Ring Devices Are (Almost) Pointless Without A Subscription

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Ring devices offer a complete alarm and home security system that can cost you several hundred bucks, not including installation costs.

So after spending all that money on the cameras, you might wonder whether it’s worth it to pass on the subscription plan and dodge the extra “operating costs”.

While you can technically enjoy several features for free, you’ll be missing out on many more that make Ring devices (almost) pointless without a subscription. So what will you be missing out on?

Technically, with no Ring Protect or Protect Plus subscription, you’ll only get live notifications and feedback of the doorbell/camera, without being able to record or view any recordings.

Read on to find out more about what Ring devices and subscriptions offer and whether you can get away with skipping the extra fees altogether.

What Does a Ring Subscription Offer?

The Ring Protect Basic and Plus plans shown within the Ring app
The Ring Protect Basic and Plus plans shown within the Ring app

Ring offers three different subscription plans with additional features on their products. These plans are known as “Ring Protect Basic”, “Ring Protect Plus” and “Ring Protect Pro“. Here’s a brief breakdown of each one of them:

Ring Protect Basic Price and Features

Ring Protect Basic is the basic subscription plan that costs $3 a month or $30 a year. The price varies slightly in Canada, Australia, and other European countries, with slight variation in some features.

With this plan, you initially enjoy video recording and several other features for one camera, so you’ll pay the $30 yearly fee for each device.

In addition to the free features that Ring offers (more on that later), here are some of the features you’ll get with Ring Protect:

  • Video recording and history for all videos, event notifications, and live feeds, which is for up to 30 days in Europe to 60 days in the US, along with the ability to save the videos and share them with others
  • Person alerts and rich notifications with extra details
  • Snapshot capture, in which the camper snaps an image once every half a minute for a brief “camera preview”

Ring Protect Plus Price and Features

This one is the advanced alarm system, which costs $10 a month or $100 a year. This one gives you video recordings and extra features for all Ring devices you have.

In addition to all the features included for free and in the basic Protect plan, Protect Plus gives you the following:

  • Extended warranty for all devices that you’ve purchased during subscription to the Protect Plus plan, versus the standard warranty 1 year in the US or 2 years in some other countries. Keep in mind that the extended warranty drops if you cancel the subscription at any point.
  • An extra 10% off on selected items from both Ring official website and Amazon

Ring Protect Pro

In September 2021, Ring released the $20/per month Ring Protect Pro plan which is designed for their alarm system and offers professional monitoring, along with local storage via “Ring Edge”.

What Ring Products Can Benefit from the Subscription Plans?

Side view of my Ring Indoor Cam
Side view of my Ring Indoor Cam

Ring produces a variety of items, including smart video-feed doorbells and home cameras as well as a smart alarm system with a range of extra home safety sensors and accessories.

Ideally, by subscribing to any of the subscription plans, you’ll get extra features from the smart doorbell as well as your network of indoor and outdoor home cameras (if you have any).

This is because these devices will be able to record and save up to 60 days of saved clips (limited to 30 days only in several other countries).

Moreover, you’ll enjoy an extra snapshot capture feature that keeps you updated with whatever is going on at your house and door, which is tremendously useful if you’re not at home for quite some time.

Are Ring Subscription Plans Worth it?

If you have a Ring smart doorbell or home camera, subscribing to these plans can provide you with a seriously worthy level of functionality and flexibility. Here are some of the main reasons why:

1. Gives You Record and Playback Functionality

This is because the ability to record up to 60 days worth of footage allows you to simply stay aware of what happened during any notifications that you’ve missed or slept through.

Otherwise, as soon as you receive any notification, you’ll have to hop on to the free Live View feature and watch everything as it’s happening without any ability to record or playback the feed.

2. Ring Alarm System Benefit from the Protect Pro Plan

If you happen to have a Ring Alarm system and you’ve subscribed to the Protect Pro plan, you’ll also get a professional monitoring feature option in which Ring can monitor your home security for you and notify you if there’s a possible break-in.

The notifications will also reach you through cellular backup if the wifi fails for any reason, although the cellular backup depends on the country where you live.

3. A Better Value for Money If You Have a Large Ring Network

As previously mentioned, the basic Protect plan costs you $30 a year per device. On the other hand, Protect Plus charges you $100 a year for all your Ring devices.

So, if you have 4 or more Ring devices, such as one smart doorbell and 3 home cameras, you’ll still pay $100 instead of the $120 ($30 x 4). The value keeps on increasing the more Ring cameras and smart doorbells you have in your house.

What Happens If You Pass on the Ring Subscription?

The Ring App showing various settings and options for the Ring Doorbell Pro including motion and recording settings
The Ring App showing various settings and options for the Ring Doorbell Pro including motion and recording settings

One thing you should know about Ring Subscription plans is that they’re not mandatory. In other words, you can still use Ring devices, especially smart doorbells and home cameras (indoors and outdoors) without subscribing to either Protect or Protect Plus plans.

In this section, we will show you what you originally get upon purchasing either of the previously mentioned products and explore the situations where you can still get away with using the device without subscribing to any of the paid plans.

For Ring Cameras and Doorbells

If you happen to check your phone frequently and you’ll be there whenever a Ring notification hits your phone, you might not feel the full impact of dodging the subscription.

In that case, whenever you receive a notification, you’ll simply hop on the Live View feature and watch whatever triggered the alert on your phone.

However, such a solution may not be a practical one if you’re a heavy sleeper, because you’ll most likely miss the notification. Keeping in mind that the vast majority of suspicious acts around houses happen during sleep time.

Of course, motion detection in Ring devices will alert you not only when humans pass by, but also for pets and animals that are running around. This makes keeping the phone on loud while sleeping and waking up to check every notification a true burden!

On the other hand, you can simply ignore all the notifications, but this defeats the core purpose of having Ring smart cameras and doorbells for security reasons.

For that reason, subscribing to a plan, even if it’s a basic one, seems like a better decision for a lot of users, especially that $2.5 to $3 a month could be worth a lot less than any damages that they didn’t have on record.

For the Ring Alarm System

The Ring Alarm base station that uses Z Wave
The Ring Alarm base station that uses Z Wave

As previously mentioned, Ring Alarm System is a standalone security system that doesn’t seem to benefit much from a subscription plan, as it has its own fees.

Yet, coupling the Ring Alarm system with a Protect Pro Plan seems like a good decision for those who already have a network of cameras and doorbells because it provides you with an airtight security system even if your Wifi fails.

Despite that, paying $200 a year only for this extra feature doesn’t make sense for many users if you don’t already have various cameras and doorbells because the cost here would be a bit unjustified.

Are There Any Alternatives That Can Work Better Without a Monthly Subscription?

The Wyze Cam v3 marketing image
The Wyze Cam v3 marketing image

Ring isn’t the only doorbell and home security option around, and luckily, some of the alternatives can give you a better overall experience without paying a monthly subscription (or costs you significantly less!)

One of the best examples here is Wyze (who sell both indoor and outdoor cameras). While Wyze offers a subscription-based plan, these services aren’t mandatory and you can still get a 12-second recording upon door ring with a 5 minute cooldown period for free.

Alternatively, by subscribing to Wyze’s Cam Plus service that costs about $14.99 only a year, you get 24/7 recording with no cooldowns along with additional features like 2x-4x playback speed and a person detection system.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A brief guide that shows you why Ring devices are almost pointless without a subscription to the company’s Protect and Protect Plus plans.

While you can still work your way out by completely skipping on the yearly subscription on Ring devices, you’ll be missing out on some of the fundamental features that make Ring the unique system it is.

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About James Beetie

James - a self-confessed nerd - has owned smart home equipment for close to a decade, and he loves communicating the best ways of setting them up... and resolving the various bugs and issues that you'll no doubt come across!