Update, Sept. 28, 2021: Amazon hosted an to show off the latest editions to its growing lineup of devices as well as updates on its services. You can read a recap on our event coverage page. Original story follows.
Editors' note: You can find all of our coverage about Ring on this aggregation page, including our up-to-date and of Ring's privacy and security policies, and an exploration of .
The new Alarm Security Kit is Ring's second-gen DIY home security system. It looks very similar to the original, despite some minor hardware design tweaks, and it maintains the same $200 starting price as before. Its similarity to the previous model would annoy me if I hadn't liked the first iteration, but it was the best affordable security system I had tested at the time.
The second-gen Ring Alarm Security Kit is just as good. No, it still isn't flashy, and Ring remains mired in privacy controversies that will give many potential customers pause. But this system benefits from its simplicity. It's a good bet if you want a straightforward, affordable DIY security kit with optional professional monitoring -- even if it's not the most affordable home security option anymore.
- Performs well
- Easy to use
- Accessory options are limited
- Ring's complicated privacy history
An intro to Ring's new system
The Ring Alarm Security Kits range from a $200 (£179) five-piece kit on up to a $330 14-piece kit. I tested the $250 eight-piece kit, which includes a base station (with a built-in siren), a keypad, a range extender, a motion detector and four door/window sensors. (Different kits are offered in the UK. None are available in Australia.)
Ring offers an optional professional monitoring service called Ring Protect Plus for $10 per month or $100 per year. In general, if your system is armed and a potential security incident takes place, Ring's call center team will reach out to you and ask if everything's OK. If it isn't, they'll contact law enforcement for you.
You can add additional range extenders ($25), motion detectors ($30) and door/window sensors ($20) to your system, as needed. Ring also sells a few standalone devices that aren't available in this kit -- a flood/freeze sensor, a panic button and a device that "listens" for the audio frequencies of standard smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and sends you an alert if they sound. (Each of those devices costs $35 apiece.)
The Alarm Security Kit works with other Ring devices, too, like theand . That way, if you have a Ring camera or doorbell and pay for the optional cloud storage plan, your camera-enabled device will record video if your Ring security system is armed and a sensor detects unexpected activity.
You can also use anspeaker or display to arm and disarm your system -- or to ask for the status of the system. Note: If you ask Alexa to disarm the Alarm Security Kit, you'll be asked to say the same secret four-digit PIN you enter on the keypad to arm and disarm the system.
Ring offers select partnerships between this system and third-party devices, including GE, a First Alert , a Dome siren and Yale and Schlage . That's a decent start for optional accessories, but it's disappointing that a year on, Ring Alarm still doesn't have even third-party glass-break sensors or key fobs for arming and disarming. That really stops it from competing with more full-fledged systems like .
Speaking of SimpliSafe, when Ring Alarm originally launched, it represented a more budget-friendly alternative to many DIY competitors. But other budget options have entered the race in recent months -- most notably, which costs about half as much, both for its hardware and its monthly subscriptions. Wyze unseated Ring as -- but that doesn't mean Ring isn't worth considering. The biggest benefit it has over competitors like Wyze, or the equally cheap , is cellular backup (essentially, if your power or internet goes out, they'll still be able to notify you and emergency service providers of problems).
The Ring system is thankfully simple to install. Download the app and create an account if you don't already have one and follow the prompts to get everything working. In this article. Check it out if you have further questions.
My colleague, Julie Snyder, also put together this great video explainer of the entire installation process.
Testing out the Alarm Security Kit
Unfortunately I don't have an Alexa speaker or any of the additional accessories that work with Ring here at my home, which made testing those features difficult. I didn't sign up for Ring Protect Plus, either, since I didn't want to create false alarms that involved an actual call center or law enforcement, so I kept things simple here, sticking with the basics: the eight-piece system itself, as it comes out of the box.
It installed quickly, thanks to the straightforward steps in the app and the sticky tape on the back of the sensor devices. It probably took me 15 minutes to set up everything from start to finish. Some of the devices, like the keypad, come with hardware if you want to mount it to the wall for a more permanent install, which could make the overall installation time longer.
To test out the system, I walked in front of the motion sensor and opened the doors and windows with door/window sensors attached. I tested arming and disarming the system, both from the app and from the keypad. I also tested out the siren built into the base station that comes with this system. You can program the siren to sound when the system is armed and unexpected activity is detected -- and also manually from a button on the app, whenever you want.
I can attest to the siren being very loud and scaring my two dogs, as well as my husband (sorry, y'all).
The sensors, keypad and app worked as expected, too, responsively sending alerts to my phone and arming and disarming the system. The updated keypad offers "one-touch buttons" to contact emergency services, but, again, I didn't test their capabilities.
Ring privacy and security
As far as Ring's privacy and security goes, I've felt conflicted. I go into that at length in, but the gist is that privacy and security necessarily factor into how -- and, sometimes, even whether -- we review a product. After learning more about through its Neighbors program on the Ring app, as well as , we temporarily removed Ring products from consideration.
However, Ring has introduced measures that make it easier for customers to access and adjust their privacy and security settings, including Ring's privacy statement for more information -- and check out my former colleague Alfred Ng's extensive and law enforcement -- along with David Priest's on .. Because of those changes, we're now reviewing Ring products again, but, as always, it's ultimately up to you to decide if you're comfortable with a company's policies. Read
I like the Ring Alarm Security Kit. It's cheap, it's simple and it works well. Ring needs to add more accessories into the mix to compete with highly customizable systems from brands like SimpliSafe, but Ring's Alexa integration and small but growing assortment of hardware options make it a solid entry-level DIY home security system. Consider it if you want a basic DIY home security at a great price.