Best Baby Monitor Buying Guide 2017

summerinfant

At some point, you’re likely going to want a baby monitor. Don’t know where to start? Check out this handy list I put together with help from the folks at Bandalou.

Baby monitors are great because you can get anything from a basic cheap and cheerful one to a super-surveillance high-tech model that monitors your child’s every hope and dream. They’re all pretty nice because they give you the option of keeping tabs on your baby while you’re in another room – which means you can shower or binge-watch Netflix without worrying about phantom baby cries.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options, here’s a good way to break it down. You basically have three types to choose from audio, video, and sensor/movement monitors. Here’s how they differ:

 

Audio Monitors

Why They’re Great

  • Audio monitors are generally the most inexpensive – which means they’re a great cost-effective option for keeping tabs on your baby.
  • They’re a nice, simple way of knowing when your baby is awake or needs you, without having to over-monitor.

Which Ones Are Popular

vtech-dm221-safe-sound-digital-audio-baby-monitor

  • VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor (Around $49)  – This one gets good reviews across the board because it’s a great budget option with good range. Plus, it has some fancy features like sound/voice activation, a nightlight and 2-way talk.
    philips-avent-dect-scd570
  • Philips Avent DECT SCD570 (Around $100) – It’s more expensive, but this monitor is one of the most popular choices for audio-only because it works well, has a long battery life, a rechargeable parent unit and a battery backup in the baby unit for power outages. Plus it has some really great features like sound/voice activation, microphone adjustment, 2-way talk, temperature sensors as well as a night light. And it even plays lullabies!

Things to Consider

  • Sound quality is one of the most important things to look into when choosing an audio monitor. You want a monitor that’s clear, easy to hear and has a good volume adjustment. This thing needs to wake you up out of a dead sleep!
  • You’ll get the best results by placing the monitor about 3 to 10 feet away from your baby’s crib.
  • Range is another key feature. Try to look into indoor range test results to get a good idea of how well it will work.
  • Sound or voice activation is also a great feature to consider because it means that any background noise is filtered out – so while your baby is quiet, the monitor is quiet. When your kid cries, the monitor turns on right away.

 

 

Video/Visual Monitors

Why They’re Great

  • Video monitors are one of the most popular options because they’re still relatively affordable and the camera allows you to check on your kid without waking them up with creaky floors and doors.
  • They’re also great because they allow you to see why your baby is crying – which means you can decide whether or not it’s worthy of a trip out of your warm bed or if they’ll be able to self-soothe.
  • You can choose between two basic types: Dedicated Video (you have a ‘parent unit’ – like a mini TV to see your baby in their room) or Wi-Fi (your phone, tablet or computer is used as the parent unit).
  • You have pretty much every extra option under the sun to choose from, including zoom, pan & tilting, two-way speaking, voice/sound activation, extra cameras, night vision and size of the screen.

Which Ones Are Popular

nest

  • Nest Cam (Around $180) – This fan favourite uses a Wi-Fi connection to stream video to your phone, tablet or computer so you can keep an eye on your little one from pretty much anywhere. It’s very reliable and has excellent video and sound quality, along with good battery life and infrared LEDs for clear night vision. The thing I like most about it is that it seems to be un-hackable. It really offers strong security – so if you’re interested in Wi-Fi options but worried about security, this is your best bet.

summerinfant

  • Summer Infant in View Digital Color Video Baby Monitor (Around $90-95) – This popular dedicated video monitor has one of the biggest screens available (5”) as well as a lot of the standard extras like low-battery indicators and the ability to add extra cameras. It’s a good budget-friendly option for the video monitor category.

motorola

  • Motorola MBP36S Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor (Around $145) – This monitor offers clear video quality, pan, tilt and zoom, as well as the ability to add cameras and a split screen function so you can keep an eye on multiple rooms. And it’s pretty easy to set up and use. Not too shabby!

infantoptics

  • Infant Optics DXR-8 (Around $159) – This monitor is a popular pick because it’s relatively affordable, has all the standard bells and whistles and also has the unique option of allowing you to use different lenses (normal, wide angle or zoom 2x). That means you can customize your view and get an awesome picture quality.

 

Things to Consider

  • Being able to see your baby clearly is definitely key for this category. Clarity of the picture is likely even more important than having a giant display monitor.
  • Where you put your camera is also something to carefully consider. You want it close enough to your baby so you can see them clearly – but not too close to pose any safety risks. You want to make sure you don’t put your monitor within reach of your child so they can’t grab the cord.
  • If you want to use your monitor for a long time, the ability to add extra cameras is something you’ll want to think about. With extra cameras, you can monitor multiple rooms or different parts of a larger room – so you can watch your whole crew or just keep tabs on your kid conked out on the floor in the corner of their bedroom.

 

 

Sensor/Movement Monitors

Why They’re Great

  • These types of monitors keep track of your baby’s movement, pulse and heart rate – and alert you to anything serious, like if your baby stops moving or breathing.
  • Although they’re not technically proven to prevent SIDS (no one knows the cause so don’t buy anything that says it prevents it), they have the potential to warn you of a risky medical situation, which gives you that peace of mind we’re all looking for.

Which Ones Are Popular

angelcare

  • Angelcare Video and Movement with Sound (Around $140) – This movement monitor comes with a sensor pad that goes under the crib mattress and will sound an alarm if no movement is detected within 20 seconds. Parents love them because they’re highly reliable, the sensor pads come with adjustable sensitivity and you can use it without the sensor pad down the road.

snuza

  • Snuza Hero (Around $120) – These ‘diaper clip’ monitors clip directly to your baby’s diaper and sense movement through a soft sensor that contacts your baby’s tummy. These ones are great because they’re small and ideal for portability, they feature a vibration stimulation as well as an alarm if there’s no movement. Plus, parents seem to love them.

owlet

  • Owlet Baby Monitor (Around $250) – The Owlet is cool because it has a soft “Smart Sock” that goes on your baby’s foot while they’re sleeping and monitors your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. (You can find my review on it here.) It uses the same technology hospitals use (pulse oximetry) and sends you any alerts to your wireless device.

knithealth

  • Knit Health – So these are really cool because Knit Health has come up with a ‘smart’ monitor that uses an HD video camera near your kid’s bed to not only monitor them, but to also track breathing, sleep, and even growth. It even measures your kid’s sleep and gives you reports of how easily your child falls asleep and what times they woke up. It also gives you weekly trends for a bigger picture and sends you alerts when something ain’t right. (It’s available for pre-order shipping March 2017)

Things to Consider

  • Know your personality with these suckers. Are they going to give you peace of mind or make you nutty?
  • If you want a portable movement monitor, the diaper clip and pulse oximetry options may be the way to go. They stay with your baby so you can monitor them in a bassinet, swing, co-sleeping, etc.
  • If your baby is always going to be sleeping in a crib then the sensors pads or smart video monitors may be a better option. You can also use them much longer.

Whew! That’s a lot of monitors and we didn’t even scratch the surface. Is there a monitor that you love or think should be on the list? Lemme know!

Already know which one you want? Check out Bandalou to see if you can get a better deal on it!

bandalou

Whether you're looking for a great video monitor, something that works with your iPhone or something that mounts on the wall. Here are the best baby monitors based on thousands of reviews.


 

bandalou

Once you’re done digesting all this info and have a monitor in mind, you may want to hop onto Bandalou for a deal. (You can also find my review here.) They’re a new crowdsourcing site that uses the power of social buying groups for baby products.

So let’s say you’re interested in a $250 monitor. You would pay $250 on Amazon or Bandalou, except Bandalou rewards you with their loyalty program by giving you back between 10%-25%, so say it’s 10% based on the crowdsource, you’d get $25 Bandalou Bucks with your purchase (it’s like getting $25 in store credit), which you can use immediately on a second purchase without any restrictions. But there’s only a 2-day buying window. That’s because they’re holding all the orders and then placing them all at the same time.

Every time you crowdsource & buy, Bandalou rewards you with savings. The more you shop and socialize, the more you can save because the more people that want it, the better the deal is. Ah, the power of a community shopping together!  It’s that simple.

It’s great because you can decide if you want to take them up on the offer, or pass. And the other great thing is that Bandalou is 100% curated by parents. So you can see what other parents are digging – especially if you’re just browsing and not sure of what you want.

Deals on high-end baby stuff with no commitment to buy – and without even leaving your house. Not too shabby!


The folks at Bandalou were kind enough to sponsor this post so that Heather and I could troll the planet for the best baby monitors out there. Who knew there were so many! All the opinions and advice are my own. 

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5 Comments

  • The Motorola monitor has a really weak charging cable connection that over time breaks and makes the unit useless. We have gone through three of these and have moved on to another solution after learning a hard lesson!

  • I love the large screen of our Summer Infant monitor (looks identical to the one shown), but after a few months it stopped holding a charge, so it has to be plugged in all the time. So much for portable! Also, the range isn’t nearly what it claims. Bummed. Will likely be looking for something different for Baby #2.

  • How is there no mention of Nanit on this list? It’s by far the coolest new monitor of this year (mine is coming next month), and looks WAY safer than Knit. I wouldn’t want a loose cord that close to my crib. Serious strangulation hazard.

    • That was more of a personal call (we had to narrow it down somehow) and I liked the tethered cord over a stand because I thought it was a little more flexible for how you could use it (for the record, it’s not loose). Plus, it’s $20 less expensive. No huge deal breakers though. I think the Nanit is very cool too and I’d love to know what you thought of it once you get it!!

  • i love my angelcare movement monitor! as soon as i transitioned my son to a crib at 6 months, i started using this monitor and i have been sleeping so much better because i’m not worried if he’s breathing or not. just be aware that if you have a ceiling fan on high, the sensor pad can pick it up and think the baby is breathing even if he/she isn’t in the crib.

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