Best Baby Monitor Reviews 2017 – Buying Guide
The Importance of Choosing the Right Baby Monitor
The baby monitor that you choose can have a massive impact on the safety of your newborn, and in some cases, your sanity. A good baby monitor allows you to maintain a level of observation over your newborn while allowing them to grow and learn without you constantly having to be present.
These amazing little devices come with a broad range of features and at a variety of different price points, so there are options for every parenting style. Some baby monitors have special alerts that go off in case the child stops breathing, while others have two-way microphone systems to allow you to speak or sing to your newborn remotely. There are even baby monitors that connect directly to your smartphone for monitoring on the go!
The key is that you and your partner are comfortable with the array of features in the monitor that you choose. It’s important to choose a manufacturer and brand that you trust, as you will be placing a lot of confidence in the monitor to work as desired. We’ve gone ahead and reviewed several different baby monitor options, carefully considering a few different factors. These factors were price, features, ease-of-use, and overall value.
Before going through our list of reviews, consider making a chart to help you figure out exactly what your needs are. Here are a few possible questions to take into consideration:
- Do I want automatic alerts and other notifications?
- What is the price range I am willing to spend on a baby monitor?
- Do I need video monitoring as well as audio monitoring?
- Will I benefit from smartphone connectivity?
After you’ve gone through those questions you should have a vague idea of the features that you should be looking for in a baby monitor. Without further ado, here is a list of 5 potential choices with the pros and cons of each choice outlined for you.
The Top 5 Baby Monitors to Consider
Cocoon Cam Video Baby Monitor
The Cocoon Cam Video Baby Monitor is a fantastic choice for parents who want both real-time video monitoring as well as two-way audio. This monitor also has a feature called “breathing monitoring”, which allows you to track and visualize the breathing patterns of your newborn from your smartphone in real-tim
- Has just about every feature you could want in a sleek, compact monitor
- High-Quality video monitoring and audio feedback
- Two way audio transmission means you can speak to your infant through your smartphone from anywhere in your home!
- In order to use the smartphone functionality you need to purchase a monthly subscription
- This monitor will not work if your wifi stops working, and you need a smartphone in order to view the audio/video feeds
This is a good entry-level option for parents on a budget, but you may consider spending a little bit more money to get a monitor with a few more features.
Levana Digital Video Baby Monitor w/ Intercom
The Levana Digital Video Baby Monitor is a fantastic alternative to the previous entry for those who don’t have or don’t want to be dependent on a smartphone. This monitor has live video and audio feeds, as well as an intercom system to allow you to talk to your baby from the hub device. Listed at $79.99 (at the time of writing) this is an incredibly affordable way to get real-time video and audio monitoring for your child.
- This monitor comes in at a great price point, making it one of the best middle-of-the-market options
- The intercom system on this monitor is reliable and doesn’t need a smartphone to function
- Its interface is simple and effective, and won’t take much fuss to learn how to use
- The night-vision feature of this monitor will allow you to see up to 15 ft. in total darkness.
- This monitor depends on batteries to run, so operation is limited to about 8 hours before needing to be recharged.
- The way that the video feed is encrypted means that it is difficult to replace the camera/monitor without replacing the hub itself.
This baby monitor by Levana is a great choice for parents on a tight budget. While this monitor is relatively cheap, it does not compromise on quality or features. The only real constraint is that it has a limited battery life compared to some of the higher-priced options. It also doesn’t have some of the more advanced breathing and sound monitoring features of other models.
Summer Infant In-View Video Baby Monitor
This Video Baby Monitor by Summer Infant is slightly more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but in exchange for the price increase you get a model that is durable and guaranteed to last for many years to come. The camera has infrared lights mounted for night vision and can swivel to help you find the optimal viewing angle for your infant.
- Powerful infrared LEDs allow you to see for quite a distance in the dark
- The camera automatically transitions to night vision when it senses darkness, and the monitor switches to black-and-white.
- Summer Infant is a trusted brand for baby monitors
- You can add multiple angles for different children or angles
- There have been complaints about limited battery-life
- This monitor doesn’t give off any alerts when the signal is lost
- It can be difficult to get the camera into the right position
Samsung BrightVIEW HD Baby Video Monitor
The BrightVIEW HD Baby Video Monitor by Samsung is an excellent example of a well-known manufacturer creating a quality baby monitor with all of the features that we’ve come to expect from modern technology. This monitor is not reliant on a smartphone for the video and audio feed, and comes equipped with a 5” HD screen. One standout feature of this monitor are the feeding time alerts, which can be setup to automatically remind you when it’s time to feed your newborn
- Samsung consistently makes quality products, and they have an outstanding customer support system.
- This monitor has a longer lasting battery than some of the other options on this list
- The camera on this monitor can swivel up to 300 degrees, providing a huge field of view for finding the optimal angle for your newborn
- Coming in at a price of $200 for the base unit, this is one of the most expensive options on the list
- Some users have complained that the screen is too small to be viewed accurately
- The IR lights are not as powerful as some of the other monitors listed on this list
This is potentially one of the greatest all-around baby monitors available on the market today, but its high price point makes it unappealing to some prospective customers. If you are looking for a high-end monitor, the BrightVIEW system is for you. Otherwise, you may have better luck with one of the other options on our list.
Infant Optics DXR-8 Digital Video Baby Monitor w/ Optic Lens
The DXR-8 Digital Video Baby Monitor by Infant Optics has an array of features not seen in other monitors that cost as much or more as this model. One of the most outstanding features of this monitor is the remote pan/tilt controls that allow you to look around the room and control the camera angle from the viewing screen. This means that this camera works well for both infants and older children who are more mobile.
- The tilt/pan controls are intuitive and help you track the movement of your newborn throughout the night
- The battery on this monitor outlasts many of the other options available on the market today
- The addition of an interchangeable optical lens means that the viewing angle of this monitor is more customizable than just about any other video monitor
- Coming in at around $165 for the monitor and camera, this is not the most expensive model on the list but is certainly not the cheapest either
- The viewing screen is smaller than on some of the other offerings on the list
- The ‘Sound Triggered’ mode is triggered by other people walking around, not just the movements of the newborn
Not every family has the same needs when it comes to choosing a baby monitor, so you should take the time to carefully consider exactly what it is you are looking for before committing to a purchase.
Different Types of Baby Monitors
While traditional baby monitors were separated only by audio/video capabilities, modern monitors tend to be categorized based on whether or not they are smartphone-based or use proprietary hardware. There are pros and cons to both types of baby monitors, and which one you should choose depends on your lifestyle and comfort level with technology.
Smartphone Based Baby Monitors
These monitors use the internet to link directly to an app on your phone, allowing you to check in on your baby from anywhere in the world with a WiFi or cellular connection. This is an amazing advancement in monitor technology, but it doesn’t come without drawbacks. If you lose, misplace, or break your phone you have to way to monitor your newborn. In addition, there are some security concerns about streaming live monitor video over the web.
One huge advantage to using a smartphone-based baby monitor is that oftentimes you can allow both parents to simultaneously monitor the newborn from different places on different phones. This is great for couples who travel or who often work late nights. These types of monitors are also great for making sure that pets aren’t getting into trouble while you are out of the house. Going on a date? You can use your smartphone to monitor the babysitter from anywhere with an internet connection.
Hardware Based Baby Monitors
A lot of baby monitors don’t display video and audio through a smart device and instead opt to use a central “Hub” with a video screen and speakers.
A benefit of this type of system is that it works regardless of what type of phone you use, and some models work without connecting to WiFi. This is a huge plus if you are concerned about the potential security risks of streaming live video over the internet. While modern encryption has gone great strides to prevent hackers from viewing your video feed, sometimes older technology is the most reassuring option.
How to Shop for a Baby Monitor
Given the huge variety of options on the market today, it can be overwhelming to begin the process of shopping for a baby monitor. Not to mention the fact that there are so many other important things you need to shop for when expecting a new child in the house. It can be helpful to visit a physical store that sells baby monitors to get a feel for which style of monitor and features that you want.
Some stores and brands offer 30-day risk-free trials that allow you to bring the monitor home and experience the features before fully committing to purchasing it. This is a great chance for first-time parents to sample different types of monitors before investing too much time and money into a specific model. Our hope is that with the information presented in this guide you will be able to find a baby monitor that fits your needs, lifestyle, and budget requirements.
Why You Need a Baby Monitor
Parents did just fine for years without fancy video and audio baby monitors, right? The reality is that advancements in monitor technology mean that a good baby monitor can help make your newborn much safer, and can help you sleep easier knowing that everything is taken care of. The price of baby monitors has also dropped in recent years, allowing a greater number of families access to this amazing technology.
Everything is much easier when you are able to monitor your child’s safety from a distance. Early Development experts claim that it’s important to give your child the space they need to grow and learn without constant interaction from you, and baby monitors allow you to do this while keeping your child safe.
Even date nights are made easier with a good baby monitor. With the recent advent of smartphone-connected baby monitors, it is now possible to check in on your newborn while away from home or at the office! You can even check in from a different country, provided that you have adequate internet or cellular access and the right model of smartphone.
Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their infant will stop breathing in the night and they will have no way of knowing. Many baby monitors are equipped with early-warning systems that set off alarms when movement or sound levels drop below a certain point. This can be critical in getting your child the help they need before it’s too late.