When shopping for a video doorbell, the choice often comes down to Ring vs. Nest.
Ring literally invented video doorbells, and its current suite of doorbells, which start at $99, are still among the best. Plus, the company has expanded to other devices, such as smart lights. Nest pioneered the smart thermostat, but has also widened its suite of smart home devices, including the best-selling Nest Hello video doorbell.
So which video doorbell is right for you? We'll compare the Ring vs. the Nest video doorbells to help you decide which is best.
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Ring vs. Nest: Pricing and options
Nest has one video doorbell — the Nest Hello — while Ring offers six different models: the Ring Video Doorbell 2nd gen ($99), the Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($199), Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus ($229), the Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249), the Ring Video Doorbell Elite ($349), and the Ring Peephole Cam ($199), which replaces a traditional peephole with one equipped with a camera.
For the purposes of this faceoff, we're just going to compare the Nest Hello to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, since they're both the same price and have comparable features. However, this round goes to Ring, as it simply offers more options at lower price points.
While the Nest Hello is usually priced at $229, it's currently marked down to $179, which makes it for the moment a better value than the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, which is closest in terms of capabilities.
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Ring vs. Nest: Specs
|Nest Hello||Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus|
|Video Quality||1600 x 1200, HDR||1920 x 1080, HDR|
|Night Vision ||Yes||Yes|
|Field of View||160 degrees||160 degrees|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)||802.11 b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz)|
|Audio||Noise and echo cancellation||Two-way audio with noise cancellation|
|Size||4.6 x 1.7 inch x 1.0 inches||5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches|
Ring vs. Nest: Installation
The Nest Hello is designed to replace a traditional, powered doorbell. To that end, if you don't already have a wired doorbell, you'll need to install a transformer to provide power to the doorbell. You'll also need to install a doorbell chime if you want to hear it ring anywhere other than your phone.
The Ring Video Doorbell and the Ring Video Doorbell 3/3Plus can use either a wired connection or run off internal batteries. This not only makes installation easier but also gives you more options for where you can place it. However, if you're using it on battery power, you'll have to temporarily take these doorbells offline to recharge them.
Ring also offers the Ring Chime ($29) and Ring Chime Pro ($49) as an alternative to a traditional doorbell chime. Ring's Chimes simply plug into an outlet, and can be programmed to make different sounds based on both detected movement and someone ringing the bell. The Chime Pro also acts as a Wi-Fi repeater, handy if your front door is out of range of your home Wi-Fi network.
Both the Nest and the Ring took roughly the same amount of time to install.
Ring vs. Nest: Video quality
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 Video Doorbell 3 Plus (1920 x 1080), but resolution doesn't tell the whole story. We preferred the aspect ratio on the Nest Hello, which showed more of the front stoop than did the Ring without needing to install a wedge to angle the camera downward.
Mind you, neither showed the very base of our door, the area where packages are more likely to be delivered.
Both cameras also support 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.
Although it has a lower-resolution camera than the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, we liked that the Nest Hello was able to show a bit more of our front porch.
Extended video recording:
Often with video doorbells, a person moves so quickly through the frame that by the time the camera senses motion and starts recording, you can only see the back of the person. Both the Ring and the Nest solve this problem by continuously recording; when the camera does detect motion, it then tacks on those few seconds prior to the event, so that you hopefully can see all of the person.
Because it has to be able to work using battery power alone, Ring's Pre-roll feature (as it's called) records this video in black and white, and in a lower resolution. The Nest Hello's video is in full color and at full resolution. As a result, we found the Nest Hello's pre-recording video to look much better—and much easier to identify visitors—than Ring's. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249), which is hardwired, also has a Pre-roll feature, but records the entire event at full resolution and in color.
Ring vs. Nest: Features
|Nest Hello||Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus|
|Custom motion zones||Yes||Yes|
|Extended video recording||Yes||Yes|
|Continuous video recording||Yes||No|
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus and the Nest Hello have many comparable features, but in a few cases, Nest's are a bit more robust.
Custom motion zones: Both video doorbells let you designate areas within the camera's field of view that it should ignore if motion is detected. Both are easy to set up and configure, but we prefer Nest's approach, which lets you set up a polygonal shape. For the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, you have to choose from four nonmoveable zones.
Person detection: Both video doorbells have person detection, which can greatly cut down on the number of notifications you receive. With this feature enabled, you only get alerted when the camera detects a person. However, the Nest Hello takes this a step further with facial recognition and can send you a special alert when a friend or family member is at the door.
Package detection: Only the Nest Hello has this, and can tell you not only when a package has been delivered, but when one has been picked up, too.
Continuous video recording: While both cameras let you peek in for a live view, only the Nest Hello has 24/7 continuous recording. This takes up a huge amount of bandwidth, however, so Nest recommends lowering the resolution of the stream if you plan to use it.
Neighborhood Alerts: Ring also has a Neighborhood Alert feature, where you can view incidents from other Ring users in your area, as well as post video from your own camera(s).
Winner: Nest Hello.
Ring vs. Nest: Smart home compatibility
One of the advantages of a smart doorbell is that you can link it other gadgets on our list of the best smart home devices. So, for example, you could have your front-porch lights turn on when someone approaches your door at night.
As two of the best Google Assistant commands and best Alexa skills, both the Nest and Ring cameras will work to some extent with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Using voice commands, you can ask about the status of the cameras. If you have the Nest Hello, Google Home devices can also announce visitors.
If you have an Alexa-enabled smart display (like the Echo Show) or a Fire TV device, you can view a live feed from both the Nest and Ring doorbells. It's handy if you're in your bedroom and can't get to the door as quickly as you'd like. Additionally, you can link Ring's Video Doorbells to other Ring products, such as its outdoor lights and motion sensors, so that the doorbell will start recording as soon as some other device detects movement.
Ring also has a partnership with Lutron; when a Ring camera detects motion or the button on a video doorbell is pressed, you can program Lutron-controlled lights to turn on. You can also customize the interaction to only occur at night.
Currently, Alexa also lets you create more interactions between Ring cameras and other smart home devices than you can with Nest cameras and Google Assistant.
You can also view Nest's doorbell on a Chromecast-enabled TV or something like the Lenovo Smart Display, but, because of the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Google, you can't view a feed from Ring's camera (which is owned by Amazon) on Google devices.
Ring vs. Nest: Subscription fees
To get the most out of the Nest and Ring doorbells, you'll need to subscribe to a monthly plan. For example, in order to get continuous recording and intelligent alerts that tell you who's at your door, you'll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, the company's cloud-recording solution.
Nest updated its Nest Aware cloud storage plans for its home security cameras and video doorbell; now, for $6 per month (or $60 annually), you can store 30 days of event history from an unlimited number of cameras at one location; if you upgrade to Nest Aware Plus ($12/month, $120 annually), you get 60 days of rolling cloud storage, plus 10 days of 24/7 video history, which means that you can look at any moment in time over the previous 10 days.
By comparison, Ring's basic plan costs $3 a month ($30 per year) per device and gets you 60 days of recordings. Ring's premium plan, which costs $10 per month, supports unlimited cameras and also gives you 60 days of event storage, but not 24/7 video history.
Both plans are quite good, but we're giving the edge to Nest, as the price per month for an unlimited number of cameras is lower than what Ring offers.
For a more detailed look at the plans for Nest, Ring, and Arlo, check out our comparison of security camera storage plans.
Overall Winner: Nest Hello
|Nest Hello ||Ring Video Doorbell Pro|
|Smart Home Compatibility||X|
In the end, the Nest Hello edged out the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. While both devices cost the same, we preferred the video, as well as the features on the Nest Video Doorbell, such as facial recognition and package detection. If you have three or more home security cameras, Nest's subscription plan is also more cost-effective.
However, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is no slouch. For starters, it's easier to install, and can run off battery power alone, which gives you as a homeowner more options. And, Ring's video doorbell has more smart home integrations, so you can connect it to more devices, and do more with those connections, too.