As parents, we’re hardwired to want to ensure our babies are safe and well at all times. A baby monitor lets us keep a close eye on our sleeping babies without having to check on them every few minutes.
However, the myriad of options out there can make choosing a baby monitor a daunting task.
What type should you go for? Should you settle for a basic audio-only model or splurge on a model with video?
Do you need Wi-Fi transmission? Should you track your baby’s vital signs as well? Is a movement monitor necessary to prevent SID?
To simplify the choosing process, our how to choose a baby monitor guide will show you the different types of baby monitors available on the market and walk you through what to look for in a baby monitor so you can pick the right monitor for your baby.
The Different Types of Baby Monitors
What type of baby monitor to get is the number one decision to make when choosing a baby monitor. Here are the different types of baby monitors on the market:
As you can infer from the name, an audio monitor is a sound-only monitor that keeps an ear on your baby and transmits the cries and coos he or she makes to your receiver unit.
Audio + Video Monitor
This type of baby monitor keeps an ear and an eye on your baby. You can tell whether your baby is sound asleep and only cooing or if they’re wide awake and need your attention without having to open the door and disturb their sleep.
If you would like a unit capable of monitoring your baby’s movements in their sleep, consider a movement monitor. It comes with a motion-sensitive pad that you place under the baby’s mattress to track your baby’s movements in their sleep and alert you if your baby does not move for a certain duration.
Beyond transmitting the sounds your baby makes, vitals monitoring unit can track your baby’s vital signs such as breathing, heart rate, and more thus providing you the ultimate peace of mind. One such example would be the Owlet smart sock baby monitor.
However, it’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of movement monitors to prevent SIDS.
A digital monitor provides two benefits: superior sound quality and top-notch security. It uses encryption to ensure that the sounds your baby makes only get transmitted to your unit, not your neighbor’s receiver as well.
At the same time, digital encryption minimizes the risk that a creepy person can eavesdrop on your baby.
Unlike a standard baby monitor that transmits the sound and video to a parent unit, a wireless monitor connects to your wireless network and sends the sound and video to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
This allows you to monitor the baby from wherever you are, as long as you have access to the internet.
How to Choose A Baby Monitor?
Once you’ve decided on what type of baby monitor suits your needs and personal preference best, the next step in the how to buy a baby monitor process is to compare different models so you can narrow down your options.
Technology has come a long way in recent years and baby monitors haven’t been left behind. As you shop for a baby monitor, you will come across basic models as well as fancy models with extra features such as talk-back systems, temperature gauges, and music and lullaby capabilities.
Whether you’re after an affordable basic baby monitor or prefer one loaded with nice to have features, reliability is the ultimate quality to look for. Here is what to look for in a baby monitor so you can get a model you can always count on to let you know when your baby needs you.
Tips for Choosing a Baby Monitor
#1 Secured Data Encryption
It can be hard to keep tabs on your baby with noises from your neighbor’s baby monitor or cordless phone interfering with the sound you get on your monitor. To minimize this issue, choose a monitor with digitally enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) technology.
This kind of digital monitor features a microprocessor that ensures only the noises your baby makes are transmitted to your receiver. Thanks to this, a DECT monitor boasts the clearest sound quality as well as the most secure transmission if you’re concerned about hacking and potential loss of privacy in your home.
#2 Long-lasting Battery
If you prefer to not have to worry about cords, a battery operated baby monitor is the way to go. In this case, make sure the battery will last for as long as you need it to.
Since a baby monitoring system is something you will use for hours on a daily basis, a long battery life is crucial. You don’t want to be buying new batteries every few days, as this can get expensive pretty fast.
#3 Audio/Video clarity
What good is a baby monitor if you can’t hear the sounds your baby makes or see them clearly? So how to pick a baby monitor with top notch audio and video clarity? Make sure the model you choose has a frequency of 900 MHz or higher.
Such a monitor transmits the best sound and image quality as it does a very good job of reducing signal interference. Once you take your monitor home, be sure to test its audio and video quality.
#4 Good Range & Portability
Baby monitors are a two-unit system. The baby unit is designed to remain in the baby’s room while the parent unit goes with you wherever you go.
This is why it’s important to consider how far you can travel with the parent unit without losing the signal and how easy it will be to move the unit around the house. If you plan to keep the receiver with you while you complete chores, you should choose one that’s small enough to carry easily.
#5 Reliable Light Indicators
If you opt for an audio monitor, look for a model with a receiver that lights up when it detects noises from your baby’s nursery. This sound-activated light will ensure you don’t miss the alerts when vacuuming, watching a movie, or talking on phone.
If you opt for a battery-powered monitor, make sure it has a prominent low-battery indicator that will let you know it’s time to get new batteries well ahead of time.
#6 Noise interference Filter & VOX Mode
It can be very annoying and frustrating if your baby monitor picks other sounds and amplifies them. To ensure superb audio and video clarity, go for a unit equipped with a noise interference filter that eliminates background noises.
A monitor that works on a low 1.9 GHz frequency is the best, as it isn’t very prone to background interference and provides the clearest sound.
If your budget is for an analog model, choose a unit that allows you to choose between several frequency channels so you can pick the clearest channel. A Voice Activated Alert in VOX monitors is also a fantastic feature as it will allow you to conserve power and prolong the battery life.
Last but certainly not least on our baby monitor buying guide, be sure the unit you pick has an intuitive menu system and is easy to use. As a parent with an infant or toddler, you have a million things to do.
Setting up your baby monitor or changing the settings shouldn’t take hours of your time. Besides delivering clear sound, crisp video, and boasting a nice feature set, a good baby monitor should be easy to figure out, adjust to your preferences, and use.
Traditional Non-WiFi Baby Monitor vs WiFi Baby Monitor: Which is Better?
Do you need WIFI for baby monitors? The answer to this question comes down to one thing: do you want to keep tabs on your baby while they are in two different rooms, when you’re away from home, whether you’re in the office, out and about running errands, or traveling?
If the answer is yes, then you need to choose a WiFi baby monitor as opposed to a non Wi-Fi unit.
While traditional non Wi-Fi baby monitors that use radio frequency transmission will only work in the house, Wi-Fi baby monitors use the internet to stream live video to an app on your smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. This means that you can monitor your baby from anywhere in the world.
As convenient as Wi-Fi baby monitors are, though, hacking is a real concern. For security reasons, it’s recommended to go for a model without Wi-Fi if you don’t need to monitor your baby from outside your home.
Having a hard time deciding between a traditional non-WiFi baby monitor vs WiFi baby monitor? Need both at-home and Wi-Fi functionalities? One great baby monitor to consider would be the Motorola Halo+ Baby Monitor, which gives you the best of both worlds.
It uses a video monitor to keep an eye on your baby while at home and also has a Hubble smartphone app you can use to check in on your baby from anywhere on the planet.
Is It Worth Buying A Baby Monitor?
A baby monitor can set you back anywhere from $20 to $400. This begs the question: is it worth buying a baby monitor?
Most parents consider a baby monitor worth buying for the convenience and peace of mind alone. It allows them to ensure their baby’s safety without losing their sanity.
However, some parents don’t see a baby monitor as a necessary purchase. Some use alternatives such as walkie-talkies and webcams while those who live in small houses are able to make do without one or stop using a baby monitor after a period of time.
What Can I Use Instead of a Baby Monitor?
Because of cost, environmental concerns, or personal preference, some parents opt to forgo a baby monitor and use other baby monitoring solutions instead.
While these alternative systems require more time to set up, they work just as effectively as baby monitors. If you’re considering a substitute to a baby monitor, the next section on our baby monitor guide explores three items you can use:
Since walkie-talkies support two-way communication, they work very well as sound-only baby monitors. All you have to do is leave one in your baby’s room and carry the second one with you. The noises your baby makes will be transmitted to your unit letting you know when your child needs you.
The beauty of using a walkie talkie system is that these radios have a long range and are water-resistant and built rugged so they can serve you for a really long time.
Prefer a substitute that lets you see your baby? You can use a webcam system in place of a video baby monitor. All you need are two computers or laptops with web cameras and a video chatting service.
Simply open the web cams and log both computers to the video chatting service. Leave one computer in your baby’s room and carry the other one with you. You can then keep an eye on your baby as they sleep.
Baby Monitor Apps
Finally, you can use your smartphone as a substitute for a video baby monitor. To do this, you will need a spare smartphone or tablet and a good baby monitoring app like the Dormi baby monitor app for Android devices or the Cloud baby monitor app for iOS devices.
One you download and set up the monitoring app on both devices, leave the spare device in your baby’s room and use your smartphone or tablet as the parent unit. The best thing about using baby monitor apps is that you can keep an eye on your baby from anywhere as long as you have Wi-Fi access.
Choosing a baby item as important as a baby monitor is never easy. This is exacerbated by the wide array of options on the market.
Your best bet is to choose the monitor that best suits your home’s layout and has the features that will keep your mind at ease. Make sure the model you go for has clear sound and crisp video, reliable signal strength, and a good battery life.
Hopefully, our guide on how to choose a baby monitor will lead you to the right baby monitor! Once you receive your monitor of choice, the very first thing to do is test it thoroughly to ensure it works well in your house. If it doesn’t, you can return it and choose a different unit.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about how to choose a baby monitor, please feel free to add to this monitor shopping guide by leaving a comment below!