ring video 3 doorbell hero
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  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Aesthetics: 16/20
  • Video/Audio Quality: 18/20
TOTAL: 90/100

Warning: When you install a video doorbell, you’ll become strangely entranced by it. I can’t explain the psychology behind it, but there’s a sudden endorphin rush akin to getting a hotly anticipated group-text reply the moment your phone buzzes that “motion was detected outside your door.” Yes, the bizarro bird-leg side table I impulse-bought at 2 a.m. has arrived! Or an adrenaline rush: Duck for cover! Somebody is trying to sell me…something.

For years, I’ve been a proponent of the Nest Video Doorbell. I love its sleek look, but after needing to call in an electrician to set it up, I wanted something a bit simpler when I was in the market for a new doorbell. (Read: Something totally foolproof for the wiring-averse, aka me.) Friends raved about Ring’s battery-operated video doorbells, so I decided to try out one of its newer models, the Ring Video 3. Setup took less than 10 minutes—even for someone who has to psych herself up to hang a picture frame with a Command hook. And since that fateful install, let’s just say it’s now become my go-to upgrade for homeowners everywhere. Here’s why.

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Ring

The HD Video Is Crisp and Clear

Once you install the Ring app, you can get real-time video notifications to see who (or what) is outside your door. The 1080p footage is crisp—even in Night Vision mode—though I soon found myself springing for the $30 a year Ring Protect Plan, which records video and stores it for 60 days. So, if I missed a notification, I can go back and review it later. It provides particular peace of mind if you’re away from home and want a quick glimpse to see what’s going on outside. (If you own multiple Ring devices—say, security cameras—you can pay $100 a year for coverage across them all.)

You Can (and Should) Adjust the Motion Sensors

And trust me, you’ll want to adjust those sensors, particularly if you live on a busy street. Otherwise, your phone will buzz every 30 seconds with a new notification every time a car drives by or a bird flutters past your begonias. I neglected this step when I bought a Ring Video 3 for my parents, and within three months, they burned through the doorbell’s battery (which typically lasts six to 12 months between charges). I have since learned my lesson, and now, both doorbells only send notifications when someone is actually at the door. Plus, you can do it all via the Ring app in just a few minutes.

You Can Swap Out the Faceplates

Real talk: The Ring Video 3 is a little bulky. It’s the price you pay for the ease of having a battery-powered option. Ring has taken some steps to address this (including launching a sleek, $60 number you can wire into the wall). But if you lack wiring—or just don’t want to deal with it—your doorbell’s going to be a little blocky.

For $15, you can order a faceplate in one of 17 colors, so it can coordinate with your home a bit more. It’s a nice touch, and even nicer, it snaps on easily.

“Easily” is key here, and that concept is what won me over on Ring—every facet of the doorbell is easy to use. What it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in user-friendliness. My only real gripe is that when the battery needs to be recharged, you have to take the doorbell offline for most of the day. (Though, if your door gets plenty of sunlight, you could always spring for a solar charger.) And note that I’m grumbling about “most of the day”—as in one day. As in, I’ve clearly gotten way too into knowing who’s at my door at any given time. But that peace of mind of knowing? Well, it’s too nice to give up.

$180 AT AMAZON

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