There is nothing more important to you than the health and safety of your baby.
That’s why you need to make sure to invest in a good baby monitor.
To be sure, not every family needs an expensive monitor. While some people keep a nursery for their child, others prefer to keep the baby’s crib in the bedroom with them while they sleep.
A baby monitor isn’t just useful for when you’re sleeping. While pack-n-play cribs can be set up in the living room, it simply isn’t possible for you to be in the presence of your child every minute of the day. Even mommies need to take a break occasionally.
If you’re new to parenting, I can relate. I also know that preparing for a baby can be overwhelming. There are so many things you have to buy, from cribs to breast pumps to baby blankets. Shopping for all these things can be a challenge, and guides like this can make the process easier. By giving you helpful information and providing a list of recommended products, we make it easier for you to get back to doing what’s most important – being a parent.
You need all the help you can get.
Things to Consider
1. Analog or Digital
In our modern age, almost everything it seems has a digital counterpart. Baby monitors used to be simple audio devices that transmitted sound, but many modern baby monitors are digital and can encrypt the audio so that only someone with the right code can listen in.
2. Audio or Video
Again, another innovation of the modern age is video baby monitors. While these existed even in the ‘90s, they were very expensive back then. Cameras are cheaper to make now than ever before, which makes it easier for you to keep a video feed on your baby at all times. After all, a baby can get into a lot of trouble without making a sound.
3. Receivers and Transmitters
Another big thing to consider is how many transmitters and receivers there are. Some monitors come with two receivers and two transmitters. This allows you to monitor several rooms at once, and it also means you can leave receivers in rooms you frequent, in case you accidentally leave your other receiver behind. It also allows you to share a receiver with your significant other, a grandparent, etc.
Portability is an important thing to look for in a baby monitor. After all, you don’t necessarily want to carry around a bulky receiver with you everywhere you go.
How much you’re willing or able to spend will play a huge role in what kind of baby monitor you’ll receive. But you should also consider what features you need. Some monitors have flashing lights, and others go so far as to monitor your baby’s vital signs. While helpful, these features are not essential for everyone.
The Best Baby Monitors
Best Baby Monitors Under $50
VTech DM221-2 Audio Baby Monitor
The Vtech DM22-12 Safe & Sound Audio Baby Monitor is one of the only baby monitors on this list that is strictly audio-only. Despite its lack of a camera, this baby monitor has a lot of things going for it that make it one of the best values on the market.
One of the nice things about this baby monitor is that it records digital audio rather than analogue audio. This means you don’t get any of the annoying white noise that so often accompanies analogue technology. The monitor is easy to set up in your baby’s nursery, and it includes two parent units. The receivers are outfitted with a two-way intercom so that you can coo your child back to sleep without having to leave the comfort of your bed at three in the morning. The receivers can run for up to 18 hours on a rechargeable battery, or you can use AAA batteries and avoid constant charging.
The receivers include a belt clip for hands-free use, and beep if the connection to the mother unit is lost or when the batteries are low. Although the units come with English preset, French and Spanish are also available on the menu. Also, a visual sound indicator lets you keep track of the noise level in your baby’s nursery at a glance. The absence of a camera may be a concern for some parents, but for an audio-only baby monitor, this is an excellent value.
Babysense Baby Video Monitor with Camera and Audio
The Babysense Video Baby Monitor is a major step up in quality from the previous video monitors on this list. Although it does not support a Bluetooth connection, it has a very strong wireless signal and is loaded with more features than I have time to list.
First off, the signal strength on the receiver is amazing. The 2.4 GHz digital wireless technology extends up to 900 feet from the monitor. This frees you up for quick excursions outside to take out the trash or check the mail without worrying about whether your baby is okay while you do it. In addition to providing you with a constant audio-visual feed, the baby monitor monitors the room temperature, offers alarms and timers, zooms in, comes with infrared night vision and even plays lullabies for your sleeping angel.
Also, the Babysense can be expanded to include up to three additional cameras. This allows you to have cameras set in place for all the rooms your child frequently spends time in, saving you from the hassle of remembering to move the baby monitor every time you set up the portable crib in the family room. The video receiver uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and alerts you both if you’re going out of range and if your battery is getting low. If you can afford to spend a little more on a baby monitor, this is a wonderful choice for your family.
Foscam FBM2307 Digital Video Baby Monitor
Unlike the LeFun monitor, which functioned better as a multi-purpose surveillance camera rather than a baby monitors proper, the Foscam FBM2307 Video Baby Monitor provides parents with a dedicated video receiver. This makes it easier to keep tabs on your child while still allowing you full use of your smartphone.
The Foscam offers a compact video camera that discreetly monitors your baby while she is in the crib and transmits live video feed to your receiver. Multiple cameras can be set up as well, allowing you to easily switch between cameras for multiple rooms without worrying about moving the camera every time. The baby monitor transmits video and audio feed live via a 2.4 GHz wireless connection. The baby monitor is outfitted with invisible infrared LED lights for night vision and is backed by a one-year warranty.
The main problem with the monitor is that it is not compatible with a Bluetooth connection. Since the baby monitor doesn’t have its IP, it cannot connect to your wireless network, and can only communicate directly with the parental receiver. The other problem is battery life – the receiver only runs for three to four hours on a single charge.
Best Baby Monitors Under $100
Philips Avent SCD570/10 Dect Baby Monitor
Philips Avent is known for producing a wide range of electronic products for mothers and their infants, and baby monitors are no exception. The Philips Avent DECT Baby Monitor is not only competitively priced with the Babysense baby monitor; it offers a similar array of features as well.
Like the Babysense, the Philips Avent DECT has a range of up to 900 feet, giving you freedom of movement to take care of chores around the house and yard without fear of accidentally walking out of signal range. Instead of transmitting on a wireless network, it uses DECT technology to transmit audio clearly over radio waves. The receiver has a docking station for easy charging, monitors room temperature in your baby’s room. It allows for talk-back with your baby and comes with both lullabies and night lights for bedtime.
The biggest difference between this model and the Babysense is the absence of a video monitor. Since the two units are currently being sold at the same price point, this means I tend to favour the Babysense over the Philips Avent model. But if you’re not overly concerned with having constant visual contact with your infant, this is an excellent and affordable baby monitor.
Baby Touch® Extra Camera
We end this list with a final entry from Summer Infant, the Baby Touch Video Baby Monitor. It has all the features you expect in a quality baby monitor, and although its price point seems a little high for what you get, it’s a quality baby monitor.
All the features you need and want are right here. Two-way talk, sound-activated LED lights, automatic infrared night vision, 2.4 GHz wireless connection 400-foot signal range. Like many other baby monitor systems, you can connect up to four different cameras, and the camera has advanced panning and zooming features, making it one of the best baby monitor cameras in the market.
Although it lacks some features that other baby monitors lack and suffers from a shorter range, the larger 3.5-inch screen and advanced camera make this easily one of the best baby monitors on the market.
Best Baby Monitors Under $150
Infant Optics DXR-5 Portable Video Baby Monitor
Infant Optics serves up a portable baby monitor in a comforting baby blue. Using a 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless connection, the DXR-5 offers quality video streaming at an affordable price.
The features of the Infant Optics DXR-5 are similar to many of the other baby monitors on this list. It has an auto-mute mode than eliminates unpleasant white noise. It streams video at 30 fps, which is quite good for a video monitor. It has automatic infrared night vision and an automatic voice shutoff as well. Because of the wireless connection, the baby monitor works best when placed at least three feet from another wireless device.
At 800 feets, the range of the baby monitor is comparable to the Babysense and Philips Avent monitors, and the video quality is superior to the Babysense. That said, many of the features present in the two previous baby monitors are absent in this model. It works well, but it would be nice if it included a few more features.
Summer Infant In View Video Baby Monitor
The design of the Summer Infant In View Baby Monitor is very similar to that of the Babysense, video monitor. The receiver is quite a bit different, however. Like the Babysense monitor, Summer Infant can also be expanded to include up to five cameras in the system.
Summer Infant In View provides all the essential features you expect from a baby monitor. The camera mount swivels easily, helping you to get a better view of your child for the screening. The receiver screen has a digital view that allows you to take a closer look at your environment for potential hazards. Power-activated LED lights keep you informed of your range and battery status.
One of the biggest differences between this and the Babysense monitor is the range, however. The maximum range of this monitor is 600 feet, which, while agreeable, falls short of the maximum range of other baby monitors. The baby monitor comes with infrared night vision but lacks some of the other features that help set apart fancier baby monitors. That said, Summer Infant can connect with up to three extra cameras, perfect for multiple babies or multiple rooms.
Best Baby Monitors Under $200
Wewdigi Baby Monitor Wireless Video with Digital Camera
One of the highest-rated and best-reviewed baby monitors on Amazon, the Wewdigi Wireless Video Baby Monitor is one of the best monitors money can buy.
Unlike some of the baby monitors on this list, Wewdigi brings back two-way talk, a handy feature not always included in baby monitors. The Wendigo provides some other helpful features, such as temperature monitoring, infrared night light and remote lullabies. The Wendigo has a battery life of up to 24 hours on VOX mode.
One of the things I didn’t like about this baby monitor, especially in comparison to some others in a similar price range, is the smaller screen. The Summer Infant In View monitor, for example, had a five-inch screen. By contrast, Wewdigi has just a 2.4-inch screen. Still, it’s a minor complaint of an excellent baby monitoring system.
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
The Infant Optics DXR-8 is a more expensive, higher-end version of the DXR-5 I reviewed earlier. With a superior camera and additional features, it is a much-improved version of the DXR-5 and currently the #1 selling baby monitor on Amazon.com.
One of the major selling points of the DXR-8 is its interchangeable optical lens, which allows you greater control and customization over the angle of your camera feed. You can also control the pan, tilt and zoom of your monitor remotely, letting you adjust your view of your child on the fly. The receiver can run for 6 hours with the screen on or 10 hours on power saver mode, and the receiver has an attractive 3.5-inch screen. Like the DXR-5, you can expand this system to include up to four cameras.
The monitor includes a variety of other features as well, such as sound-activated LED lights, two-way talk, temperature monitoring and audio-only mode. You can also choose to turn off the automatic beeps for moving out of range or running low on battery if you wish. The DXR-8 uses a universal USB port for easy charging wherever you are.
LeFun 720p Wireless Surveillance Camera for Baby Monitor
Just a decade ago, the vast majority of baby monitors were audio only. Video monitors existed, but even the cheapest models were several hundred dollars. Today, however, high-definition cameras are built into cheap laptops and inexpensive cell phones. If you’re a parent of an infant or toddler, this is wonderful news, because now you can have a constant video/audio feed on your infant at all times.
While the LeFun 720p Wireless Surveillance Camera is not a high-end model, but it still has a lot of features that make it both easy and convenient to use. Unlike more expensive models, the LeFun Baby Monitor does not have a dedicated receiver. However, using its WiFi connection, it can connect directly to your smartphone or computer, allowing you to access a live stream from any connected device. This connection also extends to audio signals, allowing you to both hear your baby and talk or sing to them over your cell phone or computer mic. LeFun is backed by a one-year warranty.
That said, this baby monitor has some issues. The most important one, of course, is the lack of a dedicated receiver. Because you’re using your phone for your live video feed, your connection to your child could be disrupted by a phone call or some other distraction. Connecting the WiFi setup to work with your electronic device is also very frustrating. While this isn’t a perfect monitor, it is one of the cheapest on the market, and a good choice for those who want a video feed but can’t afford to spend a lot of money.
With as many baby monitors on the market as there are, you’re bound to find some duds along the way. Where your baby’s safety is concerned, that is the last thing you want. It is my sincere hope that this guide will help you find a baby monitor that is right for you and your family.
Whether you choose an audio-only model like the Philips Avent or go high-tech with Summer Infant, there are plenty of wonderful options for you to choose from.
*All prices mentioned above were at the time of publishing.