A baby monitor can be a lifesaver—quite literally. It can give you the freedom to leave your baby’s room without constantly worrying or checking in on them. And some of the best baby monitor models even track your little one’s vitals for extra peace of mind.
However, picking a baby monitor from the dozens of available options can be a headache. Luckily we have a guide to help you choose the best baby monitor for your family.
Questions to Ask When Choosing the Best Baby Monitor
Before you settle on a baby monitor, be sure to ask yourself these questions:
Should I Choose a Baby Monitor That Uses a Wi-Fi Connection or Battery Power?
Some baby monitors use a Wi-Fi connection. This can be a good thing—if you have a reliable internet connection. A Wi-Fi-connected baby monitor can save you from worrying about whether the batteries in the separate hand-held unit have died or need recharging.
Many parents also keep their phones with them, so using a monitor that has a mobile app may be more convenient than carrying around another device. Although, you can’t watch the footage while using other apps on your phone.
However, Wi-Fi connections can be unstable, especially if you don’t have a reliable internet connection or experience regular stormy weather. Be aware that some baby monitors exclusively use Wi-Fi and don’t come with a hand-held device and no backup plan if the Wi-Fi fails.
Consider which option is best for your home. You can also choose a baby monitor that connects to an app on your phone via Wi-Fi and communicates with a separate, battery-powered device for the best of both worlds.
Do You Want 2-Way Communication Abilities?
Just being able to hear your baby is one thing, but letting them hear your voice is another. Two-way communication features let you do just that.
You can use these intercom capabilities to soothe your baby, sing them lullabies, or let them know you’re on your way. Hearing your voice can reduce your baby’s anxiety at waking up alone. Plus, it can help them learn to self-soothe without you having to rock them back to sleep.
Will Your Baby Monitor Mount Where You Need It?
Another critical factor when choosing a baby monitor is considering where to put the camera or radio unit.
You have more options with an audio-only baby monitor, as they typically just sit on a table or dresser. However, the video monitors come with cameras that you have to place somewhere you can see the entire crib.
Some cameras can sit on a nearby dresser or mount on a wall, while others clip onto the crib. More recent designs, like the Lollipop Smart Baby Camera, have a flexible base you can wrap around the side of the crib or a lamp post. This innovative mounting design lets you get the perfect angle, no matter the room setup.
Will the Portability & Range Work for You?
Baby monitors are meant to give you the freedom to do other things around the house, so make sure they can adapt to you and your lifestyle. Consider the following when selecting a baby monitor:
- Units that clip onto you
- Devices that come with more than one handheld unit so multiple adults can monitor the baby
- Video footage you can view on your phone rather than carrying around a handheld device
- A baby monitor that works outside without losing connection
- A camera that easily dismounts so you can take it with you while traveling
Is the Video Quality High Enough for What You Need?
If you opt for a video baby monitor, ensure the image quality is in line with what you want. Some models even include enhanced night vision so you can watch your baby sleep no matter how dark the room is.
The screen size and camera resolution also affect the video quality. So, make sure the screen is big enough to clearly see your infant, especially if you mount the camera on the wall or a few feet away. One thing to keep in mind is that high-resolution cameras provide better viewing capabilities and clear images even when zoomed in.
Types of Baby Monitors
Baby monitors come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Start your search by choosing one of the three main types listed below.
Audio-Only Baby Monitors
Audio-only baby monitors are the simplest—and most budget-friendly—option available. They resemble mini radios you can carry around the house or clip onto your belt. Most are battery-operated and come with rechargeable batteries.
The best baby monitor will have around 1,000 feet of range, which should be more than enough to let you step outside and get the mail while still being able to hear if your little one wakes up.
Most audio baby monitors allow for two-way communication, and many have extra features. For example, the VTech Enhanced Range Digital Audio Baby Monitor set includes two parent units that vibrate when there’s noise in the baby’s room. The set also includes a unit for your baby’s room with a soothing nightlight.
Audio & Video Baby Monitors
Sometimes just having an audio monitor is not enough. Babies learning to crawl and walk are notorious for escaping their crib, so it helps to have a visual of their room.
Options like the Infant Optics DXR-8 video monitor can also provide parents with more peace of mind. If you find yourself constantly checking on your baby while they’re sleeping, a video and audio monitor can help you relax while doing other things around the house.
Audio and video baby monitors typically come with a mountable camera and a handheld parent unit with a screen. Some connect to the Wi-Fi and let you view the footage on an app on your phone. One such model is the Arenti AInanny Baby Monitor.
Like the audio-only monitors, the best video baby monitor will have a two-way intercom and a range of about 1,000 feet.
Health-Tracking Baby Monitors
While audio and video monitors typically have two units (one for the baby’s room and one for the parents), some health-tracking baby monitors include one device that directly attaches to your baby. These extra components allow you to track your infant’s vitals and view video footage without needing to be close enough to hear an alarm coming from the device.
For example, the Levana Oma Sense includes a small monitor that tracks breathing patterns and vibrates to gently wake the baby if no movement is detected. There’s also a louder alarm to alert the parents if the vibration does not work.
Other health-tracking monitors like the Owlet Dream Duo 2 include a camera and a downloadable app with the wearable device.
The Best Baby Monitor Is the One That Fits Your Family
The best baby monitor depends on each family’s needs. Some families may feel comfortable with an audio monitor, while others opt for a video monitor to watch their child’s movements.
No matter your needs, there are plenty of baby monitors that can fit your lifestyle and budget. Use our guide to help you prioritize different features when considering available models, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind while your baby rests.