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The 10 Best Baby Monitors, Tested and Reviewed

A great audio or video system can give you peace of mind that baby is safe and sound. These are your best options, based on our testing—including this year’s Best of The Bump award winner.
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profile picture of Korin Miller
Updated January 23, 2024
best baby monitors, video baby monitor
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In a nutshell:
Based on product testing, expert interviews and survey feedback from over 300 members of The Bump community, we chose the CuboAi Plus Smart Baby Monitor as the overall best thanks to its smart features, mounting options and crystal clear audio and video quality.

When baby is blissfully snoozing away, it’s the perfect time for you to get a few things done—or maybe even sleep yourself. But it’s natural and normal to feel some level of anxiety about your little one’s well-being while they’re in another room. That’s where a baby monitor comes in handy. If you’ve taken a look at what’s on the market, you already know there are a lot of options to choose from, and that can get overwhelming fast. But don’t stress: As a parent of four (including a 16-month-old), I’ve tested multiple popular baby monitors to give you the rundown of how these devices perform so you can find the right option for your family.

The best baby monitors let you keep an eye—or ear—on baby during naps and overnight while giving you the freedom to move about (or even outside of) your home. And while a baby monitor is no substitute for your direct supervision, they can be incredibly useful while baby is off in dreamland. There are a few different types, but most parents opt for either a non-WiFi baby monitor or a WiFi enabled device. WiFi baby monitors require an internet connection to transmit signals between baby’s room and you; whereas a non-WiFi model doesn’t need to be connected to the internet. Scroll down to discover more expert information on what to look for, then browse our top picks for the best baby monitors on the market, including this year’s Best of The Bump winner.

How We Tested the Baby Monitors

Image: Korin M

To find out which baby monitors are truly the best in class, The Bump editors did extensive research and created a shortlist of top-rated models. From there we took the following steps to determine which product was the overall best:

  • We interviewed two board-certified pediatricians and asked for guidance on what to look for when choosing the best baby monitor for your family.
  • We checked scientific research regarding baby monitor safety and followed advice from the AAP, JPMA and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • In May 2023 we surveyed 300 members of The Bump community. We asked this sample of new parents to rate the playards they’ve used with their own kids and to comment on their overall experience. We evaluated this data and used it to inform our product choices.
  • We leveraged our familiarity with leading baby brands and trusted online retailers to find the top-rated baby monitors on the market today. We assessed the technical specs of each item and read user reviews to learn more about each product’s performance, and typically didn’t consider anything with less than a four star average rating.
  • I personally put the monitors to the test. As a mom of four (my youngest just entered toddlerhood), I was able to test each monitor in my own home under real-life conditions, and evaluate them against six major criteria: ease of setup, range, camera and audio quality, battery life, features and value for money. I then shared these results with my colleagues at The Bump.

This rigorous testing was combined with The Bump’s expertise to bestow the prestigious Best of the Bump award to the overall best baby monitor. And then we went a step further—we used the testing results to identify other standout monitors that are good for your particular needs, whether you prefer a high-tech option with all the bells and whistles or a simple audio-only version. The overall goal? To help you find that perfect monitor to help put your mind at ease.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Baby Monitors to Shop

Overall best baby monitor

CuboAi Plus Smart Baby Monitor
Image: CuboAI
What We Love
  • Adorable design
  • Crib detection zone
  • High video and audio quality
Things To Consider
  • Set-up takes time

The CuboAI Plus Smart Baby Monitor goes above and beyond expectations. This sweet set's incredible ease of use and impressively sharp camera, even in dim lighting, earned it 5 out of 5 ratings across multiple categories—and a Best of The Bump award for best baby monitor. (See all of this year’s Best of The Bump winners).

The CuboAI Plus didn't just give me an idea of what my little one was up to in her crib; it also provided me with a ton of information, ranging from detailed sleep analysis to an alert that sounds if baby’s nose or mouth is covered. You might think this wealth of special capabilities would make it difficult to navigate, but I found the app simple to follow; while it came with detailed instructions, I was able to just jump right in and use it, which I always appreciate as a busy mom. The monitor even has a special crib detection zone that lets you set parameters for monitoring so you don’t have to worry about being pinged if you walk into the room during naptime, and a built-in nightlight you can flick on and off with your phone. Small wonder it scored 5 out of 5 for features!

The CuboAI Plus includes three different stands for a variety of mounting options. You can use the floor stand to perch the adorable bird-shaped monitor over baby’s crib, attach it directly to the side with the crib mount or place it wherever in the room you'd like with the mobile stand. There's even a separate wall-mount version available! Maybe most importantly, the transmission is crystal clear—I gave the Cubo AI Plus a 5 out of 5 rating for camera and audio. And while that high-quality video is great for maintaining peace of mind while your little one snoozes, I also used it to snap cute photos of my cutie in her crib. A nice little extra touch to round out a well-deserved Best of The Bump title.

Monitor type: Video WiFi | Video display: 1080p HD | Mobile app: Yes | Mounting type: Floor, crib or mobile stand | Range: Your home’s WiFi signal range | Battery life: N/A (no receiver; parents use their own phones)

Our product tester says:
“The video is great and very clear. The audio was also fantastic. The camera can be tilted and panned and worked easily. It's also adorable, with a bird camera.”

Our community says:

“Great quality—I like the cry detection and roll over alerts.” – Kelly*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best non-WiFi baby monitor

eufy Security Spaceview Video Baby Monitor E110 with Camera and Audio
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$119.99
What We Love
  • Good camera quality
  • Speedy set-up
  • Long range
Things To Consider
  • Some users say the battery’s long-term life is too short

A non-WiFi monitor keeps things simple: You point a camera at baby’s crib, plug in the monitor and you’re ready to use it. I had Eufy’s Spaceview Pro monitor set up in three minutes flat, making it seamless and simple to get going—a nice perk for busy parents. Eufy’s 720p HD camera doesn’t necessarily have as sharp a picture as its smart counterparts, but does make it one of the best baby monitors without WiFi. I could very clearly see my daughter, both during daytime naps and overnight, and the audio quality is excellent.

This device has a 110-degree wide-angle lens to give you plenty of viewing space, along with the ability to pan up and down. Eufy lists its range as up to 600 feet, and in practice it was enough for me to go into my backyard and basement and still keep an eye on my daughter. Features like two-way audio allow you to talk to baby, and there are even five lullabies you can play to help soothe your little one. I gave the Eufy Spaceview pro 5 out of 5 ratings in multiple categories, including ease of setup, camera and audio quality, range and battery life. All things considered, it offers impressive performance across the board that will easily meet the needs of most families—in fact, it was favored by more than 10 percent of respondents to our survey.

Monitor type: Video | Video display: 720p HD | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: N/A | Range: 600 feet | Battery life: 15 hours

Our product tester says:
“This monitor is less expensive than some similar models but it offers great camera quality, good range and its battery works for up to 15 hours. I was impressed! ”

Our community says:

“Easy to set up, clear video even at night.” – Sarah*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“This baby monitor is very easy to use and at a good price. The camera also has good night vision.” – Leah, mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best WiFi baby monitor

Nanit Pro Camera and Wall Mount
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Survey respondents consistently praised camera quality and data features
  • Split screen capability
Things To Consider
  • Alerts may be too frequent for some

Parents who prefer the high performance of a WiFi monitor should consider the Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor, the brand recommended by a whopping 20 percent of our survey respondents. This monitor earned a 5 out of 5 score for camera and audio, with 1080p HD video that gave me a clear view of baby as she slept. The monitor syncs up to an app, so you can personalize and track baby’s sleep, along with progress over time. The app even offers a split screen feature, allowing you to see the results of two cameras on one monitor—a nice perk for parents of multiples, those with two young children or parents who just prefer to see baby from several angles.

The Nanit Pro doesn't slouch on safety; the included wall mount has an ASTM-certified safe cord cover to keep it away from curious fingers, and the monitor is packed with features, so you can learn practically anything about your little one’s sleep, including baby’s breaths per minute. The sensitive monitor alerts you to every motion, which can be a great comfort to new parents, or those who want continuous updates.

Nanit’s focus on safety doesn't end with the physical device; the brand is aware of the concerns parents have about WiFi monitor security, and while no internet-enabled device can ever be fully hack-proof, Nanit is certainly taking the matter seriously. The data (including video) is encrypted both on the camera and in transit with 256-bit AES encryption (the same encryption standard used by the US government), and two-factor authentication on the app is mandatory; a nice level of reassurance for a device that's supposed to give parents peace of mind, not an additional reason to worry.

Monitor type: Video WiFi | Video display: 1080p HD | Mobile app: Yes | Mounting type: Wall | Range: Your home’s WiFi signal range | Battery life: N/A

Our product tester says:
“The visuals are great in the light, and fairly clear at night. The camera pans and tilts, making adjustments easy.”

Our community says:

“LOVE our Nanit—I watch him every night and it brings me so much comfort—definitely worth the price for the peace of mind!” - Molly*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“Love the camera visuals, night light, sounds, motion detection, breathing tracker /[and I] really love the camera and the app!” - Meg, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“I really love the sleep stats of the monitor and the fact that the app is so easy to use and navigate. I also like that I can update events if anything records incorrectly.” - Ellen, mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best baby monitor camera

Lollipop Baby Camera
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Clear camera and audio
  • Pretty colors
  • Monitors baby’s breathing
Things To Consider
  • Long set-up time

Lollipop’s baby monitor is a little different from many others on the market—its flexible handle can secure directly to baby’s crib to give you a bird’s eye view. And if you're worried about curious fingers reaching out for the brightly colored, fun-looking design, the monitor (which is available in several pretty colors) can just as easily wrap around an object across the room. At 20 minutes, the Lollipop had one of the most in-depth setup processes. But once it was ready, I didn’t need to stress about it at all. The monitor syncs up with an app on your phone and allows you to set a border to track movements inside the crib. It offers breathing monitoring and sleep tracking, and its smart capabilities can tell the difference between baby and other noises in the room (like a white noise machine). Of course, no device is a substitute for safe sleep practices, and the AAP doesn’t endorse any type of monitoring device to lower the risk of SIDS. But these features can offer an additional layer of peace of mind on top of the AAP's safe sleep recommendations. I gave this monitor a 5 out of 5 for features, in part because of the app's data history mode, which lets you look for patterns in baby's behavior and plan ahead.

But while the sleek aesthetics and useful features are nice, what really sets this monitor apart from the pack is the excellent camera quality. I would say it was one of the best cameras I tested, if not the best. The 5 out of 5 video and crisp audio on this device is impressively good; I could see every detail of my daughter’s face, even at night. If you're looking for the best baby monitor camera on the market, look no further; you've found it.

Monitor type: Video WiFi | Video display: 1080p HD | Mobile app: Yes | Mounting type: Crib | Range: Your home’s WiFi signal range | Battery life: N/A (no receiver; parents use their own phones)

Our product tester says:
“The camera quality is excellent. I could see my daughter very clearly. The sound and video quality was great, no matter where I was.”

Buy Now

Best smart baby monitor

What We Love
  • Great visuals
  • Personalized tracking
  • WiFi or non-WiFi mode
Things To Consider
  • Camera needs to be manually adjusted

Flexibility is the name of the game for the Chillax’s Giraffe Pro Smart Baby Monitor. This product gives you a ton of options for both set-up and monitoring. This unique monitor can operate as a WiFi camera that keeps tabs on baby via an app on your phone, or as a non-WiFi monitor with a physical parent device—a nice perk for when someone who doesn't have the app installed (like grandparents or a sitter) will be watching baby while you’re out. Just flip a switch to turn the WiFi connectivity on or off.

The app lets you set up a profile for your little one, where the smart features can track a range of events like feedings, diapering and, of course, sleep. If you want to set up other users on the app (like the previously mentioned sitters), they can download it to their phone and you can control who views the video feed. Two-way communication means they can talk to baby or play lullabies. The range of the WiFi mode is limited only by your internet connection, and I gave the non-WiFi range a 5 out of 5 score; it worked in every room in my house.

Of course, the most truly flexible feature on this monitor is the gooseneck that can be bent to your angle of choice. The monitor can be clipped onto a mount you purchase separately or an overhang, screwed into the wall or set to rest on a dresser or other flat surface—just be aware that it’s prone to toppling over if you don’t secure it to something. Once set, the camera needs to be manually adjusted to give you the view you’re after. But even that can be a bonus, since the manual bendable neck allows you to adjust the camera to virtually any angle you prefer.

Monitor type: Video WiFi and non-WiFi | Video display: 1080p HD | Mobile app: Yes | Mounting type: Mobile stand | Range: Your home’s WiFi signal range (WiFi mode); 1,200 feet (non-WiFi mode) | Battery life: N/A

Our product tester says:
“The camera's ‘giraffe’ neck allows for high adjustability.”

Buy Now

Best split-screen baby monitor

Motorola VM36XL-2
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Clear picture
  • Split screen option
  • Two cameras for the price of one
Things To Consider
  • Sound monitoring may be too sensitive for some

Motorola’s VM36XL offers double the baby monitoring in one device, making it a great choice for parents of multiples or those with small children. It sets up easily—just plug in the camera, turn on the monitor and you’re ready to go—and offers simple adjustability for both cameras right from the monitor. I had the whole thing ready to use in five minutes, and gave it 5 out of 5 for ease of setup; the hardest part was figuring out where to put the second camera! Once the cameras are running, you can set the display on the parent device to flip between both cameras or show a split screen.

It’s one of the best non-WiFi baby monitors in terms of video quality, and the microphone picks up small and loud sounds. The camera is portable and rechargeable too—you can enjoy up to three hours on a single charge before needing to plug it back in. Two-way communication allows you to talk to baby, while a room temperature display lets you know if their room is too hot or chilly.

All in all, the Motorola VM36XL packs more into the package than you'd think. At $130, it scored a 5 out of 5 for value for money from me; you get two cameras for a price that's lower than some other models that only have one.

Monitor type: Video Non-WiFi | Video display: 720p HD | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: Tabletop | Range: 1,000 feet | Battery life: 6 hours

Our product tester says:
“The video quality is great—one of the better ones for non-WiFi monitors. The cameras pan and tilt easily. The sound is also good: You can hear small and loud sounds.”

Buy Now

Best travel baby monitor

Momcozy Video Baby Monitor
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Lightweight monitor
  • Amazing battery life
  • Easy to set up and take down
Things To Consider
  • Video quality is less clear in dim lighting, but still usable

When you’re taking a baby monitor on the road, whether it’s to Grandma’s or on vacation, you want something that’s easy to take down and set up again. I was able to assemble the Momcozy Video Baby Monitor in two minutes, and that includes the time that it took to walk to my little one’s room from my bedroom. The camera is simple to control from the monitor itself, which allows you to scroll up and down, as well as pan in and out.

This non-WiFi baby monitor is the kind of no-nonsense device that gets the job done without an army of features. You can clearly see your child on the screen, and the audio quality is good. An impressive 22-hour charge (when the video is off) earned it a 5 out of 5 rating for battery life, so you can get plenty of use out of it even if you happen to forget the cord. The monitor is also fairly small and lightweight, so it won’t hog space in your suitcase. Be aware that you may hear some static or blips when you’re in close range to the monitor, but moving a few feet away quickly solves the issue.

The range on this device is another 5 out of 5 standout feature—at 960 feet, you can catch up with your parents out of earshot of baby while still keeping an eye on your little one. This monitor is a great choice if you need something compact, simple and effective that will travel well.

Monitor type: Video Non-WiFi | Video display: 1080p HD | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: Tabletop | Range: 960 feet | Battery life: 22 hours

Our product tester says:
“This monitor was very easy to set up. I just plugged in the camera and monitor, turned them on, and was up and running.”

Buy Now

Best easy-to-use baby monitor

Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO Video Baby Monitor
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Filters out excess background noise
  • Ease of use and setup was praised by almost every survey respondent
  • Long range
Things To Consider
  • Camera quality isn’t the sharpest
  • Some users report a bad battery life

Plenty of parents just want a baby monitor that will let them keep an eye on baby and hear what’s going on in their room, without any hard-to-wrangle features. The Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO does just that, with a 5 out of 5 score for ease of setup, range and battery life. I had this monitor assembled in two minutes, and it's become my go-to for easy monitoring tech ever since. This model does what you need a monitor to do, and does it well, without including so many bells and whistles that it becomes intimidating. Infant Optics was another popular brand among our community, used by over 20 percent of survey respondents.

As one of the best non-WiFi baby monitors it allows you to adjust the camera remotely (just swipe the screen in the direction you want the lens to go), zoom in and talk to baby if needed. While the camera quality isn’t as high-definition as some of its WiFi counterparts, it’s still good enough to clearly see how baby is doing during naps and at night. This audio quality, however, is where this monitor shines—it features active noise reduction to filter out background noise, so you can hear baby without being disturbed by every little sound during the night. The monitor has a battery life of 10 hours, which comes in handy when you forget to recharge it (as I did, but it just kept working!).

Monitor type: Video Non-WiFi | Video display: 720p HD | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: Tabletop | Range: 1,000 feet | Battery life: 10 hours

Our product tester says:
“I accidentally left it unplugged one night and it made it through the night and two naps the next day with no issue.”

Our community says:

“We love that the monitor doesn’t require wifi, it’s bluetooth. We like how it's easy to use the features on the monitor.” - Katrina, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“I like being able to connect more than one camera.” – Catherine*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“I liked the ease of setup and use. It’s effective, reliable and stylish—the quality and movement are worth the price.” – Rachel*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best audio baby monitor

VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor with up to 1,000 ft of Range, Vibrating Sound-Alert
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Simple set-up
  • Good, adjustable audio
  • Belt clip
Things To Consider
  • No video function

If you’re not interested in video features or you just want to save on a baby monitor, the classic style offered by the VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor is the way to go. Simply put the audio monitor in baby’s room, turn on the receiver and take it with you. The audio easily adjusts up and down, while a five-level visual sound indicator lets you know if baby is just rustling around or having a full-on meltdown.

The receiver features a clip that can faster onto your pocket and an impressive battery life of up to 16 hours. Two-way talk allows you to communicate with baby, and there’s even a built-in nightlight in the handle of the baby’s unit. At under $40, this monitor commands 5 out of 5 ratings for ease of setup, battery life and value for money; it's one of the most affordable and no-fuss baby monitors you can buy.

Monitor type: Audio | Video display: N/A | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: Tabletop | Range: 1,000 feet | Battery life: 16 hours

Our product tester says:
“The audio quality is great, but there is no camera. I could hear this all around my house, though it got a little crackly when I went into my basement.”

Our community says:

“Definitely worth its price. Love it!” - Laura, mother and The Bump survey respondent

“Simple to use, doesn’t need wifi.” - Eva*, mother and The Bump survey respondent

Buy Now

Best affordable baby monitor

HelloBaby Baby Monitor-HB6550
Image: Walmart
Buying Options
Walmart|$41.99
What We Love
  • Inexpensive
  • Impressive range
  • Solid battery life
Things To Consider
  • Camera quality isn’t as sharp as other machines

At just $42, the Hello Baby monitor is a steal, offering camera performance at a price comparable to audio-only monitors. The Hello Baby has many of the same features as other non-WiFi monitors, including fast and easy set-up (so fast it earned a 5 out of 5 score), two-way talk and the ability to adjust the camera from your monitor.

Hello Baby’s infrared night vision provides a solid view of baby in the dark, and the monitor can play up to eight lullabies if the need strikes. I also appreciated the temperature sensor, which gives you an idea of whether baby’s room is getting too warm or cool. And if you're worried that an inexpensive monitor will fail to deliver on the basics, don't; I gave Hello Baby 5 out of 5 scores for range and battery life. The charge lasted me through an entire day of naps, and the Hello Baby boasts one of the largest ranges on the market for non-WiFi monitors, clocking in at 1,000 feet. With this monitor you can spend less and still get more than enough.

Monitor type: Video Non-WiFi | Video display: 720p | Mobile app: No | Mounting type: Tabletop | Range: 1,000 feet | Battery life: 12 hours

Our product tester says:
“This is impressively inexpensive compared to the competition.”

Buy Now

*Note: Some names have been changed due to privacy requests.

Monitors Comparison Chart

Overall best baby monitorBest non-WiFi baby monitorBest WiFi baby monitorBest baby monitor cameraBest smart baby monitorBest split-screen baby monitorBest travel baby monitorBest easy-to-use baby monitorBest audio baby monitorBest affordable baby monitor
Overall Best
CuboAi Plus Smart Baby Monitor
Eufy Spaceview Pro Baby Monitor E210
Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor & Wall Mount
Lollipop Baby Monitor
Chillax DM681 Giraffe Pro Smart Baby Monitor
Motorola VM36XL-2 5" Portable Video Baby Monitor
Momcozy Video Baby Monitor
Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO Video Baby Monitor
VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor
Hello Baby HB6550 Baby Monitor
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
WiFi
Display resolution1080p HD720p HD1080p HD1080p HD1080p HD720p HD1080p HD720p HDN/AN/A
Mounting typeFloor, crib or mobile standN/AWallCribMobile standTabletopTabletopTabletopTabletopTabletop
Battery lifeN/A15 hoursN/AN/AN/A6 hours22 hours10 hours12 hours12 hours
Add-on camera capability
Buy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full ReviewBuy NowRead Full Review

Types of Baby Monitors

At its most basic, a baby monitor is a two-piece device: the transmitter stays in baby’s room and the receiver remains near a parent, who is then able to monitor their little one—through sound and/or video—while they’re asleep in their crib. But there are a bunch of different types of baby monitors to consider, and each offers something different, with its own pros and cons. When shopping for the best baby monitor for your family, consider first what you’d like to accomplish with a monitor. Do you need just a quick peek here and there or constant, 360-degree surveillance with add-ons like ambient temperature monitoring and sleep-quality tracking? Are you hoping to simply hear baby or to see them as well? These are questions that, once answered, can help you decide which of the best baby monitor options should top your list. Some of your options include:

  • Audio monitor. These are the more traditional monitors that you may have grown up with. They only allow you to hear baby, and are typically the least expensive type of monitor on the market.
  • Video monitor. Want to be able to keep an eye on baby? A video monitor allows you to both see and hear your child sleeping. These are usually more expensive than audio-only monitors.
  • WiFi monitor. This type of monitor syncs up with your home network and typically pairs with an app, so you can see how baby is sleeping even when you’re not at home and baby is being watched by someone else. The speed of WiFi connections often allows for better camera quality, and the range is only limited by where you can get an internet signal. Keep in mind, these monitors may be vulnerable to potential security threats, though there are a lot of protections in place.
  • Non-WiFi monitor. A non-WiFi monitor allows you to keep tabs on baby without needing to hook up to your home network. While you can’t check in on baby when you’re not at home and the video quality usually isn’t as strong, these monitors are typically very easy to set up and don’t share the security concerns of WiFi monitors.
  • Smart monitor. This increasingly popular option typically offers a number of bells and whistles like keeping tabs on baby’s sleep patterns and overall well-being during the night and naps. But shop carefully; some products can be inaccurate, and science hasn’t yet determined how helpful these additional features are.
  • Portable monitor. Portable monitors can be taken on the road, making them great for parents who travel a lot and for trips to the grandparents’ house. However, they tend to have limited functionality.

WiFi vs Non-Wifi Baby Monitor: What’s the Difference?

This list includes both WiFi enabled and non-WiFi baby monitors—but what are the main advantages and disadvantages of each type?

Pros and cons of non-WiFi baby monitors

As explained above non-WiFi monitors use a closed system to transmit audio, video or both, which means that they are virtually unhackable. Aside from the security benefits, non-WiFi models tend to be less complicated to set up and use. Plus, non-WiFi baby monitors don’t suffer from a time lag, meaning you’ll view baby in real time. However, they have a limited range and lack smart features found in more technologically advanced monitors. It’s also important to remember that this type of baby monitor includes a separate parent unit that you’ll need to keep with you. Finally, this type tends to be less expensive than WiFi baby monitors.

Pros and cons of WiFi baby monitors

First-time parents may prefer a WiFi baby monitor with all the bells and whistles. Why? The main benefit of these devices is that they have a long range, so you can supervise baby from afar. Better yet, many Wi-Fi monitors offer multi-streaming, meaning multiple caregivers can check-in on baby, and high camera quality for crystal-clear images. With that said, smart baby monitors often suffer from a transmission delay. Another benefit is that WiFi baby monitors usually connect to an app and offer smart features such as breathing monitors, roll-over alerts and sleep analysis.

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Baby Monitor

When shopping for the best baby monitor, it’s important to consider your specific needs. Gina Posner, MD, a board-certified pediatrician in Fountain Valley, California, says video functionality is often helpful. “If you hear baby crying, you can look to see if they’re trapped in something vs. if it seems like they’ll settle down on their own,” she says. And Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, notes that, “video is nice and it does add another layer of monitoring, but mine was audio and it was just fine.” How your family plans to use the device is the most important thing when choosing a specific type of monitor.

If you have a larger home, you’ll need to consider a monitor’s range to ensure it works for where you want to go, Posner says. And, if you want to be able to check in on baby while someone else is watching them, a WiFi option is nice. A WiFi monitor’s multi-user functionality can also be handy when multiple parents or a sitter are using the same monitor.

For non-WiFi monitors, Posner says multiple channels are helpful—both for safety reasons and to avoid interference with other monitors and phones. But experts stress that you don’t need a high-tech monitor if it doesn’t appeal to you or doesn’t fit your budget.

Baby Monitor Safety Tips

The AAP offers advice on picking out and using a baby monitor safely. Some of the key takeaways from that guidance are:

  • Check the monitor’s range in advance. Make sure that the monitor offers the right listening range and view clarity for your needs.
  • Look for monitors with more than one channel. Phones, radio stations and even other monitors can interfere with your baby monitor. If you’re using a non-WiFi model, look for one that has several channels, just in case.
  • Keep cords out of reach of baby. If your monitor base or unit has a cord, make sure it’s well out of baby’s reach. “You don’t want baby to pull on a cord and then become trapped,” Posner says.
  • Create a strong password. If you’re using a monitor with WiFi, make sure you create a strong password, both for your device and your home network. You’ll also want to update your software regularly.
  • Direct supervision is still best. It’s still important to follow safe sleep guidelines and to not let a monitor be a substitute for direct supervision from you.

It’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each individual monitor, Fischer says. “In terms of how close it should be to the crib and how to set it up, there are definitely product specifications you’ll want to follow,” she says.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a baby monitor?

The pediatricians we spoke to agree that while not essential, a baby monitor is often a good tool to have at home. “I find that most people need them,” says Posner. “They’re useful so you can keep an eye on baby, but can also be helpful if you have young children.”

Fisher also recommends at least considering getting a baby monitor. “When you’re in the same room as baby, it’s not quite as crucial,” she says. “But when you’re in a different room, it can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re talking about sleeping. If you can’t hear baby making noise, it can be disconcerting.”

Are baby monitors FSA eligible?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to pay for many out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars. FSA covers things like insurance copayments and deductibles, qualified prescription drugs, insulin and medical devices. While baby monitors aren’t considered medical devices, some are FSA eligible.

It’s difficult to know for sure whether any given monitor will qualify, so it’s best to contact your plan administrator or an FSA specialist to see if a monitor you’re interested in meets the criteria, Posner says.

When to stop using a baby monitor?

There’s no official guidance on when to stop using a baby monitor, and Posner says a lot depends on you and your child. “It’s really whenever you feel comfortable to stop,” she says. Fisher says parents will often still want to use a monitor until their child is 2 or a little longer if they want to keep an eye on them at night. “It’s really individual preference,” she says.

About the writer: Korin Miller is a freelance writer who’s written dozens of health features for The Bump. She specializes in commerce, wellness and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Women’s Health, Forbes, SELF and more. Korin is mom to four kids, ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old. She has a master’s degree from American University and lives by the beach.

Interested in becoming a product tester for The Bump? Head here to apply.

Sources

Gina Posner, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

Danelle Fisher, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician and chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Accuracy of Pulse Oximetry-Based Home Baby Monitors, August 2018

Journal of the American Medical Association, The Emerging Market of Smartphone-Integrated Infant Physiologic Monitors, January 2017

Healthy Children (AAP), Monitoring the Situation, January 2023

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