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Best Baby Monitors for the Ultimate Peace Of Mind

Baby Monitor
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Updated April 11, 2024

Being a new parent (or even a seasoned parent!) can be nerve wracking. Of course, ensuring your baby’s safety and well-being becomes a top priority, which is why a vital thing to have before the little one arrives is a baby monitor. Luckily, in today’s digital age, there are so many on the market, each boasting unique features and functionalities. That said, navigating through this sea of options can be daunting, leaving parents perplexed about which monitor best suits their needs. I took a deep dive into the realm of baby monitors, exploring the factors that demand consideration when making this pivotal purchase. From range and coverage to security and ease of use, I unravel the essential elements that can make or break the monitoring experience for parents.

What to consider when buying a baby monitor

Just like when shopping for baby swings and baby carriers, there are factors to consider to ensure you choose the right baby monitor for your needs. Here are four key things to keep in mind.

Range and coverage

Consider the size of your home and the range you need the baby monitor to cover. If you have a larger house or plan to use the monitor outdoors, you'll need one with a longer range. A range of 1,000-1,200 feet can be expected for longer range baby monitors, though consider that factors like house layout, walls, and other features can impact the range. (So, even if you have a small home, lean towards purchasing a monitor with a higher range when possible.)

Features and functionality

Baby monitors come with a variety of features beyond just audio and video monitoring. Some may offer temperature sensors, night vision, two-way communication, lullabies, motion detection, or even integration with smartphone apps. Think about which features are important to you.

Security and privacy

With concerns about privacy and hacking, it's important to choose a baby monitor with robust security features. Look for monitors that offer encryption for secure transmission of audio and video signals. You’ll want to avoid monitors with known security vulnerabilities and opt for reputable brands that prioritize user privacy.

Ease of use and portability

Depending on how tech savvy you are, setting up and using a baby monitor can be complicated. Consider how easy the monitor is to set up and use and look for models with intuitive interfaces and clear instructions. Portability is important if you plan to travel with the monitor or move it between rooms frequently. Choose a monitor that’s lightweight and easy to carry around.

Our top picks for the best baby monitors

Best Wi-Fi video monitor: Motorola PIP 1610 HD Connect

Best Wi-Fi video monitor
Motorola PIP 1610 HD Connect

Motorola PIP 1610 HD Connect

The camera is controlled remotely from the parent unit or a smartphone with the Motorola Nursery app, allowing you to pan, tilt, and zoom for the best view of your baby. The five-inch portable color monitor with a high definition 1080p display, two noise level indicator bars, and a high-sensitivity microphone mean you'll see every detail and hear every sound. This one would make an excellent baby shower gift.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Batteries required: Parent unit uses AC power or lithium batteries (included)
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: Parent unit 6.75 x 4 x 2.25 inches, baby unit 4 x 4.75 x 5.25 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall mount or table
  • Price on publish: $179.99

The bottom line:

Motorola PIP1610 HD Connect offers smart features like remote pan/tilt camera and app connectivity to give you peace of mind while your baby sleeps.

Get it here: Motorola PIP 1610 HD Connect


Best non-Wi-Fi baby monitor: The Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO

Best non-Wi-Fi baby monitor
The Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO

The Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO

“We prefer having a handheld parent unit over a phone app, and also to not have to rely on a Wi-Fi connection—especially if traveling,” says Katie Billingsley, CCC-SLP, CBS and Director of Operations of Fourth Trimester Postnatal Retreat. This monitor is high tech though: It uses background noise reduction, has multiple zoom options, toggles the camera back and forth, and has the ability to allow multiple cameras to be viewed simultaneously, Billingsley says. It has 720p HD resolution and night vision to boot.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.96 pounds
  • Batteries required: Yes (included)
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: ‎4 x 6 x 3 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall mount
  • Price on publish: $199.99

The bottom line:

The background noise reduction feature differentiates this non-Wi-Fi monitor that provides peace of mind if security is something you’re concerned about.

Get it here: The Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO


Best video baby monitor: Nanit Pro Camera with Stand

Best video baby monitor
Nanit Pro Camera with Stand

Nanit Pro Camera with Stand

I personally tested out the Nanit and it’s my favorite of the bunch. I love that as a renter, I don’t have to wall mount the camera and can use the stand. It’s also great for moving the unit room to room.

“Though we believe having too much information can sometimes be overly anxiety inducing, and want to insert a caveat that most of these smart monitors will have false alarms from time to time, our pick in this class is the Nanit Pro,” says Billingsley. She notes that it’s less buggy than other options and offers an eye-opening amount of data including sleep analytics, breathing monitoring, cry detection, temperature tracking, plus more. “While Wi-Fi based, it is highly encrypted, viewable from the app as well as Google Home and through the web, and does not require a sensor to be attached to your baby’s body,” she says.

Specifications:

  • Weight: Not listed on the site
  • Batteries required: No
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 15 x 12 inches, 67 inches (stand)
  • Mounting type: Wall, table, or floor stand
  • Price on publish: $249 - $399 depending on mount type

The bottom line:

This top-of-the-line video monitor keeps track of so many things related to your baby, along with providing analytics.

Get it here: Nanit Pro Camera with Stand


Best baby breathing monitor: Owlet Dream Duo

Best baby breathing monitor
Owlet Dream Duo

I personally tested out the Owlet Dream Duo and it boasts a 1080p HD video monitor, but what sets this combo apart is the additional wearable baby monitor—the Owlet Smart Sock—which tracks the baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep. The Smart Sock comfortably wraps around the baby's foot, providing non-invasive monitoring that gives you important insights into baby's health and well-being. The device sends real-time alerts to the parent's smartphone if it detects any irregularities. To help keep the sock on your little one's foot, you can put them in footed pajamas or put an everyday sock over the sock—this won't disrupt any readings, the team at Owlet says. A couple of other tips from the Owlet team: Make sure that the right size is being used and the velcro is taut. Also, make sure the correct sock is being used on the corresponding foot. Each sock will have left and right indicators.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 0.8 pounds
  • Batteries required: No, AC powered
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 3.1 x 2.8 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall mount or table stand
  • Price on publish: $369

The bottom line:

This duo provides a standard video monitoring system but the sock offers added reassurance and early detection of potential issues.

Get it here: Owlet Dream Duo


Best portable baby monitor: VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor

Best portable baby monitor
VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor

VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor

As far as portable monitors go, this one’s fantastic. This affordable audio-only monitor boasts a long 1,000-foot range, clear sound, and a compact, lightweight design, making it perfect for packing and using in various hotels or rentals. It even features a vibrating alert and two-way talk, all for under $40.

Specifications:

  • Weight: ‎12.8 ounces
  • Batteries required: AC power or rechargeable battery up to 18 hours (included)
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: Parent unit 2.5 x 1.5 x 5 inches, baby unit 3 x 1.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Mounting type: Table, belt clip on parent unit
  • Price on publish: $35.99

The bottom line:

Very portable, VTech DM221 offers long-range, clear audio baby monitoring at an affordable price, but lacks video and has limited features compared to some competitors.

Get it here: VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor


Best affordable baby monitor: Nanit Sound & Light Machine

Best affordable baby monitor
Nanit Sound & Light Machine

Nanit Sound & Light Machine

Want a baby monitor that won’t break the bank? Nanit’s Sound & Light Machine boasts monitor features in a product designed to provide white noise and a night light for your little and is under $80. Having personally tested this one out, I love how easy it is to establish night routines for my son and I simply move it from room to room to use when he falls asleep in a room other than his nursery. The audio-only monitor keeps an “ear” on him thanks to the cry-detection feature. It also tracks temperature and humidity, as well.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 13 ounces
  • Batteries required: AC power or rechargeable battery up to eight hours (included)
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 5.25 inches
  • Mounting type: Table
  • Price on publish: $79.99

The bottom line:

This audio-only monitor is a feature of this light and sound machine, making it a good way to keep tabs on your baby for an affordable price.

Get it here: Nanit Sound & Light Machine


Best car baby monitor: DoHonest Baby Car Camera

Best car baby monitor
DoHonest Baby Car Camera HD 1080P: 360° Rotating Plug and Play Easy Install 3 Mins Rear Facing Car Baby Monitor with Camera Crystal Night Vision Backseat Camera Two Kids -V33

DoHonest Baby Car Camera HD 1080P: 360° Rotating Plug and Play Easy Install 3 Mins Rear Facing Car Baby Monitor with Camera Crystal Night Vision Backseat Camera Two Kids -V33

Available at a nice price, there’s so many things to like about this 1080p HD car baby camera. It offers temperature monitoring to ensure baby’s comfort level and two-way audio so you can talk to your baby to soothe them remotely. There’s also multiple camera support should you have multiple children or want different car angles. Plus, there’s smartphone connectivity to view the feed on your phone for added flexibility. Safety note: Any car accessory or device can become a projectile risk in the event of an accident. Please follow all instructions to secure accessories and devices.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 0.3 pounds
  • Batteries required: Requires a power source from the vehicle's electrical system. It does not rely on batteries for operation.
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.5 x 1 inches (screen is 5 x 3.2 inches)
  • Mounting type: Designed to be mounted on the backseat headrest of the vehicle.
  • Price on publish: $29.98

The bottom line:

Even for nighttime drives with your little, this easily installed car baby monitor gives you peace of mind—even on the interstate.

Get it here: DoHonest Baby Car Camera


Best baby monitor for travel: HelloBaby Baby Monitor with 3.2'' IPS Screen

Best baby monitor for travel
HelloBaby Baby Monitor with 3.2'' IPS Screen

HelloBaby Baby Monitor with 3.2'' IPS Screen

This video monitor offers a portable solution with a 3.2-inch display, pan-tilt-zoom camera, night vision, and long battery life. It doesn't require Wi-Fi, making it convenient for travel, and costs around $35.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Batteries required: Rechargeable battery included
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 5.35 x 3.62 x 6.92 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall mount or table stand
  • Price on publish: $35.63

The bottom line:

The Hellobaby Baby Monitor with 3.2-inch IPS Screen is a good option for parents who are looking for a compact, portable, and affordable monitor, but doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity.

Get it here: HelloBaby Baby Monitor with 3.2'' IPS Screen


Best dual camera baby monitor: iFamily Dual Camera Split Screen Baby Monitor

Best dual camera baby monitor
iFamily Split Screen Baby Monitor, Large Display Video Baby Monitor with 2 Cameras and Audio, Long Range, Remote pan tilt, Night Vision, Temperature Sensor, 2 Way Talk, Feeding Clock and lullabies.

iFamily Split Screen Baby Monitor, Large Display Video Baby Monitor with 2 Cameras and Audio, Long Range, Remote pan tilt, Night Vision, Temperature Sensor, 2 Way Talk, Feeding Clock and lullabies.

iFamily's Dual Camera Split Screen Baby Monitor keeps an eye on your little ones with a unique twist: a 4.3-inch split-screen display showcasing both cameras simultaneously. This feature, along with pan-tilt-zoom capabilities and long-range connectivity, lets you easily monitor multiple rooms or multiple children.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.03 pounds
  • Batteries required: 1 lithium ion battery required (included)
  • Color: ‎White
  • Dimensions: 8.66 x 4.76 x 4.53 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall, table, or ceiling mount
  • Price on publish: $119.99

The bottom line:

iFamily's Dual Camera Split Screen Baby Monitor offers multi-room/child viewing with a unique split-screen display, but consider potential range and battery limitations before buying.

Get it here: iFamily Dual Camera Split Screen Baby Monitor


Best smart baby monitor: Panasonic Extra Long Range Baby Monitor with Color Video Monitor (KX-HN4001W)

Best smart baby monitor
Long Range Baby Monitor with Color Video Monitor

Long Range Baby Monitor with Color Video Monitor

I personally tested this baby monitor and was impressed by what you get for the price. This feature-packed monitor boasts a long 1,500 ft range, ensuring clear audio and video even in large homes. The bright 3.5-inch color display lets you see every detail, while the remote pan, tilt, and zoom camera keeps up with baby's movements. Talk softly to calm fussiness with two-way communication, and choose from soothing sounds or lullabies to ease them back to sleep. Plus, smart sensor alerts notify you about changes in temperature or movement.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
  • Batteries required: 1 lithium ion battery required (included)
  • Color: ‎White/Black
  • Dimensions: ‎3.1 x 2.8 x 4.9 inches
  • Mounting type: Wall mount
  • Price on publish: $149.95

The bottom line:

Offering peace of mind and convenience, this Panasonic monitor is a reliable companion for new parents.

Get it here: Panasonic Extra Long Range Baby Monitor with Color Video Monitor (KX-HN4001W)


How to use and maintain a baby monitor

Here's a guide to help you get the most out of your monitor and effectively maintain it over time.

Set up

Place the camera unit in the nursery and position it to get a clear view of the baby's crib, per the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure the monitor is securely mounted or placed to prevent it from falling.

Power on

Plug in the camera unit and the parent unit or smartphone app to power on the baby monitor. Make sure both units are fully charged or connected to power sources as needed.

Connectivity

Establish a secure connection between the camera unit and the parent unit or smartphone app. This may involve pairing the devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other wireless technologies. Follow the set-up instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure a stable and reliable connection.

Adjust settings

Customize the settings of the baby monitor to suit your needs. This may include adjusting the volume level, selecting video quality settings, enabling alerts for motion or sound detection, and configuring other features offered by the monitor.

Monitor baby

Once the monitor is set up and connected, use it to monitor your baby's activities and health. Keep the parent unit or smartphone app nearby so you can easily check on your baby.

Maintain cleanliness

Regularly clean the camera lens and parent unit or smartphone app to ensure clear video and audio quality.

Check connections

Periodically check the connections and cables of the baby monitor to ensure they are secure and undamaged. Loose or damaged connections can result in unreliable performance or interruptions in the monitoring signal.

Update firmware

Make sure to install them according to the manufacturer's instructions. Updating the firmware can improve performance, add new features, and address security vulnerabilities.

Replace batteries

If the baby monitor uses rechargeable batteries, monitor their status regularly and recharge or replace them as needed to ensure uninterrupted operation.

Installation and setup guide

For installation and setup, here’s what you need to do:

Choose a location

Place the camera in a secure location with a clear view of your baby. The parent unit should be within reach and audible wherever you'll be using it.

Follow the manual's instructions

Each model has specific steps for pairing the units, connecting to Wi-Fi (if applicable), and activating features. The manual will guide you through the process, including for app setup.

Test

Once set up, test all features of the monitor to ensure audio, video, and any additional functionalities work properly. As for troubleshooting, you want to identify the issue, check the basics (i.e., ensure both units are powered on, plugged in, batteries are charged, etc.), consult the manual, and check online resources if need be.

Smart features and connectivity

Some of the smart features available in baby monitors include smartphone connectivity, app integration, video and audio monitoring, movement and sound detection, room temperature and humidity monitoring, sleep tracking, growth tracking, feeding and diaper change monitoring, and more.

How we tested and selected the best baby monitor

I selected the best baby monitors by incorporating insights from a pediatrician and child development experts. I also reviewed dozens of baby monitor models, both analyzing the features and combing through customer reviews. I considered a range of price points to determine my list of the top picks.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do pediatricians recommend baby monitors?

Pediatrician at Akron Children’s, Sarah Adams, MD, says home monitoring devices, especially wearable monitors, are not necessarily needed if your baby is healthy and a monitor has not been recommended by your pediatrician. “It is very important to follow safe sleeping guidelines recommended by the AAP and to discuss using a baby monitor with your pediatrician,” Dr. Adams says. “Use of a non-contact baby monitor can offer video and audio monitoring if your baby wakes up.”

Are baby monitors a good idea?

There is no evidence that commercial devices to monitor infants reduce the risk of SIDS, says Jennifer Leonardo, MSW, PhD, head of the Children’s Safety Network at Education Development Center (EDC). There is even some concern that parents may use such devices for a sense of security, but they should not be used as a replacement for adhering to other safe sleep guidelines. Parents should consult the American Academy of Pediatrics 2022 guidelines for reducing SIDS.

Dr. Adams says non-contact baby monitors offer some reassurance to families but do not replace the need to follow safe sleep guidelines. “The wearable monitors for an otherwise healthy baby may cause more harm than good and signal falsely,” she says.

Is it ok to use a baby monitor for a newborn?

Baby monitors can give parents peace of mind and are ok to use for a newborn, Dr. Adams notes. She recommends using a non-contact monitor about six feet away from the baby. “A wearable monitor should be used if recommended by your pediatrician,” she says. “It is recommended that newborns sleep alone, on their back and in cribs or bassinets in the parents room due to frequent waking and feeding.”

How do I choose between a Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi baby monitor?

Dr. Adams recommends a non-Wi-Fi baby monitor if you are concerned about connectivity and privacy safety.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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