Lullabies: Monitors often include a selection of soothing sounds to help your baby drift off to slumberland. These can be traditional nursery rhymes of the rock-a-bye-baby variety, nature sounds, white noise, or some combination of all of them. It’s a good idea to check them out before you play them to your sleeping child to determine whether they might help or hinder their sleep.
Whether you allow others one-time or occasional access to enjoy a special moment or you establish a schedule during which a regular caregiver can view and listen through the monitor, the process of controlling access is equally easy. Now, what if your baby or toddler just did something super cute when no one else had access? No worries, you can share video clips or stills right over the web.
Security: Whether you’re skeptical of people hacking baby monitors or deeply concerned about it (and there are stories!), the bottom line is that some monitors are at more risk than others. A Wired story from 2015 refers to security firm Rapid7’s findings that Wi-Fi–enabled monitors were particularly vulnerable. We figured people would prefer the not-hackable type, and we talked to a security expert about how to protect your privacy.
The most important thing to look for in all kinds of baby monitors is audio quality. Regardless of whether you want a video-based baby monitor or not, you need clear audio so you can hear your baby properly. You'll also want one with sound activation so that you don't have to listen to white noise 90% of the time. With sound activation, you'll only hear the noises from your baby's room when there's something important to hear.
This funky-looking video monitor costs a bomb, but we think the fantastic picture quality and night vision image, along with the ability to monitor your baby from your phone and share images, with your other half, for example, justifies the hefty price-tag. We weren’t initially convinced as pairing it up with your smartphone is a bit tricky, but once we got going, we were wowed by how easy it was to talk to your baby, check the temperature (and even humidity) in your baby’s room and play lullabies or white noise to help get your baby to sleep – not to mention seeing and hearing them at all times. But if the wi-fi connection isn’t good where you are (for example, when you’re on holiday), then this won’t be good either.
A few other points. Both cables are nice and long, the controls are well thought out and simple to use, it's easy to wall mount on 2 nails/screws, the pan function is excellent, there are good volume controls and indicators, and most importantly it is a reliable monitor that has never let us down. The tilt is a bit limited so mount it fairly high and this shouldn't be an issue. But, this is by far the best monitor I've used for the £100ish price point.
As much as new parents want to be in the room with baby at all times, sometimes a baby monitor is necessary (like when you’re having a dinner party — or just want to watch Insecure in the next room). To help navigate the vast, confusing universe of baby monitors, we spoke to Lauren Kay, the Bump’s deputy editor, and Dave Baldwin, Fatherly’s former gear-and-tech editor and current play editor, about their recommendations, from traditional video monitors to smart-tech-enabled devices that can even track how your baby is sleeping. Add one of these to the baby registry.
A WiFi monitor gets rid of the parent unit entirely and replaces it with a smartphone app. That app connects to the baby unit over the internet, rather than standard radio frequencies. As a result, you’ll never have to worry about being out of range from your camera. If you’re at dinner and want to check in on the babysitter, you’re still connected. Since it operates from an app, it’s also easier to flip through features than trying to figure out a finicky, low-quality touchscreen, or a dozen different buttons.
Arlo Baby lets you check in on your baby with just a tap of the finger, from anywhere in the world. Motion and audio alerts are sent straight to your smartphone or email to instantly let you know when your baby is moving or crying. Precious moments are securely recorded with bank-grade encryption – accessible and downloadable anytime from your smartphone. Recordings are saved for 7 days for free.
Bargain hunters may prefer the iBaby M6T. Though it's a couple years old and records video in in 720p resolution, it's still a capable monitor with night vision, two-way audio and helpful pan-and-tilt capabilities. It's also available for nearly $100 less than the Arlo Baby. If the voice-powered Alexa assistant is a part of your family, consider the Project Nursery Smart Baby Monitor, which includes a smart speaker in its $229 bundle that lets you remote control the camera.