Since smart doorbells first started popping up on front doors across the U.S. in the last decade, Ring and Nest have dominated the video doorbell market. Both brands have a strong reputation and large consumer base—and there’s good reason for the fanfare.
The two smart home tech companies make sleek and reliable video doorbells that go beyond the basics of many other doorbell cameras, with features like package detection, facial recognition, and continuous recording. To help you decide which is right for you, we’re peeling back the layers and analyzing the differences between two popular front door rivals: the Ring Video 3 Plus and the Nest Hello.
The Ring 3 Plus and the Nest Hello both retail for $229. It’s a bit of a premium price to pay considering most doorbell cams fall somewhere in the $100 to $200 price range, but the extra features offered on the Ring 3 Plus and Nest Hello (like continuous recording, person and package detection, and customizable motion zones) may be worth the premium for many. If you’re looking to score a deal, you can often find both the Ring and Nest video doorbells on sale for under $200.
Our pick: Tie
Power and connectivity
Both doorbells easily connect to existing doorbell wiring, but only Ring offers a rechargeable battery option. The battery pack is removable, making it easy to give the battery some extra juice when needed. If you’re looking for an alternative power solution for the Nest Hello, we recommend using the Ninety7 Indoor Power Adapter made just for Google’s smart doorbell.
Like much of the competition, both models connect to your home’s WiFi network and offer dual-band WiFi (meaning each one will work on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks). Even when you’re away from home, you can check in and see what’s going on at your front door. However, if the WiFi goes out, you will lose access to the front door camera until the connection is restored.
Our pick: Ring 3 Plus
Smart assistant integration
You may be wondering if Ring (owned by Amazon) and Nest (owned by Google) products play nice together. The short answer when it comes to the Nest Hello and Ring 3 Plus is: no, not really. And if you’re wondering, neither doorbell is compatible with Apple’s Siri.
We suggest using Amazon Alexa-enabled speakers and displays for Ring doorbell announcements and to view a livestream of your doorbell. Accordingly, for the Nest Hello you’ll want to incorporate Google speakers and smart displays.
While it’s technically true that you can pair the Nest Hello with Alexa, it’s a bit of a mess. I set this up with multiple Echo speakers and an Echo Show 5, but all you can really do is livestream the doorbell cam view on an Amazon smart display. The Echo speakers did not make any chime announcements. If you have a Google smart display, a live view of your front door will appear whenever the doorbell rings. And the same can be said for Ring doorbell cams. When the button is pressed, an Alexa-enabled smart display will stream the current view from your front door.
Despite these two doorbells being fairly proprietary, there are smart video doorbells, like our favorite budget buy from Eufy, that are compatible with both assistants.
Our pick: Tie
When it comes to features, Ring and Nest video doorbells share a few similarities like custom activity zones, alerts for motion (including settings that let them detect a person), and video recording. That said, there are some notable differences.
When it comes to alerts, Nest is the smarter doorbell. Of the two, it’s the only one that can tell you when a package gets delivered, for instance. And, while both doorbells send alerts when a person comes into the camera’s view, only Nest offers Familiar Face Detection, which teaches the doorbell camera to recognize people who are coming and going when enabled. It helps you know exactly who is coming and going without having to closely review every notification, and sends alerts when it spots an unfamiliar face.
Another place where these doorbells differ is in their motion alerts. While both doorbells offer features like motion scheduling and motion frequency so you can control how many alerts you get, the Ring 3 Plus doesn’t include truly customizable motion zones. Rather, in the app, you can select from four predetermined motion zones to turn on or off. Conversely, the Nest Hello let’s you click and drag to create your own motion zones, which can help prevent annoying false alerts caused by your neighbor’s tree swaying in the wind.
Another leg up Nest has on Ring is that it offers continuous video recording with a paid subscription plan (more on that below). In what feels like an effort to make up for the lack of constant recording, Ring rolled out Pre-Roll, a low-resolution video recording feature that captures the four seconds of footage prior to any detected motion. It’s exclusively available on the Ring 3 Plus and displays so-so video (and no audio). Snapshot Capture is also new to Ring doorbells (not just the 3 Plus) and takes photos of the Ring doorbell’s view at different times throughout the day. But neither feature is as good as Nest’s 24/7 recording option.
Our pick: Nest Hello
Resolution and display
The Nest Hello records in slightly lower resolution (1600 x 1200) than the Ring Doorbell 3 (1920 x 1080), but the video quality between the two is hardly noticeable. One clear difference, though, is the format in which they record video.
The Nest Hello captures video in 4:3 format that offers more of a head-to-toe view, whereas Ring records in a 16:9 format that displays more of a wide-screen look. After using both of these doorbells, I preferred the Nest Hello’s aspect ratio, as it offers a better view of what’s going on outside of my front door.
Our pick: Nest Hello
Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 Plus delivers clear two-way audio when communicating with someone at your front door. I tested this with both an Amazon Echo speaker and the Ring app on a mobile device without any delays or issues.
Similarly, the Nest Hello’s audio is some of the loudest and clearest of any of the doorbells I’ve ever tested (and I’ve tested my fair share). I was able to clearly communicate with whomever was at the front door without any audio issues, both from home and out and about.
However, Nest has a leg up on Ring in this category, since the Hello doorbell comes with several pre-recorded responses, available in 13 different languages. It’s a handy feature to use if you’re unable to get to the door.
Our pick: Nest Hello
While you can use these smart doorbells without paying for a subscription plan, you won’t get as much out of them, so we feel the paid plan is worth it.
Both companies offer some features free of charge. Ring’s no-cost plan includes motion alerts, live video, two-way talk, and a lifetime theft protection warranty. Nest’s free plan offers fewer features, but still allows access to the doorbell’s live stream and a keeps 3-hour event history.
Adding Nest’s subscription, though, adds 24/7 video recording and storage with its two paid Nest Aware subscriptions. The plans also include additional features like defining activity zones intelligent alerts. Ring also offers two paid subscription plans, neither of which offer continuous video recording.
Here’s what you get with each plan:
- Nest Aware: 30-day event video history; $6 per month to cover all Nest cameras ($60 annually)
- Nest Aware Plus: 60-day event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history; $12 per month to cover all Nest cameras ($120 annually)
- Ring Protect Basic: 60-day event video history; $3 a month per Ring camera ($30 annually)
- Ring Protect Plus: 60-day event video history; $10 monthly to cover all Ring cameras ($100 annually)
Ring’s Basic plan is required to save and share videos. The subscription also includes features like Snapshot Capture. The Ring Protect Plus plan offers the same features as the Basic plan plus an extended warranty, 10 percent off select Ring products, and 24/7 professional monitoring.
A free, 30-day trial usually comes with both of these doorbells to give you a feel for all of the features, which is helpful if you’re on the fence about signing up.
Our pick: Nest Hello
While Ring has been in the news for privacy concerns in the past, the company launched a new Control Center within the Ring app available on all Ring devices and accessible via iOS and Android devices. The center offers security features like two-factor authentication, the option to view and remove linked accounts and shared users, and control which devices and third-party apps are synced to the account.
Nest offers similar security controls within the Nest app including two-step verification, AES 128-bit encryption, and “secure, private connections.” You can also delete the doorbell’s video history in the Nest app.
Our pick: Tie
And the winner is …
Features like facial recognition, package detection, and sharp audio and video make the Nest Hello our pick for the best smart doorbell you can buy. Sometimes smart home tech can feel overwhelming, but the Nest Hello’s app is easy to navigate. And, when paired with a Nest Aware subscription, we love being able to scrub through the doorbell’s video history.
However, if you’ve already got an Alexa eco-system set up at home, the Ring 3 Plus is a natural choice to guard your front door thanks to extra features like Snapshot Capture, Pre-Roll, and Ring’s improved privacy settings.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.