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Ring security camera buying guide

When it comes to Ring’s lineup of home security cameras, there’s certainly no shortage of models to choose from. Whether you’re thinking about adding surveillance to a few rooms in your home or want to create a cohesive net of Wi-Fi-powered monitoring for every room, along with a few outdoor locations, there’s a Ring camera that will get the job done.

Like many DIY home security solutions, it can be a bit daunting to sift through the many types of cameras and other security peripherals that Ring offers, but that’s where we come in. We’ve been writing about and testing Ring products for years, so when it comes to adding a Ring camera to your home, we know exactly what we’re talking about.

To help you pick one, two, or eight Ring cameras for your domicile and adjoined acreage, we’ve gone ahead and created this Ring security camera buying guide, covering each of the seven major Ring cameras. Read on to learn about the company’s impressive tech, and don’t forget to check out the FAQ at the end.

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro

Versions: 

Key features: 1080p HDR, Color Night Vision, 3D Motion Detection, Bird’s Eye View

Field of view: 180 degrees (horizontal), 80 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Property owners that want the best lens, recording, and motion-tracking capabilities for monitoring outdoor environments.

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro wired on a wall.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Spotlight Cam Pro is one of Ring’s newest outdoor camera releases, and it’s the company’s most advanced camera to date. Featuring 1080p HDR (High Dynamic Range) recording and live footage, never has the footage from a Ring camera of any kind looked so good, which is important when it comes to keeping an eye on your property, especially when nighttime rolls around.

The HDR angle is nothing to shake a stick at either. This picture standard can be found on everything from TVs and cameras to the best streaming devices on the market, allowing for brighter and more colorful imagery. And when it comes to home security, nothing is more vital than getting as much clarity out of your camera(s) as possible.

Features like 3D Motion Detection and Bird’s Eye View also go a long way in ensuring peace of mind for your home and surrounding acreage, with the former add-on using radar technology to allow the Spotlight Pro to initiate a recording once a subject is within range of your property. The latter feature uses that same radar tech to create a bird’s eye “breadcrumb” trail of a subject’s pathway onto and off of your property, with both 3D Motion Detection and Bird’s Eye working in unison with whatever customizable motion zones you create to keep things under lock and key.

That’s on top of two powerful LED spotlights, Color Night Vision, two-way talk, and dual-band connectivity for bandwidth-starved Wi-Fi networks.

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus

Versions:

Key features: 1080p HD Video, Color Night Vision, Advanced Motion Detection

Field of view: 140 degrees (horizontal)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Homeowners that need a solid HD outdoor camera but don’t want to splurge on a full floodlight model.

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus Solar on the side of a house.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Equipped with many of the same features as the phenomenal Spotlight Cam Pro, if you don’t want the extra-laborious job of mounting and installing one of the Floodlight Cam variants, the Spotlight Cam Plus is an excellent alternative for properties that require outdoor monitoring.

Available in black and white finishes, the Spotlight Cam Plus comes in wired, battery, and solar configurations, allowing you to choose the Cam Plus that’s best for your security needs. Mounting the camera in a location where external wiring isn’t available? Either the battery or solar versions may be the best option(s). Have access to in-home wiring and would rather skip having to recharge a battery once in a blue moon? Opt for the wired unit.

With its 140-degree horizontal field of view, the Spotlight Plus utilizes 1080p HD recording and live views to deliver crystal-clear footage from the camera to the Ring app. Other great add-ons include two-way talk, color night vision, a siren, and two motion-triggered LED lights.

Unlike the Spotlight Cam Pro though, the Spotlight Plus is only compatible with 2.4GHz network bands and does not include 3D Motion Detection, Bird’s Eye View, or colorized Pre-Roll footage.

Ring Floodlight Cam Pro

Versions: 

Key features: 1080p HDR, Color Night Vision, 3D Motion Detection, Bird’s Eye View

Field of view: 140 degrees (horizontal), 80 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black, white, graphite, dark bronze

Best for: Those in need of a robust floodlight system that can effectively light the way from the car to the door while providing top-notch home security features.

The Ring Floodlight Cam Pro.
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

If you’re looking for Ring’s most heavy-duty outdoor camera, look no further than the formidable Floodlight Cam Pro. Available in both wired and plug-in configurations, as well as four different color options, the Floodlight Pro utilizes several of the same must-have features of the aforementioned Spotlight Pro model, but ups the ante when it comes to LED power.

Two 2,000-lumen floodlights are part of an advanced motion-triggered system, making the Floodlight Pro ideal for mounting near light-starved driveways and other outdoor areas of the home that could do with a little extra illumination. And once motion is detected, the Floodlight Pro goes to work with its 1080p HDR camera that delivers sharp and arresting footage, day or night.

Other great add-ons include 3D Motion Detection, Bird’s Eye View, and the ability to connect to either a 2.4GHz or 5GHz network band. You’ll also be able to use two-way talk through the Ring app, and the onboard 115-decibel siren is enough to scare away intruders within any distance of your property.

Do keep in mind that both the Floodlight Pro and the next model on our list, the Floodlight Plus, require a little more in the way of installation, as both of these models require some kind of in-home power, whether that’s existing wiring or an AC outlet (no battery or solar options here).

Ring Floodlight Cam Plus

Versions: 

Key features: 1080p HD Video, Color Night Vision, 105 decibel siren, Advanced Motion Detection

Field of view: 140 degrees (horizontal), 80 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Folks that want the power and reliability of a Ring floodlight array but want to save a few bucks on the total price.

Side profile of the Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus.
Ring

Serving as the “runner-up” to Ring’s Floodlight Cam Pro, the Plus iteration of this outdoor system delivers many of the same features as the Pro version, with a couple of missing add-ons resulting in a lower price.

Available in wired and plug-in configurations, along with black and white color options, the Floodlight Plus captures 1080p HD footage for both recordings and live views and covers a 140-degree field of view, with 80 degrees of vertical adjustment. The Floodlight Plus also features two-way audio with noise cancellation, two 2,000-watt LED lights, and a loud and proud 105-decibel siren. And like many Ring cameras, the Floodlight Plus is compatible with Alexa, letting you use devices like the Echo Show to view real-time footage from your outdoor cam.

Similar to what’s missing on the Spotlight Pro versus the Spotlight Plus, the Floodlight Plus doesn’t include HDR recording, 3D Motion Detection, Bird’s Eye View, or dual-band connectivity options.

Ring Stick Up Cam

Versions: 

Key features: 1080p HD Video, Night Vision

Field of view: 130 degrees (diagonal), 110 degrees (horizontal), 57 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Those in need of an indoor/outdoor camera, whether to monitor pets, children, the rooms of the home that include heirlooms and other valuables, or something outside.

The Ring Stick Up Cam.
Ring

One of Ring’s most versatile camera options is the Ring Stick Up Cam. Capable of being placed on a flat surface or wall-mounted, the Stick Up Cam is available in plug-in, battery, and solar configurations, and comes with a number of tried and true Ring features.

Chief amongst the accolades is 1080p HD recording and live views, along with two-way chat options for conferring with whoever is standing on the front stoop. Other must-haves include Color Night Vision and customizable motion zones for adjusting the radius around your property that the Stick Up will react to, which is especially convenient if you’re mounting the camera outdoors.

Speaking of which, Color Night Vision is a major selling point with this model, as the Stick Up Cam doesn’t feature any kind of onboard LED lighting and can only be connected to a 2.4GHz network band. That being said, though, if you’re looking for a bite-sized and affordable Ring camera that can function rain or shine, the Stick Up Cam is a great choice.

Ring Stick Up Cam Elite

Versions: 

Key features: 1080p HD Video, Night Vision, two-way talk with noise cancellation

Field of view: 150 degrees (horizontal), 85 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Homeowners that want consistent power for their Ring camera(s).

The Ring Stick Up Cam Elite.
Ring

A less conventional Ring camera that you may not hear about as much is the Ring Stick Up Cam Elite. Designed with similar lens and recording capabilities as the traditional Stick Up Cam, the Elite iteration receives power using either a Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter, or an indoor/outdoor power adapter. If the former is what you’ll be using, you’ll need to make sure the Elite is located close to a router so that you can run Ethernet to and from the camera, networking peripherals, and the included PoE adapter.

Outside of the unique power requirements, the Stick Up Cam costs quite a bit more than the traditional Stick Up Cam but adds a little extra lens-sight to the vertical axis (85 degrees, compared to 57 degrees with the regular Stick Up Cam), as well as dual-band connectivity if you plan on adding the Elite to your Wi-Fi network.

Ring Indoor Cam

Key features: 1080p HD Video, Night Vision, two-way talk with noise cancellation

Field of view: 140 degrees (diagonal), 115 degrees (horizontal), 60 degrees (vertical)

Available colors: Black and white

Best for: Homeowners that need a cheap but powerful Ring camera for monitoring indoor locations.

Ring Indoor Cam Cover on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Last but not least, we have the Ring Indoor Cam. It’s the most basic Ring camera of the lineup, but don’t let “basic” turn you away. You’re still getting 1080p HD recordings and live footage, two-way chat, and the ability to either mount the camera on a wall or place it on a flat surface. You’ll also be able to pull up real-time footage from the Indoor Cam using an Alexa-powered smart display, and features like Color Night Vision and customizable motion zones are available with this model, too.

In terms of connectivity, the Indoor Cam is the most limited in its power and networking capabilities, requiring an AC outlet for power and a Wi-Fi network to pair up with (2.4GHz only). But if you’re looking for a cost-efficient way to monitor multiple rooms in your home, the Ring Indoor Cam is the company’s cheapest option and can be purchased in two- three- or four-packs.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a Ring subscription to use Ring cameras?

No, although you’ll be quite limited in what you’ll actually be able to do with your Ring cameras. A Ring Protect Plan allows you to take advantage of the motion-triggered recordings of your Ring cams, giving you access to a cloud database with up to 180 days of video history, person alerts and rich notifications, as well as the ability to download up to 50 videos through Ring.com at once. Ring Protect Plus also adds extended warranties for all your Ring devices, and the Protect Pro tier adds 24/7 professional monitoring, cellular data backup, and Alexa Guard Plus add-ons, too.

Without some kind of Ring Protect Plan subscription, you can still use your Ring cameras for live footage, as well as use motion alerts and two-way chat, but you won’t be able to view recorded footage.

Can my Ring cameras be hacked?

Yes, but most Internet-connected hardware is prone to hacking of some kind. That being said, to effectively deter hackers from jumping onto your network, it’s always a good idea to change your Wi-Fi password on a somewhat regular basis. Investing in a solid VPN is another great way to safeguard your home’s Internet connection.

Will Ring cameras work without Wi-Fi?

No. While your Ring camera can literally be powered as long as there’s power around, in order to capture footage and transmit video to your phone, tablet, or smart display, Ring cameras require some kind of Internet connection, whether wired or wireless.

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Michael Bizzaco
Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from…
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