You only want the very best for baby—and the anxiety that comes with that only grows when baby’s asleep. A reliable baby monitor ensures you’re able to safely and securely keep an eye on baby during nap time, overnight or anytime you need to step away for a moment. After all, moms need bathroom breaks too!
What Is a Baby Monitor?
A baby monitor is a two-piece device where the transmitter stays in baby’s room and the receiver either goes along with or sits near a parent, who is then able to monitor baby—through sound and/or video—while she’s asleep in her crib.
Today’s best baby monitors are not your mama’s baby monitors! High-definition video monitoring is becoming the norm, and many baby monitors are now app-enabled or have wi-fi capabilities. Even basic audio monitors have stepped up their game with many implementing DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology to eliminate the interference and the lack of security that comes from monitors using the 2.4 GHz frequency band. If you’ve ever heard your neighbors chatting through your baby monitor, you’ll appreciate this change! DECT also prevents super-creepy baby monitor hackers from spying on baby—or you!
So what is the best baby monitor? That depends on what you’re looking for. A video monitor seems like an obvious choice over an audio monitor, but it does come with a higher price tag. If you have a large home or you spend a lot of time outside with older children while baby sleeps, a long-range monitor may be the best choice for you. And if you travel a lot, you may be more interested in a compact, simple-to-operate portable baby monitor rather than one that is mounted or otherwise heavy and difficult to move. In short, here are the factors you’ll want to consider when selecting the best baby monitor for you:
- Battery life
- Add-on cameras (to monitor more than one child or space)
Still need help? We understand! There’s a lot to choose from, and given that the baby monitor performs a super important job, we want to help you select the one that provides the ultimate peace of mind when it comes to baby’s safety and security. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best baby monitors on the market, from high-end, do-it-all monitors to affordable but effective audio monitors and everything in between. You’re sure to find your digital nap companion on our list!
Best Baby Monitor Overall
It should come as no surprise that we selected Nanit as the best baby monitor overall—after all, it was the winner of The Bump Best of Baby Awards this year. Nanit gives you both a clear, unobstructed view of baby thanks to the over-the-crib mount as well as sleep insight reports and nightly sleep scores via an app. You not only see how baby sleeps, but learn how to help baby sleep better.
Nanit Smart Baby Monitor, $279, amazon.com
Best Video Baby Monitor
Why settle for just hearing baby when you can see baby? Parents everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when the video baby monitor was introduced, with a camera in baby’s room transmitting video to the receiver mom or dad kept by their side. After all, it’s a relief to see that silence means a sleeping baby rather than Sharpie on the walls.
With a staggering 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, we’re proud to include the Infant Optics DXR-8 video baby monitor on our list. Parents rave about its crystal-clear picture in both light and darkness, and the interchangeable wide-angle lens for larger viewing areas (sold separately). Not only that, the DXR-8 has the ability to pan and zoom across baby’s room without parents having to enter the room and move or adjust the camera. We think these features make the Infant Optics DXR-8 the best video baby monitor.
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor, $167, amazon.com
Best Wi-Fi Baby Monitor
Wi-fi baby monitors are the latest innovation in high-tech baby gear, and they’re super convenient. A baby monitor with wi-fi allows you to connect anywhere that has Internet service or Bluetooth capability, and the monitor can often be controlled remotely using a smartphone or computer. This functionality makes the wi-fi baby monitor great for travelling (unless you’re heading to a remote location). Safety tip: No matter what connection you use, be sure that it’s a secure connection in order to prevent your monitor from being hacked.
The iBaby M6 is your ultimate nursery assistant! This adorably sleek model wins our top pick for the best baby monitor with wi-fi. Not only can you keep tabs on baby through your iPhone or tablet, the iBaby monitor also allows you to live-stream footage to as many as four people (Hello, Grandma!), take, store and share photos of baby, and speak or sing to baby via two-way communication. Parents can remotely control the camera so that it swivels, tilts and pans for a larger viewing area. Baby’s first robot? We think so!
iBaby M6S Digital Video Monitor, $191, Jet.com
Best Baby Monitor App
The best baby monitor apps allow you to monitor baby using only your existing devices, like phones, tablets or even computers. One device acts a transmitter in baby’s room, and you use another device to monitor baby. Some apps only have audio functionality, but others have both audio and video. As a plus, the best baby monitor apps often have cool features that traditional baby monitors don’t have, like remote capabilities. However, some users complain that they can be somewhat unreliable.
Are you a Mac fan? If so, you’ll love the amazing functionality and ease of use provided by the Cloud Baby Monitor app—which turns your iPhone, iPad or computer into a monitor with just one download. At just $4, a fraction of the price of traditional baby monitors, the Cloud Baby app brings you a host of functionality at the touch of a button, including white noise, night light and lullabies—all controlled remotely. But what makes this the best baby monitor app is the high-quality and industry-standard secure audio and video monitoring capabilities.
Cloud Baby Monitor , $4, iTunes
Best Audio Baby Monitor
There are many reasons to look for an audio baby monitor—price and portability are just a few—but for the best audio baby monitor, choose a digital model that uses DECT technology rather than an old-school analog model. You’ll enjoy greater security and less interference.
The VTech Safe & Sound DM221 is a digital audio model with great reviews and lots of features at an affordable price point. It functions like a set of walkie-talkies with its two-way communication, and it’s portable, making it one of the top baby monitors for travel.
VTech Safe & Sound DM221, $40, bedbathandbeyond.com
Best Baby Monitor for Twins
Just because you’re pulling double diaper duty doesn’t mean you need to buy two baby monitors. If you’re a twin mom, simply look for a monitor with add-on cameras, like the Levana Aria, which allows you to add up to four cameras to the unit. We consider this the best baby monitor for twins because you can pair the cameras with the touch of a button to conveniently monitor your twins, or baby and an older sibling, with split-screen or even quad-screen viewing.
Levana Aria 7-Inch Touchscreen Video Baby Monitor, $196, Jet.com
Best Long-Range Baby Monitor
One of the biggest concerns with a baby monitor is going out of range and not hearing baby crying for you. Talk about a case of mom guilt! When shopping for the best long-range baby monitor, note that the range listed on the box doesn’t account for walls or doors; it’s a line-of-sight range. So, although you may not actually be able to travel 1,000 feet away from baby, you should be able to head to the basement to do laundry or be outside in the yard without worrying about missing baby’s cries.
We’ve chosen two of the best long-range baby monitors, and both are from Philips. The Philips Avent SCD-570 digital audio monitor uses DECT technology for a crystal-clear reception at a range of 900 feet. And for a long-range video monitor, the Philips Avent SCD-630 provides top-notch video capability and solid features with a range of 980 feet.
Philips Avent SCD-570 DECT Baby Monitor, $111, amazon.com
Philips Avent SCD-630 Video Baby Monitor with FHSS, $125, amazon.com
Best Travel Baby Monitor
It’s hard enough travelling with kids, so when you’re away from home, you’ll want to bring along a baby monitor that’s reliable, delivering on features and performance without being bulky or complicated. A long range is also a plus, especially if baby will be sleeping further away from you than normal, such as at a relative’s house.
For these reasons, the Samsung SEW-3040W tops our list for best travel baby monitor. Samsung is a trusted brand in electronics, and this model offers excellent performance with super simple functionality, delivering crisp audio and video at the touch of a button. We chose a non-wireless model for travel, since bringing a wi-fi device means checking ahead to ensure there’s no spotty Internet connections where you’ll be travelling.
Samsung SEW-3040W SimpleVIEW Baby Monitoring System, $120, babiesrus.com
Best Dual Baby Monitor
With today’s dual baby monitor, you can keep tabs on multiple rooms at once. Just think—you can check in on both kids and keep the dog out of the kitchen trash!
Most dual monitors come with split- or even quad-screen viewing, and the Summer Infant Side-by-Side 2.0 Split Screen baby monitor does just that, offering a crisp, sizable 5-inch display. This model supports up to four cameras, allowing you to monitor four rooms at once. With its reliable brand, large display and additional features like two-way communication and remote-controlled pan and zoom, we found the Summer Infant Side-by-Side to be the best dual baby monitor.
Summer Infant Side-by-Side 2.0 Split Screen Baby Monitor, $225, BabiesRUs.com
Best Movement Baby Monitor
Don’t want to pay top dollar for a baby monitor? Luckily, you don’t have to! The good news about baby monitors going high-tech is that now you can get a great video monitor for a very reasonable price.
This really is the monitor that does it all! What puts this monitor heads and shoulders above the rest is the activity sensor pad that goes under baby’s mattress and monitors for lack of movement—a helpful enhancement for tracking baby’s breathing during those scary SIDS months. Once baby grows past that stage, breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t throw the monitor out with the bathwater, because the Angelcare AC517 also comes with both an audio and a video monitor! What more could you ask for?
Angelcare AC517 Baby Movement Monitor, $250, angelcarebaby.com
Baby Monitor Reviews from Real Moms!
When it comes to baby’s safety and security, you won’t settle for less than the best, and you want something tried and true. So we’ve gone straight to the source and included product reviews of some of the top-rated baby monitors from real-life moms, so you can find out how they liked their monitor before making your purchase. Check out what the moms of The Bump Baby Buzz Club are saying about their favorite baby monitors!
Infant Optics DXR-8 Reviews
"The price was right and it had the basic features we were looking for. Three years later, it's still going strong. [Features include] adjustable audio with VOX, IR night vision, adjustable brightness, multiple camera and monitor options, and it’s easily portable."
"The ability to swivel the camera is a great feature! Instead of having to set up different cameras to get all angles of a room (like Summer infant), with Infant optics I only needed one camera and it was able to zoom close to the crib when necessary and then I could pan out."
"I like that it's a stand-alone product—the other one requires me to be in the app on my phone for it to work. I like that I can hear and see my baby clearly."
"Great screen quality and zoom feature."
"I love this baby monitor! The video quality is great. The camera is easily controlled from the monitor and has great viewing radius and you can shut off the screen at night so you just have sound and not the bright light of the monitor while you are sleeping. It also has good range—you can work in the yard and have the monitor."
iBaby Monitor Reviews
"It allowed my husband to see our children on camera from his cell phone app while at work."
"My husband did so much research and we love the options in this monitor. It tells you the temperature and humidity, so you don't have to worry whether it's too cold in the room. You can talk through it to help soothe your little one or you can play music."
"My husband reviewed so many before purchasing the iBaby. We went with it because it was simple and easy to use. Also the picture was adequate."