A baby monitor offers peace of mind knowing that your baby is safe and secure in the nursery while you are free to move around the house. The device works simple enough, a basic baby monitor picks up sound in the nursery, alerting parents of potential danger while the baby is asleep.

Video and motion baby monitors come with a display and sensors that offer more protection for infants. Almost all electronic brands have their own baby monitor line and it’s hard to choose just one! If you are hunting for baby monitors, check out this in-depth buying guide to make the best choice for you:

Image used under Creative Commons from Quinn Dombrowski

Baby Monitors by Types

Back in the day, baby monitors came only in two types: audio and audio/video baby monitor. All baby monitors work within a selected radio frequency and the overall quality will vary from brand to brand. We’ve outlined all types of baby monitor types that are available on the market:

Audio Baby Monitor
Basic baby monitors with stripped down features typically belong to this category. The device is able to pick up audible sounds in the nursery and an alert light goes on and off to warn parents of potential danger. Because audio baby monitors offer basic features, they are the most affordable of all baby monitor types.

Analog Baby Monitors
An analog baby monitor is similar to an audio baby monitor. The only difference is that the signal that an analog baby monitor generates is not encrypted. The features are also pared down so these devices are affordable too.

Digital Baby Monitors
These devices are a step up from the traditional analog baby monitor. A digital baby monitor is able to encode the signal as it travels from the monitor to the receiver, making it virtually impossible to hack. The added features translate to added prices so digital baby monitors aren’t as affordable as basic analog ones.

Video/Audio Baby Monitors
This is an advanced baby monitor that does more than pick audible sounds in the nursery. It also comes with a color or black and white display, transmitting images and videos for parents to see. The monitor can be mounted on the wall or placed on a tabletop. The receiver is portable, it can be clipped to the belt so you can always check on your baby wherever you are in the home.

Wi-Fi Enabled Baby Monitors
As the name implies, a Wi-Fi enabled baby monitor is able to connect to a home’s wireless network to stream videos of the baby in real time. These baby monitors can be hooked to a computer or a mobile device to stream encrypted videos or plugged into an electrical outlet. The only caveat is that some brands will charge for the video feed.

Features to Consider

With so many wireless devices in the home potentially causing interference, it’s important to make sure your baby monitor transmits sounds and images clearly. Here are some features to consider:

Frequency Band
To reiterate, baby monitors use specific frequency to deliver sound. If you don’t use the frequency band that suit the baby monitor, the device won’t work. Most manufacturers use1.9-GHz frequency band. The Federal Communications Commission or FCC reserved this frequency exclusively for voice-only applications. Do keep in mind that the closer your baby monitor is to another receiver (such as a cordless phone), the higher the chances of static or interference.

Batteries
Should you get a baby monitor with a rechargeable battery or an electrically powered device? The choice will depend on your needs. Whichever type of baby monitors you get, just make sure the device is made by a trusted brand and the construction is safe.

Screen
Video/audio baby monitors are great because you get to watch your baby on the screen in case the alert goes off. Affordable video/audio baby monitors feature low resolution screens and a smaller display. The more expensive ones are either equipped with foscam camera while others feature high resolution LCD video screen.

Image used under Creative Commons from Tom Page

Single or Multi-room Monitor?
A single room baby monitor has one parent unit while a multi-room monitor features two parent units. You can take one with you and leave the other near your bed for added convenience. A single room baby monitor is best for small homes, condos or apartments but for larger homes, opting for multi-room monitor makes baby watching so much easier. Here are some of the best multi-room baby monitors we love. A great alternative to multi-room baby monitors are monitors with two transmitters. These devices can be used to track two or more rooms at the same time. Perfect for larger homes or families with two small children.

Range
If you are always out and about but you want to keep an eye on your baby at the same time, then consider the range that your baby monitor can cover.

Short-range baby monitor are able to pick up audible sound within the home but once the receiver is out of range, it won’t be able to pick up sound. Sometimes, construction materials, the size of the home and other factors can limit the range of standard baby monitors. This means the monitor should be near the receiver at all times to work properly.

Long-range baby monitors, on the other hand, offer better coverage so even if you take the receiver outside, you can still monitor the baby in the nursery. Looking for a high-quality long range baby monitor? Here are our recommendations.

Motion and Sound Sensors
Some baby monitors come with an assortment of motion and sound sensors so they can filter out “normal sounds” and motions to alert parents of unusual activities in the nursery. Advanced versions of these devices come with baby breathing monitors too. These devices are able to pick up the subtle sound of the baby breathing, ensuring that the sleeping child is safe at all times.

Sound and Lights
For deaf parents, choose a baby monitor that comes with vibrators and lights that go on and off when it picks up potentially dangerous sounds or when the baby cries. Some baby monitors are made specifically for deaf parents. These devices offer visual alerts even at the slightest sound of the baby crying.

Final Thoughts

A baby monitor is no doubt, an essential device for new and experienced parents alike. These devices come in an array of designs but ultimately, your choice should be down to the quality and the features of the baby monitor. We hope that this review helped you make the best decision for you and your baby!