Long gone are the days of sneaking into your child’s room to check up on them as they sleep; baby monitors are loaded with features that let you keep tabs on your little one from the next room. But while some baby monitors can connect to Wi-Fi, many parents know that the best non-Wi-Fi baby monitors have a lot to offer. Non-Wi-Fi monitors tend to be more dependable, and they don’t have the same security concerns as Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Buying a baby monitor can be overwhelming; there are so many options to choose from and they all look pretty similar. To help you pick the best one for your family, consider these factors:
Video Screen Versus Audio-Only
If you want to be able to see your child in their crib, then getting a monitor with a video screen is a given — but you'll need to think about the video capabilities you require from your monitor. Some models offer night vision so your little one is still visible in the dark. The ability to zoom and pan so you can vary your view is another feature to look for if it matters to you. Pay attention to the screen size when purchasing, since sizes can vary — the screens on this list range from approximately 2 inches to 5 inches. If you are solely concerned with hearing your little one when they wake, you can save some money by going with an audio-only option.
Battery life can vary a lot between baby monitors. Every monitor on this list can plug in for charging, but parent units are designed to unplug after charging for portability, while baby units stay plugged in. Some parent units can also be used with standard batteries. Overall, using video mode will kill a battery faster than audio-only mode, so the way you use your baby monitor will affect its battery life. Ideally, monitors should last overnight on a single charge, and pricier video units or inexpensive audio-only units seem to accomplish this nicely, lasting about 8 to 24 hours between charges. Inexpensive models could claim a longer battery life, but you may find yourself plugging them in more often.
There are so many snazzy features to consider when purchasing a baby monitor, so prioritize the ones that are most important for your family. Do you have a large home? Pick a monitor with a good range, so it’ll work in every room. Do you have multiple kids (or plan on having more in the future)? It might be a worthwhile investment to get a monitor that allows you to flip between multiple cameras. Other cool camera features include the ability to tilt or zoom, talk to the baby, monitor the room temperature, or even play soothing lullabies.
With all this in mind, here are four of the best non-Wi-Fi baby monitors — all of which are safe, dependable, and loaded with features to make caring for your little one a lot easier.
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1. A Beloved Video Baby Monitor With Interchangeable Lenses
Battery life: Up to 12 hours audio, or up to 8 hours video
Range: Up to 700 feet with no obstructions
Notable extras: Night vision, remote thermometer, interchangeable lenses, expandable by up to four cameras
This non-Wi-Fi baby monitor from Infant Optics is beyond adored by parents on Amazon. With more than 24,000 five-star ratings on the site, reviewers note that this baby monitor has all of the main features that you could ever want.
The video monitor features a 3.5-inch LCD full color screen, and is super lightweight, making it easy to carry around the house as your little one sleeps. And night vision allows you to see your baby even in pitch black. The two-way talk feature will be a great way to comfort your baby from afar, and the built-in remote thermometer lets you monitor the temperature of the nursery.
The camera itself can pan, tilt, and zoom, and has interchangeable lenses (normal and zoom lenses are included, and a wide angle lens is sold separately) to give you a lot of control over what you see.
This pick is expandable by up to four cameras, which is ideal if you have multiple children. The battery life is decent, too, giving you up to 12 hours in audio-only mode or 8 hours in video mode. It doesn’t have the best range of the picks on this list (it can function from up to 700 feet away with no obstructions), but tens of thousands of reviewers take no issue with this.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I researched baby monitors for months before deciding to go with this one! We used this monitor for our first baby. His nursery was upstairs and at the other end of the house from my bedroom and I was very nervous about being so far away. However, this baby monitor has given me the [peace] of mind that I needed. I can talk to him through the monitor when I hear that he is upset or has just woken up. [...] We couldn't be happier with this baby monitor and I would highly recommend it!"
2. A Large-Screen Video Baby Monitor With Exceptional Battery Life
Battery life: Up to 24 hours audio, or up to 12 hours video
Range: Between 480 and 900 feet
Notable extras: Remote thermometer
This non-Wi-Fi baby monitor from VAVA has two major features that make it a standout among all other options: the extra-large 5-inch video screen is super detailed, so you can easily monitor your baby both day and night (no squinting required), and the battery can last up to 24 hours straight (or 12 hours in video display mode), which is significantly longer than its competitors. All of this adds up to a baby monitor that has tons of rave reviews on Amazon and a super-impressive 4.7-star rating overall.
The features don’t end at the screen size and battery life, though. This pick has a really good range (between 480 and 900 feet) to always keep your little one in sight. The double and quadruple zoom options are great for scanning your baby’s room, while seven different volume levels allow you to hear as much or as little as you please. Plus, an external thermostat keeps you in the loop on the temperature in your baby’s sleep space.
If you have (or plan on having) multiple children, just know that this monitor only connects to one camera.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "The monitor is big enough to see clearly but small and sleek enough to carry around comfortably. The video quality is very nice and even records in black and white when in the dark or low light areas. [...] It's got good range, works in all rooms of my home, upstairs, downstairs, basement even, without issue and has good sound quality. It's also nice that it has a temperature gauge which i didn't even realize at first. All in all a great product for the price. Best monitor [I] ever had for sure."
3. The Best Budget-Friendly Video Baby Monitor
Battery life: The manufacturer does not offer a specific battery life claim, but many reviewers state that they keep their monitor plugged in or charge frequently due to a short battery life.
Range: Up to 900 feet with no obstructions
Notable extras: Night vision, programmed lullaby sounds, remote thermometer, high/low temperature alerts, programmable alarms, battery-saving mode, expandable by up to four cameras
You’ll surely be shocked by the number of features this Babysense non-Wi-Fi video baby monitor boasts, especially considering the low price tag. The camera can pan and tilt, infrared night vision allows you to see your baby in complete darkness, and you can even monitor the room temperature. With a range of up to 900 feet, you can keep an eye on your little one from wherever you are in your home. Use the two-way audio or programmed lullaby sounds to calm your baby when they wake. And if you have multiple kids, this pick expands to be used with up to four cameras.
There are a couple of downsides to this baby monitor: the screen is small (only 2.4-inches), and reviewers had mixed feedback about the battery life. But with a $50ish price tag, this pick is certainly worth considering. It also comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I freaking love this!! What a great product for the price. I have severe [postpartum] anxiety and am constantly checking to see if my son is breathing. The night vision on this is absolutely amazing. I’m trying start getting him to take naps in his crib and this brings such a peace of mind. [...] I can also talk to him through it to calm him down if he starts waking up. It allows you to zoom in and move the screen around, change the brightness, play lullabies to his monitor. It’s just amazing."
4. The Best Audio-Only Baby Monitor
Battery life: Up to 18 hours
Range: Up to 160 feet indoors, or up to 1,000 feet outdoors
Notable extras: Vibration mode, visual sound indicator, night light function, belt loop
This baby monitor from VTech is known for its crystal clear audio (no static here), which makes listening for your baby easier and more enjoyable. The audio-only monitor has a five-level indicator that allows you to track the sound in your baby’s room, even with the unit muted (since you can see the sound level, too). You can also set this pick to vibrate whenever there is a sound in the baby’s room, so you won't disturb anyone else. The parent unit has a belt clip to easily carry it with you on-the-go. And when your child wakes, you can comfort them with the two-way talk-back intercom.
This pick allows for an impressive 18 hours of monitoring on a single charge using the rechargeable batteries or two AAA batteries. It has a decent operating range, too, offering up to 1,000 feet outdoors or 160 feet indoors.
This format of the VTech monitor comes with just one parent unit, but it's also available with two parent units, or with a built-in temperature sensor.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "We purchased this monitor to be able to [listen] in on our 2 month old, who sleeps on the second level while we are mainly on the first level during the day. I love that the parent unit has a rechargeable battery so I can take it with me if we move to another room, or if I step in the shower. [...] We live in a two story, two bedroom apartment and the signal is strong enough that it covers anywhere when we're inside. I am hoping to purchase another one to keep in the other bedroom for our toddler. She loves the talk back feature and we have occasionally used it to communicate back and forth when she is playing and I'm feeding the baby."