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Explainer Smart Home

What is Ring?

Catch up on the basics of the popular smart doorbell.

Chris Monroe/CNET

In smart-home and tech circles, the word "ring" likely refers to something other than a circular shape, a piece of jewelry or an audible chime. 

Ring is a video doorbell from a home automation company of the same name. The company offers a few different video doorbells. The basic concept of all the models is the same -- attach them to the exterior of your doorframe in place of your traditional doorbell and connect them to the internet. Then, you can see and talk to anyone who comes to the door via a video call.

The $200 Ring Video Doorbell polished a lot of the rough edges of the company's original product called Doorbot (at the time, the company was called BOT Home Automation). This Ring still experienced lag and spotty video feeds, and it only earned three stars in our review.

The $250 Ring Video Doorbell Pro offers a slimmed down design to better fit your doorframe along with high-definition video. It earned three-and-a-half stars in our review, as you still have to pay for cloud storage of your video.

The $200 Ring Video Doorbell 2 also earned three-and-a-half stars. It's bigger, like the original, but sports an easily removable battery if you don't want to wire it to your doorframe.

You should also consider the competition: The $200 Skybell HD is our current favorite if you're looking for a video doorbell.