The Best Baby Monitors

The best baby monitor is easy to use and comes with extra features like volume sensitivity and two-way talk. To find our picks, we surveyed parents for their must-haves, then put nine of the most popular baby monitors to the test. In the end, we found three types of monitors that work for all types of parents.

The 5 Best Baby Monitors

HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor

Best
Standard Monitor

HelloBaby Wireless Video Baby Monitor
HelloBaby
No frills, but straightforward and high-quality
Pros
Easy to set up and use
Masters the basics
High-quality video and sound
Cons
Small video display
No WiFi

Why we chose it

Easy to set up and use

Of all the monitors we tested, the HelloBaby was hands-down the easiest to set up. Just open the box, plug in the two devices, and you’re ready to go. No difficult packaging to tear through, and no account setup or device pairing necessary. Our testers had it up in running in less than three minutes each time. Using it is also a breeze. “It’s like an old-generation iPod,” one tester commented, noting the circular pad in the center. Essential functions like volume, screen brightness, zoom, and talk-back are all available on the home screen — an important feature when you’re half asleep at 3 a.m.

Masters the basics

The HelloBaby’s simple interface gives you immediate access to the most important functions: talk-back, zoom, and pan. It also has some nice extras. Tapping the center button brings up a small menu with options to create a temperature alert, scan through additional cameras, play a lullaby, or set a timer for up to four hours in the future.

High-quality video and sound

One thing that really stood out was the HelloBaby’s video and sound quality, which matched that of monitors twice the price. By comparison, Infant Optics' bigger screen didn’t offer a better picture, and our Motorola model had an obvious three-second delay — even when we took it off WiFi and used its direct signal mode to rule out connectivity issues.

Points to consider

Small video display

With a screen only 2.4 inches wide, the HelloBaby’s parent display unit is the smallest we tested. But we really didn’t mind, since the image was always crystal clear.

No WiFi

Unlike a WiFi-enabled unit that allows you to monitor your baby from across town via your smartphone, the HelloBaby parent display unit has a maximum range of 960 feet, and relies on a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 8 hours.

iBaby M6T

Best
WiFi Monitor

iBaby M6T
IBaby
Intuitive and customizable, with a ton of useful features controlled from your smartphone.
Pros
Quality video and extra features
Quick to set up
Cons
No wall attachment
Connection subject to WiFi strength

Why we chose it

Feature-rich

WiFi monitors allow you to watch your baby from literally anywhere via a smartphone app. When the WiFi connection is strong, the iBaby’s video and audio quality were among the best in the group. The iBaby M6T builds on this added convenience with a host of customizable monitoring features. In particular, we loved that you can choose both sensitivity levels and notification options for noise, motion, temperature, and humidity — meaning the iBaby won’t alert you to those quiet falling-asleep sounds, or small movements unless you want it to. Even better, you don’t need to keep your phone turned to the app to hear your baby or receive notifications. The iBaby works both in the background and when your phone is in sleep mode.

Quick to set up

The iBaby was the fastest WiFi model to set up at only five minutes. Once you download the app, a straightforward tutorial walks you through every feature. You can also invite other users to see through the camera — great if you want to give your babysitter access while you’re out - but only the administrator has access to every feature. And while it’s simple to share certain features, like being able to move the camera around, with new users, it’s just as simple to remove their access.

Points to consider

No wall attachment

The biggest downside to the iBaby is that its stand doesn’t attach to a wall. It’s designed to be placed on top of a table or dresser. Luckily, it’s not likely to go anywhere — it’d need a good shove to push it off.

Connection subject to WiFi strength

Like all WiFi monitors, video and audio quality and how well it displays real-time action depends largely on your internet quality and speed. Our testers only experienced a delay of less than a second, more noticeable than HelloBaby’s, but nowhere close to Motorola’s three-second delay.

Angelcare AC315

Best
Motion-Sensor Monitor

Angelcare AC315
Angelcare
All the essential features, plus a motion-sensitive pad that alerts you to any changes in your baby’s breathing.
Pros
Monitors movements, breathing, and heart rate
Nothing to attach to baby
Good picture and audio quality
Cons
Finicky touchscreen
No “out-of-range” warning

Why we chose it

Monitors movements, breathing, and heart rate

If you want to know everything about your baby, including their heart rate during the night — the Angelcare AC315 is our top motion-sensor monitor. Its movement sensor mat slips under the mattress in your baby’s crib, and if it detects no movement after 20 seconds, it sends a loud alarm to the baby and parent units. While motion-sensor monitors have not been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS, many new parents told us these monitors gave them added peace of mind.

Nothing to attach to baby

Many motion-sensor monitors use a sensor that clips onto your baby’s clothing. While this is usually no big deal, parents cited certain times when it was inconvenient, like when re-attaching it risked waking the baby. The Angelcare AC315’s sensor mat eliminates the need to clip anything on; it tracks movement through a mat placed under the mattress.

Good picture and audio quality

The Angelcare AC315 beat out the Baby Delight for sound and video quality, and offers a few customizable features: You can adjust the volume on the baby unit as well as the parent unit, and set up timed alarms and temperature alerts.

Points to consider

Finicky touchscreen

It’s the only monitor we tested with a touchscreen on the parent unit. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to use as the unit we tested didn’t always recognize our taps (or counted them more than once).

No “out of range” warning

We were also disappointed that the Angelcare’s parent unit lacks an “out of range” warning. If you’re in the backyard or basement and the monitor disconnects, it’s not clear whether you’re looking at a napping baby or a frozen screen.

Cocoon Cam

Runner-Up: Best
Wifi Monitor

Cocoon Cam Plus
Cocoon
Keep track of your baby from anywhere, without all the extra features.
Pros
Simple with good video quality
Straightforward setup
Cons
Connection subject to WiFi strength

Why we chose it

Simple with good video quality

If you glanced over all the features of the iBaby and thought, “Just give me a good WiFi monitor without all that jazz,” you’ll like the Cocoon Cam. It brings the convenience of a WiFi monitor, while keeping its user interface simple with just four customizations: volume, screen brightness, motion sensitivity, and noise threshold. Our testers were also impressed by the Cocoon Cam’s sound and image quality.

Straightforward setup

Setting up and syncing the Cocoon Cam was really simple. Although it took almost ten minutes, a little on the long side when compared to the iBaby and HelloBaby, we appreciated how straightforward the process was.

Points to consider

Connection subject to WiFi strength

Like all WiFi monitors, the Cocoon Cam’s picture crispness and how well it displays real-time action depend largely on your internet quality and speed. Our testers only experienced a delay of less than a second, more noticeable than HelloBaby’s, but nowhere close to Motorola’s three-second delay.

Baby Delight 5” Video, Movement and Positioning Monitor

Runner-Up: Best
Motion-Sensor Monitor

Baby Delight 5
Baby Delight
Simple and accurate, but the sensor’s design gave us pause.
Pros
Easy to set up and use
Less prone to false alarms
Cons
Clip-on sensor a future choking hazard
Maximum range of 600 feet

Why we chose it

Easy to set up and use

Our testers preferred the Baby Delight’s parent unit to the Angelcare — its buttons were more responsive, and it was easier to set up. The Baby Delight also includes instructions and supplies to mount the camera on a wall near the crib, providing another viewing option that parents appreciate in online reviews.

Less prone to false alarms

This movement monitor uses a cordless magnetic sensor instead of a pad. Because the sensor is clipped onto your baby’s onesie, right next to their chest, the alarm won’t go off if you forget to disarm it before a middle-of-the-night feeding.

Points to consider

Clip-on sensor can become a choking hazard as baby grows

The Baby Delight’s biggest flaw is one of technicality: Its button sensor is just large enough to avoid being labeled as a choking hazard, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. In fact, the button does become a choking risk after your child is 3 years old. While it’s likely that you’ll no longer be monitoring sleep movements by the time your new babe is a toddler, and so you’ll nix the sensor long before it technically becomes a hazard, most new parents we spoke to weren’t comfortable with this feature.

Maximum range of 600 feet

This won’t matter to every parent, but if you live in a large house or simply want to monitor your sleeping baby from outside or down the street, the Baby Delight’s limited range could become an issue.

Guide to Baby Monitors

How to find the right baby monitor for you

Decide how much you want to know

Baby monitors vary widely in how much information they provide. Standard video monitors simply let you look and listen in on your baby, while others allow you to monitor every little noise, motion, heartbeat, and temperature change. At the end of the day, it’s up to you how much info you want to access through your monitor, and what details you can live without.

Consider portability and range

Do you want to be able to monitor your baby while you’re at work or out to dinner? Then go for a WiFi monitor, which gets rid of the parent unit entirely and replaces it with a smartphone app. That app connects to the baby unit over the internet, rather than standard radio frequencies (which typically have a limit of 600–1,000 feet). As a result, you’ll never have to worry about being out of range from your camera. You’re also more likely to remember to take your phone with you than a separate monitor unit when leaving the house.

For WiFi monitors, consider upgrading your internet connection

WiFi monitors offer certain big advantages, but if your internet connection has a tendency to go in and out, this obviously presents a problem. If you want to be in touch with your baby from anywhere, you may want to consider strengthening your existing WiFi so that it’s more reliable.

Baby Monitors FAQ

How important is video capability?

Every parent we spoke to agreed that a video monitor is the way to go. It’s the difference between getting up to check on your baby because you thought you heard a noise or glancing at a screen to see if you really need to get out of bed. Video monitors are useful well into the toddler years, too. That screen can help you decide whether you need to step in and comfort your child, or if you can wait out a tantrum.

What are the different types of video baby monitors?

Video baby monitors generally fall into three groups:

  • WiFi Monitors for those who want to have an unlimited range or the ability to check in on their baby from anywhere
  • Movement Monitors for those who are reassured by hearing their baby’s vital signs
  • Standard Monitors for parents who want quality video and audio, but don’t need any extras

What is the best type of baby monitor?

While some monitors offer more features, that doesn’t necessarily make them better. The “best” baby monitor for you depends mostly on personal preference. While features like range and reliability are crucial, others, like being able to play lullabies or receive temperature alerts, are only as useful as you make them. Motion monitors in particular can be exceptionally comforting for some, but distressing for others. Though they’re often perceived to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend them, saying point-blank, “There is no evidence that use of such devices decreases the incidence of SIDS.”

How secure are WiFi monitors?

Both the iBaby and Cocoon Cam encrypt the data they send to your smartphone, but if you want to go the extra mile in securing your home network and your WiFi baby monitor, it’s a good idea to keep your software updated, use strong, unique passwords, and avoid using identifying information in your network or monitor name (like “Smith2A” for the Smith family in apartment 2A).

The Best Baby Monitor: Summed Up

HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor
iBaby M6T
Angelcare AC315
Cocoon Cam
Baby Delight 5-in. Video Movement and Positioning Monitor
Best Standard Monitor
Best WiFi Monitor
Best Motion-Sensor Monitor
Runner-Up: Best WiFi Monitor
Runner-Up: Best Motion-Sensor Monitor
Price
$70
$100
$130
$150
$90
Max range
960 ft
Unlimited
820 ft
Unlimited
600 ft
Two-way talk
Temperature sensor
Motion sensor
Display screen size
2.4"
Depends on your phone
4.3"
Depends on your phone
5"

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