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Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired is a small and inexpensive video doorbell — but there’s some trade-offs.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired is a small and inexpensive video doorbell—but there’s a catch

For

  • Inexpensive
  • Good video quality
  • Small

Against

  • Does not work with existing door chimes
  • Requires purchase of Ring Chime if you want to hear a ring
Ring Video Doorbell Wired Specs

Camera resolution: 1080p
Field of view: 155° horizontal
Audio: Two-Way Talk with Noise Cancellation
Night Vision: IR LEDs
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz
Size: 3.9 x 1.8 x 0.8 inches

According to one report, Ring’s video doorbells account for nearly 40 percent of the market, and it’s not hard to see why: The Amazon-owned company literally invented the category, and thanks to bundles with Amazon Echo devices, they’re often available for cheap.

Yet, the company must be feeling the pressure from lower-priced competitors. Enter the Ring Video Doorbell Wired, which at $60 is $40 less than Ring’s next-most expensive device. It’s also a lot smaller, too, which makes it easier to install on narrow doors. 

However, in order to get to this lower price, Ring had to make a couple of compromises on features. In this Ring Video Doorbell Wired review, we’ll see if this budget video doorbell is really the bargain it seems, and if deserves a spot on the best video doorbells list.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Price and availability

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired costs $59.99, and can be found on Ring.com and Amazon.com; it will start shipping on February 17, 2021. From February 24 through March 25, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired will also be available at The Home Depot, and will be more widely available afterward.

With the addition of the Ring Video Doorbell Wired, Ring now offers seven video doorbells, with prices ranging from $59.99 to $349.99. If you’re not sure which is best for you, check out our Ring Video Doorbell vs. Ring 3 vs. Ring Pro comparison.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Design

Ring Video Doorbell Wired

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) left, Ring Video Doorbell Wired right (Image credit: Future)

I was surprised at the small size of the Ring Video Doorbell Wired. Measuring 3.9 x 1.8 x 0.8 inches, it’s even smaller than the Ring Video Doorbell Pro (4.5 x 1.85 in. x .80 in), so you should have no trouble mounting it on even the smallest of door frames.

The all-black device has a small camera at the top with a push button beneath; I liked that the button, which is encircled with an LED, curves out rather than being flush with the face.

While the Ring Video Doorbell Wired ships with a black trim piece, Ring will offer other colors separately, as well as wedge kits so you can better angle the camera towards your front stoop.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Installation

Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

(Image credit: Future)

Before purchasing the Ring Video Doorbell, it’s important to note that it does not work with your doorbell chime; in fact, if you have a doorbell chime, you have to install a jumper cable in it in order for the Ring Video Doorbell Wired to work. 

This also means that the Ring Video Doorbell’s true cost isn’t $59.99; rather, you have to budget an additional $29.99 for the Ring Chime or $49.99 for the Ring Chime Pro — essential if your Wi-Fi can’t quite reach your front door — if you want to hear that familiar ding-dong when someone presses the button. (A current deal on Amazon is offering the Ring Video Doorbell Wired and the Ring Chime for $80, a savings of $10.)

In another cost-cutting measure, the screwdriver that Ring includes isn’t double-sided; you only get a hex-head screwdriver, so you’ll need to use your own Philips screwdriver to access your doorbell chime. 

After installing the jumper, you then have to connect the doorbell to your door, and then use the included security screw to keep everything in place. In all, it took about 15 minutes. However, you’ll want to include some extra time if you’ve purchased a Ring Chime or Chime Pro. 

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Video and audio quality

The 1080p video from the Ring Video Doorbell Wired looked very good. On a snowy, overcast day, the camera picked up the bright yellow of my shovel as I was digging out from another snowstorm.

Nighttime video was just as clear as video from other Ring doorbells; I could easily make out the faces of visitors and hear them clearly.

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired has a 155-degree horizontal field of view, but like most video doorbells, doesn’t show the very front of my stoop, where packages are most likely to be dropped. Ring sells wedge kits, which allows you to angle the camera downward or to one side, for $20 each. 

Like all of Ring’s wired doorbells, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired will record color Pre-Roll; when enabled, this feature continually records six seconds of video, and when a person is detected, it adds this clip to the front of the video. That gives you a better chance of seeing someone as they approach your door. It’s a super-helpful feature, especially in a house like mine, where a large tree obscures anyone coming to the front door until the very last second. Both Arlo and Nest video doorbells have a similar feature. 

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: Cloud storage

If you subscribe to Ring Protect (which starts at $3/month or $30/year for a single camera), you can also save recordings, and activate a People Only mode, so you’ll only receive notifications if the camera detects a person. I especially like Rich Notifications, which displays a thumbnail image on your phone’s lock screen when you get a notification. That way, you don’t have to open the app to see who’s at the door. It’s a feature that other video doorbells had long before Ring, so I’m glad to see it implemented here.

When compared to other security camera video storage plans, if you only have one camera, then Ring’s plan is pretty economical, but if you’re thinking about installing more than two cameras (such as a video doorbell and two home security cameras), then Nest is the better deal.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired: App

Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

(Image credit: Future)

From the home screen of the Ring app, you can see all of your Ring cameras. Selecting a camera opens a page showing a timeline of all motion events — whenever the camera detected movement and started recording. When this feature debuted a few years ago, I thought it was useful, but I wish there were a way to switch to a grid view. Trying to scroll through the timeline is tedious. 

You can view all motion events as a list, but unlike Arlo’s and Blink’s apps, there’s no thumbnail image associated with each event, so you can’t tell at a glance if the doorbell’s camera captured something worth taking a closer look. 

A somewhat recent addition to Ring’s app is the ability to show thumbnail images with your smartphone notifications, so you don’t have to open the Ring app to see who’s at your door. Very helpful. 

I also like that you can create polygonal motion detection zones, which makes it easier to keep the camera from sensing motion if there’s a busy street in front of your house. There’s also a People Only mode, but I wish Ring would develop a package detection setting, as can be found on Arlo and the Nest Hello.

Ring Video Doorbell Wired review

(Image credit: Future)

Ring’s app does a very good job at showing you all of your privacy and security settings. For starters, all Ring accounts require two-factor authentication, which makes it much more difficult for a hacker to access your account and video feeds. 

One of the more controversial aspects of Ring’s products is its Neighbors app, which allows you to receive alerts about police, fire, and other incidents in your area. Neighbors also allows you (and others) to post videos publicly from your cameras. 

More significantly, Ring has also partnered with local law enforcement and emergency service agencies, so that they can request footage from Ring devices if they feel it’s pertinent to an investigation. You can view a map of participating agencies here. However, you can opt out of receiving requests for video. Agencies cannot view recordings or live feeds without your consent, unless they procure a court order. 

Ring Video Doorbell Wired review: Verdict

For those looking for an inexpensive wired doorbell for less than $100, you can’t do better than the Ring Video Doorbell Wired. I really like its compact design, good video quality, and comprehensive app.

My biggest issue is that it doesn’t work with traditional doorbell chimes. This not only renders your current chime obsolete, but is also adds to the overall cost; rather than a $60 investment, it’s more like $90 when you factor in the price of the Ring Chime — and if you purchase the $50 Ring Chime Pro, you’ll be spending more than if you purchased the $100 Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen). You’ll more than likely also want a Ring Protect plan, which is another $30 per year. 

The Ring Video Doorbell Wired is a good budget video doorbell, but it’s not as cheap as you might think.

Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the home, smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories, as well as all buying guides and other evergreen content. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.

  • JCYall
    The negatives are precisely why this model appeals to me. I want to get rid of the annoying old chime we have, I want to take advantage of the existing electrical wiring for power and want to use a phone as the chime. Those trade-offs actually target a specific market for a lower price, plus if you want to add a chime you aren't having to get a bundled model with fixed features. You can always upgrade later if you wish and if you want the online cloud service that's available as well. This is the first video doorbell that I find appealing, once the real world performance stats come in(how does it fare in cold winters?), might well get one.
    Reply
  • HardGrader
    Instead of buying the Ring chime: If you have any Amazon Echo devices, you can use them to sound a doorbell notification/chime -- in addition to your phone. And they're more versatile than the Ring chime. Echo devices let you speak with the person at the door. Echo devices with screens also let you see them. You can even have Alexa answer the doorbell and get the person's info. A no-brainer.
    Reply
  • HardGrader
    Sorry. It turns out that the last feature -- Alexa answering the doorbell -- is only available on higher-end models.
    Reply