Are Ring Doorbells Hardwired?
Ring doorbells offer both hardwired and battery-operated models. Which type you choose affects the installation processes, maintenance, and overall functionality of the device. Hardwired models include the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Video Doorbell Elite, and certain configurations of the standard Ring Video Doorbell are directly connected to the home’s existing doorbell wiring. This integration provides several advantages but requires a compatible setup (usually an existing 16-24 VAC transformer).
Hardwired models have a continuous power supply and consistent connection. This reduces the risk of downtime or missed alerts due to a dead battery, but they don’t work when the home’s power goes out.
A big advantage of using a hardwired Ring doorbell is not having to replace or recharge batteries. This is especially beneficial in high-traffic areas like cities, where frequent activation can drain the battery quickly.
Some hard-wired models offer advanced features like enhanced motion detection, higher video quality, and more sophisticated networking options (like 5GHz Wi-Fi compatibility on the Pro model) because they aren’t limited by battery life.
Because hardwired Ring doorbells need a wired power supply, they’re harder to install if you don’t have an existing doorbell. Without existing wiring, you have to run new doorbell wires to wherever you mount the Ring. This can be difficult and expensive in a finished home.
I’ve been working in property management for over 25 years and can tell you firsthand that hardwired models are best when there’s existing wiring. Battery powered models are best when there are no existing wires or as an apartment doorbell where running new wires or drilling holes isn’t allowed.
Wired Ring Doorbells vs Battery Powered
The choice between a hard-wired and battery-operated Ring doorbell involves several considerations, including performance, reliability, feature options, price, and specific household needs.
Each type comes with distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Hard-wired Ring doorbells typically offer superior performance, especially concerning video quality and motion detection. They can support a more stable connection, which is important for real-time viewing and immediate notifications. Battery-operated models, while really good, may face sporadic performance drops, particularly if the battery isn’t fully charged.
The consistency of the power source in hard-wired systems ensures they’re always operational and responsive, whereas battery-powered ones might struggle with frequent activation, potentially slowing down response times.
Hard-wired doorbells have an edge in reliability. They’re constantly powered, which means they’re always on duty. You don’t run the risk of batteries dying at inconvenient times, possibly missing critical moments.
However, they’re dependent on your home’s power grid, posing a disadvantage during power outages.
Battery-operated models continue to function during a power loss, though they require regular monitoring to ensure the battery remains charged. A typical Ring doorbell battery needs charging or changing once or twice a year, depending on usage and your settings. In my case, I charge mine every 4 to 6 months.
In terms of features, hard-wired doorbells usually come with more advanced options, but it depends on the model. These include higher-resolution video, better motion tracking, and more sophisticated networking capabilities, thanks to their consistent power source.
Battery models are designed for energy efficiency to prolong battery life. This usually means fewer features or lower video quality.
However, their wireless nature makes them easier to install, especially in places that don’t allow wiring, like apartments.
Hard-wired models can be more expensive upfront, particularly if you need to hire a professional for installation or upgrade your existing doorbell wiring. Battery-operated doorbells might be cheaper initially and are generally easier and more cost-effective to install, making them an attractive option for renters or individuals frequently on the move.
Installation is another crucial factor. Hard-wired doorbells require a compatible electrical setup and potentially professional installation, meaning they may not be suitable for all living situations. They’re typically more permanent fixtures, ideal for homeowners.
Battery-operated models are easy to install, remove, and relocate, offering greater convenience and flexibility for renters or those with less technical confidence.
Environmental considerations also play a role. Battery-operated models require battery replacements or charging, contributing to electronic waste, while hard-wired models are more Eco-friendly in this respect.
How To Install A Wired Ring Doorbell
Installing a wired Ring doorbell involves several steps and requires specific wiring to ensure the device functions correctly.
Here’s a guide on how to install a wired Ring doorbell:
- Preparation: You’ll need your Ring doorbell kit, a drill, screwdrivers, and potentially wire strippers. Ensure you have the correct wires, which are typically low-voltage copper wires (18 or 20-gauge), used for traditional doorbell systems. Your home should have existing doorbell wiring, which includes a transformer with a voltage between 16-24 VAC for standard Ring models (Pro models may require more).
- Power Off: Turn off power to your current doorbell by switching off the appropriate breaker in your electrical panel.
- Remove Existing Doorbell: Detach your old doorbell keeping the wires exposed.
- Mounting Bracket Installation: Attach the Ring doorbell mounting bracket to your wall. You may need to drill new holes or use the existing ones, depending on your previous setup.
- Connecting the Wires: Take the two wires protruding from your wall (from the old doorbell) and connect them to the screws on the Ring’s mounting bracket. There’s no polarity, meaning either wire can go to either screw. If the wires are too short, use the wire extenders provided in your Ring kit.
- Doorbell Attachment: Attach your Ring doorbell to the mounting bracket. You’ll usually hear a click once it’s secure.
- Restore Power: Turn the power back on at the breaker box.
- Setup and Testing: Follow the instructions in the Ring app to complete the setup. Test your new Ring doorbell to ensure it’s working correctly.
Note: These are the general steps I follow to install a wired Ring doorbell. It’s important to review the installation guide that comes with your Ring doorbell before installing because there could be special requirements for your model.
How To Install a Wired Ring Doorbell Without an Existing Doorbell
Installing a wired Ring doorbell without an existing doorbell or wiring is a more complex process that requires running new electrical wiring and components.
Below is a simplified guide on how to do it:
- Gather Supplies: You’ll need a Ring doorbell kit, a 16-24 volt AC transformer, wire (typically 18- to 20- gauge), a resistor, a drill, screwdrivers, and possibly wire strippers and electrical tape. Make sure the transformer is compatible with the Ring doorbell.
- Plan Your Setup: Decide where you want to install your Ring doorbell. Then plan how to run the wire from the transformer to this location, potentially through walls and floors.
- Install the Transformer: Turn off power to the area where you’re working via the main breaker. Connect the transformer to a power source, typically a standard electrical box. This step is crucial because power must be stepped down to a level required by the Ring.
- Run the Wires: Run wiring from the transformer to the location of your Ring doorbell.
- Install the Resistor: If your Ring model requires a resistor, install it according to the manual’s instructions. Typically, it connects to the wires before they attach to the doorbell itself, helping to regulate power flow.
- Mount and Connect Ring Doorbell: Attach the doorbell’s mounting bracket, then connect the wire from the transformer to the back of the Ring unit. There is no polarity concern, so either wire can go to either terminal.
- Restore Power and Test: Turn the power back on and follow the Ring app’s setup instructions, then test all its functions.
If you’re uncomfortable or inexperienced working with wiring, I’d hire an electrician to do the work for you. But to save money, run the wiring yourself and have the electrician handle the wire connections.
Does a Ring Doorbell need a Battery if it’s Hardwired?
A hard-wired Ring doorbell does not need a battery because its power is being supplied by the wire. But there are some advantages to having both a battery and wired power.
Here’s how the models generally break down:
- Battery-Operated Models: These are designed to function solely on battery power, though they can be hard-wired to maintain a charge on the battery. For these models, even when hard-wired, the primary power source is the battery, and the doorbell cannot operate without it. The hard-wiring simply keeps the battery charged.
- Hard-Wired Models: These models, such as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, are designed to be powered solely by being hard-wired into your home’s existing doorbell wiring and don’t contain a removable battery. They rely on the home’s electrical system for power, and as such, don’t require a battery to operate. However, they don’t function during a power outage because there’s no battery backup in this configuration.
- Hybrid Models: Some standard Ring doorbell models can use either hard-wiring or battery power. When hard-wired, these units use the wiring primarily to keep their internal batteries charged, rather than to directly power the doorbell’s operations. In this configuration, the doorbell still relies on the battery to function, but the hard-wiring ensures the battery remains charged, extending its life and maintaining the doorbell’s functionality.
If you have a model designed exclusively for hard-wiring, it doesn’t require a battery and won’t function during a power outage.
Battery-operated or hybrid models need a charged battery to operate, even when it’s hard-wired, as the hard-wiring primarily serves to charge the battery, not to power the doorbell directly.
If you have any questions about Ring Doorbell, email or leave a comment below.
John Mazzuca | About | More Posts |
Custom Home Builder
John Mazzuca is a custom home designer and builder at Gambrick with over 25 years experience in the construction industry. John has designed, built and/or remodeled hundreds of homes, small buildings, and commercial projects. He writes about business, real estate, home building, and household electronics. His work has been featured in Fox Business, Better Homes & Garden, House Beautiful, and more.