Ring Alarm Security 5-piece kit
“The ring alarm provides excellent home surveillance with a surprisingly low monthly fee.”
Affordable professional surveillance service
Backward compatible with 1st generation hardware
Solid range of accessories
Needs better camera integration
The new ring alarm (second generation) starts at $ 200 for the five-piece kit. However, there are several other kits and bundles to choose from. Plus, you can always add accessories later if necessary.
Ring intends to make home security simple, easy, and safe. Unlike traditional security systems that require professional installation, it is a do-it-yourself solution where you set everything up. However, Ring Alarm continues to provide 24-hour home surveillance to give homeowners another pair of eyes when they are not around.
Basically nothing changes in the basic requirements of the new ring alarm. It’s the same DIY security system that consists of a base station, contact sensors, a motion detector, a keyboard and a range extender. You attach the contact sensors to doors, windows or other entry points throughout the house, which then communicate with the base station and send warnings every time it is triggered.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
What is special about the new hardware is that Ring has reduced the size of each component by around 30%. For example, the keyboard is 38% smaller than its previous counterpart in the first generation system.
Despite the reduction, the sensors are not significantly smaller than those used in other systems – such as SimpliSafe or Xfinitys Home Security. Ring is playing catch-up instead of leading with a much smaller design.
Another important change is the batteries used by the sensors. The first generation version requires a 3V lithium battery, which is not as readily available as the new version’s CR2032 button cell batteries. It’s a boring detail, but you’ll appreciate the change when it comes to replacing a battery.
Mix and match compatibility
If you happen to own the first generation ring alarm, you can mix and match the hardware to work with the new system and vice versa. Glad to see that owners don’t have to throw away the old hardware when planning an upgrade. It’s always a welcome relief when there is interoperability as it helps maintain the value of the system over time.
It’s always a welcome relief when there is interoperability.
Setting up is a breeze with the on-screen instructions in the Ring app. The base station can be connected directly to a router or wirelessly via WLAN. However, placement at home is vital as the gateway communicates with the various sensors. There is also the range limitation of the sensors. For smaller locations like my home, range isn’t an issue as everything is within 50 feet of the base station. Fortunately, the base model of the ring alarm, the five-piece kit, comes with a range extender that pins an additional 250 feet.
Once the sensors were reclassified, the entire setup process was completed in less than 30 minutes. If you need additional sensors, Ring has a number of accessories to choose from – like flood sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, and more.
Lots of control, but it could be smarter
You can access and change all of the Ring Alarm home security system settings in the Ring mobile app. In the app’s dashboard, you can quickly activate and deactivate the system by pressing the appropriate buttons. In a critical situation, I like how I can use the exclamation mark button on the dashboard to quickly request help and trigger the alarm. The same controls are also on the keyboard for quick access.
If I resort to some of the app’s detailed controls, I find it useful that I can set the mode for each sensor. For example, I’ve turned off the window sensors when they are in exit mode, which prevents them from notifying me when I open or close them. At the same time, I turned off motion detection with my Ring Indoor Cam to prevent more redundant notifications from being sent to me.
If, on the other hand, the system is activated in absence mode, all sensors are monitored and set so that the alarm is triggered when triggered. Speaking of which, the base station sends out a deafening 104 dB siren that is more than loud to deter an intruder – and for my neighbors to hear.
While there are enough controls to customize the security system the way I want it, it could be smarter. One complaint I have is that if my ring indoor camera detects movement in away mode, the alarm won’t go off – it just sends the typical push notification instead.
Plus, there doesn’t seem to be an option to force the camera to turn on and take footage when one of the sensors is triggered – something that would be useful if my front door opened regardless of where the camera is in the house.
Finally, it would be helpful if Ring Alarm could tell for itself whether I was home or not. In fact, there have been several instances where I forgot to enable it before leaving. Hence, it would be nice if the app suggested enabling it in away mode.
Affordable 24/7 home surveillance
The most attractive aspect of the ring alarm (second generation) is the affordable cost associated with its professional 24-hour home surveillance service. You must subscribe to Ring Protect Plus, which is $ 10 per month or $ 100 per year but has the benefit of real-time emergency response.
Whenever an alarm goes off, not only will you receive a notification on your smartphone, but a representative from Ring’s professional surveillance service will call to check it out. From there, you can simply verbally enter the password to ignore the alarm or have emergency services dispatched to your home.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
The $ 10 monthly fee for Ring Protect Plus also covers video history for all cameras connected to your Ring account for up to 60 days. In the event that the power supply at home fails, the base station has a 24-hour backup battery and cellular service to continue the service. If you are heavily invested in the ring ecosystem, the cost is a steal considering it includes professional monitoring as well.
To get the most out of the ring alarm (2nd generation), you need to invest in additional accessories that improve and expand the system. While door, window and motion sensors are typical of most kits, Ring has expanded its home security system with a number of new accessories.
Call mailbox sensor
Ring is newWorks similarly to the motion sensor but is specifically designed to monitor the movement of opening your mailbox. So you know firsthand when the mail will arrive. Setup and installation is fairly straightforward, but requires a ring bridge. The sensor can be purchased for $ 50 with the included ring bridge. This is useful as the bridge will interact with some other lower powered Ring devices. If you already have one, the Ring Mailbox Sensor can be purchased separately for $ 30. It works like a charm and notifies you in the Ring app when it opens. It can also be linked to other Ring devices for added security. For example, an outdoor ring security camera can automatically record video when the mailbox sensor is triggered.
With the ring alarm (2nd generation) you are protected in protecting your home – without having to cost an arm and a leg for a professional surveillance service. The basic five-piece kit is $ 200 and the surveillance service is $ 10 per month (or $ 100 per year). This makes it extremely competitive with other services that have both a higher initial investment and a higher monthly fee.
Is there a better alternative?
SimpliSafe is another home improvement security service that needs to be considered due to its robust range of accessories. In addition to the usual sensors, SimpliSafe also offers an intelligent lock, special smoke and CO2 detectors, a key ring and a glass break sensor. SimpliSafe’s accessories are cheaper ($ 15 for an input sensor versus $ 20 for Ring). To top it off, further settings and data protection regulations have to be adjusted with SimpliSafe.
How long it will take?
Since the base station remains stationary and is in your home, it is unlikely to be damaged or to need replacement. However, the sensors require battery replacement and the alarm keypad occasionally requires recharging unless you want to plug it in to power.
Ring offers an extended warranty on all devices included with your Ring Protect Plus subscription, which covers malfunctions due to defective parts or workmanship until you discontinue service.
Should you buy it?
Yes, especially if you are already invested in the ring ecosystem and want affordable professional home surveillance service. If you already own the first generation model, there is little incentive to upgrade as the basic functionality and service remain unchanged.