The best Ring camera
Even if you have a home security system, having a camera outside your home can make you feel safer. Ring is one of the best-known manufacturers of cameras meant for monitoring your home -- they're often the most versatile, too, because you can choose from basic security models or doorbell cameras. All Ring cameras provide excellent image quality and a variety of features that give you peace of mind that your family is safe and sound.
With our shopping guide, you'll be armed with all the information you need to choose the best Ring camera for your home. We've also included several product recommendations at the end of this article, including our top pick, the Ring Floodlight Camera, which features dual floodlights and a 110-decibel alarm to really keep your home secure.
Considerations when choosing Ring cameras
Doorbell vs. security camera
Ring offers two main types of cameras: doorbell and security.
A Ring doorbell camera replaces your existing doorbell and provides an image of your door whenever anyone rings the bell. It also allows you to talk to visitors. However, it doesn't cover a very large area in front of your home. If you want to be able to see a wider area, look for a Ring security camera to surveil your property with a broader field of view.
Ring cameras can be powered in four different ways:
Battery-powered models feature a rechargeable battery that's easy to put in and take out for charging. You can also buy an extra battery, so you always have one ready to power the camera.
Plug-in models have a cord that must be plugged into an outlet. You don't ever have to worry about a battery dying, but you must install your camera near an outlet.
Hardwired models are the most secure and can't be removed as easily as battery-powered or plug-in models because they're connected to your existing wiring. They are more difficult to install and may require an electrician.
Solar-powered models have a solar panel that charges with sun exposure. They also have a backup battery to keep the camera powered if there isn't enough sun. The catch is that you need to install your camera in an area where it will receive plenty of regular sunlight.
Advanced motion detection
Ring cameras are all equipped with a motion sensor to alert you when there's activity outside your home, but some models offer advanced motion detection. You're able to create zones in the area that the camera covers so it doesn't pick up motion you don't want, such as traffic in the street. You can also engage a Person Detection feature that only picks up a person in front of the camera, not squirrels or birds that might be passing through your yard.
Most Ring cameras have built-in LED spot or flood lights that are motion-activated. If motion is detected in front of the camera, the lights automatically illuminate. Spotlights are on the small side, so if you want a super bright light, opt for a model with a flood light.
Ring security cameras are equipped with a 110-decibel alarm. You can set the alarm off from the Ring app if you observe someone near your home and want to scare them away.
Ring cameras cost between $60 and $500. You typically pay between $60 and $250 for a single security camera, but video doorbells go for $100 to $500.
Q. Do Ring cameras require professional installation?
A. It depends on the model you choose. Battery-powered, plug-in, and solar-powered models are easy to install, so most homeowners can handle it themselves. If you get a wired camera, you may prefer having a licensed electrician install it.
Q. Is there a subscription fee for using a Ring camera?
A. To check out live, on-demand images from your Ring camera, there's no fee. You need a subscription if you want to record live events to watch for later viewing.
Ring cameras we recommend
Best of the best: Ring Floodlight Camera
Our take: An exterior HD camera that offers two floodlights and a high-decibel alarm for effective home security.
What we like: Provides a 140° field of view. Flood lights are effective for evening home security. Lets you communicate with visitors at the door. Alarm can be set off by the Ring app.
What we dislike: Can be difficult to install.
Best bang for your buck: Ring Video Doorbell
Our take: A popular video doorbell that provides solid images and enables you to communicate with visitors at your door through the Ring app.
What we like: Offers very easy installation. Allows you to talk to guests even if you're not at home. Alerts you when someone approaches your door. One of the more affordable Ring cameras.
What we dislike: Motion detection feature can have a delay. Doesn't offer as many features as more expensive models.
Our take: An HD security camera that includes a two-way audio feature and an alarm, as well as a backup battery.
What we like: Provides clear, sharp images that are easy to access via the Ring app on your smartphone or tablet. Allows you to communicate with visitors. Built-in spotlight is triggered by motion sensor for added security.
What we dislike: Light can stay on for a while after motion sensor is activated.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.