In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Best Video Monitors of 2019

Thursday August 15, 2019
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Are you looking for the best video baby monitor? We researched over 50 possible competitors before purchasing over 13 popular 2019 video monitors for extensive months-long testing. We put each video monitor through rigorous side-by-side tests to compare range, sound clarity, video quality, ease-of-use, battery life and more. Our comparison process and hands-on analysis are designed to determine which monitors can meet your needs and budget by narrowing the field and focusing on the details. The information we've learned will help you determine if a Wi-Fi unit or a dedicated monitor meets your needs best, and which features you'll find useful. Keep reading for the details you need to find the best monitor for your little one.


Top 13 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Value Award  
Price $299.00 List
$242.99 at Amazon - 19% off
$199.00 List
$154.49 at Amazon - 22% off
$188.00 List
$143.83 at Amazon - 23% off
$56.00 List
$37.99 at Amazon - 32% off
$300.00 List
$299.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Awesome images, face recognition, easy to use, lots of featuresInternet range, great images, versatile long term useWi-Fi range, lots of features, great images, easy to useWi-fi capable, budget-friendly, quality imagesEasy to use, good visuals, movement monitor potential
Cons Not baby specific, expensive, poor sound, some features require subscriptionNo internet / no monitor, disappointing soundSub par sound, higher price, internet dependantRequires internet, disappointing soundPricey, average sound, fewer features
Bottom Line Fancy wi-fi with impressive video but the price may not be worth it for baby monitoringReally cool camera with lots of uses and great video for simple baby monitoringCool wi-fi option with all the bells and whistles that is easy to useStraightforward, wi-fi capable camera with good images and an impressive priceExpensive camera with nice video, fewer features, and average sound clarity
Rating Categories Nest Cam IQ Indoor... Nest Cam Indoor... iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi Nanit Plus
Range (20%)
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Sound Clarity (20%)
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5
Video Quality (30%)
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Ease Of Use (15%)
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Battery Life (10%)
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Features (5%)
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Specs Nest Cam IQ Indoor... Nest Cam Indoor... iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi Nanit Plus
Communication Technology 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz (Optimized for 2.4GHz)
Indoor Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Open Field Range Test Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Manufacturer's Claimed Range (*buyer beware!) Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity Anywhere You Have Connectivity
Max Sound 86 db 86 db 82 db 85 db 90 db
Screen Size n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Max # of Cameras 10 Per Home with 3 Homes Per Nest App. Log In 10 Per Home with Unlimited Homes Not Listed (Unlimited?) Not Listed (Unlimited?) 5
Temperature No No Yes No Yes
Movement Detection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sound Activation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Talk-to-Baby Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pan/Tilt/ Zoom Zoom, Close-up tracking Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom Pan/Tilt/Zoom None
Battery Life n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
EMF @ 6 Feet from Camera 0.91 V/m 0.92 V/m 1.42 V/m 0.84 V/m 0.79 V/m
Warranty 2 Year 2 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year

Best Wi-Fi Baby Monitor


iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi


Editors' Choice Award
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$143.83
(23% off)
at Amazon
See It

83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range 10
  • Sound Clarity 4
  • Video Quality 9
  • Ease of Use 9
  • Battery life 10
  • Features 9
Wi-Fi Capable: Yes | Sound Activation: Yes
Great video quality
Lots of baby-centric features
Easy to use
Remote controlled camera
Inaccurate temperature sensor
Poor sound clarity

The iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi is an impressive Wi-Fi video monitor without equal in baby specific features. This monitor earned top scores for range, ease of use, features, and battery life with great results for video quality. The iBaby's impressive performance during testing and subsequent overall score resulted in it winning an Editors' Choice award for best Wi-Fi monitor. This monitor features humidity, temperature, and air quality sensors to help ensure that your baby stays cozy, and it comes with lullabies, bedtime stories, and white noise options. The iBaby is easy to use, has true to life images, and works as it should. It offers sound activation, motion detection, 2-way talk to baby, and a remote control camera. The iBaby will continue to monitor baby even with another app running, something many other Wi-Fi options struggle with.

iBaby M6S Wi-Fi
If you are looking for a baby centered camera that is slightly less expensive than the M7, the M6S is very similar and easier on the wallet. A previous award winner, this model is still available and the differences in features are ones you likely won't miss.

This camera is more expensive than some competitors making it a potential no-go if your budget is small. It also requires the Internet, and if you have slow or sub-par service, you won't be able to use it. However, if you have the money and want to see your little one with lots of cool, useful baby-centric features, it is hard, no, impossible, to find something more suitable than the iBaby.

Read review: iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi

Best Dedicated Monitor


Philips Avent SCD630


Philips Avent SCD630
Editors' Choice Award
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$155.47
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range 9
  • Sound Clarity 8
  • Video Quality 5
  • Ease of Use 8
  • Battery life 5
  • Features 4
Wi-Fi Capable: No | Sound Activation: Yes
Best range for a dedicated monitor
Quick setup
Best sound
Higher price
Manual camera adjustment
Shorter battery life

The Philips Avent SCD630 is a top-ranked dedicated monitor in this review. It has the longest range and highest ease of use scores for the dedicated options, and it features the best sound clarity out of all the monitors we tested. The Philips comes with lullabies, a nightlight, 2-way talk to baby, automatic screen wakeup/sleep, sound activation, 2x zoom, and a temperature sensor.

This monitor struggles to offer true to life images and has fewer features than much of the competition, but it is hard to deny that this plug and play monitor is a simple solution for video monitoring, and it gets the job done with little fuss and only a small learning curve. It also costs a little more than some of the competition, as several dedicated and Wi-Fi options have lower price tags. Also, if you want a remote-controlled camera, you should look elsewhere, as this one is manual with a smaller field of view. However, if you don't want Wi-Fi but need a quality video option, it is hard to do better than the Philips.

Read review: Philips Avent SCD630

Budget-Friendly Wi-Fi


LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi


Best Value Award
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$37.99
(32% off)
at Amazon
See It

81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range 10
  • Sound Clarity 4
  • Video Quality 10
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Battery life 10
  • Features 8
Wi-Fi Capable: Yes | Sound Activation: Yes
Nice video quality
Remote controlled camera
Inexpensive
Slight varying lag time
Poor sound clarity

The LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi is an impressive little Wi-Fi monitor with high scores for range and battery life, true to life video, and enough features to get the job done. This monitor earned a Best Value for Wi-Fi monitors for its budget-friendly list price that is the least expensive in the group; which means you get a top-performing monitor, for an amazingly reasonable price. The LeFun has motion detection, sound activation, 2-way talk to baby, zoom, and a remote-controlled camera with real pan and tilt capabilities, something we didn't find in the other Wi-Fi competitors.

This camera has a lag time when using the pan and tilt feature, and it is a little harder to use than the other Wi-Fi options we tested. It also requires a reliable Internet service in your home. However, given the low price, we think most parents will forgive these minor hiccups thanks to the impressive video images and cost most budgets can afford.

Read review: LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi

Great for Long-term Use


Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi


Top Pick Award
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$154.49
(22% off)
at Amazon
See It

84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range 10
  • Sound Clarity 4
  • Video Quality 10
  • Ease of Use 8
  • Battery life 10
  • Features 8
Wi-Fi Capable: Yes | Sound Activation: Yes
True to life video
Easy to use
Features work well
Manual camera
Poor sound

The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi has a similar score and overall rank as the iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi. This monitor has impressive video images, Wi-Fi range, and is easy to use with enough features to keep most parents happy. Its impressive performance and security features help it win the Top Pick award for Long-term Use. The Nest Indoor is a cool surveillance camera you can use to watch your baby, but given that the design isn't specific to baby monitoring, it lacks some of the fun features parents may want like lullabies and a nightlight. However, it does offer motion detection, sound activation, 2-way talk, and 8x digital zoom with a large field of view that can easily encompass a baby's entire crib.

The Nest Cam camera does not have a remote control camera, relying instead on its large field of view you zoom into and then search. The downside to the Nest is it doesn't continue to monitor if you use another app or take a phone call making it hard to use full-time if you don't have a second device outside of your main smartphone. The Nest Cam is also expensive (though not the most expensive in the review), and it is cheaper than some of the dedicated monitors. It also requires a good Internet connection and reliable service. On the upside, its long-term capabilities make it an investment we think parents will use for years to come as a nanny cam, home security feature, or checking in on pets, thereby, potentially justifying the higher cost giving you a high-quality video monitor you'll use long after the crib years.

Read review: Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi

Runner Up for Long-term Use


Arlo Baby


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$126.34
(37% off)
at Amazon
See It

81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Range 10
  • Sound Clarity 5
  • Video Quality 8
  • Ease of Use 8
  • Battery life 10
  • Features 9
Wi-Fi Capable: Yes | Sound Activation: Yes
Life-like video
Easy to use
Useful Features
Manual camera adjustment
Not baby-centric

The Arlo Baby is a high-quality baby monitor with potential long term use, especially if you already own other Arlo products as they use the same app. We like the video images of this unit and it has better sound clarity than much of the Wi-Fi competition. The Arlo comes with features parents want like temperature and air quality sensors, and motion detection, sound activation, and 2-way talk to baby.

The Arlo has a higher price than much of the Wi-Fi options that are not also movement monitors. And, it requires a reliable Internet connection to work properly. The Arlo price could be justified if you plan to use your Wi-Fi monitor as a nanny cam or security camera when baby outgrows the need. Also, the camera is not remote controlled but only one Wi-Fi option in this review is. Overall, the Arlo is a user-friendly camera with a variety of useful features and video quality parents will love.

Read review: Arlo Baby


We tested both Wi-Fi 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.
We tested both Wi-Fi 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.

Why You Should Trust Us


Our expert group of monitor testers is overseen by BabyGearLab founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, Board Certified Pediatrician and mother of two. Dr. Spurrier uses her vast experience and education as a pediatrician, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and her personal journey as a mother to choose products for testing including video monitors. The testing team includes Bob Wofford, father of 5 and lead in-house product tester who has been an integral part of testing development and execution for video monitor since 2014. He is joined by Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, who has been reviewing and researching video monitors professionally since 2014 and is the mother of two. Bob and Wendy have reviewed over 20 video monitor since 2014, and well over 50 baby monitors including video, sound, and movement, during that time.

Our testing took place in the BabyGearLab in-house lab and personal homes with little ones to watch. The monitor reviews draw on over 3 months of research and data compiling information on how well the monitors work and how easy they were to use and how well they stayed "connected." We used each monitor from setup through endless features to determine which had the best features, quality sound and video, ease of use, longest range, and most reliable connection.

Related: How We Tested Video Monitors

The decibel level for the sound relayed from the Arlo was tested for comparison to the competition.
The Nanit EMF reading is relatively low for a monitor of its kind compared to similar products.

Analysis and Test Results


We tested and compared 13 of the most popular video monitors side-by-side using comprehensive tests over several months. Our tests provide the information you need to make an informed decision about which product is right for your family. Testing metrics include range, video quality, sound clarity, ease of use, features, and EMF emissions.

Related: Buying Advice for Video Monitors

What Would We Do?
If you want to know the straight scoop on what we would do or what we'd recommend to a friend based on our years of experience, you can skip to that section and possibly save yourself some time. Spoiler Alert: it may not be what you think.


Value


Now more than ever, there are cool video monitoring options that provide quality images without a high price tag. With a variety of available options, including Wi-Fi cameras, there is something for every family and budget in this lineup. Arguably, one of the most impressive choices is the Wi-Fi Lefun 1080p with the lowest price in the group. This monitor is a cool Wi-Fi option with impressive images and a straightforward user-interface. The LeFun is great for families on a budget with larger homes or more than four walls between the nursery and the parent's bedroom. While it has a slight delay, it isn't enough to impact useful baby monitoring, and the lack of features is something we think most parents can accept given the reasonable price and user-friendly design. Even the Editors' Choice winner, the Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi can be considered a good value at almost 3 times the price of the LeFun because theoretically, you can easily use it for years to come as a nanny cam, family cam, or security camera.

The Philips Avent SCD630 has the longest range in the review for dedicated monitors. This monitor managed to keep a clear signal with consistent connection between 5 walls at 92 ft. This makes it potentially the only possible dedicated monitor for larger homes.
The Philips Avent SCD630 has the longest range in the review for dedicated monitors. This monitor managed to keep a clear signal with consistent connection between 5 walls at 92 ft. This makes it potentially the only possible dedicated monitor for larger homes.

Range


The range for video monitors is the distance and the number of walls between the nursery unit and the parent unit where the product stays connected and working without interruption or interference. While most manufacturers offer a "line of sight" range to describe their monitors, this distance is not a good indication of how well it will work inside your home where walls and interference abound. It doesn't matter how much you want a certain model or brand, if it won't stay connected in your house it simply isn't going to work.

We tested for indoor range and open field tests to provide the most complete picture using the same measuring devices in the same field and house with the same walls and interference. Remember that the values inside your home are more important than those in an open field unless of course, you are leaving a baby alone in an open field (which we don't recommend).


Larger homes with more than 4 or 5 walls between the camera and parent unit might be limited to a Wi-Fi monitor. Most of the dedicated monitors only work through up to 4 walls, except for the Project Nursery 4.3 that stopped working at 3. The Philips Avent SCD630 has the most extended range for dedicated monitors in this review, with an impressive 92 ft through 5 walls, so if your needs are higher than that, then none of the dedicated monitors we tested are likely to work in your situation. Wi-Fi connected cameras, on the other hand, are limited only by the wireless router location/power in relation to the camera and parent unit, and the strength and speed of your Wi-Fi connection. If necessary, you can often move routers or add range extenders to increase the range between the components if the Wi-Fi monitor struggles to keep a clear or consistent connection. Purchasing a monitor from a retailer with a simple return policy (like Amazon) will allow you to test the monitor in your house to determine how well it works without the risk.

Test Now
We recommend you test your monitor the day you get it; waiting could result in missing a return window. Even if your little one hasn't arrived yet, you should set up the monitor as it will be used and work with a partner or a radio to determine if the connection and features work the way you hope.

Whether viewing on a large or small screen  the iBaby camera offers nice quality video with easy to see images and details that stand apart from the majority of monitors we tested. The  images are so good  it might be hard to stop watching!
Whether viewing on a large or small screen, the iBaby camera offers nice quality video with easy to see images and details that stand apart from the majority of monitors we tested. The images are so good, it might be hard to stop watching!

Audio and Visual Quality


Monitors should provide video that is clear and true to life, and they should also have quality sound that is easy to hear and clear enough for you to quickly decide if you need to look at the viewing screen, go back to sleep, or get running to the nursery. So, while you might consider video quality to be the most important metric, we rated both video and sound equally because without one, the other doesn't much matter. If it has muffled sound, is difficult to decipher, or not loud enough, then parents might miss baby's cries and never look at the video. If the sound activation or thresholds for background noise don't work as described, then parents might lose sleep listening to a loud monitor. Then, once alerted by the sound, you need a clear view of the baby with enough details to determine the baby's needs or the video monitoring device isn't much better than a sound monitor.

Most of the monitors we tested have average sound clarity that isn't too muffled or muted. Most had bright and high sound without a lot of mid-range or lower tones. This lack of tonal range isn't a deal-breaker, but it does make baby's cries harsher than they already are.


The best monitor for sound in our tests is the Philips Avent SCD630, with a score of 8 of 10. This monitor has the best sound activation and background cancellation features in the group, and while the sound is bright, it is also clear without an echo or static. Most of the competition earned 4s and 5s for sound. It seems that no matter how great your parent device is, the Wi-Fi cameras struggle to transmit clear sound with useful sound features. The best sound score for Wi-Fi monitors is 5 earned by the Arlo Baby, Nanit Plus, and the Miku.

The Nest Cam Wi-Fi has the largest field of view  but it does not offer remote control over the camera  so there is no way to see past the edges of the initial image.
The daytime images of the Infant Optics DXR-8 are average compared to the competition  with better detail in baby's face  but no discernible letters on the eye chart.

These photos show daytime images for the Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi (above left), which earned a perfect 10 of 10 for video quality, and the Infant Optics DXR-8 (above right), which earned the highest score for video in the dedicated monitors.

Video quality is a metric these products should all perform well in, but most of them failed to offer a true to life image even in the daytime. Given advancements in technology, it is disappointing that most dedicated video products aren't doing more than providing a blurry image of the baby in the room, and many fail to show the baby's features or what the human eye would see in the room. The night vision is even worse than their day vision video, with some images being so blurry and hard to decipher that parents may end up going to baby's room simply because their baby has no face or it looks like a small demon is in the crib.


Only the Wi-Fi cameras offer video images that reflect the room accurately with the Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi, Nest Cam IQ and the Lefun 1080p Wi-Fi earning perfect 10s of 10. The iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi earned an impressive 9 matching the previous iBaby option in this review, the iBaby MS6 Wi-Fi. All of these monitors offer nice images with enough detail to let you see baby breathe, which is far better than a baby with no face.

The Lefun night vision images are crisp and clear with a full lighted view of baby's crib and the ability to zoom in for an even closer look means you won't miss a thing.
The Motorola MBP36S night images are more disappointing than the day images  with a spotlight type focus and images so blurry they look out of focus. Should baby scoot out of circle of "light" you will need to use the pan and tilt features to seem him or her.

The LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi (above left) has a top score for video quality and impressive night images, while the Motorola MBP36S (above right) has the most disappointing night video.

The Infant Optics DXR-8 earned the highest video quality score for the dedicated monitors. The color in the video is similar to real life  but the images are on the fuzzy side and not as clear as those from the Wi-Fi products.
The Infant Optics DXR-8 earned the highest video quality score for the dedicated monitors. The color in the video is similar to real life, but the images are on the fuzzy side and not as clear as those from the Wi-Fi products.

The high for dedicated monitors is only 6 earned by both the Infant Optics DXR-8 and the Summer Infant Baby Pixel. These monitors have images that are darker than the actual room and somewhat fuzzy, but they are nicer than the rest of the dedicated competition and definitely provide more information to sleepy parents.

Ease of Use


Ease of use may not seem like a big deal because once you know how to use something, it won't seem that hard, and after you use it for a while, it can feel intuitive even if it isn't. However, with this type of product, there can be a learning curve depending on what kind you choose and how many features it has. While the dedicated monitors were plug in and go options that even grandma can manage, some of them took a little more skill to navigate and learn. The Wi-Fi options, on the other hand, do require some knowledge of technology and the way apps work. With all of them, you will need to set up the camera with your computer or another device, and you will need to set up an account and be able to manage things like Wi-Fi passwords and various settings inside the application. While this may seem like no big deal to some parents, it could be challenging for those that are less tech-savvy.


If you struggle with technology and don't need or want to see your baby from any other location besides your home, you might want to stick with the dedicated monitors that require little setup and have relatively intuitive user interfaces. We aren't saying that most people can't sort out the Wi-Fi monitors, but it is undeniably less work to plug the camera into an outlet and go than it is to download and sign up for a software application.

Most of the commonly used buttons are on the face of the Philips Avent SCD630 parent unit  making it easy to use  even in the middle of the night while sleepy.
Most of the commonly used buttons are on the face of the Philips Avent SCD630 parent unit, making it easy to use, even in the middle of the night while sleepy.

The Philips Avent SCD630 is the easiest to use dedicated option with a score of 8 of 10. This monitor is a "plug and play" that pairs the camera and parent unit by itself. The parent unit has very few buttons, with the most frequently used buttons are on the face of the unit. The menu options are relatively intuitive with not much chance of taking a wrong turn or getting buried in a file menu system with no way out. The menu could be easier to use, but we think most parents will stick to the buttons on the front of the unit after a few weeks of regular use.

The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-fi setup and daily use features are easy to use compared to most of the competition  and the user interface is one many parents will feel comfortable with right away.
The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-fi setup and daily use features are easy to use compared to most of the competition, and the user interface is one many parents will feel comfortable with right away.

The iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi and the Nest Cam IQ are the easiest Wi-Fi monitors to set up and use with scores of 9 of 10. The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi and the Arlo Baby cameras are hot on their heels with 8s. All options walk users through the setup process step-by-step and have intuitive menus that will seem familiar to even the most novice user who is familiar with a smartphone. They all come with a quick start guide that will have you up and watching your baby in no time.

The Infant Optics plugs in and has a charged battery life of about 11.5 hours.
The Infant Optics plugs in and has a charged battery life of about 11.5 hours.

Battery Life


Testing battery life for all of the monitors was for the parent device only. While some of the dedicated options have a battery in the camera in the event of a power outage, most do not, and they are not intended for all-night use on batteries. So while we would support a cordless camera for monitoring a baby, to avoid safety concerns with babies and strangulation hazards, none of the products in our review offer this.


For the parent devices of dedicated monitors, the battery life ranged anywhere between 6.75 and 11.5 hours. The Wi-Fi options are harder to gauge given that the battery life depends on the kind of parent device you use, whether or not it is being used for other applications simultaneously, and how old the battery is in the device. In general, however, we feel it is relatively safe to say that most will work longer than the best-dedicated monitor battery if the device is only being used for the Wi-Fi camera and is not running other applications simultaneously.

The Infant Optics DXR-8 has the longest battery life with a runtime close to 11.5 hours. The Motorola MBP36S earned the lowest score for battery life with a runtime just under 7 hours. While not necessarily a deal-breaker, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike the Motorola MBP36S, and the battery life is just a small part of a disappointing overall picture (no pun intended).

The Arlo Baby is the only monitor in the group with a battery in the camera designed for long term use disconnected from a plug. While this could be nice for travel, etc. You will still need a Wi-Fi connection so it may not be as useful as it seems.

The iBaby has a user-friendly menu with intuitive icons that feel familiar even though they aren't.
The iBaby has a user-friendly menu with intuitive icons that feel familiar even though they aren't.

Features


All of the products we tested have features for convenience and function, but some also offer features for fun or additional information. All have night vision with sensors for automatic adjustment with light changes, and all offer 2-way communication with baby through the camera. Some of them come with lullabies, and others have nifty temperature and humidity sensors. Overall, whatever you might be looking for, or never knew existed but now want, can probably be found in these products.

Thanks to the use of Wi-Fi technology  the M7 range is as good as the internet connection in your home and on your parent device.
Thanks to the use of Wi-Fi technology, the M7 range is as good as the internet connection in your home and on your parent device.

The features we focus on are those we believe increase the performance of the monitor or make it more user-friendly for parents and increase the odds of getting good quality sleep. We like monitors with sound activation that keeps the parent unit quiet when the baby isn't crying, so parents can potentially fall asleep faster because they don't have to listen to white noise. Some of the monitors are so loud, even at low volumes, that the white noise might keep light sleeping parents awake; this defeats the purpose of having a video product. We also like models with screens that automatically "wake" and go to sleep.


The iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi earned a 9 of 10 for features in our tests. This monitor offers features that increase convenience for parents and things that are fun for baby. For parents, this camera works on any iOS device, can be accessed from anywhere with internet or cell phone reception (with a data plan), will work with multiple cameras, and has sound activation. The user interface is intuitive for experienced iOS users, and the zoom/pan/tilt features work well. This monitor features a true remote-controlled camera with the widest field of view range in the group, motion detection, sound activation, and it has built-in remote-controlled lullabies that include the ability to add your music of choice or your recorded voice. The iBaby M7 also monitors the temperature, humidity, and air quality of the baby's room so parents can ensure baby is cozy. If all of that isn't enough, the app will remain running when using other apps, and when parents turn the device's screen off. Possibly the only things lacking are an automatic screen wake and sleep, which we think isn't that big of a deal.

The Arlo Baby also earns a 9 with similar features to the iBaby but without the ability to remotely move the camera. Features include lullabies, night lights, cord free camera, air sensors and two-way talk to baby.

The Nest Cam has 2 way talk to baby on the main viewing screen and other features can be easily found within the menu in just a few clicks.
The Nest Cam has 2 way talk to baby on the main viewing screen and other features can be easily found within the menu in just a few clicks.

The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi, Nest Cam IQ, and the LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi came in a close second to the iBaby Care M7 Wi-Fi for features, each scoring an 8 of 10. Because these cameras are designed more with surveillance in mind and are not solely about a baby, they have several features that make parents lives easier, but not anything fancy and fun for baby. They do offer 2-way communication, but no lullabies or environmental sensors. Given that many parents already have "noise makers" (aka lullabies) covered by way of another product, the lack of this feature isn't a deal-breaker in our book. So while these Wi-Fi cameras lack the gadgetry fun of humidity sensing and the other bells of the iBaby M7 Wi-Fi and Arlo Baby, they still get the job of monitoring done in a way that is easy for parents to use. The bonus of the Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi camera is that it can be used for multiple applications when baby gets older and no longer needs an overnight monitor. This monitor can easily shift for use as a nanny cam, security, or pet camera. We think this takes the sting (if there is some) out of its lack of baby fun features, which in the end, most parents usually stop using when the novelty wears off.

The menu options on the Infant Optics DXR-8 are intuitive and few require more than one click; this is where you find most of the features of the monitor including pan  tilt  and zoom. This monitor earned the highest score for the features metric out of the dedicated monitors.
The menu options on the Infant Optics DXR-8 are intuitive and few require more than one click; this is where you find most of the features of the monitor including pan, tilt, and zoom. This monitor earned the highest score for the features metric out of the dedicated monitors.

The dedicated monitors did not score as well as the Wi-Fi products for features. It isn't that they don't have features, it's just that they don't offer as many, don't have features that make the camera easier to use or the features they have don't work that well. All of the dedicated monitors have 2-way communication, but they all also can only be viewed on the parent device that comes with the monitor. Some offer temperature sensors and lullabies, but most of them don't provide motion detection or a great zoom. The highest score for features for the traditional video products was 5 of 10. Two monitors managed to earn the 5 rating, with the Infant Optics DXR-8 being the highest ranked overall with a feature score of 5. However, this monitor did not score well overall, or in key metrics we think are essential for a good video monitor. So despite having a high score for features, we still would not recommend this monitor to a friend.

The Philips Avent SCD630 video monitor has some features like temperature sensor  lullabies  two way talk  and a nightlight  and most are accessible inside the on screen menu.
The Philips Avent SCD630 video monitor has some features like temperature sensor, lullabies, two way talk, and a nightlight, and most are accessible inside the on screen menu.

Features are important, but we encourage you to consider which features you think you will realistically use and which sound like fun in theory, but probably won't happen regularly in practice. Many of the monitors carry a higher price tag and justify the price with the addition of features parents are unlikely to use in real life. Features like alarm clocks for feeding schedules, and alerts for low humidity might feel like something you should consider, but in practice, sound activation and quality images are more useful. In fact, more features often translate to being more difficult to use, and many of the features are novelty functions that most parents stop using over time. An excellent example of this is the Philips Avent SCD630 with an ease of use score of 8, but a features score of only 4. Try not to fall for the propaganda of bells and whistles that you might only use for the first few weeks. In the end, what you want is a good monitor with great sound and video quality.

The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi has alert and notification options as part of the menu of options. These features are NOT designed for proper baby monitoring and should not be used to keep a watchful eye on baby at any time  as the messages can arrive after the fact by 30 minutes or more.
The Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi has alert and notification options as part of the menu of options. These features are NOT designed for proper baby monitoring and should not be used to keep a watchful eye on baby at any time, as the messages can arrive after the fact by 30 minutes or more.

Sound Activation Vs. Notifications and Alerts


Sound activation is a feature we think parents should seriously consider. This feature creates a quiet monitor unless the baby is actively making noise and translates to parents potentially getting more sleep because they aren't kept awake by ambient noises. Having sound activation means you only hear what you want to. This feature is available in dedicated and Wi-Fi monitors.

Notifications and alerts work by sending a message or email to your device when motion or sound has occurred. This feature is only found in the Wi-Fi monitors, and isn't the best feature for the baby because it comes after the fact (sometimes up to 30 min or more after), it does not offer details of the type of sound or motion detected and could get annoying with receiving useless and excessive messages. In the end, we prefer sound activation over notifications and feel that alerts and notifications aren't all that useful for keeping tabs on your baby.

The LeFun can be connected using an ethernet cable which can decrease the EMF it emits. Always use caution when using any item with cords in a nursery that they are well out of baby's reach.
The LeFun can be connected using an ethernet cable which can decrease the EMF it emits. Always use caution when using any item with cords in a nursery that they are well out of baby's reach.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels


Electromagnetic fields (EMF), or dirty electricity, is something we think needs to be discussed when talking about wireless baby monitors. Given that all wireless devices give off some level of EMF, we feel it would be negligent not to discuss the potential for possible health risks associated with the kind of radiation emitted by wireless products. While the jury is still out, and studies are not conclusive yet, there is enough evidence that EMF potentially causes health problems that we feel it is better to be cautious when it comes to children's exposure than to ignore the possibilities.


Wireless devices and dirty electricity are almost impossible to escape from in this current technological age, but this doesn't mean we can't take steps to limit exposure to ourselves and our children. Even though the current evidence is somewhat conflicting, we think parents should make informed and thoughtful decisions regarding their children's exposure to potential health risks, especially given that their bodies are developing and more susceptible to this kind of radiation. We can't say for sure that monitors pose a health risk, but we also don't know for sure that they don't. Given this, we feel it is essential to test and report on the EMF levels of each monitor so parents can decide which product fits in best with their goals and concerns.

The camera with the Infant Optics DXR-8 has the lowest EMF reading out of all the dedicated monitors we tested.
The camera with the Infant Optics DXR-8 has the lowest EMF reading out of all the dedicated monitors we tested.

The Wi-Fi monitors all have lower EMF readings than the dedicated options with the lowest average EMF readings being 0.75 V/m for the Arlo Baby, the Miku with 0.77 V/m, 0.79 V/m for the Nanit Plus, and 0.84 for the LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi with the reader 6 ft from the camera. The lowest average value for the dedicated monitors at 6 ft is 1.89 for the Infant Optics DXR-8 and 1.91 for the Philips Avent SCD630.
The Arlo EMF is the very low relative to the competition in this review making it a good choice for parents concerned with EMF exposure.
The Arlo EMF is the very low relative to the competition in this review making it a good choice for parents concerned with EMF exposure.

The baby's exposure could potentially be even lower if you place the camera on a wall at least 15 feet from the baby (a distance still good for night vision with most monitors). Given the sensitivity of a baby's developing systems, we recommend placing the monitor as far away from your baby as possible while still being able to utilize the night vision as intended and to see baby's face at a glance. For most of the products, this distance is between 10-15 feet from the baby.

Safer Practices
While the jury is out on the effects of EMF on the human body, this doesn't mean you need to wait for more definitive proof before making thoughtful adjustments that err on the side of caution. Given that EMF exposure compounds over time and with an increased number of devices emitting, you can help limit your baby's exposure by:
  • turning devices off when not in use
  • unplugging wireless routers at night while children sleep (not possible with Wi-Fi monitors)
  • keeping products as far from your baby as possible when in use

Even if you are not convinced of the potential for harm, it certainly can't hurt to make choices that can potentially increase the health of your home and we encourage all parents to do so.

What Would We Do


We recommend you consider a hybrid solution, combining a Wi-Fi video monitor with a top-rated sound monitor.

Why would we suggest getting two baby monitors? Isn't that redundant?


The primary motivation for buying a baby monitor is to help you get some much-needed sleep while the baby is sleeping. It is the sound of your baby crying that alerts you to the need to check in on the baby. But none of the Wi-Fi video monitors have nearly as clear sound or the advanced sound filtering features that are readily available on top sound monitors. These advanced sound reception features can help parents get better sleep. So, if you use a top sound monitor as your main baby monitoring device, you'll find its sound activation feature will allow it to stay quiet when you and the baby are sleeping (which is more important than you think), yet it activates and relays clear sound when you need it.

The Wi-Fi video monitor's role comes in once you hear the baby is crying. The sound monitor alerts you to an issue, and you can use the video monitor to peek into the baby's room and see what's going on. And, of course, the Wi-Fi monitor will also let you check in from work, or when a Nanny is watching the baby — which is the feature we most love about Wi-Fi video monitors.

Now, you could just rely on the video monitor's sound capability, but none of the Wi-Fi monitors are nearly as good when it comes to sound. As a general rule, the Wi-Fi video monitors always put out some background noise (think static white noise), which can impact your sleeping, and the sound they relay from the baby's room is not clear.

If you buy a sound option like the inexpensive Vtech DM221 or the Philips Avent DECT SCD570/10, then you get the sound quality and features you want to get the shut-eye you need. If you pair them with a video product like the Nest Cam Indoor Wi-Fi or the budget-friendly LeFun 1080p Wi-Fi, then you have a combo that sounds great and provides visuals should you need it. The Wi-Fi monitor will allow you to watch your baby from work or check on the nanny, which is a great capability to have. And, the sound monitor will ensure you have quality sound to wake you from a deep sleep.

We feel this combination of Wi-Fi video and traditional sound baby monitoring is a win-win and one you can achieve for a reasonable price on par with or cheaper than some of the fancier video options.


Conclusion


Video products for monitoring babies is a growing industry, and it feels like every company is jumping on the bandwagon and throwing something into the already overflowing market of monitors. This plethora of products can make sorting challenging and attempts to narrow the field daunting. Luckily, we've done the legwork for you by doing an initial review of the top-ranked products and choosing 13 of the most popular options to test and compare. After months of hands-on testing, we feel confident that no matter what you are looking for in a video monitoring product, that you can find it in one of our award winners or other products in this review.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz