You don’t have to buy a Ring doorbell to see who’s at your front door – these alternatives are completely subscription-free
Ring’s video doorbells are hugely popular in the UK, and they’ve always led the way when it comes to smart front door tech. But one thing we’ve always criticised Ring doorbells for is the way they lock most features behind a monthly subscription and the Basic subscription is rising by a whopping 30% from 11 March 2024.
Ring isn’t alone in doing this – other big-name companies, such as Google and Arlo, also lock features behind a subscription. But if you’ve bought a Ring doorbell in the past and you’re sick of price rises – this is Ring’s second in two years (the monthly fee used to be £2.49) – you’ll be happy to discover that there are some great options out there that don’t cost a penny to run.
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The best subscription-free video doorbell: TP-Link Tapo D230S1
The TP-Link Tapo D230S1 might not look as swish mounted to your door frame as one of Ring’s finest but it does its job effectively and without fuss. It comes with a chime unit in the box – another thing you have to pay extra for with Ring doorbells – which plugs into your wireless router and it even has a small LED light built in, which can be set to trigger when you walk up to your front door.
Image quality is great at night and during the day, audio quality is good too, and it’s battery-powered, so DIY installation is pretty easy. And it isn’t expensive. The RRP is £150 but we’ve seen it on sale for a lot less than that since we reviewed it in 2023, and it’s only £95 at Amazon right now. The killer feature, however, is that this doorbell lets you store triggered video clips to a microSD card, saving you upwards of £50 per year.
Other free-to-run video doorbells
If you want to save even more money, you could choose Amazon’s own Blink video doorbell instead. It doesn’t perform as well as the Tapo, with lower-quality video and audio and can be slow to send alerts through to your phone.
However, it’s even cheaper than the TP-Link and it’s currently only £54 – about the same as a yearly Ring Basic Protect Plan. That gets you the doorbell itself and the Sync 2 module included as well. That’s the bit you need to record video clips locally, instead of to the cloud.
Our next selection is a little more expensive but adds an interesting extra feature that’s especially useful if you get a lot of deliveries left on your front step. It’s the Eufy Video Doorbell Dual, which comes with an extra camera that faces down, so you can see if a package has been left leaning against your door. It was quite expensive when it first launched, which is partly why we only gave it three stars, but now that it’s £179 at Amazon, it’s well worth a look.
It delivers excellent video quality during the day, and allows you to record video clips locally in its hub, which comes with a generous 16GB of internal storage and doubles as a chime.
So you see that Ring isn’t the only player in town when it comes to video doorbells. In fact, the doorbells we’ve picked out here are only the tip of the iceberg: the Ezviz DB2, Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell and Eufy Video Doorbell (battery) all offer alternative options and don’t require a paid subscription.
If you’re interested in reading more about the alternatives to Ring, check out our Best video doorbells page for more information.