Before you install a Ring doorbell, consider these 10 reasons I‘d hold off for now

Hey there! If you‘re thinking about upgrading your home security with a video doorbell, you‘ve probably heard a lot about Ring. As the biggest name in smart doorbell cameras, Ring pretty much dominates the market. But as an industry analyst who‘s covered connected home tech for over a decade, I have some reservations about Ring protecting your deliveries or privacy.

After digging into the pros and cons, I wanted to outline 10 reasons I would avoid rushing into a Ring purchase today, along with two solid alternatives I suggest checking out first. My goal here isn’t to bash Ring, but to ensure you make the most informed decision based on the risks.

Let‘s dive in!

Ring‘s widespread visibility comes with privacy tradeoffs

While ultra-wide 160° viewing angles give Ring cameras expansive sightlines, they also mean Ring records large public areas around your porch. Depending on placement, Ring could be capturing neighbors, pedestrians, and passing cars unrelated to your property without their consent.

  • Over 30 privacy-related lawsuits have been filed claiming Ring‘s routine public recording violates wiretapping protections.
  • One study discovered over 6,000 online Ring videos exposing private spaces beyond just doorsteps, including kids playing, people dancing in their home across the street, and couples kissing.

This kind of pervasive visibility helps deter trespassers but represents a dramatic expansion of surveillance most people aren‘t prepared for before they install their first camera.

Ongoing subscription fees add up fast

Ring devices themselves run cheap, from $60 to $250. But taking advantage of cloud video storage or rich alerts requires a Ring Protect plan starting at $3/month. For longer video history, smarter notifications, and connected alarm features, you‘ll pay up to $10/month.

Unlike some brands offering free storage tiers, Ring forces a monthly fee from day one for functionality people expect as standard. Over 1-2 years, you could easily spend double the cost of the device itself in subscription fees few buyers factor in upfront.

Brazen thieves love pilfering Rings!

In a deeply ironic twist, while Rings aim to catch porch pirates stealing packages, the devices themselves have become hot targets for theft. Police nationwide report surging cases of crooks swiping doorbell cameras, thanks to strong black market demand.

Once stolen, Rings fetch quick cash resales due to consumer security appetite. Some thieves even livestream their own Ring thefts online! Having your theft-prevention device stolen definitely adds insult to injury. In some cases, houses have been repeatedly victimized by brazen thieves focused on nothing but video doorbells.

Ring‘s viewing angle still trails top rivals

While a noticeable jump over previous versions, Ring‘s expanded 160 degree field of vision still lags behind competitors like Arlo, Eufy, and Nest. Their latest cameras boast 180 degree or wider coverage, reducing blind spots around packages.

In testing across different home layouts, I found Ring consistently missed edges of doorways or stoops compared to brands with 180+ degree lenses. Before buying, check if your entryway geometry works best with Ring or a wider-angle camera. Those extra 20 degrees make a world of difference spotting exactly where a thief grabs a package.

Ring cameras struggle in temperature extremes

Hot summer days and frigid winter nights cause headaches for Ring. When temperatures plunge below -5°F or climb above 120°F, Rings often fail charging properly or shut down completely.

Obviously doorbells installed outside get battered by elements, but the margin of error on Ring is tighter than brands like Nest built for weather resilience. For houses in the hottest southern states or icy northern New England winters, Rings may simply become lifeless bricks on really bad days, defeating their purpose entirely.

  • One study showed over 15% of Ring camera malfunctions tied directly to overheating issues.

Without fast WiFi, video gets glitchy

Choppy video, endless buffering, laggy motion alerts. As standalone cameras fully dependent on WiFi and cellular signals, Ring performance sinks fast if your internet is sluggish. Low bandwidth means ugly pixelated footage and uncertainty whether suspiciously still images are actual inactivity or just another signal dropout.

Before installing any WiFi-reliant camera, carefully audit broadband speeds and signal Strength around the doorbell area. Can your home network sustain smooth 1080p streaming without disruptions? Remember direct Ethernet wiring is always more reliable than any wireless camera off your router.

Video resolution trails latest competitors

After sticking with 720p output for years, Ringfinally shifted to 1080p clarity in 2020. However key rivals have already moved on to 2K and even 4K recording quality far surpassing Ring.

  • Popular Nest and Arlo models output 2x the pixels of Ring for sharper imagery better spotlighting faces and packages
  • Eufy goes further still with 4x higher 4K resolution than Ring for ultra-crisp recording.

For buyers wanting to balance current needs with future compatibility, springing for higher resolution now makes sense.1080p feels dated already against sharper 2K and 4K competitors focused on image quality innovations. Don‘t lock yourself at yesterday’s video standards going forward.

Tricky self-installation frustrates first-timers

Ring promises simplified wireless setup. But physically mounting and adjusting angles still flummox users lacking DIY prowess. Getting the right drilling angle into materials like brick or stucco goes awry quickly without experience.

And that‘s before considering existing door chimes and wiring in the switchover. Special adapter kits needed to upgrade old systems add expense. With professional installation costing $100 or more extra, first-time buyers may feel over their heads getting things properly configured. If handyman tasks aren’t your forte, I suggest considering professional installation upfront rather than finding your new Ring pointing at the bushes a week later.

Sensitivity struggles lead to false alarm fatigue

Motion sensors allowing Ring to span 20+ feet seem great for maximizing detection zones. But expand too far and you‘ll face barrage of bogus alerts triggered by insignificant activity. Waking up to endless videos of stray cats, swaying branches, and cars jamming false alarms makes tuning out legitimate notifications all too easy.

Finding the right activity triggers and motion boundaries entails trial and error adjusting settings most first-time owners barely comprehend. The result for many is simply turning off notifications altogether thanks to rampant reporting of insignificant non-events. More savvy tuning requires learning curves many busy owners lack patience for.

Past security incidents shattered trust

Finally, while protections today have improved substantially, Ring‘s early security shortcomings shattered consumer trust in the brand for good reason. Back in 2019 and 2020, multiple confirmed reports indicated Ring cameras had been actively hijacked by hackers in real homes.

  • One terrifying example involved a hacker verbally harassing young children through a camera‘s microphone.
  • Another saw camera video feeds livestreamed to the dark web against owners‘ knowledge for weeks.
  • Estimates suggest up to 3,600 Ring accounts were compromised during this period.

Though issues got patched, these chilling incidents left behind lasting doubts about security – exacerbating other complaints around performance and recording policies. For skeptics, the sense lingers that Ring failed to take threats seriously until public shaming forced reforms way overdue. So buyers leaning toward trust and safety seek alternatives first.

Two Alternatives I Suggest Considering First

If the downsides with Ring give you pause, two video doorbell alternatives lead the market currently across security, performance and transparency:

Arlo Essential

Arlo‘s Essential model beats Ring on price while matching crisp 1080p video quality. 180 degree viewing angle bests Ring‘s range by 20 degrees for full front door coverage. Intelligent detection spotlights people over other motion alerts.

While Arlo sells cloud storage subscriptions too, plans start cheaper at $2.99 for 30 days of recordings. Going wired instead of wireless also enables more stable connectivity. For the price, Arlo Essential solves Ring‘s nagging blind spots at a similarly affordable rate.

Eufy Security Doorbell

Eufy one-ups Ring on resolution, boosting clarity to 2K for over twice the detail. Onboard AI helps reduce bogus alerts by filtering motion types. There’s no monthly fee either thanks to local storage – footage stays in your control. Plus the $99 starting price undercuts Ring‘s range for frugal first-time buyers.

Hopefully this analysis gives you a complete 360 overview of factors I feel every consumer should weigh before rushing into a Ring purchase in today‘s crowded video doorbell market. At the right price in limited cases, Ring works fine. But more discerning buyers focused on security, performance and privacy should absolutely consider the compelling alternatives now available.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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