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The best baby monitors this year and how to choose the right one

Picking out baby monitors can get complicated — here are some of the best ones out there, and what to look for while you shop.
Baby Monitor and Baby
If you’re a parent on the hunt for a baby monitor, here are some of the best ones on the market.Images By Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images / Amazon

Editor's note: This article was originally published in June 2021. We've updated it to ensure accurate product availability and pricing.

New parents need a lot of gadgets and goods for their little ones, from strollers and baby onesies to bassinets and baby monitors. A good baby monitor doesn't just tell you when your child is crying — it can show you when it's too hot in their room, if they're beginning to stir quietly or if they've fallen asleep on the floor (it happens). If you're on the hunt for yourself or for a new mom-to-be, here are the best baby monitors you can buy today, and how to pick the one that’s right for you.

Shopping for the best baby monitor, simplified

Baby monitors can be tough to shop for. Much like refrigerators with built-in ice makers, there's no perfect model, each exhibiting its own quirks and garnering mixed reviews — likely due to the challenges that come with wireless technology. But after researching dozens of options in my life as a father of two, there are a few that manage to stand out from the pack.

Video versus audio

If you're on a budget, an audio-only monitor (like your parents probably used) will do the trick in a pinch: You'll be able to hear the baby cry and maybe talk to older toddlers over an intercom-like system.

But once you get a video monitor, you'll never want to go back. Being able to see if your child is stirring or sleeping soundly lets you know when the nap is coming to an end before they start crying or whining. And seeing if and when they transition to a new sleep cycle can let you know when to rest easy for another hour. When we began our search, I thought video monitors were overkill — and I've eaten my words time and time again.

Wireless connectivity and range

It may seem like Wi-Fi baby monitors are the way to go in 2022, but that isn't necessarily the case. For many people, the best monitors will still use the old-school Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) radio signals, since they're less prone to the never-ending Wi-Fi signal quirks that plague so many homes.

Plus, you won't need to keep an app open on your phone all the time — there's something to be said for that old-school parent unit. That said, Wi-Fi options can offer extra features and might be right for you depending on your home.

Nevertheless, as with any internet-connected device in your home, you should always be wary of hackers. Always remember to keep your firmware updated, as well as your router’s firmware and security features.

Other factors

While the audio and video feeds are your primary method of monitoring the little ones, many baby monitors offer other useful indicators.

For example, they might include temperature sensors so you can see if the baby's room is too hot. Others may offer lights or even vibration that let you know when the baby's crying, so you can turn the volume down when you're in a Zoom meeting. These things seem small but can be extremely handy.

Best baby monitors to shop

Using my knowledge of the tech space as well as my experience as a dad, I recommend the following baby monitors, which have different features depending on what you're looking for and how high-tech you want to go.

Best baby monitor overall: Infant Optics

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Infant Optics' DXR-8 video monitor offers the best balance between features, price and reliability. You get a basic video screen with night vision, multiple lenses for wider angles and pan and tilt features so you can get the position just right. It has audio indicators for noise and temperature sensors, and can handle multiple cameras if you use it for more than one child. The DXR-8 has been oft-recommended for years and is what I use at home. It's not perfect, and its range is a bit shorter than some of its competitors, but I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. (In fact, I did — we purchased a second unit when we had our second child.)

Best affordable baby monitor: VTech

VTech DM221 Audio Monitor

If you aren't ready to spend over $100 on a baby monitor, VTech's audio-only monitors have the most important features at a fraction of the price: a 1,000-foot range, light-up audio indicators and a small screen that shows you signal strength and battery life.

Best range and video quality: Eufy

Eufy Security SpaceView

If you want something a bit more modern, Eufy's SpaceView monitor boasts a 5-inch 720p screen that looks much better than many of its competitors. The superior video quality is its main selling point, but many reviewers also note a longer range than competing models, plus the ever-useful pan-and-tilt and extra wide-angle lens. Eufy's track record isn't as long as Infant Optics’, though, and despite the former’s 4.3-star rating from over 5,000Amazon users, it has its detractors due to quirks regarding battery life and build quality. For that reason, both models are worth a look. If longer battery life is a concern, the Eufy SpaceView Pro offers the same features as the Eufy SpaceView with a bigger, longer-lasting battery — and therefore a little more bulk.

Best baby monitor with advanced Wi-Fi features: Nanit

Nanit Pro Complete Baby Monitoring System

There are plenty of Wi-Fi baby monitors out there, but few have advanced smart features like the Nanit Pro system. Not only does it come with a camera that can be monitored from your phone or tablet, but it can also track sleep and wake times, monitor your baby's breathing, offer insights on how your child tosses and turns around the bed and more. If you want the whole nine yards, this is it.

Best baby monitor hybrid with Wi-Fi: Motorola

Motorola Connect60 Video Monitor

Wi-Fi baby monitors allow you to see your video feed away from home and make use of other features within an app — however, many models only let you view the feed from your phone, which isn't always convenient. Motorola's Connect series uses FHSS for a more traditional handheld unit while also offering Wi-Fi viewing through the Hubble app when you want remote access. It's the best of both worlds.

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