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Is the new Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) a worthy upgrade?


New look, new tricks

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen)

An easy DIY solution

Ring Alarm (1st Gen)

The second-generation Ring Alarm brings a much-needed face-lift to the entire Ring Alarm suite of products, which encompasses five individual elements. The Ring Alarm base station, keypad, motion detector, contact sensor, and range extender make up the kit and have all been substantially redesigned for the second generation. While the base functionality of the system remains the same, including the simple DIY (do-it-yourself) wireless nature that requires no tools for installation, the aesthetics of the product are significantly improved. But are looks enough to make a difference between these product generations?

It’s more than just skin deep

Ring Alarm Keypad 2nd Gen

Ring Alarm Keypad 2nd GenSource: Ring

Ring has significantly improved the look of its Ring Alarm in many ways, but it's not just the aesthetics that have changed. Take the Ring Alarm keypad, for instance. The second-generation Ring Alarm keypad is minimalist and simple looking, but that's what makes it so effective. When looking at the first-generation Ring Alarm, you might wonder what some of the buttons are, particularly on the right side. Ring was able to design a product that's a lot more intuitive by simply stripping away design frivolities that often make things confusing during a stressful time (and that's probably the only time you'll be pressing a button to call emergency services, anyway).

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) Ring Alarm (1st Gen)
Emergency keys Police, Fire, Medical None
Easy pairing LED Yes No
DIY Installation Yes Yes
Professional monitoring Optional Optional
Maximum space between contact sensors 1-inch 5/8-inch
Batteries needed for each sensor 3v Lithium for all 2AA for motion sensor, CR2032 for contact sensors

Those new emergency services buttons, one for Police, one for Fire, and another for Medical Assistance, are the biggest new additions to the keypad and part of the reason for the redesign of the key layout. Don't worry though, these keys need to be held for three seconds before an emergency responder is notified, helping cut down on erroneous calls that could otherwise be made.

While the change in button layout looks like an aesthetic choice at first, it becomes quickly obvious that the changes made are for more than just looks. Each button is now a circle and has space between itself and the button next to it, meaning it's a lot more difficult to accidentally press the wrong number. The alarm status buttons are now more clearly marked and are in line with the rest of the keypad, further simplifying the layout and providing additional label clarity. The keypad is also smaller, which makes it more aesthetically pleasing to place throughout your home.

Even easier to install

Ring Alarm Motion Detector 2nd Gen

Ring Alarm Motion Detector 2nd GenSource: Ring

One of the biggest selling points for the original Ring Alarm was the ease of installation. As a DIY alarm system, it's important that Ring Alarm is simple to install and doesn't require users to pay extra for professional installation. While the first generation didn't require wiring or any tools to install, it sometimes wasn't clear if the contact sensors or motion detectors were connected to the base station. Ring now includes a handy LED light right on the base station, which illuminates when pairing new contact sensors or motion detectors to your system.

Each Ring Alarm still ships with a range extender in case your home is larger than the signal will go, but now that range extender looks better and more discreet. In fact, all components in the newer Ring Alarm are smaller and sleeker, which not only means they look less conspicuous when placed throughout your home, but the new styling looks a lot better alongside your decor.

The new contact sensors, in particular, aren't just slimmer and smaller, but they also feature a wider maximum gap range to fit on all kinds of windows and doors. That means that the smaller, slimmer size won't just let them fit on a wider range of windows and doors. They're now also far more forgiving if you aren't able to mount them perfectly straight or within a few millimeters of each half.


A more versatile, modern option

Ring Alarm Contact Sensor 2nd Gen

Ring Alarm Contact Sensor 2nd GenSource: Ring

While the Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) technically only adds one major new feature, the design and functionality refinements in this release make it an easy choice over the Ring Alarm (1st Gen) in every case. A new simplified, more aesthetically-pleasing keypad features quick emergency responder buttons that can be pressed in case of emergency, shaving off precious minutes if an actual emergency were to arise.

The redesign has made the alarm kit slimmer and sleeker, which makes this a far more versatile alarm system than the first attempt. It's easier to mount motion detectors in awkward corners because they're smaller and less clunky, and they look way better too. Not only that, but the smaller, slimmer contact sensors are much easier to mount on any window or door, are far more discrete than the old sensors, and even have a wider gap tolerance.

That means even older doors and windows, or non-traditional designs, can still benefit from the protection that Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) can bring to your home. The same 3V Lithium batteries now power motion detectors and contact sensors, so you won't even need to stock a bunch of different types of batteries just to ensure your wireless security system stays working. It's a great choice, and it's even better than the Ring's first system.


Great-looking DIY security

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen)

A refined system in every way

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) provides plenty of great ways to protect your home, including a snazzy new keypad with quick emergency buttons, and better-designed sensors for the entire home.

Still a solid choice

Ring Alarm (1st Gen)

Save some dough

Ring Alarm (1st Gen) can be bought for a bit less than the new 2nd Gen equipment, but it's likely the improvements in the 2nd Gen model will be worth the extra $20 for most people.

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