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Ring vs. Nest: Ring Video Doorbell 4 and Nest Doorbell (battery) compared

Ring vs. Nest
(Image credit: Ring/Google)

When shopping for a video doorbell, for many homeowners the choice comes down to Ring vs. Nest. 

Ring literally invented video doorbells, and currently offers seven models, raning in price from $59 to $349. Plus, the company has expanded to other devices, such as smart lights. Meanwhile, Nest, which got its start with the iconic Nest Learning Thermostat, now has two video doorbells from which you can choose.

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.    

Ring vs. Nest: Pricing and options

Nest has two video doorbells — the new Nest Doorbell (battery) for $179, and the older Nest Hello ($229), now called the Nest Doorbell (wired). 

Ring offers seven different models: the Ring Video Doorbell Wired ($59), the Ring Video Doorbell 2nd gen ($99), the Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($179), the Ring Video Doorbell 4 ($199), the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 ($249), and the Ring Video Doorbell Elite ($349).

For the purposes of this faceoff, we're just going to compare the Nest Doorbell (battery) to the Ring Video Doorbell 4, since they're both closest in price and have comparable features. And while the Nest Doorbell is $20 less than the Ring Video Doorbell 4, this round goes to Ring, as it simply offers more options at lower price points. 

Winner: Ring

Ring Video Doorbell Black Friday deals

It's still a ways away, but you can already find some Ring video doorbell Black Friday deals; we'll be updating the page regularly now through November. We're fairly certain that Nest's video doorbells will also go on sale during this time, too.

And be sure to check out our best Black Friday deals for discounts on everything from TVs to Airpods to mattresses and more.

Ring vs. Nest: Specs

Ring Video Doorbell 4 vs. Nest Hello: Specs

Nest Doorbell (battery) Ring Video Doorbell 4
Video Quality960 x 1280, HDR1920 x 1080, HDR
Night Vision
Field of View145 degrees (diagonal)160 degrees vertical, 84 degrees horizontal
Person alertsYesYes
Package detectionYesNo
Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)802.11 b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz)
AudioTwo-way audio, noise and echo cancellationTwo-way audio with noise cancellation
Size6.3 x 1.8 x 0.95 inches5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches

Ring vs. Nest: Installation

Both the Nest Doorbell (battery) and the Ring Video Doorbell 4 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 need to recharge them, only Ring's device lets you swap out the battery; with the Nest Doorbell, you have to remove the entire unit to recharge it. 

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.

Nest does not offer a separate chime; instead, you'd need to use something like the Nest Mini ($25) if you want to hear the bell ring.

Both the Nest and the Ring took roughly the same amount of time to install.

Winner: Tie

MORE: How to install a Ring Video Doorbell

Ring vs. Nest: Video quality

One of the chief concerns when buying a video doorbell is the video quality. The Nest Doorbell (wired) comes with a resolution of 960 x 1280. That's lower than the Ring Video Doorbell 4 (1920 x 1080), but resolution doesn't tell the whole story. We preferred the 3:4 aspect ratio on the Nest Doorbell, which showed more of the front stoop than did the Ring without needing to install a wedge to angle the camera downward. 

The Nest Doorbell's vertical field of view is comparable to that of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 has a larger 150-degree vertical field of view.

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. 

Although it has a lower-resolution camera than the Ring Video Doorbell 4, 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. Ring solves this problem by continuously recording a 4-second loop; 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 records this video in a lower resolution. 

The Nest Doorbell (battery) does not have a comparable feature; however, the hardwired Nest Hello does have a full-color, full-resolution pre-roll feature, as does the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2.

Winner: Nest

Ring vs. Nest: Features

Ring vs. Nest: Feature comparison
Nest Doorbell (battery)Ring Video Doorbell 4
Custom motion zonesYesYes
Person detectionYesYes
Package detectionYesNo
Extended video recordingYesYes
Continuous video recordingNoNo
Neighborhood alertsNoYes

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 and the Nest Doorbell (battery) 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, and let you create polygonal shapes.

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 Doorbell 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. This is only available with a subscription, though.

Package detection
Only the Nest Doorbell has this, and can tell you not only when a package has been delivered, but when one has been picked up, too. However, Ring added package detection to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and the Ring Video Doorbell (2020), and expects to add this feature to more of its devices in the coming months.

Continuous video recording
Neither camera has continuous video recording; for that, you'd need the Nest Doorbell (wired), formerly known as the Nest Hello.

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). 

End-to-end video encryption
Ring launched end-to-end video encryption for its video doorbells and home security cameras; unfortunately, this feature is not available for its battery-powered devices, such as the Ring Video Doorbell 4.

Winner: Nest 

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 Doorbell, 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 a plethora of 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.

Winner: Ring

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 Aware starts at $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. 

However, with the Nest Doorbell, you get for free three hours of rolling video storage, as well as person, animal, vehicle, and package detection, as well as custom motion zones. 

For a more detailed look at the plans for Nest, Ring, and Arlo, check out our comparison of security camera storage plans.

Winner: Nest

Ring vs. Nest: Overall Winner

Nest Doorbell (battery) Ring Video Doorbell 4
Video Quality
Smart Home Compatibility
Subscription Fees

When it comes to Ring vs. Nest, in the end, the Nest Doorbell (battery) edged out the Ring Video Doorbell 4. We preferred its video, as well as the features on the Nest Video Doorbell, such as facial recognition and package detection, many of which are available for free. If you have three or more home security cameras, Nest's subscription plan is also more cost-effective. 

However, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is no slouch. For starters, it's easier to recharge and has more smart home integrations. It's also the better choice if you want a wider, rather than a taller and narrower view of your front porch.

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.

  • guardianali
    60 days or recordings dont mean much if it isnt recording continuous. The issue with Ring is that since it only records when it sees motion in its motion zones, usually (read the reviews and you'll see) you end up getting the person walking away cause it didnt record quick enough.

    The continuous recording means you can see the entire thing ...from the walk up the door the walk missed portions.

    Not to mention that 5 days is plenty to realize something bad has happend like a package being taken. I dont need to go back 60 days to see someone walking away with my package in their hand 60 days ago.
  • landonml1
    I previously had a Ring doorbell, then I went to a Vivint doorbell. Both worked great, and I loved my Vivint doorbell. I decided to give the Nest Hello a try: and it blew out my electrical wiring/transformer! Really strange that my wiring could handle the other two doorbells and not the Nest. Buyer BEWARE: you may blow our your transformer, and be forced to call out an electrician to fix it. I did that. My doorbell works again but my chime is still broken. Nest wasn't able to help me with these expenses at all.

    My recommendation: wait for Nest to fix their power issues (on version 2). This one takes too much juice, and has a really terrible installation process that could easily cause shortages. Get a Ring or Vivint, and wait for version 2. (even though this one does have some facial recognition which is best-in-class, and is cool)
  • justin.york
    20799801 said:
    60 days or recordings dont mean much if it isnt recording continuous. The issue with Ring is that since it only records when it sees motion in its motion zones, usually (read the reviews and you'll see) you end up getting the person walking away cause it didnt record quick enough.

    The continuous recording means you can see the entire thing ...from the walk up the door the walk missed portions.

    Not to mention that 5 days is plenty to realize something bad has happend like a package being taken. I dont need to go back 60 days to see someone walking away with my package in their hand 60 days ago.

    Amen: my old Ring never caught actual activity. It would only record the tail end of activity, usually with faces gone. The Nest Hello records everything and the HDR feature makes a huge improvement in video quality so you can actually see faces. There's no comparison between the two and Amazon's prices for Ring2 will likely reflect that in the future.

  • goaheadtryandspamme
    Warning: the Ring Doorbell Pro does NOT run on house wiring, but is always running on the internal battery. Once the battery dies, the device is inoperable and there is no replacement option. If you don't believe this, check out the reddit link below, documenting all of this with confirming links.
  • cgeheran
    One of the reasons I ended up going with The Ring Pro was not mentioned in this article. My understanding is that the Nest has to be wired to a chime, where Ring can be wired to a chime OR use their plug-in chimes throughout the house and then can be grouped with a plug-in chime for ring notifications. This is the only reason I did not go with Nest Hello. Can anyone confirm this is the case or is there another way to get notifications of doorbell rings with Nest?