Best Baby Monitors: Buyers Guide and Product Reviews

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
December 20, 2021
best baby monitor

New parents want to keep their babies safe, and a high-quality baby monitor is one of the best tools they could use to help get the job done. Despite having dozens of different models to choose from, they all still serve the same purpose of allowing you to keep an eye on your little one while napping or sleeping. With this, having a baby monitor will give you peace of mind while you do other chores.

In this informative guide, we will discuss what you need to know when choosing the best baby monitor for your family. We will also include descriptions and product reviews of the different baby monitor types available on our top picks in several categories to help you find one that meets your needs and budget.

What Is A Baby Monitor And How Does It Work?

Although baby monitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes with a wide range of uses, they all have one thing in common.  At their core, they are a device that you use to monitor sounds and movements your baby makes remotely even when you're not in the same room.  

When the technology was first invented, it was limited to sound over radio waves. However, it has since evolved to including video technology and a whole scope of other features.  High-end baby monitors may incorporate infrared technology that allows you to see your infant even in the dark. It may also have features that monitor sleep patterns, temperature, and breathing rate.

To install a baby monitor, you will place a transmitter that either broadcasts audio or video in the baby’s room while carrying the receiver with you. Notably, with some devices, you can use an app on your cell phone and your home’s WiFi as the receiver. This, in turn, will let you view a high definition video of your child.

Although baby monitor hacking is a concern for some parents, most reputable companies have implemented DECT technology (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications). The device has the capacity to eliminate potential issues.  As a result, you won’t ever get interference from other nearby devices, and outsiders won't be able to access the frequency band used to broadcast the monitored footage. That means that no one else will be seeing or hearing what you can on the baby monitor other than you.

What Are The Different Types Of Baby Monitors?

There are dozens of different varieties of baby monitors, and they all fall into two general categories: audio and video/audio devices. There are analog and digital models, and they all consist of two parts: a transmitter and a receiver.

Here’s an outline of the most common types of baby monitors you can purchase:

Audio Monitors

Limited to broadcasting only audio, these monitors will allow you to easily hear if your baby is fussing, crying, or moving around in the crib.  Additionally, they allow you to monitor the regularity of breathing patterns while some have extra features like LED lights that brighten the room.  These features work basing on the amount of noise your child is making.

Audio monitors come in two types: analog and digital.

Analog monitors send an unencrypted signal from the monitor to the receiver which is similar to how a walkie-talkie works.  However, it is possible that you will hear interference on an analog signal.

Digital monitors encode the signal on its path as it makes it difficult for others to interrupt the frequency.  Look for the word “digital” on the monitor’s packaging to find one with this feature.

Video/Audio Monitors

Video/Audio monitors are largely exclusive to digital broadcasting. Furthermore, some may also use a wireless network which we will discuss in a bit. All monitors with video capabilities will have a camera that are often mountable on a wall or set on a tabletop. It then transmits images and sound to your receiver, so you can both see and hear your child.

Wireless Network Monitors

If you want to be able to use your computer, smartphone or tablet as a receiver, you should consider a wireless network monitor. These monitors use your existing wireless internet as the broadcasting frequency. So if yours is password protected, they are virtually impenetrable.

Moreover, many devices will offer a variety of additional features in an app. One of these features is its ability to store your video feed or to notify you when there is unexpected movement or sound in your baby’s room through a notification.

Comparing the Best Baby Monitors

With hundreds of different baby monitors in the market, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one to do the job. Luckily, we’ve combed through every brand to research which models have the best user ratings, most robust features, are durable and reliable while keeping your wallets happy. We know exactly what to look for and what parents need, so we have narrowed it down to a few top picks in several categories.

The Best Overall Baby Monitor

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

  • Audio/visual monitor
  • Two-way audio
  • Long battery life of up to 12 hours

PROS

  • Ability to remotely control camera
  • This device can grow with your child
  • Two-way audio to communicate

CONS

  • No pre-programmed lullabies

The DXR-8 by Infant Optics is a family-favorite for many reasons. In addition to their advanced camera technology, the device offers a night vision mode, and alarm function and is expandable to up to four cameras. This system is perfect for new parents and growing families. Also, the interchangeable lenses make it easy to continue monitoring your children as they grow and become more active and mobile.

The High-Tech Alternative

Nanit Smart Baby Monitor

  • High-tech monitor
  • Links to your handheld device
  • Live-streaming technology

PROS

  • High-definition video quality
  • Added sense of security
  • Bird’s eye view mounting

CONS

  • A subscription-based app

If you like data, you’ll love the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor.  Not only does it deliver the basic capabilities of an audio/visual system but also includes a plethora of added features that make it easy to analyze and interpret how your child is resting. This monitor is also a perfect choice to check in on your child when you’re out of town. It allows you to access the live video feed anytime from anywhere when you log in through the secure app.

Long-Range Monitoring

Motorola MBP36 Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor with Color LCD Screen

  • Wireless-enabled connection
  • Remote camera adjustment
  • Powerful internal microphone

PROS

  • Long-range transmission
  • Two-way communication ability
  • Infrared camera
  • Five polyphonic lullabies

CONS

  • The battery life can be short

Motorola has long been a company that offers high-tech solutions to every day problems, and their MBP36 baby monitor is no exception. The high-definition camera and powerful microphone were combined to give you two-way monitoring capabilities at a range of up to 650 feet. Despite some user-reported issues with battery life, this option is an affordable solution with a few extra bells and whistles including remote camera adjustments and built-in lullaby programming.

Who Should Invest In Baby Monitors?

A baby monitor is on the must-have list for nearly every parent with only a few exceptions. Because the device lets you multi-task and enjoy your life while your little angel is napping, it’s a crucial element to keeping your child safe and you sane especially with a newborn.

If you sleep in a separate room from your baby, you'll surely want a monitor to keep an ear out for issues during the night. Although many new parents still find themselves hypersensitive to every noise or sound, you will eventually come to learn the most important noise while listening and watching your baby through a monitor.

Additionally, if you want to be free to leave your child during their nap time or sleep time, you’ll want to invest in a good monitoring device. This way, you can do chores, fold the laundry, or even relax and catch up on your favorite TV show while the baby sleeps without having to worry that something might go wrong.

Finally, if you’re fortunate enough to have a nanny or caretaker who watches your child at home during the day, a nanny cam is a nearly essential investment. Choosing a model that allows you to access the live video feed from anywhere means you can always check in on your baby and their caregiver. This way, it might give you the peace of mind needed to finish other tasks.

What To Look For In Baby Monitors

There are enough different types of baby monitors in the market, so there is practically an option for every parent's needs. However, it does make it a bit overwhelming to narrow down your choices, so deciding which features you want can help.

Most modern parents prefer a monitor that offers both audio and visual capabilities, so they can both hear and see that their child is safe and secure. Of course, you’ll want to consider if the following features are essential to you in making your choice.

Display Screen: Quality Of Image And Size

Every system has a different option for a receiver, and they can include screens ranging in size and video quality. You have to decide if you want a large screen and whether you want an option that is compatible with your mobile phone or tablet. After that, try to consider if the quality of the image is important to you.

Signal Range

The size of your home and needs within it will factor into which model is right for you. Determine how far away you may need to be from your nursery and select an option that will operate at that distance. 

Portability

Are you a homebody or someone who travels frequently? Consider whether you want to use a wall-mounted option, or need something that is easier to pack up and transport on trips. For some people, the convenience of being able to take your baby monitor with you to grandma’s house is a significant deciding factor. 

One-Way Or Two-Way Communication

Do you want to be able to communicate with your child through the monitor? If you live in a large home and may need time to get to the nursery if your baby is crying, it can be very beneficial to be able to speak soothing words through your monitor.

Battery Life

Devices with a limited battery life may be perfect for short naps but could cause problems if you don’t have any easy way to charge them at night. Examine your living situation to determine if this is an important factor for you and your family.

Remote Adjustment Capabilities

If your child is particularly active or moves a lot while asleep, a static camera may not be the best choice for you. Most devices that include remote adjustment capabilities are slightly more expensive. However, it may be worth the extra investment always to be able to see what your baby is up to without having to enter their room.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, not only will a good baby monitor allow you to know that your child is safe and happy during nap times and/or play times. It will also give you the peace of mind to be able to check in on them anytime you want without disturbing their slumber.

Selecting the best baby monitor for you is an extremely personal choice but rather one that becomes easier once you understand your options. Ask yourself what features are important to you, and use this helpful guide to choose an option that has high user ratings. This guide will certainly help you weigh and explore your options as it provides dependable choices. 

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