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 its ease of use, range, the 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.
The VTech DM221 has the basic sound monitoring features parents need, combined with the best sound quality and clarity results in our tests. The VTech DM221 includes easy-to-use sound activation and adjustable mic sensitivity to help create a quiet room for optimal sleeping potential with a parent unit that only transmits sound when the baby cries. The VTech DM221's talk-to-baby function sounds natural on the baby's side, so your infant won't be surprised or upset by a robotic voice or static, something we experienced in some competitors. This straightforward unit is budget-friendly and perfect for almost any family. It can easily solve your best sound monitor requirements for a price your budget will love.
This option has a shorter range than some competitors we tested, making it potentially unsuitable for larger homes or areas with more than 4-5 walls between the nursery device and the parent device. However, if your home is compatible with the VTech DM221 range, we think it is challenging to find a better sound-only product with higher quality sound and useful features than the VTech DM221.
The VTech DM111 is a bare-bones audio monitor that transmits sound without the bells and whistles of a more expensive product. The VTech DM111 relays sound from the nursery to the parent device with excellent sound quality and no confusing features to set or worry about. This device is a simple plug-and-play baby monitor; this is remarkably easy to use, making it an excellent option for parents who aren't tech-savvy or for grandma who might be intimidated by a monitor paired with advanced features. This product is the least expensive selection in our sound monitor review, but you won't be sacrificing sound quality or usefulness despite the lower price.
This monitor doesn't have sound activation, so some white noise can be transmitted to the parent device, which might disrupt the quality of parent sleep if white noise is annoying to you. The consistent sound may not be a deal-breaker if it comes from a fan or noise maker in the baby's room, and some parents feel the sound is conducive to sleeping or provides reassurance that the device is working. The VTech DM111 is an excellent option for those on a budget who want to hear their baby but don't require the extra features found in more expensive contenders or other monitor types. It's also so wallet-friendly that it makes a great backup to a movement or video monitor or as a travel companion.
The Phillips Avent Dect SCD 730/86 is a high-quality sound option with lots of features for parents and babies. This unit has impressive sound activation and sound filtering with mic sensitivity that helps create a silent monitor when your baby isn't crying. Getting good sleep is easier if the monitor has no static or chronic sound. This Philips also has some of the longest range we've ever seen in a dedicated sound monitor, and we appreciate that its test results were better than the manufacturer claims. It also sports a long battery life, battery backup in the baby unit, ceiling projection, night light, lullaby, and more.
This monitor is expensive, with a price higher than the competition and even most video monitors. However, the quality and features we experienced somewhat justify the price if you can swing it. We really like this monitor and think parents who want a straightforward sound option with loads of features will too. While the price could be a dealbreaker for some, if it is within your budget, we'd recommend you consider it.
The Hatch Rest+ is an app-enabled audio monitor with multiple features for babies and parents, making it more appealing than the standard monitor. It offers sound filtering, a sound machine, a nightlight, a toddler training clock, lullabies, and more. The nightlight is remote-controlled, and up to 5 smart devices can connect to a single monitor. This monitor includes 2-way communication and Alexa compatibility.
The Hatch Rest+ uses WiFI and requires an app to operate. You'll need a bit more tech-savvy abilities to get it up and running than a traditional baby monitor, but it isn't a struggle if you are comfortable with smartphones and products that use apps to operate. While 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.
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. It is also one of the most expensive options in our video lineup. However, if you like the idea of a baby-centric video monitor designed for little ones, then the Nanit Pro is the one for 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.
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 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.
Because the Nest Cam relies on an Internet connection, it can fail if your Internet is unreliable. So, if you'll experience sleepless nights worrying about connectivity or your Internet connection, you'll want to consider a reliable option that works without the Internet. 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 have a single device you use 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.
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 device requires the use of a smart device for monitoring. It also lacks any of the fun baby features parents might want, like lullabies or night light. It might not be a good choice if you aren't a fan of tech-savvy gadgets or using apps. However, if you want great video, reliable connectivity, and a straightforward and affordable camera, this is the one.
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. We 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.
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 at the same time as your smartphone. It requires the download of an easy-to-use app that includes 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 or nearby adventures away from home.
The Sense-U does require WiFi and can only pair to one smart device. WHile it is easy to use, you do need to get comfortable with removing the button after sleep to avoid losing it in the wash or hamper. Overall, we like this straightforward wearable, and it impressed us during testing.
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.
Our baby monitor testing generally consists of four rating metrics:
Ease of Use tests
Sound Quality (if applicable)
Video Quality (if applicable)
Expected Reliability (if applicable)
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.
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 one category to the next; 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.
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.
Types of Baby Monitors
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.
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. 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.
The most addictive and fun way to monitor your baby is a top-ranked video baby monitor. What used to be 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.
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)
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.
A wearable movement baby monitor attaches to your baby's diaper, clothing, or as a sock (depending on the model). The majority of 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.
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. If you want movement, audio, and video in a single product (package), then 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.
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.
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.
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 comes with 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.
A baby monitor's range can be the determining factor on 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 potentials 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.
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 getting a good night's sleep.
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. 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.