Best Baby Monitors
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
Updated on 03/12/2018
Buying a baby monitor used to be simple, but tech advances are giving today’s parents a lot of options when it’s time to buy one. You can choose a simple model to listen in for your baby’s cries during naps and bedtime or opt for a high-tech device with an HD screen so you can see your little bundle at all times.
We talked to Caitlin Hoff, Health and Safety Investigator with ConsumerSafety.org, to find out what parents need to know before they buy a baby monitor. Use this guide to decide which baby monitor is best for you and your family.
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Compare Top Baby Monitor Reviews
Read 29 Reviews
iBaby is a line of smartphone-connected baby monitors. In addition to their cute contemporary design, these monitors can track the air quality in your baby’s room, notify you about dirty diapers and more for $112 to $250.
Read 25 Reviews
Infant Optics makes the best-selling baby video monitor on Amazon. The DXR-8 is the first video monitor to come with interchangeable lenses. Customize the camera with a normal, zoom or wide lens. It costs $167.
|Levana Baby Monitors|
Read 12 Reviews
Levana got its start with home security systems and now makes a range of video baby monitors costing from $100 to $280. Levana’s 7-inch monitors are the largest on the market, offering the clearest view of your baby.
|Summer Infant Baby Monitors|
Read 11 Reviews
Summer Infant’s baby monitors offer convenient features like remote camera steering, temperature monitoring, talk-back speakers, split screens and large screens. You can purchase an audio or video baby monitor for $40 to $250.
|Samsung Baby Monitors|
Read 11 Reviews
Samsung’s video baby monitors range in price from $180 to $330. Most of them can connect with up to four cameras, so you can use them in multiple rooms. Choose from LCD screens or touch screens and features to fit your needs.
Read 40 Reviews
Safety 1st is a child-safety products company that sells baby monitors, car seats and more. Safety 1st infant car seats start around $70. Their analog baby monitors are around $20, and their wireless baby monitors are $150-$200.
Read 33 Reviews
Known for their tablets and educational toys, VTech sells digital and wireless video and audio baby monitors that cost $40 to $450. They also sell toys at all price points at major retailers.
Read 39 Reviews
Known for infant gear like breast pumps, baby bottles and cups, Philips Avent also makes wireless and digital video and audio baby monitors with features like talk-back, night-lights and remote zoom. Prices range from $50 to $240.
|Baby Delight||Read Expert Review|
Baby Delight is the first brand to use a traditional digital signal to monitor infant movement and positioning on a video monitor screen. It’s available with a 3.5- or 5-inch screen or a 7-inch Android tablet for $150 to $200.
|Holababy||Read Expert Review|
Holababy is a Wi-Fi baby monitor introduced by Bestway Innovations in 2017. Selling for $169, it sends a live HD feed to your smartphone and can also be used to project a soothing light display on a nursery wall.
|Lorex Baby Monitors||Read Expert Review|
Lorex is a tech company that translates home security expertise to the baby monitor industry. Its Wi-Fi or video monitors cost $100 to $350 and include tech like 100-foot night vision, motion tracking and Skype compatibility.
|Motorola Baby Monitors||Read Expert Review|
Motorola offers over 40 baby monitors. Their Smart Connect series allows you to keep an eye on your baby from any connected device. Prices range from $39.99 for an audio baby monitor to $350 for a dual camera smart baby monitor.
Types of baby monitors
Audio baby monitor
These no-frills devices serve one purpose: to let you know if your baby is crying or fussing when you’re in another room. They tend to be more affordable than other types of monitors and frequently come with only one receiver. (The receiver is the part of the monitor that stays with you while your child is in the other room.)
Some monitors come with two receivers, which gives you the freedom to leave one in your bedroom and keep the other in your living room or wherever is most convenient for you. If your home is large, or if your baby sleeps on a different floor, this can be a particularly nice feature.
Standard audio baby monitors cost around $25. Audio baby monitors with additional features, like extra receivers, motion sensors, night lights, talk-back or temperature display, can cost up to $150.
Video baby monitor
Video monitors allow you to see your child from another room so you can check on their position and see whether they’re playing instead of snoozing. You can mount multiple cameras with dual camera baby monitors to keep an eye on your baby when they’re in their nursery, playroom or another room in the house. Note that even with multiple cameras, you can usually only see and hear from one at a time. There are some monitors, like those from Summer Infant, that can produce a split screen, which can be handy if you want to keep an eye on your toddler in one room and your infant in another.
Think about how many people you want to have video feed access through your wireless video monitor. Some baby monitors, like a few from Motorola and Philips Avent, allow up to 10 people to have video feed access. This can be great if you have family members who want to check in on baby from a distance.
Video baby monitors cost anywhere from $50 to over $400, depending on how many cameras you want and what features you want to be included.
Digital baby monitors
Digital baby monitors use a digital signal instead of a radio signal, which leads to an overall better sound and video quality than analog baby monitors. They usually operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency, which is also what most digital devices, including Bluetooth headsets and wireless routers, use. This means you might experience drops in connectivity from time to time. These have a limited range, similar to analog baby monitors.
Digital baby monitors cost between $30 to over $300.
Analog baby monitors
Analog baby monitors work through AM and FM radio lines and operate at frequencies of either 49 MHz or 900 MHz. This can result in lower sound quality and interference than other types of monitors, particularly if you have close neighbors who have devices like radios and cordless phones that use the same radio frequency. However, many parents feel that analog baby monitors are safer than wireless or digital baby monitors since they don’t emit the same type of radiation. You can use an analog baby monitor around your home, but they don’t have a long range.
Analog baby monitors are often the cheapest option, costing around $20 for an audio analog baby monitor or up to $150 for a video analog baby monitor.
Wireless baby monitor
Wireless audio and video baby monitors are Wi-Fi enabled, and they are the baby monitors with the longest range. They’re convenient because you can use your phone, laptop or tablet as a monitor, as long as it’s connected to the internet. You can carry a wireless audio receiver with you throughout the house. Look for a small one that’s easy to carry around; a belt clip is a helpful feature.
A Wi-Fi-enabled receiver can connect your phone or tablet to the monitor. This is a great option if you’re used to keeping your phone with you around the house. However, take note that newer Wi-Fi baby monitors are at risk for possible hacking. If you choose this type, be sure to create a strong password for your home. Change it often to help keep your connection secure.
Wireless baby monitors start at around $35 and can cost up to over $300, depending on what additional features you want.
Baby monitor app
There are several apps on the market that can turn your smartphone into a baby monitor. While these can be less expensive than buying a physical baby monitor, they also pose security risks. Baby monitor apps aren’t regulated or subjected to any sort of official testing. Your better bet is to invest in a baby monitor from a reputable company. If cost is an issue, look for an inexpensive analog monitor that usually costs only a few dollars more than an app.
Smart baby monitors
Smart baby monitors can integrate with the rest of your smart nursery technology, or they can stand alone if you don’t have other smart technology set up. Smart baby monitors work through Wi-Fi so you can watch your baby, talk to your baby, monitor your baby’s temperature settings, play lullabies for your baby or store videos to share later from any connected device.
Smart baby monitors cost anywhere from $75 to over $300, depending on the features you want.
Baby breathing monitor
Baby breathing and movement monitors detect subtle movements to give you peace of mind, knowing that your baby is sleeping in a safe position and breathing regularly. These are different from audio and video baby monitors, in that they’re sensor pads you place in your baby’s crib that can detect baby’s movements.
Some parents find a baby movement monitor reassuring, especially during the first six months of a baby’s life when the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is greatest. These monitors claim to detect small movements that babies make during normal sleep and sound an alarm if your baby stops moving.
While baby breathing monitors might seem reassuring, know that there’s no scientific evidence that they actually reduce the risk of SIDS, as some manufacturers claim. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health recommend against buying products that purport to reduce the risk of SIDS or other health problems.
Baby breathing monitors and baby movement monitors are sold separately from baby audio and video monitors and cost between $70 and $200.
Questions to ask before you buy a baby monitor
Do I need a baby monitor?
You need a baby monitor to hear or see your baby when you’re in a different room. If your baby will be sleeping in the same room as you for the first few months, you might not need a baby monitor right away. However, as your child grows older, you may find that a video baby monitor is useful to keep an eye on your toddler as he plays.
What is the best baby monitor placement?
Where to put a baby monitor depends on what type of monitor you have and how you plan to use it. Most parents mount a video camera on the crib, changing table or wall. Do not mount it above the crib, in case it falls. Keep the cord secured and out of reach of baby’s grasp no matter where you mount the monitor.
Are baby monitors safe?
Exposure to microwave radiation and the threat of hacking are the two main concerns parents have about baby monitors. Wireless baby monitors emit non-ionizing radiation, while analog baby monitors do not. While there have been no conclusive studies to confirm negative effects of wireless baby monitor radiation, you can take the cautionary steps of keeping the baby monitor far away from the baby and investing in a low emission baby monitor that is sound activated to reduce the number of waves transmitted.
The fear of having a baby monitor hacked is cause for concern for many parents who have a wireless or digital baby monitor. If you have a wireless baby monitor, make sure it’s encrypted. With an encrypted connection, even someone who is using a device on the same frequency as your baby monitor cannot see or hear it easily. Use a secure Wi-Fi network with a strong password, and change it frequently. If you want to ensure that you have a secure baby monitor, your best bet is to use an analog monitor.
How much is a baby monitor?
Baby monitor cost is a big consideration for any new parent. Cheap baby monitors can cost as little as $20. These are generally analog audio baby monitors, and they can be all you need if you don’t have a large home and are only interested in hearing your baby during naptime or at night.
High-end baby monitors with additional features can cost up to $400. These expensive baby monitors usually include a variety of features like night vision, temperature sensors and extra cameras.
How to choose a baby monitor
Look for a long range baby monitor if you have a large house
A monitor with a short range might only work if your baby is in the next room, which is OK if you have a small home or apartment. But if you live in a large home, or if you want to be able to take your receiver outside, make sure the monitor is up to the task of providing reliable sound anywhere in your home. Most baby monitor manufacturers make claims about their product’s range, but the actual range is usually shorter depending on whether walls, furniture or other fixtures in your home interfere with the signal. Test your baby monitor after you buy it to make sure the range is far enough for your home.
Find a monitor with a frequency of 900 MHz or higher
Baby monitor frequencies depend on whether they’re analog, digital or wireless. To avoid baby monitor interference, look for a digital monitor, usually 2.4 GHz, or a wireless monitor. If you’re using an analog monitor, look for a frequency of 900 MHz or higher. Higher frequency means higher clarity with less interference and static. Some monitors transmit loud static interference that can happen abruptly and wake you from a deep sleep. Check product reviews to find out which monitors are less likely to create that annoying hiss, and test your baby monitor once you have it.
Buy a sound activated baby monitor
A sound activated baby monitor is great for those times when loud noises might get in the way of you hearing your baby (like when you’re vacuuming or playing music). These monitors allow you to detect when your baby needs you even if you can’t hear him.
Look for a baby monitor with temperature sensors and night vision
Baby monitors with temperature sensors keep track of how warm or cold it is in baby’s room and alerts you when there’s an unpleasant temperature change. Night vision baby monitors are a must for any parent who wants to be able to see what their baby is doing at night without interrupting them.
Consider a two-way baby monitor
Traditional monitors are one-way, meaning that you can hear your baby but your baby can’t hear you. Many newer models feature a handy talk-back mode that converts the monitor to a sort of walkie-talkie, so the sound of your voice can soothe your baby over the monitor. A two-way baby monitor can help you calm your baby down without going in their room and risking further disturbing them.
Baby Monitor expert reviews
VTech is an electronics manufacturer based in China. They’re best known for their infant and children’s electronics, including baby monitors, toys and educational software.
Philips Avent manufactures infant and child products including breast pumps, baby bottles, baby monitors and more. Its baby monitors offer a secure long-range connection and extensive battery life.
Motorola is a tech company that got its start making telephones in 1928. Now it also makes several types of baby monitors for home use, including smart monitors as well as video and audio monitors.
- Wireless baby monitors: Motorola’s Wi-Fi-enabled monitors connect to your smartphone, tablet or computer, and you can easily zoom, tilt or pan the camera remotely to keep an eye on your baby. The smart baby monitors range from $120 to $200 and feature full-color LCD screens, two-way communication and room temperature notifications.
- Video baby monitors: These range in price from $85 to $180 and come with 1.8- to 5-inch screens. LED noise-indicator lights help you quickly see when baby is fussing, and 2.4-GHz wireless technology ensures high-quality sound.
- Audio baby monitors: Motorola’s audio baby monitors have a range of 990 feet, which lets you move around your house without losing the signal. They cost from $40 to $52, and you can choose between one or two receivers.
- Smart nursery: Motorola makes a couple of other smart nursery items that might make parenting a bit easier. The Smart Nursery Alert Sensor attaches to a door, window, baby gate or drawer and sends notifications to your smartphone if your baby opens one of them. The Smart Nursery Humidifier can be programmed with your smartphone to keep the nursery comfortable with four levels of cool mist.
- Convenient tech support: Motorola is known for its excellent customer service, and you can find online support for your monitor or smart baby device on the company’s website. Check out your product’s quick-start guide or contact the support team if you need help.
- Best for: tech enthusiasts who want a lot of options in their monitors.
Summer Infant got its start in 1985 when the company introduced the original Bouncy Seat. Today, it markets a wide selection of products, including audio and video baby monitors.
Samsung is an electronics company with a line of high-tech video baby monitors. Because it specializes in video monitors, it is able to offer targeted high-quality tech with helpful features like talk-back, night vision, pure digital signal and touch screens.
Levana began as a home security company and started making baby monitors in 2001. It now specializes in video baby monitors that range in price from $100 to $280. The company stands out because of the large 7-inch screens on some of its models and its commitment to stand behind its products with a strong warranty.
Lorex is a brand of FLIR Systems, a thermal-imaging company. Lorex specializes in indoor and outdoor security and monitoring devices for pets, the elderly and babies. Choose from video or Wi-Fi monitors with one or two monitors and up to four cameras.
- 100-foot night vision: Most baby monitors have a 10 to 20-foot field of vision at night, but Lorex’s 30 infrared LEDs illuminate up to 100 feet. This is helpful if you have a very large nursery or if you want the monitor to double as a nighttime security camera.
- Expandable: Most of Lorex’s baby monitor systems are expandable, so you can use the monitor with one camera in a standard setup, or add up to three additional cameras for different angles or to keep an eye on multiple rooms. This is ideal for people with large rooms or with multiple kids or pets they want to monitor.
- Motion tracking: While many baby monitor cameras can pan, tilt or zoom, this one does all that while also providing a motion-track feature that allows you to follow your child’s movements around the nursery.
- Skype compatible: Another feature unique to Lorex is that many of its baby monitors are compatible with Skype. That means if you’re at work or otherwise out of the range of the baby monitor’s feed, you can still keep an eye on your baby.
- Reasonable price range: Lorex monitors come at many price points, depending on features like the size of the screen and the number of cameras and monitors. You can expect to pay from $100 to $350.
- Best for: people with large rooms or multiple areas to monitor at night.
iBaby makes a line of Wi-Fi baby monitors that you can easily control with your smartphone. These unique spherical monitors add a modern touch to your nursery and offer lots of cool features you can’t find in any other monitors.
Holababy is a new baby monitor from the North Carolina-based company Bestway Innovations. The Holababy offers a Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor called the P1. For $169, this monitor offers an innovative camera that delivers a live video feed straight to your smartphone.
- HD video stream: You can live stream to unlimited smartphones or tablets. You can also record or take snapshots of the video feed on your phone.
- Talk-back: The Holababy has two-way audio, allowing you to soothe your baby with your voice. It also has echo cancellation to reduce feedback.
- Baby monitor with temperature sensor: The Holababy automatically senses the temperature in your baby’s room and sends an alert to your phone if it gets too hot or too cold.
- Built-in projector: The monitor has an optional feature you can activate to project a light display on a nursery wall or ceiling. You can also play lullabies or use the multicolor night-light function.
- Color options: Choose from a monitor with either pink or blue accents to add a little touch of color to the nursery.
- Best for: people who want a Wi-Fi monitor with a light projector.
Infant Optics makes Amazon.com’s best-selling infant video monitor, the DXR-8. It retails for $167 and includes many convenient features.
Baby Delight makes a variety of infant products to make childcare simpler. Founded by a mom in 2000, the company is best known for its sleep solutions, diaper bags and baby monitors. Its video monitors are the first to monitor movement and positioning in real time without the use of a smartphone or Wi-Fi connection. It consists of a wearable device that snaps to your baby’s pajamas along with a traditional camera and monitor.
- Position and movement monitor: Baby Delight monitors keep track of your baby’s movements and positioning using a wearable device that clips to his pajamas. The monitor’s screen displays a live feed of your baby as well as a light-up bar graph to indicate movement and an icon indicating whether he is properly positioned on his back. If he doesn’t move for 15 seconds, an alarm sounds. The movement monitor is optional; you can turn it off and use the monitor as a regular video monitor.
- 3.5-inch video and movement monitor: This monitor retails for about $150 and has a 3.5-inch LCD screen, just the right size to see your baby clearly.
- 5-inch video and movement monitor: At $180, this monitor’s larger screen makes it easier to see your baby and the movement and positioning icons on the screen.
- 7-inch HD tablet monitor: This Wi-Fi monitor uses an included Android tablet to monitor your baby in high definition. It works inside or outside your home, so you can do yard work while your baby snoozes. The monitor and camera cost about $200.
- HD Wi-Fi camera: This camera retails for $90 and allows you to convert the monitor to a Wi-Fi monitor. You can use the Baby Delight App on your iOS or Android phone or tablet anywhere you have Wi-Fi.
- Best for: caregivers who want to keep track of their baby’s movements and positioning.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.