With Amazon Prime Day deals on security cameras flying off the virtual shelves, you maybe be wondering which of the two big home security brands is best for your: Blink or Ring?
If you're on the hunt for a new home security camera, you'll have probably come across the Blink and Ring ranges before. Both of these brands are owned by Amazon, but they have different capabilities and price points.
Blink offers affordable security cameras for in and around the home – the Blink Mini for example is less than $40 / £40. It’s a scalable, entry-level system that’s designed to be easy to fit and use. For a relatively low price, you can set up motion-sensing cameras and have alerts sent to your smartphone. What's more, there’s no monthly fee, and the cameras use regular batteries.
Ring is best known for its video doorbells, but since it launched its first device, the security firm has expanded to offer a much broader range of complementary security cameras, including an indoor camera. Prices are higher than they are for Blink products, and you’ll need to subscribe to one of Ring's Protect plans if you want to store recorded footage and access more features – but the hardware is more versatile and offers several potentially important extra features.
While Amazon owns both companies, Blink and Ring are quite different prospects. Both are worth considering if you’re looking to set up security cameras in and/or outside your home, but it's likely that one system will suit you better than the other – so let’s dig into what each offers.
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Blink offers a range of different cameras. The cheapest is the Blink Mini at $34.99 / £34.99 (about AU$60), which is a compact indoor plug-in smart security camera that offers 1080p HD video, motion detection, and Alexa compatibility.
If you're looking to keep an eye on the inside of your home, the Blink Indoor Wireless comes in at $79.99 / £79.99 (roughly AU$145), with additional cameras costing about $69 / £69 each (around AU$95) – though kits with multiple cameras are available at a slight discount.
The new Blink outdoor cam, which is the outdoor weatherproof camera, will cost you $99.99 / £99.99 (approximately AU$180) for a single camera system, with additional cameras at $89.99 / £89.99 (around AU$165) each.
Blink systems come with a wireless hub, called a Blink Sync Module, that can support up to 10 cameras. There are no monthly fees.
Ring offers everything from video doorbells to security systems, security cameras, and smart lights.
Its latest smart doorbell is the Ring Video Doorbell 3, which costs $199 / £179 / AU$329, while it's higher-spec sibling, the Video Doorbell Plus costs $229 / £199 / AU$369.
There are also a number of add-on devices to go with your video doorbell, including Ring’s All-New Chime ($30 / £29 / AU$59), which provides an audible chime when somebody knocks your door.
The brand's security cameras start at $99.99 / £89 /AU$179 with the Stick Up Cam, which can be placed indoors or out and comes either wired or battery-operated.
It’s not essential to subscribe to a Ring plan unless you want to be able to record video – without a plan your Ring cameras will just work as live feed devices. The Protect Basic or Protect Plus plans store recorded video in the cloud for 30 days. A Protect Basic Plan is $3 / £2.50 / AU$4 per month (or $30 / £24.99 / AU$40 for the year), and this covers one device.
A Protect Plus Plan costs $10 / £8 / AU$15 per month or $100 / £80 / AU$150 per year, and covers every Ring device at one address.
Cameras and equipment
Blink is a more basic system offering two types of camera that need to be hooked up wirelessly to a Sync Module over Wi-Fi, whereas Ring offers a variety of standalone devices that connect directly to your Wi-Fi network.
The indoor Blink camera has motion and temperature sensors and a microphone. It can record HD video at 720p and takes two standard AA lithium batteries.
The slightly more expensive Blink XT or XT2 camera is suitable for the outdoors as it has an IP65 rating. It can also record at higher quality, up to 1080p, and it has infrared night vision.
Blink suggests the batteries will last up to two years, but much depends on how often your camera is triggered – in practice, the Blink XT2 should easily be able to hit the two-year mark.
Ring’s system is far more versatile, with many of its devices offering a choice between battery operated, solar-powered, and wired configurations. All of its cameras and doorbells record in 1080p.
The Stick Up Cam can be used indoors or out and it offers two-way talk, which is lacking in all Blink systems except the Blink XT2. The Spotlight Cam is designed for outside, and adds LED light strips and a siren.
Ring also offers the Floodlight Cam, which is designed to replace security lights. It lights up when it senses motion, streams video and sends you a notification. It also includes a 110-decibel siren to help you scare off suspicious people. The Floodlight Cam must be hardwired to a standard electrical box.
In the US and Canada, Ring even offers a full Ring Alarm security kit, which bundles together motion sensors and a keypad, and also integrates with other Ring products.
Smart home features
You can use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant with both Blink and Ring devices. You can also set up motion events to trigger other smart home devices, so that, for example, your porch lights turn on when motion is detected at the door.
If you have an Amazon Echo you can even use it to communicate through your Ring cameras and have a two-way conversation. The Ring app also works with various smart lock systems.
Using the app
The Blink Home Monitor app is free for Android or iOS. It enables you to customize your camera settings, determine the sensitivity of the motion sensor, choose the length of video clips it records, and set up a schedule if you want. The app records video in five second bursts by default, but you can increase that up to 60 seconds.
You’ll get alerts on your phone when motion is detected by your Blink cameras, and you can then review the recorded clips. You can also choose to tune in to the live feed, but you can’t record video when watching a camera live.
You’ll also be asked if you’re still watching every 60 seconds. The free storage space is enough for 7,200 seconds of video in total and it will overwrite the oldest video clips as soon as the limit is reached. If you're using the Blink XT2, you can also use two-way audio through the app.
You can view a live feed of the camera and, if you’re using a doorbell, Stick Up, or Spotlight Cam, even have a two-way conversation with whoever is there. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors to reduce the risk of false positives.
Which is right for you?
You could install either the Blink or Ring systems yourself, unless you opt for the wired-in Ring devices. If you’re looking to keep costs down and just want a basic system with no hidden fees or subscription, then Blink could be exactly what you need. The Ring devices are more expensive to begin with, and you’ll need a monthly subscription to record and review video.
Ring offers a much more versatile set of devices and power options, with extra features such as light and siren functionality. There are also cameras with two-way audio, and while Blink offers this too, it's only on the Blink XT2, which is currently only available in the US and Canada.
- TechRadar is rounding up all the top deals over the Prime Day sales period, and we’ve put all the best Prime Day deals in an easy-to-navigate article to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.