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Last updated on August 14, 2017

The Best Baby Monitor

A busy parent’s best friend
The 30-Second Review

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 seven 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.

Best Standard Monitor

This no-fuss monitor impressed us with its audio-visual quality, portability, and straightforward features menu. It nailed every test we threw at it too. Its picture remains clear under dim light or in the dark, and its microphone can pick up even the quietest whimpers.

Best WiFi Monitor

iBaby M6T
This monitor connects to your smartphone, so you can watch your baby from anywhere. And while it has a ton of features, it’s still intuitive enough to set up and customize in under 10 minutes.

Best Motion-Sensor Monitor

Angelcare AC315
It offers all of the features of the HelloBaby as well as a motion-sensitive pad that alerts you to any changes in your baby’s breathing.

The Best Baby Monitor

Our favorite standard video monitor, HelloBaby, masters the basic features. It’s the easiest to set up and its video and sound quality competes with monitors twice the price. Its screen is smaller than most, but its simple interface gives you immediate access to the most important functions: talk-back, zoom, and pan; while menu button opens up customizable settings for temperature, sound, lullabies, and timers.

If you’re looking to take your baby monitor to the next level, choose a WiFi monitor. Our top pick is the iBaby M6T. You can watch your baby from literally anywhere through its Apple or Android app. There are lots of customization options too, like receiving push notifications when your baby wakes up or instructions on how to improve the room’s air quality.

Like the flexibility of an app-based monitor, but don’t want to navigate through all those features? Go with our WiFi monitor runner-up, the Cocoon Cam. It has the four important ones: you can adjust sound, screen brightness, motion sensitivity, and noise threshold.

If you want to know everything about your baby, down to the heartbeat — the Angelcare AC315 is our top motion-sensor monitor. The 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. Its touchscreen can be a little finicky. The Baby Delight is less prone to false alarms; however, our parent testers were concerned that the small clip-on sensor might be a choking hazard.

Why video monitors?

Every parent we spoke to agreed. 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.

Our Picks for the Best Baby Monitors

The Best Standard Video Baby Monitor

HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor HelloBaby has the right features to help any parent take care of their baby.

The HelloBaby might be a standard monitor, but it excels at the basics. It scored better than some of the more expensive WiFi monitors in picture clarity, and was hands-down the easiest to use. 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 3 minutes each time.

We liked the sleek look of the camera, and while the base is grippy enough to feel secure on a dresser, it can be wall mounted to get that perfect angle looking over into the crib.

It has some nice extras too The center button brings up a small menu to set up a temperature alert, scan through additonal cameras, set a timer up to four hours in the future, or play a lullaby.

Its parent display unit is the smallest we tested, with a screen only 2.4 inches wide, but the video quality was among the best. By comparison, Infant Optics’ bigger screen didn’t offer a better picture, and our Motorola model had an obvious two-second delay — even when we took it off WiFi and used its direct signal mode to rule out connectivity issues. The differences are slight, but we were impressed that the HelloBaby could keep up with monitors twice its price.

We appreciated how easy it was to use the parent unit too. “It’s like an old-generation iPod,” one tester commented, noting the circular pad in the center. Volume, screen brightness, zoom, and talk-back are all available on the home screen, so it’s still easy to find the right button when you’re half asleep at 3AM.

Among our top picks, HelloBaby made up for its smaller display size with good video quality.

The Best WiFi Monitor

iBaby M6T This cute WiFi Monitor is packed with features controlled directly from your smartphone.

A good WiFi monitor is convenient and feature-rich — or else we may as well stick with the HelloBaby. The iBaby takes both aspect to the next level. It 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. We liked 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’d 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.

The iBaby had all of our most critical features and more. Plus, like a recent Star Wars robot, its round camera is gosh darn cute.

We also liked the iBaby because while it allowed us to invite other users to see through the camera — great if you want to give your babysitter access while you’re out — only the person who registered the iBaby monitor has administrator access to all of the features. The administrator can give some privileges to other users, like being able to move the camera around, but they can take them away just as quickly.

The iBaby app walks you through setup (left), displays activity history (center), and allows you to adjust settings (right).

The iBaby’s video and audio quality were among the best in the WiFi group, but like all WiFi monitors, 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.

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.

WiFi Monitor Runner-Up

Cocoon Cam Keep track of your baby from anywhere, without all the extra features.

The Cocoon Cam brings the convenience of a WiFi monitor, while keeping its user interface simple and scoring high for picture and sound quality. So 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.

This app-based monitor gave us better video and audio quality than the iBaby with just four customizations: volume, screen brightness, motion sensitivity, and noise threshold. Setup was on the longer side at nine minutes — you have to wait a few minutes for the monitor to sync to the WiFi and the app — but it’s not complicated.

The Best Baby Movement Monitor

Angelcare AC315 Our top pick for motion has a plastic pad to slip under the mattress to keep track of your baby’s every wiggle.

The Angelcare AC315 earned high marks for audio and visual quality, was fairly easy to use, and comes with a movement sensor that slips under your crib’s mattress. If it ever detects more than 20 seconds of without movement, it triggers an alarm.

It’s the only monitor we tested with a touchscreen on the parent unit, though the unit we tested didn’t always recognize our clicks. Instead of buttons, the parent unit uses a touchscreen to adjust settings — but this feature actually makes the monitor harder to use. Sometimes the screen wouldn’t recognize our clicks; other times it over-clicked.

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. Still, it 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.

The AngelCare’s battery-operated movement sensor slips under your crib’s mattress.

Movement Monitor Runner-Up

Baby Delight 5″ Video, Movement and Positioning Monitor We loved the clip-on button’s accuracy for tracking movements, but felt uneasy about its small size.

Our testers preferred the Baby Delight’s parent unit — its buttons were more responsive than Angelcare and it was easier to set up. 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.

However, 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, and the new parents we spoke to felt uneasy about using it after 12 months just to be safe. Still, if you’re only interested in monitoring movements for the first few months, the Baby Delight is a more user-friendly alternative to the Angelcare.

Did You Know?

Experts are skeptical about movement monitors.

Though they 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.”

In addition to being untested for efficacy, physiologic monitors can increase both your stress and your baby’s stress with false alarms and unnecessary trips to the hospital. Dr. Christopher Bonafide, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia wrote that parents are increasingly bringing healthy babies to the hospital over a false alarm, noting that changes that often set off a monitor are “just normal fluctuations.”

If it would give you personal peace of mind to see how much your baby is breathing, or how often they wiggle on their bed, you might consider a baby movement monitor. But if the idea of listening to your baby’s every breath, heartbeat, and sigh fills you with anxiety, stick to a standard or a WiFi monitor.

You can take extra steps to secure a WiFi monitor.

While there are a lot of options for putting your internet on lockdown, if you want to go the extra mile in securing your home network and your WiFi baby monitor, here are a few easy suggestions:

  • Just like your WiFi network, when naming your monitor, make sure to not use any identifying information, like “Smith2A” for the Smith family in apartment 2A.
  • Change the password. Manufacturers often use simple passwords as their defaults, which may be easy to remember, but are also easy to guess. Use a strong password — a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols — and don’t share this password with anyone, or use it for another website.
  • Keep your baby monitor up to date. Stay on top of app updates by checking the Apple or Android app stores and keep an eye on manufacturer websites for other updates. Companies regularly roll out changes to strengthen security and improve functionality.

More features aren’t always better.

Baby monitors, despite the name, are meant more for the caregiver than they are for the baby. We asked parents about which features they felt were helpful, like a long range so they could wander carefree all over the house, and reliability so they weren’t struggling to maintain a signal. Other features like being able to play lullabies, or receive temperature alerts are only as useful as you make them. And a few features, like motion monitors, can be exceptionally comforting for some, and distressing for others.

Ultimately, all of our recommended monitors do what is absolutely necessary: give you a window into the nursery so you can look after your baby without being directly in the room. Any other features are a matter of personal preference.

The Best Baby Monitor: Summed Up

Baby Monitor
The Best
HelloBaby Portable Video Baby Monitor
Best Standard Video Baby Monitor
iBaby M6T
Best WiFi Monitor
Cocoon Cam
Runner-Up WiFi Monitor
Angelcare AC315
Best Motion-Sensor Baby Monitor
Baby Delight 5” Video, Movement and Positioning Monitor
Runner-Up Motion-Sensor Monitor