November 28, 2022

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Put A Technology

The Best Baby Monitors 2022

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Babies will certainly make it known if they need your attention, even from across the house. But the best baby monitors take the guesswork and worry out of keeping an eye on your baby while they sleep. After testing ten monitors—some Wi-Fi-based, some with dedicated handheld monitors, and some with both—we found the Eufy SpaceView Pro was the overall winner. Its large screen, adjustable settings and easy connectivity make it a quick and simple way to monitor your baby when you aren’t right beside them.

For a budget-friendly baby monitor that’s still portable, highly reliable, as well as easy to see, hear and use, we picked the Chillax Baby Giraffe Cam Pro as a high-performing budget buy at $149.99. And for the best overall portability, we chose the Lollipop Baby Monitor with True Crying Detection.

Our Expertise

I’m a parent to four sons ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, and I’ve spent my parenting years analyzing and writing about baby equipment for publications like the Washington Post, Popular Science and Consumer Reports. I’ve seen monitors evolve through nearly eight years of parenting, and watched brands add numerous features that are sometimes helpful—and sometimes unnecessary.

For this article, I reached out to Jada Shapiro, postpartum doula, parenting expert, and founder of boober, where parents find providers and resources and are matched with experts such as doulas. Together, we analyzed the monitors for safety, efficacy, convenience and more.

Methodology

I tested monitors both inside and outside my one-year-old baby’s nursery, using his multiple naps per day and his overnight sleeps to help us get to know each monitor thoroughly. First, I unboxed each monitor, examined the parts, checked out the directions, charged up all the necessary items and downloaded the app, if needed. I then determined how easily the camera, monitor and app connected (or didn’t).

After the initial set up, I tested the user-friendliness of the app by exploring the various features and capabilities within the app, noting how relevant they are to observing the baby. Next, I set up each camera in the nursery, noting whether the system fits into a baby’s room visually, and observing the various angles and zoom functions to see how much of the room I could observe in the camera.

During naps and overnight sleeps I tested for sound quality, visibility and the degree of parent-friendliness. I also noted distress functions such as crying alerts and sensitivity. After getting to know each monitor’s basics, I tried to customize settings. I changed views and notifications, and tested extra features like lullabies and two-way communication.

Finally, I discovered more about the various set up options people can use depending on their baby’s age and mobility. I tried out different options including wall and floor mounts and stand-alone camera settings to determine which would be most useful for most babies and toddlers’ rooms.

Best Overall Baby Monitor

Eufy’s Flagship Does Everything But Wi-Fi

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Wi-Fi: No | Camera angle: 330-degree camera pan | Range: 1,000-foot

The Eufy SpaceView Pro had the easiest setup process of any monitor I tested, which is why it’s our pick for new parents. It comes pre-paired with a “private channel” portable monitor that does not rely on Wi-Fi, so it’s seamless to use. The Eufy has everything you’d expect from a traditional baby monitor, but with extras like a convenient stand-up base. The user guide suggests charging before the first use, but in testing I found you really don’t have to. In fact, you can get away with most of an overnight sleep without charging it first, which is great for parents getting started on the fly right at bedtime.

The battery life was still going strong even after the first night, with an impressive 12 hours of active viewing and 30 hours of standby, and I never once encountered any sort of connectivity issue.

The Eufy had the most convenient design of any monitor we tested: the back of the handheld monitor includes a triangular base that lets it sit up on its own for easy viewing (it’s like a PopSocket on your phone, but sturdier). This makes the monitor a bit bulkier—it might be a disadvantage if you want to carry it around in your pocket. But I found it convenient to use. I could set down the monitor while cooking dinner, helping my other kids or working at the computer.

Eufy boasts one of the longest ranges of any monitor we tested, with a range of up to 1,000 feet. This can be helpful if you want to have a post-bedtime porch sit with your partner, or take a short evening stroll while keeping an eye on your baby.

Nobody wants a monitor that sounds an alarm every time the baby rolls or squeals, and the Eufy monitor offered the best sensitivity options of the monitors we tested. It has five sensitivities and only pops out of sleep mode to alert you your baby is awake based on the setting you pick. This eliminates a lot of unnecessary middle-of-the-night waking when your baby is simply soothing themselves back to sleep or rolling around to get comfortable.

Unfortunately, there’s no button for a quick transitions back to sleep mode. Instead, the handheld monitor shuts down after a set time. Of course, the lack of Wi-Fi means you can’t check in using your smartphone, which could be an issue if you want to view the monitor while away from home. But you may prefer the added security that comes from a dedicated monitor.

Best for:

  • Low-tech, low-maintenance parents too busy for troubleshooting Wi-Fi
  • You want to easily position the monitor when you aren’t holding it
  • You want easy setup, long battery life, and seamless connectivity

Skip if:

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Best Value Baby Monitor

A Long-Necked Wi-Fi Monitor With Easy Setup

Wi-Fi: Yes (Also includes handheld monitor) | Camera resolution: 1080p | Range: 1200 foot

For parents who want the best of both worlds—Wi-Fi and a private channel dedicated monitor, the Chillax Baby Giraffe Cam Pro is the best value for a reasonable price. The 1080p monitor had the highest quality picture among the monitors tested, which helped me see small details like whether a baby is just starting to wake up, is sucking their thumb, or has drifted off to sleep. The portable monitor is also pre-paired, making setup easy, and clear directions helped me quickly pair the camera to the app with a QR code. It doesn’t sacrifice visibility, sound quality or overall usability despite costing less than the Eufy.

The Chillax had the longest range of any monitors we tested at 1200 feet. Of course, you can check in from anywhere using the app if you set up the Wi-Fi connection—that way, you can monitor your kids when they are home with a babysitter. (That said, Shapiro warns against spending date nights worrying about whether your baby is sleeping, as long as you’ve left them with a trustworthy caregiver.)

I also appreciated some of the Chillax’s standout features that make this monitor a great investment for growing kids. You can customize a smart zone” on the monitor by setting a designated area as if you were cropping a picture of your baby’s crib. Then, the monitor will notify you if the baby moves outside that zone. This feature will be helpful as your infant grows up and moves to a toddler bed; it lets you know if your child is roaming around the room instead of nodding off to sleep.

If you’re worried about security with Wi-Fi monitors, you’ll appreciate the Chillax’s precautions. You have to grant permission for grandma or other users to see the camera feed. There’s also a privacy button to turn the Wi-Fi on and off, which Shapiro says decreases the likelihood of getting hacked because it’s not always available.

While some parents might not want their monitor’s app to double as a log for their baby’s health and wellness monitoring, the app allows for those features. These include sleep times, diaper logs, feedings, growth, teething milestones and more.

Best for:

  • Parents who want both a Wi-Fi and a dedicated monitor
  • Checking on your kids while you’re away from home
  • If you want the ability to turn off Wi-Fi

Skip if:

  • You don’t want the risks associated with Wi-Fi

Best Baby Monitor for Portability

Lollipop Baby Monitor

Wi-Fi: Yes | Camera resolution: 1080p | Range: N/A (smartphone only)

The whimsically named Lollipop is the most versatile monitor we tested. It’s designed to be wrapped around almost any surface, from a crib rail to a nearby lamp. It can even curl up like a snake’s tail to create a stand for itself, making it a perfect traveling companion. The Lollipop is also babyproof; even though my son managed to unwrap the camera from his bedside rail, I wasn’t concerned becuase the safe, smart design offered no removable parts or choking hazards.

The Lollipop’s innovative design means you can view the baby even if you don’t have a shelf nearby for a monitor, and allows the camera to get closer to the baby in their early months when they aren’t big enough to grab and play with it. I felt confident that the Lollipop would be safe around other siblings who came in and messed with the equipment, as kids do.

Lollipop’s so-called “true crying detection” distinguishes this monitor from its peers— it’s better at blocking out background noise, such as my son’s three older brothers stomping past the baby’s room during nap time. This feature prevents parents from being alerted to every little noise. Similar to the Chillax, it can alert you if your baby’s leg is stuck outside the crib or otherwise moves outside a preset zone. This is especially helpful when your baby reaches an ambitious age and thinks crawling out of the crib seems like a fun option.

Set up is extremely easy, but the app-based monitoring has its disadvantages. You can pan or tilt the camera using the app, for example. But if your child is mobile enough to move around the room and you want to follow them with the camera, you’ll need to move the camera further away and set up a boundary to see the whole room.

Best for:

  • Frequent travelers or parents who need a lot of portability
  • Parents concerned about children grabbing or playing with the camera
  • Anyone looking for a cute addition to the nursery

Skip if:

  • You aren’t comfortable with Wi-Fi
  • You want to remotely zoom or pan the camera

Products Tested

I tested ten baby monitors in total. They didn’t all make our list, but here are the other contenders.

Other Baby Monitors We Liked

Aside from the three winners, these five monitors might still be a good value for some parents.

  • Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro Baby Monitor: This handheld-only device features a 1,000 feet range, has active background noise reduction and pans 330 degrees. It’s a bit, well, mechanical looking, but that’s due to the various lenses available for optimal viewing, such as wide-angle and zoom lenses. The monitor is quite minimalist, though, and many parents will probably want more features.
  • Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor: The ultimate in sleep analytics, Cubo is a Wi-Fi-based monitor that collects sleep information and alerts parents to babies who roll over accidentally as well as if the baby’s face is covered. That sounds great, but we didn’t choose this monitor because our expert source warned that features like these can actually amp up anxiety in parents. For example, babies that can roll on their own generally don’t need to be returned to their backs throughout the night. It’s a cute monitor, though: it’s subtly shaped like a bird watching over your baby.
  • Nanit Pro: The easy-to-navigate app on the Nanit Pro offers a superb and customizable Wi-Fi experience on your phone. It comes with a band that fits young babies for tracking breathing, and you can buy additional bands for older babies. I found the display was sometimes pixelated as it caught up with the Wi-Fi signal. I also had to manually reconnect the camera when switching rooms and it didn’t pair as easily as others.
  • Miku Pro Breathing and Sleep Tracking Monitor: This monitor also focuses heavily on health analytics that parents may or may not care about, such as breathing changes and the amount of time the baby spends sleeping or upset. It had similar pairing issues to the Nanit, which could create extra stress for new parents while setting up or moving the monitor. The cord didn’t securely fit in the charging brick, causing the monitor to occasionally lose power. Moreover, the price is quite high.
  • Papalook BM1: The Papalook featured a thin but heavy portable monitor, and featured a cute, animal-shaped camera with 360-degree rotation—something most other models didn’t offer. But the range is shorter than most at 900 feet, the zoom function wasn’t as clear and usable as some others and initial setup was harder than with our picks.

Baby Monitors We Didn’t Love

  • VTech Video Baby Monitor: This budget buy is the cheapest option we found, and will suffice for basic video monitor needs. However, the handheld monitor is large and clunky, and might not fit in your pocket. The image is lower quality, and you have to manually change the camera angle, whereas most of the others will pan on their own. The adaptive night light changes colors, which is a cute quality that saves parents from buying a separate nightlight.
  • Hubble Nursery Pal Premium: This handheld monitor had one of the most creative stands, which lets you use a ring kickstand-style feature to prop it up, or collapse it to carry in your pocket. But the picture quality was just average and I had multiple issues pairing the monitor with the camera.

How To Pick The Best Baby Monitor For You

Modern baby monitors are nothing like the audio-only models your parents used. Nowadays, many baby monitors support video, are Wi-Fi and app compatible (which lets you check in from anywhere) and even offer health and safety analytics. Some models come almost fully charged, which can be convenient for busy new parents.

Many baby monitors now offer the option for multiple cameras, allowing you to toggle among two or more children in separate rooms. Monitors can keep an eye on room temperature and other data as well, and can notify you with a ding. Here’s what to consider when choosing a baby monitor.

Easy Setup

Setup is important, as technical issues are the last thing you want when you are first getting to know your monitor. Look for models that come pre-paired with a monitor to reduce the initial setup work. You can also look for products that feature QR codes for easy instructions, and directions with pictures.

Appearance And Design

Since every nursery or child’s room is different, some parents might prefer monitors that fit in with a certain style or décor. You might opt for bright and fun colors, or a more subtle design. More importantly, you should choose a handheld monitor that suits your needs. You might opt for a slim design for pocket carrying or one with a stand if you’ll put the monitor on the counter frequently.

Video Quality

Cameras that can capture HD video are generally better than 720p cameras. For models that include a monitor, the bigger the display the better. If you opt for a Wi-Fi-based app-only system, you can watch your baby on whatever size screen you own. Your screen could be small if you’re watching on your phone, or larger on an iPad or other tablet. Keep in mind, though, that the video quality may depend on your Wi-Fi connection.

Sound Quality

Most monitors do a solid job of helping you hear a crying baby. However, look for options that have multiple sensitivity levels so the monitor isn’t picking up too much background noise and alerting you when the baby doesn’t really need help.

Additionally, some parents might want two-way communication, Shapiro said. With this feature, parents can tell a toddler to get back in bed, or reassure them that they are safe (all of our winners have this feature, and most monitors have it too).

Health Analytics And Distress Features

Shapiro warns that parents should be wary of relying on health analytics from a baby monitor. For example, if your baby has a health condition, watching their breathing analytics via an app shouldn’t replace data from certified medical devices which are used under the direction of a doctor.

“There are a lot of issues that can come up when we’re monitoring things like breathing,” Shapiro said. “We should assume the baby is breathing—they can make us hyper-anxious. These types of monitors can have fail moments… that cause panic for people.” Additional features like monitors that detect if something is over your baby’s face should theoretically be redundant for those following safe sleep practices, as pediatricians suggest nothing should be in the crib in the first place.

Range And Connectivity

Baby monitors without Wi-Fi usually don’t have a range of more than 1,000 to 1,200 feet. Some monitors don’t perform as well when they need to penetrate thick walls or multiple floors, like when you have a second-floor nursery, or are going outdoors. That means you need to consider how far you need to go vertically as well as horizontally. Connectivity issues became apparent during setup in our tests, but you can consider returning a product that doesn’t connect well.

Security

With a Wi-Fi monitor, you can check in on your baby from work or on date night. Most monitors don’t experience frequent hacks, especially when parents are keeping up with the safety and maintenance of their monitor and Wi-Fi system, but it’s still a risk. And some parents may prefer Wi-Fi, while others won’t. “There are interesting uses for watching a real moment… a lactating parent who is at work might use the monitor to look at the baby for a moment to get that sweet sense of their little one and that helps them with milk letdown (when milk starts to flow a few minutes after pumping or nursing begins),” said Shapiro.

But other parents might not want the ability to see their children from afar, as it can add to anxiety or lead to micromanaging a babysitter’s care.

App User Experience

Busy parents may not have time to mess with confusing apps. Choosing a monitor that optimizes the user experience and allows parents to easily set up their preferences helps. You can explore many apps partially before purchasing the monitor to get an idea of how they work. Some monitors come with some level of additional tracking and content, and many offered paid memberships or subscriptions that you can level up to after a trial period. You can likely view parenting content for free from other baby publications, but if having all of the information in your monitor app is more convenient, you can add a subscription.

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