If you’re looking for some baby monitor reviews to help you separate the junk from the overpriced, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve provided a collection of commentary based on what other mothers think are the best video and audio baby monitors. Their experiences give you the benefit of knowing which monitor will best fit your needs.
The problem with monitors, as you may already know, is that anything that has electronic components tends to be hit or miss. Fortunately, some of the brands listed below are a lot less “infant product related” (like Fisher-Price and Safety 1st) and more related to electronic product manufacturing (like Samsung and Philips).
BENEFITS OF A BABY MONITOR
There are many obvious benefits to having a baby monitor, much of which center around you and your spouse being able to do other things without having to be in arms’ reach. You’ll have the comfort of being completely aware of what your infant is up to by simply having a convenient audio or video monitor attached to your belt. You’re alerted when your baby cries and can quickly return to his room to comfort him, put him back to sleep, feed him, etc. This is why we consider a baby monitor as one of our must haves for newborns.
Check On Your Sleeping Baby
If your baby is sleeping in another room, you’d obviously like to know if a problem arises. Depending on what you require, the best baby monitors will have features galore, such as volume controls to hear your baby breathe, in-room temperature monitoring and night vision panning video control. These are all great things to check on while your child rests.
Monitor Your Baby While Outside
Perhaps you’re having a barbecue, working on your car, walking to the mailbox… it doesn’t matter. If you need to be outside for even a moment, it would be comforting to know that you can hear what’s going on with your child while you cannot be immediately available.
When your child is old enough to start talking, or even if just to hear your calming voice, you can actually conversate back and forth. Being able to talk to your baby (or growing toddler) from afar is an absolute luxury.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A BABY MONITOR
When looking for monitors you’ll notice that, just like baby swings, there are several different features and multiple price points. And we all know that the more expensive you go, the more features you get. Here are some of the primary options in you’ll see in the baby monitor reviews below.
Video and/or Audio Quality
Range of Use
These are just your bare-bones features. Many of the parents who have previously owned baby monitoring products, audio or video, feel most strongly about having excellent video and sound quality and like the idea of being able to take the parental unit around the house and outside with them.
Audio vs. Video Baby Monitors
There are 2 different styles of monitors that you’ll be looking for and the difference is obvious. The convenience of better benefits, however, will cost you a little more.
As you can see below, the Samsung SEW-3037W is one of the best video baby monitors and comes with all the bells and whistles any parent would love to have. Here are just a few of the most popular commented-on features that parents tend to want.
- High Quality, Color LCD Display
- Excellent Sound Quality
- Night Vision
- Pan, Tilt and Zoom Features
- Two-Way Talk
- Room Temperature Sensor
Of course, you can still get plenty of the same features in the Samsung that you can in some more affordable and higher rated options – see those baby monitor reviews below (in the video chart).
For those that are only interested in checking in on their baby via audio, there are plenty of reliable options as well. The top rated baby monitors for audio may not be as loaded, but meet your minimum demands in a baby monitoring system. This is what many of the users agree are “must haves” in their audio baby monitor.
- Clear Sound Quality
- Good Range of Use
- Belt Clip for Portability
No matter the company, no matter the reputation, there will always be products that are inferior to others. Sometimes you just end up getting the “lemon” of the batch. These are some of the most frequently discussed issues randomly pertaining to audio and video baby monitors.
- Static, white noise make audio less clear and is annoying
- Limited distance between parent and child unit causing lost connections
- Interferes with Wi-Fi signal
- Unsecure connection enables you to pick up neighbor’s monitor reception (and vice versa)
SAFETY INFORMATION FOR BABY MONITORS
Though a rare occurrence, there have been instances of hackers gaining access to computers, webcams and even baby monitors. The reality these days is that any type of technological system is at risk of being attacked, therefore being vigilant is your best defense. One of your primary defenses is to look for a device that uses encrypted technology (Secure FHSS Data Encryption) to make a hacker’s job that much more difficult.
Under the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM International) a consumer safety specification was set to minimize injuries to children by the normal use and/or abuse of baby monitors. This specification in general sets the standards for corded baby monitors, which was created in order to alleviate some instances of strangulation by cords placed too close to baby cribs.
Best Baby Monitors – Video
(click links to see Amazon Reviews)
|Infant Optics DXR5||2.4"||$100||4.5/5|
The Foscam FBM3501 Wireless Home and Baby Monitor is not only one of the best selling monitors on the market, it also comes with multiple features that many of the more expensive monitors come with… but at a fraction of the price. We find this to be the best baby monitor available. Features: 3.5″ LCD Display, Pan/Tilt/Zoom for remote adjustment, Two-Way Audio, Secure FHSS Data Encryption, VOX voice-activated battery saving mode, Night Vision with automatic sensor, Temperature Sensor, Feeding Timer and the ability to support up to 4 cameras being monitored.
Pros: Good, sturdy design – Temp sensor settings with alarm – Zoom feature – Two way audio – Excellent video quality – Add more camera units to monitor more children – Pan/Tilt for multiple children – Good sound – Feeding timer – VOX sensitivity settings – Quiet cam movement in baby room
Cons: Talk back feature has delay – Don’t sell extra cameras individually – Dual camera feature could be better on LCD unit (you have to switch manually) – No video off button drains battery – May interrupt wifi signals – Customer support could be better
The Infant Optics DXR5 comes highly rated as perhaps the best video monitor available for those on a budget. Though it lacks some of the features of the Foscam, it provides all of the options you truly need. Features: 2.4″ LCD Display, Secure FHSS Data Encryption, VOX voice-activated battery saving mode, Night Vision, and the ability to support up to 4 cameras being monitored. Upgraded Version: DXR8, 3.5″ LCD, Pan/Tilt/Zoom.
Pros: Amazing pic quality, day or night – Great Sound with Auto Shut off to eliminate annoying white noise – Excellent customer support – Great range
Cons: Some complaints about wifi speeds slowing down – Looks a little cheap – Battery life not the best, may need to plug in continuously
Not only is the Levana Jena Video Infant Monitor one of the highest rated, it’s also another budget-friendly option. Features: 2.4″ LCD Display, Two-Way Audio, Secure Clearvu Digitally Encrypted Signal, PEEP mode for battery standby, Night Vision, Temperature Sensor, Remote-Controlled Lullaby feature and the ability to support up to 4 cameras being monitored. Upgraded Version: Levana Astra, 3.5″ LCD, Pan/Tilt/Zoom.
Pros: VOX function to suppress sounds – Decent battery life with Power Save mode – Two way talk – Temperature monitor – Good range – Lullaby option with 5 songs – Camera zoom – Nice daytime video quality – Can add multiple cameras – Good value for price
Cons: Grainy night vision – Sound quality could be better – Unit’s lights are too bright – Can’t toggle between video OR sound, must use both – Lullaby buttons in bad spot cause you to accidentally hit it – No clip for portability
The Motorola MBP36 is the first in the feature-rich baby monitors, which directly correlates to a higher price point. It’s certainly one of the hottest selling video baby monitors. Features: 3.5″ LCD Display, Pan/Tilt/Zoom for remote adjustment, Two-Way Audio, Secure FHSS Data Encryption, VOX voice-activated battery saving mode, Night Vision, Temperature Sensor, Remote-Controlled Lullaby feature and the ability to support up to 4 cameras being monitored.
Pros: Volume adjusts to hear breathing – Temperature controls – Music/Lullaby function with 5 songs – Two way talk – Night vision – Pan/Tilt
Cons: Customer support could be better – Battery doesn’t last long – May interfere with wifi signal – Multiple complaints about sound feature dying prematurely
The Samsung SEW-3037W monitor is one of the best looking and top rated baby monitors on the market. As far as options, the Samsung has it all if you are willing to move to the upper end of the monitor market. Features: 3.5″ LCD Display, Pan/Tilt/Zoom for remote adjustment, Two-Way Audio, Secure FHSS Data Encryption, VOX voice-activated battery saving “Sleep” mode, Night Vision and the ability to support up to 4 cameras being monitored.
Pros: Two way talk – Excellent clarity, day and night vision – Great sound – Can pair with additional cameras – Pan/Tilt function works nice and rotates quietly – VOX feature – Belt Clip – Remote Night Light – Out of Range alert
Cons: Difficult to reach customer support – Multiple ‘out of range’ complaints, despite being close – Short power cord length
The Philips Avent video baby monitor comes in last, but certainly not least. Not as option-dense as some of the others, this portable monitor has plenty of favorable baby monitor reviews. Features: 2.4″ LCD Display, Private Connection Data Encryption, VOX voice-activated battery saving mode, Night Vision and Lullaby options.
Pros: Clear sound quality – Night vision looks good – Doesn’t interfere with wifi – Good video quality – Lullaby music feature – Belt clip rotates into a stand – Nightlight
Cons: No pan, tilt and zoom – Range could be better – Small screen size – No two way talk
Best Baby Monitors – Audio
(click image to enlarge)
|Philips Avent DECT||Yes||$80||5/5|
|VTech Safe and Sound||Yes||$30||4/5|
|Graco Secure Coverage||No||$40||4/5|
|AngelCare Sound Monitor||No||$50||3.5/5|
|Summer Infant Slim Secure||No||$50||3.5/5|
|Sony NTM 910YIC||No||$35||3/5|
Not only does Philips have one of the top rated video baby monitors, they also come out on top with their Avent DECT audio monitor. With a price point below video monitors and above competing audio monitors, you really are getting a monitor that bridges the gap between the two as far as features are concerned. The DECT monitor delivers clear sound, temperature control, a baby night light and lullabies for your child.
Pros: Clear sound quality – Talk back feature – Great range – Quiet mode – Lullaby feature – Belt clip – Light indicator with volume – Temperature monitor – Encrypted audio, doesn’t pick up neighbor’s audio and vice versa – Good battery life
Cons: Very few rechargeable battery lifespan complaints – Parent unit indicator light may be too bright for some – Slick texture makes unit easier to drop
The VTech Safe & Sound Audio Monitor is fantastic value for those looking for the basic audio baby monitor. As one of the best selling units, it comes with many excellent reviews and at a value that matches or beats their competition. It boasts many of the necessary features you want in an audio monitor, such as a visual 5-level sound indicator, volume control, a night light, belt clip and a vibrating sound option. Upgraded Version: VTech with 2 Parent Units.
Pros: Talk back feature, saves trips to room – Good distance – Can hang on wall – Night light – Good range – Good value for price – Low battery alert
Cons: Both units aren’t rechargeable, have to plug in baby side – Doesn’t hold charge as long as advertised, frequently recharge parent side – Display fades prematurely – Annoying beeps when receiver unlinks in middle of night
The Graco Secure Coverage Digital Monitor is a simplistic, yet sleek-designed monitor with many of the same features of the VTech. The Graco operates on a 900mHz frequency to protect against interference, up to 2000 foot range of operation, a light-up sound indicator, a belt clip and a low battery alarm so you never get caught with a dead battery. Upgraded Version: Graco with 2 Parent Units.
Pros: Good range – Good sound quality – Volume indicator with lights – Noise vibration feature – low battery beeps
Cons: Short battery life – Some complaints of static background noise – belt clip doesn’t fit very tight – Running AC adds to background noise – Bright lights on parent unit at night – Hard to open battery compartment
The Angelcare Baby Sound Monitor is another one of the high end audio units that should probably be rated a bit higher with the additional options it offers over some of the competing models. This sound monitor comes with an easy-to-read full color display, temperature monitor, a soft night light, sound indication lights and a low battery indicator. Definitely a popular unit for those that want a bit of an upgrade over the bare-bones units.
Pros: Clear sound quality – Temperature monitor to see if nursery is too hot or cold – Great battery life – Good range of use
Cons: Range not as good as advertised – Few white noise complaints – Some complaints of screen fading/dying after a year or more – Screen hard to read in certain angles – No talk back feature
The Summer Infant Slim and Secure Audio Monitor looks like a futuristic video game controller, but actually functions just fine as your standard audio montior. This monitor comes standard with 2 parent units, rechargeable batteries, belt clip, volume control and a low battery indicator.
Pros: Comes with 2 receivers for optional 2nd room – Clear sound quality – Good range – Decent battery life – Light volume indicator – High tech design
Cons: Some signal interference complaints with WiFi internet connection – Blue light too bright for some – Short lifespan complaints – White noise issues
Last but not least is the Sony Baby Call Nursery Monitor. Although it may not look like much, this sound monitor will do just what you need it to do and is a great choice for budget shoppers. It comes standard with a parent unit and receiver, light sound indicator, belt clip, and low battery and out of range indicators.
Pros: Long lasting – Pretty good sound quality – Inexpensive versus competitor brands
Cons: Range not that great – Frequent signal interference – Multiple “random beeping” complaints – Sometimes receiver makes squeeling noises – Static audio complaints
Hopefully these baby monitor reviews have helped you determine which monitor will work best to oversee your child’s sleep habits. Obviously not all monitors are created equal, so you’ll have to determine the features that are most important to you and your family. Do you go for the video monitor (so you can physically watch your child) or do you only require the basic necessity of hearing when your baby wakes up, starts crying, etc. No monitor will be perfect, but these days they offer a wonderful option for those of us parents looking for the best solution to always “be on hand” for our children.