I have been using the Ring Alarm for some time now and am a big fan. That should not really come as much of a surprise to anyone as I often rave about Ring products, services, and support. What I want to talk about today in relation to the Ring Alarm, however, is using third-party sensors with it and answer two questions that I hear asked quite often, Can I add third-party sensors to my Ring Alarm and should I add third-party sensors to my Ring Alarm.
First, let’s talk about can you add third-party sensors and the short answer is yes but there is a caveat, they must be Z-Wave sensors. It should not be a secret to anyone who has a Ring Alarm or has done even a little bit of research on it that the Ring Alarm uses Z-Wave to communicate with its sensors and devices. That being said it is reasonable to expect that other (none Ring branded) sensors would be able to pair to it. It is even pretty simple to add third-party sensors to your Ring Alarm System all you have to do is follow the steps below:
- From the Ring App Select the Hamberger Menu in the top Left
- Then Select Devices from the Menu
- Select the “+” Plus sign in the lower right corner
- Then select Security Devices
- From this next screen select Sensors
- Then instead of picking either the Ring Contact Sensor or RIng Motion Sensor select Add Manually from the bottom of the next screen
- Select Z-Wave on the next screen then Add on the following screen
- Now your Ring Alarm is in Z-Wave learn mode from here do whatever it is that your device requires to put it in learn mode.
- Once the Ring Alarm enrolls the third-party sensor it will show up in your device list.
That’s it pretty simple, but now the next question, Should you add third-party sensors to your Ring Alarm? The answer to this one is not as simple. While there is nothing to stop you from adding third-party sensors to your Ring Alarm you really have nothing to gain by doing so. Say you add a contact sensor all that you will get from this sensor is an audible chime when it is opened. You will not get any monitoring of this contact sensor, either locally or from a monitoring service. In fact, this sensor will not even set off your Ring Alarm is it is opened when the system is armed.
When discussing adding third-party sensors to the Ring Alarm with a colleague of mine who had done so, he was well aware of exactly what he would be getting but chose to add door sensors solely for the audible chime as he said “it makes it feel like more of an alarm system to have the chimes happen on all doors, even the ones that I do not want to set the alarm off with.” While I can not take anything away from this because as with all smart home devices everyone’s use case will be a little bit different I also just do not understand the reasoning especially when you compare the price of Ring Sensors to most third-party Z-Wave sensors, in most cases the Ring Sensors come in at the same or a little bit lower of a price point.
So now that we have answered both questions about the Ring Alarm some of you might want to hear what I think you should do. While I can not tell you what to do and I am sure every one of you can make a valid case on either side, I do not see any reason to add third-party sensors to the Ring Alarm especially given the price point of the Ring branded Sensors. Now what I find might be beneficial however is using Ring Sensors on other home automation platforms but that is a topic for another blog post in the future.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.