By Trae Jacobs,
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Ring doorbells continue to be the top choices of smart doorbells for people across the U.S. There are seven different Ring doorbell models on the market today, but you may be wondering if they all require batteries or have to be plugged in (hard-wired).
Most Ring doorbells use a rechargeable battery to operate, but the Ring Doorbell Pro and the Ring Doorbell Elite do not. The Pro is powered using a home’s existing doorbell wires, and the Elite is powered using an Ethernet cable connected to an Internet router. All other Ring doorbells need a rechargeable battery even if they are hard-wired.
If you live in an apartment or rent a house, a battery-operated Ring doorbell is an excellent option for you because it’s a non-permanent doorbell that doesn’t require existing doorbell wires. However, if you want a more stable power source, you may wish for a doorbell that doesn’t need a battery. Read on to learn more about the power source options for each type of Ring doorbell.
What Ring Doorbell Models Use Batteries?
The following Ring doorbells use batteries:
- Ring Doorbell (1st and 2nd generation)
- Ring Doorbell 2
- Ring Doorbell 3
- Ring Doorbell 3 Plus
- Ring Peephole Cam
The rechargeable battery comes with the purchase of any of the Ring doorbells listed above.
All these doorbells except the Peephole Cam can also be hard-wired; the Peephole Cam cannot be hard-wired in any way. However, even if you hard-wire the doorbell using your home’s existing doorbell wires or an A/C adapter, it still needs the battery to work.
For all Ring doorbell models that come with a battery, any hard-wired power source will charge the battery rather than the doorbell itself.
Ring Peephole Cam
The Peephole Cam is unique because it’s the only Ring doorbell that cannot be hard-wired at all. It only runs on battery power, and the battery must be removed and charged when it’s low.
To use a Peephole Cam, your door needs to have an existing peephole. If you are set on using this doorbell, but you don’t already have a peephole, you can make a hole in your door using a drill. The peephole diameter is 12 mm by 14 mm. However, Ring does not recommend this. They recommend purchasing a different Ring doorbell model if you don’t have a peephole.
To install the Peephole Cam, you will remove the door’s existing peephole and install the Peephole Cam doorbell in its place. Click here for installation instructions.
What Type of Battery Is Used for Ring Doorbells?
Ring doorbells use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that comes with the purchase of the device, although you can still buy an additional battery online here. This helps maintain the continuous use of your video doorbell when you are charging your main battery. That way, your home is always protected.
The battery is charged using a micro USB cable. The 1st and 2nd generation Ring Doorbells have a built-in battery that cannot be removed, so when you need to charge the battery, you have to remove the whole doorbell from the mounting bracket.
Ring Doorbell 2, 3, 3 Plus, and the Peephole Cam have quick-release batteries. These batteries make it easier to charge them without having to remove the whole doorbell.
Ring Doorbell Battery Life
A Ring doorbell’s battery life typically lasts 6 to 12 months when fully charged. The exact amount of time in between charges depends on how much your doorbell is used. If your doorbell picks up and records a lot of motion every day, the battery will drain faster.
You can check the battery level using these steps:
- In the Ring app, click on your doorbell.
- Select “Devices.”
- Select “Device Health.”
- Tap on the device health to see the percentage of battery life you have left.
You will also receive a notification from Ring when the battery is low. Make sure to charge the battery before it dies completely, or you may have to set-up your doorbell in the Ring app again.
Charging the Ring Doorbell Battery
To charge a built-in Ring battery, use these steps:
- Using the star-shaped end of the screwdriver that came with your doorbell, loosen the two security screws on the bottom of the doorbell.
- Remove the doorbell from the mounting bracket.
- Plug the orange micro-USB cable into the port on the back of the doorbell.
- When the ring light on the front of the doorbell is fully lit, the battery is fully charged.
- Unplug the cable.
- Put the doorbell back on the mounting bracket.
- Tighten the security screws.
To charge a quick-release Ring battery, use these steps:
- Using the star-shaped end of the provided screwdriver, remove the security screw on the doorbell’s bottom.
- Remove the faceplate.
- Press the black release button to remove the battery.
- If you have another Ring battery, you can place it in the doorbell while the original battery is charging.
- Plug the battery in using a micro-USB cable. You will know the battery is charging when both the red and green lights are on.
- When the battery is fully charged, only the green light will be on.
When installing a new battery-operated Ring doorbell, the first step is to charge the battery fully. For this first charge, you just have to plug in the battery using the provided cable and wait for it to charge.
What If My Ring’s Battery Drains Too Fast?
A Ring doorbell battery should only need to be charged every 6 to 12 months. If you must charge your Ring battery more frequently than that, several factors may be causing the battery to drain quickly.
Cold temperatures have a negative effect on lithium-ion batteries. Below 40 degrees, your Ring battery may not hold a charge as effectively as it does at higher temperatures. Ring doorbell owners who live in colder climates may find that they must charge their doorbell battery more often.
In below-freezing temperatures, your Ring battery may not charge at all even when the battery-operated doorbell is hard-wired. For folks who live in places where it often drops below freezing in the winter months, you may want to consider the Doorbell Pro or Elite for more stable power.
Another factor that may drain your doorbell’s battery quickly is unstable Wi-Fi. If your doorbell is regularly losing its connection to your home’s Wi-Fi and having to reconnect, it has to use more battery power. For a more stable connection, try these tips:
- Move your Wi-Fi router closer to your doorbell.
- Upgrade to a Wi-Fi router with external antennas.
- Purchase a Wi-Fi extender to plug in near your doorbell.
There is another straightforward reason why your Ring battery may be draining too quickly—overuse. This can especially be an issue if you live on a busy street where cars and pedestrians are constantly triggering your doorbell’s motion detector.
Luckily, there is an easy fix to this problem. You can simply change the motion detection settings, so they are less sensitive.
- In the Ring app, click on your doorbell.
- Select “Motion Settings.”
- Select “Smart Alert.”
- Select “Light” to receive the fewest alerts.
- Go back and select “Zones and Range.”
- Reduce the motion detection range using the sensitivity slider. You can also change your motion zones to reduce alerts. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different motion settings until you get the number of alerts you want.
What Ring Doorbell Models Are Hard-Wired?
The Ring Doorbell, Doorbell 2, Doorbell 3, and Doorbell 3 Plus can be hard-wired to your home’s existing 8-24 volt A/C doorbell wires. However, they still need the lithium-ion battery in place to operate. The wires are used to charge the battery, which powers the doorbell.
If your home doesn’t have existing doorbell wires with a doorbell transformer, you can purchase an A/C adapter to power any of the doorbell models listed above. These A/C adapters can plug into any standard wall outlet. Make sure to purchase one that fits the Ring doorbell model that you have. (Shop for an adapter online here.)
If you prefer a doorbell that is hard-wired without the use of a battery, there are two options: the Ring Doorbell Pro and Doorbell Elite. There are several options for hard-wiring the Doorbell Pro, while the Elite can only be hard-wired using Ethernet connections.
Ring Doorbell Pro
The Ring Doorbell Pro is hard-wired using 16-24 volt A/C doorbell wires. If your home’s existing doorbell transformer uses less than 16 volts, you will need to get it updated by an electrician.
You can also use a special A/C adapter, as mentioned above, if your home doesn’t have a doorbell transformer. The A/C adapter is a great option if you have an outdoor power outlet near your front door. Ring even makes a power adapter specifically for their Doorbell Pro.
While most Ring doorbells can be installed quickly and easily, the Doorbell Pro’s installation is not quite as simple. It requires installing a power kit on your home’s existing doorbell chime box. This includes handling wires, which can be dangerous. If you aren’t comfortable with this, you can get a professional installation service for your Ring doorbell using this link.
For the DIY types, watch this video for directions on how to install your Ring Pro Power Kit and Doorbell.
After the physical installation process, you will add your new Doorbell Pro in the Ring app by selecting “Set Up a Device” and following the on-screen prompts. This process is the same for every Ring doorbell model.
Ring Doorbell Elite
The Ring Doorbell Elite is hard-wired using an Ethernet cable connected to your home’s Internet router. Unlike the other hard-wired Ring doorbell models, the Elite only has one power source option; it cannot be powered with an A/C adapter, battery, or any other power source besides Ethernet.
It also requires the installation of a Power Kit that’s included with the purchase of the doorbell. The Elite Power Kit is slightly easier to install than the Pro Power Kit. You simply have to plug the Power Kit into a wall outlet, into your Internet router, and then into your Doorbell Elite. All the necessary cables are included.
Once the Elite Power Kit is installed, you are ready to install your new Doorbell Elite outside. (Note: The Ethernet cable that goes from the power kit to the doorbell is 50 feet long. Keep that in mind when choosing the placement of your Doorbell Elite.) Click here for the video and instructions for installing the Doorbell Elite.
Hard-Wired vs. Battery-Powered: What’s Best for Me?
If you move a lot and want a smart doorbell that’s easy to install and remove, then a battery-operated Ring doorbell is ideal. All you have to do is screw the doorbell into the wall about four feet off the ground, add it in the Ring app, and it’s ready to use.
For homeowners, a doorbell that needs to be recharged and may lose power due to a dead battery may not be the best option. If you want to protect your home with a video doorbell with a consistent power source, consider a hard-wired Ring Doorbell. It’s more convenient because you don’t have to remove and charge the battery.
Another benefit of hard-wiring your Ring doorbell is that it will chime in your house when someone rings the bell. This feature will continue to work even if your doorbell gets disconnected from your home’s Wi-Fi.
If you are using a battery-operated doorbell, your doorbell will not chime in your home. You will only receive notifications on your phone when the doorbell rings. To hear a battery-operated doorbell ring in your home, you will need to purchase a separate Ring Chime. This is also true for doorbells that are powered using an A/C power adapter.
Power Alternative: Solar-Powered Ring Doorbells
In 2020, Ring released a new power source option for some of their doorbells. Now, you can purchase a doorbell mounting bracket with built-in solar panels. The solar panel will charge the doorbell’s battery, so you don’t have to remove and charge it yourself. The mounting bracket with built-in solar panels is weather-resistant and easy to install.
Solar panel mounts are available for the following Ring doorbell models:
- Ring Doorbell (1st and 2nd generation)
- Doorbell 2
- Doorbell 3
- Doorbell 3 Plus
If you already have one of the doorbells listed above, you can buy the solar panel mounting bracket separately. The doorbells and solar mounts are also sold as packages. Because each Ring doorbell model has different dimensions, the solar panel mounts are not interchangeable.
Comparing Ring Doorbell Models
There are seven Ring doorbell models, and there are some features that they all have in common. These features include:
- 1080p HD video quality
- Two-way audio
- Night vision
- Customizable motion detection
- Compatibility with Alexa
There are many important differences between these doorbell models as well. Understanding the differences between the Ring doorbell models can help you choose the one that’s best for your home and needs.
Here’s a chart that compares all the Ring doorbells available, including what type of power source they use:
|Doorbell||Power Source||Wi-Fi Frequency||Dimensions||Included Accessories|
|Ring Doorbell (2nd generation)||Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery – can be hard-wired to 8-24 VAC doorbell wires||2.4 GHz||2.4 in. x 4.98 in x 1.10 in||None|
|Ring Doorbell 2||Quick-release rechargeable lithium-ion battery – can be hard-wired to 8-24 VAC doorbell wires||2.4 GHz||5.05 in x 2.50 in x 1.08 in||2 different color faceplates, wedge kit, and corner kit|
|Ring Doorbell 3||Quick-release rechargeable lithium-ion battery – can be hard-wired to 8-24 VAC doorbell wires||2.4 or 5 GHz||5.05 in. x 2.5 in. x 1.08 in.||2 different color faceplates, wedge kit, and corner kit|
|Ring Doorbell 3 Plus||Quick-release rechargeable lithium-ion battery – can be hard-wired to 8-24 VAC doorbell wires||2.4 or 5 GHz||5.1 in. x 2.4 in. x 1.1 in.||2 different color faceplates, wedge kit, and corner kit|
|Ring Doorbell Pro||Hard-wired to a 16-24 VAC doorbell wires||2.4 or 5 GHz||4.5 in. x 1.85 in. x 0.80 in.||4 different color faceplates and wedge kit|
|Ring Doorbell Elite||Ethernet cable connected to an Internet router||2.4 or 5 GHz||4.80 in. x 2.75 in. x 2.17 in.||4 different color faceplates|
|Ring Peephole Cam||Quick-release rechargeable battery only||2.4 GHz||3.83 in. x 1.85 in. x 0.78 in.||None|
The Ring Doorbell, Doorbell 2, Doorbell 3, 3 Plus, and Peephole Cam use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries to operate. All these doorbells except for the Peephole Cam can also be hard-wired using your home’s 8-24 volt A/C doorbell wires. However, the wires will charge the battery rather than power the doorbell directly.
There are only two Ring doorbell models that do not use a battery at all: Doorbell Pro and Doorbell Elite. The Pro is hard-wired using your home’s existing doorbell wires, and the Elite is hard-wired using an Ethernet cable. Lastly, the Ring Doorbell, Doorbell 2, Doorbell 3, 3 Plus, and Pro can all be powered using a special A/C power adapter.