Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2021. We’ve updated it to ensure accurate product availability and pricing.
New parents need lots of gadgets and items for their little ones, from strollers and onesies to bassinets and baby monitors. A good baby monitor doesn’t just tell you when your child is crying – it can show you when it’s too hot in their room, if they’re starting to wiggle softly, or if they’ve fallen asleep on the floor (it happens). If you’re looking for yourself or a new mom-to-be, here are the best baby monitors you can buy today and how to choose the right one for you.
Buying the Best Baby Monitor, Simplified
Baby monitors can be tricky to buy. Much like fridges with built-in ice makers, there’s no perfect model, each with their own quirks and garnering mixed reviews, likely due to the challenges of wireless technology. But after researching dozens of options in my life as a father of two, there are a few that manage to stand out from the pack.
Video versus audio
If you’re on a budget, an audio-only monitor (like your parents probably used) will do the job in a pinch: you’ll be able to hear the baby cry and maybe talk to older toddlers via an intercom-type system. .
But once you have a video monitor, you won’t want to go back. Being able to see if your child is fidgeting or sleeping soundly lets you know when the nap is coming to an end before he starts crying or whining. And seeing if and when they switch to a new sleep cycle can tell you when to rest easy for an extra hour. When we started our research, I thought video monitors were overkill – and I swallowed my words time and time again.
Wireless connectivity and range
It might seem like Wi-Fi baby monitors are the way to go in 2022, but that’s not necessarily the case. For many people, the best monitors will still use old-school FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum) radio signals, because they’re less prone to the endless Wi-Fi signal vagaries that plague so many homes.
Plus, you won’t need to keep an app open on your phone all the time – there’s something to be said for this old-school parenting unit. That said, Wi-Fi options may offer additional functionality and may be right for you depending on your home.
However, as with any internet-connected device in your home, you should always beware of hackers. Remember to always update your firmware, as well as your router’s firmware and security features.
While audio and video feeds are your primary method of monitoring toddlers, many baby monitors offer other useful indicators.
For example, they may include temperature sensors so you can see if the baby’s room is too warm. Others may offer lights or even vibrations that let you know when the baby is crying, so you can lower the volume when you’re in a Zoom meeting. These things look small but can be extremely handy.
The best baby monitors to buy in 2022
Using my knowledge of the tech space as well as my experience as a dad, I recommend the following baby monitors, which have different features depending on what you’re looking for and how high-tech you want to achieve.
Best Baby Monitor Overall: Infant Optics
The Infant Optics DXR-8 video monitor offers the best balance of features, price and reliability. You get a basic video screen with night vision, multiple lenses for wider angles, and pan and tilt functions so you can get the right position. It has audio indicators for noise and temperature sensors, and can handle multiple cameras if you’re using it for more than one child. The DXR-8 has been recommended often for years and is what I use at home. It’s not perfect, and its range is a bit shorter than some of its competitors, but I would definitely buy it again. (Actually, I did – we bought a second unit when we had our second child.)
Best Affordable Baby Monitor: VTech
If you’re not ready to spend over $100 on a baby monitor, VTech’s audio-only monitors have the most important features at a fraction of the price: 1,000-foot range, bright audio indicators, and a small screen that shows you signal strength and battery life.
Best range and video quality: Eufy
If you want something a little more modern, Eufy’s SpaceView monitor has a 5-inch 720p display that’s way better than most of its competition. Superior video quality is its biggest selling point, but many reviewers also note a longer reach than competing models, plus the ever-useful pan-and-tilt and extra-wide-angle lens. Eufy’s track record isn’t as long as Infant Optics’, and despite a 4.3-star rating from over 5,000 Amazon users, it has its detractors due to quirks about the lifespan of battery and build quality. For this reason, both models are worth a look. If battery life is an issue, the Eufy SpaceView Pro offers the same functionality as the Eufy SpaceView with a larger, longer lasting battery – and therefore a little more bulky.
Best baby monitor with advanced Wi-Fi features: Nanit
There are plenty of Wi-Fi baby monitors out there, but few have advanced smart features like the Nanit Pro system. Not only does it come with a camera that can be monitored from your phone or tablet, but it can also track sleeping and waking times, monitor your baby’s breathing, offer feedback on how your child turns and revolves around the bed and more. If you want the whole nine yards, that’s it.
Best hybrid baby monitor with Wi-Fi: Motorola
Wi-Fi baby monitors let you view your video feed away from home and use other features within an app. However, many models only allow you to view the stream from your phone, which is not always convenient. Motorola’s Connect series uses FHSS for a more traditional handheld unit while also offering Wi-Fi viewing via the Hubble app when you want remote access. It’s the best of both worlds.