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Ring.com has proven itself to be the dominant video doorbell manufacturer in the market. Their commercials are in heavy rotation on TV and YouTube is pegged with hundreds of its how-to videos. The incredible amount of venture capital keeps the marketing wheels turning but I credit Ring’s staying power to its ability to add innovative new features to its existing products that enhance an already impressive feature list. Enhancements you just can’t get in other more seemingly better video doorbell devices. Just recently, I wrote an article about alternatives to RING.com’s video doorbell. I touted what I believe at the time was better alternatives. Funny how things can change over a course of a few months. Even though there are some serious competitors in the video doorbell arena, I found some new developments within existing RING devices that have turned the tide back in RING’s favor as the first line of defense for your home.
If you know anything about me, you’ll definitely know that I test out a lot of security cameras on and inside my very own home every few months or so. I have a need to know what is the best solution for my clients when it comes to unique coverage areas and the type of security cameras that can capture faces and action and there’s one thing I absolutely agree with the founder of RING.com, it’s that the front door entrance is the most important area to cover, hands down. If you were only getting one security video camera for your home, a video doorbell should be that one camera.
With that said, what do I consider the best video doorbell for you? To tell you the truth, it’s not RING in every situation but I believe RING has the most options to satisfy the majority of users.
When it comes to video quality I would place the well advertised 2nd generation RING video doorbell in fourth place. What? You may be saying to yourself, “I thought this article was about how RING dominates the market with a superior device.” Overall, I do believe that the RING video doorbell is a superior doorbell among its competitors but there are some individual qualities of other video doorbell devices that stand out, like video clarity and when it comes to video clarity or resolution, I reserve the first place to Skybell HD doorbell. It has excellent daytime video at 1080p and 5x zoom but its color night vision stands out in a crowd of RING imitators. All other doorbell cameras mentioned here will switch to an infrared mode at night in which we are all familiar with. Stand in front of any other doorbell camera at night and it will bathe you in a greenish or blue tint with your eyes reflecting a bright glow. The Skybell HD unit uses a slower frame rate at night to capture true color in very low light conditions giving you a more accurate account of the color of someone’s clothes at night. A feature I expect to see available in more security cameras in the future.
I’m going to skip to the third best in doorbell cameras before we swing back to what I believe is easily the second best video doorbell camera when it comes to video quality. The Greet 2.0 by Zmodo comes in third. I happen to use Zmodo products personally as back up cameras in indoor situations. They are very affordable and give you the biggest bang for the buck. There was a time when Zmodo was considered a low-end camera producer but they have grown into a powerful contender in the surveillance camera market. The Greet 2.0 video doorbell has a great picture during the daytime and a better than decent picture at night. It’s also $50 cheaper than a 2nd generation ring video doorbell. The device also allows you to record directly to an onboard 8-gigabyte memory and you can upgrade up to 64G if you add your own SD card. This can eliminate paying a monthly online video storage fee that is required with other doorbell systems. But with Zmodo, you will still have the option to pay for cloud storage if you choose. Second on my list is the RING PRO doorbell, A big step up in video quality with its 1080p resolution. RING PRO is more of a side contender to it’s 2nd generation doorbell. It has to be wired to existing doorbell wires and it can not operate on battery power which brings me full circle on why I believe the 2 generation RING video doorbell is the best option for most homes.
The biggest reason the 2nd generation RING video doorbell has my vote as the best choice for homes is the fact that it is a liberated device. You can easily choose the perfect spot for the video doorbell because it can run on your doorbell buzzer wiring or operate on battery power. All other video doorbell devices need to be wired to the previous doorbell buzzer location. Previously I wrote a scathing review about how RING video doorbell doesn’t have On-Demand Live View. It only allowed a live view when the device sensed motion in a specified area or when the doorbell button was pushed. Unknown to me at the time, in April 2016, live viewing became available to wired RING doorbells and late this summer or early fall the 2nd generation doorbell will be able to activate on-demand viewing on battery power.
This is a big jump for doorbell devices. Now, you can place your ring doorbell in the most optimal area to view deliveries, people walking up to the door or you can check on what’s happening in the neighborhood even if it’s across the street.
This beats out all of the other enhancements from other video doorbell devices in the market. I’ve seen some bad doorbell placements and you can tell that the builders never envision that someday people would be replacing their doorbells with security video cameras. Another reason why RING is killing the competition is that their batteries last sooo long. With regular everyday use, I’ve seen units last several months before they need to recharge which is very easy to do. Some of my clients even have several RING video doorbells covering their front door, backdoor, enclosed fence and garage entrances. Screwing in the camera to the front door itself is very popular as well since you can get the perfect height and center view for your cameras. Now it is better to use your existing wiring if you can because you don’t have to worry about battery charging but if it’s only one or twice a year, I don’t think most people would mind. Also, it charges like a mobile phone. Plug in a USB charger for a few hours and you’re ready for several more months of video surveillance. My first doorbell client had his system running for a month before the Ring doorbell battery indicator showed it was at 95%. That means only 5 % of battery power was used for the whole month. (Charging the RING battery can take 4-6 hours using a mobile phone USB charger)
Now again, the aforementioned video doorbell units from other companies are good but if you want the flexibility of placement without wiring or rewiring your doorbell configuration then you need a RING.