How to Choose the Right Baby Monitor
As with most technology driven products, baby monitors have advanced quite a bit over the years. When my son was a newborn (almost seven years ago), there were only a few different options to choose from, making the decision easy, albeit limited.
There is no shortage of options when choosing a monitor today, but with all the new bells and whistles, it can become an overwhelming process. That's why we've teamed up with reviews.com, to help take the stress off of Mamas when shopping for the best monitor for your baby.
They took into account which factors parents care most about when choosing the right device to keep an eye and ear on their little ones.
Reviews.com surveyed dozens of parents and scoured countless reviews, personally testing seven top devices on the market. Here are some factors they considered:
Microphone sensitivity: There’s a difference between hearing your baby cry, and hearing every little noise. All baby monitors have the option to turn down the volume, but some offer thresholds for parents who are more comfortable with only hearing the biggest upsets, and prefer not to hear the self-comforting noises their baby makes as they fall asleep.
Audio display: Even when the monitor is muted, an audio display will show you how loud your baby is with a little chart on the screen. If you want to listen to music for a while without the background white noise, an audio display will let you know if your baby is only quietly cooing in their sleep, or if they are well awake and need attention.
Two-way talk: It’s not intended to let you cry at your baby for a change, but being able to talk to your little one can help soothe them in the moment, or offer just enough reassurance that they might fall back asleep. As your child gets a little older, it’s an easy way to gently remind them to stop playing around and go to sleep.
Temperature Sensor: Babies are particularly susceptible to overheating and hypothermia because they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults. Monitors with these sensors display the room temperature on your screen so you don’t have to check your home system, and some will alert you when the room becomes too hot or too cold.
Easy Setup: We timed ourselves to see how fast we could get our monitors up and running, and also checked to see if the instructions were clear, or they skipped a step or five. A new parent has a trillion things to do; struggling with setting up the baby monitor shouldn’t be one of them.
Long Range: Monitors that don’t connect to WiFi have a limited range, usually around 600 to 1,000 feet. While this is large enough for all but the biggest houses, we asked our testers to find out how far they could wander away — and how many walls they could put between them and the baby unit — before they went out of range, as well as to report back on what happened when they did. Sometimes there was an alarm or a notification, but other times the screen simply froze.
General Usability: This one is two-fold. First we wanted to make sure each monitor could perform under bright, dim, and no light; and pick up even the faintest sounds. Then we looked at how easy it was to use the monitor. Could we adjust the screen brightness, or were we going to be half-blinded when we picked it up at 1AM? Was the monitor voice-activated, or does it pick up white noise in the background? How sensitive were the alarms, and did they sound like a baby-waking screech or a soft ping?
To see their recommended choices, click to read their full review.