Ring Spotlight Battery review: The best Smart Lighting starting point

If you’re at all interested in exploring a Ring Smart Light setup at your home, the device to start with is the Spotlight Battery. While it has the same issues as the other members of Ring’s family of lights—disposable batteries, flimsy construction, and imprecise motion sensitivity—its size, brightness, and price make it a better all-around value than the Floodlight Battery.

The Spotlight battery is small enough to fit pretty much anywhere—unlike the Floodlight Battery’s protruding lamps, which require a bit more space—and shines bright enough to illuminate plenty of your yard or steps, and hopefully scare off intruders.

Small, bright, and versatile

For its size, the Spotlight Battery’s lamp produces a good deal of light. It’s not nearly as bright as the Floodlight Wired, but unfortunately Ring doesn’t make a wired version of the Spotlight. Newcomers to the Ring Smart Light family might be tempted by the Floodlight Battery’s double-light design, but the per-lumen output is actually superior on the Spotlight battery:

  • Spotlight Battery: 400 lumens
  • Floodlight Battery: 300 lumens (600 total)
  • Floodlight Wired: 1,000 lumens (2,000 total)

As you’d expect, Ring’s battery-powered lights don’t hold a candle to its wired ones, but where the Floodlight Battery is something of a disappointment, the Spotlight Battery shines. Literally. While the Floodlight Battery might have a higher total output (at 600 lumens vs 400 lumens), the Spotlight Battery’s bulb is 25 percent brighter than either of the single floodlight bulbs. That might not matter to a burglar, but it’s very noticeable when using it to illuminate steps or entranceways, particularly if there’s no other source of light around.

ring spotlight battery front Michael Simon/IDG

The Ring Spotlight Battery’s bulb provides 300 lumens of light.

I also preferred its size to that of the Floodlight Battery. It measures just 3.82 inches across, far less than the floodlight’s 10.43-inch frame, so you’ll be able to place it basically anywhere. It has the same plastic design as the Floodlight Battery, which feels much cheaper than Ring’s camera-based products. As an owner of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Floodlight Cam, it’s a surprising downgrade and makes the Smart Lighting devices feel more like cheap imitations than extended members of the same family.

I mounted my review unit in the corner frame of a door leading to my backyard where the floodlight would have blocked the door from opening. Add in the fact that it’s $10 cheaper than the Floodlight Battery, and the Spotlight Battery is a no-brainer purchase.

Extra expenses (aka those damn batteries)

No matter which of Ring’s smart lights you start with, however, you’re going to incur extra expenses. For one, you’re going to need four D-cell batteries to power it, which is the biggest drawback to the entire Smart Lighting system. They add needless weight, recurring costs, and environmental unfriendliness, all of which shouldn’t be an issue in 2019.

Amazon sells a 12-pack for about $13, which Ring estimates will get you through three years. I obviously haven’t been able to test that, but my Ring app reads that both the Spotlight Battery and Floodlight Battery have drained 50 percent of their life in the three months they’ve been in use.