When many people find out they’re going to be parents, they tend to immediately begin creating a mental list of essential baby items. Items such as cribs, high chairs, and car seats tend to top the baby registry lists, along with a reliable baby monitor. As a mom or dad-to-be, you know that you need a baby monitor, but which one is best for your family?
As with many baby essentials, the best baby monitor for your family depends on several factors. In this article, we’ll walk you through what to keep in mind when purchasing a baby monitor, the most common types of baby monitors, and the top products in each category. By the end, we hope you’ll be able to choose the best baby monitor for your family with confidence.
Purchasing a Baby Monitor
When you’re shopping for a baby monitor for your home, the choices can quickly become overwhelming. Instead, it may be helpful to focus on specific factors, such as:
It’s important to consider the square footage of your home as well as the proximity of your baby’s room to your bedroom. Most baby monitors have a suitably wide range for the average-sized home (1800-2300 square feet). If you have a larger-than-average home (2500+ square feet), it’s best to choose a long-range baby monitor to ensure its effectiveness and your peace of mind.
If you and your partner are expecting a baby and have a young toddler, you may be in a situation where you’re not entirely comfortable leaving a toddler unmonitored. If you’re looking for the best baby monitor for two rooms, select a model that comes with two receivers. Many different baby monitors also have additional receivers available for purchase, so you have several options to make this work.
Many top baby monitors offer wi-fi capabilities, which can be convenient for the modern-day parent. Most wi-fi baby monitors allow you to connect to the camera via an app, which is less restrictive than carrying a receiver. However, if you live in a rural area with spotty connectivity, this can rapidly become a frustrating issue.
Ultimately, the best baby monitor for your family will be one that will provide you with the most security and peace of mind. Some parents may wish to avoid the most sensitive, movement-based baby monitors because they worry they’ll never get any sleep. Others have the opposite concern, especially if they’re first-time parents. It all comes down to what helps you feel that you’re providing the best care possible for your child.
Baby monitors have made many significant technological advancements since their first foray onto the baby market, and there are now several different types to choose from.
Audio baby monitors have been the industry standard for many, many years. As the name suggests, you are connected to your baby’s sleeping area with a simple base and receiver. Most audio-only baby monitors now have two-way calling and other basic features included, and they’re probably the most affordable and user-friendly type on the market.
Most baby monitors today offer a combination of audio and video connectivity. These come with a video receiver that is often available with a range of features, depending on the model. The camera base can typically be adjusted, and most baby monitor cameras come with infrared night vision capabilities.
A significant advantage that wi-fi baby monitors have over others is the ability to connect the video monitor with your smartphone via an app. This takes care of problems with range limitations as well as not having enough parent units. There is a concern regarding wi-fi monitors being hacked, so you must ensure there is a secure connection at all times.
Movement-based baby monitors are becoming increasingly common to prevent SIDS-related deaths in babies, and there are several different types. Some have sensors that go under your baby’s sheets, while others fit directly over clothing.
Another popular movement-based monitor is the Owlet Smart Sock 3 Baby Monitor, which fits securely on the foot. Although these kinds of baby monitors do wonders for a new parent’s peace of mind, sometimes the alarms can go off because you have a particularly active baby. The risk of SIDS also decreases dramatically around six months, which may mean you’ll find yourself investing in a different monitor altogether.
Best Overall Baby Monitor: iFamily Split Screen Baby Monitor
Why We Love It: This baby monitor has a decent sized screen and two cameras. You can place the baby cameras on a table, wall or ceiling. It has a secure, non-wifi connection, so there’s no danger of being spied on. It has night vision so you can see your baby clearly, and it features a power-saving mode when baby is safe and secure.
- 4.3” split-screen with 2 cameras
- uses 2.4GHz FHSS connection ensuring that it is impossible for others to spy on you through the monitor.
- Auto infrared night vision ensures that you can see your baby in dark
- VOX power saving mode pauses image transmission when the baby room is quieter than 56db and reactivates based on sound . You can turn it off or change the sensitivity level of the mode.
- Two way audio allows you to talk to your baby from another room
- Feeding alarm helps remind you when baby’s next feed is
- Temperature monitoring lets you set alerts if the room gets too hot or cold
- Lullabies help sooth baby without parental intervention
Possible Drawback: There is no wifi connection and no app available with this monitor.
Best Audio and Video Baby Monitor: Babysense Video Baby Monitor with Camera and Audio
Why We Love It: For parents who are concerned about a wi-fi baby monitor being hacked but still desire to check on their baby visually, the Babysense Video Baby Monitor is an ideal choice. The high-quality LCD screen offers both daytime and the most recent infrared technology for monitoring at night. You can also zoom the camera in to check on your baby, and the monitor has a range of 900 feet.
- 2.4” high-quality color LCD display
- Secure, hack-free connection
- Two-way audio and lullaby sounds
- Latest infrared night vision technology
- 2x digital zoom
- High/low room temperature alerts
- Multi-camera expandability (up to four cameras)
- Range: 900 feet
Possible Drawback: The monitor screen is on the smaller side, and it can be challenging to hear your baby if lullaby music or white noise is playing.
Best Audio Baby Monitor: VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor
Why We Love It: The Vtech DM221 Baby Monitor truly is the gold standard for audio monitors, and nothing beats its affordability. It has an impressive range of up to 1000 feet and provides clear audio transmission without any static in the background. You can also soothe your baby with the two-way intercom, which is an added plus. The rechargeable batteries are also beneficial, although it’s best to keep the parent unit plugged in regularly.
- Clear, static-free transmission
- Two parent units included
- 5-level sound indicator
- Two-way talk-back intercom
- Night light on baby unit
- Sound sensitivity adjustment
- Rechargeable Ni-MH battery and AC power
- Encrypted signal
- Range: 1000 feet
Possible Drawback: For parents craving all of the latest features, this audio baby monitor can seem pretty basic. The rechargeable battery life could also be improved, although it does run for about 10 hours without needing to be plugged in.
Best Video Baby Monitor: Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
Why We Love It: This award-winning baby monitor is both lightweight and energy-efficient so that you can use it for longer between chargings. The camera has an impressive range of movement and features, such as a 170-degree panoramic view and interchangeable lens. All video and audio are transmitted through a secure 2.4Ghz channel, ensuring no other devices can access the camera.
- Non-wifi for secure streaming
- Lightweight, portable parent unit
- 3.5” LCD screen with excellent night vision
- 10-Hr battery life (power-saving mode)
- 6-Hr battery life (screen on)
- Wide range of premium camera features
- Secure communication and streaming channel
- Range: 700 feet
Possible Drawback: The range and screen size are less than desired, especially considering the unit’s price tag.
Best Movement-Based Baby Monitor: Nanit Pro Complete Baby Monitoring System
Why We Love It: New parents will undoubtedly appreciate the holistic approach to the Nanit Pro Monitoring System, as it contains everything one might need to ensure their baby’s security and safety. A sensor-free breathing band monitors your baby’s movements while the wall-mounted camera provides an above-view of your little one.
Depending on the location of your baby’s crib, you can also switch the camera to the multi-view stand. The Nanit Pro also allows you to monitor from anywhere with your smartphone, Kindle Fire, or Echo Show device.
- 1080p Nanit Pro Camera comes with wall mount and multi-stand
- Breathing Band tracks baby’s breathing pattern
- Nanit Smart Sheet tracks height and growth process
- Purchase includes one year of sleep tracking and video history
- Can be streamed to any Android or iOS device
- Two-way and background audio
- Temperature and humidity monitoring
- HD video and night video
Possible Drawback: There is a lag in the video/audio when updating the app or syncing with Alexa, so the status may not be accurate depending on connection speed.
Best Baby Monitor for Large Homes: VTech VM321 Video Baby Monitor
Why We Love It: This VTech video baby monitor comes with several useful features, such as a high-resolution display, automatic IR night vision, and a range up to 1000 feet. The two-way intercom allows you to soothe your baby during the night, and its split-screen capability will enable you to view multiple rooms at once.
- 2.8” color LCD screen with high-resolution display
- Automatic IR night vision
- Secure, encrypted channel without wi-fi
- Two-way intercom with five lullaby options
- Camera unit is wall-mountable and adjustable
- Rechargeable battery
- 6-level sound indicator
- Range: 1000 feet
Possible Drawback: Although the camera lens is adjustable, it does lack the pan zoom function.
Best Baby Monitor on a Budget: Goodbaby Baby Monitor
Why We Love It: This affordable baby monitor has several impressive features for an incredibly reasonable price. The 3.5-inch screen display is larger than many others on the market, and the camera has a wide range of movements, such as a 355-degree pan and 90-degree tilt. The Feed Reminder is a helpful addition as well, considering there will be nights when it may be more challenging to wake up.
- 3.5” display with infrared night vision
- Secure 2.4GHz wireless digital transmission
- Two-way communication with advanced microphone and speaker
- Temperature monitor
- Whole-room coverage
- Customizable feeding reminders
- Can operate up to four cameras
- Battery lasts up to 12 hours in ECO mode
- Range: 960 feet
Possible Drawback: Several customers reported that the lullabies weren’t the best quality, and the camera has to be mounted on the ceiling depending on the size of your baby’s room; otherwise, it zooms too far in.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.