Ring, the company known for its Video Doorbells, cameras, smart home lighting and overall security has just launched a brand new Ring Alarm wireless home security system. The Original Ring Alarm was meant as an easy way to DIY home security and has the option of monitoring too for an extra fee. So what’s new with Ring Alarm, gen 2? I received the Ring 8-piece starter kit, to install in my home and to test out, so let’s dig in.
New look: Ring Alarm
The most noticeable difference is that much of the Ring Alarm system has a new look. The new keypad is about a third smaller, and the sensors are also slimmer and lower in profile. The Base Station looks the same.
Backwards compatible with original Ring Alarm
Though things look different, Ring has made sure the original components are still compatible with the new gen 2 Alarm. You should be able to add original door and window sensors plus the motion detector to the new set up. But it might not be that easy for you. I’ll explain in a bit…
Ring Alarm Components: what do you get?
What do you get in the box? Ring Alarm comes with the Base Station, which is the brains for your system, plus it’s what emits the audible siren and door open alerts, so you want it to be located somewhere you can hear it.
You also get the new Keypad which you can use to arm and disarm the system. You can wall mount this, and it also works as a portable remote control too thanks to its sliding bracket, meaning you can bring it to wherever you are.
Depending which kit you opt for you’ll have a different amount of sensors. I had the 8-piece pack, so I got 4 magnetic door/window sensors, one motion detector, and a Wi-Fi booster.
Additional Contact Sensors, Motion Detectors, Keypads, Range Extenders and future Ring Alarm components can be purchased separately.
Setting up Ring Alarm
Ring’s set up process was easy enough. If you set up the base station first, the app will recognize your kit and tee up all your components for set up; you just follow the prompts. I used that for a few of them then dumped out and used the manual option, which also worked just fine.
If this is your first Ring device, you’ll have a few extra steps like creating an account and adding your home’s Wi-Fi, but if you have other Ring devices, the app will re-apply your settings, making set up speedy.
With the base station, you can connect via Wi-Fi using 2.4 or 5 GHz or a direct Ethernet connection.
Next it’s time to start adding your components. You’ll do them one by one, and it takes about 30 seconds each.
Do older Ring Alarm sensors work with new Base Station?
You should be able to add original door and window sensors plus older motion detectors to the new set up. But it might not be that easy for you. I’ll explain in a bit… But for me I wasn’t able to do this on my own. The Ring app didn’t seem to ‘see’ the original components any longer.
After trying to deal with it myself, I finally called Ring’s customer service department where I got fast, quality help, I’m glad to say.
It turns out that you need to essentially ‘unpair’ the old sensors from your old base station, but the good news is it’s quick and easy once you know what to do. You can call Ring and they’ll walk you through it, or here’s the steps:
How to add old Ring Alarm sensors to new Base Station
First, remove the battery from the old door or motion sensor, but keep it handy; you’ll need it.
- Next go to the Ring App and choose the hamburger menu in the top left.
- Choose Devices
- Select Alarm Base Station
- Select Base Station again
- Choose the gear icon in the top right
- Select Advanced Options
- Choose Z-Wave
- Click Remove Z-wave device;
- Hit Remove. The app will show it re-searching for the device. When it says searching, pop the battery back in quickly. Give it a sec and it should see it and add it to the app for you.
I was successfully able to add two old sensors this way.
Installation of Ring Alarm
Installing all the Ring Alarm components is similarly easy. The door/window sensors come with adhesive backing, so you can peel and stick them easily. You can also use screws or nails if you prefer. Motion sensors can be wall mounted or set on a shelf or piece of furniture. The whole kit is quite versatile.
Monitoring and Alerts with Ring Alarm
You can monitor your alarm system yourself and not worry about extra fees, but if you want that added peace of mind that comes with an alarm’s security response, you can sign up for Ring’s Professional Monitoring service. It costs about $10USD/month or about $100/year.
Does Ring Monitoring work in Canada?
Ring says its professional monitoring is currently available in the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec).
Ring Alarm: Settings and features
Link to Ring Cameras and Doorbells
One of the selling features of Ring Alarm is that it connects automatically and is designed to work seamlessly with Ring indoor and outdoor Cameras and Video Doorbells. In the Ring app, you can configure your set up so that if the alarm is tripped, your cameras can all begin recording, or your Ring Smart Lights can all turn on.
Using Ring Alarm
Using the Alarm is simple enough. There are three settings: Disarmed (off), Home, and Away. With Home, only the door sensors or others you choose would be triggered. Using Away mode, the entire system including motion sensors is armed.
You can easily arm and disarm your system with the free Ring App (compatible with iOS and Android devices) on your smartphone. You can also use the Keypad if you’re indoors and not near your phone or tablet.
Ring Alarm works with Alexa
Ring Alarm Works with Alexa so you can control your system with your voice. Just say “Alexa, arm Ring” when you head out.
Backup, Battery and charging
While the base Station uses AC power to stay connected 24/7, you can add a backup battery in case your power lines are cut or down. The Keypad has a micro-USB cord for recharging, so there’s no worry about batteries there.
Wi-Fi out? You can also get cellular backup with a Ring Protect Plus Plan so your system can stay online during an outage.
The sensors use CR123A or button batteries, and Ring says each battery can last up to three years, depending on use.
Should I upgrade from original Ring Alarm to Gen 2?
If you’re wondering if you should upgrade, my sense is no. The system operates largely the same, with just the components providing better aesthetics. If there’s significant changes made to the guts or the brains of the system, that’s not immediately obvious. If you’re getting a new system, the Ring Alarm Gen 2 will be a great pick, but there’s no need to rush out and replace your older system now.
Overall review of Ring Alarm gen 2
Overall the Ring Alarm system works exactly as advertised. It’s easy to set up, easy to arm and disarm, and easy to keep tabs on what’s happening around your house – more so when you get all your Ring components linked together.
I also think there’s a good balance of DIY monitoring or paying to access Ring’s professional monitoring; you can do what’s right for your family and your budget.
Any downsides? It was a bit frustrating trying to figure out adding the older sensors to the new alarm, but that will likely not be everyone’s concern.
Overall I think the Ring Alarm is a really good system to keep your home safe and secure.
Get the Ring Alarm 8-piece Starter security kit at Best Buy.