While you may wish that you could spend all day staring at your precious bundle of joy, every parent needs to step away from time to time to cook dinner, use the restroom, or lay their little one down for a nap. During these moments away from your baby, a baby monitor allows you to listen in, ensuring that your child is safe and sound without you standing right there. Baby monitors typically come with a “child unit” that sits in the room with the baby to capture and broadcast the baby’s actions and one or two “parent units” that play the audio received from the child unit. While there are a wide variety of baby monitors with extra features, such as video, music, and more, these options can get expensive quickly. Many families find that an audio only baby monitor fits their needs quite well and are available at a lower price point. This guide will explore the features and review of some of the most popular models so that you can select the best audio baby monitor for your family.
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Most important facts about baby audio monitors
First off, sound monitors allow you to hear what’s going on in the nursery while being in another room, or even outside of the house. That’s a pretty critical feature for a lot of young parents who tend to constantly check on their little ones. Instead of going to the nursery, you can simply keep the parent unit from a chosen baby monitor somewhere near you, and you’ll always know what’s going on in your baby’s bedroom.
Of course hearing your child is great, but quite a lot of parents prefer to be able to see them as well, just to quickly check if everything is alright. That’s why video monitors are so popular. If you’re fine without having a live video feed from the nursery, great – an audio baby monitor is right for you.
When it comes to buying baby monitors, there are few things you should always think about. The first one is how the device is powered. Probably the best option is choosing a battery powered device with rechargeable batteries. Even better when the device comes with a charging base for the parent unit, so you can carry the unit around and when the battery is low, recharge it using the charging base. Nursery units are almost always built to stay in one place, so they have a builtin AC/DC adapter that powers the device. Batteries are preferred because they enable the device to work even when the power is out (for a limited amount of time of course). Takeaway – the longer the battery life, the better.
Every manufacturers informs what’s the maximum range of the device. Of course the range is noticeably shorter in a house than in an environment without any obstacles, so you shouldn’t expect that a device with 1000 feet nominal range will work when you’re visiting your neighbor in their house (although that might happen, especially if their house is near yours). Most audio baby monitors (and definitely all of the best ones) work well within your house and sometimes even outside of it. Rule of thumb – don’t buy a baby monitor that has range issues. If you’ll find that quite a few people complain about that, don’t buy that device.
Sound quality and static
Good sound quality is a must in an audio baby monitor, because sound is all you’ve got. If the device doesn’t transmit any static noises, that’s great, because you don’t want to hear some random sounds coming the the parent unit all the time. One feature that some of the monitors have might be quite helpful here: voice activation. Instead of continously transmitting sound from the nursery, the device will transmit it only if it’s above certain threshold.
Two way communication
One of the great features that some of the monitors have is the ability to talk back your child. It allows you (the parent) to sing a lullaby to your child or calm them down without going to the nursery. Sometimes hearing the voice of one of the parents is all that is needed to make the child fall back asleep.
Best Audio Baby Monitors
VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor
The VTech DM221 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor provides crystal clear audio transmission at an extended range. While most analog monitors create a lot of white noise that can make it hard for you to hear your baby, this model always provides clear audio quality thanks to the DECT 6.0 digital technology. The parent unit works with a range of up to 1,000 feet and has a belt clip so that you can easy carry the device from room to room. If your child is fussy, there is a talk-back button that allows you to soothe your child with the sound of your voice.This product is sold as a monitor with one parent unit for around $40 or as a monitor with two parent units for around $60. Parents rave about the sound quality on this VTech baby monitor and say that the audio clarity is far superior to any other baby monitors that they have tried. Some parents have been disappointed by the battery charge on the parent units, receiving only 6 to 8 hours on a single charge instead of the advertised claims of up to 18 hours. However, this problem is easily rectified by inserting 3 AAA batteries to supplement the rechargeable battery.
Summer Infant Baby Wave Digital Audio Monitor
The Summer Infant Baby Wave Digital Audio Monitor features a high-sensitivity microphone that focuses on the sounds that the baby makes while filtering out ambient noises in the background. With a range of up to 650 feet, this model from Summer Infant provides an interference-free connection using 100% digital technology. Sound activated LED lights that illuminate whenever your child is making noise. This feature is particularly useful if you are in a noisy room or trying to watch television, as you can see that your child is stirring, even if you cannot hear it. The parent unit runs on rechargeable batteries and beeps to let you know if you have moved out of range or if the battery is low. You should expect to pay about $30 for this particular audio monitor. Parents love that the parent unit is lightweight and easy to carry using the belt clip. They also say that this model is durable and has lasted their family for many years. While many parents enjoyed the option to play music or white noise for their child on this unit, they felt that the volume was a bit loud and wish that it could have been adjusted to be a bit quieter.
Foscam FBM3501 Wireless Digital Video Baby Monitor
The Foscam FBM3501 Wireless Digital Video Baby Monitor provides both audio and video feeds for you to watch your child. The camera on the child unit comes with many features, including tilt, pan, zoom, and nightvision, so you can see what your baby is doing, no matter where they are in the room. The parent unit features a 3.5 inch color LCD display and uses a rechargeable battery. This monitor features a range of up to 980 feet without obstructions. If you have multiple children, this unit is expandable, allowing you to watch up to 4 cameras on one monitor. Because this monitor also features a video feed, the Foscam FBM3501 Wireless Digital Video Baby Monitor is a bit more expensive than the other models in this guide. This model costs around $110. Parents felt this monitor gave them good value for their money when compared to other video monitors on the market. Most parents have found that all of the features work well and as advertized, although some struggled to get the VOX setting or the scan feature to work properly. Some parents also felt that the night vision lights were exceptionally bright and were not useful, as they would wake up or frighten their child.