Ring offers a monthly subscription that unlocks additional smart features for users who own a Ring device. However, with so many subscriptions we likely already have to juggle, do we have to pay this monthly fee to access these features? Does Ring even work without a subscription?

All Ring devices will work without a subscription. However, Ring cameras and video doorbells will not record videos without a subscription plan, and the Ring Alarm system will not be professionally monitored. Ring offers two optional subscription plans for users who do want these features. 

Ring subscription plans are affordably priced, have no contract, and can be paid monthly or annually. However, if you are still set on using Ring without a subscription, it’s essential to know all the details about what your Ring devices can and cannot do.

What Can Ring Do Without a Subscription?

What you can and cannot do without a Ring subscription plan depends on the type of Ring device you have. Ring smart light bulbs, for example, are fully functional with or without a subscription plan. However, other devices are not. 

Ring Cameras and Video Doorbells

Here’s what you can do with your Ring security cameras and video doorbells without a subscription:

  • View the camera’s live stream anytime
  • Use two-way audio
  • Receive notifications from motion alerts or when someone rings your doorbell

In our opinion, a Ring subscription plan is essential to using your Ring security camera or video doorbell efficiently because, without it, you will not be able to record any videos. 

Without a subscription plan, if you are in a meeting or otherwise busy when you receive a motion alert, you will miss the chance to see why you received the alert. With a subscription plan, a video will automatically be recorded and saved to the Ring cloud for you to watch later.

With a Ring subscription, you can also:

  • Record videos manually any time
  • Capture screenshots from Live View and recorded videos
  • Save recorded videos to your phone, tablet, or computer
  • Share recorded videos with friends and family

None of these useful features are available without a subscription. 

Ring Alarm System

If you don’t have a Ring Alarm subscription, you must monitor your alarm system yourself.

When a self-monitored Ring Alarm is triggered, here’s what happens:

  1. Ring sends an alert to your phone and email. 
  2. Ring sends alerts to the phones of any Shared Users on your account. 
  3. Emergency services are not automatically dispatched. You or your shared contacts need to call emergency services yourself if you need help.

Self-monitoring is an inexpensive way to use Ring’s home security system, but it also leaves you only partially protected. For example, if there is an intruder in your home while you are away, but you and your Shared Users do not see the alert on your phones, then the intruder may be long gone before you can call 911. 

With Ring’s professional monitoring plan, here’s what happens when your alarm is triggered:

  1. You will receive a phone call from the Ring Monitoring Center. You will need to provide your verbal password to the monitoring agent. The monitoring agent will dispatch emergency services for you if needed. 
  2. If you do not answer the call, the Monitoring Center leaves you an automated voice message and immediately calls the first person on your emergency contact list. If they answer, they will need to provide your verbal password and confirm whether emergency services are needed. 
  3. The monitoring agent continues to call each person on your emergency contact list and leave an automated voice message until they reach someone. 
  4. If no one on your emergency contact list answers the call, the agent dispatches the police to your home. 

This whole process only takes a minute, so your home is protected even when you are busy or away from your phone.  

Do You Have to Pay Monthly for Ring?

As discussed above, you don’t necessarily need a subscription for Ring. However, if you decide to purchase an optional Ring subscription to access special features, there are two plans to choose from.

Ring’s subscription plans can be paid monthly or annually, and no contracts are required for either case. Paying monthly means you can cancel your plan at any time, but you will receive a discount if you pay annually

Check out the table below to determine which plan is best for you:

No Subscription PlanProtect Basic PlanProtect Plus Plan
Devices CoveredNoneOne Ring deviceAll Ring devices in your home
Live View and Motion AlertsYesYesYes
Video RecordingNoYes, recordings are saved for up to 60 days.Yes, recordings are saved for up to 60 days.
Video SharingNo YesYes
Screenshot CaptureNo YesYes
Professional Monitoring for Ring AlarmNoNoYes, 24/7. You also have the option to switch between professional monitoring and self-monitoring any time in the Ring app.
Duress Code to discreetly call 911NoNo Yes
Extended WarrantyNoNoYes, all devices are covered under the Ring warranty while the subscription is active.