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Do you need a subscription for a Ring doorbell or camera?

If you’re in the market for a video doorbell, security camera, or another smart home gadget, you’ve probably already stumbled upon several products from Ring. The company is one of the most popular smart home brands, churning out reliable devices that are easy to use and easy to install.

You’ve also probably noticed that it offers a monthly subscription known as Ring Protect. But do you need a Ring Protect subscription to use Ring products? Or can they be used for free after installation? The company recently announced changes to a few of its Ring Protect plans, making them more valuable than ever before. Here’s a closer look at the service and whether you should sign up.

Do you need a subscription for Ring?

Ring Spotlight Cam installed outside.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We’ll cut to the chase — a Ring Protect subscription is not required to use Ring products. That means after installing your video doorbell or camera, you can dive right in and start monitoring your home. However, that’s not the end of the story. Ring locks heaps of functionality behind a paywall, meaning some of the enticing features that made you purchase your Ring product might only be available to Ring Protect members.

Without a Ring Protect plan, you’ll have access to the following features:

  • Instant Alerts
  • Live View
  • Two-Way Talk

You might gain additional functionality based on your specific product, but the three features above are available on most Ring products without a Ring Protect plan. Also, note that Arming and Disarming your Ring Alarm remotely will be locked behind a Ring Protect plan on March 29. The same goes for putting your Ring doorbell or camera into Home or Away mode — making a monthly subscription more beneficial than ever.

What is Ring Protect Basic?

Ring Floodlight Camera at night
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ring Protect Basic costs $4 per month or $40 per year for a single doorbell or camera. As a subscriber, you’ll gain the following abilities:

  • Video history (180 days)
  • Video saving and sharing
  • Snapshot capture
  • Person alerts
  • Rich notifications
  • 10% off select Ring products
  • Download 50 videos at once

We’d recommend opting for this plan, as it’s reasonably priced and offers tons of useful features (especially the 180-day video history). If you don’t join this tier, you simply won’t be getting much value out of your Ring doorbell or camera.

The devices are expensive on their own — and it’s unfortunate you need to pay to access all these features — but it’s worth budgeting an extra $4 per month if you really want to benefit from everything your Ring product has to offer.

What is Ring Protect Plus?

The Ring Video Doorbell in Satin Nickel, installed beside a doorway.

Ring Protect Plus costs $10 per month or $100 per year. It gives you video recording rights for all your Ring devices, making this a great option for homes with multiple Ring cameras on the property. Aside from all the features in Ring Protect Basic, you’ll also benefit from extended warranties for all your devices.

What is Ring Protect Pro?

Ring smart lights turned on outside home.

Ring Protect Pro costs $20 per month or $200 per year. It offers many features that probably aren’t necessary for the average household, although it does turn your hardware into a more robust security system. Here’s what Ring Protect Pro brings to the table, beyond everything listed above:

  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Alarm cellular backup
  • Alexa Guard Plus
  • 24/7 backup internet with optional extra data
  • Digital security by eero Secure
  • Ring Edge with local video storage
  • Home insurance savings (Up to $100)

If you need robust home security, but don’t want to spring for a professionally installed system, then this could be a great alternative. But for most homes with a few security cameras or a video doorbell, you might not need all these extra features.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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