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2018 Best Baby Monitors Buyers Guide

Written by: Monique Seitz-Davis  |   Updated: March 22, 2018

Baby monitors serve as eyes and ears on the back of your head. To help you best care for your baby, monitors these days come equipped with features such as a live feed, two-way audio, temperature gauge, or soothing entertainment—all of which can assist you and your little one as you make your way back to the nursery.

Best Baby Monitors of 2018

Product
Pros
Cons
Where to find it
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor Read Review
  • Pros
  • Sound-activated alerts
  • Interchangeable lens
  • Temperature sensor
  • Pan, zoom, and tilt camera options
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Cons
  • Wide-angle lens sold separately
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor Read Review
  • Pros
  • Heart rate and oxygen level monitoring
  • Fast alerts
  • Latex-free material
  • Three cotton socks
  • Two apps
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Cons
  • No video or audio
  • Age limit
  • Expensive price tag
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera Read Review
  • Pros
  • Livestreaming
  • Multiple uses
  • Cloud storage
  • Cons
  • Monthly subscription required
VTech DM221 Digital Audio Baby Monitor VTech DM221 Digital Audio Baby Monitor
  • Pros
  • Nightlight
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Option for multiple monitors
  • Cons
  • No video
  • No night vision
iBaby Monitor M6S 1080p HD Smart Digital Baby Monitor iBaby Monitor M6S 1080p HD Smart Digital Baby Monitor
  • Pros
  • Lullabies and bedtime stories
  • Temperature, humidity, and air sensors
  • Sound and motion alert
  • Voice recording
  • Free app
  • Easy installation
  • Cons
  • Limited pan and tilt camera options
  • No backup battery

Things to Consider in a Baby Monitor

Baby monitors have come a long way from simple walkie-talkies. We sifted through countless user reviews and ratings on Amazon, product sites, and blogs to find the most important differences, wallet-friendly prices, and must-have features.

Monitor Type

From audio and video devices to motion detectors, baby monitors can put your mind at ease. In this review, you’ll find three different types of baby monitors: sensor, audio, and video + audio.

Sensor

A sensor can monitor baby’s movement, oxygen levels, and heart rate, as well as the room temperature. Some baby monitors, like the Infant Optics DXR-8, have a temperature sensor built into the device, while others (such as the Owlet sock) specifically track heart rate and oxygen levels.

Audio

An audio-only monitor lets you listen in on your child, hear their breathing, or eavesdrop on the post-nap babble, so you’ll know when to swoop in and tend to them.

Video and Audio

A video camera and audio device can provide you with real-time supervision from a few rooms over. This type of monitor allows you to see and hear what your baby is doing in their crib, be it sleeping or making mischief.

Wi-Fi vs. Radio

Some baby monitors function on a radio frequency, while others use a Wi-Fi network—and some operate via both Wi-Fi and radio. Consider which you feel most secure using and which is most compatible with your lifestyle.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi baby monitors are convenient and travel friendly. All your monitor needs is a secure internet connection and a Bluetooth-compatible device, like your phone or computer. But you should consider how you’ll monitor your baby if your Wi-Fi connection is interrupted.

Radio

If you live in an area that doesn’t get great internet service, you can trust a radio monitor to consistently work well. This is the most common technology used for baby monitors, but items like cordless phones can impact sound quality and cause interference.

Must-Have Features and Considerations

From motion alerts to night vision and entertainment, there are some features you (and your little one) won’t want to go without.

Frequency

With a radio monitor, static is bound to occur, but to prevent unnecessary sound interference, make sure your cordless devices aren’t operating on the same frequency. To check, look at the back or side of a cordless device and make note of what frequency it operates on. So when you do purchase a baby monitor, you’ll know what frequencies to avoid or what devices could cause interference.

Range

Monitors might have range limitations, meaning you can only travel so far within your house or yard before losing reception and contact with your child.

Alerts

Alerts come in a variety of forms: some monitors buzz, chime, or light up. Often times, a monitor has a backup alert system if it’s operating in low-battery mode.

Power Source

Whether your monitor is battery powered or uses an AC adapter, make sure it can be used and charged properly during a blackout.

Hands-Free Adapter

With a hands-free adapter like a belt clip, you can easily carry the baby monitor around the house, tackle your to-do list, and keep an eye on your little one as they catch some afternoon z’s.

Night Vision and Night Light

Night vision offers added visibility in the dark, while a night light can be comforting to your little one as they fall asleep.

Two-Way Audio

If your baby wakes up suddenly and appears inconsolable, two-way audio allows you to talk with them before you swoop into the room.

Entertainment

When you’re exhausted, a little help goes a long way. Some monitors let you record lullabies or have prerecorded songs to soothe your little one to sleep.

Compare the Best Baby Monitors

 

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor Check Price on Amazon

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor Check Price on Amazon

Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera

Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera Check Price on Amazon

VTech DM221 Digital Audio Baby Monitor

VTech DM221 Digital Audio Baby Monitor Check Price on Amazon

iBaby Monitor M6S 1080p HD Smart Digital Baby Monitor

iBaby Monitor M6S 1080p HD Smart Digital Baby Monitor Check Price on Amazon
Transmission Range

700 ft.

100 ft.

1,000 ft.

Transmission Type

2.4 GHz

2.4 GHz, Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

DECT 6.0

2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, Wi-Fi

Room Temperature Sensor

Y

N

N

N

Y

Oxygen and Heart Rate Sensor

N

Y

N

N

N

Camera Angles

95° up, 25° down, 135° horizontally

130° horizontally

360° horizontally, 110° vertically

Alerts

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Night Vision

Y

N

Y

N

Y

Power Source

AAA battery, AC adapter

Lithium ion battery

Plug-in

AAA battery

Plug-in

Battery Life

10 hours

1 day

18 hours

Memory Storage

N

Y

Y

N

Y

Hands-Free Adapter

Belt clip

Entertainment

Night light

Y

Two-Way Communication

Y

N

Y

Y

Y

LCD Screen

Y

N

N

N

N

Smartphone Compatibility

N

Y

Y

N

Y

Best Baby Monitor Reviews

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Our Top Pick

From a room over, watch your sleeping beauty in real time with the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor.

Pros

When the DXR-8 is in power-saving mode, it converts into an audio-only monitor.

  • Sound-Activated Alerts
    The DXR-8 has a series of LED lights that illuminate when your child starts crying or making noises.
  • Interchangeable Lens
    An optical lens zooms with ease and provides quality viewing. Infant Optics also offers a wide-angle lens (sold separately) for an expanded point of view.
  • Pan, Zoom, and Tilt Options
    This camera offers you additional range of vision, so you’re able to keep an eye on your baby—and see what kind of trouble they might be getting into.
  • Temperature Sensor
    Ensure your child is comfortable thanks to the room temperature sensor.
  • Rechargeable Battery
    The Infant Optics DXR-8 uses a USB cable, which means you can plug it in and charge anywhere.
Cons

When set up incorrectly and too close to your baby’s crib, the DXR-8’s plug and cord can be dangerous to your child’s safety.

  • Wide-Angle Lens Sold Separately
    In order to access an additional field of vision (270° horizontally, 120° vertically), you must purchase the wide-angle lens separately.
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor

Noteworthy Newcomer

Track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels with the intuitive and thoughtful Owlet sock.

Pros

The cotton sock is washable—just make sure you remove the sensor before washing.

  • Fast Alerts
    If your baby’s heart rate or oxygen levels drop, the Owlet quickly notifies you.
  • Latex-Free Material
    Allergies to latex are extremely rare, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your baby’s health.
  • Three Cotton Socks
    Owlet includes three socks—size one to three in a universal fit (up to eighteen months or twenty-five pounds).
  • Heart Rate and Oxygen Level Monitoring
    The Owlet uses pulse oximetry to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level.
  • Two Apps
    There’s a free app specifically for monitoring and a companion app, ConnectedCare, which costs $59.99 for a year-long subscription. ConnectedCare offers historical analytics, along with the oxygen level and heart rate data.
  • Rechargeable Battery
    Using a rechargeable battery is more cost effective than having to buy a six-pack of batteries. Additionally, the sensor’s battery can be recharged via its flat base station—anywhere on the fly.
Cons

The Owlet’s ConnectedCare app is only compatible with the iOS system from Apple. So if you have an Android device, you can’t take advantage of the monitoring analytics that allow you to track patterns in your baby’s oxygen level and heart rate.

  • No Video or Audio
    Be prepared to buy an audio or video monitor since the Owlet only tracks heart rate and oxygen level.
  • Age Limit
    The Owlet socks fit children only up to eighteen months or twenty-five pounds.
  • Expensive Price Tag
    While the Owlet costs a pretty penny, the price tag is offset by a 45-day guarantee.
Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera

Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera

Jack-of-All-Trades

From baby monitoring to home security, the Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera can do it all.

Pros

The Nest Indoor Camera includes a free trial of the Nest Aware app. It allows you to view the camera’s streaming history, establish motion-sensitive zones , motion alerts, and make short video clips to send to friends and family members.

  • Livestreaming
    Whether you’re at work or on vacation, you’re able to check in at home.
  • Multi-Use
    Once your child has outgrown a baby monitor, you can use the camera for indoor home security.
  • Cloud Storage
    The cloud storage requires a monthly subscription, but it allows you to backtrack and view footage or events.
Cons

The camera features only a wide-angle view and doesn’t have pan-and-tilt capability.

  • Monthly Subscription
    On top of the initial price tag, the Nest Aware app and its bevy of features have a monthly cost.

Baby Monitor Tips and Tricks

Here are some baby-monitoring tricks and tips to help you get started on the right foot.

Trick: Use Your Retired Smart Devices

Since most smart phones and tablets are already equipped with audio and a camera, you can use your old device as a baby monitor. There’s a variety of baby monitor apps available for purchase—just head on over to the app store and start perusing. If you’re unsure where to start, check out the Baby Monitor by Dormi or Cloud Baby Monitor. The Dormi app is compatible with Google and Android, while the Cloud Baby Monitor is iOS compatible. Both come highly recommended by parents across the web.

Tip: Know the Three-Feet Rule

Keep the baby monitor and its cords at least three feet away from the crib, bed, or bassinet. The cords and baby monitor can pose serious hazards to your child if they can get their hands on them.

Q: Do baby monitors prevent SIDS?

A: No. However, from 1994 to 2010, the number of deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome decreased from 1.3 to 0.5 deaths per 1,000 births.1 The Safe to Sleep campaign has recommendations for ways to help reduce the chance of SIDS.

Q: Are Wi-Fi monitors always secure?

A: Multiple parents have reported incidents of their baby monitors being hacked. If you do choose to buy a Wi-Fi connected baby monitor, make sure all your passwords and usernames for your Wi-Fi and monitoring app are extremely secure and well protected.

  1. Safe to Sleep, “Fast Facts about SIDS

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