Nest Hello vs. Ring: Which Video Doorbell Is Right For You?

Comparing the Nest Doorbell and the Ring Video Doorbell

Delivery person ringing doorbell

urbazon/Getty Images

Thanks to the emerging Internet of Things and an array of smart devices, our homes are becoming smart, connected, and automated. One of the first aspects of home life to go online has been security, thanks to technology like smart doorbells, connected door locks, and always-on security cameras.

There are a handful of connected doorbells you can rely on to take your front door into the 21st century, and we looked at the two best and most popular options: The Ring Doorbell and the Nest Hello.

We compared the capabilities and features of both of these devices to see which is the best one for your home.

What is the Ring Video Doorbell?

Ring offers a family of video doorbells that all work more or less the same way: Equipped with a video camera, Wi-Fi, motion detector, and two-way audio, they can send notifications to your smartphone to let you know when someone rings the bell or, optionally, when someone enters Ring’s field of view. The Rings lets you talk to visitors even when you’re away from home, since the Ring app works like a video chat app with someone at your door.

A Ring Video Doorbell mounted near a door.
Ring

If you subscribe to the Ring Protect Plan, the system saves your videos to the cloud for 60 days, meaning you can review videos afterwards to see why a motion alert went off or who rang your doorbell. Every new Ring comes with a free 30-day trial to the Ring Protect Plan. If you don’t subscribe, the Ring continues to work just fine, except you can only see video as it’s happening; no videos are stored for later.

The differences among the various Ring models are small. The original Ring Video Doorbell has a 720p HD video camera. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 upgrades the camera to 1080p HD video and makes the battery removable for easier recharging, but both can optionally be wired to your home for power as well. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro must be hardwired to the house's doorbell wiring for power; the Ring Video Doorbell Elite relies on Power Over Ethernet, which gets power via Ethernet cabling.

What We Like

  • You can connect the Ring to your home’s doorbell wiring or use the rechargeable battery.

  • It has a built-in chime if you don’t wire it into your home, and you can position an optional wireless chime elsewhere in your home.

  • Ring has embraced community, and has comprehensive crime reporting for your neighborhood in the app.

What We Don't Like

  • It’s a little bulky, so it might not fit near your door.

  • It only records when the bell is rung or it detects motion.

What is the Nest Hello?

Like the Ring, Nest Hello is a connected video doorbell that connects to a mobile app via Wi-Fi, and includes two-way communication for talking to whoever is at your front door. Unlike the more established Ring, though, there’s just a single model of Nest Hello currently for sale. Its camera resolution is roughly 1080p HD (but shoots video that’s more square than rectangular). There’s no rechargeable battery, so to install a Nest Hello, you need to hardwire it to existing doorbell wiring.

A person rigning a Nest Hello doorbell.
Nest

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the optional facial recognition. If you use it, the Nest Hello can learn the identity of people who frequent your front door, and identify them by name when your app notifies you someone has arrived. To take advantage of that, though, you need to subscribe to Nest Aware, which also stores video online for up to 30 days. 

What We Like

  • With a subscription, it can record 24/7 for continuous monitoring.

  • The HDR recording makes faces much easier to see at night.

  • Face recognition lets you know when friends and family are at the door.

What We Don't Like

  • The subscription is a little on the expensive side.

  • There’s no option to install a Nest Hello on a door without doorbell wiring.

Ring vs. Nest Doorbell Feature Comparison

Ring Video Doorbell and Nest Hello are both popular products with many features and capabilities; substantially, they both do the same thing, but thanks to various features, you may like one more than the other. To help you choose, we’ve compared the two products. To make the comparison easier, we chose to compare the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to the Nest Hello, since that’s the most commonly purchased version of the Ring.

  Nest Hello Ring Video Doorbell 2
Camera resolution 1600x1200 1920x1080
Power Hardwired only Hardwired or rechargeable battery
Recording stored online 30 days 60 days
Dimensions 4.6 x 1.7 inches 5 x 2.5 inches
Chime Requires house chime Built-in chime
Continuous recording Yes No
Warranty 2 years 1 year

Should You Choose a Ring or a Nest Hello?

These two doorbells might seem very similar, but in reality, the Nest Hello has some compelling features that might make it the smarter choice for a lot of people.

The Nest Hello is the only connected doorbell on the market that captures video 24/7, and is able to record that video to the cloud. If you want to review what happened on your front steps at 3PM last Tuesday, you can do that with a Nest Hello. With any model of the Ring Doorbell family, you're limited to video that was captured when an event occurred, such as when the doorbell was rung or when motion was detected.

The Nest Hello also has face recognition, which is like Caller ID for your front door, and a truly impressive feature. Of course, both of those capabilities disappear if you don’t subscribe to Nest Aware, but most people will likely factor the ongoing cost of a subscription into the price of a connected doorbell, since both the Ring and the Hello are somewhat hobbled without one.

Another advantage of the Nest Hello (which you get with or without the subscription) is HDR video, which is a real advantage at night, when the person on your porch might be backlit by streetlights or cars.

On the other hand, the Ring doorbells have an important feature that's missing in the Nest Hello: the ability to be installed on a door without doorbell wiring. Some houses and apartments don’t have working wiring, meaning the various battery-equipped Ring Video Doorbell models can be installed and function just fine. And depending on your residence, that might make all the difference.