When it comes to video doorbells, many homeowners look to two of the top brands: Ring vs. Nest.
Ring has been the leader in the home doorbell market for years; its original Ring Video Doorbell, Video Doorbell 2 and Video Doorbell Pro are some of the most popular on Amazon — and some of our favorites, as well. And now that Amazon has acquired the company, Ring will have even more opportunities — and cash — to double down on the smart home solutions it offers.
It's a similar story for Nest. While the Alphabet-owned company has lost some of its market control to increasing competition, it has bundles of cash to deliver new products. And its Nest Hello video doorbell, which comes with a nice design and fully integrates with other smart home platforms, is also worth buying.
But which one should you get? We faced off the Ring vs. Nest doorbells to see which is the best.
Regardless of which video doorbell you choose, make sure it's secure by using a strong password. Here's how to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for Ring cameras.
|Nest Hello ||Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell 2||Ring Video Doorbell Pro|
|Video Quality||1600 x 1200, HDR||1280 x 720||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080|
|Night Vision ||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Field of View||160 degrees||180 degrees||160 degrees||160 degrees|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)||802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)||802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)|
|Other Features||Full support for 24/7 streaming. Person Alerts||Adjustable motion zones||Adjustable motion zones||Adjustable motion zones|
|Audio||Noise and echo cancellation. Option to play pre-recorded messages when people to come to the door||Two-way audio with noise cancellation||Two-way audio with noise cancellation ||Two-way audio with noise cancellation|
|Power||Requires a wired connection with 16V AC to 24V AC.||Battery-powered. You can also hardwire it with 8-V to 24-V AC.||Battery-powered. You can also hardwire it with 8V to 24V AC.||Requires a wired connection with 16V AC to 24V AC.|
|Size||4.6 x 1.7 inch x 1.0 inches||5 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches||5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches||4.5 x 1.9 x 0.8 inches|
Ring vs. Nest: Pricing
Nest has one video doorbell — the $229 Nest Hello — while Ring offers multiple options for consumers: the Ring Video Doorbell ($99), the Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199) and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249). Ring even has a $199 Peephole Cam that replaces a traditional peephole with one equipped with a camera.
For 2020, Ring is launching two new video doorbells: The Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($199) and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus ($229), which include such features as better Wi-Fi and improved motion detection. Additionally, the Ring Video Doorbell Plus has a "Pre-roll" feature that adds up to four seconds of video before a motion event occurs, so that you can better see people as they approach your door. Both video doorbells are available for pre-order, and will ship on April 8.
For the purposes of this faceoff, we're just going to compare the Nest Hello to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, since they're both the same price and have comparable features. However, in each section, we will note the abilities of Ring's other video doorbells.
Although there are often deals for both cameras, the Nest Hello is $20 less than the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
Winner: Nest Hello.
Ring vs. Nest: Installation
The Nest Hello and the Ring Video Doorbell Pro are both 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.
The Ring Video Doorbell and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 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, when the batteries run out, you'll have to temporarily take these doorbells off your door to recharge them.
Both the Nest and the Ring require a wired connection but take 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 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.
Although it has a lower-resolution camera than the Ring Pro, we found that the video from the Nest Hello was clear, sharp and better than that from the Ring.
Ring vs. Nest: Features
Rare for video doorbells, the Nest Hello has facial recognition and can send you a special alert when a friend or family member is at the door. The Hello also has 24/7 continuous recording, so you can watch what's happening throughout the day. This takes up a huge amount of bandwidth, however, so Nest recommends lowering the resolution of the stream if you plan to use it.
Other features include geofencing, video history, close-ups, prerecorded messages for visitors, customizable activity zones and the ability to upload clips and create time lapses online. However, there's a caveat: Most of these features require a Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $5 per month.
Ring's major features include customizable motion zones, so that you'll only get an alert when a person enters a specific part of the frame. This can be helpful if the doorbell is aimed at a busy street, and you don't want to get an alert every time a car drives by.
Ring also has a Neighborhood Alert feature, where you can view incidents from other Ring users in your area. Neither feature requires you to subscribe to a plan. However, privacy concerns have been raised about Neighborhood Alert. Local police departments can view footage from Ring cameras if owners allow it, and if you post a video, your location can be determined, according to a report by Gizmodo.
Winner: Nest Hello.
Ring vs. Nest: Smart home compatibility
One of the advantages of a smart doorbell is that you can link it to other smart home devices. So, for example, you could have your front-porch lights turn on when someone approaches your door at night.
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.
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.
The starting level of the Nest plan costs $5 a month or $50 per year and gets you five days of recordings. By comparison, Ring's basic plan costs $3 a month ($30 per year) and gets you 60 days of recordings.
Step up to the $10 monthly plan that both cameras offer, and Ring's is again the better deal: It supports unlimited cameras and gives you 60 days of storage. Nest gives you only 10 days of storage, and each additional camera you want to add to the plan costs an extra $5 a month.
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 ran away with this competition. Compared to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, it has a better price, more features — and perhaps most important — better video quality. However, Nest could improve its cloud-storage plans, which are miserly compared to Ring's. And we wish that Amazon and Google would make up, already. But if you're looking to buy a top-notch video doorbell, the Nest Hello is the best.