Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) vs Ring Alarm (1st Gen): is the new home security system worth buying?

We compare the original Ring Alarm 5-Piece home security system to the newest release

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) family using keypad
(Image credit: Ring)

For those really interested in keeping their home safe and secure, nothing short of a full home security system will ease their mind. There are plenty of choices out there, of course, but Ring has emerged as one of the leaders of the pack with it's DIY set-up that includes motion sensors, contact sensors for doors and windows, and smart home compatibility.

We love the first generation Ring Alarm 5-Piece Kit, awarding it 4-stars due to its great value for money, customisation possibilities and compatibility with other smart devices like the Ring Video Doorbell. Still, there is always room for improvement, so we were intrigued when Ring announced the release a 2nd Gen security kit.

Now available in the UK after coming to the US in 2020, we've taken a look at both offerings to see whether those already using the Ring Alarm system should upgrade, and which one is better for new shoppers to opt for.

And check out our guide for more on the best home security systems, from brands including Ring.

Ring Alarm Home Security System

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Alarm 5-Piece Kit (1st Gen)

Specifications
Components: Base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, range extender
Available: 10 pieces, 5 pieces, 7 pieces, 9 pieces
Subscription: £8/month for assisted monitoring
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than newer model+Available in more variations
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky components-Outdated design

The Ring Alarm system has always been popular due to its DIY nature, allowing users to expand coverage of their home in a variety of ways. These include adding a video doorbell, security camera or simply purchasing additional motion sensors and contact sensors to expand the system's reach. The 5-Piece kit handily includes a range extender for those with larger homes, too.

Everything in the set can be installed and used without any hammering or screws required - the base station able to sit anywhere close to a power source and other components able to exist wirelessly. Contact sensors come with a sticky strip that holds them in place.

Assisted monitoring is available for an extra fee of £8/month. This allows you to assign three emergency contacts that the service will alert when there has been an security event. It also gives you the extra assurance that, should your Wi-Fi go down for any reason, the system can use 4G in the meantime.

Ring Alarm 2nd Gen

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Alarm 5-Piece Security Kit (2nd Gen)

Specifications
Components: Base station, keypad, contact sensor, motion detector, range extender
Available: 5-pieces, 8-pieces (US), 14-pieces (US)
Subscription: £8/month for assisted monitoring
Reasons to buy
+New emergency keys for calling emergency services+Better pairing+Keypad has a better design
Reasons to avoid
-Only available as a 5-piece set in UK

At first glace, the main upgrade for Ring's 2nd Gen home security system is in aesthetics, with the company giving its components a serious makeover to make them a little sleeker. Not only do things like the contact sensor look better and more modern, but the keypad should be much easier to use with clearer, spaced out buttons and additional emergency keys.

These emergency keys might be the most significant change, and will make the newer system invaluable for those who want an easy way to call services like the police, fire brigade or an ambulance. It's such a good idea that you wonder why more security kits don't include them.

The assisted monitoring option is the same price (£8/month) and includes the same perks (emergency contacts), and pretty much everything else remains. 

Ring Alarm 2nd Gen motion sensor being installed

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) vs Ring Alarm (1st Gen): is it worth upgrading?

In a nutshell, we wouldn't say that those with an existing security system that meets their needs should rush out to buy the newest Ring Alarm Kit. While it improves upon the first generation in a few ways, most of the upgrade comes down to how it looks rather than how it works.

That said, if you're currently shopping around for a good home security system and aren't sure which to choose, then the Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) is a solid pick that has a few little extras (like the emergency call buttons) that make it recommendable over the older model.