Last Updated on
Picking the right baby monitor isn’t an easy task but, as long as you follow certain guidelines, you should be fine. Unfortunately, many parents only think about the product’s price without also considering the item’s most important functions and characteristics. On the other hand, try not to be fooled by aggressive marketing tactics because some brands might shout that their products are the best. The following details and tips are meant to help new parents find a good-quality and safe monitor that fits within their financial means.
- 1 Picking the Best Baby Monitor for Your Little One – Things to Look for
- 2 Types of Baby Monitors
- 3 Main Features to Consider when Buying a Baby Monitor
- 4 How Much Does a Baby Monitor Cost?
- 5 The Best Baby Monitor – Top 5 Choices
- 6 1. Nanit Sleep System
- 7 2. Infant Optics DXR-8
- 8 5. Arlo Baby Monitor
- 9 How to Find the Best Baby Monitor – Final Thoughts
Picking the Best Baby Monitor for Your Little One – Things to Look for
When using a baby monitor, security is a crucial aspect because your neighbors might be able to listen to anything that happens in your house through the monitoring device. Things can get even creepier when you use a video monitoring tool because it might allow strangers to take a look at your child without your permission. So, a baby monitor should always come with strong and effective security features, especially for those of you who live in either urban or suburban areas. As a small hint, you should probably know that digital monitors are harder to intercept compared to analog ones. The best of the best are those that use DECT technology.
Parent Unit Size
For those of you who want to buy a monitor with a large video screen, the best option is a wired device. Despite the fact that you won’t have great portability, the screen is almost like a smaller computer so you will be able to see your little one in great detail. If you want to benefit from the advantages of a portable parent unit, you should opt for a wireless monitor. Video screens on parent units start at around 1.5 inches and they can reach up to approximately 3.5 inches. My suggestion is to buy the largest screen that also suits your budget.
Baby monitors have something in common with some other items people use in their homes such as phones, Internet routers, etc. All these things use the same frequencies and this aspect can lead to interference. However, if you purchase a digital monitor, interference issues might be avoided.
Parent Unit Controls
A parent unit should have the following basic controls: brightness, volume, and on-off video feature. Turning the video feed off will enable the device to improve its battery life. Brightness is a more important feature than you might think because if the screen remains too bright all the time, you won’t be able to rest or sleep. Some monitor models allow users to control the camera’s zoom which makes it easier for you to look around your baby’s nursery room. There’s also a vibration setting that is very useful when you talk on the phone but you still want to be notified if there’s something going on with your infant.
Audio monitors have a bigger range compared to their video counterparts. So, you should expect to find devices with a range between 400 to 600 feet which will suffice for most homes. Pay attention that the range mentioned on the package is the one that works in an open field. In other words, some of that range might be lost when the signal must be strong enough to pass through walls.
Pan, Tilt, and Zoom
Most monitor models have a mechanism that lets you adjust the camera’s direction. The difference comes from the manner in which you make that adjustment. A static video camera will remain in the position in which you place it from the start and you will have to move it around if you want to change its monitoring angle. Although this type of monitor costs less, it’s quite inconvenient. There are some mid-range models that come equipped with a tilt feature or a manual pan. In these cases, you need to move a joint or a hinge in order to change the view of the camera. These models are mid-priced but they require you to enter the baby’s room every time you want to make these adjustments.
If you want to skip all these inconveniences but you’re also ready to pay more, you can consider a premium video monitor that allows you to change the camera’s view remotely, via the parent unit.
Color and Night Vision
According to many people’s opinion, the color of the monitor’s screen comes in second after its size. As long as the screen is large enough, you will be able to see your little one without any problems. Still, night vision is a must-have. Without this feature, you won’t see clearly what your infant does during the night. This particular function is also excellent during daytime naps when the nursery is kept fairly dim.
This feature is great for parents who have at least 2 children or for those who want to keep track of a playground, nursery, or playroom. Some models can easily host four different video cameras. It’s true, however, that you’ll have to buy all the extra cameras separately which means that these types of devices will cost more.
Out of House Monitoring
Good monitors must allow parents to peek at their babies from anywhere they are in their homes. Certain options will even let them see what’s happening when they are outside, near their homes. All a monitor user needs to do that is an Internet connection that links the monitoring tool with a computer or a smartphone. A certain model allows you to use an iPad instead of a classic parent unit.
Additional Purchasing Tips
- Buy a model that has an easily-visible light for when the battery is low and the device needs to be recharged. This feature comes in handy and alerts you every time the monitor is about to shut down;
- Opt for a baby monitor alternative that features a frequency of minimum 900 MHz. This aspect is very important because it has to do with boosted clarity and lower interference;
- Choose a wireless receiver which will give you enough flexibility to complete different chores around the house. In fact, you should even purchase a model that has a belt clip in order to free your hands;
- Video monitors should be your first option. These products let you know if your baby is sound asleep at a single glance. Find one that provides a good quality when it comes to a sufficient low-light picture;
- Any good device comes with a sound-activated light as well. Every time it detects noise, the light will start to flash. This way, you can see what your infant is doing even when you talk on the phone, watch TV, listen to music, or when you’re vacuuming;
- Install the device even before you come back with your newborn from the hospital. All baby monitors should go through a test run to see how well they perform. It’s a good way to discover potential flaws or interference.
Types of Baby Monitors
a. Audio Monitors
The simplest and most basic models of baby monitors are the sound-only models. With these items, you can hear the sounds coming from your baby’s bedroom. They usually focus on capturing coos and cries coming from the crib while also minimizing background noise like an air conditioner. Some models include a light-up feature which lets you know if your infant is crying, even if the monitor is set on the mute mode.
Check the best models for Audio Baby Monitors here:
b. Digital Monitors
These types of monitors are preferred by parents who want to ensure a higher level of safety when it comes to interference problems. Digital monitors’ transmissions are encrypted. Therefore, there’s a much lower risk which involves other receivers to pick up the sounds that come from your infant’s room. It’s true that these products cost more than analog varieties but they are worth the price, considering that they provide better sound quality and a boosted security level.
Check the best models for Digital Baby Monitors here:
c. Audio and Video Monitors
With these complex baby monitors, you can see and hear what your infant does. All you have to do is mount the small camera of the device on the wall or any other flat surface in the child’s room. Most video monitors come with touch screen features that allow you to zoom in or adjust the camera. Some other models offer night vision and even support multiple cameras.
Check the best models for Audio and Video Baby Monitors here:
- Nanit Smart Baby Monitor vs. Nest Camera
- TimeFlys Video Baby Monitor vs. Babysense Video Baby Monitor
- Top 5 Best Wi-fi Enabled Baby Monitors
d. Wireless Network Monitors
These digital monitoring models must be connected to an existing wireless network which allows you to use a tablet, computer, smartphone, or any other gadget as receivers. Some of these monitors will send you regular notifications to one of the aforementioned tools in order for you to know every time there is a movement, a change, or even a noise in the baby’s room.
Check the best models for Wireless Network Baby Monitors here:
- Owlet vs Snuza: Which Smart Baby Monitor is Best?
- 3 Top Dual Baby Monitors for Babies on the Go
- Top 5 Best Wi-fi Enabled Baby Monitors
e. Movement Monitors
If the baby doesn’t move in the crib for more than 20 seconds in a row, you will know due to a movement monitor. They feature motion-sensitive pads that are placed under the infant’s mattress. The function is so well-designed that it determines the difference between the little one’s body movement and his or her breathing. Still, movement monitors are quite controversial: some say they are effective and safe while others don’t recommend them.
Check the best models for Movement Baby Monitors here:
- Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor
- 3 Top Dual Baby Monitors for Babies on the Go
- Baby Vida vs Owlet Baby Oxygen Monitor
Main Features to Consider when Buying a Baby Monitor
a. DECT Technology
Baby monitors that use this particular technology work on a low-frequency band which means the sound coming from your infant’s room will be clear and unaltered. Besides receiving a clear signal, DECT technology also lowers the risk of problems linked to interference.
b. Multiple Portable Handset Receivers
The monitor placed in the child’s room is usually stationary. Still, you should opt for a receiver that gives you the freedom to carry it around the house in order to move freely and do what you have to do. You can take it when you go to the kitchen or the living room. Those models that also provide extra handsets are even greater because you can use one for each main room in the house or alternate them while one set is recharging.
c. Sound and Video Interference Filters
Not only will interference create problems with strangers who might hear or see your baby but it can also alter the clarity of the video or the sound that the monitor streams. After all, if parents cannot clearly hear their babies or the video streamline isn’t accurate, then why should they purchase a monitor in the first place?! Both background and ambient noises can be annoying and distracting so look for a product that filters out white noise.
d. Rechargeable Batteries
A baby monitor is almost always functioning because parents need to know what their infant does at all times. For that reason, you should choose a product that can be easily recharged or even plugged in. This type of monitor model will help you avoid running to the store to buy extra batteries once per every couple of days.
e. Night Vision Video Technology
Only audio and video monitors come with night vision but this element is very important when the baby’s sleeping space is darker because the video feed will be clearer. Some products even let you adjust their brightness.
f. Sound Activation
Trust me on this! You’ll want a monitor that activates itself only when your baby cries. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fall asleep all night because of the ambient noise.
g. Light-Up Sound Indicator
A monitoring device that sends light-up sound notifications is amazing because you can visually keep track of your little one’s activity and his or her noise level even in those moments in which the volume of the handset is muted.
How Much Does a Baby Monitor Cost?
The simplest models have the lowest prices that can start as low as $20. More complex options that are equipped with a higher number of features and functions can cost up to $400. So, the price varies based on brand, model, vendor, but more especially on functionality. For instance, sound-only monitors are less expensive compared to audio and video alternatives. If the product also has HD imaging, wireless compatibility, and multiple handsets, then the final cost will be higher.
The Best Baby Monitor – Top 5 Choices
1. Nanit Sleep System
- Cloud-based video monitor that will also track your baby’s sleep pattern;
- HD live streaming;
- Two-way audio and remote viewing;
- Humidity and temperature sensors;
- Personalized sleep guidance.
- Comes with very good image quality;
- You can still use it even when the Internet connection is lost;
- Provides plenty of useful sleep data;
- It’s the perfect choice for tech-savvy parents;
- It’s easy to set up and easy to use.
- This baby monitor is quite expensive;
- Users need to subscribe in order to receive access to insight-relates features;
- There aren’t any options regarding lullabies.
2. Infant Optics DXR-8
- Interchangeable optical lens;
- A full-color LCD display that measures 3.5”;
- Sound-activated LED display;
- Remote pan and tilt;
- Compact unit featuring a retractable antenna.
- This video baby monitor comes equipped with a great optical zoom lens;
- The setup process is easy and intuitive;
- Infant Optics features an excellent battery life;
- This is an affordable infant monitor;
- The whole recharging process is very easy and stress-free.
- Sometimes the reception can be a tad glitchy;
- When it comes to available features, the possibilities and options are quite limited.
3. iBaby Monitor M6S
- 1080p video streaming;
- Two-way audio features and environmental monitoring;
- Sound and motion detection;
- Remote pan and tilt.
- This is a full-featured infant tracker that can easily connect to your phone;
- The quality of the video is very good;
- It comes full of useful features;
- The recording can be triggered by certain changes or movements.
- It doesn’t provide web access;
- It’s hard to establish a good network connection even if you have a strong Wi-Fi in the house.
4. Motorola Halo+ Baby Monitor
- This is more than just your average baby movement tracker. It’s an original and out-of-the-ordinary monitor and soother;
- HD Wi-Fi monitoring camera which is placed right over the crib;
- Has a smart sleep assistance feature which provides parenting tips, sleep advice, milestone tracking, sleep data, baby facts, activity insights, and more;
- A sharp video of 1080p;
- It has a temperature sensor as well as sound and motion detectors.
- It’s very complex and useful yet easy to install and use;
- The product offers a very good quality of video streamline;
- There are a lot of child-friendly features;
- It is equipped with a handheld monitor.
- It’s pretty expensive;
- If you want to be able to use certain features, you’ll be required to become a subscriber;
- The monitor, although flexible and handheld, it has a pretty low resolution.
5. Arlo Baby Monitor
- Smart wireless HD camera of 1080p;
- Night vision;
- Lullaby player;
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa;
- 2-way audio system;
- Air sensors;
- Night light.
- The video is always sharp and the images are clear;
- This device is full of useful features that will help you keep track of your child’s sleep;
- It sends notifications triggered by the gadget’s sound and motion sensors;
- It offers web access as well as free cloud storage;
- Plays lullabies;
- Supports IFTTT;
- It’s a customizable baby monitor so you can change the way it looks in order to match the nursery’s décor;
- This product represents an amazing choice for parents who travel a lot.
- It’s a tad on the pricey side;
- You won’t be able to play songs from your personal music library;
- The device comes without tilt or pan features;
- A few users have complained about the fact that the product’s features, although with huge potential, are poorly implemented. In other words, they are sometimes unreliable because of bugs in the software.
How to Find the Best Baby Monitor – Final Thoughts
Before purchasing a baby monitor, think about all the reasons you need one. Then, consider the features you need most. Do you need to see your baby or hearing it will suffice? If you want something more complex and your budget allows it, you could opt for those devices that also offer added value through their extra features (singing lullabies, offering sleeping tips, etc.). Think about those elements that will make you feel comfortable with. Those monitors that also track the child’s breathing, sleeping pattern, and other vital signs, are essential in some cases but it doesn’t mean you should go and get the most expensive model on the market. Choose the one that’s right for both you and your infant.