Deciding to install a video doorbell is the easy part. The hard part is choosing which video doorbell will work for your specific needs, with some room for additions in the future as you move to a smart home. There are two biggies in the video doorbell market, Nest and Ring.
Ring doorbells have been around a bit longer and are now available in 3 general models for individuals to install in existing homes. Nest, while not as aged, has quickly risen to become a contender in the market.
We’ve put together this comparison guide to help you decide which video doorbell is the best and which one is the best … for your specific situation.
Head to Head Comparison
Some people enjoy seeing a direct side-by-side comparison of products, so we’ve included the following table to help you see many of the aspects each video doorbell has to offer. As you can see there are only a few slight differences. The biggest differences will be evident as we dive a little deeper.
|Category||Nest Hello||Ring||Ring 2||Ring Pro|
|Features||24/7 Support||Adjustable Zones||Adjustable Zones||Adjustable Zones|
|Specs||4.6 x 1.7 x 1.0”||5.0 x 2.4 x 0.9”||5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1”||4.5 x 1.9 x 0.8”|
|Price||Check Google||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
|Subscription (Monthly)||$5 and up||$3 and up||$3 and up||$3 and up|
|Video Quality||1600 x 1200||1280 x 720||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080|
|Power Source||Wired||Battery or Wired||Battery or Wired||Wired|
|Connectivity||2.4 & 5GHz||2.4GHz||2.4GHz||2.4 & 5GHz|
*May require electrician assistance if you do not already have a directly wired doorbell, consult your local codes for any additional requirements.
The table above only gives you a brief overview, each has so much more to offer. In this section, we will go into a more detailed explanation of the specific features so you can decide which will better fit your individual needs.
When we refer to the overall design, we mean the specific dimensions of the primary unit, the actual doorbell. While some may not care, others may want to consider the design and how it may affect the overall aesthetic of the exterior of their home. So, let’s take a closer look.
The Nest Hello doorbell is 4.6 inches in height and 1.7 inches wide. The depth of 1.0-inch means that the Nest Hello is approximately double that of a traditional push-button doorbell. Unlike the rectangular design of the Ring doorbells, the Nest is oval in shape.
The original Ring doorbell is 4.9-inches tall by 2.4 inches wide and the entire unit has a depth of 0.87 inches, barely more than that of a traditional doorbell.
The Ring 2 is only slightly bigger than the original at 5.0 inches by 2.5 inches, with a depth of 1.0 inch. Ring 2 also offers you the option of interchangeable faceplates to help you integrate with your house’s design if you want.
The Ring Pro is a bit more streamlined than the Ring 2. At only 4.5 inches in height by 1.8 inches in width and a depth of only 0.8 inches, the Ring Pro is the smallest all of the video doorbells we are comparing.
Every one of the doorbells we are comparing offers their own unique features that may be in some of the others. Here are the most notable additional features that accompany each of the units that we are choosing not covering in more detail.
The Nest features several options above and beyond the ability to see the person (or persons) at your door. You have the ability to communicate with the built-in two-way audio, you can view live video and with a valid subscription can even store videos for some time.
The Nest also gives you the option of setting times when you are not alerted, what they refer to as quiet time. This is a fantastic option for those that have working hours outside of regular business hours and may be sleeping or resting during the day. And for parents of infants, it may be a lifesaver.
Other features include night vision, motion detection, and prerecorded messages. The Nest works well with Google Assistant but can be rigged for limited communication with Alexa devices. With a subscription, in addition to added video recording options, the Nest Hello can incorporate smart alerts and facial recognition, so you will know when you favorite (or not so favorite) people are at your door.
The original Ring video doorbell offers two-way audio abilities, motion-activated alerts and on-demand video access that allows you to check on your home from any smart device. All Ring doorbells work seamlessly with Alexa for simple voice activation and monitoring with Alexa enabled screen devices such as the Amazon Echo Show. With Ring Protect Plus, the optional monitoring subscription service, you can also store and share videos.
The Ring 2 doorbell has all of the great features of the original with a few upgrades. In addition to higher audio and video quality, the Ring 2 has an easily removable battery compartment for those that choose to run their system non-wired. This allows for easy USB recharging of the battery without removing the entire unit as in the original.
The Ring 2 also features that ability to change the faceplate allowing you to make your video doorbell more customized to your needs.
The Ring Pro doorbell is the highest grade of doorbells currently offered from Ring that does not require professional installation. In addition to all of the features available in the other models, The Pro features even more customized faceplates and can be used on either 2.4GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections. The Pro also requires a wired electrical connection and offers the most advanced motion detection of any of the Ring video doorbells.
Subscription (Monthly fees)
Both Next and Ring video doorbells can be enhanced with the help of a subscription service, but there are a few different options and some differences that you may want to consider before you decide which product is best for you.
The Nest Hello video doorbell is monitored using the Nest Aware subscription service. The service is the same across all subscriptions with one exception, the length of time that videos are automatically stored. Here is a quick look at the subscription options.
|Video Storage||5 days||10 days||30 days|
|Cost/Year (paid in full)||$50||$100||$300|
|Additional Cameras **||$3/month each||$5/month each||$15/month each|
**Additional cameras must be at the same address and have the same recording history to qualify for the discounted rates.
You should also know that the only persons able to utilize the Nest Aware subscription service are homeowners. Individuals who rent may not purchase a subscription for a home they do not personally own.
Ring Device owners have two subscription options to add features and monitoring to the Ring video doorbells and other Ring devices. These services are currently only available to residents within the United States and Canada, with a few exceptions. Self-monitoring is still available without a subscription in all areas.
|Feature||Ring Protect Basic||Ring Protect Plus|
|Video Storage||30-60 days*||30-60 days*|
|Review and Share Videos||✔||✔|
|Custom motion detection||✔||✔|
|Live Video on Demand||✔||✔|
|Discounts on Ring Products||—||✔|
|Cost/Year (paid in full)||$30||$100|
* Depends on location
** Additional charges may apply
When it comes to installing your new video doorbell, depending on the model you have chosen and how you want to connect to your doorbell you may be able to install it yourself or use a professional. Here is a look at the specific installation requirements for each device.
The Nest Hello video doorbell requires a wired electrical connection (10VA transformer). Although we would recommend those who are not familiar with electrical wiring to contact a professional for assistance, installation can be done on your own.
Ring (Original) and Ring 2
The original Ring doorbell and the Ring 2 both give you options for installation. You can choose to use it wirelessly, and with or without a chime. Without an additional purchase of a Ring Chime, you will not be alerted other than through the app (or connected Alexa device) when the doorbell is activated.
Wired installation is a bit more involved but can still be done on your own, especially if you have just a bit of electrical experience. Either way, you must have a transformer connection to hardwire the doorbell. Don’t worry, if you already have a traditional wired doorbell there is probably already a transformer connected. Both the Ring and Ring 2 Doorbells can be DIY installed easily to an existing system.
Unlike the other Ring models, the Ring Pro requires a wired installation. Just like the wired installation of the Original Ring and Ring 2 models, you will need to have a wired connection with a transformer. A bonus is that when you purchase the Ring Pro comes with the necessary supplies to ensure you have enough power to the doorbell to operate properly.
Video Quality; Including Night Vision, Viewing Angle, and Audio Options
The stats regarding these features can be seen in the top table, but to make sure that the information is easily understood, we’ll cover them a bit deeper.
The Nest offers a 3-megapixel camera that allows you to see and communicate through the internal speakers and your smart device, including a tablet, smartphone, or even a PC. With 8x digital zoom and a 160-degree viewing angle, you can capture video and images in 1600 x 1200 HDR up to 30 frames per second and even at night. The Nest also offers additional image and alert features like face recognition and quiet time.
All of the Ring doorbells are equipped with night vision and audio speakers with two-way communication. The original Ring captures video in 720p while the Ring 2 and Ring Pro capture 1080p video quality. All have the ability to detect motion and integrate seamlessly with smart devices for easy monitoring with or without a subscription.
Smart Home Connectivity
Most people who purchase a video doorbell already have some type of smart home device. Whether you are a diehard Alexa fan or prefer going with Google or Apple products, you will want to make sure that the product you select can connect and communicate with your other devices.
Nest products are sold and backed by Google, so they will easily connect to Google Home and other Google smart devices easily. Although with a bit of ingenuity you can connect the Nest Hello video doorbell to any smart home system.
Ring products are now owned and sold by Amazon, so it should come as no surprise that they work perfectly with all Amazon Smart Home devices and Alexa enabled devices. You can also connect your Ring video doorbell to a Wink brand hub if that is what you already have. With Ring, your best option is going to be an Echo Spot or Echo Show, or another Alexa enabled device with a screen.
Both brands come with their very own app for both Android and iOS, so you do not have to worry about any issues with the brands of your smartphone interfering with your video doorbell access.
Pros and Cons:
Now that we have covered many specific aspects of each brand of video doorbell, it may be helpful to see a breakdown of the pros and cons of each to help you make your final decision.
Nest Hello Video Doorbell
- Wired installation
- Customizable motion sensitivity
- No-alert quiet time
- Larger camera
- 2-way communication
- Night vision
- More advanced app
- Automatic 24/7 video recording (saving requires subscription)
- Additional cameras as same address; discount on subscription
- Limited features without a subscription
- Price of unit and subscription higher than Ring
The Nest Hello does not have any other devices that are specifically designed to be integrated with the video doorbell. Although the Nest is compatible with Google Home and many other smart devices, there are no expansion options beyond the video doorbell itself.
Ring Video Doorbell
- Easy DIY Installation on most models
- Wired or Battery Installation options (depends on model)
- Higher quality video (Ring 2 and Ring Pro)
- Lower Monthly subscription options
- 2-way communication
- Night vision
- Does not record 24/7, only when activated
- Video capture is not smooth (Original Ring)
- No Customization for motion sensitivity
Ring has a full line of home security products that integrate seamlessly with the video doorbell. Whether you go with the original or another model, you can have added peace of mind by purchasing several products to use with your Ring video doorbell.
Some of the Ring products that can be added include full-multi level security systems, additional cameras, with or without audio options, panic buttons, and smoke alarm and flood alert devices. When it comes to DIY home security, Ring covers all the bases.
And the WINNER is…
While you would probably prefer a clear and decisive winner declaration, the truth is that the only way to determine a winner is to decide which will fit your needs. However, we will offer that there is a clear choice for individuals in certain situations that may help you even more.
The best option for:
- Individuals who require advance home security options
- 24/7 monitoring
- Advanced smart technology users
- No need for long term video storage
Ring (1st Gen)
The best option for:
- Budget-conscious individual
- New to smart home technology and are not sure what they really need/want
- Low need for additional home security features
- Those with NO existing wired doorbell
- Just want a doorbell with video features
- Testing the idea of a video doorbell
The best option for:
- Upgrading from the original Ring
- Have some understanding of smart home technology
- Want more video quality
- Better battery powered option
- Individuals with less stable internet connections
The best option for:
- Prefer products from more established companies
- Want more advanced home security options
- Adding to existing Ring systems
- Have wired connection in place
- Plan to use monthly subscription services
- Would purchase the Ring Elite (see below) if the installation was possible
WAIT… What if You Rent Your Home?
Renters have fewer options if they want to take advantage of a video doorbell, but it is possible. Let’s take a closer look.
Renters who live in single-family homes are the luckier ones, or at least they may be lucky. Enlisting your landlord may be the easiest option for renters. Some landlords may even be able to credit your rent to cover some or all of the cost to purchase a video doorbell system.
Of course, you may be limited by the type of system if there is not an existing wired doorbell on the home. If you choose one of the video doorbells that can be operated by battery, such as the Original Ring, then you will still need to mount it, which requires landlord approval in most situations.
Apartments offer their own unique set of issues. Apartments may not have traditional doorbell systems and are often run by management companies that do not have the authority necessary to allow you to mount a video doorbell with or without a wired connection. Smaller apartment buildings may provide fewer hurdles to jump through.
However, one of the biggest issues with apartments is the proximity to neighbors. Just because you want to see who is coming and going from your door, many consider it an invasion of privacy to monitor their traffic.
Now that we understand the unique complication renters may face if they want to install a video doorbell, let’s look at the possible solutions. These assume that the landlord has not allowed you to mount anything or hook up any wiring, those solutions are much easier to deal with.
Both the Original Ring and Ring 2 can be used wirelessly. Though it is definitely better if you can permanently mount them, they can be mounted in ways that do not damage existing walls or doors. When used wireless both the Ring and Ring 2 will not be connected to a chime. Users that do not want to be attached to the smartphone to know when someone arrives may want to consider getting a Ring Door Chime. This is a chime wirelessly connected to the video doorbell that sounds when the doorbell is activated.
Drop the Doorbell
A newer product, the Ring Door View Cam, can be used in place of an existing peephole viewer and offers the same features as the Ring Doorbells, including two-way communication, HD video, and motion-activated recording.
People worried about privacy, fear no more. The Ring Door View Cam comes with privacy zone options that can be used to prevent the camera from recording, say … the neighbor’s apartment door. Another feature of the Ring Door View Cam is the addition of impact sensors. These sensors alert you when someone knocks on the door. Which let’s face it, is probably pretty likely.
The New Ring Door View Cam
Now that we have covered the options available to renters, let’s learn more about the Ring Door View Cam.
The Ring Door View Cam looks very similar on the exterior to the Ring 2 Video Doorbell. It also offers the same connectivity as well. When paired with an Amazon Echo Show or Echo Spot to get full HD streaming of your door cam to your Echo device and convenient hands-free operation.
The Ring Door View Cam is simple to install in most existing peephole sizes: 12mm to 14mm, and standard door widths of 34mm to 55mm.
- Easy DIY Installation
- Battery Operated
- Same HD Video Quality as the Ring 2 and Ring Pro
- Same Subscription options as other Ring Doorbells
- 2-way communication
- Night vision
- Privacy Zones
- The ONLY Ring Doorbell to offer Knock Detection
- The smallest field of view @ 155° does not provide access to immediate in front of the door where packages would be delivered.
- Standard peephole offers poor quality
BONUS: Ring Elite Video Doorbell – For New Home Construction
Individuals who are building a new home, or doing an in-depth remodel of an existing home may want to consider the Ring Elite Video Doorbell. There are only a few differences between the Elite and the Ring Pro, but they can be significant, depending on your location and accessibility.
Power Source/Network Connectivity
This is the biggest difference between the Ring Elite and all other Ring Doorbells (and the Nest Hello). The Ring Elite uses PoE, or Power over Ethernet to power the unit. This means that not only is there a constant electrical connection, but the direct and constant connection to the internet as well. The constant connection means fewer if any disruptions in the ability to monitor, record, and communicate using the Ring Elite video doorbell.
The Ring Pro, for example, can use either 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi, but either can become unstable or experience interference, particularly if you are using the same frequency with other wireless devices at the same time. The Ring Elite can connect to both the Ethernet and Wi-Fi for the most dependable connection.
The Ring Elite is very similar in size and design to the Ring Pro, except it is almost an inch wider. The Elite can also be mounted flush. Most people find the Ring Pro to offer a more aesthetically pleasing design than the larger squarer Elite. The Elite also features a wide frame that may discourage some.
As mentioned, the Ring Elite is designed for a PoE connection, so will likely require professional installation. That is why the Elite is most often the choice of individuals undergoing new home construction or remodel, since accessing the required spaces to run wiring is much easier than running them through walls in an existing home.
While we cannot make the decision for you, we hope that you have found the information in this comparison guide of some help in figuring out which video doorbell would make the perfect addition to your home. Whether you are just getting started with Smart Home Technology or are always up to date on the latest tech, you do not have to struggle to decide on your own. Taking the time to consider your personal needs with help to ensure you make the best decision for you and your home.