Keeping your home safe has always been a challenge—there are countless options on the market and all offer different options for protection and security. Tapping into the smart device market, and branching off from their very successful range of video doorbells, the Ring Alarm Second Generation makes home security easy and affordable. Made to be installed in minutes, the security system looks good, blends into most setups and, starting around $200, is an easy option to recommend for anyone looking for a simple system with little hassle.
Ring is known for their different smart devices, from lighting, cameras and security systems. The minimalist approach makes them easy to integrate into a house without looking unsightly, and the fact that no part of the installation will anyone need to visit your house, makes it a DIY solution that feels cutting edge and made for the modern smartphone lifestyle. As this is a Ring product, there are the options to set things up to 24/7 monitoring, and other features that give more peace of mind while away; but should you want to stick with the app only, that is always an option.
What’s New with Ring Alarm Generation 2
At its core the Ring Alarm System 2nd Gen is very similar to previous versions. You still get all the pieces you need to set up most standard homes in the box—including base station, contact sensors, motion detector, keypad and a range extender. Once you attach the contact sensors to the doors, windows and any points of entry you are worried people can get in though, connect them to the base station, and you are good to go.
The major differences lie with the size of the elements, making them easier to install, and use. For example: the Ring Keypad is now 38% smaller when compared to the 1st Gen iteration, but even with this reduction, the sensors are still notably bigger than competing platforms such as Simply Safe. While I personally don’t find them obtrusive or a problem to install, for people that want the system as hidden as possible, this is an issue Ring needs to address moving forward.
Another change that is more a convenience than a major difference comes with from the batteries Ring is using in its sensors. Gone is the slightly harder to find 3v lithium battery, replaced by the much more readily available CR2032 coin cell batteries that can be found at any store. While a rather dull change on the surface, you will be happy to see a trusty CR2032 when time comes time to change the batteries.
Compatibility and Ease of Use
With any new iteration, the question of compatibility with previous generations is always on everyone’s mind, especially if they are upgrading. Thankfully Ring has not made Gen 1 Alarm products obsolete. If you happen to have older products in your house, and just want the smaller keypad or sensors, they all work without any issues. Dropping the new system is easy, and within a few minutes the Gen 2 and Gen 1 will be talking like old friends.
Even from scratch, the Ring Alarm is one of the more easy to set up and use than smart devices I have tested in recent years. Most of the settings are located within the Ring app—only needing to have the base station connected to a router, either wirelessly or directly via Ethernet. The base station talks to all the sensors in the house as long as they are up to 50ft (15.24 m), but thankfully the five piece Ring Alarm package comes with an extender that gives you an additional 250ft (76.2 m), making sure most of the average home is covered.
Setting up the full package should take most people under 30-40 minutes, with the app and the included instructions walking them through the setup—including placement, ensuring everything works as expected, the overall way the system will act to people opening doors, and how the alarm will react when you are away. If you want to get really into the weeds, Ring has a host of accessories to make your house as secure and monitored as possible, including flood sensors, a smoke and carbon monoxide sensor and more.
App as the Centre of Security
Ring has made the App as the focal point of the system, and for the most part this all works as expected. Setting up the system, as explained earlier; is simple and straightforward. From tech newcomers, to veterans, the software makes the process as painless as possible. And once set up, the basic controls and settings are only ever a button click away. The system also makes it very easy to request assistance and sound the 104dB siren with a simple press of the exclamation button. It is the same button you can find on the keypad, but to do this remotely is a welcome touch, especially in an emergency.
It is also fantastic to see Ring allow for more granular control of the system to meet the needs of a variety of setups. From what sensors are active while home, to how the system reacts in Away mode—this is a welcome addition, since while I enjoy knowing the system is working, to have my notifications going off while home every time I open a door could get irritating, fast.
While I found the system overall intuitive, I would have liked a bit more attention to detail for setting away modes. It would have been nice to have the system send a notification for forgetting to trigger the alarm when no longer on site, or tie tighter into how the Ring Cameras act in conjunction to the system. These are minor nit-picks that could easily be adjusted in future app updates.
While the Ring Alarm Gen 2 makes it easy to monitor the system from your phone, sometimes it is nice to have that second set of eyes to keep you safe. This is where the Ring Protect Plus comes into play. This $10/month or $100/year service offers the ability of emergency response, along with a video history of 60 days for all the cameras connected to your Ring account. This, like any home system will add a real person at the end of your system, giving you a call, along with a notification when the alarm is triggered. You also have the ability to cancel the alarm with a password, or ensure the proper authorities are notified to be on site.
In reality this is a great value, especially if you are invested in the Ring ecosystem. When you take into account all the video cameras, monitoring and the peace of mind, it can be a great investment, especially compared to competing products in the security space. It is also nice to see it can be bundled with all other Ring products you may already have.
Worth the Investment?
The Ring Alarm System 2nd Gen is a fantastic value when compared to the other options currently on the market. It is easy to set up, fits most household setups, and overall does exactly what you hope for some a modern security system—all without needing to install wires or deal with costly monthly fees should you want to avoid them. If you want security, and are already invested in the Ring Ecosystem, do yourself a favor and invest in the Ring Alarm. You won’t be disappointed.