Having a baby has a way of rocking your world. As mom of three (soon to be four!) kiddos, I can attest that the arrival of each child is just as special and life-altering as the first. There are so many things you don't know about babies until you have one in your arms and, from the moment a parent first sets eyes on their newborn, they’re smitten — they naturally want to do everything within their power to keep their baby safe.
Whether it’s to ease those first-time parent jitters or just the practicality of keeping an eye on baby while tending to household chores (and/or older siblings), a baby monitor is one of those must-have items for your baby's nursery. Being able to keep tabs on a baby from another room or area of the house— checking if she’s asleep, fussing, babbling to herself, and breathing properly — is crucial. Even if your little one is hanging out peacefully in her cute little crib, you'll want to have eyes on her.
When I had my first baby back in 2011, we opted for an audio-only baby monitor. It got the job done, however, the amount of interference and static the monitor picked up was endlessly frustrating. Luckily, baby monitor technology has improved by leaps and bounds since then. By the time our third child came around, we had the perfect baby monitor for us.
As you've probably noticed, there are many options available when it comes to baby monitors — audio-only baby monitors, video baby monitors, and smartphone-compatible baby monitors, to name a few. It can be overwhelming to figure out which baby monitor is best for your particular needs and budget. There’s a very wide range of features and price points, but never fear! This been-there-done-that mama has done the heavy lifting for you. I’ve scoured the internet to come up with the best, most secure baby monitors on the market. Based on a combination of my own experience, customer ratings, and expert rankings, I present to you the best baby monitors of 2020.
1. The VTech Safe & Sound DM221
This affordable, effective audio-only baby monitor is great for families who want to make sure their baby is safe without breaking the bank. I can personally vouch for the VTech Safe & Sound DM221 because this is the monitor we used with our third child (it’s also the one we’re going to use when her baby sister arrives in a few short months). For starters, its sound quality is crystal clear. Unlike the previous audio-only monitor we had, there is zero interference with this model. Another feature I’ve enjoyed is the two-way walkie talkie capability. With the press of a button, mom and/or dad can talk or sing to their little one, as well as hear if she is fussing. Did I mention it’s portable, too? You can keep the receivers plugged in — but the VTech Safe & Sound DM221 allows it to run on batteries if needed. There's also an alert when its batteries are low. You can get the monitor with one parent unit for $28-$33 (depending on the model you choose) or with two parent units for $35 on Amazon.
2. Babysense Video Baby Monitor
Parents can keep a close eye on their little one with a full-color 2.4-inch high definition LCD display via the Babysense Video Baby Monitor, which goes above and beyond the call of duty. Room temperature monitoring gives parents a temperature reading from their baby’s room (the monitor will alert caregivers when it’s too hot or too cold, or when it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or below 55 degrees). With its two-way talkback communication capability, you can talk to your baby as well as hear his cries. You can also start a lullaby — operated remotely — to help soothe her back to sleep. Other helpful features for busy parents include a 900-foot range, an out-of-range warning, low battery warning, night vision, digital pan/tilt, 2X digital zoom, and access to multi-camera views with up to four cameras. The basic model with one camera and one parent monitor retails for around $50 on Amazon and you can get upgraded models for between $80 and $120 on Amazon. Check out this YouTube review to see the Babysense video baby monitor in action!
3. Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Sock + Monitor)
The Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Sock + Monitor) offers visual and audio monitoring of your baby and peace of mind for parents. You can buy the sock and monitor separately, but together they are a remarkable product. Here’s how the sock works: A fabric wrap equipped with a smart sensor slips onto your baby’s foot and tracks her heart rate and oxygen levels while she sleeps. The smart sock connects to a base station that glows green to let parents know everything is okay with their baby. If your baby’s heart rate or oxygen levels get too high or too low, the monitor alerts caregivers with lights, sound, and app notifications. The video monitor is much like any other, the camera is set up in the baby's room but then the feed comes to your phone in the same app where you can see the baby's vitals from the sock. At $400, this baby monitor is no small investment, but for many parents, the reassurance is worth its hefty price tag.
One parent said, "I’m a mom to three - and wish I’d had this for my first baby seven years ago. LOVE OWLET!!! I love seeing everything on my phone - baby’s heart rate and oxygen, plus super clear video and 2-way audio (we hear baby and baby can hear us if we talk to her through the app/camera!). I travel for work so the convenience and ease of being able to peek in on baby from my phone is so reassuring. I am in love with the sock and camera - and think I would have been much less frazzled (and much more rested) with my older kids if I’d had this then. Love love love!"
4. Summer Infant Baby Touch Pan/Scan/Zoom Video Baby Monitor, 3.5"
Complete with a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen display, this intuitive, portable monitor allows parents to keep close tabs on their baby. Many reviewers of the Summer Infant baby monitor have said this particular model is great if you need a system for multiple rooms (for example, a baby and a toddler in different bedrooms). The base system — a monitor and one camera — will set you back just over $230 and parents can purchase additional cameras for about $70 each. Since it can connect to four cameras at once, it's a great option for larger families.
5) Nanit Smart Baby Monitor and Wall Mount
The Nanit Smart Baby Monitor stands out because it mounts to the wall next to your baby’s crib, so it offers a unique viewpoint. It also comes with plenty of bells and whistles, including an app that provides insights (and even tips!) about your baby’s sleep habits. Because this monitor is controlled with your smartphone, you won’t have to worry about carrying anything extra while catching up on chores, or resting during your little one’s nap time. Here are some other specs to keep in mind: HD video and audio, night vision, pinch-to-zoom functionality, a built-in nightlight, and temperature and humidity sensors. You can get the basic camera and wall mount for $280 or you can get the upgraded version with the camera, wall mount, and a wearable breathing monitor (designed similarly to a swaddle sleep sack) for $380. If you don't love the idea of mounting the camera to the wall, you can also purchase a stand for an additional $50.
6. Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
The DXR-8 Video Monitor by Infant Optics is different from other cameras I've seen on the market in that caregivers can switch out the lens based on how the monitor is being used — it comes with a normal lens and an optical zoom lens, but parents can choose to buy a wide-angle lens that's sold separately. Video streams to the parent unit, which features a 3.5-inch LCD color display. According to the product description, the battery can last up 12 hours in power-saving mode and eight hours with the display screen on. However, a fair amount of customer reviews note that the actual battery life is probably closer to two to three hours, including this YouTube review from a mom who tried the monitor for herself (meaning it's probably a good idea to keep it plugged in at night so it doesn't shut off). At $165, it won't break the bank.
7. Project Nursery 5" High Definition Baby Monitor System with 1.5" Mini Monitor
This particular Project Nursery system offers a traditional 5-inch high definition monitor and a 1.5-inch mini-monitor that parents can wear, which sounds amazing for busy moms and dads who might also be wrangling older siblings. The 5-inch monitor boasts a battery life of up to 16 hours, as well as the ability to record video and take photos, which are then saved to an SD card (the SD card isn't included.) Other features include two-way communication; the ability to pair up to four cameras; motion, sound, and temperature alerts; remote pan, tilt, and zoom; infrared night vision; up to 800-foot transmission; and lullaby, white noise, and natural sound audio. This monitor retails for around $200 on Amazon.
One parent review on Amazon reads, "Perfect for on the go. Just hook it around the handle of the car seat and turn it on when needed. I turn it on as soon as I put my son in the car. He falls right to sleep and the car ride home is quiet. He loves the white noise. No more crying the entire car ride home."
8) Cocoon Cam Plus Baby Monitor with Breathing Monitoring
The Cocoon Cam Plus is no ordinary baby monitor. Not only can parents check on their baby with secure HD video and sound that streams over wifi, but they can also get real-time data on their baby's breathing rate and BPM right on their display. You can also see your baby's movement using a heat map in vision mode. The camera actually watches your baby's chest rise and fall as she breathes and sends a notification straight to an app on your phone if something isn't quite right (no wearable monitor required). Parents will also receive alerts when their child is crying, has fallen asleep, or is about to wake up. The company behind the system is a startup and they're continuously updating and upgrading the monitor so you're bound to get even more features as the company evolves. It's worth noting the Cocoon Cam Plus needs to be wall-mounted, and the camera's lens will need to be adjusted manually if parents need to change the view in order to bring their baby into focus.
And there you have it! There are so many factors to take into consideration when you're on the market for a baby monitor. Whether you're content with a basic audio-only model, prefer a video monitor, or would feel most at ease with a monitor that keeps you updated on your baby's breathing, there really is something out there to suit the needs of every family. These are just a few of the best models out there, based on my personal experience and reviews from fellow been-there-done-that parents.
Be sure to bookmark this page so you can look back as you continue to tackle that daunting baby registry. I wish you the best of luck as you embark on the incredible journey of parenthood!
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