Best Baby Monitors of 2020

  • Last Update: October 27, 2020
5/5
  • Customizable viewing angle & zoom
  • High-quality video and night vision
  • Sleep mode feature
5/5
  • Clear and accurate video stream
  • Sleep tracking data with video.
  • Excellent apps
5/5
  • Easy to set up
  • Zoom and night vision
  • Cost-effective

All baby video monitors are equipped with different features and functions. Most monitors probably won’t check off every single box, but here are a few features that you might want to look out for:

  1. Two-way audio
  2. A secure connection (whether that be over WiFi or a remote signal)
  3. High-resolution camera
  4. High-resolution monitor screen (if purchasing a handheld model)
  5. Option to add more cameras
  6. Night vision
  7. Camera pan and tilt abilities
  8. Alerts for when baby wakes up or makes noise
  9. Easy installation features (like a clip or simple wall mount)
  10. Temperature display
  11. Pre-installed lullabies or white noises, if desired

Some parents also enjoy advanced features like sleeping insights that come with a smartphone or vital-measuring monitor.

Ready to shop? The following options can help you choose the best video baby monitor for your family.

The Best Baby Monitors

The Infant Optics DXR-8 performs well and is designed with important features that put it above other baby monitors—most notably the ability to tilt, pan, and zoom.
This monitor is known for its interchangeable lenses and includes a zoom lens right in the box that lets you see baby up-close even if you need to position the camera far away from the crib. (There’s also a wide-angle lens sold separately.) You can use the monitor to remotely adjust the camera, and you don’t have to worry about plugging it in overnight—it can sit on your nightstand for up to 12 hours in the power-saving audio-only mode and up to eight hours with the display screen constantly on.
While you can talk to your baby through the monitor, it doesn’t have recorded lullabies. There’s also a room temperature display..
“Awesome monitor—great picture, great sound, love the temperature gauge.”

PROS:

  • Customizable viewing angle and zoom
  • High-quality video and night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Sleep mode feature
  • Displays temperature
  • Private 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless transmission

CONS:

  • More expensive than other monitors
  • Limited range

Key Features:

  • Sound activated LED bar for better situation awareness in the dark, or when screen is OFF
  • Remote pan / tilt / digital zoom
  • Alarm function, two-way talk, remote thermometer
  • Expandable up to 4 cameras with Scan Mode
  • Invisible IR night vision
  • Battery life: 12 hours audio-only mode, 8 hours with live screen
  • Two-way talk back

Specification:

  • Brand: Infant Optics
  • Model: DXR-8
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Named one of the “Best Inventions of 2018” by TIME Magazine, the Nanit Plus Camera checks off all the baby monitor must-haves and then some. It features two-way audio, smart sensors, a night light with gradual dimming and more.

The Nanit has a 960-pixel HD camera equipped with night vision. Parents can choose between propping up the camera with a wall mount or a floor stand, providing flexibility so that it works in any room. Either way, the camera is designed to be positioned over the crib and tucks cables away safely.

While you’re monitoring baby via your smartphone, you can hear your little one even while using other apps or while your screen is locked, and you can also grant access to other family members or caregivers. Also cool: Parents can track insights such as how long baby has slept or how many times you visited them during the night through Nanit Insights, which is included for the first year.

The Nanit Plus offers more features and data than any other smart baby monitor, including sleep tracking and breathing monitoring.

PROS:

  • Clear and accurate video stream
  • Breathing monitoring.
  • Excellent apps with background audio, humidity, and temperature readings.
  • Quick and and easy to set up
  • Two-way audio.
  • Sleep tracking data with video.

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Sleep data requires subscription.
  • No web access.

Key Features:

  • Sleep Tracking and Guidance
  • Safe Cable Management
  • Overhead Crystal Clear HD Video
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Two-Way Audio

Specification:

  • Brand: Nanit
  • Model: N211US
  • Weight: 1 pounds

For parents who want a tried-and-true, no-frills video baby monitor that still checks off all the boxes, the Babysense Video Baby Monitor is a good solution. The previous version of this monitor was also another 2019 What to Expect Award winner, and the latest model comes with even more pros. It still has an easy-to-set-up camera and simple remote monitor that has a range of 900 feet. The newest features include a night light function, white noise and lullaby sounds and connectivity that works at a longer range.

It also features two-way audio, night vision, two-level digital zoom, temperature display and alerts, pre-installed lullabies, camera tilt and pan capabilities, alarm and timer functions and more.

The Babysense Video Baby Monitor is an affordable option, but it has too many flaws for an everyday video baby monitor. We would consider this a good backup or a travel monitor to bring along on trips.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up
  • Displays temperature and alerts if too hot or cold
  • Two-way talk and adjustable volume
  • Zoom and night vision
  • Cost-effective

CONS:

  • Poor video connection
  • Very small monitor screen
  • No USB charging option

Key Features:

  • 2.4 Inch High Quality Color LCD Display
  • Secure Hacking Free Connection
  • Two-Way Talk-Back Communication
  • 2x Digital Zoom
  • Multi-Camera Expandability – Up To 4 Cameras
  • Room Temperature Display
  • Sound Activated LED Indicator

Specification:

  • Brand: Babysense
  • Model: V24R
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces

The Motorola MBP36XL is a great video baby monitor. The base unit has a generous 5” display, the sound and image are clear and high-quality and both the camera and parent unit have included rechargeable batteries that allow you to use the system unplugged. The only downside to this system is the lack of an app to be able to control the baby monitor directly from your smartphone.

From remote tilt and pan to capture that perfect view to lullabies at the push of a button, this monitor offers lots of convenient features. But the most impressive of all is its 1,000-foot range—the highest of all video monitors on this list. Other useful features include a room temperature display, up to three hours of plug-free viewing, and a freestanding monitor that can be set on top of a dresser or grip to shelves or brackets.

You can connect up to four cameras, which is great for watching multiple kids in multiple rooms. But beware the loud beeping sounds the monitor makes when you turn it on—keep it out of earshot of sleeping kids. Also, some parents say the battery life wears out quickly.

PROS:

  • Good image and sound quality
  • Rechargeable batteries for when you have to use the system unplugged
  • LED sound level indicator
  • 5 lullabies
  • Room temperature display

CONS:

  • Motion blur is a bit high
  • No app, can’t control the system via your smartphone/tablet

Key Features:

  • Large 5” LCD color screen with LED sound level indicator
  • Room temperature display
  • Two-way communication
  • Up to 1000ft range with out-of-range alert
  • Expandable up to 4 Cameras

Specification:

  • Brand: Motorola
  • Model: MBP36XL
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces

The Summer Baby Pixel Zoom HD Video Baby Monitor can help soothe worries with the help of its zoom and camera specs. With a 760-pixel HD picture and a six-level digital zoom, this camera allows parents to view their little ones super closely.

This monitor comes with night vision, remote camera pan and tilt steering, two-way audio, lullabies and white noises, clock and temperature display, an 800-foot range and more. Plus, the system can be synced with up to four cameras for parents with extra kiddos. Best of all, it’s equipped with a unique SleepZone technology that alerts you if baby has moved out of a “virtual boundary box.”

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Longer battery life

CONS:

  • Higher price
  • Short range

Key Features:

  • 5.0 inch HD picture (720p)
  • Sleepzone Virtual boundary
  • Hd Moonlite night vision boost
  • Remote camera steering - pan left to right and tilt up and down
  • Voice activated video on/off technology (VOX)

Specification:

  • Brand: Summer Infant
  • Model: 30553
  • Weight: 1.26 pounds

Nest Cam isn’t technically a baby monitor—it’s an all-around home protection device. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great for keeping an eye on your little one (or on your nanny), especially when you can’t be at home. You can watch live streaming from your smartphone, and even rewind to view photos or activities that took place over the last three hours. (To access longer time periods, you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware.) It also senses motion and sound and sends a phone alert or an email to you when something is detected.

You have to keep the Nest Cam app open and running constantly on your phone or tablet, which acts like a handheld monitor. Also, some parents report you can no longer disable and turn off the green status light on the camera, which can be a problem for some babies and toddlers.

PROS:

  • Versatile long term use
  • 1080p HD
  • Mobile Intelligent Alerts

CONS:

  • No internet / no monitor
  • No Music or Integrated Sensor

Key Features:

  • 24/7 live stream video in full 1080p HD over WiFi
  • Night vision featuring 8 high-power infrared LEDs
  • Mobile alerts and notifications
  • Talk and listen with 2-way audio
  • Easy setup with flexible mounting and free Nest app.

Specification:

  • Brand: Google
  • Model: NC1102ES
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
The Owlet takes the baby monitor to the next level, tracking your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep and notifying you if something is off. Just download the app to your phone and slip a comfortable sock-like wrap over your baby’s foot (there are three different sizes included to grow with your little one, and they work under footies—we tried!) and you’re good to go. For an extra level of reassurance, there’s the Owlet Smart Sock + Cam bundle that includes the wearable monitor plus a video/audio monitor.
Though it can alert you to potential problems, this monitor has not been tested to prevent SIDS. You can also use your FSA or HSA funds to purchase an Owlet.

PROS:

  • Includes both a camera and a sock to monitor a baby's vitals and room details as well
  • Easy installation
  • Notifies parents immediately if baby is having issues
  • Gives parents peace of mind

CONS:

  • Price
  • Smartphone doubles as the monitor

Key Features:

  • Combines the Owlet Smart Sock and Cam for a complete monitoring system
  • Monitor baby from anywhere with the Owlet app
  • Track baby’s heart rate, oxygen and sleep cycles
  • View live readings while you stream audio and video
  • Use background audio to hear your baby while using your phone for other apps
  • Review sleep cycles to make adjustments to the baby’s schedule

Specification:

  • Brand: Owlet
  • Model: PS01NNBBYF
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
If audio-only is what you’re after in a monitor, this budget-friendly VTech option is your best bet. Featuring crystal clear transmission, a rechargeable parent unit with a backlit display, and up to 1,000 feet of range, this back-to-basics monitor gets the job done without breaking the bank.
Unlike some audio-only options, this monitor does feature two-way talk through a built-in intercom, a feature many parents find to be extremely useful.

PROS:

  • Excellent value
  • Simple setup
  • Long range

CONS:

  • Near-useless night light
  • Battery life could be better

Key Features:

  • DECT 6.0 digital technology
  • Up to 1,000 feet of range
  • Vibrating sound-alert on the parent unit
  • Two-way, talk-back intercom
  • Backlit display on the parent unit
  • Rechargeable battery with low-battery alert

Specification:

  • Brand: VTech
  • Model: DM223
  • Weight: 8 ounces

Do You Need a Baby Monitor?

If you sleep in the same room as your baby or live in a small space where you can always hear or see what your baby is up to, you probably don’t need a monitor. Otherwise, most parents enjoy the convenience a baby monitor provides—instead of needing to stay close to the nursery or constantly checking on your child, you’re free to rest, catch up on Netflix or get things done around the house anytime baby is catching some zzs. Monitors can also double as a nanny cam to keep an eye on your child and their caretaker when you’re not at home.

What Type of Baby Monitor is Best?

It really depends on what makes you feel the most comfortable. There are:

  • Audio monitors that allow you to listen in on baby
  • Video monitors that keep an eye their every move
  • Wearable monitors that track vitals like sleep and breathing

How to Choose a Video Baby Monitor

Determining what monitor to purchase depends on which factors are most important to you, such as:

  • Display quality/screen size: Some video monitors have larger screens with higher resolutions that offer a clearer image. Others come with smaller screens, and still others rely on an app you view on your cell phone—which may not make for the greatest viewing, depending on the size of your phone, but is great for portability.
  • Range: How far away you can be from the nursery and still get uninterrupted monitoring varies. This is an especially important factor to consider if you live in an older home with thick, plaster walls or a home with multiple floors.
  • Portability: Some cameras must be wall mounted while others can stand alone and travel away from home.
  • Two-way communication: This popular feature lets you speak to your baby over the monitor.
  • Battery life: This determines how long you can carry the monitor screen around before having to plug it in to charge.
  • Remote adjustments: The ability to use the monitor to remotely adjust the camera’s view can come in handy.
  • Wireless encryption: This ensures that no one else can tap into your monitor’s “feed” and see what’s going on in your house. WiFi-enabled monitors are great for portability and range, but may be more susceptible to hacking. If you go this route, be sure to secure your home wireless network and keep the monitor’s firmware updated. Otherwise, look for digital monitors with a 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless transmission.
  • Specialized features: Besides watching your little one, some cameras also monitor the room’s temperature and your baby’s vitals.
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