As you scour Black Friday deals this holiday season, you may be trying to decide between buying a Ring vs. Nest video doorbell. And with good reason: Ring and Nest both make some of the best video doorbells, and both companies tend to offer great deals on their video doorbells around Black Friday. But with nine video doorbells between the two companies, it’s tough to decide which is the best.
Ring has seven video doorbells, from the $49 Ring Video Doorbell Wired to the Ring Video Doorbell Elite ($349), while Nest offers just two: the Nest Doorbell (wired) and the Nest Doorbell (battery) for $179. But selection isn’t everything. Both companies’ models are among the best video doorbells around, so choosing between the two can be tricky. We’ll break down the features and costs of both Ring and Nest video doorbells, to help make your decision easier.
Ring vs. Nest: Pricing and options
Editor’s note: This section uses the original pricing for all the various video doorbells, but due to various sales, pricing can fluctuate, which may make one video doorbell a better bargain than the other. For example, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 was originally $199, but its price increased to $219 in April 2022.
Nest has two video doorbells — the Nest Doorbell (battery) and the Nest Doorbell (wired). Both cost $179.
Ring offers seven different models: the Ring Video Doorbell Wired ($59), the Ring Video Doorbell 2nd gen ($99), the Ring Video Doorbell 3 ($179), the Ring Video Doorbell 4 ($199), the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 ($249), and the Ring Video Doorbell Elite ($349).
For the purposes of this faceoff, we’re just going to compare the Nest Doorbell (battery) to the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen), since they’re the two most popular models.
Ring wins this round, as it costs about $80 less than the Nest. However, it should also be noted that the Nest Doorbell comes in four colors (Snow, Linen, Ash, and Ivy), while the Ring only comes in Satin Nickel. If you step up to the Ring Video Doorbell 3, you can swap out the faceplates; in addition to solid colors, Ring also sells holiday-themed faceplates, if you’re a festive sort of person.
During the holidays, you can often find a lot of great sales on video doorbells, as Google and Amazon usually bundle their video doorbells with other devices, such as an Amazon Echo Dot, or some other product. So, if you wait for Black Friday deals or some other shopping event, you may be able to get a better deal on a Ring video doorbell.
Ring vs. Nest: Specs
|Nest Doorbell (battery)||Ring Video Doorbell|
|Video Quality||960 x 1280, HDR||1920 x 1080|
|Night Vision ||Yes||Yes|
|Field of View||145 degrees (diagonal)||155 degrees vertical, 90 degrees horizontal|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)||802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz)|
|Audio||Two-way audio, noise and echo cancellation||Two-way audio with noise cancellation|
|Size||6.3 x 1.8 x 0.95 inches||5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches|
Ring vs. Nest: Installation
Both the Nest Doorbell (battery) and the Ring Video Doorbell can use either a wired connection or run off internal batteries. This not only makes installation easier but also gives you more options for where you can place it. However, both devices have non-removable batteries, so you have to take the entire unit to recharge it — which means you’ll be facing some time when you don’t have a doorbell.
Ring also offers the Ring Chime ($29) and Ring Chime Pro ($49) as an alternative to a traditional doorbell chime. Ring’s Chimes simply plug into an outlet, and can be programmed to make different sounds based on both detected movement and someone ringing the bell. The Chime Pro also acts as a Wi-Fi repeater, handy if your front door is out of range of your home Wi-Fi network.
Nest does not offer a separate chime; instead, you’d need to use something like the Nest Mini ($25) if you want to hear the bell ring.
Both the Nest and the Ring took roughly the same amount of time to install. If you want to see how it’s done, be sure to check out our guide on how to install a Ring video doorbell.
Ring vs. Nest: Video quality
One of the chief concerns when buying a video doorbell is the video quality. The Nest Doorbell (wired) has a resolution of 960 x 1280. That’s lower than the Ring Video Doorbell (1920 x 1080), but resolution doesn’t tell the whole story. We preferred the 3:4 aspect ratio on the Nest Doorbell, which has a more vertical orientation; it meant we could see closer to the foot of our door, where packages are most likely to be dropped off. The Ring Video Doorbell’s camera has a horizontal orientation, so it’s better if you have visitors coming to your door from one side or the other.
The Nest Doorbell’s vertical field of view is comparable to that of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, which has a larger 150-degree vertical field of view.
The Nest also supports HDR, which we found helped when a visitor was shaded (when standing on a covered porch, for instance) and the background was brightly lit.
Although it has a lower-resolution camera than the Ring Video Doorbell, we liked that the Nest Hello was able to show a bit more of our front porch.
Ring vs. Nest: Features
|Nest Doorbell (battery)||Ring Video Doorbell|
|Custom motion zones||Yes||Yes|
|Extended video recording||No||Yes|
|Continuous video recording||No||No|
The Ring Video Doorbell and the Nest Doorbell (battery) have many comparable features, but in a few cases, Nest’s are a bit more robust.
Custom motion zones
Both video doorbells let you designate areas within the camera’s field of view that it should ignore if motion is detected. Both are easy to set up and configure, and let you create polygonal shapes.
Both video doorbells have person detection, which can greatly cut down on the number of notifications you receive. With this feature enabled, you only get alerted when the camera detects a person. However, the Nest Doorbell takes this a step further with facial recognition and can send you a special alert when a friend or family member is at the door. This is only available with a subscription, though.
Both the Nest Doorbell and the Ring Video Doorbell have this feature, and can tell you not only when a package has been delivered, but when one has been picked up, too.
Continuous video recording
Neither camera has continuous video recording; for that, you’d need the Nest Doorbell (wired), which offers 10 days of recording if you subscribe to a Nest Aware plan.
Ring also has a Neighborhood Alert feature, where you can view incidents from other Ring users in your area, as well as post video from your own camera(s).
End-to-end video encryption
Ring launched end-to-end video encryption for its video doorbells and home security cameras; unfortunately, this feature is not available for its battery-powered devices, such as the Ring Video Doorbell. This is an important feature, as end-to-end encryption is the only sure way to prevent local law enforcement from accessing your Ring video footage. Here’s how to enable end-to-end encryption on a Ring video doorbell; however, by doing so, you’ll also disable a number of features.
Extended video recording
Often with video doorbells, a person moves so quickly through the frame that by the time the camera senses motion and starts recording, you can only see the back of the person. Ring solves this problem by continuously recording a 4-second loop; when the camera does detect motion, it then tacks on those few seconds prior to the event, so that you hopefully can see all of the person. Because it has to be able to work using battery power alone, Ring’s Pre-roll records this video in a lower resolution.
The Nest Doorbell (battery) does not have a comparable feature; however, the hardwired Nest Hello does have a full-color, full-resolution pre-roll feature, as does the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2.
Ring vs. Nest: Smart home compatibility
One of the advantages of a smart doorbell is that you can link it other gadgets on our list of the best smart home devices. So, for example, you could have your front-porch lights turn on when someone approaches your door at night.
As two of the best Google Assistant commands and best Alexa skills, both the Nest and Ring cameras will work to some extent with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Using voice commands, you can ask about the status of the cameras. If you have the Nest Doorbell, Google Home devices can also announce visitors.
Nest’s video doorbell is also gaining the ability to work with Alexa; when you pair the device with Amazon’s assistant, your Alexa-enabled smart speaker will be able to announce if a person or package is at the door.
If you have an Alexa-enabled smart display (like the Echo Show) or a Fire TV device, you can view a live feed from both the Nest and Ring doorbells. It’s handy if you’re in your bedroom and can’t get to the door as quickly as you’d like. Additionally, you can link Ring’s Video Doorbells to a plethora of other Ring products, such as its outdoor lights and motion sensors, so that the doorbell will start recording as soon as some other device detects movement.
Ring also has a partnership with Lutron; when a Ring camera detects motion or the button on a video doorbell is pressed, you can program Lutron-controlled lights to turn on. You can also customize the interaction to only occur at night.
Currently, Alexa also lets you create more interactions between Ring cameras and other smart home devices than you can with Nest cameras and Google Assistant. However, that could all be changing in the coming months, as Google Home is gaining a number of new abilities, which will allow for greater home automation.
Unfortunately, neither Ring nor Nest work natively with HomeKit; however, the Starling Home Hub, one of the best smart home hubs, lets you connect Nest products with HomeKit.
Ring vs. Nest: Subscription fees
To get the most out of the Nest and Ring doorbells, you’ll need to subscribe to a monthly plan. For example, in order to get continuous recording and intelligent alerts that tell you who’s at your door, you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, the company’s cloud-recording solution.
Nest Aware starts at $6 per month (or $60 annually), you can store 30 days of event history from an unlimited number of cameras at one location; if you upgrade to Nest Aware Plus ($12/month, $120 annually), you get 60 days of rolling cloud storage, plus 10 days of 24/7 video history, which means that you can look at any moment in time over the previous 10 days.
By comparison, Ring’s basic plan costs $3 a month ($30 per year) per device and gets you 60 days of recordings. Ring’s premium plan, which costs $10 per month, supports unlimited cameras and also gives you 60 days of event storage, but not 24/7 video history.
However, with the Nest Doorbell, you get for free three hours of rolling video storage, as well as person, animal, vehicle, and package detection, as well as custom motion zones.
For a more detailed look at the plans for Nest, Ring, and Arlo, check out our comparison of security camera storage plans.
Ring vs. Nest: Overall Winner
|Nest Doorbell (battery)||Ring Video Doorbell|
|Smart Home Compatibility||X|
When it comes to Ring vs. Nest, in the end, the Nest Doorbell (battery) just edged out the Ring Video Doorbell. We preferred its video, as well as the features on the Nest Video Doorbell, such as facial recognition and package detection, many of which are available for free. If you have three or more home security cameras, Nest’s subscription plan is also more cost-effective.
However, the Ring Video Doorbell is no slouch (and Ring makes the video doorbell I recommended for my mother.) For starters, it’s easier to recharge and has more smart home integrations. It’s also the better choice if you want a wider, rather than a taller and narrower view of your front porch. And, some of Ring’s other video doorbells, while different in price than the Nest, may offer more features that puts it ahead. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a video doorbell.