Ring Alarm 2 review: 4 year update

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Erin Lawrence

Ring Alarm 2 full review and my experience.

It’s been several years since Ring, the company known for its Video Doorbells, cameras, smart home lighting and overall security, launched its Gen 2 Ring Alarm wireless home security system. This DIY kit is billed as an easy path to home security and has the option of monitoring too for an extra fee. I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time with the Ring Alarm 2 system and several other components that connect in with it over the last few years. So four years on, what do I think about the system now— and will I still recommend it for you? Let’s dig in.

Ring Alarm 2

Summary

Four years later, the Ring Alarm 2 system works as well as advertised. It’s still just as easy to set up and use, especially with all components linked up with a choice to go DIY or use their own professional system.

Pros

  • Easy to set up, arm and disarm
  • Makes it simple to keep tabs with all Ring Alarm components linked together
  • Good balance of DIY monitoring or paying to access Ring’s professional monitoring

Cons

  • Some door and window sensors die off when batteries quit

 

Why I chose Ring Alarm

I have owned two Ring Alarm 2 kits over the years, at different homes. After first having a Ring Alarm 2 at my home, when I relocated temporarily, I wanted a security solution that would be easy to install, and that I could take with me once I departed, so I felt good about choosing Ring Alarm again. In my first several years with Ring Alarm 2 at my primary home, I’ve found it reliable and easy to use, and I take comfort in getting alerts when doors or windows are opened, or simply being able to check the app to be certain everything is closed and secure.

In both cases, I opted for the eight piece Ring Alarm 2. I will also note there is now an option for Ring Alarm 2 Pro, but the only difference here is the alarm base station offers a built-in eero Wi-Fi router. If you’ve already got a router or have no need to upgrade, you will do just fine with the Ring Alarm 2 version.

What do you get with Ring Alarm 2

Ring Alarm 2 comes with the Base Station, which is the brains of your system. This flat panel is what emits the audible siren and audible ‘blink-blink’ door-open alerts, so you want it to be located somewhere you can hear it.

You also get a Keypad for arming and disarming the system. You can wall mount this, and it also works as a portable remote control too since you can remove the keypad from the mount easily.

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 to expand the coverage of your system. Over the years I have added additional door and window sensors, as well as Ring’s flood and freeze sensors too.

Since I travel quite a bit I find the entire system gives me a major feeling of confidence about leaving the house empty. I know that if anybody comes inside, not only will I know it, I’ll be able to see it, and if there ever was any type of power outage that killed the heat, or a burst pipe that led to a flood, I’d hear about it in short order.

Set-up

Ring Alarm 2

Ring’s set up process is super easy. Just set up the base station first. Cleverly, the app will recognize your kit once you add the base station, and then list all your components for set up inside the app; you just follow the prompts. If you need to figure out which sensor is which, each one has a small number next to a QR code which identifies it.

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 fast and convenient.

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.

  1. Next go to the Ring App and choose the hamburger menu in the top left.
  2. Choose Devices
  3. Select Alarm Base Station
  4. Select Base Station again
  5. Choose the gear icon in the top right
  6. Select Advanced Options
  7. Choose Z-Wave
  8. Click Remove Z-wave device;
  9. Hit Remove. The app will show it re-searching for the device. When it says searching, pop the battery back in quickly.
  10. 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

Installing all the Ring Alarm components is also quite fast. The 2-part door/window sensors each have adhesive backing, so you can peel and stick them anywhere. You can also use screws or nails if you prefer. The Motion sensor also has a sticky back so can be wall mounted or just set it on a shelf or piece of furniture. The whole kit is quite adjustable and customizable to whatever your personal set up needs to be, and it goes without saying you can also simply remove all the components and take them with you if you’re moving.

Monitoring and Alerts

Ring Alarm 2

With Ring Alarm 2, 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. Ring offers a 3-stage alarm response:

  1. Notifications on your phone and tablet when your Ring Contact Sensor, Motion Detector or Smoke and CO Listener is triggered.
  2. Ring’s team will call you to see if you need them to dispatch emergency assistance.
  3. If you give the go-ahead or can’t answer, the Ring team can send first responders for you.
  4. Ring monitoring covers security incidents like Break-Ins and Burglaries, plus Smoke and Carbon Monoxide, or Floods and Freezing Temperatures if you have additional and optional sensors.

I took advantage of the free trial over 30 days of the free monitoring. It feels good to have it, but during my month I didn’t have any type of emergency or breach that required a response, and to be honest I didn’t feel good about faking something and potentially diverting emergency services just to see what would happen. So when it comes to how this response will ultimately work, I’m taking Ring’s word for this.

Does Ring Monitoring work in Canada?

Ring says its professional monitoring is currently available in the U.S. (all 50 states, excluding American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada (excluding Quebec).

Settings and features

Link to Ring Cameras and Doorbells

One of the things I’ve loved about Ring Alarm is that it connects automatically to, and is designed to work seamlessly with Ring indoor and outdoor Cameras and Video Doorbells. In the Ring app, you can adjust your set up so that if the alarm is triggered, your cameras can all begin recording, or your Ring Smart Lights can all turn on.

I have had all my cameras connected to the alarm system since I installed it and I find this is great for peace of mind.

Using Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm 2

So how to use Ring Alarm Gen 2?

Like many similar alarm systems, there are three settings: Disarmed (off), Home, and Away. With Home, only the door sensors (or others you choose) would be triggered; generally things like motion detectors placed in the home are not connected for this mode. Using Away mode, the entire system including motion sensors is armed.

If the system is not armed the door and window sensors will make a pleasant sounding ‘blink blink’ noise when opened, just so you know someone is coming or going—great for keeping tabs on the curfew. If the alarm is set, naturally the siren will go off and you’ll get a notification that some thing has been breached. You need to enter your pass code in the app or on the keypad to stop it.

Arm while at home or from anywhere

You can arm or disarm your system with the free Ring App (compatible with iOS and Android devices) on your smartphone from anywhere you might be, meaning if you left the house and forgot to arm the system, or you’re already in bed you can still take care of it.. You can also use the Keypad if you’re indoors and not near your phone or tablet.

Set off siren

While it is possible to set off the siren yourself if you should ever need to, there is some thing that’s worth knowing about this system: it’s more designed to scare off a burglar rather than to alert your neighbors. That’s because the alarm siren is only going to go off inside your house and it’s not very audible outside the home.
That may be another reason you want to investigate monitored options from Ring, since if there’s no response to the siren, that might be not enough to scare burglars away. If you have cameras in the home you can also use the two way audio and video to take a look at what’s happening and even to communicate with whoever’s there if you need to.

Works with Alexa

Since Amazon purchased the Ring brand a few years ago, the system works quite seamlessly with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. You will need to link Alexa to Ring inside the app, but this takes just a few tabs and then you can say, “Alexa, arm Ring” when you head out.

Backup, Battery and charging

Ring Alarm 2

The base Station uses AC power to stay connected 24/7, and you can also add a backup battery in case your power gets cut or there’s an outage.

The Keypad has a micro-USB cord for recharging, so there’s no worry about batteries there. From my several years of experience with it, the keypad charge lasts for months.

If your Wi-Fi is offline, you can also use cellular backup with a Ring Protect Plus Plan so your system can stay online during any outage.

The door-window sensors use CR123A or coin batteries, and Ring says each battery can last up to three years, depending on use. I’d say that’s about accurate from my testing, and the app will let you know if any of your sensors are running low or if they go off-line because of a dead battery.

I will say that a couple of the door and window sensors I’ve purchased have become problematic after I replaced the battery. They just would not reconnect to the system, even after following a hard reset procedure while on the phone with Ring customer service. I did find this frustrating, but in at least one case, I purchased a brand new sensor and it connected to the system in seconds.

Overall review of Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm 2

I continue to be a big fan of the Ring brand for smart home security and monitoring. The rechargeable keypad is super helpful and means I don’t have to worry about batteries there, and of course if you want to have the keypad permanently plugged in and stuck on the wall you won’t have to worry about recharging.

Ring Alarm 2 is easy to set up, easy to arm and disarm, and makes it simple to keep tabs on what’s happening around your house – more so when you get all your Ring Alarm components linked together with other cameras or doorbells you may have.

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?

Overall the Ring Alarm system works exactly as advertised, and even for years on about 90% of the components are still working exactly as they should. As I mentioned a couple of the door and window sensors seemed to die off after their batteries quit, I was able to replace them but that might be a frustration for some users.

In short I think the Ring Alarm 2 is a great system to keep your home safe and secure, and it comes with pretty much any option you could want, like glass break sensors, flood and freeze sensors and more.
The Ring Alarm 8-piece Starter security Kit sells for about $249US/$339CAD from places like BBY and Amazon or Ring’s website.

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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