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Ring vs. Nest: Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus and Nest Hello compared

Ring vs. Nest
(Image credit: Future)

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 to help you decide which is best.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus vs. Nest Hello: Specs

Nest Hello Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Video Quality1600 x 1200, HDR1920 x 1080, HDR
Night Vision
Field of View160 degrees160 degrees
Person alertsYesYes
Package detectionYesNo
Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)802.11 b/g/n (2.4 and 5GHz)
AudioNoise and echo cancellationTwo-way audio with noise cancellation
Size4.6 x 1.7 inch x 1.0 inches5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches

Ring vs. Nest: Pricing and options

Nest has one video doorbell — the Nest Hello — while Ring offers six different models: the Ring Video Doorbell ($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.

Winner: Ring

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.

Winner: Ring.

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 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.

Winner: Nest.

Ring vs. Nest: Features

Ring vs. Nest: Feature comparison
Nest HelloRing Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Custom motion zonesYesYes
Person detectionYesYes
Package detectionYesNo
Extended video recordingYesYes
Continuous video recordingYesNo
Neighborhood alertsNoYes

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.

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. 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.

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.

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 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.

Winner: Nest. 

Overall Winner: Nest Hello

Nest Hello
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Video Quality
Smart Home Compatibility
Subscription Fees

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. 

  • 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?