If you’re looking for a smart home security system or maybe you already have some elements of a system and want to expand, you’re likely looking at both the Arlo and Ring systems. Both are well-known, popular, and easy-to-use DIY systems that are also affordable. But is one better than the other? We did a deep dive into both systems to see how they compare and differ. If you’re thinking you want some security without investing in a new system, you can read about how to turn your old smartphone into a security camera.
Arlo sells both HD and higher 4K resolution video cameras, while Ring’s lineup is limited to only HD cameras and doorbells. If you’re looking for the absolute highest resolution video (to potentially use as evidence) you probably want to lean towards an Arlo camera, and specifically the Arlo Ultra 2.
Both companies also offer color night vision in certain cameras and doorbells.
This category goes to Arlo for the higher resolution solutions.
Arlo offers higher quality 4K cameras as noted, plus a budget line of cameras (called Essential), and a floodlight camera. They also offer both a wired and wireless doorbell camera.
Ring probably has the largest smart home and security lineup of all, though, with its video cameras, spotlight cameras, alarm security kits, video doorbells, solar panels for their cameras, smoke and CO detectors, panic buttons, window detectors, glass break sensors, plus smart lighting for the yard. Phew!
If you’re looking for a comprehensive security system that goes beyond simple video monitoring, Ring is your likely choice here, since it’s even possible with the Ring system to have multiple cameras around the home start recording when an outdoor motion sensor is tripped.
This category goes to Ring for its versatile line of security products.
Manufacturers are turning to subscription fees more and more these days. Both Arlo and Ring systems require a subscription to get full access to their features, like cloud recording.
Arlo charges $2.99 per camera per month for HD storage or $9.99 for unlimited cameras. For that price, you can store footage for up to 30 days, and you’ll be able to determine what set off the motion detector (animal, person, vehicle.) Arlo also offers a $14.99 per month unlimited cameras plan that stores video in 4K and has 24/7 emergency response.
Ring’s Protect program is $3 per camera per month (or $30 per year) or $10 for unlimited cameras ($100 per year), and also offers 60 days of cloud storage, and has a People Only mode that will ignore animal and vehicle-triggered events. You’ll also receive lifetime theft protection, the ability to save or share videos, and notifications. The Ring “Plus”/unlimited plan also gives you extended warranties on all devices and allows you the option of professional monitoring for a Ring Alarm.
This category is a draw.
Ring comes out ahead in the ease of use category, if only because it has so many different options that you’ll be able to create a system that is tailor-made to your specific needs. Combine that with the popularity of the Ring system, and it becomes an easy choice.
Choosing a system like Ring that is a bit more popular also means it’s easier to find answers to your questions. Having set up literally dozens of Ring devices, I can attest they are fast and easy to set up and install.
Both the Arlo and Ring systems come with a smartphone app that you can use to view and review cloud footage. I’ve had a lot more experience with Ring’s app personally, so I can say it’s easy to use, easy to navigate, simple to view and download footage, and makes changing settings easy.
Ring also has the Neighbors feature, which alerts you about events within five miles of your property. This feature is available in the U.S. only for now; Canadian users are still waiting for the feature to be implemented.
The Arlo app provides animated video preview notifications on the lock screen of your phone. You can also use the app to view 30 days of video recordings. Additionally, you can specify activity zones, so you can only be alerted about areas that matter, while object detection lets you know if it’s a person, car, package, or animal.
This category is also a draw.
Sometimes choosing smart home components comes down to compatibility. When it comes to digital assistants there’s Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
Arlo is adaptable to either Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and while it can be linked to HomeKit, it’s not a straightforward process. Similarly, Ring can integrate with HomeKit, but some extra steps and additional components may be required.
Ring is owned by Amazon, so not surprisingly it’s made to be compatible with Alexa devices, and it does operate quite seamlessly with Alexa. For example, if someone rings your Video Doorbell, the video feed will pop up on your Echo Show automatically. Ring, however, is less compatible with Google Home. You can receive notifications from Ring that motion has been detected and a video has been recorded, but you won’t be able to see them on your Google Nest Hub.
This category goes to Arlo for offering more compatibility in a smart home ecosystem.
Better is a pretty subjective term. Arlo is known for having very high-quality cameras, and some of the highest resolution security cameras on the market today. Other cameras with great reviews and high consumer ratings are Ring, Google Nest Cam, and Wyze. If you’re basing your choice strictly on resolution, then Arlo may be among the best. But if you’re looking to start or expand a whole home security system with seamless use, Ring is the better choice.
Does Ring Own Arlo?
In short: No. Arlo was previously owned by Netgear, a company known for connectivity and network solutions. In 2018, Netgear spun the company off into Arlo Technologies.
As mentioned, Amazon acquired Ring in 2018.
To sum things up: Both Arlo and Ring provide excellent quality home monitoring cameras and doorbell cams. Both have ongoing costs that are comparable and provide cloud storage. Ring offers more options for a home security system by having various sensors and detectors.
If you’re looking for a simple point-and-watch camera, either will serve you well, but if you’re looking for a whole-home system that can expand as your needs change, we recommend the Ring system.
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