Baby monitors have made their way on the must have list for families. At the very least, a baby monitor provides a bit of freedom for you to get some work done during nap time. If you’re out of earshot you’ll be alerted to crying or movement. Or, if you’ve got a video monitor, you can check on your baby without waking them up.
But there are lots to choose from and prices ranging from around $20 up to nearly $300. Besides budget concerns, what should you look for? The basics include good audio and image quality – and good range. You might also want camera control abilities like tilt or zoom, video recording, still image capture and two-way communication.
Some other features to consider are motion detection, night light, sleep sounds (plays music!), temperature monitoring and, for Wi-Fi enabled monitors, the need for subscriptions to save recordings or images.
We did some research to come up with a list of baby monitors with the highest professional ratings as well as good user ratings. Divided by type, make these your starting point
In Home Monitors
If you’re creeped out by those stories of hacked baby monitors, stick with an in-home version. These typically operate on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth – same as portable phones and other in-home wireless devices. You’ll get a plug-in room unit and a “parent” device that’s battery operated.
If you have a lot of in-home devices, you may experience some traffic congestion – dropped signals or choppy video or audio. But for most of us, that’s not a problem. The best in home monitors have good reception and range for the average size house – and maybe even extend to the outside perimeter of the house (deck, garage or porch).
The Philips Avent line of monitors consistently ranks high for its superior range. Most monitors will claim they have a range from 600 – 1000 feet. But that’s unobstructed space. The Avent also makes these claims but when walls and floors are taken into account, the signal reaches up to 150 feet – much further than other monitors. The basic audio only model is under $50.
Runner Up – View VTech DM221 Here
Range and audio quality is not as good as the Avent, but at under $20, the basic VTech audio monitor is the best choice at this price point. You can also buy an extra “parent” device.
Video and Audio
Highly rated by all the leading review sites, it’s also a best-seller at amazon thanks to its feature set and not too high price. It’s easy to set up and use, video and audio are both high quality plus features like moveable camera head and zoom lens make it easy to scan the room or view baby close up. The in-home range is very good and you can buy additional (or replacement) cameras. The only down-side is the inability to record video or take snapshots if that’s important to you.
Runner Up – View Summer Infant In View Here
The Summer Infant monitor has a good variety of features and is priced under $80. But, the range isn’t so hot. Best for apartment dwellers or those with smaller homes.
We’re just going to come out and say it. Don’t connect “smart home” devices unless you’ve protected your home internet connection. That means a secure network. Do not use default log-ins for your router/firewall or SSIDs (network identifier names) that identify you or your location. And make sure you have newer anti-virus software that protects not only the device it’s installed on but your smart home devices.
Properly secured, WI-fi enabled monitors let you keep tabs at home and when you’re away plus if you’ve got a good home WI-fi signal, you can overcome some of the range difficulties of in-home monitors. You can buy dedicated baby monitors or use general purpose cameras. All come with a phone app but some dedicated baby monitors also have a separate “parent” device – though, at this time, we couldn’t find one we’d recommend.
View iBaby m2 Pro Monitor Here
With apps for Android and iPhone, this iBaby Monitor is easy to set up plus has good quality audio and video. You can record video or take still images – both stored without the need for a cloud subscription or account. While the camera has no zoom or tilt, it’s small enough to attach to the crib or nearby optional wall mount. The $100 price tag is a plus, too. While professional reviewers also like the higher priced iBaby versions, reviews were terrible at amazon. This model garnered the most positive user comments.
View Blink Camera Here
While not a dedicated baby monitor, Blink cameras offer the basic features you need to keep tabs on baby for a just under $100 price tag. There are no camera controls, but you’ll get a wide-angle lens view of the room plus audio/two-way communication, motion detection alerts (you can adjust sensitivity and frequency), temperature readings and though you’ll have to create an account, free storage of video clips. But there’s no way to download videos or take/store still images. And night vision is only fair (though the soon to be released outdoor version will beef up those capabilities). Still, setting up the camera is simple and you can add multiple cameras making it a good baby monitor and home security solution.