What Is the Ring Doorbell and How Does It Work?

Learn everything you need to know about the smart doorbell

Doorbell Camera Ring Delivery Security

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With smart home technology quickly expanding, chances are you've seen a product by Ring. While the company now features security lighting and home alarms, its most popular product is the Ring Doorbell. If you're considering adding this smart doorbell to your home, here's a breakdown of how it works, what it does, what models are offered, and more, so you can decide if a Ring Doorbell is right for your needs.

The Ring smart doorbell can be installed on a door without doorbell wiring, which is essential for many apartments and condo homes. Ring also has the benefit of being easily integrated into Google's smart home universe.

View from Ring Doorbell Video Doorbell

How a Ring Video Doorbell Works

All Ring Doorbell models connect to your home Wi-Fi network once mounted and will send alerts when motion is detected or when someone presses the button on your doorbell.

A Ring Doorbell can be wired to a power source, just like a regular doorbell. Alternatively, it has a rechargeable battery that allows you to remove the Ring and charge it via lightning cable.

All Ring doorbell models have two-way talk functionality, support motion-activation, can record during the day and at night using infrared for night vision, and stream live footage you can check via the Ring app. They all also provide alerts when the camera detects motion and allow videos to be captured and stored in the cloud, for a monthly fee. All Ring doorbells detect and capture video for motion within 30 feet, which instantly sends a push notification to your device.

The Ring app, available for free on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices, also allows you to see an HD video stream of the person at your door and speak to them using two-way audio communication. With all models, via the Ring app, you can view shared footage from neighbors, check the history of events, check the doorbell's status, turn motion alerts on and off, and change alert settings.

In addition to motion alerts and someone ringing your doorbell, your Ring will also alert you when the battery is low.

Ring Video Doorbell Models

Ring offers several different doorbell models. Aside from resolution and field of view, the functions are essentially the same. However, each model has slightly different specifications and features.

Ring Doorbell

This is the base model, with a 180-degree horizontal field of view at 720p HD resolution.

Ring Doorbell 2

This is a slightly larger upgrade, which includes 160 degrees of horizontal vision and 90 degrees vertical vision. This one also has 1080p HD resolution. Both the Ring Doorbell and Ring Doorbell 2 have five zones to customize the sensitivity of the motion-detection feature.

Ring Doorbell Pro and Ring Doorbell Elite

Both of these models enable you to customize motion-detection zones and take advantage of additional finish options, and the field of view and resolution are basically identical. However, the Elite cannot run using a doorbell transformer (it needs an Ethernet cable) and the Pro doesn't have a battery, so it's dependent on existing doorbell wiring.

Upgraded Ring Doorbell models come with higher resolution, but that means higher demands on your Wi-Fi. The Pro model allows you to run the doorbell on the 5GHz band of your Wi-Fi router. It's a bit slower but offers longer range if your doorbell is farther from your router.

Installing a Ring Video Doorbell

To install a Ring doorbell, you'll need a wireless router running 802.11 B, G, or N on 2.4 GHz. It comes with special screws to secure it to your wall; either attach it to existing doorbell wiring for power or run it on battery power.

You'll also need to download the free Ring app and follow the in-app instructions for setting up your device.

Ring App Video Doorbell App view

Worried about your Ring being stolen? If someone manages to remove it in spite of the special security screws, file a report with Ring to have it replaced free of charge.

Ring Protection Plans

Ring offers optional Ring Video Recording Plans that cost a monthly or yearly subscription fee. Without Ring Video Recording, you'll still receive alerts when someone presses your Doorbell or triggers the motion sensors, and you’ll still get live streaming video and two-way audio. However, without Ring Video Recording, if you miss an alert or a live event, you won't be able to review the video.

Ring Video Recording saves all your recordings to your Ring account for up to 60 days and lets you review the videos, download them to local storage, and share them via social media, text, and email.

The Ring Video Recording Basic plan costs $3 per month or $30 for the year per device. The Protect plan costs $10 per month or $100 for a year, and it covers an unlimited amount of Ring cameras, offers a lifetime product warranty, and gives you an additional 10% off future purchases at Ring.com.