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

From there, the software asks you to name each device and assign them to a room like "entryway" or "kitchen." It also provides tips on how to install each product. 

It took me roughly 15 minutes from start to finish, but I used the sticky tape that came with the system rather than the hardware. I imagine it would take a bit longer if you want to mount everything more permanently.

Even so, Ring gives you options with the installation. You can either mount the keypad or use the included stand and set it on your entryway table. You can either use the sticky tape -- or the included mounting brackets and screws. 

Using your Ring system

All of the devices in your Ring Alarm Security Kit communicate back to the base station via Z-Wave, which then translates everything over Wi-Fi (or Ethernet connection) to communicate with the Ring mobile app. The Ring mobile app and the keypad are your two points of access with the system. Arm and disarm the system from either one. From the app, you simply press "Home" or "Away" to arm your system and then "Disarm" to turn it off. From the keypad, you enter a four-digit PIN code of your choosing to both arm and disarm the system.

Home mode automatically sounds the alarm if an exterior door or window is opened; Away mode automatically sounds the alarm if the system detects motion or if an exterior door or window is opened. You can also adjust the default settings to suit your specific needs and even "disable" a specific sensor if you want to arm your system but leave a window open. 

Press "Home" or "Away" to arm your Ring security system in the app.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Everything about this system is straightforward. Enter your PIN code at the keypad to leave -- or select "Away" in the app and you'll have 60 seconds to leave before the system officially arms (you can adjust this time as needed in the app settings). 

If you add in professional monitoring, a call center will keep track of your system. If your system is armed and unexpected activity takes place, the call center will call you, or your listed emergency contact if you don't answer. They'll ask you for your secret security password, which you create when you sign up for monitoring -- give that password if everything is fine. If the wrong password is given, they will send law enforcement to your address.

If you monitor the system yourself, the alarm will sound if unexpected activity occurs, but it's up to you to contact emergency services.

All of the accessories performed as expected. The app and keypad worked well for arming and disarming. The sensors quickly reacted to unexpected motion and, after a 60-second delay, sounded the loud 104-decibel siren from the base station and from the keypad. The app also tracks security system activity, so you have a timestamped log of what happens. 

The verdict

The Ring Alarm Security Kit only costs $199. That immediately sets it apart from pricier competitors like Nest, Abode and SimpliSafe. That said, Ring's system is missing some of the advanced features you get with the Nest Secure Alarm System -- and the sheer number of optional accessories available through SimpliSafe. 

I'd like to see Amazon Cloud Cam, Alexa and Google Assistant integrations ASAP, too, but Ring's Alarm Security Kit is a solid home security system worth considering otherwise. 

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