In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 10 Best Baby Monitors

We tested products from VTech, Philips, Nest Cam, and more to find the best monitors for every family
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The 10 Best Baby Monitors
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

Thursday April 4, 2024

Are you looking for a great baby monitor? We tested more than 100 baby monitors to find today's best product. Choosing the best baby monitor can be intimidating, especially with a market flooded with options. Our testing and details provide all the information you need to select the right monitor for your family and budget size. We include award winners from every monitor category, including sound, movement, and video. For months, we tested the competition to determine the ease of use, range, performance of functionality unique to each type, and more. Read on for help narrowing your options and deciding which baby monitor and monitor type is right for you.

Monitors come in three main types, and we have specific reviews comparing each, including the best sound monitors that let you hear what is happening in the nursery, our review comparing the best video monitors for keeping your eye on little ones in their crib, and our review of the best movement monitors to keep tabs on movement that indicates continued breathing.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on April 4, 2024, by adding information on how we test and some buying advice.

Best Baby-Centric Video Monitor

iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby Monitor

Baby-centric functionality
Clear video
Camera lag
Occasional Connectivity concerns
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Communication Technology 2.4/5GHz
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 85 db @ ~1ft
The iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby Monitor is a baby-feature-heavy WiFi video monitor with excellent video clarity and good sound quality. The iBaby has sound activation, lullabies, ceiling projection, and so much more. The app is easy to set up, and babies and parents will love the features it offers.

The M8 has an odd camera lag when using the pan feature. The video seems to hesitate and then quickly jumps forward. There is a general lack of precision that requires some patience for the camera to catch up as you make adjustments to the viewing area. It isn't a deal-breaker, but it is noteworthy and is best used with some patience. If you aren't interested in the baby-centric features and have a tighter budget, then the Wyze Cam V3 can save you money and has a potentially longer lifespan.

Read more: iBaby M8 2K Smart Baby Monitor review

baby monitor - best baby-centric video monitor
The iBaby M8 2K includes features that ensure good sound and video.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best WiFi Video Baby Monitor

Nanit Pro

Impressive video
Baby-friendly features
Compatible with Alexa
Subpar sound
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Communication Technology 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 89 db @ ~1ft
The Nanit Pro is a WiFi baby monitor with movement monitoring capabilities designed more with nurseries in mind than much of the WiFi competition. This camera is easy to use, uses the Internet for connectivity virtually anywhere, and has many baby-centric features. The Nanit Pro is one of the best options for parents looking for a monitor designed especially for babies instead of a security camera. It includes temperature and humidity sensors and features a nightlight and some nature sounds or white noise. The app has a user-friendly interface and will continue monitoring even if the screen is locked or while using another app. You can even take pictures or record and save videos of your little one. The baby-centered features make this monitor a good choice for parents who want a WiFi monitor but are less concerned with longevity. This option mounts above the crib for a better view and can connect to Alexa.

The Nanit Pro doesn't offer the best sound quality, but frankly, none of the video baby monitors we tested do. While surprising, since it is the sound that draws your attention, it isn't a deal breaker. It is also one of the most expensive options in our video monitor lineup. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, the Wyze Cam V3 has a much lower price point. But, if you like the idea of a baby-centric video monitor designed for little ones with all the bells and whistles, then the Nanit Pro deserves a place on your shortlist.

Also a Movement Monitor Winner
The Nanit also won an award in our movement monitor review as a great one-and-done solution. This monitor has easy-to-use movement capabilities with a simple wearable that wraps around your baby's chest. We like that it could be the only monitor you need to buy.

Read more: Nanit Pro review

best wifi video baby monitor
While large items in the night video are easy to see, the details in the room are missing and not true to life.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Longterm-use WiFi Video Camera

Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen

Real-life quality video
Use anywhere
Variety of uses/Longevity
Slightly harder setup
Requires Internet
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Communication Technology 2.4 / 5 Ghz
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 110 db @ ~1ft
The Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen camera is a cool camera that pairs with your smartphone or tablet. This easy-to-use camera has amazing visuals, can be viewed anywhere you have a connection, and it has several useful features. The Nest Cam is good for baby watching but can also be used as a nanny cam or for security after your little one is older. We love that the Nest Cam has a reasonable price and can be used for many years to retain its value long after the standard monitoring device is no longer useful. It also allows cameras to be added for multiple children.

Since the Nest Cam depends on a stable Internet connection, it can fail if your Internet is unreliable. If potential connectivity issues keep you up at night, it's wise to consider a video monitor that works without the Internet, like the LeapFrog LF920HD 7" Display. However, if you have a large house, you could be restricted to WiFi options due to the range limitations of dedicated products. It also doesn't work while using other apps, so we recommend you use a single device only for monitoring to avoid losing your connection to the baby's room. Nonetheless, it's hard to beat this versatile camera for families looking for a product they can use for years to come and one that allows them to see little ones from outside the home.

Read more: Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen review

baby monitor - best longterm-use wifi video camera
The full-screen video image is crisp and clear for the Nest Cam.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Budget Video Baby Monitor

Wyze Cam V3

Great video/good sound
Easy to use
WiFi range
No baby-specific features
Requires smart device
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Communication Technology 2.4 GHz
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 100db @ ~1ft
The Wyze Cam V3 camera is a budget-friendly security video monitoring option for parents who want to view their baby from anywhere with the internet but don't need the baby-centric features. This unit is easy to use, and the app is simple to download and pair with the camera. This camera is small, unassuming, and inexpensive but still offers great day and night videos that give you the information you need to determine your baby's level of need.

This monitor requires the use of a smart device for monitoring and doesn't offer any of the fun baby features parents might want, like lullabies or night light. If you prioritize baby-centric features, you might want to consider a product like the Nanit Pro. Also, the Wyze Cam V3 might not be a good choice if you aren't a fan of tech-savvy gadgets or using apps. However, this is the one if you want great video, reliable connectivity, and a straightforward and affordable camera.

Read more: Wyze Cam V3 review

best budget video baby monitor
The night time video of the Wyze has a minor hot spot but overall offered a crisp image that provides enough detail to see what you need to determine your baby's needs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best App-free Video Monitor

LeapFrog LF920HD 7" Display

Straightforward use & setup
Features for baby
Lower EMF results
Unimpressive video
Disappointing night video
Indoor Range Test 6 walls
80 Feet
Communication Technology 2.4GHz FHSS
Open Field Range Test 700 Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) 1000 Feet
Max Sound 84 db @ ~1ft
The easy-to-use LeapFrog LF920HD 7" Display has a straightforward set-up with a design even Grandma can use. This dedicated monitor has a larger 7-inch screen on the parent's unit and doesn't require a smart device for monitoring, making it a good option for babysitters or occasional caregivers. The LeapFrog also makes a good choice for those worried about WiFi-related security. With one of the most impressive dedicated ranges, the LeapFrog might be a good choice for homes with up to 6 walls between units.

The video on this monitor is only so-so, even if it is one of the better-dedicated monitors. However, it adequately provides enough information to determine your baby's needs. This monitor is more expensive than security-style monitors like the Google Nest Cam 2nd Gen. However, it offers a simpler user experience if you don't want to worry about apps or the internet. This makes it one of our favorites for those seeking simplicity over a tech-heavy choice.

Read more: LeapFrog LF920HD 7" Display review

baby monitor - best app-free video monitor
The LeapFrog is a good choice for those who want to skip the app and WiFi steps.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Overall Sound Baby Monitor

VTech DM1211

Additional parent unit
Clear audio
Sound activation
Great range
Limited power source
Open Field Range Test 1180 Feet
Indoor Range Test (Walls & Feet) 7 Walls
170+ Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*Buyer Beware!) 1500 Feet
Communication Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology
Sound Activation Yes
The VTech DM1211 is a straightforward sound monitor with impressive results in most metrics in our testing process. It includes a nursery component and two parent units. It's easy to use, and its features increase the overall usability, with functions like sound activation and sound filtering. It relayed fairly clear sound from the nursery, and the talk-to-baby feature lets you instantly be part of your baby's nursery, no matter where you are. We appreciate the DM1211 extended range, making it a suitable choice for those with larger homes or several walls between the nursery and parent units.

The baby unit relies on a plug-in connection to function, and while not a major issue, this could be seen as inconvenient if you value portability. If you need batteries in a nursery unit, the TimeFlys QQ Portable includes a baby unit featuring a battery backup, potentially providing more freedom to roam. All things considered, we think the VTech DM1211 delivers a superior performance, making its few drawbacks seem insignificant. We think it's perfect for most families and can easily solve your need for a top-ranked sound monitor.

Read more: VTech DM1211 review

best overall sound baby monitor
The VTech DM1211 stands as a strong contender thanks to its commendable performance. We also appreciate the bonus of two parent units.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Budget Sound Monitor

TimeFlys QQ Portable

Battery backup
Subpar range
Some feedback
Open Field Range Test 575 Feet
Indoor Range Test (Walls & Feet) 7 Walls
115 Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*Buyer Beware!) 1000 Feet
Communication Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology
Sound Activation Yes
The TimeFlys QQ Portable is an adorable sound monitor loaded with features. This budget-friendly option offers good sound quality or useful functionality. It includes sound activation and sound filtering to transmit only the relevant sounds to the parent unit. This can help a parent's sleep quality, especially for those who don't need constant ambient noise for reassurance that their device is working.

The Achilles' heel of this monitor is its limited range, with test results that fall short, especially in comparison to the VTech DM1211 and Hatch Rest+, two contenders with impressive range. While this sound monitor doesn't excel in all aspects, the TimeFlys QQ Portable scores above average in the competition, all while being affordable. Given its budget-friendly price, it might also be a good potential backup monitor or travel companion.

Read more: TimeFlys QQ Portable review

baby monitor - best budget sound monitor
The TimeFlys QQ Portable is an affordable sound monitor with an above-average performance in our tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Multipurpose Sound Baby Monitor

Hatch Rest+

Nightlight & toddler clock
Better range
Subpar sound
No sound activation
Open Field Range Test 155 Feet (WiFi)
Indoor Range Test (Walls & Feet) 8 Walls
169 Feet (WiFi)
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*Buyer Beware!) NA
Communication Technology WiFi
Sound Activation No
The Hatch Rest+ is an app-enabled audio monitor with multiple features for babies and parents, making it more appealing than a basic device. It offers sound filtering, a sound machine, night light functionality, a toddler training clock, lullabies, and more. The night light is remote-controlled, and up to 5 smart devices can connect to a single monitor. This monitor includes two-way communication and Alexa compatibility.

The Hatch Rest+ uses WiFi and requires an app to operate, requiring a bit more tech-savvy abilities than a traditional baby monitor, unlike the VTech DM1211 that offers a more plug-and-play setup. But, if you are comfortable with smartphones and products that rely on apps, you should have no trouble with the Hatch. Although the sound quality isn't the greatest for this monitor, it beats most of the video competition, and we think the extras make it worth it. Overall, the Hatch Rest+ is a neat nursery addition with multiple purposes in one device, offering a longer lifespan than some competitors.

Read more: Hatch Rest+ review

best multipurpose sound baby monitor
The Hatch Rest+ can operate using presets or the top ring. It can use WiFi if needed for range.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Wearable Movement Baby Monitor

Snuza Hero SE

Vibration rousing
Easy to use
Potential false alarms
In nursery alarm / no parent unit
Parent Unit No
Sensor Type Wearable
Monitoring Type Movement
EMF (at baby) No increase above ambient
Recommended Age Not Listed
The Snuza Hero SE is a wearable movement baby monitor that clips to your baby's diaper. It has a unique vibration alert that aims to rouse little ones into moving to avoid the impending alarm that will sound audibly if the baby doesn't move. This vibration feature means that false alarms could be potentially less likely to result in a crying baby, but they could cause a lack of deep sleep if they happen chronically. The Snuza Hero SE is a simple wearable that is easy to use, portable, and had few false alarms during our testing. While it is not a replacement for safe sleep practices, it could provide some parents with increased peace of mind for a better night's sleep.

This unit only works until babies can roll or crawl. It can be uncomfortable for some babies or ineffective if your baby is too small or their diapers don't fit snuggly in the waist. An alternative, such as the Sense-U Baby V3, could offer more comfort for little ones. We also worry parents will rely on this type of device to prevent SIDs and, therefore, caution that there is no evidence that it does or can prevent SIDs from occurring. However, if you want to know that your little one is moving at a predictable rate, and this knowledge will help you sleep better, then the Snuza Hero SE could be the best choice that won't break the bank or require mattress or crib adjustments.

Read more: Snuza Hero SE review

best wearable movement baby monitor
Credit: Abriah Wofford

App-driven Wearable Movement Monitor

Sense-U Baby v3

Straightforward use/setup
Impressive portability
Includes base station
Requires Bluetooth/WiFi
Need smartphone
Parent Unit Smartphone
Sensor Type Wearable
Monitoring Type Movement, Position, Activity
EMF (at baby) 2.5
Recommended Age roll-over alarm is for babies up to 6 months
The Sense-U Baby V3 is a button-style wearable that connects to your smartphone and an included base station. This button uses WiFi and Bluetooth, giving it a wider range than some of the competition. It includes an external base station alarm that lights up and has an audible alarm that is connected to your smartphone. It requires downloading an easy-to-use app with positional information, like if your little one has rolled onto their stomach or is sitting up. This monitor's small size and quick setup make it a potential travel option for baby's adventure away from home.

The Sense-U relies on WiFi connectivity and can only pair to one smart device. While most of the competition uses WiFi, a few don't, like Snuza Hero SE, which offers a more portable alternative. While it is easy to use, you need to get comfortable removing the button after sleep to avoid losing it in the wash or hamper. Overall, we like this straightforward wearable, which impressed us during testing.

Read more: Sense-U Baby V3 review

baby monitor
Credit: Abriah Wofford

baby monitor - since 2012, we have evaluated several well-known sound monitors...
Since 2012, we have evaluated several well-known sound monitors. This photo shows some of the many popular choices we've tested over the years.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

How We Test Baby Monitors

Our baby monitor testing is exhaustive. We have run more than 5,600 individual tests since 2012 on more than 100 monitors across all monitoring groups. Our tests indicate a vast difference between monitor performance, range, ease of use, and features. To help you find the best baby monitor for your home and little one, we purchase every monitor, accepting no manufacturer freebies to ensure unbiased independent testing results.

For our range tests, we document the distance and the number of walls through which each monitor successfully transmits its signal.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our baby monitor testing generally consists of four rating metrics:

  • Range tests
  • Ease of Use tests
  • Sound Quality (if applicable)
  • Video Quality (if applicable)
  • Expected Reliability (if applicable)
  • Battery Life
  • Features
  • EMF (not scored, just informational)

Movement monitors also include testing and research on reliability and portability. Each baby monitor is also tested for the amount of EMF it emits.

We measured EMF levels for all the sound monitors. In this video, you can see the VTech DM1211 placed about six feet away on the nightstand.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Each rating metric contributes to the overall score by a specific weighting based on the baby monitor category. Weighting is based on how important we believe the metric is and how much it might influence the decision-making of most families. Weighting varies from category to category; for example, sound quality is more important for audio monitors and image quality is more important for video monitors. Our extensive monitor testing and rating process means we are in a unique position to help you find the best monitor for your needs.

Why You Should Trust Us

BabyGearLab has tested over 90 different baby monitors in our quest to find the absolute best products available. Our founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a board-certified pediatrician, heads our product selection team with an eye for performance, quality, and functionality. Since the beginning, Bob Wofford, Senior Review Analyst and father of 7, created our test procedures and is constantly modifying and updating our processes to adapt to ever-changing technology and features. Bob has been testing monitors since 2013. Wendy Schmitz, a Senior Review Editor and mother of 2 joined baby monitor testing in 2014, bringing her scientific background to the team. The monitor team is rounded out by Senior Review Editor Abriah Wofford, who began testing baby monitors in 2017. With over 23 years of combined experience using and testing 81 total monitors from the video, sound, and movement types, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more experienced group of experts than this team.

In a separate space, we set up the baby unit with music playing at a...
In a separate space, we set up the baby unit with music playing at a standard volume, then we take the maximum sound DB levels emitted from the parent unit from a room next door.

How to Choose a Baby Monitor

If you want to keep tabs on your baby while catching some Zzzs, there are a few different monitoring types to consider depending on your goals or what information you hope to receive. Traditional baby monitoring informed parents when their baby was crying or needed assistance. Over time, monitoring has evolved into watching your baby or knowing when they stop moving predictably. Knowing which products do what can help you determine which kind of product is the right choice for your family.

One and Done
Some products offer a "one and done" solution that can provide sound, video, and movement monitoring in one purchase or add-on capabilities. For the most part, these products tend to be like most "jack of all trades" solutions where they can perform all abilities but don't do any particularly well. While we understand the desire to make a single purchase, we advise you to proceed with caution and be willing to accept some subpar capabilities. Our tests found that video monitors typically provide terrible sound quality, and many movement monitors have terrible video quality if they offer it. While some video monitors have movement features that create more false alarms than you'd want. We recommend buying any product from a retailer with an easy and free return policy if your "one and done" dream isn't up to snuff. See more below. Our favorite one-and-done solution is the Nanit Pro; while not perfect, it is a high-quality option that performs well in most tests.

Type of Monitors

There are three basic types of monitors and a handful of cool options that do their best to do it all. Depending on your needs and monitoring goals you can use a simple sound monitor, but if you want all the bells and whistles with all the details, then a movement monitor that includes video is probably more your bag.

baby monitor
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Video Monitors

The most addictive, popular, and fun way to monitor your baby is a top-ranked video baby monitor. What was considered a luxury is now more common, with prices often similar to or cheaper than sound options. This monitor style gives you a peek inside the nursery to hear and see what is happening in your baby's room to determine their needs better than an audio-only monitor. Most video products work well in the dark and have adequate sound, so you can see and hear what is happening.

Some options are "dedicated" with a camera that talks to a parent unit. In contrast, others use WiFi to send information from the camera to your personal device (smartphone/tablet). WiFi-enabled options are great for larger houses where range might be an issue, and it's also useful for viewing your little one when you are away from home. While video capability isn't mandatory for getting a good night's sleep, it can provide more information to help you determine your little one's needs before you get out of bed, thus potentially increasing your sleep time. If you want an addictive monitor for peeping on your bundle of joy, this is the monitor type for you.

baby monitor - the sound clarity for the dm111 isn't super impressive, but for the...
The sound clarity for the DM111 isn't super impressive, but for the price, it is hard to quibble with no distortion and bright sounds with a sound filtering option that works well.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Sound Monitors

The traditional baby monitor for babies is a straightforward sound monitor that transmits audio from the baby's nursery to the paired parent device. This review includes our top-ranked and favorite sound monitors cherry-picked from years of hands-on testing.

Some of the monitors were easier to use than others, like the VTech DM1211.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

As this product transmits sound only from your baby's room, you use the sound to determine if your little one needs you. If you're looking for a straightforward monitoring solution for staying in contact with your baby, then a basic sound monitor is really all you need. Many parents have relied on this type of baby monitor to keep tabs on their little ones at night and during nap time.

baby monitor
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Movement Monitors

If you have concerns about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and want reassurance that your baby is moving regularly enough to indicate breathing, then selecting one of our favorite movement monitors is the way to go. Movement products sense the type of normal movement associated with a baby's breathing. These products attempt to discern when your baby has not moved within a prescribed period (typically 20 seconds). This lack of movement could potentially indicate that they are not breathing. While this may seem like a no-brainer for parents worried about SIDS, these devices aren't foolproof and do NOT protect against SIDS. They have not been approved by the FDA as a medical device and are known to have false alarms where the baby is fine and then suddenly awakened by a loud (in nursery) alarm.

While this baby monitor type is an intriguing concept, we caution parents that it is not a substitute for safe sleeping practices and doesn't prevent SIDS. However, if you are willing to accept possible false alarms, it can provide another layer of monitoring that helps some parents achieve increased peace of mind. Be forewarned; movement sensing is only useful until your baby can roll over. At that point, they become unreliable with an uptick of false alarms (in our experience), even if the manufacturer claims otherwise. We considered a variety of movement options, including mattress sensors, wearable products, and oxygen saturation monitors, and our favorites are included in this review.

Always, Always Practice Safe Sleep

Movement monitors do not claim to prevent SIDS, but they can potentially provide parents peace of mind, leading to better quality sleep for parents. To reduce the likelihood of SIDS, you should practice safe sleep guidelines for EVERY sleep (with or without a movement device). No baby monitor should replace safe sleep practices, and no baby monitor has been proven effective at reducing the occurrence of SIDS.

  • Always put your baby on their back to sleep
  • Baby should have their own firm sleep space with a tightly fitted sheet
  • Do not use a crib bumper, blanket, or toys in the crib (we know they are cute, but don't do it)
Reading How to Protect your Infant from SIDS and other Causes of Sleep-related Deaths can provide more information about best sleep practices and setting up a healthy sleep environment for your baby.

baby monitor - an example of babysense 7 sensor pads placed on flat and hard wooden...
An example of Babysense 7 sensor pads placed on flat and hard wooden slats on top of wired mattress support. This is an important step to ensure proper functioning of the unit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Mattress Pad Sensors

The most reliable kind of movement-sensing product is the mattress pad design. This type of product goes under the mattress (typically on a hard surface) and is only compatible with certain kinds of mattresses. These products relay messages to a nursery-located device that then alerts parents on a parent device or with a loud audible alarm in the nursery (model dependent). The problem with this kind of monitor is it will wake your baby if the alarm goes off. While it startles infants that have perhaps stopped breathing (which is good), a false alarm will wake a peacefully sleeping baby (who is breathing fine) for no reason.

baby monitor - the sensu-u baby v3 is a button-style wearable.
The Sensu-U Baby v3 is a button-style wearable.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


A wearable movement baby monitor attaches to your baby's diaper, clothing, or as a sock (depending on the model). Most wearable baby monitors alert inside the room with only a handful of options relaying to a parent device (smartphone or similar). In our experience, many wearables have frequent false alarms or high Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels (which we try to avoid). The Snuza Hero SE is a cost-effective wearable with a unique vibration feature and very low levels of EMF, making it an exception to this general rule. If your bedroom is a far distance from the nursery, and you may not hear an in-nursery alarm, then you should seriously consider buying a sound or video monitor to help relay the alarm directly to your room. Otherwise, your little one could be startled awake and unable to self-soothe without your assistance, and you'll be unaware, or they may need your help, and you won't know. The Sense-U Baby V3 is an app-driven wearable with an alert to your smartphone and included base station.

baby monitor - we tested both wifi and dedicated monitors from several different...
We tested both WiFi and dedicated monitors from several different popular brands for our comprehensive video monitor review, so you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your family.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Can One Product Do it All?

Yes and no, it depends on what you want the device to do and what levels of EMF or subpar metric results you will accept. If you are looking for video and sound, you're in luck; all of the video monitors have both. If you'd like sound and movement monitoring, only a handful of movement products come with sound, and they are all mattress-style devices, which can impact the style of top-ranked crib mattress or which of the best baby cribs you can choose. Suppose you want movement, audio, and video in a single product (package). In that case, you are very limited and potentially introducing high EMF levels to your baby's nursery or buying a product that has disappointing qualities. To avoid this and get the best of the best, we suggest combining two products (movement and video). This combo might cost you a little more, but we think it is worth it to avoid the higher EMF. Because movement monitors only work for about six to nine months, have false alarms, and can't replace safe sleep practices or reduce the occurrence of SIDs, we think parents should choose a video product and forgo the movement if their budget is tight. You might also consider a WiFi video baby monitor with a sound monitor backup. The sound monitor doesn't need the Internet to work, so you won't miss a monitoring minute even if your Internet goes down. They typically offer better sound quality and features like sound activation for a quiet baby monitor. This setup would allow you to hear your little one via a good-quality sound product and then peek in on them via your video option if need be.

baby monitor - the nest cam 2nd gen does not have a remote control camera, you can...
The Nest Cam 2nd Gen does not have a remote control camera, you can only pan and tilt digitally within the field of view.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

How Long Will You Use It?

The lifespan of your potential device depends on your needs and the type of device you choose. Movement products have the shortest lifespan with efficacy for only 6-9 months old or when your baby starts rolling and moving. On the other hand, sound and video products can often work for years, well past toddlerhood. Video products arguably have the most extended lifespan because they can help keep tabs on older children as they nap and play. WiFi cameras have an extended lifespan, as some of them can graduate to watching a babysitter or for security purposes. If the duration of use is a concern for you, WiFi video products should be your go-to choice to get the most bang for your buck.

baby monitor - selecting a device can be tricky. thankfully, our review helps you...
Selecting a device can be tricky. Thankfully, our review helps you narrow down the options.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Making a Choice

Finding the best and most suitable baby monitor for your baby can be simple when you narrow the options using key considerations designed to keep you on track and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or choosing a monitor you aren't happy with.

baby monitor - the vtech dm221 provides exceptional sound clarity, setting a high...
The VTech DM221 provides exceptional sound clarity, setting a high standard.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

First, Pick Your Type

After some consideration, many parents determine that an audio-only monitor will more than meet their needs. These parents know they will respond to the baby's nursery each and every time their little one cries. They don't require viewing capabilities, and using a sound option is the least expensive way to find a quality baby monitor with high functionality. However, if you need or hope to view your little one from your bed or another location, a video monitor is the only way to go. Buying a WiFi-enabled monitor means less range limitation. You can see your baby away from home, typically with 720-1080p quality images. WiFi also provides the potential for future use as a security or nanny cam; this provides added value you might not have considered (but maybe should). Some of the camera options are so inexpensive that they cost less than sound-only options!

Alternatively, monitoring your infant's movements is a luxury that most parents don't "need," even if they may want it or feel peace using it. It can also supply a potentially false sense of safety, which concerns us. If you're worried about SIDs, studies indicate that placing your baby to sleep in their own bed in your room (using safe sleep practices) can go a long way in preventing SIDs and is potentially more effective than video monitoring. This plan also has the advantage of being nearby for nighttime feedings and the breathing checks many new parents conduct. Choosing a top-ranked bassinet may be a better solution for SIDs paranoia than a movement product or other baby monitor types, at least in the early months of infancy. However, if your heart demands a movement monitor to feel at peace, we encourage you to consider a sound or video device to pair with it to ensure that you hear the alarm that often only goes off in the nursery itself.

baby monitor - the nanit basically does it all with wifi connectivity it has a...
The Nanit basically does it all with WiFi connectivity it has a range only limited by your internet capabilities.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Second, Determine Your Range

A baby monitor's range can be the determining factor in if it will work in your home. Depending on the distance from your room to the nursery and your home type or interfering appliances, you could be limited in the products that can work. If your house is large or has more than a handful of walls (typically between 4-5) between the two rooms, you'll likely be stuck using a WiFi option (assuming you have the Internet). If your home is smaller or has fewer walls, then a wider variety of products will be possible for you. Many wearable movement monitors work in the baby's room and do not rely on communicating with a parent's device. However, if your room is out of earshot, you'll never hear the alarm, making the unit practically useless without pairing it with a sound monitor. If you think range might be an issue in your home, we recommend choosing your product carefully and purchasing from retailers like Amazon that traditionally have a generous and simple return policy. Also, don't let the baby monitor sit in the box; you'll want to try it right away and return it immediately if it doesn't work well where you plan to use it. Do not believe the manufacturer's range claim. We often find these claims to be wildly inaccurate during testing.

baby monitor - the ibaby offers a variety of features including 10 lullabies...
The iBaby offers a variety of features including 10 lullabies, recording, picture taking, two way talk and pan/tilt/zoom.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Third, Prioritize Your Features

Once you have figured out the kind of baby monitor you need and have estimated your indoor range (with wall count), you can consider and review the potential products and features. Budget-friendly options typically lack loads of features but are still highly functional. If you want more baby-centric features such as nightlights, lullabies, and talk to baby, they will cost more, making the product harder to use. The one feature we feel is almost non-negotiable is sound activation. This functionality (when it works well) keeps your baby monitor silent when your little one is silent, increasing your chance of sleeping well.

baby monitor - the additions of new monitors are made regularly when we update the...
The additions of new monitors are made regularly when we update the video monitor review. Many of these contenders impress and went on to earn awards.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Determining your specific monitoring goals or needs and selecting the right baby monitor to meet your needs can be overwhelming, especially if you aren't sure what kind of product you want. With so many monitoring types and different brands of monitors with so many features, it isn't a straightforward purchase. Our comprehensive reviews can help save you time and energy by providing the best award-winning products across categories all in one place. Over the years, we've tested many monitors of all types to find the very best options for each one. We are sure our lineup includes something to meet your needs and budget.

Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz