Google Nest Doorbell Vs Ring

A smart doorbell can really bolster your home security and keep track of everything that happens outside the front door. Both Nest and Ring make an excellent range of doorbells, but they’re not created equal. 

So, I created this handy guide to help you understand how the Google Nest doorbell stacks up against Amazon’s Ring. I’ve included pro tips and my personal experience, so by the end, you can make a confident choice on which one will suit your home best. 

Key Points

  • The Google Nest Doorbell offers more capabilities like facial recognition, AI motion detection (4 types), and continuous 24/7 recording (on wired).
  • Ring’s extensive lineup provides more affordable video doorbells, both battery-powered and wired.
  • Both require subscriptions for advanced features, but Ring’s plans are slightly cheaper than Nest’s. With a 3-hour video history, Nest has more free features than Ring.
  • Nest has a 3:4 portrait aspect ratio, which covers head-to-toe, while Ring doorbells have either 16:9 or 1:1 (square), but higher resolution.
  • Nest is optimized for the Google Home ecosystem, while Ring is built around Alexa integration.

What’s The Main Difference Between Nest and Ring Doorbells?

Nest and Ring doorbells have several differences, including video quality, audio clarity, field of view, subscription pricing, AI features, integration with various ecosystems, privacy, and overall reliability. 

Keep reading as I break down all these key points to help you pick the right one for you. 

A Detailed Comparison of Nest and Ring Doorbells

While both brands offer various models, I’ll mainly focus on the Nest Doorbell (Battery) and Ring Doorbell Plus (Battery) as these are amongst their most popular ones. But I’ll include info on the rest of their lineup too. 

Similarities Between Nest and Ring Doorbells

Google Nest Doorbell (Battery) - Wireless Doorbell Camera - Video Doorbell - Snow -1 Count (Pack of 1), 960x1280p, Motion Only

1) HD Video Quality with Night Vision

Both the Nest and Ring doorbells offer high-definition video streaming, allowing you to see who’s at your door in clear detail. There’s a difference in resolution though: the Nest Doorbell (Battery) records video at 960 x 1280 resolution with HDR, while the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus captures 1536p HD video (on the basic model, you get 1080p).

Night vision is also standard on both doorbells, ensuring you can still see visitors even in low-light conditions. But Ring includes Color Night Vision in its Plus and higher models. 

2) Two-Way Audio

With built-in microphones and speakers, both Nest and Ring doorbells allow you to talk to anyone at the door in real-time. You can do this via the app on your smartphone or your Hub display. 

Nest features HD Talk and Listen, which includes echo cancellation and noise reduction for clearer audio. Ring’s Plus model has standard two-way audio, but the Pro and above models come with Audio+ for improved clarity. 

3) Motion Detection with Smart Alerts

A marketing image of a black Google Nest Hello Video Doorbell (on a white background).

Both Nest and Ring leverage motion detection technology to send you alerts when activity is detected near your doorbell. They use a combination of passive infrared (PIR) sensors and computer vision to distinguish between people, parcels, animals, and vehicles, reducing false alerts. Nest does better in this regard. 

Both of them also let you customize the motion zones and sensitivity levels, however the exact capability differs between them. The level of smart alerts and rich notifications you’ll get also depends on the subscription plan you choose, so I’ll discuss that later on. 

4) Smart Home Integration

Nest and Ring doorbells integrate well with their respective smart home ecosystems and voice assistants. Nest doorbells work in sync with Google Home devices and Google Assistant, while Ring doorbells are well-integrated with Amazon Echo devices and Alexa.

You can view the live feed on their respective Hub displays and create automations with other devices. But they have limited support for working with other ecosystems, as I’ll elaborate under the differences. 

5) Battery and Hardwired Models

Nest and Ring offer both battery-powered and hardwired doorbell models to suit different installation needs. The battery versions are wireless and quite easy to install yourself, with decent battery life ranging up to 2-4 months, depending on your settings. 

The hardwired models can connect to your existing doorbell wiring for continuous power. But the wired installation is a bit more hands-on and might require professional help. 

6) Compatibility with Existing Chimes

If you have an existing mechanical or digital doorbell chime in your home, both Nest and Ring models are likely to work with them. When someone presses the doorbell button, it’ll ring your indoor chime as usual while also sending a notification to your phone. 

Ring also sells chime accessories separately, while Nest can play chime sounds on Nest speakers and displays. 

7) Weather Resistance

Both Nest and Ring have designed their doorbells to withstand various weather conditions. The Nest doorbell is IP54 rated, so it can withstand some amount of rain, snow, and dust, but it can’t be submerged in water (and why would you?!). 

Ring does not have any official IP rating, but they do say that it is water-resistant, not waterproof. Hence, it should be able to withstand moderate elements. 

But it’s important to note that freezing temperatures have a significant impact on battery life, simply due to how lithium-ion technology works. So if you live in a very cold area, a hardwired model from either brand will likely work much better and more reliably. 

Major Differences Between Nest and Ring Doorbells

Ring Video Doorbell - 1080p HD video, improved motion detection, easy installation – Satin Nickel

1) Pricing and Subscription Model

While both Nest and Ring offer free basic features, many advanced ones require a paid subscription plan. But, there are significant differences in how they’ve structured and priced their plans. 

Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus are the two plans offered by the Google brand. At the time of writing, they’re priced at $12/month and $24/month, which is a tad pricey, but they cover all Nest cameras and doorbells. The main difference is you get only 30 days of event video history on the basic plan, and 60 days on the Plus plan. 

But if you get the wired Nest doorbell, you’ll also get 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recording (CVR) on the Plus plan. This isn’t available on the battery-powered model due to thermal overheating reasons; even if you wire it up, you still won’t get CVR. 

Amazon’s Ring Protect, on the other hand, offers 3 subscriptions: Basic, Plus, and Pro. The basic one is just for 1 camera or doorbell and costs $5 per month. It covers the essential functionality and gives you an event-based video history. 

The Plus plan, at $10/month, covers all of your Ring devices at one address and adds more advanced video features and extended warranties. The Pro plan is twice the price, but includes professional monitoring and emergency services, cellular backup, and a couple more features. 

Now, to get the full functionality out of your doorbell, you’ll need a subscription either way you go. But Ring ends up being cheaper over the long run, whether you have only 1 doorbell or a full 12-camera system. 

Without any subscription though, Nest offers better value for money. It includes 3 hours of video history, intelligent alerts, and smart motion detection. Ring’s free plan is extremely limited in comparison. 

2) Installation and Power Options

A newly installed Ring Doorbell Pro 2 on my door frame

Even though Nest and Ring both offer multiple models that are battery-powered or wired, there are some key differences between them. 

Nest’s battery doorbell doesn’t have a removable battery, so you have to take out the whole unit to charge it. Ring’s Battery Plus and above models have a quick-release battery pack. So you can buy a spare battery (an extra cost) and use that to keep your doorbell running all the time. 

Also, Ring has Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capability in its Elite model, which Nest doesn’t have. 

As for the installation mounts themselves, Nest includes a 20° wedge to help you change your viewing angle. Ring sells several different mounting accessories and kits to help you install the doorbell on a variety of surfaces and angles.

The standard mount for Ring has a bit more security, making it tougher to steal. The Nest battery model is quite easy to take out, so if theft is a concern, consider using a better mounting plate. 

3) Video Recording and Storage

Front view of the Ring Indoor Cam in recording mode as shown by the blue light

Nest and Ring also have some different approaches in how they record and store videos. 

As I mentioned earlier, a wired Nest doorbell can record 24/7 with Nest Aware Plus, but this is not yet a possibility on wired Ring doorbells. Amazon has promised this multiple times, though, so it may be added in the future. 

Now for event-based recording, Ring offers a maximum of 180 days cloud storage, but the default is set to 60 days. You need to go into your device settings and manually increase it to 180, which doesn’t cost anything extra. This is available on both Ring Plus and Pro plans. 

But Ring doesn’t offer any free storage with its doorbells. You get a free trial when you sign up, but after that, you won’t be able to store recorded videos. While Nest has 3 hours of storage on its free plan. 

Ring does have a ‘Pre-Roll’ feature, which starts recording a few seconds before motion is detected, so you get to see more of the recorded event. Nest doesn’t have this feature. 

4) AI Features and Performance

As you’d expect from tech giants like Google and Amazon, both Nest and Ring leverage artificial intelligence (AI) heavily in their doorbells. 

Nest’s doorbells have built-in TPUs (Tensor Processing Unit), which facilitate on-device machine learning. This means that they can use AI to recognize people, packages, vehicles, animals, and familiar faces (with a subscription) on the doorbell itself. This is much faster, reduces bandwidth, and, of course, protects your privacy too. 

Ring has no facial recognition technology as of now, so if that’s important to you, Nest is a better choice. Ring does offer package detection with its Protect subscription though, which can alert you when a delivery arrives. It also uses 3D motion detection in the Pro models to only send you alerts about people, not cars or critters passing by.

Overall, I found Nest’s AI capabilities to just be a tad bit better than Ring, and available on its standard model instead of the high-end ones. 

5) Field of View and Aspect Ratio

The head to toe view of the Ring Doorbell Pro 2

Nest and Ring also differ in their Field of View (FoV) and aspect ratio (AR), which makes a big difference in how their video recordings look. 

Nest’s doorbells have a 3:4 aspect ratio, which is a bit taller than the standard 16:9 widescreen format and has a vertical orientation. It does give you a better head-to-toe view of people standing close to the doorbell camera. And its FoV is 145°, which is decent. 

Ring has a slightly wider FoV, ranging from 150° to 160°, and its aspect ratio also varies from 16:9 on the basic model to 1:1 on the Plus model. The standard model won’t give you a head-to-toe view, but the Plus and above models (with 1536p) will. 

In my experience, I found that Nest could see visitors coming from far more easily than Ring did, and the motion detection worked quicker. Seeing packages on the ground was easier with Nest too. 

6) Audio Quality and Features 

While both Nest and Ring have two-way audio, the quality differs. I’ve found the audio on Nest doorbells to be slightly fuller and more natural sounding compared to Ring.

Nest’s HD Talk and Listen works very well, so you can talk to visitors clearly without any background noise. It offers pre-recorded quick responses so you can play a message like “Just a moment” or “Leave the package” if you can’t answer the door.

Ring’s audio quality is decent but not as good on its Basic and Plus models. The Pro model features Audio+, which brings it up to par with Nest. Ring does let you turn on Alexa Greetings so the voice assistant will talk to visitors and take messages for you.

7) Connectivity and Reliability

A smart doorbell is only as good as its connection. If it fails when you need it most, then that’s a serious issue. 

Nest uses both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands, while Ring only supports 2.4 GHz (except for the Elite, which has Ethernet). 5 GHz Wi-Fi allows for faster speeds and less interference, which can lead to a more stable connection, especially if you have a lot of devices on your network.

Nest’s battery version can also record for up to 1 hour in case of power/internet outages, which you can review when it comes back online.

Both Ring and Nest doorbells do have occasional hiccups and connection drops, but in my experience I saw it happen more frequently with Ring. 

Like any cloud-based service, Nest and Ring can go down occasionally. But Nest seems to have a better track record for uptime and quickly resolving issues. Still, your mileage may vary depending on your home network and location. 

8) Ecosystems and Integration

Both Nest and Ring come from tech giants, so they’re compatible with different smart home ecosystems. So you have to consider which direction you’d prefer to move in: Google, or Amazon? 

Their product catalog differs a lot too: Nest has a smaller but pretty solid selection of home security devices. But Ring, and Amazon at large, have a wider array of products to build a smart home. 

Neither of these two doorbells work that well when trying to integrate into other ecosystems; there are more connectivity drops, latency, performance issues, etc. A platform like Home Assistant can help, but it requires a lot more setup. 

Now, another minor issue I’ve seen is Google’s tendency to kill off products and services on short notice. They shut down Nest Secure recently, which has left a lot of people worried about their home security setup. 

So it can really boil down to whether you’d prefer to use Google Assistant and Google Home, or Amazon Alexa. 

9) Privacy and Security

Smart doorbells, with cameras and mics, always have the potential to be hacked or misused. So many smart home companies, like Wyze, have come under fire for several privacy breaches. Both Google and Amazon have also had their fair share of privacy and security issues. 

When it comes to their doorbells, both Nest and Ring have taken several steps to try to protect your privacy, including end-to-end encryption for all video footage. There’s also two-factor authentication (mandatory on Ring) to safeguard your accounts. Nest also does emphasize its on-device local processing for AI detection, which is a good start. 

But both brands are also notorious for collecting user data, the full extent of which is hard to quantify.

Ring has had a greater share of controversies, from sharing private videos to law enforcement without consent, to its employees gaining access to some camera feeds.  Its recent FTC case is also an example of how far Ring’s privacy flaws have gone. 

Unfortunately, both doorbells are also somewhat vulnerable to physical tampering/hacking if a bad actor gets access, but they will likely record such events so you can investigate. 

So, while neither doorbell is perfect, both are continuously working on their privacy and security and are good enough for most people to get by. My advice would be to follow best practices on your own if you’re worried about leaks or breaches. 

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Nest DoorbellMore free features, including 3 hours of event video history and AI person detection.Familiar face recognition for frequent visitors. 24/7 continuous recording on wired model.Connectivity and reliability is slightly more stable than Ring.Two-way audio with HD Talk is clear and convenient. Can record 1 hour during power outages. Limited range of models to choose from.Slightly higher upfront cost as well as subscription prices.Non-replaceable battery means the entire unit has to be taken out for charging. Some concerns over long-term support since Google has been known to kill off services, like Nest Secure recently. 
Ring DoorbellExtensive range of models to choose from, with budget and high-end options. Ring Protect is affordable and includes a longer 180-day video history.Quick-release removable battery packs for easy charging.A variety of accessories are available to customize your setup. Power over Ethernet is available on Elite model. Free features are extremely limited. Lack of any continuous recording option, even on wired models. Privacy concerns with several issues in the past. No facial recognition, and AI processing is not done locally. Motion detection can be a bit slower and less reliable than Nest. 

FAQs

Can I use a Ring doorbell without a subscription?

While you can use a Ring doorbell without a subscription, its functionality would be very limited. You will be able to view the live camera feed, receive basic motion alerts, and use two-way audio. But you won’t be able to record any videos or use its advanced features like person or package detection.

Do Ring or Nest offer local video storage options?

No, neither Ring nor Nest offers any local video storage options on their doorbells. You’ll have to depend on their cloud service for video recordings. Nest does have a feature to record 1 hour of footage during a power outage, but it will be uploaded to the cloud when it’s back online.

Can I install a Nest or Ring doorbell by myself? 

Yes, both Nest and Ring doorbells can be installed by you. They are designed for easy DIY installation, especially the battery-powered models. The hardwired models require a bit more wiring expertise, so if you’re not comfortable with that, you may need to hire a pro. 

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you understand how the Nest and Ring doorbells compare against each other. While I personally lean towards the Nest just a bit, Ring is still a great, affordable option. It boils down to what suits your home best. 

If you have any other tips or experiences to share with either of these doorbells, do let us know in the comments below.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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