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Frontpoint and Ring Alarm offer no-contract professionally monitored home security systems. You can install both systems yourself, and they even use the same monitoring service. But can one protect your home better than the other?
The BBB (Better Business Bureau) can be a reliable indicator of how a company handles consumer complaints. How did our two companies fare?
Frontpoint no longer requires contracts, so for new customers these won’t be an issue. However, Frontpoint has thousands of customers still under contract, so for existing customers these may still apply:
- Difficulty canceling
- Requires written notice of canceling one month in advance
Professionally monitored home security contracts, like your cable or phone bill, may contain a multi-year commitment, which means if you cancel early, you’ll owe the remaining balance on your account (the months of monitoring remaining in your term). This is a common complaint, so please read your contract carefully before signing. The good news is that many companies are doing away with contracts.
Ring Alarm Complaints
Ring, which is owned by Amazon, has reports of excellent customer service for the most part, but the complaints we found are a little more serious than the ones we listed above for Frontpoint.
- Referral program being a scam
- Difficulties canceling an order
- Rude or unprofessional customer support agents
- Slow live chat help
In the end, Frontpoint wins this category because its customer service complaints are primarily contract-related, which should no longer be a concern for new customers now that contracts are no longer required.
Custom Service & Reputation Winner: Frontpoint
Below is a table of the types of security equipment offered by each company.
|Glass Break Sensor|
|Smoke & CO Listener|
|Additional Siren||Z-wave option|
|Smart Door Lock|
|Smart Light Bulb|
|Garage Door Controller|
|Garage Door Sensor|
Who Has Better Cameras?
As you can see in the tables below, Ring has more options when it comes to outdoor and doorbell cameras, but Frontpoint has higher-end indoor cameras.
|Resolution||Digital Pan & Tilt||Echo-Cancelling Microphone||Noise Cancellation||Field Of View||Infrared Night Vision||Two-Way Audio||Power Source|
|Frontpoint Premium Indoor Camera||1080p||180º||Plug In|
|Frontpoint Indoor Camera||1080p||113º||Plug In|
|Ring Indoor Cam||1080p||140°||Plug In|
|Ring Stick Up Cam||1080p||130°||Battery, Plug In, Solar|
|Resolution||Noise Cancellation||Field Of View||Infrared Night Vision||Two-Way Audio||Built-In Lights||Built-In Siren||Power Source|
|Frontpoint Outdoor Camera||1080p||117º||Plug In|
|Ring Stick Up Cam||1080p||130º||Battery, Plug In, Solar|
|Ring Spotlight Cam||1080p||140º||Battery, Plug In, Solar|
|Ring Floodlight Cam||1080p||140º||Hardwired|
|Resolution||Field Of View||Infrared Night Vision||Two-Way Audio||Installation||Advanced Motion & Human Detection||WiFi Capabilities||4 Seconds of Pre-Roll*|
|Frontpoint (Skybell Slim Line)||1080p||180º||Existing Wiring||2.4GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell||720p||180º||Existing Wiring or Rechargeable Battery||2.4GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell 2||1080p||160º||Existing Wiring or Rechargeable Battery||2.4GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell 3||1080p||160º||Existing Wiring or Rechargeable Battery||2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus||1080p||160º||Existing Wiring or Rechargeable Battery||2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro||1080p||160º||Requires Existing Doorbell Wiring||2.4GHz|
|Ring Video Doorbell Elite||1080p||160º||Requires Professional||2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Ring Peephole Cam||1080p||155º||Replaces Peephole||2.4GHz|
*Pre-roll allows you to see four seconds of video before the motion is triggered
Ring Alarm manufactures all of its wireless equipment instead of using equipment from big-name companies like GE and Interlogix, which manufacture the majority of Frontpoint’s sensors. But there’s nothing wrong with Ring Alarm manufacturing its own equipment or Frontpoint using third-party equipment to build its system.
However, we do question whether it may be better that Frontpoint uses third-parties for its equipment needs because it allows them to focus on other parts of the business, like customer service.
Frontpoint has a three-year warranty (competitive), and Ring Alarm has a one-year warranty (less than what most competitors offer).
Equipment Winner: Frontpoint
If you want to integrate home automation equipment with your security system, both Frontpoint and Ring Alarm have options.
- Z-Wave devices
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
- Nest thermostat
- August door locks (that are Z-Wave compatible)
Ring Alarm Compatibilities
- Z-Wave and Zigbee devices
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
- Nest thermostat (through IFTTT)
- Smart lock systems from Kevo, LockState, Kisi and Lockitron
- Philips Hue lights
If you want to customize what your cameras are recording, manage the feeds and how actions integrate with your alarm system, the nod goes to Ring. The video monitoring capabilities of the Ring app far exceed what you can do with Frontpoint’s video monitoring.
Ring Video Monitoring
With Ring you get alerts the second motion captures something within the “motion zone” you’ve specified (or if you haven’t specified a motion zone, the default area that captures motion). There is also a setting to only detect human activity, which we found very helpful to prevent everything from cars on the street to bugs on the wall setting off alerts.
Lastly, you can link devices so that motion on one camera will automatically trigger another camera (or set of cameras) to start recording.
Frontpoint Video Monitoring
Frontpoint’s video technology is dependent on Alarm.com technology. In the app, you can view camera feeds and alarm-based motion detected events are uploaded into the cloud, where you can view them anytime via app or website portal.
The website portal had some old Flash-based customization features (such as specifying fixed angle settings for the pan & tilt camera) that are unfortunately outdated at the moment. Alarm.com has posted a notice that the website portal’s video functionality will be updated not to rely on Flash (which won’t work on Mac devices) before the end of 2020.
If you lose power during a storm or from a burglar cutting wires, a battery backup will keep both systems running. Both Frontpoint and Ring Alarm have 24-hour battery backup, which is the standard.
All of Frontpoint’s plans have cellular monitoring, which is the most secure form because there’s no concern of a burglar cutting your wires for a landline (phone) or broadband (internet) connection.
Ring Alarm’s monitoring is broadband with cellular as a backup.
App Performance & Rating
Below are the Apple App Store and Google Play Store ratings and number of reviews to give you an idea of what readers think of each company’s respective app.
Frontpoint App Complaints
- Unable to change the volume or time of display
- Delays in the Android version
- Having to relaunch app to initiate thumbprint login on iOS
Ring App Complaints
- Being unable to view notifications
- App not loading or slowly loading
- Delays with video capture
- Not receiving notifications
- App crashes
Both companies have smash-proof systems, so if an intruder tries to destroy your system, the companies still alert police.
In the end, Frontpoint wins because of its cellular monitoring for all of its plans, and it has a better app rating average than Ring.
Technology Winner: Frontpoint
To see how these two compare in a real-world situation, let’s go over an example of a common household configuration with the equipment below:
- Three door/window sensors
- One keypad
- One motion sensor
Neither company locks you into a contract, but let’s say you choose to keep your service for three years. Here’s an example of how much it would cost you through Frontpoint and Ring Alarm.
(broadband w/ cellular backup)
|Total Spent After 3 Years||$1,738.63||$508.99|
Frontpoint and Ring Alarm use the same monitoring company, Rapid Response, which has two monitoring stations (how many monitoring stations are best?). The two stations are interconnected, so if one goes down (e.g., due to a natural disaster), another is there as a backup.
Ring Alarm is less than 1/3 the cost of Frontpoint for three years of service. This is primarily due to Frontpoint’s high professional monitoring fee compared to Ring Alarm’s. Ring Alarm has the lowest professional monitoring fee in our home security system comparison, while Frontpoint is one of the more expensive companies.
Value Winner: Ring Alarm
We read reviews from customers complaining about issues they had while trying to set up their Ring system. But once the systems are set up, they are easy to use. Meanwhile, Frontpoint customers rave about how easy it is to set up and use the system.
Ease Of Use Winner: Frontpoint
What’s The Verdict?
Frontpoint and Ring Alarm are both excellent home security systems that you can install yourself, and both have reliable professional monitoring. However, Frontpoint has a more extensive list of equipment, an outstanding customer service reputation and the plus of offering cellular monitoring for all of its plans.
Overall Winner: Frontpoint
Which company are you leaning towards?
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