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Ring Alarm Security Kit review: Ring's crazy-affordable DIY system nails simple home security

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The Good The $199 Ring Alarm Security Kit is quick to install, its app is easy to use and the system itself is simple to manage. The price is excellent and you can add extra accessories a la carte as needed.

The Bad Ring's home security system doesn't currently work with Alexa, despite being an Amazon brand -- or any other major smart home platforms.

The Bottom Line Ring didn't do anything particularly innovative with its Alarm Security Kit, but this inexpensive DIY system stands out because of its simplicity.

7.5 Overall
  • Features 5.5
  • Usability 9
  • Design 7
  • Performance 9

Review Sections

Ring's $199 Z-Wave-enabled Alarm Security Kit is so simple you might overlook it at first. The system includes a base station, a keypad, a door/window sensor, a motion sensor and a Z-Wave range extender. It's all basic hardware with basic functionality -- you won't find any fancy features here -- but the Security Kit is super simple to set up and monitor in the Ring mobile app. 

You can add additional Ring door/window sensors and motion sensors to scale up the system as needed; the kit also works with a FirstAlert smoke and carbon monoxide detector. But that's about it, for now. Ring plans to add additional sensors at a later date and has hinted at upcoming partnerships with major third-party platforms like Alexa and Google Assistant. But considering Amazon bought Ring back in February, this system should really already work with Alexa and the Amazon Cloud Cam (it doesn't).

Even so, the Ring Alarm Security Kit is a terrific entry-level home security system at a superb price. Strongly consider it if you want a simple DIY system with optional professional monitoring for $10 per month. 

Ring's security system is currently only available in the US. At today's exchange rate, $199 converts to roughly £150 and AU$270. 

Ringing in better home security

Check out the chart below to see how Ring's Alarm Security Kit compares to the Nest Secure, Abode and SimpliSafe home security systems:

Comparing security systems


Ring Alarm Security Kit Nest Secure Alarm System Abode Essentials Starter Kit SimpliSafe Foundation Kit
Hardware cost $199 $399 $229 $229
Required monthly fees None None None None technically, but you have to pay for the pricier $25 per month Interactive plan to use the SimpliSafe app (a free feature on every other smart home device I've ever tested)
Professional monitoring Optional; $10 per month Optional; $29 per month Optional; $30 per month $15 per month; $25 per month if you want app access
Cellular backup Included with professional monitoring Included with professional monitoring; $5 per month as a standalone feature Included with professional monitoring; $10 per month as a standalone feature Included with professional monitoring at either price tier
Power outage/battery backup Yes Yes Yes Yes
Camera Not included in this kit, but available separately Not included in this kit, but available separately Not included in this kit, but available separately Not included in this kit, but available separately
Smart-home partners None Google Assistant, Nest Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest Amazon Alexa, Nest

The Ring Alarm Security Kit clearly stands out in terms of its low prices. Not only is its starter kit the least expensive of the bunch, so is its optional $10-per-month professional monitoring and included cellular backup. 

The other thing of note is its lack of smart home partners. Despite being owned by Amazon, Ring's system doesn't work with Alexa or any other major smart home platforms. If you want to arm and otherwise get the status of your home security system via voice commands, the Ring Alarm Security Kit isn't the right option for you. Ring does specify in its support section that it's working on these integrations for a future release.

It doesn't work with the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor home security camera, either. Here's what a Ring spokesperson had to say about it: "Ring Alarm does not work with Amazon Cloud Cam at this time. While I can't comment on the roadmap at this time, what I can tell you is that we will make product decisions based on what will best empower Neighbors with an affordable, effective way to monitor their homes."

The Amazon Cloud Cam is an excellent camera, one I gave an Editors' Choice award. And since Ring's lineup (aside from this security system) is limited to weatherproof cameras, doorbells and related outdoor accessories, adding the indoor-only Cloud Cam into the mix would be an obvious fit -- one that Ring and Amazon have so far overlooked. 

Ring also doesn't currently offer any additional security accessories, but it plans to add a leak sensor and other devices at some point. And while your Ring security cameras and video doorbells live in the same app as your Ring Alarm Security Kit, there aren't any direct integrations between them today. I'd like to see something like, "If the Ring Alarm Security Kit's front door sensor notices that the door is opened in Home or Away mode, then tell my Ring Video Doorbell Pro to record automatically" -- even if the Video Doorbell Pro itself hasn't detected motion yet. 

Setup

Installing and configuring the Ring system is ridiculously simple. Download the app on your iPhone or Android device and create an account. 

Once you're logged in, follow the straightforward prompts to connect each accessory. This was one of the easiest security system setups I've ever encountered; literally pull the battery tab on the battery-powered door/window sensor and motion sensor and plug in the base station, the keypad and the Z-Wave range extender, and they automatically connect to the app.

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