I know there is nothing more precious in life than a child, but the worries and stresses that go with having a young child can really get you down. You worry when they cry, you worry when they sleep – you just seem to, well, worry.
Unfortunately, you can’t be there for your kids 24/7 no matter how old they are. Any parent will tell you that, whether they have just had their first child or fourth. However, there are lots of things on the market that can make life a little less stressful for you and a lot safer for that little treasure in your life.
So, for this page of my website I’m going to deal with baby monitors.
You might be surprised to know that a baby monitor hasn’t been on the market that long, but boy has it moved on in terms of technology. When they first came out, it was simply a receiver and base. You placed the base near where your child is, and the receiver stayed with you.
Back then there were no visuals, just sound, so whilst this helped you rest a little more easily, the slightest “odd” sound still sent you running. Not so now!
What you will find below is a selection of some of the best baby monitors I’ve come across during my research and I have picked them for a variety of reasons which will soon become clear. So, let’s get going with the first.
Motorola MBP36 Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor
It seems Motorola have thought of just about everything with this baby monitor because it’s packed with features. You get the parent unit (obviously) and the camera is a PTZ type which means you pan, tilt and zoom so there is no hiding for your child when they’re in another room!
So let’s have a look a bit more closely at exactly what you get for your money.
This model has 2.4 GHz FHSS technology. Without getting too technical this means you get a baby monitor that’s wireless and because of the technology used, the connection is far more stable. It also means the range you receive is much better than many other brands, this one will allow you to be just over 650 feet away from the camera which for most of us is plenty. Of course, signal reception also depends on the structure and layout of your home, but the MBP36 has a really handy feature built into the parent unit that will alert you if you happen to move out of range.
The LCD display is color and the screen is 3.5 inches, which allows you to see real-time video or 25 FPS (frames per second) video playback. For night-time the receiver will switch to infrared night vision which has received highly favorable reviews for picture quality.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget that you get 2 way audio so you can hear what your baby is up to, and if you wish, you can speak to them. The included encryption technology allows for safer audio transfer, but there is no mute button included so if you wake up in the middle of the night to a crying baby who wants a cuddle or something to eat and it’s your turn, be prepared to take the receiver with you so as not to wake anyone else in your bedroom.
I should also mention the fact the batteries are not brilliant at staying charged so I definitely recommend you make use of the power cord overnight. On the plus side, the parent unit has a very neat LED light system which includes 5 lights. These tell you what level of activity is occurring so if your baby suddenly becomes restless, you get a visual warning.
The camera itself is pretty discreet considering it incorporates PTZ technology and you can remotely control it. It can be free-standing or there is a hole at the back so you can mount it on a shelf or wall. Other features you can expect with this baby monitor include 5 separate lullabies to help little one go to sleep and a room temperature monitor.
Samsung SEW-3037W Wireless Pan Tilt Video Baby Monitor
I had to include this baby monitor because there seems to be a lot less of shall we say, differences in opinion on this one compared to the Motorola above. The Samsung is also competitively priced and it includes many of the features you’ll find above.
The camera with this baby monitor has PTZ capabilities which (as you probably know by now) means you can pan, tilt and zoom into what your child is up to. The zoom function will enlarge the picture up to 2 times the normal viewing size and this can be controlled remotely. There is little noise when the camera moves so your baby won’t be disturbed.
You also have infrared technology built in so viewing various activities overnight isn’t an issue, and the overall quality of the pictures is just about as good as it gets.
On top of this you benefit from two-way audio and the manufacturer has cleverly added a white noise reduction feature, so if you use say an air conditioning unit in your baby’s room or a fan, this won’t interfere with the audio you receive.
The one thing I will point out that many people seem to complain about is the noise this baby monitor makes when you power the receiver up. For some, it’s annoying but to be honest this is no noisier than say, turning on a TV or other electrical device.
This baby monitor is also wireless, but you don’t get FHSS technology. Then again, interference with the signal is minimal (if any at all) and the range is up to 900 feet.
The camera is neat in design and can be free standing or attached to a shelf or the edge of a crib. I suggest you try various different places before you decide on the best angle especially if you want the best from the PTZ function.
The receiver is also very nicely designed with strong rubber feet to keep it from sliding around. It also has a very handy belt clip so you can have your hands free for other things at the same time.
The batteries are rechargeable so again, I suggest you plug this into an A/C power supply often.
The receiver has a very nice power save mode which means the picture will turn off if no noise is detected after one minute. You do however still get audio and the picture will switch back on if sound is detected. Another nice feature (much like the model above) are the LED lights which also tell you how much sound there is and this ranges from level one to five. And for those of you with a growing family, it is also worth noting this baby monitor system will handle up to 4 cameras from the same receiver.
Levana Jena Digital Baby Video Monitor
This baby monitor has a lot of features other models do, but the manufacturer in my opinion has done a very good job in terms of battery life. In fact the word “Jena” means endurance!
Levana has used a lithium ion battery which will give you a constant connection to your baby (wirelessly) for 8 hours per day and this includes video as well as audio. This (as far as I know) is the most powerful you will find in any baby monitor on the market at the moment.
They have also included what they call 12 hours of “peep” time. This means that overnight or at times when you don’t need the video on, the monitor will go into a power save mode which only activates if there is activity you should be aware of, and you don’t need to recharge while it’s in this mode.
Of course, it’s not all about the battery and there are many other features included. For instance, for those of you who are worried about wireless, the manufacture uses their own ClearVu technology which offers a secure and private connection. Plus, it will give you clear video and audio communication with your child up to 500 feet away. This means if you fancy popping outdoors for a while, you can.
I keep talking about audio. Well, this baby monitor allows two-way communication so no matter where you are in the home you can still soothe your child if they need to hear your voice. This feature is also a great idea if one parent is with the baby unit and the other is too far away for natural voice communication.
If this wasn’t enough, you also have night vision built in that will slowly adjust as the light dims. Once completely dark, you will be able to see what’s going on up to 15 feet away. Now, if you’re expecting top quality video quality at night, this monitor won’t provide it. But even though you won’t be able to make out the smallest details, you will still be able to tell if your baby is on the move or they’re sleeping awkwardly.
Other features include night lights for the baby unit, and the parent unit will light up when the video is activated. Some have mentioned these can be a little too bright but it is possible to cover them up. You get five different lullabies to choose from and just to make sure your baby is always comfortable, you can see the room temperature from your screen.
Infant Optics DXR-5 2.4 GHz Digital Video Baby Monitor with Night Vision
I know having a child isn’t cheap. The costs start right from the minute they’re born, before that in fact because while you’re waiting for that little bundle of joy to arrive there is decorating to be done, cribs to buy, not to mention all the other supplies you’re going to need.
This is why I have kept budget in mind when reviewing the Infant Optics DXR-5. It also takes a place on my website because it’s one model of baby monitor on the market that pays less attention to all the features you can have but won’t necessarily use.
OK, so you won’t get a PTZ camera, a monitor that “sings” lullabies or any of the other “bells and whistles” that come with more expensive models, but what you do get is a no nonsense receiver and camera that will help give you peace of mind that your baby or toddler is safe in another room.
The manufacturer has focused on the things that matter. For instance, you benefit from a 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless communication link that not only helps with a seamless connection, but also encrypts all the data and audio received. What this means is a more stable connection AND peace of mind that no-one else can hack into what you can see. The video also streams at 30 FPS which is more than some of the most expensive brands out there.
The screen you have with the receiver is 2.4 inches, offers full color during the day and you also have infrared technology built in for night vision. Sure, you won’t get the best picture quality at night but you will be able to see your baby breathing.
One of the things I like most about this baby monitor is how portable it is. The receiver is made of plastic which some have commented makes it feel cheap, but it’s a lot sturdier in the “flesh” than you might think. Plus, it comes with a belt clip making it easier to carry around while your hands can get busy doing something else.
The range offered by this model is something to look out for and the manufacturer does make this very clear. If there are no major obstructions such as metal frames or various electrical devices expect to get about 800 feet. However, if there are obstructions the range will be as low as 150 feet.
Something else to be aware of is the voice activated power save mode. Your monitor will switch off it if doesn’t detect sound after 3 minutes to conserve energy and some have noted this can be a little too sensitive. This is because the noise level has to be below 60 decibels so bear that in mind.
All in all, this baby monitor is easy to use (install), has features you’re likely to use all the time and best of all, it’s affordable!
VTech Communications Digital Audio Monitor
I’m going back in time slightly. Well, not in terms of technology, but this baby monitor has a more traditional feel to it in that it doesn’t make use of visuals, just audio.
Whilst I think cameras are a great idea, they do come at a price even at the lower end of the market so I decided to include this one for those of you who would rather spend the extra on something more personal for your baby. So, on with what you can expect compared to the first baby monitors like this on the market.
First of all it’s important to mention the range on this baby monitor gives you as much as 1,000 feet, and it uses DECT technology which helps eliminate static interference (possibly why the range is so large). This technology also ensures the signal you receive is encrypted so no-one else can hear what’s going on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the house or outside, the reception is the same so if you fancy sitting in the yard with a quiet cup of coffee while little one takes a nap, you can. You also have two way audio although this is done through the parent unit. More often than not, children just need to hear your voice when they start to grumble so this is a great feature that allows you to soothe them back to sleep without having to go into their room.
You can also set the receiver so it vibrates when there is noise, and the manufacturer has included a set of LED lights which (like some of the models above) tell you how high the level of noise is. The main parent unit has been equipped with a belt clip and it’s lightweight so it’s just about as portable as a baby monitor gets. Plus, the other nice little feature is the loop at the top of the baby unit gives off a gentle night light to help your precious bundle fall asleep.
Of course, this model runs off batteries which are rechargeable and the manufacturer states they will last up to 18 hours without the need for a re-charge. However, I have heard contradictions to this so I would advise you charge them up as often as possible.
Overall, if you’re not looking to spend vast amounts of money or you don’t like the idea of having a camera in your child’s room, I think this baby monitor is definitely worth closer inspection.
Philips Advent DECT Baby Monitor
Again, I’m going to stick with the non-visual model of baby monitor, and this one is slightly more expensive than the VTech Communications model. However, as you would expect there are a few more features that have been added.
First of all, and in my opinion the most important fact is that this baby monitor uses advanced DECT technology. Like the one above, this means you won’t get any interference from other devices that transmit signals such as cell phones, other baby monitors and cordless telephones.
The range offered by this model is pretty impressive considering the price, and you can expect to get in the region of 1,080 feet when you’re outdoors and 164 feet when you’re indoors. Of course, these measurements are only a guideline and it will be different from person to person.
In terms of power, the baby unit can be plugged into your mains and the parent unit is wireless and runs on 4 x AA batteries (which the manufacturer includes for you). The parent unit also comes with a handy neck cord so you have both hands free to do something else.
Other features you get with this baby monitor are five different lullabies, a nightlight (although some mention this to be too strong and it cannot be dimmed, just switched off) and sound activated lights. The sound activated lights are on the parent unit and will vary in number depending on how strong the sound is. Basically, if your child wants your attention NOW, the LED’s will definitely tell you!
This model also comes with a temperature setting that will tell you if there is a sudden change in your baby’s room up or down, which acts as a good safety measure against fire. This also helps ease your mind in the case of very young children since they cannot regulate their own body temperatures which can be a hazard.
The other feature I really like is the talk back option which allows you to simply press a button so your little one can hear the sound of your voice no matter where you are in the house. Oh, and don’t worry about volume because there are 4 settings ranging from low to high.
One More Option
Hopefully you have managed to find a baby monitor above that catches your eye, however if you’ve got older children that can either be “home alone” or you leave them with a minder, you may also want to take a look at the remote home monitoring systems reviews I have for you.
Both the Dropcam Pro video monitoring camera and the Foscam FI8918W are an excellent way of keeping an eye on things visually and audibly when you’re not at home.