A baby monitors task is to consistently provide you with a reliable source of feedback on your babies safety and activities. Video baby monitors are the gold standard for baby monitors. With these devices, you can see your baby on the monitor, as well as hear him. A high quality video monitor will let you see even the smallest movements your baby makes.
You can not spend 24 hours a day every day in the same room as your baby if you desire to keep your sanity, and there will be times when you need to leave them asleep in another room while you do some chores or prepare a light bite etc.
In the event you would like to be all the more ambitious, you could even like to attempt really see a film together or take a seat and appreciate a suitable meal by means of your partner? An excellent computer screen is the lone way to set your mind at ease.
Baby Monitors can be confusing. All the new functions, frequencies and features to consider will make anyone’s head spin. But, you guessed it, we’re here to help on that decision making process. Read our reviews and customer commentary to find out what other people have experienced with the baby monitor that they purchased.
Let’s talk baby monitors. Having the right monitor can save a parent’s sanity. But with so many types, from the basic audio monitor to the high-tech wireless camera, knowing which to pick is difficult.
Below, we’ll review each type of baby monitor, and which may be right for you. I’ll then offer my baby monitor recommendations in each category. With that said, if you prefer side by side comparison, this chart let you immediately see pros and cons of each product and how they stack up against each other.
In general, the baby monitor that will best serve most families is the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor With Interchangeable Optical Lens. This monitor has great audio and video quality, is easy to set up, supports up to four cameras, will withstand rough handling, and has almost all the features you might want in a baby monitor. In short, it’s everything you’ll want in a standard baby monitor.
For working parents with an at-home nanny, I also recommend the Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera, since you can view the video output via your smartphone or computer. How nice to be able to see your baby snoozing while you’re at work! Although not a traditional baby monitor, this camera has exceptional video and audio quality. If you’re comfortable with the idea of using a smartphone app to help you keep tabs on your baby, then the Dropcam Pro is definitely something to check out.
Top 10 video baby monitor our picks
Here are ten of the most highly rated Baby Monitors from our findings:
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor With Interchangeable Optical Lens
The Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor is the best choice for most parents, since it performs well in every major category.
The sound and video quality are excellent, so you’ll be able to hear and see your baby without any difficulty.
The battery life is as good as you’ll get with a video monitor, and it gives both audio and visual low battery warnings. You can add up to four cameras with the Infant Optics monitor, and it’s durable enough to stand up to some rough handling.
This monitor offers tons of camera angle options to get the perfect view your baby. The Infant Optics DXR-8 comes with two lenses – standard and zoom. Employ the zoom lens if you need or want to position the camera farther away from the baby’s crib.
The Baby Optics DXR-8 is a great top of the range video baby monitor. It’s very pricey, but I am fairly sure you will not be disappointed if you’re able to manage it.
The outstanding battery life and crystal clear 2-way communication system are superb characteristics which make the DXR 8 stand out of the group, but remote control mechanism and the image quality are likely its chief selling points.
The Infant Optics DXR-8 has a quite clear and very big 3.5″ LCD screen. This better image quality is especially significant during the nighttime when you’ll use the DXR 8’s infrared night vision. The Remote pan, tilt and digital zoom is another great selling point of the DXR 8.
This really is a costly unit which will be past the budget of a lot of individuals. But if you’re able to afford the DXR 8 computer screen I am certain that you Won’t be let down.
This is a nicely-built computer screen and has some excellent characteristics that are exceptional. Above all, the producer hasn’t sacrificed the fundamental functionality of the monitor when integrating these added attributes. It’s astonishingly user friendly thinking about the many striking characteristics.
The DXR 8 is considered by many to be the Top Video Monitor on the marketplace – and I can not locate any reason to differ with them. It’s best for you in the event you are buying high quality video baby monitor with growth capabilities and that may be utilized with your smartphone.Check Price On Amazon
The optional wide-angle lens is great for playrooms or a toddler’s room. Furthermore, this is one of the few video baby monitors that has remote-controlled pan and tilt. If your baby scrunches up at the very end of the crib, just out of view, no problem. Simply move the camera via controls on the parent unit to get a better look.
Perhaps you’re more organized than me, but in the mad dash to pack for trips, I inevitably forget some part of the monitor, usually the parent unit charger.
If you haven’t experienced it, let me tell you it’s a bad situation when you’re trying to conserve the battery life of a baby monitor over a long weekend trip.
With the standard micro USB port, it’s much easier to find a cable to charge the baby monitor in the event you’re without the included cable.
This monitor is great, but it’s also expensive. If you’re balking at the price, consider the fact you may use it every day for two years or more. It’s an investment, to be sure, but it may very well be the most useful piece of baby gear you purchase, aside from the pacifier.
Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera
There is no pan or tilt, but this hardly matters given the exceptional video quality of the Dropcam Pro. Unlike Foscam or other wireless video cameras, this one is easy to set up.
There is no parent unit, and thus no continuous audio or video (unless you run the app continuously on your phone), so it may not work for everyone.
I recommend this camera for parents who leave their baby at home with a caregiver for long stretches of the day, such as working parents with nannies. Just run the app on your phone to see what’s happening on the camera.Check Price On Amazon
Motorola MBP33 Wireless Video Baby Monitor with Infrared Night Vision
The Motorola MBP33 Wireless Video Baby Monitor is a top quality baby monitor with some great features and user-friendly design.
I’ve put mine through the ringer for about a year now, and it’s held up beautifully. In this review I’ll point out some of my favorite features, as well as the features I think could be added or improved.
It Just Works
What’s the best thing about the Motorola MBP33 Wireless Video Baby Monitor? It just works. Period. You take it out of the box, plug in the camera and monitor, and it’s ready.
I’ve also used this monitor while traveling internationally, connecting it to electrical converters and subjecting it to power fluctuations. Yet the monitor held up and is still going strong months later. (I don’t think the manufacturer recommends that type of use, however.) It’s also stood up to frequent drops and some light chewing by a certain someone.
Video Quality and Audio Quality
Another great feature of the Motorola monitor is the outstanding video quality. The video quality is excellent, even in the dark. I usually make my baby’s room completely dark at night, and it doesn’t affect the video quality as far as I can tell. I still see her every movement (even the rise and fall of her chest as she breathes).
The audio quality is good, too. It doesn’t sound tinny at all. If anything the sound is a little too good, as the monitor amplifies every sound my baby makes.
What else is wonderful and exciting about the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor? I love the temperature display – I think that’s my favorite “extra” feature on the monitor. When we visit Grandma’s house and use the monitor, I can tell if the room is too chilly for my daughter.
The ability to use up to four cameras with the monitor is great, and I find the audio low battery alert and out-of-range alert extremely useful. As far as range is concerned, it works at up to 590 feet, and I’ve never had trouble with it in my wood frame house. I did, however, have some problems getting a signal far from the baby’s room in a multi-story concrete-block house. You will encounter this issue with all monitors, though – not just the Motorola.
This monitor also has two-way communication, plays lullabies, and has good (but not amazing) battery life. Importantly, the monitor doesn’t interfere with my wireless signal at home too much (which is why I ultimately purchased this monitor over others I tested).
Room To Improve
In my mind, there are only a couple things to improve about the monitor. The biggest issue for me is that I can’t turn the volume all the way off. My baby fusses when I lay her down for bed, and I’d rather not listen to that through the monitor (even at a very low volume) for ten minutes while she settles down.
The Motorola doesn’t have a time display like the Samsung. It also doesn’t have the ability to pan and tilt the camera remotely. It can only zoom remotely. This is not a huge issue for me as I can position the camera above the crib so I can see the entire area without the need to pan.
The Motorola MBP33 is a well- . It’s become one of the best selling monitors in the marketplace due to the striking functionality provided. If you are seeking a high end and affordable baby monitor, do not miss it.
The most enticing characteristics of the baby monitor could be its video quality that is perfect. It produces high resolution video that’s up to 25 fps on a total 2.8 inch color LCD screen.
And unlike the majority of the baby monitors out there, the video quality will not be changed substantially in night vision mode, which is a fantastic attribute adored by many parents.
With the aid of a temperature detector that shows the measuring result on the LCD screen, you are competent to ensure the room will not be too hot or too cold and keep your infant at relaxation all the time.
The wireless range is up to 200 meters. It brings much benefit for all those living in houses that are larger. The sound and video data transmission is encrypted for security. Anyway, in case you walk too far away from the baby’s room, you’ll be alarmed by an out-of-range alarm.
I’ve found the Motorola MBP33 to be the best out of al the monitors I’ve tried. It has all the features I need, and works like a charm. I can’t ask for better than that!
In a nutshell, it may be viewed as among the top baby monitors for its useful built in attributes which are adaptable to match with most parents’ needs.Check Price On Amazon
Samsung SEW-3036W BabyView Baby Monitoring System
The Samsung Video Baby Monitor SEW-3036WN Wireless is a great choice for your home because it works well, has some great features, and, best of all, is super stylish.
This monitor is comparable to other high-end, best-selling video baby monitors, like the Motorola MBP33 Wireless Video Baby Monitor, and the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor. In this review I’ll highlight how the Samsung monitor separates itself from the pack.
First, the most standout feature: the design. The Samsung Video Baby Monitor is hands-down the most stylish, design-conscious product I’ve come across in my search for the best baby monitor. It has a modern look, but also hints at a retro style.
In my house, the baby monitor is usually front-and-center in the kitchen, living room, or bedroom, so it would be nice to have a monitor that looks cool since it’s out in the open. The camera is similarly stylish, so it won’t be such an eyesore in baby’s room. Like most other monitors, the camera can be wall-mounted or freestanding.
Video Quality and Audio Quality
Now, we know this monitor looks good, but how does it function? It functions well – not spectacularly, but good enough. Mainly, the video quality leaves something to be desired compared to the Summer Infant and Motorola monitors.
I think the issue here is that you lose some resolution due to the large 3.5-inch screen. The larger screen is very nice, though. The slightly reduced video-quality is not a deal-breaker in my book.
The sound quality is fine, but I think Motorola and Summer Infant do it slightly better than Samsung in this category, too.
Now on to some more good stuff: the Samsung SEW-3036WN has some great extras. Unexpectedly, my favorite ‘extra’ on this monitor is the time display. I’m not always near a clock when I look at the baby monitor, and it’s really nice to see the time at a glance.
The VOX function is basically a standby mode where the video display automatically turns off if the baby isn’t making noise. This also means there isn’t constant background noise when it’s quiet in your baby’s room. This is a great feature that I didn’t realize I would love so much.
Furthermore, the range is great (no problems in my house), the zoom works fine, and it has an average battery life (seems like 6-8 hours to me, less if you’re constantly using video).
Well, like I mentioned earlier, the video and audio quality is not quite as good as the competition’s. I also wish this monitor came with a temperature display on the parent unit. This monitor doesn’t pan unless in zoom, but that’s not a big deal if you position it properly over the crib.
My final take: this is a good video monitor, with the exceptional feature being the design. If you don’t mind slightly reduced video and audio quality (frankly, I don’t), but would prefer a modern-looking device, this is one you should seriously consider.
Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitor
Angelcare Monitor is a well-known brand when it comes to baby monitor and they make seriously amazing products.
The Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor in this review is a very popular product that also detects movements from your sleeping baby, and it’s sensitive enough to detect the movements of your baby breathing.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a serious worry for many parents. We do all we can to prevent it (lay the baby on his back, remove loose blankets, keep the temperature cooler, etc.), but we can’t ensure it won’t happen. That’s where the Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor comes in.
The Movement Sensor
How does this work? The monitor comes with a sensor pad that you place under the baby’s mattress. If the monitor doesn’t sense movement for 20 seconds, an alarm sounds on the parent unit. You can adjust the motion detector pad’s sensitivity to find the best detection level for your crib configuration and your baby’s natural movement.
The Audio Monitor
In addition to the movement sensor, this is also a very good audio monitor, with great quality sound. The parent unit has an impressive 820-foot range, and has an out of range indicator to let you know when you aren’t getting a signal. Keep in mind that the actual range you get depends on the layout of your house and what it’s made of (concrete block reduces range more than wood frame, for example).
Other fun features on the Angelcare monitor include a room thermometer and nightlight (although I found the nightlight useless since I use a special nightlight placed near the door). Both the camera and parent unit can operate on batteries or AC adaptors. The monitor automatically converts to battery power in the case of a power failure, which is a nice feature to have, especially on a stormy night.
Additionally, there is a low battery indicator so you know the monitor won’t unexpectedly turn off. Another nice features is that the monitor can either provide continuous sound reception, or it can activate when there is a noise above a certain level in your baby’s room (like if your baby cries).
So What’s The Downside?
The motion detector feature for this product is outstanding and the audio monitoring works great, which makes it one of the best baby monitors on the market. However, this monitor is obviously missing a video component. If you want a video monitor in addition to the motion sensor, you can get the Angelcare 4 Piece Baby Video Sound and Movement Baby Monitor System for a hefty about $150.
Some users also report that the temperature sensor is inaccurate. Also good to know is that the parent unit displays the temperature only when the sensor detects a change in temperature, so it could be a while until you see what the temperature is.
This monitor might also not be ideal if you play music or other sounds in your baby’s room while he’s sleeping. Depending on the volume of the music and the placement of the receptor in relation to the sound, you might experience the music or sound cutting in and out from the parent unit speaker.
If you are seriously worried about SIDS, however, then this is the monitor for you. The movement sensor feature is a great way to have peace of mind that your baby is safe while you catch a few zzz’s yourself. .
This is one of the most reliable movement monitors I’ve tried, plus the audio quality is great.
With some careful set-up and experimentation, you can significantly reduce the number of false alarms.
This monitor is great for anxious parents worried that their baby will stop breathing while she sleeps.
Well under $100, the Angelcare monitor gives parents peace of mind for a decent price.Check Price On Amazon
Safe Baby Tech wifi Video Baby Monitor
Trying to find a big screen video baby monitor that can stay put in a single area, like on your own bedside table, in family room, or the kitchen? Subsequently the Safe Baby Tech wifi Video Baby Monitor is the one for you.
It’s a slick and really big 7″ screen, that resembles a digital picture frame, and is about the size of an iPad Mini. We located the video to have the computer screen to be high resolution for good visibility, a great quality sign, as well as the night vision to function fairly nicely. It was also extremely simple to set up, just plug in the video monitor, and plug in the camera, and you are all set.
It comes with excellent features: it’s an integrated two way intercom system, a sleep mode that dims the display but leaves on the sound, adjustable volume, and flexible wireless stations to ensure sign clarity with interference from various other devices.
Overall, it’s some excellent features, and this is an excellent purchase for a little less expensive in relation to the Baby Optics! The wireless range between camera to computer screen is astounding. The display size is quite big and this is an excellent merchandise. I’ll definitely highly recommend them to other Mothers!Check Price On Amazon
VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor
This is a basic audio monitor that is reliable and easy to use. I recommend the VTech for those on a tight budget, parents who aren’t sure they want to use a baby monitor, use as a back-up monitor (particularly if you’re using the Dropcam as your main monitor), or as a spare at grandma’s house.Check Price On Amazon
Infant Optics DXR-5 Video Baby Monitor with Night Vision
Baby Optics’ DXR 5 is a simplified variant of the DXR 8 model. While it is practical as a video baby monitor, it is sound tracking is not bad as well as the support choices are not weak.
It’s possible for you to anticipate a very great transmission range from the DXR 5. Baby Optics advertises the range as 800 feet, as the sign probably will pass through walls at home but your mileage may change. In addition , there are other impeding problems to take into account. But that is something which all video baby monitors must handle.
As far as sound observation is concerned, the DXR 5 sets several useful tools available. We are huge supporters of the two way chat characteristic that the top video baby monitors contain, as well as the DXR-5 the execution of is superb. This enables your infant to soothe, even when you are not close to him.
Why buy the Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor? Because the price is right. At about $100, this is one of the best priced video monitors (that actually works well) that I’ve found.
You don’t get many extra features with this monitor, but you do get good quality video and sound for under $100.
Video Quality and Audio Quality
The video and audio quality are both surprisingly good for the price of this monitor. I’d say that they were great if I hadn’t been testing other monitors with excellent sound and video quality.
Honestly, you don’t need HD video to watch your baby in the crib. You want to see if his eyes are open or closed, if he’s moving around, and if a leg is trapped in the bars of the crib. You can see all of these things just fine with the Infant Optics monitor.
The sound is a bit tinny compared to some more expensive monitors, but again, it doesn’t affect the basic functioning of the monitor. The monitor is sensitive enough to hear your baby murmur or make small noises, and it’s certainly sensitive enough to hear a cry.
There aren’t too many extra features on this baby monitor, but I think that’s just fine. For a basic video monitor, you don’t need much more than sound, video, and a decent reception range, right? But this monitor does offer a couple features that are very nice to have.
One extra is the ability to add multiple cameras so that you can monitor more than one room, which is great if you have more than one kid, or if you frequently need the monitor in the bedroom and in a playroom. Each additional camera is under $70, which is a good price compared to other video monitor cameras.
Another nice feature of the Infant Optics baby video monitor is the optional standby mode. When in this mode, the video and sound on the parent unit turn off, but as soon as the camera picks up a noise, the video and sound come back on. Some users report that music played in the baby’s room was enough to “wake up” the monitor from standby mode, which could be a problem if you regularly play music or sounds in your baby’s room to lull her to sleep.
One issue I have with the monitor is that the battery size it uses is non-standard. You have to get a camera battery, which of course I never have on hand. Another small concern is the material quality. The monitor just feels cheaper than others I’ve tested. The plastic is very lightweight and it seems flimsy. The monitor, however, is surprisingly durable, despite the cheap feel.
The main problem I’ve found with the Infant Optics video monitor is that it beeps when it enters standby mode. There’s no way to turn off the beep and still keep the monitor in standby. This is sort of annoying in the middle of the night, and something I would like to see changed in the next model.
For a basic video monitor that doesn’t break the bank, this is the choice for you. Good quality audio monitors don’t cost much less than this video monitor, so if you’ve been wanting to try a video monitor but haven’t because of the price, consider the Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor DXR-5 2.4 GHz. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
All in all, the Baby Optics DXR-5 is a video baby monitor that is decent, it is infrared night vision does a very great job of keeping your infant observable even when it is dim. The sound observation is top notch,
The Baby Optics baby monitor may be the most effective baby video tracking apparatus across the price point of $100. In the event you do not need to spend on a video baby monitor with a camera, it’s going to be an excellent choice for you or are restricted by the budget.Check Price On Amazon
Summer Infant Touchscreen Digital Color Video Baby Monitor
The Summer Infant Touch Digital Color Video Baby Monitor is perhaps the most feature-packed video baby monitor on the market today. It’s high quality, high tech, and high priced.
What’s so impressive about the Summer Infant monitor? I noticed two great features that set it apart from most other monitors. One is the touchscreen parent unit. It works like a smartphone display, and I found it very intuitive and user friendly.
The second great feature is the ability to remotely tilt the camera up and down or side-to-side. At this price point, there aren’t many other baby monitors of comparable quality that have this feature.
The remote control feature would be perfect to use in playrooms where you want to see what’s happening in the entire room, not just the crib. The pan is quiet, too, so you don’t have to worry about waking up your baby if you need to remotely reposition the camera angle while she’s sleeping.
Video Quality and Audio Quality
The meat and potatoes of the video monitor is, of course, the video and sound quality. So how does the Summer Infant monitor rate? It provides excellent quality for both sound and video. Keep in mind that the video quality is not perfect, especially on night vision mode, but it’s much more than adequate for checking in on your little one.
I like the large 3.5-inch LCD video display, and the sleek design is nice. But I find the monitor a little awkward to hold and use with one hand. The reception range is completely sufficient for my wood frame house. I’ve never had a problem with losing the signal.
The battery life is about average, lasting longer if you don’t use the video much. The monitor will not last all night without charging, however, so you must plug it in before bed. I’ve found this to be the case with all the monitors I’ve tried.
The ability to add multiple cameras is another very nice feature of the Summer Infant monitor. The monitor will scan between cameras, showing intervals of each video feed with both video and audio. Most monitors with multiple camera capability scan between cameras with audio only.
I’ve told you what a great monitor this is. So what’s the catch? There are a few features I’d like to see improved upon. The monitor scratches easily so you might want to purchase the Silicone Protector.
I’ve also found that the monitor interferes with the wireless signal in my house more than some other monitors I’ve tested (especially compared to the Motorola MBP33). You can solve this problem by purchasing a better router if you’re so inclined.
My main gripes, however, have to do with two missing features. One is that there is no temperature sensor on this monitor. It’s something I’ve grown used to on my previous monitor, and I really missed it in this one. The second feature I wish Summer Infant included is an audible low battery warning.
If the battery is low, you get a visual warning, and then the monitor turns off. This would be a problem if you forget to plug in the monitor for the night before falling asleep, which I’ve done before.
What’s the bottom line? This is an outstanding monitor, made particularly wonderful by its multi-camera options and ability to remotely control the camera. Summer Infant has made a monitor with great video quality and great features at an expensive price point (but not unreasonable).
Motorola MBP33S Wireless Video Baby Monitor
It slightly underperforms in the battery life and video quality categories as compared to the Infant Optics. The reason the Motorola deserves a mention is because of it’s cool simultaneous viewing feature for multiple cameras.
You can see multiple cameras all at once on the parent unit, instead of scanning through them at 12-second intervals as the Infant Optics monitor does. If you know you’ll use your monitor’s multi camera feature, go with the Motorola.Check Price On Amazon
Levana Jena Digital Baby Video Monitor
There are lots of reasons that the Levana Jena Digital Baby Monitor is among the very often named in regards to top of the line products. Among the first edges to this system is that it’s an adequate price point.
Among the other favorite characteristics of the merchandise is the reality that it’s a lengthy battery life. With a complete price, it’ll persist as many as eight hours, providing you with access to the room of your child through the night. What this means is you could look at any given time to check up on your own infant and see if they’re having any trouble sleeping at the digital display.
Another one of the very fascinating facets of the Levana Jena baby monitor is the fact that it’s an intercom which you can utilize to talk with your infant. You can talk to them or even play music through the intercom in the event the kid only wants some soothing words as opposed to the real existence of the parent. This really is ideal for parents that want to complete their jobs round the house while the baby is resting.
In a nutshell, the sound of it’s is not bad and video also, including night vision. I’d advocate it in case you truly need to maintain a close watch on your own infant.Check Price On Amazon
How to Select a Monitor for your baby
Baby monitors advertise a lot of features that are not very useful. Lullabies played via the monitor are great at keeping my kids awake. The two-way-talk feature is useful as an intercom between my husband and I, but only serves to get my baby screaming even harder. Don’t be distracted by these gimmicks.
So what should you look for? A baby monitor absolutely must do its basic functions well: provide clear audio reception and detailed video image (if applicable). Other important features include sufficient low battery warnings, high durability, and the ability to monitor multiple rooms, especially if you have (or plan to have) more than one child.
Let’s briefly run through each of these criteria to help you evaluate which monitor is right for your family.
Sound Quality: You’d think that all baby monitors would have great sound quality since that’s the most essential element of the device, right? Think again! Some monitors just do not get it right in this category, sadly.
For security and audio clarity, you should select a digital baby monitor, not an analog. Analog signals carry over radio waves, and can be heard by anyone tuning in (thus, the infamous scenario of hearing your neighbors over the baby monitor). Digital monitors convert sound into data, making it very difficult for others to eavesdrop.
All the monitors I recommend are digital, and all have excellent sound quality. Even the VTECH DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor is a great choice for audio clarity.
Video Quality: If you have a video monitor, the video quality is just as important as audio quality. Screen size, night vision capabilities, and zoom/tilt/pan options affect image clarity.
The Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor offers a 3.5-inch screen on the parent unit, significantly bigger than the Motorola MBP33S Wireless Video Baby Monitor’s 2.8 inches. I’ve used the 2.8-inch size in the past, and I found it entirely sufficient for my needs, but the 3.5-inch screen is awfully nice. Of course the Dropcam screen size is dependent on the Android or iOS device you use in conjunction with the camera.
Night vision is a must, and the Infant Optics DXR-8, the Motorola MBP33S, and the Dropcam all have it. Beware of less expensive video monitors that don’t have night vision.
One of the few monitors that offers remote-controlled camera pan and tilt is the Infant Optics DXR-8. Plus, this monitor comes with a normal lens, zoom lens, and (optional) wide-angle lens so you can get the best view of your baby. Keep in mind you must change the lenses manually. The Motorola MBP33S and Dropcam offer remote-controlled zoom. I’ve found that careful positioning of the camera can make up for the lack of a pan or tilt option.
Battery Life and Low Battery Warnings: Battery life is extremely important to some people, but to me it’s not a major issue. Surprised? I simply don’t mind setting the parent unit in a stationary place, plugged in, while I do things around the house. Plus, most video monitors can’t go all night on a single charge and will need to be plugged in at night anyway.
It’s the low battery warning that I’m most concerned with. I want to know if my monitor is about it die, because it’s no good when the monitor is off and I don’t know it. I want my monitor to provide a visual low-battery warning (like a red light and/or low bars) and an audio warning (such as a series of beeps). All the monitors I recommend have both the audio and visual low-battery warnings.
Battery life of the parent unit does vary widely among types of monitors (audio vs. video) and even amongst similar kinds (Infant Optics vs. Motorola video monitors). The VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor does the best in battery life tests, with up to 18 hours on a single charge. The Motorola MBP33S Wireless Video Baby Monitor is weakest in the battery life department, with only 3.5 hours of function on a single charge.
Multi-camera Ability and Cost: Some baby monitors can work with multiple cameras or sensors. This is useful if you have more than one child to monitor, or if you have a playroom separate from the bedroom and you’d like to view both rooms.
Both the Motorola MBP33S and the Infant Optics DXR-8 work with up to four cameras. Additional cameras for the Motorola and for the Infant Optics monitor. The Dropcam works with multiple cameras, too, but you must buy each about $200, a very steep price.
The Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitor can work with multiple systems if set on different channels, but is not recommended. The VTech Audio Baby Monitor isn’t a good option for parents who want to listen in on multiple rooms because two units working at once causes too much signal interference.
Durability: I didn’t know this when I was looking for my first baby monitor, but durability is important. When we travel, the baby monitor is usually one of the last things that gets packed, and that means it gets shoved into the small spaces available in the suitcase or in the trunk.
It falls out of bags when we open them, it gets dropped while we’re setting it up in a hurry, and in general it’s subject to our clumsiness, which is only heightened while sleep deprived and carrying a kid or two. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dropped the parent unit onto my hard floors.
And you know what? Most of the monitors I’ve tried hold up pretty well – especially the Motorola and Vtech monitors. These are sure bets if you know you’ll put your monitor through the ringer.
The downside of video baby monitors is that some are just not very good. If the video quality is poor, then it’s tough to see the small details that can make video monitors so valuable. More questions arise than are answered: is her hand trapped there? Is his leg hanging out of the crib? Is she breathing?
Unfortunately, good quality video monitors tend to be on the expensive side. You won’t see any low-cost video monitors in my recommendations because, well, in my opinion you’d be better off getting a high-quality audio monitor.
Sound Monitor vs. Video Monitor, What’s The Better?
Should I buy an audio monitor, or a fancy video baby monitor? The option you prefer will reflect your parenting style.
If you’re weighing the options, here are the major points for you to consider in deciding how to check in on your baby from a (short) distance.
Sound Monitor Pros:
- The best thing about sound-only monitors is that they are generally less expensive than video monitors. They accomplish the basic job of alerting you to problems (or an awake baby) pretty well. Parents learn the different cries of their baby rather quickly, so you’ll be able to tell the difference between a cranky cry and a truly distressed cry without much trouble.
- Another reason the audio-only monitor is nice is because it’s less likely to result in what I call “over concerned parent syndrome.” This syndrome tends to pop up in new parents, and the symptoms are an obsessive desire to check on the baby every 30 seconds or so. Just to make sure it’s breathing. And on its back. And not choking on spit up. And on and on. With just the audio, you act when you hear a noise on the monitor, and you don’t worry when it’s quiet.
Sound Monitor Cons:
- It’s true that sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on by sound alone. A child climbing out of the crib doesn’t necessarily make noise doing so. If you’re using a monitor for older babies, they can get into quiet a bit of trouble while being very quiet, and you just can’t tell with the audio only monitor.
- In certain types of parents, the sound-only monitor can create more worry because you get only a partial picture of what’s happening with the baby. A worrier type of parent might constantly wonder, “what’s that sound?” “Is she ok?” If you know you are this type of person, you can stop reading this article now. Go online to order your video monitor immediately so that it’s set up at least two months before your baby arrives. Then have a nice glass of wine and calm down.
Video Monitor Pros:
- The obvious perk with video monitors is that you can see your child. This is especially wonderful if you use sleep training to teach your child to sleep on her own. You can look to see if your baby is truly in trouble, or simply crying for attention. You can check for tangled blankets, trapped limbs, and yes, you can even look to see if your baby is breathing. I do this more than I’d like to admit.
Video Monitor Cons:
- Video monitors create their own amount of paranoia and worry for parents. It’s tempting to check the video constantly, watching for any movement or sign of life. In all likelihood, your baby is perfectly fine and the video monitor is just facilitating overprotectiveness.
- The worst thing about the video monitors, however, is the price. These monitors are generally very expensive. It’s a lot of money to spend on a non-essential item.
Both options – video and audio-only – are great ways to help you keep your little one safe and sound at home. Choosing the best baby monitor is the matter of your personal preference and unique parenting style.
Using Baby Monitors to Check on Your Babysitter?
We all know that a baby monitor is great for checking on the baby…but is it also good for watching your baby with the babysitter? This is a controversial topic that elicits strong reactions from both parents and care-providers.
We enter touchy territory when parents want to check in on their child while they are away from home (without telling the babysitter), and the care-provider doesn’t want to be viewed without her permission.
Here’s the low-down on the issues you should be aware of if you are considering using a monitor to monitor your babysitter.
How it Works
One way to monitor your baby (and the babysitter) from outside the home is through smartphone apps that let you view the video over the internet. BabyPing is a good example of this type of system. You can purchase the BabyPing monitor, along with the BabyPing+ app, and very quickly and easily have a working system to view your baby at any time from your smartphone or tablet.
Another option is to purchase a wireless IP camera that delivers live video and audio through the internet to a web browser. One of the best selling wireless IP cameras is the Foscam, which provides good quality video for a good price. This method requires more set-up than a system like BabyPing, but it’s more flexible because you don’t need an app to view the live video.
Ethics & Legality
It is legal to video-record anything inside your home or on your property. A babysitter working in your home doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy (unless she’s in the bathroom, or her bedroom in the case of a live-in nanny). So, legally speaking, it’s not a violation of the babysitter’s privacy to video-record her while she’s working for you in your home.
Ok, so you can do this without getting arrested. Should you do it? That’s another question. Of course your primary concern is your child. Most of us are willing to do anything to keep our children safe, including spying on the babysitter. Let’s think about this, though.
Why do you want to watch the babysitter with your baby? Is it because you miss your little one and want to see her playing and resting throughout the day? Or is it because you are worried the babysitter is not properly caring for your baby? If your reasoning is more of the latter, even before you install any app for web viewing, you should hire a new babysitter. The safety of your child is paramount, and if you have serious doubts about the ability of your caregiver to keep your child safe and happy, it’s time to seek out better help.
So should you use your baby monitor or webcam to check in on your babysitter? Sure, but the best way to do so is to inform the babysitter that you might be watching from time to time. That way you minimize surprises for both of you. The babysitter knows to act as if she is on camera at all times, and you don’t have to feel like you’re spying.
A baby monitor probably won’t help your kids sleep, but it might help you sleep, since you can rest easy knowing your baby is safe and sound in the other room. Whatever your needs, there is a baby monitor that will suit your budget, house, and family.