Ring may be best known for its video doorbells, a product the company first peddled on Shark Tank back in 2013, but it has since become a pioneer in the home security market.
Since it was acquired by Amazon in 2018 for more than $1 billion, the company has expanded its product lineup to include everything from indoor security cameras, floodlight cameras, and even a camera that flies around your home.
It’s not just cameras the company offers, either, as Ring is also looking to put an end to tradition home security systems, which have typically required professional installation and costly subscription plans.
The Ring Alarm is one of the most affordable smart home security systems on the market, at £249 / $199 / AU$275, and with Amazon Prime Day, you might be able to get it even cheaper. Be sure to keep an eye on our roundup of the best Amazon Prime Day deals.
The company debuted the Ring Alarm earlier last year and claims it’s one of the most comprehensive and affordable DIY home security systems on the market. But does it live up to Amazon’s big claims, and should you buy it?
The bottom line
The Ring Alarm is affordable, easy to install, and unlike other products on the market, not reliant on a paid subscription service. However, while plenty comprehensive for those looking for a set-and-forget home security system, there’s limited third-party smart home integration.
The Ring Alarm puts simplicity at the forefront; the Starter Kit includes everything you need to get going, it’s inexpensive compared to rival systems, and it’s easy to set up – it doesn’t require professional installation, nor any specialist tools. The no-frills system also doesn’t require an accompanying paid subscription, as this is offered as an optional extra.
The Ring Alarm comes with some minor annoyances; it offers limited integration with smart home products, doesn’t support Google Assistant, and is less comprehensive than other, admittedly more expensive systems on the market such, as Nest Secure.
Ring Alarm: everything you need to know
The Ring Alarm is the company’s first foray into the world of smart home security systems, and it’s keeping things simple. The Ring Alarm Security Kit arrives in the form of a 5-piece kit that comprises a base station, keypad, contact sensor for your window or door, motion detector, and range extender.
Amazon is promising that setup is just as simple as the kit itself and claims the system can be installed “in minutes” without any tools or professional installation. According to the company, you can “simply use the Ring app to connect the base station via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, install the contact sensors on the doors and/or windows of choice, and place the motion detectors to monitor for movement”.
Once you're set up, the Ring Alarm’s functionality is just as frills-free; you’ll get real-time notifications to your smartphone or tablet when someone enters a room, opens a window, or manually sets off the siren from the Ring Alarm keypad.
There are three different security modes, and the alarm can be armed and disarmed using the keypad, or within the app. If you have other Ring devices, like the Ring Video Doorbell 3, you can connect it to the Ring Alarm and trigger your cameras to start recording when the Alarm sounds – though you'll need a subscription to Ring Protect Plus to take advantage of this feature.
Ring Protect Plus is offered as an optional extra that costs $10 / £8 per month, and also provides cellular backup in case your Wi-Fi goes offline, as well as the option to opt into Assisted Monitoring, which will automatically call emergency contacts during an Alarm event.
Although the Ring Alarm offers limited third-party smart home integrations and lacks support for Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, it will of course work with Alexa devices, like the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot. This means you can arm, disarm, and check the status of the Alarm using Alexa voice commands.
Given the Ring Alarm’s affordable price, it’s difficult to think of too many drawbacks. However, as with any Ring product, it’s important to be aware of the track record when it comes to user privacy; it has been the subject of much controversy in the US for its partnership with police departments, and last year suffered a data breach that exposed personal data belonging to more than 3,000 of its users.
On the other hand, it’s also worth considering that there’s little competition on the market when it comes to smart home security systems, beyond the significantly more expensive Nest Secure.
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.
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Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.