Wired Home Security Systems Can Get Smart for Around $400 and Up
Ring is known for genre-redefining innovations, from multi-use home gadgets to the Ring Neighbors app, which brings the neighborhood watch into the digital age. Ring means smart home security, with all the automation features and smartphone control that entails. But what about regular, old-school home security? Can a house outfitted with a wired security system get the perks of Ring, without starting from scratch? The Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit is designed to integrate existing hardwired home security systems into a Ring ecosystem. But the snowballing costs and minimal integrations make the kit disappointing in its current guise. It offers the most value for existing Ring device owners.
Ring unveiled the retrofit kit back in October, and anticipated a November release. The Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit is now slated for release on December 11, 2019, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.
The kit boils down to a wired-to-wireless bridge that allows up to eight contact sensors to communicate wirelessly with a Ring base station. The retrofit bridge goes for $199. But the bridge is useless without the base station. And the base station isn’t sold individually.
If you don’t already have Ring products in your home, you’ll have to buy a base station as part of a Ring alarm kit in order to make use of the retrofit device. The smallest, five-piece alarm security kit from Ring costs $199, and includes a base station, a keypad, one contact sensor, one motion sensor, and a range extender (for helping devices to communicate throughout larger homes.) Bundle the Retrofit Kit and the five-piece alarm kit for $375, saving you a little — $25.
But the costs keep coming. Professional installation is recommended, and it’s not cheap. Professional installation of just the bridge costs $99.99. Again, the bridge can’t stand alone. Having a pro install the bridge and the five-piece kit costs $159.99. Every step up in alarm kit size comes with a jack-in installation fee. Professional installation is a costly holdover from old-fashioned home security systems, and feels strangely out of place for a supposedly modern home security solution.
Still, if you have wired contact sensors and Ring devices and want to integrate the two systems, the Retrofit Alarm Kit paves the way. Just note that at this time, the kit is only able to communicate with wired door and window contact sensors — not smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, motion detectors, glass break sensors, sirens, or keypads (though you can add in some of that functionality via Ring’s own devices). With these limitations and added costs in mind, going the retrofit route just doesn’t impress.