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Ring doorbells (second gen) have been catching on fire—Is yours safe?

350,000 of the smart video doorbells have been recalled.

Ring Video Doorbell (second-gen) against house exterior Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

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Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, recalled 350,000 Ring Video Doorbells (2nd Generation) recently, after 23 of them reportedly started fires, according to a statement by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Finger with red nail polish pressing button of Ring Doorbell
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

While the recall sounds alarming, if the doorbell was properly installed, there's no risk, according to Ring.

While the news is certainly concerning, you might not have too much to worry about. The problem seems to be caused by incorrect installation, specifically, using the wrong screws in the wrong place. Below we'll break down what owners of these doorbells should—and shouldn't—be worried about and what you can do to make sure you're protected.

Which Ring doorbells were recalled?

Side view of Ring Doorbell
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Using improper screws during installation can cause the battery to overheat and catch on fire.

The recall is for Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Generation), model number 5UM5E5. These units were sold between June and October 2020. If you have a different model of Ring Doorbell, your device shouldn't be affected according to the recall.

If you aren't sure if your doorbell is among those affected go to this page and enter your device's serial number (DSN or S/N) to find out. You can find the serial number on the back of the device or the original packaging.

What should I do if I have a recalled Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Generation?

Before you do anything else, you need to figure out if your device is installed correctly. The problem has to do with the screws used to install the Ring Doorbell. The product comes with two types of screws. One is short with a blunt end, called a security screw. The other is long and pointed, called a wood screw. A diagram in the revised manual helps make it clear:

Instructions telling which is the appropriate screw to use in the Ring Doorbell
Credit: Amazon

New instructions clarify which screw is safe to use in the Ring Doorbell.

The short, blunt, security screws are the only type you should use at the base. The wood screws are only used for mounting the included bracket to your door or wall. According to Ring, "If the doorbell is installed correctly, with the proper screws provided, there is no risk to consumers or potential hazard present."

Even if you have a recalled device, you still might be perfectly safe to use it.

If you accidentally used the wood screws or another screw from your own supply at the base of the device, they may have punctured the battery. If that's the case, remove the Ring Doorbell from your door or wall immediately. Then call Ring support (the chat feature on the site won't help here) and explain the issue. According to a support representative, they will take your information, ask for pictures to support your claim, and determine whether you're eligible to receive a replacement device. In the US, the number is 1-800-656-1918.

Is it safe to buy a new one?

Amazon claims that the Ring Video Doorbells are safe to use, as long as you install them properly. Be sure to follow the updated manual for installation instructions. A PDF manual is available at the bottom of this page in multiple languages.

What alternatives can I buy?

Nest Hello Video Doorbell against gray wall
Credit: Google

If you're uncomfortable purchasing a Ring Doorbell, check out the Nest Hello instead.

If you're interested in replacing your Ring Doorbell with a different smart video doorbell, there are plenty of great options. Based on extensive testing for our list of the best video doorbells, we recommend Google's Nest Hello Smart WiFi Video Doorbell as the best overall and Eufy Security Video Doorbell (Battery-Powered) as the best value smart doorbell.

The Google Nest Hello Smart WiFi doorbell has one particular advantage over the Ring Doorbell. It captures video in 4:3 format, which helps to capture the full image of a standing person, whereas Ring records in a widescreen 16:9 ratio. We also like that it has facial recognition features, reliable connectivity, and high-quality video and audio.

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