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Ring video doorbells were the first on the market and remain some of the most reliable and feature-heavy devices on the market.
However, when considering whether to buy one or not, you may stumble across the fact that it requires an ongoing subscription which starts at £2.50/month for a single Ring doorbell or camera.
This leads to many people asking, is a Ring doorbell worthwhile without the monthly subscription?
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.
If you don’t plan to purchase a Ring Protect subscription, I’d recommend you consider an alternative product such as the Eufy video doorbell which has local storage, allowing it to work without any ongoing fees.
If you’d like 4 more alternatives that don’t require a subscription, see my full breakdown here.
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:
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.
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.
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 device 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.
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:
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.
Video saving and sharing
Ring video doorbell’s 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 afterwards.
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 (30 days in Europe, 60 days elsewhere)||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|
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 both a wired and battery powered version (with an extremely good battery life).
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.
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.
Featured image credit: Ring.com