If you have a baby or young child, chances are you need a baby monitor. While the baby monitors you grew up with were more like walkie-talkies, today’s baby monitors contain all kinds of features. You’ll need to make many decisions about what features you want before you can pick the right one. This guide will provide the types of features offered on most models. We’ll also be giving you some descriptions about some of the best baby monitors on the market.
Types of Monitors
- 1 Types of Monitors
- 2 Selecting a Baby Monitor – What to Consider?
- 3 Top Rated Baby Monitors
- 4 Conclusion
There are two main types of baby monitors: audio and video.
Audio Baby Monitors
Audio monitors are usually inexpensive because they don’t come with many other features. They usually have lights to indicate the level of sound in the room you’re monitoring. The more sound, the larger the number of lights. If you just need a basic monitor to know whether or not your child is awake, this may be all you need.
Video monitors range in price, but are usually significantly more expensive than audio monitors. Video monitors use a camera that you set up in your child’s room. This allows you to see and hear what your child is doing. Some video monitors connect through a digital transmission, while others connect through wi-fi. Monitors with wi-fi capability can stream video feed onto other devices such as your smartphone.
Selecting a Baby Monitor – What to Consider?
Every home and family looks different. Fortunately, there is a baby monitor created for almost every type of situation. No matter what size home you live in, how many children you have, or if you travel a lot; there is a monitor for you. Here are some of the key features you should look at before making a decision.
Long-range vs Short-range
Every monitor and parent unit have a range it can work in before it loses connection. If you think you’ll need to take your parent unit a ways away from the monitor because you live in a large home or need to do work around your property, you’ll want to search for a long-range monitor.
Both types of monitors (audio and video) have the possibility of having a range indicator. This will let you know when your unit is out of the range of the monitor placed in your child’s room. If you have a large property, this can help make sure you don’t go too far without being able to hear or see your child.
Batteries vs Plug-In
Some baby monitors only take batteries while others can only be plugged in. Some monitors have the ability to do both. If you think you may take your child somewhere where there won’t be an outlet, buying one that takes batteries is a good idea. If you plan on only using it in your home, find one that you can plug into an outlet. Buying one that only plugs into the wall will ensure that you don’t spend money on batteries.
Both audio and video monitors can have a two-way talk feature. This feature allows you to speak to your child from the monitor without having to enter their room. It is a helpful feature for parents who need to give direction to their children or for children who need to hear their parents’ voices during the night.
While some babies just need to hear their parent’s voices, others go to sleep with the aid of just music. Some monitors allow you to activate music with your receiver.
If you have a video monitor, there are multiple screen sizes you can choose from. A larger screen means you’ll be able to see more of your child’s room. If you have multiple children sleeping in the same room or if your child sleeps in a large room, then a larger screen could be helpful.
Some monitors also have the ability to connect to a computer screen or television. This allows you to see the room on an even bigger screen.
Pan, Tilt, & Zoom
Video monitors come with cameras of different capabilities. Some cameras just sit stationary with no other functionalities. Many cameras allow you to zoom in or get a pan view of the room. Some cameras also allow you to tilt the camera from the receiver, so you can look up and down. If you have an active child or multiple children in one room, a camera with more capabilities can help you get a better idea of what’s going on at night.
Many baby video monitors come with night vision which is an important capability for anyone who is monitoring a child in a dark room. If your child sleeps in a room with dark or blackout curtains, night vision is likely the only way you’ll be able to see them on your screen.
Some baby monitors also double as a nightlight. This is convenient if you need to go to your child’s room in the middle of the night and change a diaper or retrieve a blanket for them. It is also helpful for children who feel safer with a light in the room.
Some video monitors can give you a temperature reading for your child’s room. If you’re worried about them getting too cold or hot at night, this can give you some peace of mind.
Some monitors are equipped to help you prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A motion detector pad fits under the crib mattress and sounds an alarm if there is no movement over a specified period of time. It also helps monitor changes in breathing. The only issue with these motion sensors is that they sometimes sound false alarms.
There are baby video monitors that allow you to connect to a device such as your computer or cell phone. You can then see the video on your device. If you want to watch your child while you’re out or don’t want to carry your receiver around with you, this is a convenient option.
Wi-fi cameras can come with some issues. Some of them only show a video feed if they detect motion. They can also interfere with other electronic devices in your home, causing you to get a fuzzy or broken up image. Unfortunately, they can also be hacked. There are some cases of parents who have found that others hacked into their monitors or devices through their baby monitor.
If you have multiple children in different rooms, you’ll want to find a monitor that provides dual images. These monitors allow you to set up cameras in multiple rooms. You can then view all of the rooms on the same screen or flip through the different screens to see each child.
Some dual monitors come with multiple cameras. Others only come with one camera. However, you can purchase additional cameras as needed.
Top Rated Baby Monitors
There are several types of monitors you can buy which can make you feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right one. This is because just like any other baby product, there’s a lot of things to consider before deciding which baby monitor works best for you and your family. There is also a large price range among monitors.
Don’t worry! Here are a few we think are worth checking out.
Infant Optics DXR-8
The Infant Optics DXR-8 is one of the best and most popular video baby monitors you can buy. This battery-powered monitor strikes a good balance between price and quality. The DXR-8 has one of the longest ranges among all video monitors with a 700-foot range. The receiver has a large, high-quality screen with a temperature display. This monitor also features two-way communication and night vision.
The DXR-8 camera is its most unique feature. It has an interchangeable optical lens, allowing you to customize views of the room. You can focus on the whole room or just on a specific area of the room. The camera can also pan, tilt, and zoom. This quality monitor allows you to really keep tabs on your child without breaking the bank, making it our number one recommendation.
Motorola MBP 25-2 Remote Wireless
Another excellent video monitor is the Motorola MBP 25-2 Remote Wireless. This monitor is a more affordable option than the DXR-8, and it also comes with two cameras instead of one. This monitor, therefore, is a better fit for parents who know they’ll need to cover more than one room right off the bat.
The MBP 25-2 has a fairly long range at 520 feet. As the name implies, it works through a wireless connection. It also comes with a large, high-quality screen, room temperature monitoring, two-way communication, and night vision. The MBP 25-2 also plays five lullabies that you can activate with the receiver. The camera does not have any pan, tilt, or zoom options, so it is not quite as versatile as more expensive options. For parents who need a cheaper video monitor, this option is a solid choice.
VTech DM 221
Not all parents want or need a video monitor for their child’s room. If you’re only looking for an audio-only monitor, then the VTech DM 221 is one of the best options on the market. This affordable monitor has an impressive 1,000-foot range. It also has one of the highest sound qualities, allowing you to clearly hear your child’s room without interference. The monitor comes with audio, indicator lights, and vibrations which will ensure that you know when your child is awake and needs you.
The VTech DM 221 provides two-way communication, so you can soothe your baby from outside their room. It also conveniently acts as a night late, perfect for late-night diaper changes. This audio monitor is perfect for parents who need a simple way to ensure their baby is safe and sound. It is our top choice for audio-only monitors.
When looking for a monitor, try making a list of everything you need to have. Not all families need a large range, temperature monitoring, or dual screens. Some families need all of those features and more. Once you know which features are most important to you, it will be much easier to select the right monitor for your home.