Today’s home security systems and monitoring can cost you quite a bit of money. The technology is costly, and the installation even more so.
If you’re looking for a system that includes a monitoring center, you’re going to factor in a monthly cost for that as well. But does paying more always mean that you’re getting better quality?
There are several smart home security systems on the market today that provide a quality experience that doesn’t require you to give up an arm and a leg. Ring Protect and Blink Home Security are two such systems, and in this article, we’ll take a look at the features, benefits, and capabilities of each.
My Top Line Summary: If you are looking for a more “traditional” home security experience – but with the added “smart” benefits – the Ring Security System available here is my preferred option. I also love that it’s now owned by Amazon, which points to further development possibilities and integrations
1 Base Station, 1 Range Extender, 1 Keypad, 1 Motion Detector, 1 Contact Sensor
Z-Wave SmartStart and Z-Wave Security technology
Video Doorbell, Spotlight Camera, Floodlight Cam, Stick Up Camera, and other Ring devices
Contents (Jump to)
First Up: Ring Protect
The Ring Protect is a good place for do-it-yourselfers to start. It’s simple and straightforward to build your own kit, and it’s not going to require a second mortgage to get started. You’ll begin with what Ring refers to as its Protect Base Station, which is what devices use to connect to your system. This can be other Ring hardware like cameras and doorbells, or other vendor devices that connect using Bluetooth, wifi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave.
The base station comes with a battery backup, a siren, and a wireless chip that Ring will activate for a monthly service. You can also connect the Ring base station through a network cable, but it isn’t required.
You can also purchase security sensors for your Ring security system. One such sensor is a keypad sensor that is powered with a battery and can be mounted on the wall or placed on a level surface. The keypad sensor lets you arm and disarm your Ring security system, as well as making the distinction between armed home and armed away.
A second sensor your can pick up for your Ring security system is a contact device. This sensor is placed on windows and doors to let you know when they are opened or closed. You can also get a range extending device for your system, which runs off AC power. With a range extender, you’ll have a full day’s worth of backup battery available, while increasing your signal to find and eliminate trouble spots in your system.
Last, you can add a Ring Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector to your Ring Protect system. While this device isn’t an actual smoke detector if will send you a notification if you aren’t home and your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors go off, alerting you to contact the appropriate response teams.
Ring has several cameras available for purchase, include doorbell cameras, a floodlight camera, a spotlight camera, and two iterations of their Ring Stick Up camera. The majority of Ring’s cameras will work outdoors except their two Stick Up cameras. The Stick Up camera and Stick Up Elite are meant to be used either outside or inside.
You can view the video through your Ring cameras even if you don’t subscribe to a monthly subscription, but beyond the first thirty-day trial, you won’t be able to store content. Ring’s Basic plan offers sixty days worth of storage in the cloud, video sharing, and video review.
The next plan up, Protect Plus, includes unlimited cloud storage for your cameras and provides an additional layer of coverage for your Ring Protect base station. Protect Plus also provides you with cellular backup, and twenty-four-hour monitoring referred to as Ring Response.
Ring Protect uses Ring’s already existing app, which lets you manage your cameras, doorbells, and security system. Through the app, you are able to disarm and arm the security system, and you’ll have access to a feature called Ring Neighborhoods.
Ring Neighborhoods is a unique service that allows you to share your videos with other Ring users nearby or any other user who has the Ring application on their smartphone. Tied into Ring Locations, which lets you customize and control user access to certain devices, you can grant full permissions to your children while limiting control and functionality to your neighbor.
Third Party Compatibility
The Ring Protect base station works well with both Zigbee and Z-Wave, the latter of which allows you to add a First Alert Z-Wave smoke detector. This device is compatible with Ring’s Response Service, which means that if smoke is detected somewhere in your home, the security system initiates an automatic call to the fire department.
In addition to Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols, Ring cameras will work with Echo Spot, Echo Show, SmartThings, IFTTT, and Wink. The Ring Protect security system also features Z-Wave SmartStart and Z-Wave Security technologies. These technologies provide a layer of protection between the cloud and base station, and the communication between your connected devices and the base station.
The Ring Protect Smart Security system isn’t going to blow you away with fancy features and devices, but it does go a long way toward saving you money. Where it lacks in features, it makes up for in cost savings. This system allows you to purchase an affordable security system which you can build on through the Ring devices or from scratch.
Like other smart security systems, there are plenty of cameras from which to choose, and Ring even includes a few video doorbell options. They offer several monthly monitoring services, a few of which include professional monitoring, cellular backup, and cloud storage. You may not be impressed with what the Ring Protect Smart Security system has to offer, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
If Blink (read my full review here!) is known for nothing else, it is known for its quality and affordable home security products. This home security system is a smart wireless system that focuses on video monitoring and user notifications. Blink operates primarily on batteries and will provide a variety of different options that are sure to meet your smart home monitoring needs.
Blink is well-known as one of the most convenient and innovative smart home security systems on the market today. Its system works through small cameras and allows you to monitor your home via wireless HD video without introducing a lot of complicated and convoluted features. The simple and sleek design of the Blink smart home security system is refreshing and is sure to put you at ease.
Pros and Cons
While the Blink smart home security system is very good at what it does, even the best systems have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s important that you recognize and understand the system you’re purchasing beforehand, so let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Blink home security system.
- No monthly monitoring fees
- No contract required
- Easy and quick installation
- 720HD cameras with clear images
- Real-time video feed
- Mobile application is intuitive
- Night vision included with cameras
- Wireless – Only needs AA lithium batteries
- Inability to group cameras into zones
- You must store your videos on Blink servers; cannot be stored locally
- Ability to only view one camera feed at a time
- No additional devices
- Is not compatible with other home automation services
As you can see based on the pros and cons, the Blink smart home security system really is very simple. This being the case, you’ll want to make sure the Blink system really is the right fit for you and your home. Blink’s system requires you to monitor your video feeds to stay aware of the status of your home’s security.
One nice feature you can put to good use is the ability to network together your video monitoring cameras. The Blink system provides great high-quality HD video both at night and during the days. Additionally, Blink boasts that it’s AA lithium batteries last nearly a year, so there is little to worry about if you’re concerned about the system’s batteries.
You do not have to sign a contract to use Blink’s smart home security system, and all of the devices are wireless, which means you don’t have to deal with pesky wires. If you’re looking for simplicity, this is what it looks like.
The monitoring structure for Blink smart home security is simple and straightforward. It simply hinges on the number of monitoring cameras you want to be part of your network. Of course the larger the network, the more your package is going to cost.
Here are the four most common monitoring packages available through Blink:
- One Camera– Blink’s one camera smart home system comes with one camera. You can place or mount it anywhere since it’s wire-free and powered by batteries. It will start recording when it senses motion, and notify you so you can view the live video feed of the event through your Blink application.
- Two Cameras – The next level of Blink’s smart home system includes the same option as the previous level. The only difference here is the initial cost of purchasing more than one camera.
- Three Cameras – This system is the same as the previous two systems, but with three cameras, which pushes up your cost. The same options are available with this system as the others.
- Five Cameras – Blink skips a four camera system and goes straight to five cameras. All the same options apply, and of course, your cost is going to be higher for five cameras.
With Blink, there are no contract requirements and no obligations. The beauty of Blink’s smart home security system is that it puts you completely in control of monitoring your home, allowing you to place and utilize your cameras where it makes the most sense for you and your home.
Blink has a few features that set it apart from other smart home security systems. First, the system can go from sleep mode to recording a video in less than one second. Because of this feature, you know you’ll have reliable and continuous coverage of your home. A nice side effect of this feature is that when your camera is in sleep mode, it is using no battery power, which means that your batteries are going to last longer.
Which leads us to the second Blink feature, which is the incredible battery life boasted by the system. Because your system lasts an entire year before the batteries need changing, there is little maintenance required on the system.
The Blink smart home security system is a decent, affordable system that provides constant home monitoring. You’ll have a system that provides long battery life, cameras that can tilt and zoom as needed, the convenience of wireless technology, and live HD video feeds when needed.
If you’re looking for a simple, user-friendly system that is easy to maintain, the Blink home security system is a good option. Blink’s system is easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to manage. This system is for you if you’re the type of user who wants to manage their home security through video monitoring. That is what the Blink home security system does best.
Let’s take a high-level look at how the Ring Protect home security system, and the Blink home security system compare with one another. The chart below provides an idea of where the strengths and weaknesses of each system lie.
|Included||1 Base Station, 1 Range Extender, 1 Keypad, 1 Motion Detector, 1 Contact Sensor||Blink Security Cameras|
|Cloud Support||System will work locally||Videos backed up to Blink cloud network|
|Cellular Backup Support||Requires Monthly Fee||No Support|
|Professional Monitoring||Requires Monthly Fee||No Support|
|Battery Backup||24-Hours||AA Lithium Batteries|
|Indoor Camera Option||Ring Stick Up Camera||No|
|Outdoor Camera Option||Yes||Yes|
|Additional Devices||Video Doorbell, Spotlight Camera, Floodlight Cam, Stick Up Camera, and other Ring devices||Additional cameras can be added to system|
Final Summary: Which Would I Pick?
As previously stated, there is nothing about either of these systems that is going to knock your socks off, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth the investment. If you want to have secure, constant monitoring of your home, you can’t go wrong with either of these smart home security systems.
Neither offers the fancy bells and whistles that fancier, more expensive systems will provide, but they both provide quality and reliability. The information above is a good place to start when making a decision around smart home security, but ultimately you’ll want to determine which is right for you based your own smart home security needs.
My Bottom Line: If you are looking for a more “traditional” home security experience – but with the added “smart” benefits – the Ring Security System available here is my preferred option. I also love that it’s now owned by Amazon, which points to further development possibilities and integrations!
However, the Blink system available here is lightweight, inexpensive, and perfect for a simple, flexible setup. If you don’t want all the fees and upsells, I still really love Blink.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!