The Ring doorbell allows homeowners to view visitors at their door using their phones or a smart hub display.
While the Ring is an excellent invention for home security, the cameras tend to be susceptible to glare at night, making it difficult to see who’s at the door.
For the sake of security, you’ll want to remedy this issue immediately.
Here’s how you can deal with a Ring doorbell glare at night:
- Clean the camera lens.
- Disable color night vision.
- Use a different mount kit.
- Cover the IR lights.
- Use a different light source.
- Leave your porch light on.
In this article, I’ll explore several ways to address the glare in a Ring doorbell at night — but first, I’ll explain what causes the glare to give you a headstart on remedying the problem.
Lens Glare Explained
Glare, also called “lens flare” and “dazzle,” is a visual artifact caused by the overexposure and scattering of light in an image.
In both human and electronic vision, it can distort the image to the point of uselessness.
There are two primary manifestations of glare, overexposure, and visible lens artifacts.
Overexposure, also called “washout” or “ghosting,” occurs when too much light is received in one part of the visual field for the sensor to process.
It manifests as a bright white circle or portions of a circle in the image, surrounded by image fogging, which becomes progressively less severe the further from the center of the circle.
Visible Lens Artifacts
Visible lens artifacts are “ghost-like” objects that appear in a camera image that isn’t actually there.
The ghost comparison is apt as many reported pictures of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena to turn out to be nothing more than lens artifacts.
Lens artifacts are caused by light scattering as it travels through a lens or any dirt on the lens.
The most common lens artifacts are radial streaks emanating from the center of overexposed areas.
These can appear in both camera images and human vision.
Another type of lens artifact that can appear in human vision is smudging around a bright object like the full moon or stars. This is the primary symptom of astigmatism.
Ways To Deal With Ring Doorbell Night Glare
1. Clean the Camera Lens
The first thing you should try when dealing with night glare is to clean the camera lens.
Even if you can’t see anything stuck to the lens, it could be covered in fine particulate matter.
The lens can be cleaned with any commercially available glass cleaner.
Be sure to use a lint-free cloth or paper towel; otherwise, you could leave more debris behind.
Dab the lens with a piece of packaging tape to pick up anything the cloth misses.
2. Disable Color Night Vision
Ring doorbells of the second generation and later are equipped with color night vision.
As long as there’s enough ambient light in the visual field, the camera can extrapolate the color of objects it sees.
This is an impressive — although unnecessary — technical innovation.
The problem with color night vision is that it increases the default sensitivity of the camera in a Ring doorbell, making it more susceptible to glare.
It also doesn’t add much to the user experience or security value.
If you’re having trouble with glare, try turning color night vision off.
The option to turn off color night vision is located within the app that you use to access your doorbell (i.e., Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, etc.).
3. Use a Different Mount Kit
Ring doesn’t offer much useful information when it comes to dealing with glare.
But the advice they offer is pretty good: use a mounting kit.
Ring sells two mounts meant to deal with glare.
The first, their “Wedge Kit,” consists of three stackable wedges that can angle a Ring doorbell at 15°, 30°, and 45° downward angles.
Changing the angle of the camera reduces the amount of scattered light that can enter the camera.
The other anti-glare mount offered by Ring is the “Corner Kit.” Like the Wedge Kit, the corner kit contains three wedges that can be stacked to tilt a Ring doorbell at angles of 15°, 30°, and 45°.
The mounts offered by Ring are supposed to work by allowing users to fine-tune the field of view of their doorbells to remove sources of glare.
A third mount style of mount produced by several third-party companies provides sun visors for Ring doorbells. Several of these are available on Amazon and generally cost under $20.
4. Cover the IR Lights
Night glare is a fairly common problem for Ring doorbell owners.
And some of them have shared their glare fixes online.
One solution from Reddit user “kkopczyk” seems a little counterintuitive: cover the IR lights with tape.
“Kkopczyk” was having trouble with IR light reflecting off the wall adjacent to his Ring doorbell.
Ring didn’t provide any useful fixes, so the Redditor did some experimentation on their own.
Eventually, they discovered that the glare issue could be fixed with a small piece of electrical tape.
The Redditor used black electrical tape to partially cover the IR lights on their 2nd generation ring doorbell, which reduced the amount of light they emitted.
It isn’t clear why this worked, but the before and after images speak for themselves.
5. Use a Different Light Source
A common problem that Ring owners have is the IR light bouncing off walls and other objects within 10 feet of their doorbells.
One way to counter this is to use a different light source.
Users of other infrared security cameras have been dealing with glare issues for decades.
One common solution is to move the light source further away from the camera.
This changes the angles of reflection for the IR light and makes it less likely for the light to find its way into the camera lens.
Amazon sells a wide variety of motion-activated IR light sources for prices between $30 and $150. Mounting one of these on the ceiling or wall above your front door could provide glare-free IR illumination.
6. Leave Your Porch Light On
If all else fails, you can stop using your Ring doorbell’s night vision entirely.
Instead, leave your porch light on so the Ring’s camera stays in daylight mode.
This will limit how far the camera can see, but will still give you a perfectly clear view of anyone who comes to your door after dark.
After learning all of this and you think is not worth it to have a ring doorbell, or you’d like to find a better option, check this blog post where I break down the best Ring Doorbells alternatives. Glare is not an option if you choose the right one, check them out!
Ring doorbell night glare can be solved in a variety of ways.
The trick is to limit the amount of scattered or reflected light detected by the camera.