Is Ring Alarm’s “Professional Monitoring” Worth It?

Ring offer “Professional Monitoring” for their alarm system via the Ring Protect Plus plan, costing $10 per month. This is a lot cheaper than ADT’s $37-$53/month fees, but does Ring’s own offerings compromise some key features? Or is it a genuinely good service, at a genuinely good price?

Ring alarm’s professional monitoring is a genuine 24/7 monitoring system which has an average 30 second callback time after Ring are notified of an event. The initial callback is reliable, however some people have then found that follow-up calls aren’t quite as good.

What is Ring’s “Professional Monitoring”?

The whole point of a home alarm system is that if you’re out or busy and someone tries breaking in, you wouldn’t want to be notified once you’re free again – the burglarly (or break-in attempt) could have finished by then.

Instead, you pay someone to monitor your system for you. In ‘the old days’ this used to mean paying an alarm company $40+ per month to monitor your alarm system. When the alarm detects something, the alarm company is notified and they then notify local law enforcement to attend your house (if needed).

This is essentially what Ring’s “Professional Monitoring” offers – i.e. Ring will contact local law enforcement on your behalf if needed – but it instead only costs $10 per month, and it can also include monitoring for smoke/carbon monoxide, panic alarms and floods/freezing alerts too (if you buy separate sensors for these final three, that is).

In other words, you get more home monitoring, for less each month. Awesome!

Ring offer this via their Ring Protect Plus plan, which also includes 60 day’s of video recordings (saved to the Ring cloud) from an unlimited number of Ring cameras and doorbells – something which usually costs $3/month per camera/doorbell. In other words, if you have three Ring cameras already (costing $9/month), you’re essentially getting professional monitoring for your Ring system for just $1/month more.

Equally when your Ring alarm system goes off, it’ll set all your Ring cameras and doorbells to start recording, hopefully capturing footage of the attempted break-in or burglary.

This is the nice thing about Ring’s professional monitoring – it’s integrated with Ring’s other smart products, allowing Ring to offer more features than traditional alarm companies. but all at a lower price.

How does it work?

The Ring Alarm base station mounted on a wall above a metal shelf.
A wall mounted Ring Alarm base station.

When you purchase the Ring alarm system, you’ll have a base station and keypad as standard, along with 1-3 window/door sensors and also 1-3 motion sensors (depending on what Ring package you initially buy).

The window/door sensors are like magnetic switches: they are a pair and go on either side of a window or door. If the window or door is opened when everyone is out, the alarm system will detect this as a possible break-in. If no-one deactivates the alarm via the keypad (or Ring app), the siren inside the keypad sounds – and Ring will also get notified, if you pay for the Ring Protect Plus plan.

The same is true for the motion sensors – these are PIR based (but can be set-up so they don’t get activated by your pets), and when motion is detected unexpectedly, the alarm system must either be deactivated or the siren will sound and Ring will be notified.

When the alarm trips, a Ring team based in a secure location (who work 24/7, every day of the year) will check the alarm notification and firstly try to ring you to see if the threat is genuine. In other words, is it possible that you (or a guest) forgot the keypad code and the alarm system is ringing because you couldn’t deactivate it? You can cancel the alarm from ringing by giving Ring a verbal password which you previously setup.

But if you say that you’re out and no-one should be home, or if Ring simply can’t get hold of you, they will then contact local law enforcement to attend your house.

You can also buy extra sensors and buttons to extend the usefulness of your Ring alarm system further, and these are included in the professional monitoring too:

  • CO/smoke sensor: Ring’s carbon monoxide and smoke sensor costs $34.99 per smart sensor (which detects both CO and smoke), and when it detects smoke, the emergency contact is contacted first. If they aren’t contactable, emergency services will be dispatched – although Ring will keep trying to contact other listed contacts. Any of these contacts can cancel the emergy service call-out if needed.

    However if it detects carbon monoxide, emergency services are called and this cannot be cancelled (usually because of the risk of CO, and also because this can often be handled by a separate local team). Ring will then contact the listed emergency contacts to notify them of this.
  • Floor/freeze sensor: Ring’s flood and freeze sensor also costs $34.99 per sensor, and it’s particularly useful under sinks, refridgerators and in basements. When a possible water leak or low temperature situation is detected, Ring’s professional monitoring teams will ensure that you (or your emergency contacts) are notified of this. They won’t, however, notify local plumbers or contractors. Although this is probably a good thing, since middle of the night call-out chargers can be very high, and the flood/freeze may be a false alarm.
  • Panic button: Ring’s $34.99 panic button is wall mountable and will send a signal to your Ring alarm base station when it’s held down for 3 seconds or more. When Ring’s professional monitoring team receive this signal, they will attempt to call you to check if it’s a false alarm (and you can give a verbal password to cancel it, if so). Otherwise, local law enforcement will be contacted.

This is all pretty good, and it’s nice that you can extend your house’s home security to protect against carbon monoxide, floor and more, too. In addition to the professional monitoring, you still get all the usual alerts and notifications via your existing devices and Ring app.

Extra fees (over and above professional monitoring)

The only downside is that you may need to pay some extra fees depending on your local jurisdiction, such as professional monitoring permits and Verified Response. It’s worth noting quickly that all alarm systems will have this issue (if your local jurisdiction has extra fees), but the fact that Ring’s alarm system is smart doesn’t mean that you can escape these extra fees, unfortunately. Ways you may have to pay extra include:

  • A permit for professional monitoring: many local municipals require that they are notified that you have an alarm system installed with a professional monitoring subscription, and Ring will email you details of this after you have got everything setup. This typically costs $30-$50 and is usually a one-off fee, although some municipals may charge a lower recurring amount (each year) instead.
  • A false alarm fine: whilst Ring give lots of helpful information about preventing false alarms, if you do keep having local law enforcement dispatched to your property by mistake, you may end up getting charged. Ring often cover the first false alarm fine, but you’ll then have to pay after that.

    The LAPD charge $216 for the first false alarm, which then increases $50 each false call-out after that – so it can become very expensive, very quickly! As another example, Seattle charge $115 for automated alarms and $230 for manually triggered alarm call-outs.
  • Verified Response policies: due to having various false call-outs, various police forces often require extra ‘evidence’ before they will attend an alarm call-out. This might mean that Ring have to have actual evidence that a break-in is occurring, such as via Ring camera footage or captured audio from your home – or via the dispatch of a private security guard.

    Ring charge $75 for an initial 20 minute call out (of a guard), and then $1.25 per minute thereafter. Hence if you have a Ring camera in a verified response area, this could get expensive.

Which countries don’t get professional monitoring?

Ring’s professional monitoring is currently available in all 50 American states and throughout Canada, but excluding:

  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands
  • In Canada, Quebec is excluded

Sadly the rest of the world doesn’t have the option of professional monitoring. Instead, features such as ‘assisted monitoring‘ is offered – however this is literally just automated calls to listed emergency contacts.

Whilst you can list people who aren’t signed up to the Ring app, it’s still nowhere near the same level of service that you’d get with professional monitoring. So in this case, you may want to decide whether to go with an alternative alarm system (that does offer local professional monitoring), or just sign up with Ring anyway and accept that you don’t get as good monitoring as Americans and Canadians.

People’s experiences with professional monitoring from Ring

Ring’s website lists a few videos of people who have had a positive experience with Ring’s professional monitoring, which are worth watching:

Whilst these are polished videos used for marketing purposes, they are real people who have genuinely been helped by Ring’s alarm system. Their experience broadly matches other people’s, too: the fact that Ring’s monitoring service calls people so quickly (often in 30 seconds or less) means that real action can be taken to safeguard people’s houses.

From speaking to people and also reading people’s experiences on Twitter and Reddit, people generally seem happy with Ring’s professional monitoring service – saying that it does work as advertised – but there are a few people with some complaints:

  • Rose on Twitter:After testing alarms for 5 years, I just had the police show up. For those who care to know, Ring called two minutes after I triggered the alarm. If you trigger a panic alarm, they call the police before calling you.
  • regmeyster on Reddit: “The $10/month monitoring is fabulous especially since I’m already paying that for my Ring cameras. It’s really easy to use and easy to set up.”
  • Philly139 on Reddit: “My aunt set off my alarm today on accident because I forgot she was coming over. When the monitoring service called me they asked me my password and I completely forgot it. When I said I forgot it they were just like oh okay is everything okay and just accepted what I said. I’m glad they didn’t send emergency services to my house but what is the point of a verbal password?”
  • iworkforaschool on Reddit:They’re based in NY. I had my alarm go off the other day (false alarm), I received a phone call within seconds of the alarm going off from them. They’re quick to respond in my experience so far.
  • Joecascio2000 on Reddit:I just accidentally set off my alarm (the first time it’s ever gone off) and I had my first experience with professional monitoring and boy am I SO disappointed.” (but people who reply point out that Joe may not be using the system correctly)
  • Borskaegel on Reddit: “We also have the FirstAlert smoke/Co2 detector and when it triggers it sends the Fire Dept. immediately. Keep that in mind if you smoke up the kitchen!”
  • jimbuie211 and marcanthonynoz on Reddit: “Alarm monitoring is great, on par with any “big” providers.” and “It’s worth it! In Canada here and it rivals the other bigger companies for a fraction of the price.”

As you can see, overall people are happy but there are a few complaints – but never about the initial call from Ring’s professional monitoring team. Sometimes people have said that they asked for a further callback with an update (i.e. after local law enforcement have attended their property) and this second callback took ages, but this could also be down to the local police force taking a while to provide an update.

The summary here is that Ring’s professional monitoring is a good quality service, provided by a reputable company that has all the relevant licenses and permits to operate. The fact that their service costs just $10/month (which covers your Ring doorbells and cameras for free, too) is really good – and works out cheaper than Ring’s traditional alarm system rivals.

How Ring’s $10/month monitoring compares to ADT (and other rivals)

Ring’s professional monitoring says that you can “Save big with Ring”, saying how their $10/month (or $100/year) subscription is much cheaper than a $599/year subscription from a rival, meaning that you will save:

  • $499 in year 1
  • $999 by year 2
  • $1,499 by year 3

Is this accurate? Well… not really. I mean, Ring’s monitoring is cheap and compared to a $60/month subscription then yes it is accurate, but this ignores the fact that ADT’s subscription includes the alarm system for free, whilst you have to pay for it with Ring.

The best comparison is to include the alarm system cost as well, and compare it to ADT’s “Total Protection” plan since this doesn’t just rely on a landline connection for your alarm system.

RingADT
3 Piece Alarm System$180$0
Install Charge$0$99
1st Year Subscription Cost$100$572
2nd Year Subscription Cost$100$572
3rd Year Subscription Cost$100$572
Total Cost After 3 Years$480$1,815
Ring alarm system (with monitoring) price compared to comparable ADT package.

In other words, after 3 years you will have paid $1,335 more for ADT. This is less than Ring’s claims, but not by much.

CPI are similar, although their monthly costs are slightly lower than ADT ($39.99/month for their Essentials Plus package) but the initial security system must be purchased and this can cost $499 or more, meaning the comparison becomes:

RingCPI Security
3 Piece Alarm System$180$499
Install Charge$0$0 (included in above)
1st Year Subscription Cost$100$479.88
2nd Year Subscription Cost$100$479.88
3rd Year Subscription Cost$100$479.88
Total Cost After 3 Years$480$1,938.97
Ring alarm system (with monitoring) price compared to comparable CPI package.

This works out more again, and at $1,458.97 more expensive (than Ring) it does roughly match up with Ring’s claims.

There are some cheaper options than ADT and CPI, such as Vivint at $39.99 per month and SimpliSafe at $14.99-$24.90 per month, but overall Ring’s alarm system – and its professional monitoring – does work out as one of the cheapest options around.

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