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One of the first pieces of smart home technology people invest in is a video doorbell. It holds a lot of promise—the ability to see who dropped by when you weren’t there, and, more importantly, interact with those people as if you were there. A smart doorbell allows you to secure your packages, or watch them get stolen in high definition. It’s often an easy choice to buy one, but the tougher decision is which brand to purchase.

Although it may seem like a one-off purchase, your doorbell could become part of a whole home security system in the future, and you’ll want everything to be the same brand. Two of the biggest players in the field are Ring, the OG of video doorbells, and Blink, the Amazon brand. (To be clear, Amazon owns both brands now.) So, which is the better video doorbell: Ring or Blink? 

On cost alone, you can’t beat Blink

Blink keeps things simple. There’s only one model, the Blink Video Doorbell, and it can be hardwired or wireless. At only $59.99, it is substantially less than most Ring models on the market. Ring has taken a different approach, and has many versions of the doorbell available. The Video Doorbell (2nd Generation), the most comparable to the Blink’s hardwired or wireless approach, is $99.99. A more recent release, the Battery Doorbell Plus (Video Doorbell), is considerably more expensive at $179.99. If you plan to hardwire your doorbell, you can also look at the Video Doorbell Wired for $64.99, an earlier release that can’t be used wirelessly, the wired Video Doorbell Pro for $169.99, or Video Doorbell Pro 2 for $249.99. Ring also offers a Peephole Cam (Video Doorbell) for $129.99 and their top-of-the-line model, the Video Doorbell Elite, which at $349.99 comes with professional installation and is powered by ethernet.

Ring Doorbells look more substantial

The Blink camera follows the look and feel of other Blink products like the security cameras—universally black and sleek with plastic and metal parts, rounded corners and a rather slim profile. It doesn’t look expensive, and it’s not. Ring cameras, on the other hand, look more substantial and well-designed. Featuring brushed metal parts, most are aluminum steel (silver) and black, with a front camera surrounded by a blue circle. The model you choose will determine how much brushed metal is featured, but Ring has a more established ecosystem of frames and mounts for the doorbell as well, which means you can disguise the metal if you so choose. Ring cameras usually feature a mix of sharp edges and rounded curves. 

Both doorbells come with mounting plates for a flat surface, but Blink doorbells simply slide onto the mount, while Ring doorbells are secured by a few screws to the mount, for security. 

On installation, it’s a dead heat between Ring and Blink

Installation has two parts: physically mounting the doorbell, and then connecting it to your app. Both doorbells involve unboxing the doorbell, downloading an app, and then walking through a guided installation where you scan for a new device, connect the doorbell to your home’s wireless, and then set it up within the app. Having set both up, I can tell you there’s no advantage here for either brand. 

In five years of having a Ring mounted to my door, I’ve only had to do a hard reset once, and that’s probably on me for letting it go uncharged for six months. In the month I had a Blink doorbell installed, it went offline every few days, and had to be hard reset at least once. The Ring has never gone offline. 

Even if you prefer rechargeable batteries, you may still prefer Blink’s AAs

If you’re using a hardwired connection, battery power isn’t an issue. However, if you’ve gone wireless, it’s another story. Taking the doorbell off to charge it or change the batteries is a pain in the neck. Blink, luckily, requires only a few AA batteries, and claims the batteries can last two years. By contrast, Ring wireless doorbells use either a USB charger or a removable battery, which you will normally need to recharge every few months. To use the USB charger, you need to remove the entire doorbell, plug it in, charge it and then mount it again. The rechargeable batteries require removing a faceplate and grabbing the battery to do the same, meaning the doorbell won’t have a battery while it charges. You can, however, purchase additional batteries so you can always have one in the Ring while the other is charging. 

Now, normally, I think regular batteries are “over” and I’d rather have a rechargeable battery. But as a Ring owner, I think Blink may have an advantage for ease and length of battery life. At a minimum, to compare, you’d need to purchase an additional battery unit, and choose a Ring model that has a removable battery. 

All this said, Ring has an optional solar charger to extend the battery life. 

When it comes to resolution, some of the Ring models are superior

All video doorbells, including the Blink and Ring models, offer high-definition 1080p video, including night vision. This should deliver clear, crisp video at all hours. Two of the Ring models, the Video Doorbell Pro 2 and the Battery Doorbell Plus, offer higher resolution, at 1536p. These two also offer color night vision, which is an improvement over standard black and white.  Of course, those models are also two of the most expensive, but if the quality of the video you’re capturing is important, you’ll want to go with a higher-end Ring doorbell. 

Saving clips on the cloud and locally

It doesn’t matter how good the video is if you can’t review it. The doorbells, whether Ring or Blink, send notifications for different kinds of activity: someone ringing your doorbell, leaving a package, or passing by the front of the house in the zone you’ve tagged as being important. If you get the notification immediately, you can flip over to the live video of the doorbell to hopefully catch the action. That’s not really how most video doorbells work, however. Although wired doorbells do this a bit better, most of them have a bit of lag, and by the time you get the notification that UPS is at your door, flip over to live video, and have it come up, the delivery driver is pulling away. That’s not a problem if they left the package, but if that package is missing, and you see a notification someone was at the door after the UPS guy, you’d want to watch that video. Except you can’t, unless you’ve set up storage for the clips. That’s where these two doorbells are different. 

On both models, the Blink and the Ring, those clips can be stored in the cloud, and you pay monthly or yearly to do so. For Blink, it’s $30 a year for one device, and for Ring it’s $39 a year. (In both cases, the above fee is for storage from one device; you’d pay more for a whole house plan.) In both cases, you can also store videos locally, instead. For Blink, you set up a Sync Module, and attach a USB drive. For Ring, you’d need to purchase a Ring Alarm Pro and a micro SD card, and even then, you’d still need a Ring subscription on top of it. 

On features, Ring takes the lead

The Blink doorbell offers many of the same features as the company’s security cameras, and for the purpose of interacting with someone at your door, or seeing video of what’s happened on your stoop, it works just fine. If you’re looking for more advanced options, Ring runs circles around Blink. It offers the option for professional monitoring, and has a whole community built in, so you can see alerts of what’s happening in your neighborhood. Ring is compatible with IFTTT and Alexa, while Blink isn’t. Blink has been slow to add AI features to its security systems, but Ring already has updated doorbells to use facial recognition AI.  

Blink vs. Ring: Which will it be?

The Blink doorbell is a solid, easy-to-install doorbell that’ll kick off your smart home and security system for about $50. It’s basic, but that’s the Amazon brand for you. Ring is the upgrade, with more features, better looks, higher resolution and with it, more cost.

Looking for a new smart doorbell? Take your pick from our recommendations:

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