Every parent wants to keep their child safe, no matter what their age. But that compulsion is heightened when they are babies, so it’s no wonder that when you put your baby to sleep you want to know what’s going on when you are out of the room.

Baby monitors have been around for a generation, and though they started from humble beginnings they are now a far cry from the original models by featuring modern technology from wireless video options to smartphone app-controlled monitors. 

The baby monitor market is a crowded one, so we weeded through the pack and pulled together in this article the best four baby monitors to make your search a little easier.

  • Customizable viewing angles
  • Instant playback without delays
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Two-way talk function
  • 1-year warranty

  • 1,000-foot range
  • Five sound indicator levels
  • LED sound indicator lights
  • Backup battery compartment in parent handset
  • 1-year warranty

  • Supplied with two cameras for multiple monitoring
  • Has a wide angle view
  • Talkback feature
  • Night vision
  • 1-year warranty

  • 100-foot range
  • Tracks heart rate and oxygen levels
  • Controlled from a smartphone app
  • Sound alert feature
  • 1-year warranty


This Infant Optic monitor is a multi-award winning product, scooping the Best Baby Awards 2018, The Wirecutter Best Baby Monitor Award, and the Popular Mechanics Overall Best Baby Monitor 2018. It has a customizable angle, enabling you to adjust what you see, and it won’t hog your smartphone screen with a tiny 3.5-inch viewing window.

It has a sound-activated LED light bar for when the unit is switched off, and a remote thermometer to check your baby’s temperature in the room. It also has an alarm function that alerts you when something is wrong, and a talkback facility so that you can soothe your child’s fears should they wake in the night. You also get the option to add additional cameras to the network to cater to households with two or three babies as well as interchangeable lenses to change the angle and width of the view to suit your tastes.

On the downside, because it relies on an RF frequency, some homes will not cope with this monitor because concrete and other materials can interrupt the signal. Also, the power cable connects via a USB port, and many have reported that the port works loose over time, resulting in the cable continually falling out of the back of the monitor.

Pros

  • Video monitoring
  • Talkback feature
  • Can add additional cameras
  • Customizable viewing angle

Cons

  • Connection drops out when near cell phones
  • USB cable works loose over time and falls out of the back of the monitor


You might call this VTech audio monitor as “old school” as it doesn’t have all the fancy video surveillance tricks of the Infant Optic DXR-8; however, with this audio monitor, you don’t run the risk of losing the signal from interference, and even when the monitor is on silence, the LED lights will indicate if your child is breathing. 

It is a portable monitor, so if you want to relax in the garden with a beverage, you can clip it to your belt and relax, especially as this thing has a 1,000-foot range. It has a backup battery in the parent handset, so if you need to change the batteries there’s no need to go hunting for some in the cupboard. It also means that you will always have spares available.

The other advantage of this type of monitor compared to the Infant Optic DXR-8 is the price. The cost of this VTech is a fraction of the cost, and as new parents, that has to be a good thing as money will be tight. That’s why we made this monitor our Budget Pick.

On the downside, many have reported that the white noise this monitor gives off can be annoying, especially if you have it by your bed and want to get a good night’s sleep. The price more than compensates for the negatives, though, which is why this monitor has sold in the thousands on Amazon.

Pros

  • Competitive price
  • Easy to use
  • Portable
  • 1,000-foot range
  • LED indicator lights

Cons

  • Loud white noise

Unlike the Infant Optic DXR-8, which gives you the option of buying extra cameras, this BabySense model comes with two as standard. You can add more if you like, but if you are a family with more than one child, having a second camera means you can keep a watch on more of your offspring. This model also gives you the option of choosing a standard view or a wide-angle image, and when your baby wakes in the night you can reassure them with the sound of your voice on the talkback function. This means that you might not have to leave the comfort of your bed whatsoever, unless in an emergency. 

The monitor screen is 2.4 inches of high-quality enhanced 2.4 GHz of technology, and the camera can manually pan 360 degrees and tilt up to 60 degrees. It has an alarm feature, should an emergency occur, and a 2X digital zoom so you can watch your child in the clearest detail. If your baby is restless, this unit comes pre-programmed with well-known lullabies, operated from the parent monitor, to help ease them back to sleep. 

On the downside, many have reported that while the company claims the connection reach is up to 900 feet, the real figure is a lot less than that, with one claiming they struggled to get a connection even from 30 feet away. In addition, there is a lot of static white noise with this monitor, so trying to hear what is going on in the baby’s room is going to be difficult.

Pros

  • Comes with two cameras
  • 2x zoom
  • Option for wide angle view
  • Pre-programmed lullabies

Cons

  • White noise
  • Connection claims are not the reality

This Smart Sock monitor differs from the others on the list because it deals explicitly with two aspects of your child’s wellbeing; namely their heart rate and the amount of oxygen they are getting. While the others in the review offer general views of your baby’s sleeping position, this model works via a smart sock that attaches to your child’s foot and delivers the results to your smartphone via an app. It sends you the information in real time, so you are always up to speed on your baby’s situation and many with this monitor report that they get a better night’s sleep due to their relaxation levels being higher.

It all connects via a base station that is placed near to your child, and when the monitor is on, it glows green to let you know all is okay. If the monitor detects the worst, the base station flashes with different lights and emits an alarm to alert you of the problem.

On the downside, without the reassuring sight or sound of your baby that you get with a video or audio monitor, unless you check the app, you aren’t going to know all is okay until you hear the alarm. Moreover, you have to hope that the sock doesn’t come off during the night because that would mean that the monitor is no longer doing its job, and again, the only way you are going to know is if you check the app or if the alarm triggers. Finally, when the baby moves in the crib, the data that the sock collects is often wiped, which means that it is only useful if your child sleeps perfectly still all night.

Pros

  • Monitors heart rates
  • Monitors oxygen levels
  • Controlled via an app
  • Send real-time info to your smartphone

Cons

  • No sound or video to watch for reassurance
  • Worry that the sock will come off
  • Sock ineffective at collecting data

Comparison Chart

FEATURESInfant Optic DXR-8VTech DM111 Audio MonitorBabySense Video MonitorOwlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor
Video/AudioVideoAudioVideoOther
Alarm X
LED indicatorX
Portable X
Price $$$$$$
Dimensions 19.3 x 13.4 x 6.51.9 x 4.6 x 2.68.7 x 5.9 x 33.5 x 3.5 x 0.7
Warranty 1-year1-year1-year1-year

Buyer’s Guide:

Baby Monitors

New parents are understandably anxious about their little ones, and when it comes to bedtime, you can’t be too careful. Baby monitors offer peace of mind, whatever way they deliver the monitoring experience, so having one set up is crucial to maintaining your child’s health. Monitors also give parents the freedom to move about their home and garden safe in the knowledge that their pride and joy is safely tucked up in bed.

Baby monitors don’t just have to be for babies; many elderly and sick relatives would benefit from a monitor, especially when they might need 24-hour care. A baby monitor allows the caregiver the freedom to do something else while the monitor keeps watching and alerts them if an emergency arises.

If you do a search for baby monitors, nearly all that come up are the video type, meaning that most people prefer seeing and hearing their children as opposed to just hearing them breathe through an audio device. With a video monitor, you can see your child and see how they are sleeping, which means that you get instant reassurance that all is well, but what do you do if the wireless connection is lost? You could be rendered sightless and soundless, which is going to make your life more fraught.

In addition, it’s widely known that things like cell phones and even certain construction materials like concrete prevent there from being a strong wireless signal, impeding on the devices ability to perform. With an audio monitor, there is less reliance on getting a satisfactory wireless signal, although you do have to watch out for nearby radios and other similar products that might share the same frequency and cause interference.

There are good and bad points about each monitor, and some will prefer the visual aspects of their device over the audio features of their monitors. Both offer the same level of childproof safety in your home, but what are the pros and cons? Let’s take a look at this streamlined summary chart.

PROSCONS
Video monitors
  • See your baby sleeping
  • Many have zoom features
  • Nightvision
  • They lose connection
  • They are expensive
  • Suffer from buffering and delays
Audio monitors
  • Simple to use
  • Require less sophisticated connection
  • Cheaper to buy
  • No visuals
  • Less reassurance to parents
  • Radios and cell phones can interrupt the signal

  • How do I get a clear signal for my baby monitor?
  • It all depends where you put it. For the best signal, place it away from electrical items that are likely to interfere with the signal, like cell phones, TVs and radios. Remember, even microwaves have been known to scramble the signal. Once you have a space in mind, think about the distance the signal has to travel, and the obstacles it has to negotiate, because the fewer obstructions will improve the signal significantly. Finally, try and remember the range stated by the maker, because if you go beyond that range the monitor might not work as effectively, especially if the range quoted is optimistic.

  • With a video monitor, can you choose to have the screen off but still hear the sound?
  • Absolutely! They are designed to be a visual aid as much as an audio aid, so at night, when you are trying to sleep, you can switch off the monitor and use the baby monitor like an audio type, with LED indicators to tell you your baby is breathing.

  • Do all video baby monitors require wireless internet signal?
  • Most do, but there are models, like the Infant Optic DXR-8, which operate on an RF frequency. This means that you can take it with you when you travel and should still get a decent signal. The advantage over wireless internet connected monitors is that you don’t suffer any delays, buffering, and dipping in and out of the signal; it is possible, however, to lose the RF frequency now and again if you have the camera and monitor in an area of high interference.

Final Thoughts

Ask any new parent to imagine life without a baby monitor, and they will most likely say it is impossible. They are so crucial to modern parenthood that they should never be underestimated. With so many models available, how do you know which will work best for you? 

Our HowToHome pick has to be the Infant Optic DXR-8 because it is clever and gives both video and audio monitoring as well as options to expand the camera settings and the angles too. This HowToHome pick is not a budget camera, though, so if you are inclined to look for the less expensive, you should consider the VTech DM111 Audio Monitor. It may lack the finesse and features of others on the list, but the price, coupled with the sheer numbers sold, tell us that this monitor is popular with new parents.

Whichever style you choose, remember baby monitors are vital for your peace of mind and your child’s safety.

Further Reading

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