I know I talk about my Ring video doorbell as if the company is one of my main sponsors, but believe me when I say that they don’t even have a clue who I am. I seriously love my Ring video doorbell nonetheless. In true Hosting Journey form, I will be completely honest in today’s conversation and give you real-world experience about the pros and cons of living with a Ring Video Doorbell system for almost two years.
Let me start by saying that I am not a crazy tech person. I’m not the one to buy the first technology toy that comes out on the market or to upgrade to the latest model. Hey, I had an iPhone 6 until this May, and then I only upgraded to an 8.
I did decide to buy a Ring Video Doorbell in 2017, and I want to tell you about what I have learned in that time and what I wish I knew before I bought it. I also want to share how I use this product specifically for my Airbnb and that’s today’s show “Ring Video Doorbell Pros and Cons”
Different Video Doorbells
I know that there are many video doorbells on the market-Skybell, August, Nest, and more-but today’s show is about my experience with Ring because it’s what I use in my own home for my Airbnb.
I have the Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. At the time of this recording, the price tag for this product is $99, which is what I paid in 2017.
Ring Video Doorbell specs:
- Easy to install: it took me less than 10 minutes
- 720 HD Video
- Night Vision
- Adjustable Motion Detection
- 180 degrees Field of View
- Audio Two-way audio with noise cancellation
- Its power source is either a rechargeable battery or it can be connected to a standard doorbell system, another important factor, which I will discuss in more detail a little later.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is usually priced at $199.
Let me tell what is different from the $99 version because that’s what you want to know:
- 1080 HD Video which means higher resolution
- Field of View is 160° horizontal, 90° vertical
The Pro which is $249 but sometimes you can find it on sale for less than $200
Specs for Ring Video Doorbell 2:
- A sleeker design
- Customizable motion sensors
- Infrared Night Vision
- Requires a 16 to 24 VAC transformer – which means it needs to be hardwired, and for me, that was a no-no.
All of the different video doorbells connect to your home wifi. This is important, and we will come back to why a little later on.
I selected the least expensive model because I thought, “do I really need to pay $100 more for higher resolution video?” And at that time, I thought the rechargeable battery would be fine for my purposes.
That was a big lesson.
I live in Brooklyn, NY on a side street, but there are always cars going by and people walking in front of my house. Basically, there’s a lot of movement pretty much all of the time. Every time there is motion, the doorbell gets triggered and records. Every time it records, it uses the battery. Before long, I was charging the battery way too often for my taste. It was becoming less and less convenient for what I was getting in return.
I even bought a solar charger accessory kit for it, thinking that since I get plenty of sunlight I would be golden. Yeah, no. I didn’t have to charge the battery as often, but it was still dying too frequently.
My original doorbell wasn’t hardwired, which was one of the reasons I went with this version. BUT I called my lovely godchild Justin, who is an electrician, and he came up with the solution of connecting it to an AC Outlet. They sell the kit on Amazon and luckily I have an outlet near the doorbell, so voila! No more dying battery. I did this before I was off to my remote hosting adventure in Puerto Rico because I did not want to have to worry about not having the doorbell while I was far away from the “action”.
I use the doorbell. A lot. There was a time my guests rang the bell at 6am, woke me up, I gave them instructions, and I went back to sleep. I wasn’t even in the same country. That’s a remote hosting journey win in my book.
So my recommendation is to get one of these doorbells, whichever model is the best fit for your listing, and have it hardwired or connected to an outlet. Do not rely on the rechargeable battery model. You want convenience and freedom.
Video Doorbell and Connectivity
Another issue that I’m having with my Ring Video Doorbell is the dependence on wifi for the doorbell to work. If my wifi is down, so is my video doorbell. No way around it. Or is there?
At the time of this recording, I’ve been looking at ways to use a hub and hotspot as a failsafe option. If the wifi goes down, it will trigger the failsafe and the hotspot will kick on. The hub will be used where I connect all the smart devices like the Ring video doorbell, the smart lock, the thermostat, etc.
Yes, I have no clue if what I’m saying is entirely correct because my team and I are researching this. And whenever Javier, my tech guru, starts talking access points and tech, my brain stops working.
But as soon as we come up with the right answer, I promise that you will be the first to know, dear hosts. I’m adding more technology to my home, and I don’t want the house to go from smart to dumb whenever wifi is down, which is too often.
Video Doorbell and Airbnb
Something you have to remember if you decide to get a video doorbell is that you must disclose it on your Airbnb listing or you can get in trouble. Yes, dear hosts. Even though it’s an outside camera, you need to let your guests know about it.
This is how you update your listing: Go to your dashboard, then manage listings. Under house rules, click surveillance or recording devices on the property.
Describe any device that records or sends video, audio, or still images. Specify each device location and whether it will be on or off. There is a Learn more button on the Airbnb site.
I wrote: “video doorbell on the front door” If you do use a video doorbell, it will show up under: Details guests must know about your home.
In my Facebook Group, The Hosting Journey, hosts mention how they have caught guests bringing in pets, smoking, or sneaking in more people onto their properties. In Episode 51 A Successful Outcome from Awful Guests, Kim Legrand and I discussed how she used Video Doorbell footage to win a big claim against her unruly guests.
I also use my video doorbell to guide my guests. Sometimes they’re using the wrong key or they are a little frazzled. It might be that we haven’t met in person, so they ring the doorbell and we connect.
Just one change can improve our own journey as a host. A lockbox so you don’t wait for your guests, a house manual for your guest to have all your home information at their fingertips or a video doorbell to make your journey easier.