The Ring Alarm Security Kit is a DIY home security system that is easy to install and offers affordable professional monitoring, but interoperability with Ring cameras and third-party devices is not yet supported.
- Easy to install.
- Affordable professional monitoring available.
- Supports multiple wireless platforms.
- Loud 104 db siren.
- Accessible for blind or visually impaired users.
- Currently lacks integration with other devices, including Ring cameras and doorbells.
- Does not support IFTTT or voice commands.
- Bulky contact sensors.
- Navigation in iOS app can be confusing for new VoiceOver users.
The latest addition to Ring’s home security platform, the Ring Alarm Security Kit, contains everything you need to protect and keep tabs on your home. As with other DIY smart home security systems, installation is quick and easy, and you can either self-monitor or pay a modest fee for a professional monitoring service. The system worked well in our tests, but we were surprised to find that it offers limited support for third-party devices, and although it uses the same app, it doesn’t interact with other Ring cameras or doorbells, at least not yet.
Ring’s Alarm is the latest in these new, do-it-yourself home security systems by using a variety of motion, entryway, and fire / carbon monoxide sensors, along with Ring’s other home security cameras to monitor your home for emergencies and intrusions.
The Alarm system does not have as many features or the conveniences other systems provide. But at $199 USD for the starter bundle, which includes the necessary hub, a keypad, a motion detector, a contact sensor for doors or windows, and a range extender, plus $10 per month for professional monitoring, Ring’s system is significantly cheaper than any competitor.
Aside from its affordability, Ring’s Alarm system is easy to use. Though it has all of the features necessary for a proper home security system, professional monitoring, battery and cellular backup for the event of a power loss. Installing the Ring Alarm in my home took about 40 minutes and involved following the app’s instructions to get the base station on my Wi-Fi network and register each included piece. Ring presets the included motion detector, contact sensor, and range extender to pair with the hub that’s in the box, so getting them set up is just a matter of pulling the battery tab to wake them up and waiting a moment for the app to find them.
Installing the sensors was also easy: I used the included double sided tape to mount the contact sensor to my back door and the motion sensor to the upstairs living room in my home. Ring also includes the necessary screws and wall fasteners for a more permanent installation, but the double sided tape was sufficient for my needs.
Ring says that it will preset any additional devices you order at the same time as the Alarm starting kit, which would make setting them up as seamless as the in-box sensors.
Ring’s motion sensors and contact sensors are comparable to traditional systems. Ring’s separate base station and keypad allows you to add multiple keypads to the Ring system, so you can have one at each entry way or in your bedroom if that’s a more convenient place for it. The keypad can be placed flat on a table or mounted to the wall, and uses a simple MicroUSB cable for power. Its internal battery lasts between six and twelve months, according to Ring, so it’s possible to install it in a location that doesn’t have an accessible power outlet and just charge it occasionally.
The base station is also wall-mountable and can be installed on a Wi-Fi network or connected directly to your internet router over Ethernet. It has a 24-hour battery backup plus the ability to connect to an LTE network in the event of a power outage. The LTE connectivity is available when you subscribe to Ring’s Protect Plus monitoring service. Both the keypad and the base station feature colored LED rings to signify if the system is armed or disarmed and have built-in speakers to sound the 104db alarm in the event of an emergency or intrusion.
The Ring Alarm system does not include fire or carbon monoxide monitoring. For those features, you’ll need to add a First Alert Z-Wave Smoke/CO alarm ($40) or Ring’s Alarm Smoke and CO listener ($35) that gets installed next to your existing smoke alarms and “hears” when they go off to trigger the system. I was not able to test these products for this review.
Ring provides 24 / 7 professional monitoring of the Alarm system through its Protect Plus service, which will automatically notify authorities and emergency services if there’s an intrusion or crisis detected. The service will alert you and other emergency contacts you set via phone and then dispatch emergency personnel as needed. Though the Ring Alarm will provide push notifications to your mobile device without the additional monitoring service, having the service ensures that emergency services are deployed automatically whether you see the push notifications or not.
Like the hardware, Ring’s Protect Plus service is significantly less expensive than other options. It costs $10 per month and has no long term contract commitments.
In addition, Ring’s Protect Plus service includes unlimited cloud storage for Ring’s various doorbell and security cameras, so if you have a Ring Doorbell or outside camera already installed, you don’t need to pay a separate fee to get the most out of it.
The Ring Alarm system has three different modes, which can be set via the keypad or through the iOS and Android apps. There’s the standard disarmed mode that turns off all of the monitoring; an away mode that watches all of the installed sensors for intrusions; and then a “Home” mode, which by default will monitor sensors installed on entryways, but ignores motion inside the house.
Setting the Ring to away will trigger a customizable countdown timer (from 30 seconds to 3 minutes), to give you time to cancel the alarm or exit the home. It will then push a notification to your phone when the system is armed, as well as announce audibly through the base station and keypad in the home that it has been armed. The system will also push notifications when the alarm is triggered via motion or through an entryway, as well as when it’s disarmed. In my experience, the push notifications were near instant to my device, but I would not want to rely on them in lieu of the professional monitoring, as they would not reach me if my phone had no service or was otherwise inaccessible.
The Ring app manages both the Alarm system and any installed Ring cameras
Aside from the app and the keypad, there isn’t currently another way to set the system.
Ring says that integration with Alexa will come down the road. For its part, Ring says that smart home integrations are coming, but it wanted to make sure that it had nailed down the security aspect of the system before adding to it. The company says it plans to add integrations with lighting, door locks, and other smart home gadgets down the road.