Buy now £49, Ring.com
- Size: 14.7 cm. x 9.1 cm. x 1.7 cm. (5.8 in. x 3.6 in. x 0.7 in.)
- Colour: Black
- Power: In-built solar panels
- Compatibility: Video doorbell 2 – other solar chargers for Video doorbell 3 and 4 also available
- Usable operating limitations: -40°C to 85°C (-40°F to 185°F); weather-resistant
At first glance, this appears to be a fairly straightforward package, and it ships in a small box that makes unpackaging easy. You get the screws and accessories you need to attach it, and further instructions can be found online with regards to how to install your Ring video doorbell 2 solar charger.
It is, however, worth following the instructions methodically and carefully, as you will have to wire the solar charger in behind the doorbell and secure it on to the wall, so it’s worth getting it right the first time round. We found that once installed it’s a little bit of a hassle to take everything off again to restart the process.
Installation and set-up
To install the solar charger to your existing doorbell set-up, you’ll first have to remove the Ring video doorbell and if you’re attaching the solar panels to the wall, use the provided wall anchors to keep everything securely in place. The wires from the solar charger go straight into the back of the doorbell itself, and we found that if you do everything in the right order, wiring it up is very straightforward and easy.
Loosen the terminals on the back of the Ring doorbell and insert the wire connectors from the solar panel before retightening – just as you might wire up home speaker systems, for example. Screw the doorbell back onto the wall, through the panels, and you’re good to go.
We found the solar panel to do exactly what it sets out to do. It acts as a power source for your video doorbell, and will help keep the doorbell running without having to remove the whole system and plug it in to charge the battery.
However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. We found that although it does successfully act as a power source, it really only succeeds in stopping the battery from draining quite so quickly. That is to say that it doesn’t stop the battery from draining completely, so if you experience a few days of cloudy, grey weather, it unsurprisingly means that less sunlight is reaching the solar panels and the battery will drain much quicker.
We also found that the panels themselves need to be exposed to full, direct sunlight for slightly longer than you’d expect each day, which means if your house or front door is in a shady spot, you may find the panels provide less benefit in terms of extending the battery than you’d like. For many, this won’t be a problem, but it’s worth bearing in mind before you purchase.
There are a few other things specific to the solar charger that’s worth pointing out. As we’ve mentioned, you have to buy the specific solar charger for the type of doorbell you have, as there are different connectors for each. The solar panel for ring video doorbell support page on Ring’s website has all the information you’ll need and you’ll find the solar chargers in the accessories section of their website. They’re fully weatherproof and water resistant, and in fact you can only use these outside as interior or indoor lighting isn’t sufficient to charge the battery.
We liked the fact that in the box you get all the mounting screws, plugs and wall mounts you need, and we also appreciated the easy installation and the step-by-step instructions in the user manual and online. There are plenty of videos on the web about how to set up and use your Ring doorbell to the best of its ability, so we also recommend checking these out.
The verdict: Ring solar charger
We think the Ring solar charger is a very worthwhile addition to your home and if you’re already subscribed to the Ring video doorbell system, for the relatively cheap price of £49, we think you can’t really go wrong. It saves a lot of hassle when it comes to dismounting the doorbell and recharging the device, and after a while you’ll appreciate how much time you’ve saved by letting the solar panel charge the doorbell by itself.
That being said, we did think there were a couple of caveats to this recommendation. We’d encourage anyone thinking about adding this to their home to assess which doors have the most direct sunlight, and how much benefit you think this will add if you’re trying to install in a shady spot. Like we said, the solar charger only stops the battery from draining so quickly, and although we tested in the winter time we think that in sunlight, during the summer, this is certainly worth investing in.