Baby monitors which are audio-only are rapidly falling out of style, instead being replaced by handy cameras which can display surprisingly detailed videos of your child’s room in order to ease your mind without having to get out of bed. We reviewed some of the best on the market and came to the conclusion that the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor is best for most families, it’s relatively inexpensive for the value and it provides clear, high-resolution video while maintaining a good amount of security due to transmitting over RF instead of wifi.
There’re a lot to pick from though, so we made sure to round up five of the best in order to help you keep an eye on your child even when you’re not in the room.
If you’re looking for the best video monitor for your baby, no holds barred, then investing in this excellent device might just be a life changing experience.
Top 5 Baby Video Monitors
|Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor||No||3.5”||Check Price|
|DBPOWER Digital Sound Activated Video Record||No||4.3”||Check Price|
|NETGEAR Arlo Baby Monitor||Yes||Smartphone||Check Price|
|Babysense Video Baby Monitor with LCD Display||No||2.4”||Check Price|
|Wansview Wireless 1080P Security Camera||Yes||Smartphone||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Video Baby Monitor
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
When it comes down to it, the Infant Optics DXR-8 was the best of the best as far as RF monitors go. It’s secure, easy to use, and delivers great resolution on the 3.5” display. It’s also rather expensive, but if you’re planning on using it for a few years it’ll even out quite nicely by the time you’re through with it.
The monitor has great battery life as well, running up to six hours with the screen on and maintaining a ten hour lifespan if you’re keeping it in standby. You’ll also be able to remotely move the camera around to get a look at different areas if you need to.
It also monitors temperature within the room. The big standout, however, was the fact that you can purchase different lenses in order to get different views of the room, and it’s the only baby monitor we’ve seen that allows for this. It’s not crucial, but it is a serious testament to the quality of the monitor.
The only real issues are the expense and the fact that the mounting for the camera system is a bit wonky, since it only comes with one screw to hold it in.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent resolution
- RF based transmission for security
- Interchangeable lenses available
- Great night vision
- Quite expensive
- Mounting system for camera seems a bit weak
2. Runner Up for Best Baby Video Monitor
DBPOWER Digital Sound Activated Video Record Baby Monitor
When we ordered this one we quickly found that it had one of the crispest displays around, and the large 4.3” LCD screen allowed for a great view of everything that was going on in the crib. It also runs pretty high on the expense scale, but not too much for the security it offers.
This is an RF based model, keeping things from getting hacked without close proximity and specialized knowledge. It also had quickly responsive controls and was really easy to setup and get going.
It has all of the features we think are necessary: two way talk, temperature monitoring, and it can even record video so you can play it back later. It can move as well, controlled remotely from the parental unit of the monitor.
It panned a bit too quickly for some of the people we had check it out and we found the monitor to be almost blindingly bright if you opt to check it in the middle of the night but it’s a pretty impressive package overall.
If you’re willing to put up with a few flaws, this monitor from DBPOWER offers some impressive value for the cost.
Pros and Cons
- Camera can be remotely moved
- Excellent display on parental unit
- Good night vision
- Can be expanded to multiple cameras easily
- Too bright at night
- Camera controls are a bit too fast
3. Best Wifi Baby Monitor
NETGEAR Arlo Baby Monitor
Security issues aside, wifi models offer a surprising number of benefits that many parents find irresistable. Just make sure that you have your router locked down before you decide to go with one.
This was the best of the wifi monitors we found, coming in with a ton of features that made it stand out. The app was easy to install even for the non-tech inclined and the ability to check your monitor from your phone whenever you wanted is a big plus for many parents.
We found it to be a bit unreliable if you weren’t careful about placement near the router, but once that issues was sorted it was a solid connection. It definitely has all of the features which we recommended with our others monitors: lullabies, two-way audio, a night light, the list goes on.
The biggest problem is also what makes it so handy: wifi monitors often have security issues and connectivity issues. The latter is easy enough to fix, but the former has more to do with your ability to secure your internet connection.
If you’re looking for a wifi monitor and don’t think anything else will do, we recommend the Netgear Arlo. It’s the best currently out, but the technology is still a bit insecure.
Pros and Cons
- Connects to your smartphone
- Tons of features
- Cute bunny shape with nightlight
- Can integrate with programs to control an entire smart home
- Security depends on your knowledge
4. Best Budget RF Video Baby Monitor
Babysense Video Baby Monitor with LCD Display
If you’re not able to afford one of our top picks, you’re not out of luck. Babysense produces this excellent video monitor which is available for a fraction of the cost of the others on our list, while maintaining most of the vital features.
The parental unit is quite small, however, measuring in at only 2.4” diagonally. This isn’t too bad for a quick look, but if your vision isn’t sharp in the first place then you may have some trouble making out what’s going on.
The resolution isn’t great, but you’ll be able to get a clear view of what’s going on without any issues for the most part. In addition to that it has two-way audio and you can expand the system to include more cameras.
The video quality isn’t great and the small handheld unit isn’t going to be winning any prizes but it’s available at about half the cost of our favorite which makes it a good option for those who are strapped.
If you’re not looking to spend a ton of money, this small monitor is packed with features and works out quite well for the cost.
Pros and Cons
- Secure connection
- Small handheld parental unit
- Controls are smooth
- Two-way audio
- Unit is too small for some people
- Resolution can’t compare to our favorites
5. Best Budget Wifi Video
Wansview Wireless 1080P Security Camera
This wireless camera actually works out great for a baby monitor, having some of the essentials like two-way audio and high resolution with a low price. For those who insist on wifi but don’t have the money for the rather expensive Arlo it’s a good way to go.
Compared to everything but the Arlo, it has amazing video quality. The 1080p is great and the night vision is quite good. It’s a bit more of a pain to install it, but at the end of the day you can also wire up other cameras if you wish.
The camera has an awesome 360 degrees of spin as well, so you can place one in the center of a room and make sure that you’re able to view whatever you need to.
Apart from being wifi, it lacks features like lullabies or nightlights, but it’s perfectly servicable for the average person.
This is the best wifi video monitor for those who are on a tight budget. It falls short on features, but makes up for it with excellent video and audio quality.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent resolution
- Can be expanded
- Full 360 degrees of spin
- Two-way audio
- Wifi monitors still have security issues
- Build-quality isn’t great
Why Use a Video Baby Monitor?
While they’re not one hundred percent necessary, many parents have been quickly taken in by the advantages offered by video surveillance of their children.
- Reassurance was the biggest thing we noted that parents found useful with video monitors. Being able to frequently check in on a sleeping child from anywhere in the house is great, especially since you can make sure that your child is doing well through the night if you are having trouble sleeping.
- As children get a bit older they’re definitely not above trying to manipulate you into checking on them through crying. While it can be a bit painful for new parents, sometimes letting them cry it out is the way to go and with a video monitor you can ensure nothing unusual is happening.
- Daytime naps happen often in babies and infants and being able to check on your child without the risk of waking them up is a big advantage for newer parents who might need all the rest they can get.
- When you move your child into their first “big kid” bed you can keep an eye on them and make sure they’re actually sleeping and not just playing around in their room. While some kids jump right in bed, others will immediately use their newfound ability to get out of bed by themselves to do whatever they please. Keeping an eye on them is a good way to go about things.
However, we don’t recommend a video monitor if you’re particularly anxious or have a lot of trouble with technology. Audio monitors have enabled parents to keep an eye on their children for decades so far, and some people definitely don’t feel a need to reinvent the wheel.
On the other hand, many new parents are readily adapting to newer tech, and a video baby monitor definitely offers some advantages that simply aren’t there with an audio-only monitor.
The Smart Question
While it’s nice to be able to connect to things through your smartphone or tablet, there are some security concerns shared by many people. Namely, most home networks aren’t all that well protected and if someone can break your password then they can definitely view the camera remotely from their own device.
Whether or not this is a big concern isn’t apparent yet, but there have been a few cases where it’s happened making the news recently. This could be especially troublesome with those with two way audio, allowing a stranger to talk to your child.
For that reason, we recommend going with a standard RF baby monitor unless you have the expertise to protect your wifi connection very well. However, as you’ll note in the above article, even cyber security experts don’t exactly trust them.
These simpler monitors also tend to be easier to use as well.
Wifi monitors aren’t all bad, however, and we did include a couple of the easier to use ones just to give you a taste of what’s out there. We’d recommend turning off any two-way audio features while you’re not directly using the camera however.
As a general rule, most people will feel much better with an RF signal than a wifi signal for their baby video monitor, it’s just safer overall.
RF monitors also seemed to be much more reliable in the long run. Wifi can have some odd glitches even when it’s working perfectly, which makes it slightly less reliable when it comes to constant monitoring.
What to Look For in a Baby Video Monitor
Now that we’ve established what they’re good for and the disadvantages of wifi cameras, let’s look at the other qualities you’ll need with your monitor to ensure it’s useful in the long run.
It’s inconvenient to keep both ends of the monitor plugged in at all times, which means that a long battery life is a must. Most parents want to carry their receiver around the house with them so they can check at their leisure, since that’s basically the entire point of a baby monitor.
This was one of the first things we selected for. Even above resolution, a long lasting battery can make all the difference when it comes to how useful the device is.
A monitor which lasts for most of the day and only needs to be plugged in when you retire for the night is going to end up being much more useful than one which needs to be charged multiple times every day.
While you don’t need something which is going to let you see every pore on your baby’s face from across the room, we did find that better quality video made things a lot easier. Most cameras these days are available in at least 720p, which we feel is just about right for the average home.
You can go higher if you’d like, but it’s going to end up costing quite a bit more money by the time you’re through and it’s really not necessary.
Even a bit lower than 720p is alright for most parents, in the end it ended up mattering a lot less than we initially thought compared to many of the other features of the cameras.
Chances are that you’re going to want to check up on your child during the nighttime hours, but in order to do so without disturbing them you’ll want some kind of night vision feature.
This was where many of the video baby monitors that we looked at varied wildly. Some of the best cameras in the daylight hours were virtually useless at night and some of the surprisingly low-budget options we looked at boasted pretty good night vision.
It’s hard to judge perfectly, but we marked off anything where our reviewers complained about the night vision being unusable.
There are two big factors when it comes to the controls of your camera.
The best of them are able to move in a full 360 degrees and have a good degree of tilt to them as well. This will allow you to pan the room and make sure that you’re focused where you want to be, although this likely isn’t to be used too much while your child is still in a crib.
The other factor, which many parents found to be of a big concern, is responsiveness. The more responsive your controls are, the better off you’ll be when it comes down to it. We found a few models with great cameras but laggy, unresponsive controls that ruined the whole experience.
Ideally you’ll be able to get both, but a limited range of motion and more responsive controls seemed to be more important to the majority of our reviewers.
While we recommend forgoing this feature if you’re planning on going with a wifi capable monitor, we did find that it came in quite handy in the long run.
Most babies respond quite well to the sound of their parent’s voice and it can make your life a lot simpler if you’re able to sing them a lullaby or just reassure them you’re nearby without having to walk into the room every time.
Unfortunately, we can’t recommend this feature if you’re using wifi as most of the more disturbing stories about hacked monitors seem to involve this feature.
RF connections are extremely secure, however, and there’s no reason to miss out on this vital feature if you’re going that route.
It’s important to remember that the range which is often included with monitors is unobstructed range. That means a seven hundred foot range will actually end up being significantly smaller when you’re indoors due to walls and other barriers causing interference with the signal.
Actually, seven hundred feet is a good range for those who are using an RF monitor, we found that it covered most homes quite readily.
When it comes to very thick walls and different floors, however, it can often be advantageous to go the wifi route instead, just make sure your security is up to par.
Why Not Use a Security Camera?
One of our reviewers didn’t seem to take to the video baby monitor we asked them to look at all that well, instead asking us why they shouldn’t just stick with the security cameras which they already had around the home.
It was a good question, and we had to spend a little bit of time mulling it over in order to provide an adequate response.
Don’t get us wrong, you can definitely use a security camera in order to accomplish the task but we felt there were some significant limitations to the whole affair:
- Security cameras often load quite a bit slower than the RF video monitors which we favored.
- Most security cameras function on wifi and are vulnerable to the same exploits as a baby video monitor which uses the network.
- Many security cameras lack audio capabilities, and apart from a few extremely specialized variants they also lack two way audio capabilities.
- Most won’t stream audio in the background, meaning you’ll have to leave the app open on your phone in order to get both audio and video feedback.
While they can be useful, especially if you already have them in the home, we recommend pairing a security camera with an audio-only monitor if you’re going to go down that route. It’s the best way to be sure that you get the feedback you need so that you know when you’ll want to check on your little one.
Baby video monitors are here to stay, and many parents around the globe are finding them to be essential pieces of their child’s care. There’s a lot of options out there, but we feel like you can’t go wrong with any of our picks, especially the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor which was our favorite of the bunch by far.
The ability to check on your child’s welfare visually and quickly is just part of a new generation of parental monitors, and while they’re likely to continue to improve over the next few years there’s no reason not to get one of these awesome, functional, reassuring devices now.
We feel like your peace of mind is worth it.