wemo light switch. There are four alternative options for installing a Wemo light switch with no neutral wire. We tell you how you can add a neutral wire to your existing switch box so you can install a wemo lights switch or use another smart light switch that has all of the same features as the wemo light switch but does not require a neutral wire. If you don’t want to do any wiring in your home and you don’t have an existing neutral wire you can also you smart light bulbs like the phillips hue light bulbs instead of the wemo light switch. We teach you how you can connect any of your smart light switches to Amazon Alexa for full voice control of your home.
Though the Ring Alarm system covers the bases for a home security setup, there’s a lot of room for integration with other smart home products that Ring has left on the table. For example, it’s not possible to use the Ring’s motion or contact sensors to trigger lights or adjust a smart thermostat when you leave or come back home. This is despite the fact that the Ring Alarm sensors are based on Z-Wave technology, which is a widely used smart home standard.
The Ring Alarm has the electronics required to do all of that now, and Harris said those features will be turned on at some point. “You’ll see all of those things,” he said. “We’ll support color-changing lights, so that in a smoke situation, the lights will turn to a darker color to make it easier to see at night. You’ll see door locks with [Z-Wave’s] S2 security that will disarm the security system when you use the keypad to unlock the door, because we know you’ve done that in a secure way.”
I mentioned a cat sitter. It was kind of awesome to be able to see that she came by every day. In fact, the first day she didn’t come by until 11:00pm and I worriedly texted her to see if she was going to come. Every other day I took solace in knowing that she had already stopped by without having to text her or fear her shed forget. I was able to see when the lawn service came by and did their thing. I was able to see when packages were delivered and when my mom brought the nephews up to use the pool. I also got to scare the crap out of our friend as they were leaving our empty house and I wished them goodnight. That was worth some money right there. I even caught a few people using my driveway to turn around.
It doesn't work with the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor home security camera, either. Here's what a Ring spokesperson had to say about it: "Ring Alarm does not work with Amazon Cloud Cam at this time. While I can't comment on the roadmap at this time, what I can tell you is that we will make product decisions based on what will best empower Neighbors with an affordable, effective way to monitor their homes."
If your existing transformer is 16V or 24V and looks like either of the below with an amperage rating of at least 30VA, your existing transformer is compatible with the Ring Pro Doorbell. You can also click on the image below and it will take you too the two transformers we recommend for the Ring Pro Doorbell that we have tested that we know will work. If you have really long wiring runs or multiple doorbells you should get the 24V transformer. If your transformer runs are less than 60-80FT and you only have one doorbell the 16V transformer should be enough power. If you are unsure of your existing wiring length you should use the higher voltage 24V transformer for the Ring Pro Doorbell. Not all 24V transformers have a high enough amperage rating to provide enough power to the Ring Doorbell Pro some have a 24V voltage rating but only put out 10VA (amperage) which wont provide enough power to the ring pro doorbell. We have found a 24V transformer on amazon that puts out 40VA (amperage) and is compatible with the ring doorbell pro. Don't deviate and try to get a cheaper 24V option because the other options on amazon don't have enough voltage. Going with the 24V-40VA transformer option below will save you time and headaches down the road if you have a long run of wiring.
The square wireless base station is the main component of the Ring Alarm system. It's 6.7 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches in size, and though it lay flat on a bookshelf for this review, it can be mounted on a wall. The base station has ZigBee and Z-Wave antennas, and while the latter is available to use with compatible third-party accessories, anything that isn't Ring-certified won't work with security monitoring.
Throughout testing, I liked how I could verify the comings and goings of our dog walker simply by listening for the sound of the chime. The motion alert feature is ultra-sensitive, so I had to decrease its range to reduce false positives. I also found that it doesn’t begin recording video until someone has been at the door for a few moments. For example, the doorbell recorded a video of a delivery person leaving my door step, but I didn’t get video of him approaching and leaving my package.
Ring also doesn't currently offer any additional security accessories, but it plans to add a leak sensor and other devices at some point. And while your Ring security cameras and video doorbells ($150 at Amazon) live in the same app as your Ring Alarm Security Kit, there aren't any direct integrations between them today. I'd like to see something like, "If the Ring Alarm Security Kit's front door sensor notices that the door is opened in Home or Away mode, then tell my Ring Video Doorbell Pro to record automatically" -- even if the Video Doorbell Pro itself hasn't detected motion yet.
Setting up a smart security system requires you to consider the size of the space you want to protect, the tech capabilities that are most important to you, as well as the tech stack you want to use. Ring’s products are all Alexa-enabled, meaning they can be easily integrated into your existing smart home set-up. Plus, the company offers Protect Plus 24/7 Professional Monitoring for $10 per month. (Compare this to Nest’s similar service, which will ding you $19-29 over the same period.)
Ring Alarm doesn’t support smart lighting controls, door locks, thermostats, garage-door openers, or other common smart home products today, and there’s a very short list of supported third-party products. But it lacks nothing needed to support those and similar devices down the road. And in an interview with Ring Solutions president Mike Harris earlier this week, I learned that’s exactly what Ring intends to do.
What smart thermostats work with Alexa? Having a smart thermostat is great, and controlling from your phone is a huge step up from manual thermostats but having Alexa voice control of your smart thermostat is a true luxury. The nest thermostat works with alexa voice commands and adds additional functionality to your smart home system. The ecobee generation 4 smart thermostat works with Alexa and actually has Amazon Alexa built in. Inside the Ecobee 4 smart thermostat there is a small speaker and microphone to allow for full Amazon Alexa functionality inside of the Ecobee 4 thermostat. There are several other smart thermostats that work with alexa but the most popular the smart thermostats that work with alexa are nest and ecobee.
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Well, not long after the training mode came to an end, I made a bonehead mistake. I forgot to get my girlfriend set up with the App and when she came over when I wasn’t home, the alarm went off. Unfortunately, I was not able to cancel her mistake due to me fumbling with a rather clunky app interface on my phone. Luckily the Ring representative from the monitoring team called very quickly and I was able to avoid a cop showing up and a possible charge$$. My interaction with the Ring rep was fantastic. They called very quickly and the person I spoke with was extremely professional, kind and knowledgeable! They made me feel like a valued customer for sure.
When Ring worked as advertised, it delivered on all its promises. I never had any suspicious characters press the button, but I blew my neighbor’s mind when I communicated with her—quite easily, through the doorbell—while I was on vacation in wine country, 80 miles away. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help her get into her house (she had locked herself out), but it was a striking illustration of what Ring can do.