The Best Baby Monitors

If you've ever wished you could take the high-tech monitoring equipment home from the hospital along with your little one, you're not alone. Parenting a newborn comes with a lot of anxiety, and having a top-notch baby monitor can help put you at ease. We’ve researched the best baby monitors for every lifestyle and budget.
Written by | Updated March 27, 2019

You’ll need to consider a few things when you’re shopping for a baby monitor. If you have a large house, you’ll need a monitor with a longer range; if you’re concerned about your little one’s health, you may want a way to monitor their breathing and pulse. The table below helps you get a better idea of each monitor’s features, so you can choose one that best suits you and your baby.

Compare the Best Baby Monitors

Baby Monitor
Price
Best for . . .
Maximum Range
Video
Breathing, Pulse, or Movement Monitoring
Two-Way Talk
Best Overall
Best for Newborns
Best for Long-Term Use
image of Infant Optics baby monitor image of Levana Jena baby monitor image of Nanit Smart Baby Monitor image of Snuza Hero Image of Babysense 7 monitor image of Vtech baby monitor
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor Nest Security Camera Levana Jena Nanit Smart Baby Monitor Camera Snuza Hero Babysense 7 VTech Safe&Sound
Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon
Usability Newborns Long-term use Battery life Features Travel Worry-free use Budget
700 ft. 100 ft. with Bluetooth, unlimited with Wi-Fi Unlimited 500 ft. Unlimited n/a n/a 1,000 ft.
x x x x
x Breathing
Pulse
x x Movement Movement
Breathing
Movement x
x x x x

Our Top 3 Picks for the Best Baby Monitors

Infant Optics DXR-8: Best Overall

The Infant Optics DXR-8 is a simple, user-friendly video monitor with solid features like two-way audio, a room temperature sensor, and a remote pan and tilt capability. We like that it comes with multiple, easy-to-swap lenses so you can choose between standard and zoom, or you can purchase a wide-angle lens for an additional $10. It comes with a wall mount kit, and the parent monitor unit is lightweight with intuitive controls.

The only downside to this monitor is its less-than-stellar rechargeable battery. You can expect to keep it on the charger for about seven hours for a full charge, and it’ll only last about four hours off the charger. The alarm feature can also be a hassle—expect a noisy alert if the battery is low or if the monitor gets too far out of range of the camera.

Pros

  • High-quality night vision
  • Remote pan and tilt
  • Two-way talk
  • Room temperature sensor
  • User-friendly design

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Long charge time
  • Loud out-of-range and low-battery alarm

Owlet Smart Sock 2: Best for Newborns

Best for Newborns

The Owlet Smart Sock works like a pulse oximeter in a hospital, using a special light built into a sock to measure your baby’s heart rate in real time. It sends readings to the Owlet app on your phone and to the base station, where different colored lights alert you to your baby’s status.

We like that the latest design of the Owlet keeps it more securely attached to your baby’s foot than previous versions, and we like that it comes with three washable socks so you can change them out as needed. We just wish there were a way to adjust the target heart rate for the sock, as the safe ranges vary between children and ages. It’s also a little tricky to get the oximeter device back into the sock after it’s been charged.

Pros

  • Heart rate tracking
  • Smartphone notifications
  • 3 washable socks
  • 45-day refund policy
  • Adjustable base station light
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Fixed pulse range
  • Tricky device placement

Nest Security Camera: Best for Long-term Use

Best for Long-Term Use

The Nest Cam may be advertised as a security product, but its two-way talk, high-quality video, and sound alerts have landed it a spot on our list of best baby monitors. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa (as well as other Nest products), and you can access its live stream from an app on your phone at any time. Its wide-angle lens covers the whole room, so it’s great for long-term use once your baby is more mobile, but you may not be able to get those quality close-up shots of your newborn that you’d get with other video baby monitors.

Nest Cam setup is simple—just set it on any flat surface, mount it to the wall, or use its built-in magnet to secure it to a metal surface. You can also use your Nest Cam to record video to share with family and friends, but you’ll have to pay an extra fee for a Nest Aware subscription.

Pros

  • Livestream to your smartphone
  • Two-way talk
  • Discount for multiple cameras
  • Easy setup
  • Cloud storage with Nest Aware
  • Motion and sound alerts

Cons

  • No pan and tilt
  • Wide angle only
  • No optical zoom

Honorable Mentions

Levana Jena

At under a hundred dollars, the Levana Jena is a good choice if you want a less expensive video monitoring system. There’s no pan and tilt feature, and you won’t be able to use your smartphone to check video, but the parent unit for the Levana Jena has an eight-hour battery life. Its PEEP mode extends that to twelve hours by only turning on video when your baby’s movement triggers the camera. The Levana Jena has two-way talk, a night light on the camera, and five lullabies to choose from to help your baby go to sleep. But be careful—some parents have woken their bundle of joy by accidentally hitting the lullaby button.

Nanit Smart Baby Monitor Camera

With temperature and humidity sensors, sound and motion sensors, and an app that tracks sleep patterns, the Nanit Wi-Fi baby monitor has just about everything—almost. It doesn’t have two-way communication or pan and tilt capability, but you can save and share photos and videos, and it has top-notch night vision. It’s definitely one of the pricier monitors on the market, but we like that it can also act as a traditional monitor, so you can hear your baby even when your screen is locked on your phone. Unfortunately, the app can also be a drain on your phone’s battery, and the only way to avoid getting noise and movement alerts is to unplug the camera.

Snuza Hero

The Snuza Hero sits right on your baby’s tummy, so your hand doesn’t have to. The battery-operated Snuza clips on to your baby’s diaper and tracks their abdominal movement. If it doesn’t detect movement after fifteen seconds, it vibrates to gently stimulate your baby, and it will sound an audible alarm if it doesn’t sense movement within five seconds after it vibrates. We like the 2,000-hour lithium ion battery life and its small size for travel, but since you can’t always be in the room with your baby while they’re sleeping, you may want to use it along with another baby video monitor or audio monitor.

Babysense 7

The Babysense 7 is used by medical professionals throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. It has two pads that fit under your crib mattress to monitor your baby’s movements without coming into contact with your baby. Like the Snuza, it will alert you with an alarm if your infant hasn’t moved in twenty seconds. Because the Babysense plugs into the wall (cords are safely tucked away from little hands) and the monitor attaches to the crib, there are no batteries to charge or additional units that can be misplaced. The only downside to the Babysense is that it’s prone to false alarms, but you can avoid them by adjusting the sensitivity as your child grows.

VTech DM221 Safe&Sound

One of the most budget-friendly monitor options available is the VTech Safe&Sound. It has all the simplicity of a traditional sound-only monitor, with a boost of modern technology in the form of two-way talk, digital sound (no white noise), and a 1,000-foot range. You can set the parent unit to a silent alert, giving you light cues or vibration when sound is detected, and it has a rechargeable battery life of eighteen hours. You won’t get the benefit of a live feed like you would from video monitors, but it’s a great choice for basic audio monitoring.

FAQs

How do night vision cameras work? Could they be harmful to my baby?

We often think of night vision technology as something intimidating that soldiers and spies use, but it’s completely harmless and very useful for a baby video monitor. Night vision video monitors do the same thing that amplifiers (like microphones or hearing aids) do with sound, only with light. Light particles enter the camera lens, are converted to electricity, then amplified, producing a brighter image, so you can see your little one clearly even while they’re sleeping soundly in a dark room. They don’t pose any threat to your baby’s health.

How do I know which type of monitor I should get for my baby?

Parents are all different, and the best way to determine what’s right for your baby is to consider your own concerns and needs as a parent. When you put your baby down for a nap, do you listen for their cries or do you tiptoe into the room to look in on them? Does your baby sleep in the same room as you at night, or in a room farther away? Do you worry more about their safety or about their comfort and sleep habits? Answering these questions can help you determine what type of baby monitor will best fit your needs.

You may want a basic health monitor with an audible alarm for when your child is sleeping nearby, or you may feel more comfortable keeping an eye on them with a video monitor. A less expensive and more traditional sound-only monitor might be sufficient if your child is older, or you might decide on some combination of any of these.

Can video baby monitors be hacked?

Unfortunately, yes. As convenient as Wi-Fi video baby monitors are, they can be hacked, so you should take safety precautions if you choose to use one in your home. Make sure you use a strong password for the monitoring device and change passwords frequently, and be sure your Wi-Fi password is strong as well. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can give you an additional layer of protection. If you don’t have a reason to access the video monitor from outside your home, we recommend playing it safe and sticking with a camera without a Wi-Fi connection.

Are any video baby monitors protected against hackers?

Yes. The good news is that the rise in concerns over hacking has manufacturers putting tougher safeguards on video monitor software and programming. Every baby video monitor we’ve featured in this list has those safeguards in place. Both Nanit and Nest keep hackers at bay by using cloud computing technology. The Infant Optics DXR 8 and the Levana Jena both use a wireless FHSS transmission, which constantly switches frequencies to shake hackers and keep your signal completely private.

How We Chose the Best Baby Monitors

We studied the most important features parents look for in baby monitors and then compared that with the top products available. We considered price, features, and user reviews to bring you our favorites. To learn more, read about our methodology.

Written by Kasey Tross

Kasey Tross is a stay-at-home mom with four energetic kids, and she's married to a security expert, so safety is a top priority in the Tross home. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, playing the flute, helping out at church, and eating far more chocolate than she should. Learn more

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