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Security systems are pointless if their batteries don’t last. Hardwiring isn’t always an option, but you need to know that your camera will be ready and able when you need it most.
In this article, we’ll look at how long Ring doorbell, stick-up cam, and spotlight batteries last and what you can do to increase Ring camera battery life.
How Long Do Ring Batteries Last?
Most Ring devices have a single battery that lasts 6–12 months under light usage in an ideal environment. Of course, most cameras don’t operate under these conditions.
In more realistic conditions, Ring batteries last about 3–6 months. Under heavy usage, they may only last 1–2 months.
Ring doorbell battery life
The Ring Video Doorbell 4 battery can last up to 6–12 months on a single charge. Of course, that’s under ideal conditions, with minimal use, and with almost all the advanced features turned off.
More often, the battery dies within 2–3 months. If your doorbell camera is triggered frequently, it could even die after a single month.
That battery life is a 30% improvement over the Ring Video Doorbell 3.
Both the Doorbell 3 and Doorbell 4’s batteries are removable. With the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and earlier models, you had to remove the device from your door to charge the battery. Now, you can just swap out the battery (assuming you have a second one).
Ring stick-up camera battery life
The Ring stick-up cam lasts 1,000 activations between charges. That’s roughly 3–6 months for typical usage or up to 12 months for light usage.
However, some users have reported that the battery life can die after just a week. The battery seems to die faster when the camera is mounted outdoor, likely because the camera is being activated more frequently.
Ring spotlight camera battery life
The Ring spotlight cam is rated for 6–12 months of usage on a single charge, but it usually lasts only a few months. It uses the same battery pack as other Ring products, but that pack has to power both the camera and the spotlight.
Unlike other Ring products, the spotlight cam has room for a second battery pack. When both packs are inserted, the camera automatically switches to the second pack whenever the first one dies.
The spotlight cam only comes with one battery pack, so I recommend going ahead and purchasing a second one. With both in place, your camera should last 6–12 months on a single charge.
How Long Does a Ring Battery Take to Charge?
Ring batteries are all rechargeable, and charging them takes about 5–10 hours. That’s a long time when it comes to home security, so you may want to keep an extra Ring battery around.
Make sure your battery charger is indoors in a warm area. Cold temperatures will cause the battery to take much longer to charge.
Why Do Some Ring Batteries Die Faster?
There are four main reasons that some Ring batteries drain faster than others: How often they are activated, what features you use, connection problems, and environmental factors.
- Frequent activation events: Ring cameras are mostly idle when they aren’t recording or transmitting. But their battery usage increases drastically every time they have to jump into action.
- Features and settings: Features like Live View are particularly bad about draining batteries. Any setting that increases the camera’s sensitivity will cause more activation events and faster battery drain.
- Wi-Fi connection problems: Attempting to reconnect to Wi-Fi is a huge power sink. Your Ring device needs a steady connection for optimal battery life.
- Environmental factors: Every battery has an ideal operating temperature. Ring batteries will drain faster in excessively cold climates (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit). High temperatures likely won’t cause faster battery drain, but they can cause the camera to overheat.
How to Extend Ring Battery Life
Turn off excess features (especially Live View)
The more features you can disable, the better for performance and battery life.
Live View is particularly bad about draining the battery. You don’t really need it if you have a Ring Protect subscription. If you do need access to Live View, you’ll likely want to add a solar panel (more on that in a minute) or swap to a hardwired model.
Improve Wi-Fi strength
You can check your Wi-Fi signal strength in the Ring app by selecting the device and clicking Device Health.
Look at the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI). Numbers close to 0 are better. If your RSSI is between -40 and 0, it’s fine. If it’s between -60 to -40, it’s probably okay. If it’s between -90 to -60, you need to improve your Wi-Fi signal.
You’ve got a few options for improving Wi-Fi reception. Here are a few of the most reliable ways:
- Move your router to an open, central location.
- Buy a better router. This is definitely a good idea if you’re using a mediocre router from your internet provider. I suggest the TP-Link AX6600 if you plan to have a lot of smart home devices. The TP-Link AX1800 is an excellent budget alternative.
- Switch to a mesh Wi-Fi system. These systems are great ways to get strong Wi-Fi throughout even the largest homes. My recommended system is the Google Nest Mesh Wi-Fi System.
- Use a Wi-Fi extender. If your current network works for all but one area of your home, a Wi-Fi extender can boost the signal in that specific area. The TP-Link AX1500 is a solid option.
Change motion frequency
Motion frequency controls the delay between triggering events. A longer delay will save battery because your camera won’t be triggered multiple times by the same event.
The three settings for frequency are (from shortest to longest delay): Frequently, Regularly, and Periodically. You’ll get the longest battery life from Periodically, but Regularly offers a good balance between battery life and security.
Reduce motion sensitivity
Motion sensitivity controls the amount of motion that it takes to trigger your camera. Higher sensitivity means that your camera will have more false alarms, but it could also mean that it captures more real security events.
You can probably adjust the sensitivity level down to save battery life. Just be careful to leave it high enough to catch an intruder.
Turn off detection zones
Instead of lowering the sensitivity, you can tell your camera to ignore certain detection zones. Any motion that occurs in a disabled zone will be ignored, but your camera will still capture motion in the active zones.
Disabling zones is a particularly effective power-saving strategy if there’s a busy road or other very motion-heavy areas in your camera’s field of view.
Turn on scheduling
You may not need to capture security threats 24/7 on every camera. You can schedule on and off times for each camera in the Ring app. If you can leave your camera off 12 hours a day, you’ll nearly double the battery life!
I highly recommend this setting for cameras that monitor areas that have high traffic during certain times of the day. For instance, you probably don’t need your camera going off every time your kids are playing in the yard.
Add a Ring solar panel
Ring makes solar panels that are perfect for recharging your battery while it’s in use. With enough sunlight, you may never need to manually recharge the battery again.
You can choose between the Ring standard solar panel and the Ring super solar panel. The Ring site has a full guide to choosing between these panels, but I can simplify their guidance here.
If your camera receives a lot of sunlight and gets few (less than 10–30) activations per day, get the standard solar panel. Otherwise, get the super solar panel. Aside from the higher price tag, there’s no downside to the super panel.
Security is one of the pillars of a smart home. Whether you go with Ring cameras or Alexa-connected Blink cameras, you need a camera setup that will last. That means long-lasting batteries and fixing any issues with cameras not detecting motion.
Once security is handled, don’t forget the other smart home pillars like energy savings. I’ve put together a list of smart plug ideas that can help you lower the power usage of your smart home. They’ll go perfect with the battery-saving efforts for your Ring cameras.