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Ring Video Doorbell buying guide: Which is best for you?

Ring has a variety of different video doorbells for smart home security. These devices let you see and talk to anyone at the door via an app. This gives smart home fans plenty of options, but it also makes choosing among them plenty tough. We break down the differences between these home security cameras so you can decide which one is right for you.

We’ve also gathered some of the best Ring Video Doorbell deals and home security camera sales for Black Friday 2020.

Ring Doorbell 2nd gen Ring Doorbell 3 Ring Doorbell Pro Ring Doorbell Elite
Finishes  

Satin Nickel, Venetian Bronze

Includes two faceplates: Satin Nickel, Venetian  Includes four faceplates: Satin Nickel, Satin Black, Dark Bronze, Satin White Includes four faceplates: Satin Nickel, Pearl White, Venetian, Satin Black
Compatible Transformers 8-24 VAC, DC not compatible 8-24 VAC, DC not compatible 16-24 VAC at ~30 volt-amps Cannot run off a doorbell transformer
Motion Detection  6 selectable zones and customizable sensitivity scale 6 selectable zones and customizable sensitivity scale Customizable motion detection zones Customizable motion detection zones
Battery Life 6-12 months with normal usage 6-12 months with normal usage N/A – hardwired N/A – hardwired
Compatible Networks 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz (Channels 11-13) 802.11 b/g/n  2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz 802.11 b/g/n
Field of View 155 degrees 160 degrees horizontal, 90 degrees vertical 160 degrees horizontal, 90 degrees vertical 160 degrees horizontal, 90 degrees vertical
Dimensions 4.98 x 2.43 x 0.87 in. 5.05 x 2.5 x 1.08 in. 4.5 x 1.85 x 0.80 in. 4.80 x 2.75 x 2.17 in.
Video Resolution 1080p HD 1080p HD 1080p HD 1080p HD
Price $100 ($80 on sale) $200 $250 ($189 on sale) $500

Ring Video Doorbell 2nd gen

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring entirely revamped its standard doorbell with the new 2nd gen model. As a result, it has some of the most modern features while also being the most affordable option, vastly outclassing the previous model (but still looking about the same).

On this unit, you’ll find a 1080-pixel camera with a 155-degree field of view, plus two-way audio options, motion sensors, and night vision features. A lot of the technology is upgraded too: There’s an additional motion zone, and motion zones are easier to customize. The night vision functions work better, and the mic has noise cancellation to enable easier conversations. Alexa voice compatibility is also included.

Ring also made the doorbell easier to mount with a new design on the back to make sure users will have no problems setting it up. There’s a built-in rechargeable battery to manage, but the option to hardwire the doorbell remains.

Bottom line: The new Ring Video Doorbell is a great improvement over the old model while offering the same basic functions. At $100, it’s also quite affordable — making it a great recommendation for the average home.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

The Doorbell 3 is about twice as expensive as the new Ring Video Doorbell 2nd gen, but does it offer twice the value? Well … not really. The biggest difference is compatibility with the 5GHz band for dual-band routers and a more durable design. It also comes with a “quick-release” battery pack that makes recharging easier. Otherwise, most of the specs are about the same.

Oh, and all customers should also know there’s a “Plus” version of the Doorbell 3. It’s about $30 more and includes what Ring calls “Pre-Roll” technology, which can show you four seconds of footage before the motion sensor is activated, giving you a clearer idea of what’s going on.

Bottom line: It’s baffling that the Doorbell 3 is twice as much as the standard model, with few changes beyond a better battery pack and 5GHz support — we suspect this model may be in for a price drop in the future. If you want this model, it may be wise to consider the Plus version, as Pre-Roll options may be useful for certain businesses or keeping a closer eye on your porch.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Ring Video Doorbell Pro review
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

The Pro model begins to differ more significantly from the Doorbell and Doorbell 2: There’s no battery option for this model, since it’s designed to be hardwired right into the existing doorbell wiring. That leaves fewer options for placement, but you also don’t have to worry about replacing a battery. Alexa functionality also means you can view the video right from an Amazon Echo Show.

You also have a dual-band option, allowing you to run the doorbell on the 5GHz band of your Wi-Fi router. There’s a beautiful new slim design that fits into the background more easily, and four faceplate options in satin nickel, pearl white, Venetian, and satin black.

Other features are largely the same as the Doorbell 3. The camera is 1080p, with a 160/90-degree field of view. The connection still takes 2 Mbps. The motion detection acts much the same, but has more sophisticated software that analyzes the zones users create for signs of activity. Customizable zones allow you to pinpoint motion detection for more accurate results, too.

In our review of the Pro model, we noted that Alexa functionality makes the unit more compatible with Amazon Fire and Echo Show devices. Yet, the unit’s construction remains a little plasticky.

Bottom line: The upgrades make this Ring doorbell the best option for homes if you don’t mind paying the higher price. The only exception is if you don’t have any current doorbell wiring. In that case, you should weigh the costs of installation to see if it’s worth it. Otherwise, go with the original Doorbell or Doorbell 2.

Ring Video Doorbell Elite

Ring Video Doorbell Elite

The petite Elite model is very similar to the Pro version, except for two main areas. First, the doorbell is even slimmer than before. Second, it cannot utilize the existing doorbell wiring. Instead, it uses the Power over Ethernet protocol via an Ethernet cable to get energy. If you’re willing to install an Ethernet cable, you have more placement options.

Bottom line: The Elite is twice the price of alternatives. However, with the higher price, you get a more reliable connection (Power over Ethernet). Ethernet may make installation more versatile, but it’s also likely to make it more expensive (unless your doorbell already has an Ethernet cable).

Ring deserves its reputation as a leader in smart home doorbells and security cameras. However, the vast range of customizable options available, such as price points, battery life, and power source, make the purchasing process challenging to navigate. It can be hard to figure out which options work best for your needs. Our roundup will help you determine which unit will work best for your existing setup, budget, and home layout. Ring is an excellent choice for making your smart home even smarter, no matter what option you select.

Video doorbells are still relatively uncommon since they’re still a fairly new concept. They’re becoming more popular thanks to improved technology, accessible prices, and the rise of home delivery (and delivery theft).

Ring doorbells come in many different options and are able to do everything from allowing you to see a picture of who is at your doorstep to serving as a security system that records surveillance video of your front porch. It’s worth noting that the ability to record requires a monthly subscription plan, so make sure to decide if you want that feature before heading to the store.

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