New parents love to be with their baby, but it’s impossible to be with your child at all times. A reliable baby monitor lets parents keep an eye on their baby at all times, even from work!
You can go about your day, cleaning the house or working in the garden while knowing that your child is safe in their bed. Getting one of the best baby monitors is a must-have for all parents!
If you head into the store, you’ll notice a huge variety of baby monitors, as well as a wide range of prices. They can range in price from $40 up into the hundreds! Baby monitors have a variety of features, like long-range monitoring, dual cameras, and WiFi connectivity.
So, let’s break down what you need to know and our pick for the 5 best baby monitors.
5 Best-Selling Baby Monitors in February 2019
Infant Optics earned a spot on our list because of the over 20,000 – seriously – reviews from parents! It’s not often you see a baby gear reviewed so much, but parents rave about the features and quality, so you know there has to be something here.
Infant Optics DXR-8 gives parents the capability to zoom in extra close to their baby, even if the camera is further away from the crib. You are able to remotely adjust the camera with the receiving monitor. There is more to love, so let’s check it out!
Infant Optics DXR-8 Baby Monitor Overview
- Type of Monitor
The Infants Optics is video and audio monitor that is very high quality in both daytime and nighttime. Parents do have the options to just use the digital audio portion rather than both. It has a 700 feet range, which is adequate!
- Power Source
Parents love that you can leave the monitor on for up to 10 hours in the power-saving mode. This mode means you don’t have to worry about leaving it plugged in overnight, but it does offer the option to leave it plugged into an outlet. The power-saving mode provides sound monitoring only, leaving the display off. If you leave the display working, it will last for six hours.
It does use batteries, and we found that it was one of the few monitors that can last through the night unplugged with the display off. Then, it lasted a few more hours throughout the day before needing a charger.
The manufacturers claim that the batteries can last 10 hours with the display, and we can attest to the fact that they last even longer.
The model can charge via USB connection, which is something other models don’t offer.
- Expandability and Receivers
Parents can expand the Infants Optics up to four cameras, so you have the option to place cameras throughout your house. When you use the receiver, you just press a button to toggle and move through the various camera locations. Unfortunately, this receiver doesn’t allow you to see all of the screens at one time, which is a bummer. Toggling through them isn’t difficult though!
We should note that each camera is expensive, so if you were to add three more cameras, you are investing a few hundred dollars. If your goal is to have several cameras throughout your house, that might not be the most affordable choice.
- Wireless Encryption
Infant Optics does feature wireless encryption, so parents can feel comfortable using this baby monitor.
- Extra Features
The Infant Optics stands out on our list because of its the multitude of features. First, it features a two-way intercom that lets the parent talk or sing to your baby.
Next, we love the ability to pan, tilt, zoom the camera; you can pivot the camera remotely up to 270-degrees left to right. You also can tilt the camera up and down to 120-degrees. That’s fantastic!
Parents also like the baby room temperature sensor that displays the reading on your receiver. Speaking of the parent unit, it is simple, easy-to-use, and basic. It doesn’t have a touchscreen, but rather a group of four buttons to navigate through the options.
The Infant Optics sounds amazing, so is there a catch? You’ll pay for all of the fantastic features; it’s not the cheapest choice! The quality, reliability, and features make the DXR-8 one of the top choices.
- Remotely adjustable
- Power-saving mode for 10 hours of battery life
- Room temperature display
- Great battery life
- Expensive extra cameras
Some parents want to have stats and analyzed data. If that sounds like you, the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor offers a camera that watches your child’s every moment. Then, the system analyzes the data and lets you know what it means.
All of the data is sent to your smartphone, which happens to also be your handheld receiver, and it lets you know when your child wakes up, is fussing, or falls asleep. The information is analyzed, and the Nanit gives a sleep score to let you know how many hours your baby actually slept that night.
The Nanit also keeps track of how many times you entered your child’s room and how long it took your baby to fall asleep.
Nanit Smart Baby Monitor Overview
- Type of Monitor
The Nanit is a wireless network monitor, capable of streaming live videos and audio directly to your smartphone. Parents can check on their child even if they aren’t home. It streams in high-definition digital video and digital audio. You just have to download the app to your Android or iOS device. Nanit needs to be connected to your home’s existing router.
- Power Source
Unfortunately, the Nanit must be plugged into an outlet for it to work. The receiver is your smartphone, so it can run either way. Frequent watching of the live stream can cause your battery to die quicker on your smartphone.
If you want to monitor more than one baby, Nanit offers twin and triple packs. You can switch between each camera with the click on a button. If the app isn’t open, you can still get real-time sound and motion notifications for both babies. The cost is significantly higher though!
- Wireless Encryption
Nanit is extremely safe for parents and babies. All data and communications are encrypted and unidentifiable. Nanit uses AES 256-bit symmetric-key encryption. What that means is only you can see your baby.
Nanit doesn’t use an IP address that could be hacked. Instead, the system pushes an encrypted video to right their servers and your authenticated device. Talk about safety! That Nanit is awesome!
- Extra Features
Nanit offers several extra features aside from its ability to analyze data. It includes a nightlight, a temperature sensor, and a humidity sensor. The camera features a digital zoom, so you can zoom in and out from your app to get a better view of your baby.
Nanit also includes a wall-mount, so you can have an overhead view of your baby. The kit includes the wall mounting hardware and cord hiding strips.
One thing to consider is that, if you want to receive the stats, you need to download the Nanit Insights app. It’s a subscription-based service. The first year is free with your purchase, but then its $100 per year to get all of the stats.
- Sends analyzed sleep date
- High-definition video and audio
- Temperature sensor
- Wall-mounting hardware included
- Costly subscription app for stats
- Must wall mount
SIDS is real and scary, and new parents often need a bit of comfort to sleep better at night. The Cocoon Cam sends a graph to your smartphone that shows your child’s breathing patterns by watching the rise and fall of your baby’s chest. If the Cam senses that something might be wrong, it sends an instant notification to your smartphone.
The system also sends notifications if your child falls asleep, cries, or when he starts to stir before waking up.
Cocoon Cam s Baby Monitor Overview
- Type of Monitor
Cocoon Cam is a wireless network monitor that live streams video and audio over the existing Wifi network in your home. Unlike other options, Cocoon does let you connect with an ethernet cable! That means you can watch your baby wherever you want. It features 720p high definition videos that come in crisp and clear.
- Power Source
The camera does, unfortunately, require to be plugged into an outlet. The receiving unit is your phone, and streaming the video does take up some of your battery.
You can’t expand with the Cocoon Cam. It is meant just to work with the one camera and monitor your child. The alerts are sent for one child.
- Wireless Encryption
A video feed is sent wirelessly over to your phone, and the live stream is encrypted so that no one else can access the feed. That should make you feel better!
- Extra Features
We like that the Cocoon Cam comes with wall mounting hardware. Unfortunately, if you want to mount it elsewhere, you have to purchase a stand for it. That means it might not be the best choice if you can’t drill into the work for the mount. Some rentals don’t allow that, so consider the rules of your housing.
One of the main negatives of the Cocoon Cam is that you have to manually adjust the lens. You can’t use your phone to get a better focus on your baby. So, that means, you want to make sure you mount it correctly.
- Monitors baby’s breathing problems
- Live streams video and audio over WiFi
- Streams in high-definition
- Works with an ethernet cable
- Require a wall mount
- Cannot remotely pan or tilt
Are you in the market for something simple? The VTech DM111 is the perfect choice for you then! Most cheap video monitors, you get what you pay for, but the VTech DM111 is a quality audio-only monitor.
We love the crisp, clear sound and the talk-back function which is better than other options. It has a longer range and easily beats out other audio-only monitors. The thousands of positive reviews prove that this monitor, despite its basicness, is a worthy contender.
VTech DM111 Baby Monitor Overview
- Type of Monitor
VTech DM111 is a basic, audio-only monitor. You are only able to hear your baby, not see him, but VTech did add a talk-back function. VTech advertises that it has a 1,000 feet range, and that’s also impressive.
Chances are you can head out to the garden with the receiver and hear your baby just fine. You just have to decide if the loss of a video is a huge deal to you or not!
VTech uses DECT 6.0 digital technology that helps to eliminate any background noise or interference. That means the transmission you hear of your baby will be clear without static. It makes it easier to determine if your baby is fussing or actually crying.
- Power Source
The battery lasts around 19 hours when on a full charge; that’s pretty impressive. It has one of the strongest battery lives in any of our tests. You really can’t compare this battery life compared to a video monitor, but we do like that you don’t have to worry as much about keeping it plugged in all day and night. It does use 2 AAA alkaline batteries that are sold separately.
Because the VTech is just an audio monitor, there is no ability to expand it. If you want to monitor two rooms, you’ll need two sets.
- Wireless Encryption
While the VTech doesn’t work on the wireless network, it does use DECT technology which sends a secure, encrypted signal. That means you never have to worry that the weird neighbor down the road can tap into the feed and hear if your baby is awake.
- Extra Features
On the side of the transmitter, there is a set of five LED lights that let you know how loud your baby is crying. These lights are helpful because some babies fuss and make noises in their sleep. He may let out a cry or two in the middle of sleeping.
Seeing the lights let you know if you need to go get him. Also, it means you can turn down the monitor when you’re watching a movie and still can tell if your baby wakes up.
VTech added a simple built-in belt clip that lets you move around the house freely and hands-free, taking advantage of the extended range.
VTech does have one issue – connectivity. Parents do note that sometimes it has difficulty linking up or randomly dropping signal. That doesn’t happen to everyone though! However, despite the lack of features, it’s a great budget-friendly baby monitor. It’s also a great choice for a caregiver!
- 1,000-foot range
- LED lights to indicate sounds
- DECT technology
- Long-lasting battery
- Lack of features
- Cannot expand
- Issues with connections
The last baby monitor on our list is the Babysense Video Baby Monitor, which is a great bang-for-your-buck choice. It won’t break your bank, but it also has solid features.
You might notice that this monitor is sold under two names: Babysense and Smilism. They’re both the same thing with different logos. We aren’t too sure why the company sells under two brand names.
So, let’s take a look at what’s so great about this monitor.
Babysense Video Baby Monitor Overview
- Type of Monitor
Babysense is an audio and video monitor that offers parents crystal clear sound quality and a high-quality LCD screen to keep an eye on your baby. The camera has infrared night vision that detects dim lighting. That means the video quality is always clear, even in a dark room, so you will always know what your baby is doing. You can monitor your baby from as far away as 900 feet in open space.
- Power Source
To save battery life, Babysense added an “eco” mode that keeps the screen off unless your baby starts to make sounds. On top of the unit, a little flashing light lets you know that it’s on eco mode. The monitor screen will automatically turn back on, light up, and start transmitting sound and video signal when your baby starts to make sounds. Parents can control the sound activation level – low, medium, or high.
This monitor is expandable! You can add up to 4 cameras and use the same base unit. Using the base unit, you can cycle through all 4 cameras at any given time. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to simultaneously view all of the cameras at one time.
- Wireless Encryption
Babysense uses a secure connection to transmit the signal from the transmitting cameras to the receiving unit.
- Extra Features
For us, the extra features stood out, especially at this price range. Babysense added a two-way intercom so you can talk to your baby, as well as room temperature monitoring. If your baby’s room gets too cold or hot, it sends out an alarm to let you know. It alerts if the room is too hot – above 90 degrees F – or too cold – below 55 degrees F.
You can use the receiver to remotely zoom onto your baby and the transmitter plays a few music options to soothe your baby. It has a 2x digital zoom that shows everything in detail.
It comes equipped with a 2.4-inch HD LCD color screen and a 2.4 GHz digital wireless transmission. We also like that you can set up a feeding, medication, and diaper changing scheduled alerts. It helps you stay in touch and connected to everything!
A few other features that we like include the sound activated LED indicators that let you know your baby is crying even if the monitor is on mute. It has fully adjustable brightness and volume
The camera is missing a few features, like remote tilt and pan. You have to make sure you position the camera the right way. Also, the range isn’t super impressive. If you try to head outside, the signal will drop intermittently. Even with a few features missing, the Babysense is a great budget-friendly pick for the best baby monitor.
- 900 feet range
- Temperature Indicator
- 2.4-inch HD LCD screen
- Expandable up to 4 cameras
- Eco mode to save batteries
- No remote tilt or pan
- Signal drops
Frequently Asked Questions about Baby Monitors
How Do Baby Monitors Work?
Baby monitors send sound and/or video from your baby’s room to a receiving device over a selected radio frequency band or internet connection. No matter the type of monitor you purchase, it will come with a transmitter, that stays in your baby’s room, and a receiver, that you take with you. Some transmitters can be mounted to a wall. Receivers are handheld devices, and some use your smartphone as the receiver!
Is a Baby Monitor Necessary?
We know that some parents are minimalists and don’t want to purchase items that aren’t necessary. A baby monitor isn’t a necessity, but it can be a great purchase for some parents.
If you live in a small space or co-sleep, you might not need one. Those with larger houses or who opt not to room share will definitely want to consider purchasing a baby monitor. That way, you always know that you can hear your baby.
If you like to peek at your baby when he is sleeping, a monitor is helpful as well. It always seems as if they wake up as soon as we try to ninja our way out of checking on them. It’s like they know we are close! Also, parents who work might want to consider a baby monitor because they can double as a nanny cam.
How Long Will You Use a Baby Monitor?
How long you use a baby monitor will depend on what type you pick and your needs. Sound and video options can be used for years!
Video monitors will provide the longest period of use because you can use them to keep tabs on your children when they are playing in separate areas of the house. Wi-Fi options have extended use because you can use them as a nanny cam.
Some brands can be used for security purposes as well. So, if you go for a versatile pick, you can use a baby monitor for years!
How Much Do Baby Monitors Cost?
Baby monitors can range in price from $20 upwards of $200. The high priced monitors tend to have all of the latest bells and whistles. Don’t feel as if you HAVE to spend $200 to get a good one. You can get decent video monitors for $100, but you might lose some video resolution.
Basic, audio-only monitors cost the least amount and typically have the least amount of features.
Be cautious about using cheap video monitors. Some of them are known for their lack of security, and they can be hacked. Always change the default password.
Criteria for Picking the Best Baby Monitor
Baby Monitor Type
Before you look at any other features, you have to decide what type of monitor you want. No matter the type you pick, all monitors work on a selected radio frequency band that transmit sounds from your baby’s room to a receiver, which is typical with you. Here are the types of monitors you will find.
- Audio Monitors
Audio monitors are the simplest kind you can purchase. Prices range from $25 up to $150. Most have lights on the receiver that get bright as your baby cries louder. If budget matters most to you, audio may be the best choice.
- Video & Audio Monitors
Often called combo monitors, video and audio monitors range in price from $80 to $300. Most parents love this style because you can see and hear your child, so you can observe them if they are awake or sleeping.
- Wireless Network Monitors
Wireless network monitors use the existing network in your house or apartment to transmit sounds and video to the receiver. Often times, parents can use their phone as the receiver. Once you locate the wireless network on your transmitter, the monitor sends encrypted videos to your computer, iPad, Android, or iPhone.
Remember that these monitors are fully dependent on your WiFi, so if it goes down, so does your monitor. If you want high definition video, your internet has to be fast enough to stream live. Also, without unlimited cellular data, you may want to reconsider it. It can eat up your data fast if you are on 4G LTE cellular service!
Baby monitors either run on an electrical outlet or batteries. Typically, the transmitter uses non-rechargeable batteries, and the receiver uses rechargeable batteries. You don’t want a monitor that will drain your batteries super fast. Typically, a transmitter unit will be fine plugged into your child’s wall since the baby bassinet or crib isn’t mobile. A receiver, on the other hand, will go with you, whether that’s to the kitchen or outside. It will likely run on batteries, and you don’t want to replace them weekly.
So, when we looked at options, we looked for a monitor that could last overnight, or at least 8 hours, without being plugged in. Models that idle the display screen to conserve batteries are good picks, and ideally, they would recharge quickly.
Expandability and Extra Receivers
Do you want more than one receiver? Two receivers are convenient because you can keep one plugged in your bedroom and carry the second one with you while you complete chores around the house. Okay, let’s be honest; you’re catching up on shows – we know!
Certain monitor systems allow you to add up to four cameras! If you have more than one child to watch, expandability is a must-have. Extra cameras are great if you are a working parent and have a caregiver coming to the house. You can mount multiple units throughout the house for an overview of what is happening. That gives you peace of mind while you’re gone.
This feature only matters if you decide you want a wireless network baby monitor. Wireless encryption makes sure no one else can tap into your monitor’s feed and see what’s happening inside your house. This style of monitors is more susceptible to hacking.
Security is a huge factor for parents. You might be skeptical about the stories of people hacking into baby monitors, but the truth is some pose more of a risk than others. Wi-Fi enabled monitors are more vulnerable, and encryption is vital.
Monitors come with a variety of features. Some of them may not be important to you. Everyone is different, so take a look at some of the features you may encounter.
- Temperature Sensor: Do you worry about the temperature in your child’s room? Some monitors include a temperature sensor for your child’s nursery. Babies do best between 68 to 72 degrees F.
- Sounds and Lights: Many parents prefer lights on the receiver that turn on when your child starts to make noises. More lights mean that your child is crying louder. It lets you know that your child is awake even if you have the volume down low. If you are talking on the phone and have to turn down the volume, you can still know if your baby woke up.
- Adjustable Camera: Do you want to have to sneak into your child’s room to adjust the camera if it’s out of focus or range? Of course not! An adjustable camera lets the parent pan, tilt, and zoom. It’s a convenient and useful feature. If it doesn’t have an adjustable camera, wide-view cameras are the next best bet.
- Out of Range Indicator: If you like to head outside when your child takes a nap, an out-of-range indicator lets you know that you won’t be able to hear your child if he wakes up. Some models only emit static, but others have a light or a beeping sound. That is much more obvious and convenient.
Baby Monitor Buying Guide
With so many baby monitors from which to choose, parents or caregivers may have difficulty deciding the one best for their child’s needs. What are the different baby monitor types? What do baby monitors do? What are the differences between each type? What features do I need? Should it be wireless or should it be used through existing household electrical wiring using x10 protocol? By answering these sorts of questions, parents or caregivers can determine the best baby monitor for their home or environment.
Baby monitors can be summarized in four different categories: Baby Sound monitors, Baby Video monitors, Baby Motion monitors, and Prenatal Sound monitors. They also can be divided into wired and wireless types. Baby monitor features come with many options; hence, it’s important to know what’s available and how to take full advantage of a baby monitor’s capabilities.
BABY SOUND MONITORS
When people think of baby monitors, a baby sound monitor is what commonly comes to mind. The most widely used of the four types, they are equipped with a microphone to capture any sounds made from baby’s nursery and uses a transmitter to send sound signals to the receiver, which is in close proximity to the parent or caregiver.
This device permits those supervising baby to hear when baby awakes or if baby is crying or if the baby is in distress without being within immediate proximity of the child. These monitors are likely to be battery operated with multiple receivers for portability throughout the home.
BABY VIDEO MONITORS
For those parents or caregivers who want more information than just mere sound, the baby video monitor or “baby cam” provides extra peace of mind. In addition to a microphone, the baby video monitor includes a surveillance camera or cameras that transmit images to a receiver, which can be a portable, dedicated LCD screen, a television or a computing device like a tablet or laptop.
Most baby cams have a “night vision” mode, which allows the camera to work in low light levels. By using infrared LEDs connected to the front of the camera, the parent or caregiver can see the baby “in the dark.”
Video baby monitors outfitted with night vision capability use photosensors that automatically switch to this mode as a baby’s nursery darkens.
Models with extra features may incorporate built-in nightlights, ultra-high picture resolution, room temperature sensors or programmable lullabies.
BABY MOTION MONITORS
Instead of transmitting baby’s sounds or images, a baby motion monitor is used to detect baby’s movement in the crib. A sensor is placed under the mattress of baby’s crib. As babies move nearly continuously while asleep, the monitor tracks baby’s movement.
Should baby not move after 20 seconds from the previously recorded movement, the receiver sounds an alarm. More advanced models can also to detect baby’s breathing and crying. Baby motion monitors are frequently used for premature babies and those with health issues.
Many parents, mindful of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), will use these tools to track baby while sleeping.
PRENATAL SOUND MONITORS
Even before baby’s birth, many parents want to hear heartbeats, hiccups and other prenatal sounds from the mother’s womb.
A prenatal sound monitor is placed over the mother’s belly. The listener uses earbuds to hear the sounds baby (or the fetus) makes from the womb. Many models have a recording option so parents may save the sounds for posterity or keepsakes.
It should be stressed that these devices are not intended for diagnostics or any other medical purpose.
Tips for Parents to Choose the Best Baby Monitor
For many parents, the price is no object when it comes to the health and safety of their children. Therefore, they want the “best” baby monitor money can buy. However, what’s best for one home and baby may not be appropriate for another. With the choices available on the marketplace, parents can find a baby monitor loaded with all the features needed to customize an application ideal for their specific needs.
Consider these features:
Combine Sound, Video and Movement into One Monitor
Some deluxe models enable two-way communication so the parent or caregiver can verbally soothe and comfort baby without journeying into the nursery. Some parents may want to record and store images and sounds of baby’s surroundings and caregivers’ actions (think “nanny cam”) for an extra level of security and surveillance. There’s even the capability of monitoring multiple cameras from one hand-held receiver; this technology is compatible with standard wireless security cameras.
The latest innovation in baby monitors is a smartphone app for iPhones and Androids that facilitates wireless surveillance of baby. Monitor a camera-equipped device such a tablet, smartphone or laptop with a smartphone app. Or with wi-fi, the caregiver can simply use a wi-fi modem to transmit video images from a surveillance camera to a personal computing device or wi-fi equipped LCD monitor or TV, thereby eliminating the use of a smartphone or similar item in the nursery.
Older model monitors used power cords, making the receiver stationary, and limited caretaker mobility to one room. Nowadays, most monitors are equipped with a wireless, battery-powered receiver with a LCD screen. Its small size (many fit comfortably into one’s pocket) allow the caregiver to carry the monitor throughout the home yet still be vigilant to a baby in the nursery.
Be aware that radio interference can degrade the quality of the transmission between monitor and receiver. To eliminate this possibility (and improve security) choose monitors with Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) 6.0 signaling. Originally developed for cordless phones, this technology is ideally suited for baby monitors.
Monitor Transmission Range
Many parents are blessed to dwell in a large, comfortable home. Some live on larger-sized properties or apartment complexes. For these parents, the transmission range of a baby monitor is definitely a consideration. Monitors are available that transmit up to 2,000 feet without interference, permitting the caregiver the freedom to move without worry anywhere in the home or garden and yet still be within the range.
A low battery light is essential for wireless models. If the batteries of your baby monitor suddenly deplete overnight, a baby may be exposed to several hours without parental monitoring. A low battery indicator on the receiver unit will warn caretakers that battery power is weakening before the monitor shuts down. Look for models with power-saving sound activation; this option sends the monitor into standby mode if no sound is detected.
Also handy is a silent or vibrating option, useful when excessive noise hinders the caretaker from keeping a close eye on the receiver unit. Should one be vacuuming, working outdoors or immersed in a raucous environment, a receiver can vibrate to indicate that the monitor senses sound from the baby’s nursery. No one wants to miss baby crying because the TV or stereo is on.
Another convenience is lighted models. When a quiet atmosphere is required, the receiver can indicate via LED displays the emanation of soft, moderate or loud sound levels from the baby’s nursery. Many parents find it much more convenient to use visual alerts instead of audio for monitoring baby’s activities.
Depending upon how noisy or quiet a child is when sleeping, an adjustable sensitivity control allows the caretaker to regulate sound levels to accommodate baby’s sleeping habits and decrease the chances of false alarms.
Final Word about the Best Baby Monitor
Baby monitors may not be a necessity, but they can help ease your fears and keep your baby safe. You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck on one!
There is a style and brand in every budget range, and we think they’re a pretty important purchase for parents. Who doesn’t want to sit outside at night around a fire? We know you probably do and having a baby monitor means you can walk outside and know your baby is safe. Peace of mind is worth the money.