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Ring Protect vs Arlo Secure vs Nest Aware comparison

  • Nest Aware

    Features like facial recognition and the ability to save footage during an internet outage sets Google’s Nest Aware apart from the rest. With the higher-priced plan, Nest Aware Plus even offers 24/7 video recording for up to 10 days with compatible cameras.

    Pros

    • Facial recognition
    • Some cameras save data during an internet outage
    • Cost doesn’t increase for multiple cameras
    Cons

    • Pricey
    • No professional monitoring

  • ring_logo-1

    Ring Protect

    Ring Protect offers the most video storage, with events saved for up to 180 days. The single-camera plan is also one of the more affordable options. However, it lacks facial recognition and requires accessories for features like smoke alarm detection.

    Pros

    • Affordable single-camera plan
    • 180 days of cloud storage
    • Lots of accessories and camera options
    Cons

    • No facial recognition
    • Needs accessory for smoke alarm detection

  • arlo_logo-1

    Arlo Secure

    Arlo Secure is an advanced security option that also offers safety options when away from home. It’s a great option for homes looking for professional monitoring. However, it’s pricey and Arlo doesn’t offer facial recognition.

    Pros

    • Professional monitoring available
    • Safe button for responses outside the home
    • Plenty of high-end devices to choose from
    Cons

    • Pricey
    • Lacks facial detection


Most smart cameras offer limited functionality without a paid subscription. For features like cloud storage, facial recognition, and professional monitoring, a subscription should be factored into the cost of a new security camera. Cameras from Arlo, Ring, and Google Nest are among the most recognized options — but how do the subscription plans hold up?



If you’ve already invested in a set of security cameras, then the choice is made for you. Ring Protect, Arlo Secure, and Nest Aware each only work with cameras and accessories from that brand. But, if you’re looking to outfit your home with cameras, comparing the three offerings is a wise first step.

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I’ve tested indoor cameras from Ring, Google, and Arlo — and while they all did what they were supposed to do, there are a few key differences between each company’s subscription and product offerings. This guide looks at some of the biggest differences between the popular home security plans.



Pricing and availability

Ring plan and pricing

Ring’s most affordable plan costs $5 a month for one camera. Plus, which includes multiple cameras and enhanced notifications, runs for $10 a month. The Pro plan is twice that but includes 24/7 professional monitoring, among other features.

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Arlo plans and pricing

Much like their cameras, Arlo’s subscription options are more feature-rich and a tad pricier as a result. The basic Secure plan with the ability to save video to the cloud is $7.99 a month per camera or $12.99 for unlimited cameras. Secure Plus, which adds 24/7 emergency response, is $17.99 a month, while Safe & Secure, which adds the Arlo Safe Plan for emergency response outside the home, is $24.99 a month.

Nest plans and pricing

Google’s Nest Aware subscription has two simple options. Nest Aware costs $10 a month and includes 30 days of event history. Nest Aware Plus costs $20 a month and includes 60 days of event history as well as 24/7 video recording on compatible cameras stored up to 10 days. Neither plan increases if you have more than one camera. Both plans are also available with an annual subscription instead of monthly, which saves you $20 on Nest Aware and $40 off Nest Aware Plus.


Ring Doorbell

Ring

Person and package recognition

A must-have to reduce unnecessary notifications

Receiving a notification for every blowing branch, squirrel or passing car is the fastest way to become annoyed with your new security system. Thankfully, Ring, Arlo, and Nest have all created software that can recognize people and decrease false alerts.

Ring recognition and notifications

With Ring Protect, the company’s cameras and doorbells can send alerts when they detect a person. The feature does fairly well at sending alerts only when a person walks by, ignoring your dog or robot vacuum. While it won’t differentiate between when a family member walks by and when a stranger appears, it does help cut down on unnecessary notifications.

Many of Ring’s doorbell cameras are also compatible with package alerts. Ring allows you to create a specific zone to look for packages in and send a notification when a delivery is detected within that zone.


Arlo recognition and notifications

Arlo Secure differentiates between people, vehicles, animals, and packages, allowing you to customize what you’d like to receive notifications for. I did find the process of customizing these smart notifications to be a little less self-explanatory than other systems. It took some time and fiddling with the settings to cut down on unwanted notifications. But the AI works well and I rarely received incorrect notifications.

A person holds an Arlo Pro 5 camera in their hand

Nest recognition and notifications

Nest Aware, meanwhile, not only differentiates between people and other moving objects but can also recognize familiar faces. Once you save a face inside the Google Home app, notifications will display a name. That means you can see at a glance whether your kids have arrived home from school or if a stranger is at the door.


Nest Aware will also differentiate between people and animals, allowing you to choose to skip notifications every time you let your dog out. The subscription also enables activity zones and, using this feature, you can also set up package notifications.

A Nest Cam mounted to brick wall

Smoke and CO2 alarm recognition

Know when your alarms go off, even when you are not home

Both Nest Aware and Arlo Secure subscriptions include features designed to detect specific sounds, not just people and animals. Using these tools, the cameras can send alerts if they detect the sound of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm for users in the US. It works based on the standardized alarm tones established back in 1996, allowing the cameras to differentiate between a smoke alarm and a CO2 alarm. Newer Nest cameras can also be set to detect the sound of glass breaking and ping your phone if it detects the sound of a breaking window.


Ring Protect also includes smoke and CO2 recognition. However, this feature isn’t built into Ring cameras. To access alarm recognition, you will need to purchase a separate Ring Alarm Smoke and CO Listener.

A person looks at the Ring app on their iPhone

Ring

Video history

How long will a subscription save your videos for?

Video history is one of the biggest reasons to opt for a paid subscription. These videos aren’t kept indefinitely, however. All three services allow users to save videos to their device before they expire, so if you have an actual break-in or record an event worthy of viral hilarity, you can retain that video long-term. Ring’s subscription saves videos the longest, but Nest has an option that allows for 24/7 video recording.

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Arlo storage history

Arlo Safe includes 30 days of video storage. Like Ring, this is for events only. The company doesn’t offer 24/7 video recording.


Ring storage history

Ring’s basic plan includes up to 180 days of storage for video history. This includes any video from when movement is detected, as well as recordings made whenever live view was used. If you pick up the $250 Alarm Pro Base Station and use Ring Protect Pro, the base station’s built-in Wi-Fi router serves as a backup internet to help keep devices online in the event of an outage.

Nest storage history

The length of the cloud storage with Google’s Nest Aware depends on the plan you pick. The basic, $10-a-month tier includes 30 days of event history. The $20-a-month subscription doubles that. Nest Aware Plus is also unique in that it also offers 24/7 video recording with certain cameras for up to 10 days.

The continuous recording feature requires a wired camera, as constant recording is too draining on the battery-powered models. During an internet outage, you won’t receive notifications, but some Nest Cams will save some footage internally and upload to the cloud once the connection is restored — that means you’ll be delayed but won’t miss whatever happened during the outage entirely.


Arlo subscription appEmergency response and professional monitoring

Not all platforms are compatible with professional monitoring

While motion-based push notifications are standard for most smart home cameras, built-in emergency response is not. Triggering emergency services is often a feature that’s limited to higher-priced subscriptions. These subscriptions also tend to include professional monitoring, where certain triggers will be reviewed by a person.

Ring response and monitoring

Ring requires the Pro plan, which also includes professional monitoring, to dispatch emergency services to you. The basic plans allow you to arm and disarm alarms and receive notifications, but it’s up to you to call 911 in an emergency with the lower-priced subscriptions.

Arlo response and monitoring

Arlo Secure allows subscribers to press a button right from a smart notification to request an emergency response, saving a few seconds from actually having to open the app. Arlo’s top subscription plan, Safe & Secure, includes both professional monitoring and security dispatch.


Arlo Safe & Secure is unique in that it also includes protection options for when you leave your home. Using a smartphone or the Arlo Safe Button, this option allows you to press a button in an emergency; or tap and hold the smartphone screen until you are safe. This plan also includes car crash detection, automatically sending emergency services if your smartphone detects a crash.

Nest response and monitoring

Nest Aware subscribers can use the Google Home app to contact local emergency services. Google notes that this works even while traveling, so if your cameras alert you to an emergency at home, you can still reach the emergency services closest to your home address. However, Nest Aware doesn’t offer 24/7 professional monitoring. Google will discontinue professional monitoring with Nest Secure devices in April 2024. ADT does have some packages that include Nest cameras with professional monitoring, but this is from ADT and not part of Nest Aware.

Arlo Secure app

Arlo


Privacy

Looking at security measures is a must before picking up any smart cam

Bringing security cameras into your home gives you eyes while you’re away — but how secure are they? Every security camera carries risk. Much of that risk can be negated with security best practices, including using two-factor authentication and strong passwords. However, hacked security cameras and system weaknesses have made headlines more than a few times. For example, after yet another security breach, we don’t recommend using Wyze Secure.

Related

Is your security camera spying on you? How to protect your footage and privacy

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Ring user security

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Ring over allegations that the company gave employees unnecessary access to customer videos. The FTC noted two different but specific instances of two employees watching videos and an estimated 55,000 customers had compromised accounts. Parent company Amazon said that the security issues were addressed before the FTC complaint. According to the non-profit Common Sense, personal data isn’t sold but can be collected by some third parties; user information is used in personalized advertising.


Arlo user security

Arlo’s most recent headline-making criticism is its decision to discontinue the seven days of free cloud recordings advertised with older cameras, phasing out the feature with an End of Life Policy. Arlo isn’t immune to security breaches, but it does reward security researchers on platforms like Tenable to find potential weak spots, and then correct them with automatic firmware updates. According to the Common Sense organization, Arlo doesn’t sell or share customer data with third parties, though it does participate in personalized advertising tactics.

Nest user security

Google’s Nest cameras aren’t immune to hacking. After hackers stole passwords for Google Home, the company began requiring two-factor authentication to help thwart unauthorized access to the cameras. This wasn’t a system breach, rather hackers found passwords elsewhere and were able to access cameras. The Common Sense organization notes that Google Nest doesn’t sell data, but it does share data with third parties to use in targeted advertising.


ring-vs-nest-vs-arlo-hillary-grigonis-pocket-lint-50-1

Nest Aware vs Ring Protect vs Arlo Secure: Which security camera subscription is right for you?

Google’s Nest Aware is feature-rich, offering the ability to tell you who is at the door, an option that Ring and Arlo don’t offer. Another unique feature is the ability to detect the sound of breaking glass. While Nest cameras can’t send alerts when offline, they do save some footage internally, so you still have access to what went on during an internet outage. The basic plan is a tad pricier than options from Arlo or Ring, but if you have more than one camera, then Nest Aware’s model that doesn’t charge per camera actually make it the most affordable choice.

Those features, combined with Google’s excellent line of smart home cameras, make it our top choice. Those who want constant video recording can also find it with Nest Aware Plus. Google’s security subscription is not the best option, however, if you want professional monitoring.


nest-awa-relogo

Arlo Secure offers more than just home security devices with its emergency buttons and crash detection that work while away from home. It arguably has the better reputation for privacy because it rewards researchers for finding vulnerabilities early, though no platforms are immune from potential breaches. Arlo’s camera line is similarly feature-rich, including 4K options. But, it’s also on the pricier end, with plans ranging from $7.99 to $24.99 a month.

arlo_logo-1

If you only need one camera, Amazon’s Ring Protect Pro is the most affordable choice. It offers the longest cloud storage of the three, saving videos for up to 180 days. Ring also has some unique accessories, including a base station that acts as a backup Wi-Fi during outages. But it’s been on the receiving end of privacy complaints from the FTC and doesn’t differentiate between family and strangers using facial recognition.

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