Ring video doorbells were the first on the market and remain some of the most reliable and feature-heavy devices on the market. But in order to access some of these features, Ring ask you to pay a monthly subscription. In light of their fees going up to £3.50/month (£34.99 when paid annually) from March 1st, it’s left many people, myself included, wondering where they are worthwhile?
No, if you don’t pay for Ring’s monthly subscription, you’ll miss out on key features such as the ability to record footage and watch it back later. Whilst you’ll still be able to interact with visitors, if you miss a visitor there is no way to see who it was.
In this article, I’ll share everything you can and cannot do without a Ring Protect subscription.
- How Much is a Ring Subscription?
- What Ring Doorbell Features Can I Use Without Ring Protect Plan?
- What Can’t I Do Without a Ring Subscription?
- What’s Included in the Ring Protect Plan?
- What are the Alternatives?
- Related Questions
How Much is a Ring Subscription?
As of 1st July 2022, prices in the UK for a Ring Protect Subscription are as follows:
- Ring Protect Basic (for one device): £3.50 per month or £34.99 per year when paid annually.
- Ring Protect Plus (for your whole home): £8 per month or £80 per year when paid annually.
What Ring Doorbell Features Can I Use Without Ring Protect Plan?
Here is a summary of the main Ring video doorbell features that you’ll have access to, even without an ongoing subscription (everything correct as of 1st July 2022):
1. Doorbell and advanced motion detection alerts
Whenever someone rings your doorbell or activates the motion sensor, you’ll receive an alert to any devices you have set up, this includes phones, laptops or smart speakers. With Ring, the alerts are near-instant thanks to the work they have done to speed up the process since the early days.
Ring’s motion detection is best-in-class too, there are advanced motion detection zones which allow you to set certain focus areas and some of the more premium doorbells have near motion capability which can detect if objects are near or far away before alerting you.
2. Real time view of your doorstep and two-way audio
You’ll be able to live-stream your doorbell from wherever you are, even without Ring Protect. This allows you to check in on your doorstep whenever you feel like or when you receive an alert. There is also two-way audio so you can speak with your visitor and hear what they have to say.
3. Google Home and Alexa integration
As you’d expect from a company owned by Amazon, its smart voice assistant integration is on point. You can use your Echo smart speaker or Google Home/Nest smart speaker as a doorbell chime, and if you have an Echo Show, you can have your doorbell stream the live feed whenever it detects motion or the doorbell is rung.
Despite continued announcements t hat HomeKit support is coming, it’s been several years since this was mentioned and there’s still no sign of anything solid.
4. Unlimited number of users for any Ring device
Even if you don’t have a subscription, Ring will still allow you to add as many users as you like to receive video doorbell alerts. They will simply need to install the Ring app and you can share, allowing them to receive alerts and answer the doorbell when it is rung. However, they will also be limited to live interactions only and won’t be able to view previous footage.
What Can’t I Do Without a Ring Subscription?
Below is a summary of the features you won’t have access to without a subscription. Whilst the list may seem short, in our view, without these key features you’ll miss out on most of the security benefits of having a video doorbell:
1. Review recordings
Without a Ring Protect Plan subscription, you won’t be able to go back and review any recordings of previous activity at your doorstep. This is a major issue as it can no longer function as a security camera and unless you are able to catch your visitor live, you’ll never know that they called around.
2. Video saving and sharing
Ring video doorbells do not have the ability to store footage locally at all, so naturally, you won’t be able to save or share videos, even from within your home. Even if you manage to see troubling activity via the live feed, you won’t be able to report it or share the footage with the police afterward.
What’s Included in the Ring Protect Plan?
The main benefit of Ring’s Protect Plan is the cloud storage which makes up for the lack of local storage on your device. This allows footage captured via the doorbell to be saved in the cloud for viewing, downloading or sharing.
There are two tiers of Ring Protect Plan’s; the basic plan is intended for anyone with one Ring device whereas the Ring Protect Plus Plan will cover all of the Ring devices in your home, including cameras, alarms, and video doorbells.
Here is a summary of the features you’ll get with each plan:
|Ring Protect Basic Plan||Ring Protect Plus Plan|
|Cloud storage to review footage (180 days)||All the features of the basic plan|
|Video saving and sharing||Covers all the Ring devices at a single location|
|For one camera only||Assisted monitoring (receive an automated call if your Ring alarm detects unusual activity)|
|10% discount at Ring.com||Extended warranty|
|10% discount at Ring.com|
What are the Alternatives?
Unfortunately, both of the two biggest players in the video doorbell market, Google and Ring (Amazon), put cloud storage being a paywall and neither have local storage.
However, you don’t need to be completely disappointed as this opened up a huge opportunity in the market and there were other manufacturers happy to step in.
My top recommendation is the Eufy video doorbell. This has excellent 2k footage and comes in two formats:
- The battery-powered option has incredible battery life compared to other devices and comes with a secure hub for securing your footage indoors. I recommend this one.
- The wired version is slimmer but stores the footage directly on the device, which is my opinion, is a security risk.
The battery device comes with a base hub that sits inside your home to store the footage, whilst the wired version stores it on the doorbell itself.
Eufy also have a lower-priced 1080p video doorbell which has many of the same features but with a slightly reduced video resolution. This might be worth checking out if you are on a budget.
If you want to find out more about the Eufy video doorbell and a few other recommendations, you can see my full post on video doorbells with no ongoing costs.
How Long Are Ring Videos Saved?
With a Ring Protect plan, footage captured by your doorbell will be saved for 180 days. This applies to both the Basic and Pro plans. Without a subscription, your Ring footage will not be stored so you will be unable to watch it back.
Featured image credit: Ring.com