The 6 Best Baby Monitors
No other piece of baby gear brings peace of mind to a new parent like a reliable baby monitor. For secure and consistent monitoring of your baby or toddler, you need one of the best baby monitors on the market. Yet, there are quite a few factors to consider in order to find the right one for you.
Baby monitors fall into one of three categories: video monitors with WiFi, video monitors without WiFi, or audio-only monitors. WiFi capability means you’ll be able to check in on your baby from anywhere with a WiFi connection, which can bring peace of mind, especially if you want to peek in at work. That said, it also might not let you fully enjoy a date night if you keep checking in on your phone. Options without WiFi mean you have to be home to use them, but they don't have the potential security concerns that WiFi monitors do (think: hackers). Lastly, audio baby monitors, the most no-frills option, will simply alert you when a baby is crying, but they come with the most affordable price tag.
Battery Life & Portability
Though you can always use a monitor's parent unit while plugged in, you’ll want a unit with at least a few hours of battery life when wireless. Some models offer several hours in video mode but also function for longer — as long as all night — in audio-only mode. In terms of being able to travel with your monitor, some receiving units simply plug into the wall, making them incredibly portable. Wall-mounted units, however, won't be able to be installed elsewhere very easily. For that reason, if you plan to travel frequently, make sure to get one that also functions with a stand.
With any baby monitor, you’ll hear baby crying or babbling when awake, but the best baby monitors also can alert you even while on mute, by using lights or vibration to indicate noise in a baby’s room. Bonus features also include room temperature and humidity sensors, night vision, two-way talk, as well as an option for a wide-angle lens for a greater view of the room.
With all this in mind, keep reading for the best baby monitors, including some picks with thousands of reviews on Amazon.
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The Best Video Monitors With WiFi
Baby monitors with WiFi require that you download an app to your smartphone (and use its battery life). This type of monitor does require some setup time, since it's key that you customize your username and password for security reasons.
- The Best For Integrating Into Your Smart Home
The Arlo Baby Monitor keeps tabs on movement, sound, and air (i.e. temperature, humidity, and air quality) with instant push notifications to your smartphone or email — and the monitor connects with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant. One of the best features of this WiFi-enabled baby monitor is the ability to stream audio from the camera while your smartphone's screen is off, so you can keep tabs on baby without having to log into the app on your phone each time.
It features 1080P HD video quality with advanced night vision for easy viewing in total darkness, and recordings are saved for seven days (for free) in the cloud. The battery life ranges from three hours of night-time use to six hours of daytime use; and you can install this camera with a compatible wall mount. That said, it's also highly portable because it can stand on its own (with cute bunny feet!).
Bonus features include lullabies, white noise, and two-way talk (or the ability to add your own voice recordings), plus a convenient night light. Parents can also enable guest access to the camera to share with family or caretakers, though you can rest easy that this pick comes with security features like bank-grade encryption. And if you're interested in the Arlo home security system, the baby camera integrates seamlessly.
A helpful review: “This baby monitor is incredible. Video quality is unmatched. Connectivity to smart phone anywhere in the world is very reliable [...] I'm able to modify my heater/ac and humidifier schedule in real time and make the perfect sleeping environment for my baby. [...] You will love this monitor[...].”
- The One With The Most High-Tech Features
The Nanit Baby Monitor stands out with its unique wall mount design for a bird's eye view of a baby in a crib — and parents love that this monitor also has tools to help you and baby sleep better. By tracking baby's sleeps stats over time, the Nanit provides personalized guidance for improved sleep (backed by science) and advice from leading pediatric sleep experts.
This WiFi- and Alexa-enabled baby monitor provides an HD livestream on your smartphone, and it works even when your Internet connection is disrupted. The monitor has night vision, two-way talk, a night light, and the ability to track temperature and humidity. Audio monitoring can continue to run on your phone while using other apps (though it will take a toll on your phone's battery life), and you'll receive sound and motion notifications in real time.
Though this is a wall-mounted camera (no battery), it's portable if you also buy the Nanit multi-stand (just pop the camera out of its wall mount and into the stand for out-of-home use). The camera switches to a wide 130-degree lens in this mode.
Two-factor authentication and 256-bit data encryption help quell security concerns, and this camera allows you to enable guest access for relatives or caretakers.
A helpful review: “We are obsessed with our Nanit. After researching sooooooo many nursery cams this by far is the best. My favorite features are that you can keep the background noise on your phone being the nursery cam as you do other stuff on your phone. I use my phone as the nursery cam and this is awesome! Insights is great too because it tracks your babies sleep and gives them a rating and then tips on how to improve. [...] Well worth the money. Love this thing!”
The Best Video Monitors Without WiFi
Traditional video monitors have screens ranging from about 280p to 1080p, with a higher number indicating a higher-quality screen resolution; you'll want one with at least 480p (standard definition) for clarity. Sharper video quality allows for more detailed monitoring, like seeing if baby's eyes are closed or even if they're breathing. Screen sizes are typically 3 to 5 inches, and some monitors allow for zooming in or panning or tilting the camera, which comes in handy for keeping track of a mobile baby.
Video or audio monitors without WiFi usually use a secure FHSS radio connection to transmit data and some devices have a larger range than others. Consider a monitor with a wider range if you have a large or two-story home.
- The One With A Cult Following
With more than 35,000 reviews on Amazon, the highly rated Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor is a tried-and-true favorite of parents. The 3.5-inch LCD screen has a 480p resolution and a zoom lens, with a maximum range of 700 feet.
This baby monitor has two-way talk, a room temperature sensor, and night vision, plus a sound-activated LED light bar on the side that's a visible alert when the parent unit's sound is muted or the screen is off. If you're traveling, this compact camera plugs into the wall and is very portable.
The parent unit's rechargeable battery works wirelessly for up to 12 hours in audio-only mode and eight hours with a live screen; some parents noted that the quality of battery life decreases over time, but they also raved about the company’s customer service. For multiple children, you can add up to four additional camera units.
A helpful review: “We bought 3 different monitors Nest, Arlo and this one to see which one would work best as a baby monitor. This DXR-8 video monitor was hands down our favorite! The video quality and night vision camera is clear, audio picks up every little sound and having a portable screen that we can put down anywhere without having to log into our phone made it the most convenient. Their customer service was also super helpful and fast in responding to questions/concerns which made being a customer easy. Highly recommend!!”
- The One With A Large HD Screen
Though it hasn't been around as long as my previous pick and it has a shorter range (with a coverage of 460 feet), the eufy Video Baby Monitor has a lot of features parents love, at a more affordable price. The 5-inch LCD screen provides a sharper image with 720p HD Resolution, and it allows for zooming in 1.5 to 2 times; plus, a 110-degree wide angle lens is included.
The compact and portable unit offers seven hours of monitoring with the video display on, and 15 hours in power-saving mode. The parent unit has a rechargeable battery, and its alert can be muted. It comes with two-way talk, night vision, a room temperature sensor, and five lullaby songs. Plus, it has a 4.3-star rating with more than 700 reviews on Amazon.
This pick comes with a corner wall mount. For monitoring more than one child, you can add a baby camera unit.
A helpful review: “[...] Finally broke down and bought this one and I am completely amazed. The picture quality is fantastic. I can actually see my baby’s chest moving to make sure he’s breathing. The connection has yet to cut out, unlike the infant optics, which constantly cut out. So many more options/settings on this. Battery life is better. Also, the camera and monitor just look way better. UI is better as well[...]”
- The Best For Large Homes
For families in large or two-story homes, you'll want to prioritize a baby monitor with a long range. This video baby monitor lets you keep an eye and ear on baby from up to 1,000 feet away, with a 5-inch LCD screen and 480p screen resolution. This portable unit's camera can zoom up to two times and tilt 350 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically.
Though this has the greatest range of all the baby video monitors without WiFi on this list, the battery life is a bit shorter at four to five hours with video or seven to nine hours in audio-only mode (with sound-activated LED lights to monitor on mute). This pick monitors sound and room temperature, and you'll get two-way talk, lullabies, and night vision, too. Another cool feature is auto-motion tracking, meaning the camera automatically follows your baby as they move. This unit is expandable up to four cameras.
A helpful review: “Great picture and great for long distance. I can leave baby sleeping in house and go outside with my two other children. We have a huge yard and I can go to swingset, pool, mailbox etc. and still see and hear baby. Fair price for the unit. Wish it came with two cameras so you don't have to move it.”
The Best Audio-Only Baby Monitor
While audio monitors certainly don't come with all the bells and whistles as my previous picks, they are a great option for those shopping on a budget. For larger homes, look for a longer range of use.
- The Best Overall
The best audio baby monitor has a 4.3-star rating with more than 7,500 reviews, and some parents have noted that the audio quality is better than that of more expensive baby monitors. Some reviewers even like using this audio-only monitor in conjunction with a video monitor because of its sound quality. The crystal-clear audio transmission lets you hear baby's cry clearly but eliminates background white noise and won't alert you to every slight toss and turn.
Its range is up to 1,000 feet, with reviews indicating a range of even up to 2,000 feet without connectivity issues. Sound-activated LED lights or vibration mode on the parent unit allow monitoring while audio is muted.
This pick with two-way talk is portable, but the receiving unit must be plugged in; the parent unit is battery-operated with up to 18 hours of monitoring time on a single charge, and it has a convenient belt clip. It also has a low-battery alert function. The camera has a night light (that can be turned off) and a convenient digital display, though it does not monitor room temperature. There's also an option for this monitor with two parent units.
A helpful review: “[...] We don’t really need a video monitor and just wanted something basic and easy to use with little to no set up. You plug this sucker in and it’s all set to go. Once the receiving end is charged, it’s easy to carry around and the battery life is good. It picks up our baby when she cries but doesn’t turn on with every tiny little toss and turn, which we prefer. You can adjust your listening volume and you’re able to press the “talk” button and talk to the baby as well. From an experienced mom (times 3), I can confirm that this is a great basic baby monitor. I highly recommend it!”