Ring Doorbell vs. SkyBell HD: Which Smart Video Doorbell Should You Buy?

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If you want to get a Wi-Fi video doorbell for your front door but aren’t sure which one to get, we’ve tested out the top two models to see which one might fit your needs better.

While there are a handful of video doorbells available on the market, the Ring Video Doorbell and the SkyBell HD are really the only two worthy of purchasing. But which one is the better buy? Here are some things to keep in mind about both units so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to buy.

The Ring Runs on Battery and Doesn’t Need Wires (but It Can Use Them)

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One of the biggest benefits of the Ring Doorbell is that it comes with an internal battery that can power the unit for months, which means you don’t need to wire it up to an existing doorbell system–simply mount it anywhere you want and off you go.

RELATED: How to Charge Your Ring Doorbell When the Battery Gets Low

The SkyBell HD, on the other hand, must be powered by your existing doorbell’s wiring, as it doesn’t come with an internal battery. If it’s easy enough to replace your current doorbell with a Wi-Fi video doorbell in the same location, then this really isn’t a huge deal, but if you’re like me, a video doorbell unit wouldn’t fit where the existing doorbell is, so re-routing wires is required.

Note that the Ring can hook up to your existing system, it just doesn’t need to. The Ring Pro (which is smaller in size) and the Elite model must hook up with wires.

Ring Has Better Motion Sensitivity Controls

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Motion sensitivity can be adjusted on both devices, but the Ring is much more versatile in this area.

You can set the sensitivity for specific zones and make one side more sensitive than the other, which can come in handy if your driveway is off to the left and you don’t want to get an alert whenever you or someone else pulls into your driveway.

RELATED: How to Adjust the Motion Sensitivity on the Ring Doorbell

On the SkyBell, you only get Low, Medium, and High options, and there’s no customization when it comes to zones. Either way, though, both devices constantly provided false positives and alerted me of motion, when it fact there was no one at the door in the first place, no matter what I set the sensitivity to.

I’d say the SkyBell alerted me less often, but Ring gave me more control. Usually though, when a big truck passes by, both the Ring and SkyBell alerted me about it, so I found myself turning this feature off for both devices anyway.

The SkyBell Is Way More Customizable

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The SkyBell has a lot more customization features that you can play around with, including changing the color of the LED lights on the front. You also have the option of muting the indoor doorbell chime, as well as the doorbell sound that the unit itself emits outside. You cannot do any of these things on the Ring Doorbell.

The Ring Doorbell works with a digital chime that you can buy separately, so if you run the unit off battery power and not through the doorbell wires, you’ll still get an indoor chime that emits a doorbell sound. SkyBell doesn’t offer anything like this, but it’s not really necessary, since you have to hook it up to your doorbell wires in the first place.

SkyBell Lets You Customize the Video Quality (up to 1080p)

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You can also customize the quality of the video that SkyBell HD streams and records. You can stream and record as low as 480p or as high as 1080p. The Ring Doorbell is only capable of 720p, although the Ring Doorbell 2 and the Ring Pro can do 1080p, but you’ll pay a bit more for those.

RELATED: How to Change the Video Quality of the SkyBell HD Doorbell

Of course, your Wi-Fi connection will have a lot of say in the video quality you actually use. 1080p would require a faster Wi-Fi connection, while 480p or even 720p would be ideal for slower connections.

Both the Ring Doorbell and SkyBell HD offer night vision as well, so there’s no need to keep a porch light on to see what’s outside.

Both Work with IFTTT, and SkyBell Works with Alexa

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One thing that many smarthome enthusiasts will want to consider is interoperability with other third-party products and services. In this case, both the Ring and SkyBell HD work with IFTTT, but only the SkyBell HD works with Amazon’s Alexa.

Granted, you can’t do much with this integration–you can tell it to record or take a photo of your front step, as well as toggle the indoor chime on and off–but the functionality is there if you want to take advantage of it.

As for HomeKit, the Ring Pro will receive HomeKit compatibility at some point next year (with no word on whether the regular Ring Doorbell will receive the same treatment). SkyBell has announced that HomeKit will arrive on their products at some point in the future as well, but no specifics have been given just yet.

SkyBell Worked Better in My House, But Your Mileage Will Vary

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Both doorbells will be very dependent on the speed and strength of your Wi-Fi network. In my experience, the SkyBell HD was more reliable, however.

When I installed the Ring, it often took 6-7 seconds before I’d get a notification on my phone–sometimes longer. The SkyBell HD only took a second or two on the same network.

Again, this is very dependent on your house and your Wi-Fi. Our editor tried the Ring Doorbell at his house, and says the notifications are nearly instantaneous. The smaller your house (and thus the closer your doorbell is to the router), the fewer problems you’ll probably have. It could also have a lot to do with what your walls are made out of, how they’re arranged, and so on. In my case, the SkyBell worked better. But no matter which you try, if one video doorbell isn’t working quite well for you, it might be a good idea to try the other and see if you get better results.

Title image from malija/Bigstock, Ring, SkyBell

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.