In order to find the best baby monitor available, you need a tool that will help you compare prices, features, and customer reviews on each of the leading baby monitors that are out on the market today. Our interactive baby monitor comparison tool presented here is a great way to find the best monitor for your needs.
Use the sliders at the top of each column to filter the baby monitors based on your criteria. You can also click (or touch) any of the column headers to sort by that particular feature. For ratings based on a 1-10 scale, 10 is the best and 1 is the lowest.
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Video vs. Audio Only
The single-most expensive feature in a baby monitor is whether or not it has video capabilities. Baby monitors that have video are obviously going to cost more than those that are audio only because they cost more to manufacture. So in order to save money while at the same time making sure you are buying the best baby monitor for your needs, you need to be able to decide if a video is something that you will need or not.
The nicest feature about having video included with the baby monitor is perhaps the ability to see if your baby is awake and playing quietly in his/her crib. An audio monitor will only alert you to your baby’s sleeping status if he/she is making noise. Typically, your baby will be making noise if he/she is awake but there are definitely times, especially when your baby is a little older, that he/she will be awake and silent. A video monitor will give you the flexibility of being able to see this and make a decision on what to do.
Keep in mind though, that when you use a baby monitor (whether video or audio) most of the time it will be at night while you are sleeping. Most video baby monitors, especially the low-end models, do not offer very good quality video in the dark. You may fall into the trap of buying a cheaper version of a video monitor only to find out that your baby appears on the screen as a discolored blob on the screen at night. This will not be very helpful to you.
So, if you do decide on choosing a video monitor, we strongly recommend buying a model that has good customer reviews; particularly one that has a slightly larger screen (3.5″) and has favorable reviews in regards to the quality of the video in the dark. Otherwise, you will end up simply paying more for a monitor that is giving you audio only anyway.
The stated range on each baby monitor is always stated in terms of unobstructed distance. This means that it is the distance it will achieve if there is absolutely nothing in the way such as walls or floors in your house. This, of course, is not typically the case in real usage terms; you will always have walls and floors obstructing the actual range of the baby monitor. The general rule of thumb is to take the stated range and divide it by 3.5. So if the stated range is 1000 feet, for instance, you can expect to observe a range in your home of about 285 feet. That is a very good range. Keep in mind though that some monitors have a range as short as 450 feet. In this case you can expect to see the actual range be more like 128 feet. This could potentially pose a problem in a larger floor plan.
If you live in a large or long house, then monitor range might be important to you and we recommend checking out the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor by Graco. We’ve listed the range at a best in class 1200 feet but other testing shows that the unobstructed range might be closer to 2000 feet!
Sound quality may or may not be important to you. If you only care to be alerted when your baby is awake then sound quality should not be a high priority to you. However, as your baby grows older, it can be a very rewarding experience to get to hear your baby learning his/her words while playing quietly in the crib! Poor sound quality on a low-end baby monitor may rob you of your chance to experience this. You may also run into problems with severe distortion coming through the monitor if your baby cries loudly or suddenly and this can be an unpleasant experience.
Generally speaking, the longer the stated range on the product, the worst the sound quality will be. We won’t go into the science behind it but that is mostly how it works. There are exceptions to this rule. A monitor that is using a lower frequency is usually going to have a better sound quality because it will be better at traveling through obstacles. Something at 2.4GHz or lower is best.
If sound quality is important to you then we recommend the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor. The company that makes this model has been around along time and is a very popular choice among consumers still today.
Number of Channels
If you have multiple young kids or babies in different rooms using baby monitors, then the number of channels will be important to your decision. If you have two baby monitors using the same channel or similar channels then you will experience a lot of feedback in the monitor, especially when you have both of the parent units close together, which will often be the case.
You may also experience feedback in the monitors if you have a high number of other electronics running in the house. Each electronic device running in your home increases the chances for interference in the monitor.
Many of the higher-end models have at least eight different channels to choose from and this will be important to you if you need multiple units in your house. The general rule of thumb is to have three channels for each monitor in use. If you need two baby monitors in two different rooms, be sure to buy models that have at least six channels available.
Many of the baby monitors we review have extra features that don’t fit in to the major categories. Some of these bonus features are more useful than others; some may not be very useful at all and may simply be listed in order to persuade you to buy that particular brand.
Some brands of baby monitors have certain alarms that trigger at different points which may be useful to you. For example, there are certain monitors that will beep if the battery is low (when disconnected from the power source), will beep if the parent unit is close to being out of range, or some even have temperature gauges that will beep when the temperature in the nursery crosses a certain threshold. None of these features are crucial to the buying decision and should not factor heavily on which baby monitor you choose.
There is one particular feature that we really like and it’s found in the Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor . This particular baby monitor has the ability to detect if your baby has completely stopped moving in the crib; yes, as in breathing! We’ve found that it is very accurate too. The only time you might get a false reading is if your baby has curled up into the corner of the crib, which is unusual with newborns as they tend to stay in the position you lay them down in. This can be a literal life-saver in regards to SIDS. The Angelcare is reasonably priced too – under $80.
Other features you might want to keep an eye on if you’re having a hard time deciding between two models are things like the battery life. If you are in a situation (maybe staying at your in-laws home) where there is no electrical outlet nearby you will have to rely on the battery. If you see a monitor with a battery life less than eight hours, this may be a problem. A typical night of sleep can last longer than eight hours (although not likely with a newborn in the house) and in this case, the monitor would turn off because the battery would run out. Just something to watch out for; it may not apply to you.