When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, it’s hard not to feel like you need to stay awake and watch them while they’re sleeping, just to make sure they’re still breathing. But eventually (pretty quickly, usually), you realize that your sleep is precious, too, and a baby monitor can do the job for you. Better, in fact, because that is literally what they’re designed for.
There are lots of variables to consider when choosing a monitor that will work best for you and your growing fam. For example, how big is your house? How connected do you want everything to be? Do you want video or just audio? And do you anticipate being worried about their wellbeing every second? Regardless of your responses, we’ve got you covered. We sorted through some of the best-selling options out there so you wouldn’t have to—here are 5 of the best baby monitors:
Best Video Quality:
If you want a clear picture of what your baby’s doing at all times, the Eufy Spaceview ($199.99 on Amazon) is about as good as it gets. While most standard video monitors feature a 240-pixel view, the 5-inch LCD screen on this one offers a sharp, 720-pixel HD display. It also has a 110-degree wide-angle, wide-panning lens so you can see the entire nursery in one shot, plus a 460-foot coverage area so you can be tapped into what’s happening in there from just about anywhere else in your home. Bonus: It doubles as a sound machine and can play five different lullabies to help rock your baby to sleep.
For some parents, watching baby’s every move in the crib is anxiety producing (Are they waking up now? What about now?). If that’s you then an audio-only monitor is a great option to consider. The VTech DM221 ($34.95 on Amazon), with a 1,000-foot outdoor and 160-foot indoor range, comes out on top time and time again. With a very clear five-level sound indicator that also lights up whenever baby makes a peep, you’ll know as soon as it’s time to go in and check on your little one. The monitor also has a 2-way intercom so you can talk directly into it if they need instant comforting.
You know yourself better than we do, of course, and if you think you might possibly stress out about how your baby is feeling 24/7 (Are they running a temperature?! Does their breathing sound abnormal?!), then let the Owlet Smart Sock + Cam ($399 on Amazon) give you some peace of mind. This incredibly smart device is more than just a monitor—in addition to providing sharp live stream video and audio coverage, it also tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels, just like a hospital would. You simply place the monitor in their room, put the sock sensor on their foot, download the Owlet App to your phone, and then receive real-time wellness updates while they (hopefully) sleep. For safety reasons, the Owlet’s camera is encrypted so only approved users can see footage. And we know it’s a little pricey, so go ahead and give it a test run before you commit—if you don’t love it after 45 days, you can get a full refund.
For a perfect view of what’s happening in baby’s room without all the staticky background noise, try the Infant Optics DXR-8 ($165.99 on Amazon). This video and two-way audio monitor is light, portable, durable and unlike many internet-enabled units, completely secure. The only person who can possibly see the video stream is the one holding the monitor itself, on a compact, yet clear 3.5-inch screen. The DXR-8 can be used with up to four cameras at once, each with interchangeable lenses that can either zoom in super close or zoom out for wider angle shots, and gives temperature readings as well so you know if baby’s room is getting a bit too hot or too chilly. (FYI: optimal temperature for baby sleep is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Best Phone Service:
If you like being connected to everything at all times, then you should probably go with a monitor that streams directly to your phone, over WiFi, like the popular Nanit Plus ($258.80 on Amazon), rather than one with a separate handheld unit. Not only will you have anywhere-access to what’s happening in baby’s crib (in HD), but you’ll also be able to see room temperature and humidity read-outs, plus speak directly to your little one through your phone. The Nanit tracks how and when your baby sleeps, too, then provides personalized sleep guidance based on those stats. Still worried about how your baby’s doing in there? You can always buy the Nanit Breathing Wear and keep track of baby’s—you guessed it!—breaths per minute as well.
Freelance writer/editor and contributor at MamasUncut. West Coast-based, East Coast-raised. Doubled down on the parenting gig last year, with two kids under the age of 3—plus a 2-year-old black shepherd/lab mix who thinks they’re actually his babies. A good day: run, bake, eat, repeat.