Baby monitors are important for your baby’s safety and your peace of mind when your little one is resting or playing in another room in your home. Parents can maintain a sense of freedom by carrying a handheld monitor while moving room to room in their home, or venturing outdoors for short periods of time.
Baby monitors will alert you during the night if your baby wakes or cries, or even if a decrease in movement is detected.
Best Baby Monitor Reviews
Evenflo Monitor & Intercom
The Evenflo Monitor and Intercom is a highly sensitive monitor that allows you to hear your child’s every breath with only minor interference from cordless phones. It offers a variable light display that allows you to see the sounds, indicating the noise’s intensity with lights. You can monitor your child’s room without turning the volume on, a great feature when your entertaining and don’t want your company to hear your child wailing. The parent unit features a rechargeable battery that allows you to carry the receiver with you throughout the house or in the backyard without having to plug it in again and again. At night, plug the receiver into the ac adapter and it will be recharged by morning. When the receiver is out of range or the transmitter is off, the receiver unit will sound a warning beep.
Perhaps the best feature of this monitor is the intercom option. If your child wakes up in the middle of the night, you can soothe him by singing a lullaby without having to leave your bed. Simply press the talk button and your child will hear you on the other end. The many features of this monitor combined with the sensitivity and lack of interference makes this a great choice that will make life a little more convenient for mom and dad.
Fisher Price Direct Link Privacy Monitor
A highly sensitive monitor that features privacy protection through a special scrambling system. You can feel secure that it is your child you are hearing on the monitor and that neighbors aren’t picking up your conversations. Also includes a variable lights display that allows you to see if baby is crying while volume is turned down, a great feature when company is over.
Graco Ultraclear Monitor
This standard no frills monitor offers a clear and effective signal at a low price. Both the transmitter and receiver can be battery operated or work with the included ac adapters, a great feature when traveling. Unfortunately, this model does not include a low battery indicator and the batteries do not seem to last very long so you should test them regularly to make sure the unit is operational.
Types of Baby Monitors
There are several types of monitors currently available, with a large range in prices. While the budget monitors can do the job, higher end video and movement monitors are more reliable and make it easier to keep your baby safe and happy.
Sound monitors have been around for many years. The transmitter unit is placed in your baby’s room in close proximity to the crib and sends sound via radio waves to a receiver unit, which is carried by you or another caregiver.
Sound monitors are the least expensive type of monitor available and are wireless, transmitting their sounds over radio waves. Parents may detect interference with sound monitors when using cordless phones or Citizens’ Band (CB) radios.
Video monitors are a newer type of baby monitor that gives you a visual picture of their baby in another room. Video monitors consist of a small video camera that can be mounted on a wall in the nursery or placed on a stable piece of furniture. A small television-like monitors can then be placed in another room, allowing you to watch your baby on the screen.
Newer video monitors have small handheld devices with screens that can easily be moved from room to room or carried in a pocket. Many video monitors now come with helpful features such as night vision and room temperature sensors.
Movement monitors have really grown in popularity over the last few years. These are quite a bit different from traditional monitors in that they physically detect your baby’s actual movements. A sensitive transmitter pad is placed underneath the crib mattress and can detect even the slightest of body movements. A receiver records a specific number of movements per minute and if the number of movements drops below a preset number, an alarm sounds to alert parents.
These monitors give a physical sense of security, but do not provide continuous reassurance like sound or video monitors. If you are relying on movement alone and your baby is a sound sleeper, these can trigger false alarms.
Newer combination monitors incorporate both sound and video to provide a more comprehensive monitoring system. Most video devices set up to be able to transmit sound, and the sound and video both run in real time to giving you both audio and visual reassurance. The higher end monitors can also incorporate two-way communication, allowing you to verbally soothe your child without having to go into the nursery.
Most of the movement monitors will also incorporate sound and video to give you the best reassurance of the health of your baby at all times.
Smartphone baby monitoring apps are the latest innovation due to the increasing popularity in iPhone and Android phones. These allow you to set up a laptop, tablet, or webcam in the baby’s room and allow the video stream to be played over their smartphone. These types of systems can also transmit over a home wi-fi connection, allowing viewing on any wi-fi enabled device.
Baby Monitor Features
Wireless – This comes in handy when you’re moving from room to room. Older model monitors use a cord for power, which makes the receiver stationary. These types of monitors limit mobility and can keep a parent confined to one room. Most monitors on the market today come with a wireless, battery operated receiver that can be carried room to room, giving you much more flexibility while still staying alert to what’s going on in the baby’s room.
Low Battery Light – This is one of the most important features to consider if you’re getting a wireless unit. Batteries can run out at any time of day or night, and if your batteries happen to run out overnight, you may have several hours where your monitor is not working. A light on the receiver unit can alert you that the battery power is getting low before the monitor shuts off completely.
Vibrating or Silent Option – This feature can be valuable during times when excessive noise can be distracting to you or others. The sounds detected by the transmitter are sent to the receiver, which then vibrates to indicate that sound is being picked up. This feature is great for the times when you’re vacuuming, doing something outdoors, or in some other noisy environment.
Light Up – Lighted models are a great indicator that can be used when noise must be kept to a minimum. Sound is transmitted and displayed on a lighted scale on the receiver, indicating soft, moderate, or loud sounds in the baby’s room. This feature is a must have for parents who will frequently rely on a visual signal rather than audio only to alert them to noise.
Long Range – This is a must have for those who have larger homes or live on larger sized properties. Some monitors allow for up to 2000 feet of transmission range without interference, allowing parents the freedom to be on the other side of their home or outdoors while still being within range of the monitor.
Things To Consider
Interference – This is the most common issue many parents will have with their baby monitor. Sound interference can come from crossed radio signals with cordless telephones, CB radios, television antennas, or wi-fi internet. If your monitor gives you interference, you may occasionally hear your neighbor’s telephone conversations, which can lead to some uncomfortable situations!
Many monitors now provide additional security, reducing the risk of transmission of other signals across the monitor. If this is important to you, look for DECT digital monitors.
Range – Figure out the longest distance in your house to the nursery. If your home is more than 2000 square feet, you will probably need a long range baby monitor to ensure adequate sound transmission. If you think you may be outside while their baby is inside sleeping, consider this distance too.
Battery Life – Baby monitors have a variety of battery life spans, depending on the quality and features of the model. A longer battery life, paired with rechargeable batteries, can reduce the inconvenience of battery charging and changes. One power saving feature available is sound activation, which puts the monitor into a sleep or standby mode when no sound is detected. These are handy for only transmitting sounds when they are detected.
Adjustable Sensitivity – If your baby is either a very quiet or very noisy sleeper, sound activated monitors can come in handy. Babies who are noisy sleepers may constantly trigger the monitor, while babies who sleep unusually quietly may not make enough sound to give you an alert. With sensitivity controls, you can adjust the threshold of sound to accommodate for your little one’s sleep patterns and reduce the chances of false alarms.
Baby Monitor Tips
Here’s a few quick tips that will help you with your baby monitor.
Check Your Frequency
Check the frequency on your wireless internet router, cordless phone, or any other wireless device in your house. Once you have a list, make sure your monitor has a different frequency. The most common frequencies for baby monitors are either 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz. Some digital monitors are now using 1.9 GHz as well.
Try it Out
The first thing you should do when you get your new baby monitor is to try it out in your home. Walk around your house at different times of the day. Give it a test run to check for functionality and interference. If you run into problems, exchange it right away. Graco has a helpful trouble shooting guide if you’re having problems with your monitor.
There are a few safety precautions you should take no matter which baby monitor you choose. Most importantly, you should keep you monitor out of reach of your child. Wires can be very dangerous when within reach of your baby.
Do you know what you want at this point? Here’s what we would recommend for most Mom’s and babies.
- Digital – We recognize you may be on a budget, but security is one of our priorities. If you agree, consider a DECT digital monitor. These monitors should eliminate all chances of interference.
- Multiple Units – If there are more than one of you taking care of your baby, multiple monitors is a good idea. After all, a backup set of eyes and ears can’t hurt!
- Lights, Sound, Vibration – As far as we’re concerned, the more the merrier for alert methods. You don’t want to miss your baby crying if you have the TV or radio on in the background.
Where to Buy Your Baby Monitor
The first question is online or in a store? We recommend buying online for several reasons.
When shopping in a store, monitors usually are displayed without power. You won’t be able to see how it actually works. Online stores may have a video showing all the features of the monitor, along with pictures of the monitor when turned on and working.
Reviews are another benefit of shopping online. Reading what other parents think about specific monitor brands and models can be very helpful. Some retailers may also offer a compare and contrast section, allowing parents to do a side-by-side comparison of a number of different brands and models.
Lastly, buying online will save you money since you have multiple stores, and coupons, to compare. Shipping is fast and returns are just as easy with today’s modern online stores.
As you can see, baby monitors can be one of the best investment a parent can make for their baby’s health, safety, and their own peace of mind.