Just as with many different mainstay products in the home today, the venerable doorbell has become smart. The smart doorbell is a new way to add both convenience and security to your home, allowing you to see who is at the door and answer it without having to go out of your way to do it. The two most prominent of these new smart doorbell systems are SkyBell and Ring. Read on for a full description of each system and see how these two top contenders can be compared to each other.
Design of SkyBell and Ring Systems
Before going directly to the main features of each of these smart doorbell systems, it is good to have the main overview of their design and how they work. After all, if the main design of the system isn’t going to be good for your home, then the features they offer will be meaningless. However, you should find the perfect one for your own home between these two systems. In addition, you can compare the features offered by both to other smart doorbell systems in the video doorbells review.
The SkyBell system works as a smart doorbell for your home, utilizing a device that is installed on your front door that is meant to replace your existing doorbell. This device contains a camera and microphone that allows you to see and speak to whoever is at your door without needing to physically answer the door yourself. The system connects to your WiFi home network and can stream the video feed directly to your smartphone or another mobile device, while you can use the same device to communicate with whoever is at the door. With the design of the system, you can interact with the SkyBell system from anywhere, even when you are not at home, giving you a maximum feeling of security and peace of mind whenever you are away.
The SkyBell system itself is quite small, consisting mainly of a small, circular device that can be installed anywhere on or near your front door. The device itself includes a doorbell button along with the camera, microphone, speaker, and motion sensor, with the doorbell activating the system the moment it is pressed, sending an alert to your smartphone to let you know it is activated. The small size and multitude of features packed into this small device makes it a truly next-generation doorbell that surpasses the capabilities of home security systems that existed before.
The Ring system, just like the SkyBell system, consists of a replacement doorbell for your home, giving you many of the same capabilities provided by its competitor. The Ring Video Doorbell is a small device that can be mounted on your front door to replace your existing doorbell, giving you the ability to answer the door without being physically present, as well as to see and communicate with whoever is there. Ring offers multiple models that include additional features, giving you the ability to choose the right device for your home, ranging from a battery-operated low-end model that is mainly just a smart doorbell to a professional-grade wired system that connects to and is integrated with a full-fledged security system.
Although the Ring system works in a similar manner to the SkyBell system, a significant difference between them is that the Ring system can be customized to act as the center of an advanced security system for your home, with the ability to connect with a wide array of additional devices such as a full-fledged security system, smart lighting, security cams, and more. The video doorbell is just one part of what can be a full advanced security system that protects your entire home rather than just the front door. The device itself is small and can be mounted on the front door, and is built with weather protection in mind, letting it function perfectly through any kind of weather. The lower-end models are battery powered and will require frequent battery replacement, although the higher-end models can be hardwired to your home’s electrical system.
SkyBell and Ring Installation
People are usually hesitant to try installing any kind of security system themselves, often opting for professionals to do it for them. However, with both the SkyBell and Ring systems, there is little work required to install them, with both systems providing simple instructions for doing so. Below are the details of how each of these systems is installed, showing you that whichever system you choose, you can easily install it yourself and get it up and running in just a couple of minutes.
Installation of the SkyBell system is extremely simple. This system is designed to replace your existing doorbell, including using the electrical connections that the existing doorbell uses. Although this may sound intimidating to some, SkyBell includes a simple instructional video on their website which shows how to replace the existing doorbell with the SkyBell model. All that is required is to remove the existing doorbell mechanism, mount the SkyBell mounting plate over the area of the old doorbell, connect the two electrical wires, and then mount the SkyBell device onto the mounting plate. The only tool that should be required is a screwdriver. All told, installing the SkyBell device and having it ready to use should take no more than five minutes.
Installation of the Ring system might be a little more or less complex than the SkyBell system, depending on which model you purchase, and whether or not you are replacing an existing doorbell. The Video Doorbell and Video Doorbell 2 devices are both battery-operated, so there is no need to connect them to the wiring for your existing doorbell. The more advanced models such as the Video Doorbell Pro and Video Doorbell Elite are both meant to be powered through the existing wiring for your doorbell, so installation of these units is similar to that for installing the SkyBell system. In addition, some of the accessories and add-ons for the Ring systems such as the WiFi deadbolt will require additional installation. In short, the more advanced the system that you purchase from Ring, the more complex that installation will be. If you purchase one of the more advanced models from Ring and you are wary of installing all of the necessary devices yourself, you may want to hire a professional to install them for you.
Audio and Video Features of the SkyBell and Ring Systems
Any smart doorbell system is going to need both audio and video features in order to be more useful than a regular doorbell. Both the SkyBell and Ring systems have these included, giving you much more usefulness out of either system than even the best door chimes. Although there are certainly similarities between both systems, there are some differences as well, which will be explained below.
The SkyBell system includes two-way audio communication between the door and the user’s mobile device. The SkyBell device includes both a speaker and a microphone which facilitates audio communication from the door, and the user can use the microphone and speaker of their mobile device to hear and speak with whoever is at the door as well. In addition, the SkyBell app includes the ability to mute the chime sound produced by the SkyBell system whenever the doorbell is rung, for situations where the homeowner does not wish to be disturbed.
Just like the SkyBell system, all of the models of the Ring devices include both microphones and speakers that allow for two-way communication between the user and the door. Users can use the Ring app to communicate with whoever is at the door from anywhere, whether they are at home or away. In addition, the audio capabilities can also extend to some of the other devices that are connected through the Ring system, and it can even interface with the Alexa system for total voice control.
With as good as the audio features of the SkyBell system are, the video features are what really make this system shine. Thanks to the built-in HD camera on the SkyBell device, you have a full HD quality view of whoever is at your door. The video functionality can work whenever the doorbell is rung, but you can actually view the camera feed at any time and from anywhere through the SkyBell app on your mobile device.
In addition to this video functionality, the SkyBell system also includes the ability to record video at any time, either through your own request, or coupled with the motion detector on the unit to automatically record video whenever any motion is sensed near the door. This gives you a full view of whoever is at your front door at any time of the day or night. The camera includes full color night vision, so you can view and record in full color even without lights on. On top of this, you can also take an instant snapshot of the view in case you need a high-quality still image to compliment the video recording.
All of the different models of the Ring system contain the same video functionality as the SkyBell system, such as the ability to livestream the view from the front door from anywhere, take snapshots of whoever is there, and record video. The video recording functionality, unlike the SkyBell system, requires a monthly subscription fee of $3 a month after a 30-day free trial. However, it does also include the ability to instantly share the recorded video through a variety of ways.
In addition to these capabilities, the Ring smart doorbells can also display video from any of the additional Stick Up Cams or Spotlight Cams that are installed throughout the house, giving you a complete and total view not just of your front door, but of your entire property. You can even livestream the view from any of these additional cameras through the Ring app on your mobile device, no matter where you are. If you just want to make sure that you put away your grill pan after use, or you want to check the outdoor grill grates, the optional add-ons for the Ring system will let you do that and more.
Motion Sensors and Trackers of the SkyBell and Ring Systems
With the audio and video capabilities of these two different smart doorbell systems adding a wide range of functionality, they often work in conjunction with or in addition to some other features of these systems, including motion sensors and other forms of tracking. Below are how these functions work with both of these systems.
SkyBell Motion Sensors
Both the SkyBell HD and SkyBell Trim Plus include motion sensors on the devices, which can trigger certain actions whenever any motion is detected near the front door, including triggering the video streaming or video recording capabilities in addition to sending you a notification to your mobile device. This, in turn, gives you the choice of what actions to take, if any are required.
Ring Motion Sensors
All of the available Ring devices include motion sensors that contain the same functionality as their SkyBell counterparts, including the sending of a notification to your phone, or even automatically recording video. In addition, the Ring system has the option for additional motion sensors to be setup throughout the house, ensuring that your entire home is covered in a blanket of security. These motion sensors can work in conjunction with the other Ring accessories to give you a full view of your home at any time of the day or night, and from anywhere.
Additional Features of the SkyBell and Ring Systems
Along with the above mentioned capabilities of both the SkyBell and Ring systems, both systems include a number of additional features and benefits that help make them two of the best smart doorbell systems available. Many of the capabilities and features for each system are listed below.
SkyBell Doorbell Features
- Full weatherproofing of the device, allowing it to remain functional in all types of weather
- Activity history, giving you a list of all events that have been recorded by the system
- Multi-color LED lights for viewing night time video in full color
- Free cloud recording
- Instant notifications to your mobile device for any activity detected
- Full two-way audio communication
- Live video streaming, viewable from your mobile device
- Support for multiple users, allowing anyone in your family to use its features
- Theft guarantee – free replacement if the device is stolen
- Ability to connect your SkyBell device with Wink Hub, a central controller for all smart devices in your home (requires separate purchase)
Ring Doorbell Features
- Five different models to choose from
- Fully weather-resistant exterior that protects the device from the elements
- Integration with a selection of add-ons to form a complete home security system
- Works with Amazon Alexa for full voice control and voice notification
- Optional cloud video recording (monthly fee required)
- Impact sensor to detect any force used on the front door
- WiFi deadbolt that can be locked or unlocked through your mobile device
- Built-in rechargeable battery for battery-operated models
- Motion-activated alerts that send automatic notifications to you
- Optional monitoring service for alerting authorities in case of emergencies
- A wide range of accessories including alarms, smoke detectors, light dimmers, garage door detector, smart switches, and many others
Best Uses for SkyBell and Ring Systems
After listing the various features and capabilities of both the SkyBell and Ring systems, it is clear that there are quite a few similarities, but also quite a few differences as well. If you are still unsure which of these smart doorbell systems is best for you, read the summaries for each below.
SkyBell Doorbell System
The SkyBell system gives you a full smart doorbell with virtually all features that are often required of such a system. Although it doesn’t have the full range of functionality and integration as the Ring system, it provides a good amount of security for your front entrance. The SkyBell system is best used for homes that may already have an existing security system, and the homeowner wishes to add another level of security by having all of the functions of a smart doorbell.
Ring Doorbell System
Although the various models of the Ring system include much of the same functionality as the SkyBell devices, they actually offer much more than just a simple smart doorbell. With the wide array of accessories and add-ons available for the system, along with the optional monitoring service available, the Ring system works best as a full home security system rather than just as a smart doorbell. Therefore, the Ring system is probably best used in such a manner, especially for homes that do not contain a built-in security system.
Conclusion: SkyBell or Ring?
Due to both the similarities and differences between the SkyBell and Ring systems, it is difficult to come to a conclusion about which system is better. The SkyBell system is essentially a smart doorbell that gives you the full range of functionality and convenience that such systems typically provide. Although there are few accessories or add-ons available for it, it contains some functions, such as cloud video recording, for free that are only optional paid services available for the Ring devices. It is also able to connect to a Wink Hub device, allowing for central control of all smart devices in your home, although this requires the purchase of a Wink Hub device.
The Ring system, on the other hand, provides a larger range of devices along with many additional add-ons and services that simply aren’t available for the SkyBell system. With the ability to connect various add-ons to create a full home security system, along with its ability to work with Amazon Alexa, the Ring system has a wider range of capabilities and functionality that just isn’t available for the SkyBell system.
In essence, the best system between these two will depend entirely on the user and what their needs are in a smart doorbell system. For those who only need the functionality of a smart doorbell system, and who don’t want or need to use optional paid services, the SkyBell system is the best choice. For those who want the ability to expand their smart doorbell into a full home security system with monitoring services included, the Ring system is the obvious choice. Regardless of your preferences, though, we are sure that either of these outstanding smart doorbell systems will provide you with an extra level of convenience and security for your home.