The days of getting up to see who's at your door are over. With a video doorbell, you can greet your guests and keep an eye out for intruders — all without getting up from your couch.
Ring makes our favorite wireless video doorbell (the Ring Doorbell 2), the top video doorbell under $100 (the Ring Video Doorbell) as well as our favorite motion-detecting video doorbell (the Ring Doorbell Pro). The company is gearing up to release the new Door View Cam.
But which should you buy? We've compared all four devices to help you decide which one is best for you.
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|Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell 2||Ring Video Doorbell Pro||Ring Door View Cam|
|Dimensions||4.98 x 2.43 x 0.87 inches||5.05 x 2.50 x 1.08 inches||4.5 x 1.85 x 0.80 inches||To be announced|
|Wiring||Wireless or hardwired||Wireless or hardwired||Hardwired||Wireless|
|Field of View||180 degrees||160 degrees||160 degrees||To be announced|
Design and Setup
The upcoming Door View Cam sports the simplest design and simplest setup. The device consists of two pieces: one that sits on the outside, and one that you look through from the inside, connected through the peephole. It doesn't require any tools or permanent modifications, and should take only a few minutes.
The Pro is also the only device that requires hardwiring. The Doorbell and Doorbell 2 can both be battery-powered, meaning they'll still work when the electricity's out — provided your internet connection is still up.
The other three devices are a bit more complicated to install, but you can (in theory) set them all up yourself. In our testing, we had some trouble with the Doorbell 2's security screw, but found the process easy overall.
The Ring Pro is more complicated. You'll need to upgrade your transformer if your old doorbell isn't getting 16 volts of power. You'll also need to install a Pro Power kit (included with the device) in your home’s chime box.
The Doorbell, Doorbell 2 and Doorbell Pro are relatively similar in design; they're all black and gray, with a camera at the top and an illuminated button beneath. The Doorbell 2 is slightly larger than the Doorbell, but otherwise identical. The Doorbell Pro is much smaller and thinner (not needing to accommodate a battery).
The Doorbell 2 and the Doorbell Pro both offer interchangeable face plates, making it easier to match your home's decor.
Video and Audio
At 720p, the Doorbell sports a lower resolution than the Doorbell 2, Doorbell Pro and View Cam, all of which offer 1080p. (However, the original Doorbell is the only device with a 180-degree field of view).
In our testing, we found the Doorbell 2's footage to be choppy and pixelated, but reasonable compared with other video doorbells we've tested. The Pro's video was better, but not perfect: It would start out pixelated and then clear up as the subject left the frame.
The Doorbell, Doorbell 2 and Doorbell Pro all have comparable audio. In our testing of the Doorbell 2 and Doorbell Pro, we found decent sound with a brief but manageable delay. We'll add specifics about the View Cam's video and audio when we get the chance to test it this year.
All of Ring's doorbells have motion detection; when the device detects movement, it sends an alert to your smartphone. You can customize how far the sensors stretch. If you have a Doorbell or Doorbell 2, you'll select from pre-drawn zones. If you have the Pro, you can draw the zones yourself.
The Pro is also the only doorbell that supports 5.0GHz connections, which allow for faster and more reliable connectivity.
In addition to improved video quality, the Doorbell 2's main advantage is its quick-release rechargeable battery. All you need to do is remove the battery to charge it. (To charge the Doorbell, you need to pull the entire thing off the wall and bring it inside).
The View Cam will have a few new features, including "motion stop," which will pause the camera's recording to conserve battery life if it deems motion unimportant. Like the Doorbell 2, it will also have a removable battery pack.
In most other features, the three doorbells are on a par with each other. They all offer two-way communication, which you can use to greet your guests, or scare off burglars, and infrared night vision. They all work with Alexa, Smartthings and IFTTT, and you can watch the doorbells' footage and communicate with guests using the Echo Show and Echo Spot, as well as all generations of the Fire TV. Unfortunately, Ring does not work with Google Assistant/Home devices.
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As a bonus, you can connect them with a number of smart locks from Kevo, LockState, Kisi or Lockitron. This will allow you to unlock your door — and let your guest in — directly from the Ring app.
The Doorbell Pro is the most expensive of Ring's devices, at $249. The Doorbell 2 and View Cam are both $199. The original Video Doorbell is the most affordable at $99.
Keep in mind that you'll also have to pay for cloud storage if you want to save footage to the cloud. Cloud storage is $3 per month (or $30 per year) for 60 days. If you have multiple Ring cameras, you'll pay $10 per month, or $100 per year, to save money.
Which Ring Doorbell Is Best for You?
We recommend the Doorbell 2 for most customers — especially those who aren't comfortable messing around with their house's wiring. It's $50 less expensive than the Pro, but you'll get comparable video and audio quality, and most of the same features. You'll also have an easier installation process, and the added benefit of a rechargeable battery.
If aesthetic appeal is paramount for you, the Doorbell Pro is sleeker and, owing to its smaller size, will better fit on narrower door jambs. Additionally, if you're particular about where your motion sensors should be looking, you'll probably appreciate the ability to draw your own motion zones with the Doorbell Pro. However, make sure you're comfortable with the Doorbell Pro's involved setup process, or with hiring a professional.
For those on a budget, the original Ring Doorbell offers a lower resolution than its peers, and lacks a quick-release battery, but otherwise has all the same features.
Finally, we recommend that renters, or those who want a very quick setup, wait for the View Cam to be released later this year. Just make sure your door has a peephole.
Credit: Tom's Guide