Video Doorbells are a valuable part of any home security system. The benefit of being able to see who is at the door and to answer it, even when you are not home, can’t be over stated. First, it allows you to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation by going to the door with a stranger on the other side. Second, intruders often like to come to the door to check if anyone is home before breaking in. The fact that they would be captured on camera first is a huge deterrent when combined with the fact that it is an indication that the household might have other security measures in place as well. And finally, it is a convenience to be able to talk to the person at the door, even when you are not home. You can give instructions to a package deliverer, or greet a friend.
Many new doorbells have hit the market in the last couple years. The first one to become popular was the Ring. It is still the market leader in terms of volume, but there are many strong newcomers to the space with compelling feature lists.
The Ring has four models of doorbell cameras with the introduction of their new Door View Cam. It also has an ecosystem of other innovative cameras to provide a comprehensive cloud based video system. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the largest of the Ring Doorbells, which can be an issue when space is a premium. The reason for it’s size is probably to accommodate it’s built-in battery. This is great in situations where there was no doorbell or when there was only a wireless doorbell, because most of the other doorbells require the power from a doorbell transformer. The ring battery can be charged every couple of months with a mini-USB port, but can also use the traditional wired connection that other products use, making it the most versatile of the doorbell cameras. The list price of the Video Doorbell 2 is $199.
The Ring Doorbell Pro has the same basic features, but in a sleeker package that feels a little better constructed. It does lack the battery only option, but so do most of the other doorbells on the market. The list price of the Video Doorbell Pro is $249.
In new construction situations, one might opt for the more expensive, Ring Video Doorbell Elite. It is powered by POE or Power-Over_Ethernet, so rather than a traditional doorbell wire and transformer, it required a POE injector with connectivity to your ethernet switch or router. While this excludes it for most retrofit applications, its advantage is that it does not rely on a strong wi-fi signal outside your door. The $499 price tag makes it by far the priciest alternative though.
Another innovative product from Ring is the ring Chime and Chime Pro. The Chime Pro can be used as a wireless extension to here the doorbell in other parts of the house or as a sounder in the cases where an existing doorbell did not exist. Additionally, it acts as a wi-fi range extender to boost your wi-fi signal in case you don’t have a strong enough signal at the front door.
UNBOXING: When you open the box of your new Ring doorbell you do get a nice surprise. It comes in as a complete kit with wedge plates to mount it at different angles and even different faceplates for changing its color. Beyond that it includes a level to make sure you installed it straight, as well as all the necessary hardware, and even a screwdriver for installation. After removing the old doorbell button and connecting the two wires to the new Ring, you download and open the Ring App. It steps you through registering the device and adding it to your wi-fi network. Finally, you can send an email invite to other family members to add the Ring to their smart-phones as well. Another feature of the Ring is the neighborhood feature that gives you the ability to share a video clip of suspicious door activity to warn others in your neighborhood.
CONCLUSION: The Ring is a well thought out product and an essential security tool. The list of Pros is extensive. The only con is that there is sometimes a delay between when a person rings the doorbell and when you are able to talk to them. This is usually a result of the speed of the wi-fi connection at the doorbell and can usually be fixed with a better signal. I certainly recommend this product.