How to find the best baby-monitoring device
You can see and hear your baby from anywhere with a baby-monitoring device. Baby monitors allow you to continue your daily activities while knowing that you’ll be there to answer any baby’s calls. If you live in a large home, particularly if it is two-storey or your baby’s area is away from the living areas or kitchen, then these monitors are a great option. You can still use basic audio-only baby monitoring devices, but you may want to add video, Wi Fi connectivity, or movement sensors.
Are you a mother who needs a baby watch?
Before you begin researching baby monitors it is important to determine when you should use them. It’s up to you, as there aren’t any hard and fast rules. We recommend using it from the time you leave your baby alone for an extended period.
Even if the parent is not always there, it might be worth investing in a baby-monitoring system. This way, any other person in the house can be alerted quickly in case of an emergency. Some models allow remote access from outside the house, so parents can keep up with work updates and receive them at home.
How does a baby monitor work?
Two broad categories can be categorized as baby monitors:
- : This is basically a walkie-talkie that connects you to your baby’s room. Although they were used for decades, video systems have largely replaced them.
- Video A system which sends a live video feed from a camera to a tablet or smartphone via an application. If it is app-based you will need to purchase the monitor, and then download the app to your smartphone or tablet.
These devices can transmit audio or video, if possible, using a proprietary radio signal, Wi-Fi or a 3/4/5G mobile network. Some brands use walkietalkies to transmit audio, and a tablet-like device for video if the product supports it. Some manufacturers have switched to using apps in the place of their own tablets over the years. You just need to connect your phone to the baby-monitoring device.
If your baby starts crying or makes a noise during restless sleep, the microphone will pick that up and send it to your computer. If they detect movement, or if the baby is still asleep for a long time, some video monitors will send you an audio alert.
How much do baby monitors cost?
Although some baby monitors may only cost a few dollars to download an app, the price range of other baby monitors we tested was between $50 and $800. According to our tests, a baby monitor’s price is not always a sign of its performance. We recommend choosing a variety of baby monitors below $100.
Does every baby monitor use Wi-Fi?
Yes, there are many baby-monitors that use radio, a proprietary signals or mobile networks, such as 3G/4G/5G. If you have strong internet coverage at home, especially with something like a mesh network, a WiFi unit is often the best choice.
These devices are only as effective as strong Wi-Fi signals and face few obstacles such as walls. It is also dependent on how many devices are connected at once to your home network. This can cause network congestion and impact performance. A modem-router/router offering plenty of bandwidth is recommended for families of four.
Sound range, interference and sensitivities
The baby monitor should be able to pick up and reproduce quality sound and pictures even when you are away from the room. You should also be capable of picking up and reproducing soft sounds. This is not only about build quality, but interference from other devices should also be considered.
Some monitors using common radio frequencies could pick up interference from nearby devices such as microwaves or cordless phones. You can choose from several frequencies on some monitors to reduce interference. However, others that use DECT (digital-enhanced cordless communication) offer more privacy and less interference since the frequency isn’t so common in your home.
Connecting your smartphone with a baby-monitoring device
Yes, there are baby monitors that can replace a radio or tablet with an app that you install on your phone. This option is better in many ways than
- You can use your smartphone’s mobile data to backup Wi-Fi.
- Your smartphone should always be with you at all times.
- You can often check in remotely if your baby is at home with a relative, babysitter, or other caregiver.
- This can lower the cost of the monitor, as you are only responsible for its purchase.
It is important to monitor your smartphone’s battery, as it can become very low in power quickly. Keep in mind that a baby watch is for one purpose, while your phone can be used to make calls and send messages.
Remember that video streaming over a mobile network may increase your monthly data consumption. You can limit streaming and connect to Wi Fi if your data allowance is low.
A security camera can be used as a baby monitor
A baby monitor is often different from a security cam. It all comes down to aesthetics and branding. We often add at least one security camera to our baby monitor test to compare their performance. Modern security cameras are connected to your phone or tablet through an app via Wi Fi or mobile data. This is the main difference. They don’t come equipped with an actual viewing device.
This route is recommended for those who already have security cameras throughout the house. You won’t receive some baby-specific features like two-way audio communication or soothing music.
Baby monitor app
By downloading the right app to each of your devices, you can transform two smartphones or tablets into a baby-monitoring system. You can find a lot of apps, and it’s worth trying if you still have one.
The built-in microphone of the device and the camera on the camera allow you to see and hear baby’s movements. You can also monitor their movements and sound from any location with the ‘parent unit.
What are the key features of a baby monitor?
- Now you are ready to decide if you want.
- An audio-only, or audio/video baby watch.
- A monitor with a dedicated listening, viewing or recording device.
You choose the connection method that you prefer.
Once you have these points figured out you can start to think about other features and functions.
If the baby becomes restless or stops moving after a set time, it will sound an alarm. The instructions will include a time limit.
This can be useful if the baby’s nursery is darkened or you need to monitor them at night. Remember that the image will show up in black and white with poor contrast.
Sound indicator lights
You will be notified when your baby cries by the visual sound indicator. You can see what your baby is making, not hear it. This is especially helpful if you have visitors, are on the phone, or are in a noisy place, or if other caregivers have hearing problems. It’s also great if there are no other children asleep nearby.
Camera mount type
You can place the camera in many different places with a range of camera mounting options. It is important to think about this, especially if the camera mounts are not available for rental properties.
- Flat surface Position the camera on a chest or drawer, changing table, windowsill or similar. This mount is most commonly used.
- Clip: Attach the camera to the side or top of a bookcase, floor lamp, or bassinet.
- Wall Mount: Includes drilling to mount the camera on the wall. You can use any combination of these mounts to put the camera where you want it, plus more.
Camera viewing angle
A shallow viewing angle can only show what is directly in front. This is an option if the monitor can be positioned in front of the baby so it cannot move from the frame.
Cameras with a larger angle will capture more of a room. This is helpful if you have to place the camera in confined spaces or need to watch over multiple kids. You can control some cameras remotely via pan and zoom functions to better keep track of what’s happening.
You can connect to your baby from another room by placing a speaker inside the baby monitor. You can use it to calm your baby when it is restless. But you don’t want to be too intrusive and make it feel or smell you. It can be useful if you have to quickly communicate with someone else in the room, especially if they don’t have a smartphone.
Monitor to monitor the temperature in the baby’s room
This allows you to set a lower and upper temperature limit. When the room temperature is above or below this limit, the monitor will sound an alert.
This allows you to connect additional cameras with the same account. If you need to monitor multiple kids, these can be connected in the same room as well as in different rooms. You can access all of your security cameras from one app.
Night light and Lullaby mode
This will play a gentle tune in the room to send your baby to sleep, or relax it if you’re feeling restless. Many include a nightlight for babies who are afraid of the dark.
This backup option can keep the camera going in the event that the mains fails or the camera is accidentally disconnected.
Some models allow you to record footage from your video baby monitor, but this isn’t a common feature. An SD card is required to store footage if the SD card is available. You should read the instructions to ensure that you get a card compatible with your monitor, especially the class type.
Privacy and security concerns for baby monitors
Public transmission frequencies allow audio baby monitors to transmit information that can be listened to by anyone who has a receiver, such as a two-way radio or walkie talkie, and others.
You should set up your Wi-Fi enabled baby-monitoring device with a unique login password. It should not be shared with anyone else. Your connection could be compromised if your camera’s default login password is not changed (which can often be blank). There have been numerous cases where hackers have remotely yelled at babies through unsecured Wi Fi baby monitors or accessed open webcam feeds that weren’t protected with a unique password.