In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

The 4 Best Audio Baby Monitors of 2022

We tested sound monitors by VTech, Philips, Hatch, and HelloBaby to find the best audio monitor for your baby
Best Audio Baby Monitors of 2022
Finding a great monitor for baby starts by choosing the right type and features to suit your needs and wants. The sound option, Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10 shown here is a great sound option that performed well in our tests.
Credit: Philips
By Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Team
Monday November 21, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Searching for the best sound baby monitor? We've got you covered. Since 2012, we have purchased and tested more than 90 baby monitors. In this review, we put the top 5 audio monitors available today against each other to find the best. Our detailed testing focuses on key performance metrics like sound clarity, ease of use, range, and more. Our results and hands-on experience in the real world influence scores and rank, and our insider details provide the information you need to find the right option to meet your needs and goals.

Other types of baby monitors include video monitors for keeping your eye on little ones in their crib and movement monitors to keep tabs on movement that indicates continued breathing. If you aren't sure which is right for you, look at our best baby monitor review. Thinking you want a bedside bassinet instead of a monitor for the early infant days? We've reviewed those and lots more baby gear!

Editor's Note: We updated this sound monitor review on November 21, 2022, to add newly tested products to the lineup.

Top 5 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Value Award 
Price $190 List
$189.99 at Amazon
$40 List
$38.95 at Amazon
$33 List$90 List
$89.99 at Amazon
$30 List
$18.69 at Amazon
Overall Score
86
81
66
69
65
Star Rating
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Pros Great range, lots of features, longer battery life, battery backup on the baby unitExcellent sound clarity, lots of features, long battery life, priceWallet-friendly, easy to use, longer rangeMultiple functions, app-enabled, better range, easy to use for the tech-savvyEasy to use, nice range, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, battery backup on the baby unit is not rechargeableHarder to use, shorter rangeSub-par sound, the battery in parent unit is not rechargeableShorter battery life, not the best sound quality, few features for soundLimited features, short battery life
Bottom Line Impressive monitor with loads of features for fun and a better rangeAn inexpensive, yet great sounding, monitor with loads of features that is an excellent choice for most familiesAverage monitor with no stand-out features and disappointing sound compared to similarly priced optionsAn app-enabled, multi-purpose monitor that is easy to use, but it has a shorter battery life and sub-par soundAn affordable monitor set that gets the job done without any fuss
Rating Categories Phillips Avent Dect... VTech DM221 HelloBaby HB180 Hatch Rest+ VTech DM111
Sound Clarity (30%)
8.0
10.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Ease of Use (25%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Range (20%)
9.0
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Battery life (15%)
9.0
10.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
Features (10%) Sort Icon
10.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
3.0
Specs Phillips Avent Dect... VTech DM221 HelloBaby HB180 Hatch Rest+ VTech DM111
Indoor Range Test (walls & feet) 7 walls
170+ Feet
5 Walls
90 Feet
7 walls
170+ Feet
8 Walls
169 Feet (WiFi)
7 Walls
98 Feet
Open Field Range Test 2000+ Feet 1325 Feet 2000+ Feet 155 Feet (WiFi) 1350 Feet
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) 1082 Feet 1000 Feet 1000 Feet NA Not Listed
Communication Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology DECT 6.0 Digital Technology WiFi DECT 6.0 Digital Technology
Sound Activation Yes Yes Yes No No
Adjustable Mic Sensitivity Yes Yes No No No
Sound Filtering Test Results Excellent Excellent Very Poor Very Good Very Poor
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Max Sound 88.6 db 103.4 db 87.5 db 96.3 db 103.6 db
Temperature Yes No Yes No No
Battery Life 40 hrs 46 hrs 13 hrs 13 hrs 13 hrs
Nursery Unit Battery Backup Yes No No Yes No
EMF @ 6 Feet Nursery Unit 0.95 V/m 3.11 V/m 0.43 V/m 0.43 V/m 2.63 V/m
Night Light Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Lullaby Music Yes No Yes Yes No
Out Of Range Alert N/A Yes N/A No Yes
Vibrate Alert Yes Yes No No No
Warranty 2 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year


Best Overall Sound Baby Monitor


VTech DM221


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Clarity 10.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
  • Range 6.0
  • Battery life 10.0
  • Features 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Great sound
Sound activation & two-way talk
Inexpensive
Longest battery life
REASONS TO AVOID
Shorter range
Harder to program

The VTech DM221 is a full-service audio-only monitor with useful features and the best sound clarity in our tests. The DM221 includes sound activation and adjustable microphone sensitivity that create a silent parent room for a better night's sleep with a parent device that primarily relays sound when your baby cries. The parent device has talk-to-baby functionality that sounds like a natural voice bypassing the robotic-sounding voice found in some competing products we tested. The DM221 is budget-friendly, and it earned the highest overall score during testing.

This monitor has a shorter range than some contenders, which means it might be unusable in some larger homes or those with more than 3-4 walls between the nursery and parent device. Overall, we believe this product can get the job done with superior sound and the additional features required to ensure a peaceful night's sleep — the reason most parents consider purchasing a monitor in the first place.

Read more: VTech DM221 review

sound monitor - best overall sound baby monitor
The Vtech DM221 has sound activation so you only hear the baby unit when your baby is making noise.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best on a Tight Budget


VTech DM111


65
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Clarity 7.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Range 7.0
  • Battery life 3.0
  • Features 3.0
REASONS TO BUY
Wallet-friendly
Easy to use
Good range
REASONS TO AVOID
No sound activation
No two-way communication

The VTech DM111 is one of the least expensive options in this review. However, it offers an above-average range with good sound clarity and an easy-to-use interface. The range is better than some competition, making it a good choice for larger homes or multiple walls (over 3) between devices.

This option doesn't have all the bells and whistles, like two-way communication or sound activation, but it gets the job done and provides life-like sound from the baby's room, which is all you need at the end of the day. The DM111 battery life is 13 hours, and the batteries are not rechargeable, so it is probably best to keep it plugged in when possible or have spare AAA batteries on hand. We think this option is an excellent no-nonsense choice or a useful travel product thanks to its ease of use and good range. Parents looking for a quick, straightforward solution will be more than satisfied with this choice.

Read more: VTech DM111 review

sound monitor - best on a tight budget
With a power button and volume adjust as the only features on the DM111 parent unit it is easy to use with almost no opportunity for mistakes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Monitor for Extra Features


Phillips Avent Dect SCD730/86


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Clarity 8.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Range 9.0
  • Battery life 9.0
  • Features 10.0
REASONS TO BUY
Sound activation/filtering
Impressive range
Lots and lots of features
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Dim projector

The Phillips Avent Dect SCD 730/86 is a high-end sound monitor with loads of features that are both useful and fun. In our tests, the sound filtering and sound activation created a silent monitor when the baby was quiet. The sound quality when the baby cried was better than average, and if you need a night light, projector, or temperature sensor, this is your monitor. It has some of the best range in the group and a battery life of the parent unit over 40 hours. The baby unit has a backup battery, a rarity in this group, and while the batteries aren't rechargeable, we will take what we can get.

This monitor is expensive by any standards, and you can get a high-ranking video monitor for less. However, you get what you pay for here, and we feel the performance and features justify the price. The nightlight and projector are also dim, but depending on your baby and goals, that might not be a downside. Overall, we love this monitor and think its ease of use, coupled with ample features and better sound, make it a monitor to consider for anyone who only wants sound monitoring and doesn't mind the higher price.

Read more: Phillips Avent Dect SCD 730/86 review

sound monitor - best monitor for extra features
The baby unit on the SCD730/86 has an easy-to-use user interface with clearly marked buttons.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Multi-purpose Monitor


Hatch Rest+


69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Sound Clarity 6.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Range 9.0
  • Battery life 3.0
  • Features 6.0
REASONS TO BUY
WiFi range
Multi-purpose
App-enabled features
REASONS TO AVOID
Sub-par sound
Shorter battery life

The Hatch Rest+ is an app-enabled monitor with several features for babies and parents. It has impressive sound filtering, a sound machine, a nightlight, lullabies, and more. The nightlight can be remote-controlled, and you can connect up to 5 parent devices to one monitor. When little ones get older, you can use it as a tool for teaching when it is time to get up. This unit has 2-way communication and is compatible with Alexa.

This unit requires WiFi and an app to operate. You'll need a little more tech-savvy knowledge than a typical plug-in monitor, but it isn't challenging if you are comfortable with your smartphone and other apps. Also, the sound quality isn't the best. It is better than many video monitors but isn't on par with the inexpensive sound monitors we've tested. Overall, this monitor is a modern-looking, cool addition to any nursery that can fill the need for many devices in one. We like that it can grow with your child and is a good choice for technology-driven families.

Read more: Hatch Rest+ review

sound monitor - the hatch app has a simple user interface with only a few sound...
The Hatch app has a simple user interface with only a few sound related options to worry about.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
86
Phillips Avent Dect SCD730/86
phillips avent dect scd730/86 sound monitor review
$190
Top Pick Award
81
VTech DM221
vtech dm221 sound monitor review
$40
Editors' Choice Award
69
Hatch Rest+
hatch rest+ sound monitor review
$90
Top Pick Award
66
HelloBaby HB180
hellobaby hb180 sound monitor review
$33
65
VTech DM111
vtech dm111 sound monitor review
$30
Best Value Award

sound monitor - the dect scd730/86 offers an impressive range that rivals most of...
The Dect SCD730/86 offers an impressive range that rivals most of the sound competition.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us


Because a monitor is a direct line to your baby, you need it to work as intended, reliably, with a good range. The features need to be easy to use and improve the overall functionality of the monitor. Each unit should have an adequate range, provide the functionality to potentially increase sleep, and offer clear sound. If a device doesn't work as intended, it could fail to help parents obtain restful sleep or respond to little ones as they intend.

We hands-on test and rate each product's performance and compare it to similar products in our in-house, side-by-side tests. We calculate scores with weighted values for the metrics we believe are instrumental in making a monitor exceptional and user-friendly. Sound clarity and ease of use are the most critical metrics, with range coming in next. Without a significant and reliable range, a monitor can fail to work. Without quality sound transmission and sound-related features, it might not alert parents when it should.

Our testing of baby sound monitors is divided into five rating metrics:

  • Sound Clarity tests (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Ease of Use tests (25% weighting)
  • Range tests (20% weighting)
  • Battery Life tests (15% weighting)
  • Features tests (10% weighting)

We've purchased and tested more than 35 sound monitors and over 100 baby monitors across categories since 2012. Our tests put each monitor through a multi-point analysis to rate sound and everyday functionality. We've literally listened to monitor sounds for hundreds of hours.

Sound Monitors go through more than 51 individual tests to rank their performance compared to the competition. The most important metric is the Sound Clarity score, which corresponds to 30% of the overall score. Our Sound Clarity score is developed by 6 individual tests including maximum volume, sound clarity, noise reduction, and sound filtering.

Leading our baby sound monitor review is BabyGearLab founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier. Dr. Spurrier is a board-certified pediatrician, a mother of two, and a long-time tester of every type of baby monitor on the market. Working alongside Dr. Spurrier is Senior Review Analyst Bob Wofford and father of 7. Together, they developed the testing process for this comprehensive review and our other monitor reviews. Bob has conducted the tests for our sound monitor review since 2013, making him an industry expert with over 100 monitor product tests under his belt! Rounding out our team of expert testers is Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, and mother of 2. She brings eight years of experience and knowledge of baby monitor testing to analyze tester feedback and test results to create valuable and informative reviews. The primary team members in this review have over 20 years of collective experience in testing monitors.

The DM271 has one of the lower EMF readings in the group, though...
The DM271 has one of the lower EMF readings in the group, though most of the video monitors are still lower.
The sound clarity for the DM111 isn&#039;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.
The parent unit on the HB180 requires AAA batteries and is not meant...
The parent unit on the HB180 requires AAA batteries and is not meant for continuous battery use.

Analysis and Test Results


When testing sound monitors, we consider crucial metrics that demonstrate monitor performance and the features that give it an edge over the competition or provide additional benefits to parents or babies.

What Would BabyGearLab Do?
Interested in the spoiler alert of what we'd recommend to a friend? Skip down to read what we would do.


Value


Sound monitors are typically the most budget-friendly option for keeping tabs on your little one (though there are some inexpensive video options). This monitor style offers an option for any budget. We feel choosing a slightly higher-priced unit is a smart option as the overall performance of mid-price monitors is better than the absolute cheapest. Because you'll typically use your monitor daily, there is significant value in spending a little more money to get a superior product. We believe the VTech DM221 is a good value in this lineup, as it is the highest-performing device in our tests and still has a very reasonable price tag. If "grandparent-friendly" is your highest criterion, you should consider the Vtech DM111. This straightforward monitor is one of the easiest to use, with the fewest buttons and features to cause confusion. It also includes two parent devices making it an excellent value for new parents who only need sound monitoring.

sound monitor - the dm221 has top-of-the-line sound clarity with a 10 of 10 score...
The DM221 has top-of-the-line sound clarity with a 10 of 10 score for this metric.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Sound Clarity


The sound quality separates the teacup pups from the big dogs. Any sound you hear from the parent unit should be clear, static-free, and realistic. Ideally, it should lack distortion, and we prefer features that limit the types of sounds relayed from the nursery to the parent device or the volume of those unimportant non-baby sounds. We believe the transmission of sound and sound-related features are the critical criteria for sound monitoring. You don't want to lose precious time wondering if the sounds you hear are your baby or insignificant background noise. If features like sound activation or microphone sensitivity (that limits background noise) don't work as they should (or are not included), then you might lose sleep using a loud monitor.


Several of the options in our tests scored above average for sound clarity, but it is somewhat shocking how poor the sound quality is for others, given the primary goal is to relay life-like sounds. Some products offer hollow and bright transmissions without the mid-tone and bass ranges. While disappointing, we think this is acceptable. However, static and distortion shouldn't be tolerated, and we heard it from more than one competitor. The best products bring a full tonal range and can change the sound level of what is transmitted (microphone sensitivity adjustment).

sound monitor - despite few buttons and a menu to toggle through, the scd720/86...
Despite few buttons and a menu to toggle through, the SCD720/86 remains simpler to use than much of the competition, with few features being hidden in folders within the menu.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The VTech DM221 delivered the best sound results. This product has no distortion or static, even at max volume. The sound includes more vibrant tones, and while you wouldn't want to listen to your favorite music from them, it delivers a realistic representation of a baby's cries. All of the top products include sound activation that works as it should and is silent when your baby is quiet. The second best sound is offered by the Phillips Avent Dect SCD730/86, with an 8 of 10. This monitor is a higher-end option with more features. The VTech DM111 earns a respectable 7 for sound.

sound monitor - the hellobaby has disappointing sound quality that is not a good...
The Hellobaby has disappointing sound quality that is not a good representation of what is happening in the nursery.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The worst sound quality in our tests is the HelloBaby HB180. This unit scores only 5 out of 10, thanks to static and the occasional lack of sound at all, as it randomly cuts off when sound is occurring. Overall, it isn't terrible, but what hurts its sound score is the lack of control, and that static white noise could be heard all of the time.

sound monitor - unlike much of the sound competition, the dect scd730/86 sound...
Unlike much of the sound competition, the Dect SCD730/86 sound clarity and features are good with useful sound activation and mic sensitivity adjustment.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


Ease of use testing captures if monitors are intuitive or complicated, the simplicity of the setup and whether the features are helpful or complex. A product with an on/off button and volume control might be easy to use, but it might not be the pack leader if it doesn't provide anything to improve the user experience.


Most of the monitors were relatively easy to use, with the Vtech DM111 and the Hatch Rest+ sharing scores of 9. The DM111 is a straightforward monitor you plug in and go with few features to speak of. The Hatch+ requires an app and is more complex, but the app is user-friendly; we think it is a straightforward option if you are comfortable with smart devices and apps.

sound monitor - while the hatch rest + requires the use of an app, it is easy to...
While the Hatch Rest + requires the use of an app, it is easy to navigate for those familiar with smartphones and other apps.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Most of these monitors lack complex features and can be plugged in and used immediately. We think that given enough experience, parents can likely figure out how to use any of them. However, we think you should also consider caregivers who will need to use your monitor with a limited tutorial. The VTech DM111 is super easy to use and has no add-on features, making it a straightforward operation even grandparents can master.

sound monitor
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


You might think all you need is a product that sends sound from the nursery unit to a parent device. However, if the baby monitor can't connect to the parent device because it is too far away or there are too many walls between the units, it won't matter what information or sound it tries to send. While ranges, according to our test results, are usually better for audio products than other monitor types, it is still important that you consider the range and your home before buying a monitor. Most manufacturers include their open field range on the box, but they don't all report this number accurately compared to our test results. Few manufacturers report a potential indoor range for their products. While indoor range can be affected by several variables, from walls and floors to appliances, our tests can give you a general idea of the potential range you might expect or, more importantly, how each unit compares to the competition side-by-side. Choosing the option with the best test results compared to your potential home setup is a good start to ensure the monitor you buy will work in your home.


Larger homes might be better suited to audio monitors (unless you use WiFi), given that their average range (in our tests) is close to 90 ft and through 6 walls. The longest range for the dedicated sound products in this review is the Phillips Avent Dect SCD730/86 and the HelloBaby HB180, with a range of 170+ ft through 7 walls. The shortest span is the Vtech DM221, working up to 90 ft and five walls. Most of the award winners in this review average six walls and 95 ft for an indoor range. The Hatch Rest+ is Bluetooth enabled with communication between the unit and your smartphone. Ours worked for 169 ft and 8 walls of separation. Your at-home results will vary depending on your style of home and competing products.

sound monitor - this philips avent contains features useful for parents and babies...
This Philips Avent contains features useful for parents and babies, like sound activation and night light.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Features


Some of the products in this review have very few features and do little more than transmit sound from one device to another. You may be thinking, well, that's what these products are for; what else should they do? While we'd love it if they made breakfast or took out the trash, we aren't looking for features outside the realm of reality. We want attributes that help the monitors function better or make using them easier. Several monitors offer a sound activation feature, something we think is an essential feature that will help you get more coveted sleep. This feature keeps a parent device quiet when the baby is not making noise, so it doesn't transmit white noise, room sounds, or chronic static, which could keep light sleepers needlessly awake.


Another feature we like is two-way communication between devices. However, the lack of two-way is not a deal-breaker, and many parents find they don't use it. Some of the other features we consider are nightlights, lullabies, alerts, battery backup in the baby unit, rechargeable parent unit, and temperature sensors.

The Phillips Avent Dect SCD 730/86 earns the top score in this metric with 10 of 10. It has almost every feature parents want, including sound activation and two-way talk. These are the features that keep parents and babies happy. It also includes things like a ceiling projector, lullabies, and night light. The Vtech DM221 is hot on its heels with a 9 and useful sound activation that keeps it quiet when your little one is quiet. However, the Hatch Rest+ is a strong contender for the ultimate in control and added features. It has a sound machine, nightlight, time-to-rise clock, sound level indicator, remote access to features, and sleep mode. Unfortunately, it is missing sound activation and adjustable mic sensitivity, which we think are useful for keeping a monitor quiet when the baby is quiet, and, therefore, are a must-have.

The product with the lowest Features score is the VTech DM111 with a 3. Outside of the fundamental alerts for out-of-range and low battery, this monitor lacks features we feel make life easier or more enjoyable. It doesn't offer anything for sound control (beyond volume), and it lacks features for soothing. However, this product is inexpensive and has relatively good sound and an adequate range, making it a good option for parents who aren't concerned with features or have a limited budget.

sound monitor - the vtech dm111 doesn&#039;t offer many features, but it does have a...
The Vtech DM111 doesn't offer many features, but it does have a handy belt clip.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

While we don't think every feature is necessary, we believe that sound activation is critical and should be something parents look for. You will be glad you insisted on it when you are trying to fall asleep at night and your room is silent instead of filled with white noise, static, and strange sounds coming from the monitor. The other potential features are merely items of convenience. If you are a deep sleeper or enjoy white noise, the sound activation feature may be less critical, and a basic monitor like the VTech DM111 could save you money.

Electromagnetic Field Levels (EMF)


Will your cell phone give you brain cancer? What about your baby monitor's health impact on your newborn infant? Concerns over EMF exposure have increased as the number of products we use that emit EMF increases. Add to this that infants have sensitive developing systems that are more susceptible to the effects of EMF, and we believe it is something parents should consider when making a purchasing decision.

There is no doubt that short-term exposure to very high levels of electromagnetic fields can harm health. Current public concern focuses on possible long-term health effects caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields at levels below those required to trigger acute biological responses.
— WHO, Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)

The jury is still out on the risks of long-term exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields, such as those from WiFi devices, mobile phones, portable phones, and, yes, baby monitors.


Even though the jury is still out, we believe there is enough evidence to keep EMF in mind. We've measured the EMF levels of each monitoring device to learn whether some options produce significantly higher or lower levels of EMF than others. Our tests focus on the nursery unit (the listening unit you place in the baby's room) since our concern is primarily on the potential impact of EMF on the baby's health.

All of the monitors in this review emit some level of EMF. Most of them had average values under 1 V/m when tested at 6 feet from the baby device, but a few managed to exceed 1 V/m. Most of the values were below the levels we saw in our video products. In addition to having generally lower EMF values, the sound products can also sit further away from the baby, which should help limit exposure even further. It is good to know that the unit can be placed as far away from the baby as possible and still work well. These results make choosing a sound product better than video options if you are concerned about EMF.

The Hatch Rest+ has the lowest average level of EMF at 6 feet from the baby unit, with a reading of 0.43 V/m; the HelloBaby HB180 tested the same. The monitor with the highest EMF reading is the VTech DM221, with a disappointing value of 3.11 V/m! Given that many competitors in all monitor types are below 2, this feels extra high. No matter which product you decide to purchase, we suggest you move it at least 6 feet away from the baby's crib, and most sound monitors (unlike video or movement) will still work well from the other side of the room. Remember that EMF levels usually decline rapidly with distance, so by locating your monitor across the room, you dramatically reduce the EMF exposure to your baby. These precautions will help limit your baby's exposure to EMF, which we think is good.

Our EMF level measurements were not factored into our overall rating scores. The best current scientific data suggests that low-level EMF from sources like sound monitors does not represent a known health risk to humans.

sound monitor - the battery life of the vtech dm221 is longer than any other we...
The battery life of the Vtech DM221 is longer than any other we tested. You can go up to 46 hours between charging, though we recommend you have it plugged in whenever possible to save battery life for unforeseen moments when you might need it fully charged.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Battery Life


Battery life is mainly about the parent unit you carry to monitor your baby. The listening unit in the nursery typically plugs into the wall outlet. Parents usually rely on their parent unit most heavily overnight while plugged into a wall outlet near the nightstand. Batteries come into play during the daytime napping, so you can move around while keeping tabs on the baby.


We tested the battery life in the parent devices of these monitors. Only a few products offered battery backup capabilities in the baby units. It is important to understand that the batteries in the baby units are only a backup stopgap for power outages; they are not intended for extended use overnight. Also, not all parent devices are rechargeable. This lack of rechargeability means that you will frequently be changing batteries if you use them regularly without their AC adapters.

sound monitor - the hatch rest+ has a shorter battery life in this competition with...
The Hatch Rest+ has a shorter battery life in this competition with a 13-hour result in our tests, however, this is still long enough to last overnight if necessary.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The battery life range for the monitors in this review varied wildly from 13 hours for the Hatch Rest+ and VTech DM111 to 46 hours for the VTech DM221. These ranges mean that most devices can make it through the night without being plugged in. Given that all had a battery life of over 13 hours, with several over 20, there is ample time for napping, which is when you are most likely to use the parent unit unplugged.

sound monitor - the baby unit on the philips has aa battery backup for power...
The baby unit on the Philips has AA battery backup for power failures. This is not intended as an all-night solution.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The VTech DM221 once again stole the show for battery life, lasting up to 46 hours. It comes with rechargeable batteries, which is better than more extended battery life, and we prefer rechargeable batteries over disposable AA or AAA options. A couple of options have battery backups in the nursery unit in case the electricity goes out. These batteries are not intended for long-term use, but they can be an added benefit. The Phillips Avent Dect SCD 730/86 has a battery backup with disposable batteries in the nursery unit. While we'd prefer rechargeable batteries, we appreciate the effort of offering more.

sound monitor - we purchased and tested some of the most popular sound monitor...
We purchased and tested some of the most popular sound monitor options on the market in the last 8 years, including some seen here and other popular options we've added over time.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


Selecting the best audio monitor for your baby may not be as straightforward as you hope. Confusion can arise if you aren't sure what features you want or what kind of monitors are available. It can be even more challenging to determine why one is better with various features, functions, and prices. We think you can find the perfect device for your goals and budget if you focus on the test metrics and essential features. Our winners are suitable for most families, but we also include the pros and cons of each competitor we tested to help you find the best sound monitor for you.

Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Team


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