- What is a baby monitor?
- What are the types of baby monitor?
- When do you need a baby monitor?
- How to choose an ideal baby monitor?
- 15 Best baby monitors
- Tips for using a baby monitor
Is it possible to complete the household chores in peace, when the baby is sleeping alone in another room?
Yes, if you have a baby monitor.
Baby monitors allow you to go about your daily chores while safely leaving the baby in the crib. Baby monitors are available in a wide range, from the standard audio baby monitors to the modern video baby monitors. The appropriate baby monitor varies from family to family and depends on the usage.
MomJunction tells you how to choose the right baby monitor, and shares the 15 best baby monitors you can choose from.
What Is A Baby Monitor?
Baby monitors are safety devices that allow you to monitor your baby even when you are not in the same room. They allow the parents to check on the baby and prevent untoward incidents when the baby is alone in the crib.
A baby monitor set has two components: one is the transmitter with the microphone/video recorder or the baby unit, and the other is the monitoring device or parent/base unit.
The microphone or video recorder is attached to the baby’s crib while the monitoring unit stays with the parent. The recording device uses a specific frequency to transmit the feed to the monitoring device, where the parent can view or hear the baby.
When Do You Need A Baby Monitor?
Baby monitors work well in situations when you have to leave the baby alone. You could need a baby monitor when:
- You and the baby do not sleep in the same room, and you need to attend to them when they wake up in the night.
- You need to place the baby in the crib and work in another room.
Pick the right type of baby monitor with the right features and capabilities that suit your needs.
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What Are The Types Of Baby Monitor?
There are audio or video baby monitors. As the name suggests, the first type transmits only the audio, while the latter sends a video along with the sound. The following types of baby monitors are available in the market (1):
- Analog: These baby monitors have a transmitter, which sends an unencrypted signal to the receiver. The receiver usually has to be in range to receive a strong signal.
- Digital: They encrypt the signal from the transmitter to the receiver, preventing it from being tapped by some other receiver.
- Wireless: The transmitter sends the signal to a receiver through WiFi. Such type of baby monitors let you remotely monitor your baby through a smartphone connected to the internet.
- Wearable monitors: These monitors contain a sensor that you can wrap around the baby’s arm or leg. It then transmits information like the heartbeat to a receiver or directly to a smartphone app.
Such baby monitors may not provide an audio or video feed, but allow you to measure the parameters like elevated heartbeat and low blood oxygen level, which are indicators of infant discomfort.
- Baby monitors with sensor and detectors: These are perhaps the most advanced baby monitors. Along with audio and video capabilities, they can detect motion, the temperature in the baby’s room, and the humidity levels. It means they can raise the alarm if the baby moves a lot or if the temperature or humidity reaches an uncomfortable level.
So, which monitor is the right pick for you?
How To Choose An Ideal Baby Monitor?
The right baby monitor enables easy monitoring of the baby as and when you need to. Here are some things that you must keep in mind when looking for baby monitors:
1. Check the frequency band
Compare the baby monitor’s frequency range and the frequency range of other electronic devices such as cordless phones and televisions with an antenna in your home. If the range overlaps, there will be interference during transmissions.
Give preference to baby monitors that use a unique bandwidth, which cannot overlap with the broadcast frequencies of other electronic devices.
2. Check wireless security protocols
Baby monitors that connect to the internet should meet the wireless internet security protocols. Experts recommend WPA2 standard security protocols for wireless network and SSL or TLS encryption protocol for the receiver (2). Look for baby monitors that use these technologies and have end-to-end encryption from the transmitter to the receiver to the wireless router. That prevents a hacker from snooping on the signal in between.
3. Secure password and account features
Digital wireless baby monitors that connect to your smartphone will require an app on your phone with a strong password to access the transmitter’s feed. Prefer baby monitors that only accept complex passwords and lock down the monitor on multiple wrong password entry attempts. Select app-based monitoring systems that need you to make an account. They allow remote blocking of the device when you suspect misuse or unauthorized access to the device.
4. Batteries or wired
Some baby monitors may only function on batteries while some may give you the option to connect it to the wall power outlet. Choose the ones that provide you multiple options.
5. Out-of-range indicator
You will need to manually guess the actual range of the monitor by moving towards and away from the transmitter. But monitors with an out-of-range indicator will let you know that you are no longer within the broadcast radius of the transmitter.
6. Extra receiver
An extra receiver is always a useful feature in case you lose one or if both the parents need to monitor the baby separately.
Keep reading to know about our pick of the top baby monitors.
[ Read: Best Baby Breathing Monitors ]
15 Best Baby Monitors
1. Motorola MBP843-Connect Video Baby Monitor
- An excellent transmission range of 1000ft makes it one of the best long-range baby monitors.
- Works with two cameras. Parents can zoom, pan, and tilt the camera remotely using the monitoring unit.
- The monitoring unit contains a 3.5-in color display screen.
- The camera features infrared night vision allowing parents to see the baby even in complete darkness.
- The camera unit provides for two-way communication through the microphone in the parent unit, which enables voice transmission to the baby unit.
- Works on power wire adapter and batteries. Features volume control and out-of-range, low-battery alert.
2. Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
- One of the best baby video monitors with a facility of interchangeable optical lens.
- The unit ships with one extra optical zoom lens. Parents can buy a wide angle lens separately that provides a wider field of view.
- Features a rechargeable battery that allows up to ten hours of usage.
- The parent’s monitoring unit contains a large 3.5-inch color screen. Features an audio-only mode that lets you save battery usage by 50%.
- The device ships with an extra battery.
- Has sound alert LEDs that light up based on the intensity of the baby’s voice. The temperature sensor allows parents to check the baby room temperature remotely.
3. Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor
- The ability to connect to a monitoring device and a smartphone app makes it one of the best baby monitors.
- The wearable baby monitor has a ‘smart sock’ that your baby wears on foot. The smart sock has sensors to measure the baby’s heartbeat and blood oxygen levels.
- A ‘base’ device picks up the transmission from the sock and broadcasts it to the app on the smartphone. The base transmitter also has an LED light, which turns red if anomalies in the baby’s heartbeat or blood oxygen levels are detected.
- Each unit ships with three washable socks, which fit infants aged between 0 and 18 months. The sock has a data transmission range of 100ft.
- The free app for iOS and Android operating systems displays information in real-time.
- You can view the information remotely on a smartphone that has the app and internet connectivity.
[ Read: Best Cribs For Baby ]
4. VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor
- A massive transmission range of 1,000 feet makes it one of the best audio baby monitors.
- The parent unit features an LED screen with multiple information displays including signal strength from the transmission device.
- Talk-back functionality allows you to talk to the baby.
- Sound level indicator LEDs on the parent device let the parent know the strength of the baby’s voice.
- Features a rechargeable battery with also a provision to use two AAA batteries.
- A belt clip allows you to attach the monitoring device to your belt or a belt loop. The vibration feature notifies you when the baby cries or makes loud noises.
5. Angelcare AC701 Touchscreen Movement and Sound Monitor
- The unit ships with a large movement detection pad, which makes it the best movement detection baby monitor.
- The movement sensor pad goes under the baby’s crib mattress. You can set the desired sensitivity of movement detection to monitor the baby’s movements.
- The microphone unit allows for two-way communication. It means you can hear the baby’s sounds on the parent unit while also transmitting your voice to the baby’s microphone unit to soothe the baby.
- The parent unit has an LCD touchscreen with the baby’s voice levels, out-of-range indicator, and baby room temperature display.
- Secure frequency hopping technology ensures that the baby unit only transmits to the corresponding parent receiver and not to another device.
- Parent unit comes with a rechargeable battery while the baby unit connects directly to the mains through an adapter.
6. Summer Infant In View Digital Color Video Baby Monitor
- The monitor’s parent device allows connection with up to three cameras simultaneously, making it one of the best baby monitors for twins.
- The unit ships with one camera and a five-inch color display monitor. The device has integrated sound-activated LEDs that light up when the baby cries or makes sounds.
- A button on display allows digital zoom so that the parent can get a closer look at the baby.
- Infrared technology allows night vision mode so that parents can check up on their baby even in the middle of the night.
- The parent unit comes with a rechargeable battery while the baby’s camera unit can connect to the mains through a wall plug.
- Features adjustable volume control, brightness control, belt clip, and wall anchor. It has a range of 600 feet and comes with a manufacturer warranty of one year.
7. Arlo Baby Smart Wifi Baby Monitor
- This baby monitor can connect to multiple smartphones and smart devices through wireless internet, which makes it one of the best WiFi baby monitors.
- The baby camera captures videos in 1080p, full-HD resolution to provide a crystal clear image of the infant.
- Features two-way, talk-back option and night vision through infrared light.
- The baby camera can connect to the internet and broadcast the video to a dedicated smartphone app.
- The camera connects to and can be controlled by digital personal assistants and personal assistant devices such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
- Accessories, sold separately, let you customize your usage. For instance, the plastic cladding for the camera can be changed to transform the device from a ‘bunny’ to a ‘kitten’ or ‘puppy’. You can also get a stand to mount the camera on the wall.
8. Levana Jena Digital Baby Video Monitor
- A sleek and lightweight design makes it one of the best compact baby monitors.
- Provides a range of 500 feet for standard video display and 15 feet for night vision video display.
- Encryption technology ensures that the signal between the camera and monitor stays private, minimizing the risk of hacking.
- Provides over eight hours of battery life, which can be extended to 12 hours on battery saver mode.
- A temperature sensor measures the ambient temperature in the baby’s room. The camera comes pre-installed with five lullabies that you can activate through the baby monitor control unit.
- Features two-way communication and also a nightlight on the camera.
9. Samsung SEW-3043WND Video Baby Monitor
- The baby monitor display unit can pair with a maximum of four cameras thus making it one of the best baby monitors for twins.
- The parent unit is a five-inch display monitor with touchscreen and a simple software interface.
- Features include night vision, two-way talk-back functionality, and full control of the camera position through the touch interface of the monitor.
- The camera captures video in 720p HD resolution. It also has four pre-installed lullabies to activate from the monitor.
- Dedicated audio mode lets you switch off the video and only get an audio feed from the video camera’s microphone.
- It uses a secure frequency to connect the camera to the monitor with a range of 900 feet.
[ Read: Best Baby Thermometers ]
10. Hello Baby Wireless Video Baby Monitor
- The camera’s baby unit features eight lullabies that can be used to pacify your baby if you cannot get to them immediately.
- The two-way talk-back functionality lets you speak back to the infant.
- The parent unit has an eight-level sound alarm, which you can set to your preferences.
- Temperature monitoring sensor lets you check the room temperature.
- The video camera presents a range of 960 feet. The monitoring device can connect with three camera devices.
- Audio-only mode lets you save battery. The LED indicators for sound let you know the intensity of the baby’s cries.
11. Philips Avent DECT Baby Monitor
- A long range of 900 feet, with secure connectivity, allows the monitor unit to connect and communicate with the parent device without interference. It gives the parent a clear audio broadcast from the baby unit.
- The baby unit features a night light, pre-installed lullabies, and talkback functionality.
- The parent unit comes with a docking station for easy storage, and a vibration feature for notification alerts.
- The temperature sensor measures the baby room temperature and transmits it to the parent unit.
- Has a low battery and out-of-range indicator. A dedicated LED light lets the parents know if the parent unit is connected to the baby unit.
12. D-Link DCS-825L WiFi Baby Camera
- The unit consists of only a 720p HD camera, which can be accessed via a smartphone app, removing the need for a monitoring unit. It is one of the best travel baby monitors.
- A microSD slot on the camera lets you insert a memory card and record the video for storage.
- A built-in speaker allows for playback of pre-installed lullabies. The talkback feature lets you talk to the baby to calm them.
- Other features include a temperature sensor, night vision, sound detection with alerts, and motion detection when the camera detects movement.
- A wall mount kit and a desktop base for the camera ship along with it.
- The camera connects to WiFi and transmits the video feed to an Android or iOS device via an app.
13. Nanit Smart Baby Monitor
- It can be mounted on a wall or a stand next to the crib, which makes it the best mountable baby monitor.
- The camera records videos in 720p HD format. Features include a temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and a nightlight for the baby.
- The camera stores the feed on the device and the cloud, thus allowing to continue the broadcast even with internet disconnections.
- The camera streams to a smartphone app and allows you to store videos on your phone.
- The baby monitor app provides detailed statistics and information about baby’s sleeping patterns including the times when you had to visit the baby to pacify them.
- The camera encrypts the video while transmitting it so that you can securely view the video on your device.
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14. iBaby Monitor M6S
- A full HD camera that captures in 1080p resolution, with features like temperature monitor, air quality sensor, and humidity sensor.
- It takes only a minute to pair with your smartphone app.
- The app has an easy pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-pan feature.
- The app lets you play bedtime stories and lullabies on the baby unit’s speaker.
- Supports dual-band WiFi and is compatible with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
- Parents can add additional users to view and monitor the baby through the smartphone app.
15. Babysense Video Baby Monitor
- Ships with two cameras that can be paired simultaneously with one parent unit, thus making it ideal for monitoring twins.
- Each camera features night vision, pre-installed lullabies, and temperature monitor sensor.
- You get a two-way talkback functionality with both the cameras.
- The eco or battery-saver mode lets you keep the video off and set the camera to activate only when the baby makes a noise.
- The parent unit has a built-in kickstand. The baby unit can be set on a table or fixed to the wall.
Ensure that you check all the features of the unit thoroughly and invest in it only if it meets the purpose. Once you get the unit, use the following tips to make the best use of it.
Tips For Using Baby Monitor
Here are some points to keep in mind when using a baby monitor:
- Set the baby monitor three feet away from the crib. The distance ensures that the camera or audio device does not catch the attention of the baby. It prevents the baby from reaching the camera or its wiring.
- Do not install the monitor on the edge of the crib or inside it. Pediatric experts state that you must never install a monitor inside or at the edge of the crib (3). It can become a choking hazard for the baby.
- Always set a secure password: Most modern baby monitors allow connection to the internet through an app. These applications insist on a password to ensure that only the parents can watch the stream from the video camera. Set a strong password to prevent someone from misusing it.
- Avoid using video cameras as baby monitors: Video cameras are not ideal for monitoring the baby because they do not specifically track the movement and sound to alert the parent. You may not be able to set the threshold of sound for the camera to send an alert. A dedicated video camera also does not have a monitoring unit. Therefore, if you intend to monitor your baby on a screen, then it is best to get a dedicated video baby monitor.
Baby monitors are excellent devices to give you peace of mind when you are not around the baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Choose a baby monitor with a range that fits your home and lifestyle, however nothing replaces close parental supervision.” (4). So get a baby monitor with most features and a secured frequency that lets you keep an eye (or ear) on the baby no matter where you are.
Disclaimer: MomJunction may earn a commission when products are purchased through affiliate links given in the article. However, this partnership does not influence the editorial content featuring in our list.
Which baby monitor do you use and why? Tell us about it in the comments section.
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