Ring Video Doorbell Buying Guide: Which Model Is Best for You?

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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 so you can decide which one is right for you.

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 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 review
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

In a lot of ways, the Pro model is different from the Doorbell and Doorbell 2. First, you can no longer customize sensitivity, but you can still choose a few motion detection zones to personalize your experience. Second, 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 don’t have to worry about replacing a battery at any time. 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 2. 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.

In our review of the Pro model, we noted that Alexa functionality makes the unit more compatible with Amazon Fire and Echo Show devices, but 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 which case you should consider the costs of installation carefully to see if it’s worth it. Otherwise, go with the original Doorbell or Doorbell 2.

Ring Video Doorbell Elite

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

Bottom line: It’s twice the price, and you get a reliable connection (Power over Ethernet). This may make installation more versatile, but it’s also likely to make it more expensive, unless your doorbell already has an Ethernet cable.

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