How to Choose a Baby Monitor

by Monique Labelle
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There are many brands that advertise their selection as the best baby monitors on the market. But how do you know if that’s true or not? Since every parent will have their own ideas of what makes a baby monitor great or not, the right product will vary for every individual. Below, we’ve gathered some information about how to choose the best baby monitor and what features you may want to look for depending on your needs. Read on to find some great advice.


Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Baby Monitor

While browsing for baby products on Amazon is always a fun pastime, the purchase of an important product requires a bit more preparation. Before you even start looking for a baby monitor, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to make sure that you start off on the right foot. Deciding what you actually hope to get out of using a baby monitor and what concerns you have is essential to being successful when shopping for the right monitor to put in your baby’s room.

What Do I Want A Baby Monitor For?

Knowing what you are going to be using a baby monitor for is the first step towards finding the right product. Some experienced or less tech-savvy parents may only want to know when their child wakes up, and aren’t concerned about seeing their child, monitoring overnight, or supplementing their routines with extra features or health monitoring. For those parents, a simple audio baby monitor would be completely sufficient. For new parents or those wanting an extra level of peace of mind for their little one’s safety and well being, baby monitors that offer video surveillance with smarter cameras than security cameras and WiFi baby monitors will be better options. Making this distinction early will help guide you in the right direction as you shop.

What Concerns Do I Have About Using A Baby Monitor?

Many parents have security concerns about using a baby monitor. They do come with a couple risks, so this is definitely a valid worry. If you’re worried about your child getting caught up in the power cord or damaging the monitor, you should look for one that has sensitive enough audio detection and high quality cameras to be effective when placed far away from the baby’s crib. If you are more concerned with hackers gaining access to your baby monitor, choosing a non-WiFi monitor or an analog monitor rather than a digital. Whatever concerns you have about using a baby monitor, it is important to know that you can avoid them by choosing the right type of monitor.


Types of Baby Monitors

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Since the type of monitor you decide to buy will affect its price point, versatility, quality, and potential features, this is one of the first decisions you’ll need to make while shopping.

Audio Only Monitors

Audio-only monitors are the simplest type, and as their name suggests, they have no video capability. They won’t have any of the smarter features like health monitoring, but some of the more advanced audio models may offer you a two way talk system like a walkie-talkie to help soothe your child without entering the room. They tend to be harder to hack since they don’t have an internet connection, but they may pick up some interference from other devices in the home. The parent unit will have a rechargeable battery inside that offers a great battery life and makes the parent unit portable in and around the home. The Vtech D111 is one of the best audio only monitors available today.

Audio & Video Baby Monitors

Baby monitors that combine audio and video supervision of a child are usually the most popular when you take a glance at baby monitor reviews. They allow you to monitor a baby’s movement as well as their vocalisations, and they can come with some extra features that let you check in on your child in different ways. This noise and movement monitor system helps offer some extra protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and allows a parent to know more about their child’s well-being when not in the room. Most commonly, these units will have a fairly bulky parent unit that can be used in other rooms of the house. The Infant optics DXR-8 Pro is one of the best video-audio monitors on the market.

WiFi Enabled/Smart Baby Monitor

Smart baby monitors that connect to a WiFi network will be the most susceptible to hacking, but they also offer the most convenience, versatility, and functionality for parents. Plus, since they aren’t any MORE vulnerable than any other WiFi connected devices in your home, you’ll likely decide that this isn’t enough of a deterrent. WiFi baby monitors can connect to either a standard parent unit or to an android or apple smartphone. They allow you to check on your child even if you are far away at the office or on a business trip; the unlimited range is excellent for staying connected but also makes this baby monitor type the most vulnerable to hacking as mentioned. The intelligence of these monitors means they can perform health tracking (oxygen level monitoring, temperature sensors, and more) and app-controlled settings to help your child sleep such as lullabies or a night light. The Owlet Cam is one of the best WiFi baby monitors you’ll find.

best baby monitor audio video wifi review test comparison

Things To Consider Before Buying

  1. Budget. A simple audio monitor can cost as little as fifteen dollars, but an advanced WiFi model with HD video quality may cost over $100, especially if you decide on a model that comes with more than one camera. As a result, the budget you’ve set out for yourself will affect how many features you can consider and the overall basic functionality of the machine.
  2. Audio And/Or Video Needs. Deciding whether you need audio and video monitoring or just audio will affect many components of the monitor. Budget, signal type, included features, and flexibility of the baby unit placement will all be affected by the need for a camera or the lack of one. Some parents will be overwhelmed by the option of looking at their child even in the middle of the night while the baby sleeps, so in that case, an audio monitor may be a better fit. With the affordability of audio monitors, you could always buy both in order to have a backup.
  3. Type Of Signal. Analog audio or video monitors that use radio frequencies to send signals can emit radiation that can be harmful to your child. Digital monitors using DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) may also emit electromagnetic radiation. As a result, it is important to secure these monitors at least 6 feet away from your child’s crib. Baby monitors that use WiFi to interact will be safer for your child and offer the best quality video feed, but it will also more vulnerable to being hacked. Each type of signal will have its own benefits and concerns, so choose carefully.

best baby monitor audio video wifi review test comparison

Features To Consider

WiFi Connectivity

WiFi connectivity is one of the most sought after features in a baby monitor since it allows you to connect from anywhere, not just from the same household. It does affect the cyber security of the monitor a bit, but there are many ways to combat that risk. The strength of this connectivity will provide you with excellent picture quality, diverse mounting options, health tracking capabilities, and even the option to set up notifications. As far as baby gear goes, a monitor with WiFi connectivity is hard to beat.

Night Vision Camera

If you want the option of high quality, real time monitoring of your baby overnight, a night vision camera is the only way to get it. Night vision cameras ensure that your view of your sleeping child is as effective at night as it is during the day. This means you won’t miss any hazards or disruption to your child’s sleep due to an inadequate camera. Cameras that include night vision capabilities also are generally higher quality than those that don’t, so that’s a great bonus to look forward to if you prioritise this feature.

Sound Machine (Lullabies, White Noise, Etc.)

A sound machine is an exceptional addition to a baby monitor especially during sleep training. Different monitors will offer different sounds, but some common additions include white noise, lullabies, and even sounds from nature like waterfalls and rain. These sounds can help soothe your child if they wake up and also help them stay asleep longer by covering the noises throughout the rest of the house.

Night Light

Many children grow up scared of the dark, so the addition of a night light can be an excellent way for toddlers to feel more secure in their own room. Plus, if you need to enter the nursery during the night to feed them, change them, or for any other reason, a night light on the monitor can let you take care of business without needing to turn the main light on and fully wake up both you and your child.

Mounting Type

Some baby monitors will only be compatible with one mounting option, but others will be more versatile. It is our recommendation that you find a monitor compatible with a wall mount because it is the safest option. However, if you have a high shelf that doesn’t experience much contact with people, a standard tabletop mount may work just as well. Since clip mounts are generally less stable and more dangerous for your child, we suggest you avoid that type altogether.

Two Way Audio

Having a parent talk back option on a baby monitor is an excellent thing. When your child gets fussy, this feature allows you to talk to your child and soothe them without the need to go into the room. This can help with sleep training as well as general comfort during the day. This is a pretty popular feature so shouldn’t be too hard to find as an addition to more important features on your list.

Heart Rate, Breathing, and Room Temperature Monitoring

Monitors that can track your baby’s breathing and heart rate are invaluable to many new parents. Not only do they establish a normal baseline, but they can alert you immediately to changes in your baby’s health in order for you to seek treatment as soon as possible. Some monitors even allow you to track the temperature in the room or the oxygen level to ensure the environment is safe and comfortable for your little one.


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