9 Best Baby Monitors of 2021
Best Baby Monitors of 2021
July 12, 2021

Best Baby Monitors of 2021

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Gone are the days of silently tiptoeing into the nursery to peek on your napping baby, only to be thwarted by that creaky floorboard or a stumble in the dark and then…whoops! You accidentally woke them up. A baby monitor can help you avoid that, helping to reassure parents with a 24/7 view of your little one no matter where you are in your home.

In this article:

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?

There isn’t any best type of baby monitor. The one you choose depends on what’s going to make you feel the most comfortable.

  • Audio monitors let you listen in on baby
  • Video monitors keep an eye their every move
  • Baby movement monitors track baby’s movement and sometimes also track vitals like breathing, heart rate, oxygen saturation and room temperature

Audio monitors are the most inexpensive type of baby monitor but are also the most basic. Depending on the layout of your home and your comfort level, however, they can be a great choice for lots of families. Some parents also decide to purchase an audio monitor for travel or to keep at the grandparents’ house since these types of monitors are affordable and portable.

Video monitors are the most popular choice of baby monitor for most parents. With features like large screens, night vision and the ability to zoom in on your little one, lots of parents like the peace of mind video monitors can provide. The cost for these types of monitors varies and can range from about fifty dollars to upwards of a few hundred.

Breathing movement monitors have increased in both popularity and prevalence over the past several years as technology has advanced. Some breathing monitors use wearables like a sock or a band to track your baby’s movements and vitals, while others use a clip or special sensors that go under the crib mattress. Some movement monitors also work alongside a video monitor and are sold as a bundle.

Movement monitors are often the most expensive type of baby monitor, especially those that are paired with a video component. Just keep in mind that these types of monitors are not medical devices and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, give little or no protection from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Always be sure to follow safe sleep practices regardless of which type of baby monitor you’re using.

How to Choose a Video Baby Monitor

Many parents who decide on a video monitor are quickly overwhelmed by the many choices and on how much money to spend. A quick breakdown of features can help you decide how to choose the best video baby monitor for your family.

  • 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 (often referred to as “pan, zoom and tilt”) 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.

How We Chose Our Best Baby Monitors

We asked thousands of real Babylist families about the baby products they love the most, then took the top products they shared with us and added our own research and insight to tell you about the best video monitors.

Do you think this content is helpful? Let our editors know!

Best Baby Monitors at a Glance
Brand Price Range Screen Size
Nanit Ultimate Bundle $399 Unlimited (thru WiFi) Cell phone
Vava $159.99 900 ft 5”
Owlet Sock 3rd Generation $299.99 100 ft Cell phone
Wyze Cam Pan 1080p $37.97 Unlimiteed (thru WiFi) Cell phone
Babysense V24R $74.99 900 ft 2.4”
VTech DM221 Audio $31.99 160 ft N/A
Motorola MBP36XL $149.99 1000 ft 5”
Google Nest $129.99 Unlimited (thru WiFi) Cell phone
Infant Optics DXR-8 $165.99 700 ft 3.5”

Best “Does It All” Baby Monitor

The Scoop
  • Tracks sleep, motion, vitals and growth
  • 1080p HD livestream from anywhere in the world
  • Babylist exclusive
What Our Experts Say

Looking for a baby monitor that does it all? Look no further than the Nanit Pro, the ultimate in baby monitoring. It’s truly unlike any other baby monitor on the market and, although it comes at a price, is a dream come true if you’re a parent who appreciates all the stats and info on your snoozing baby.

The Nanit Pro tracks your baby’s sleep, movement, vital stats and even growth, all via a livestream right from your phone. The camera features 1080p HD and provides a crystal clear look at your baby both during the day and overnight. The Breathing Band, a soft fabric band that fits over your little one’s pajamas, monitors breathing motion with no sensors. There’s also a Smart Sheet that measures your baby’s height and growth. Everything is tracked and analyzed via the Nanit Insights app which also provides personalized, science-backed sleep guidance from experts. Other fun features include two-way audio, white noise, and temperature and humidity sensors.

This Babylist exclusive bundle comes with a Nanit Pro Camera, Wall Mount, Small and Large Breathing Bands, Smart Sheet, Multi-Stand, Travel Case and one year of Nanit Insights.

What’s Worth Considering

The Nanit is definitely an investment. You’ll also have to pay for Nanit Insights, the sleep trends and timelapse highlights real app, after the first year. And if you don’t want a baby monitor that works via your phone, you’ll want to skip the Nanit and look for a more traditional video or audio monitor instead.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Every morning I love reading the summary of the night before and the ratings on how he slept. It’s also great that we can use our phones to monitor, and I’ve even put the app on an iPad that sits in the main room.” -Jessica M.

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video, via smart phone; iOS and Android
Range No limit if connected to WiFi
Power Source Camera: electrical outlet; Phone acts as parent unit
Transmission WiFi
Mount Wall, floor stand or table stand

Best Video Monitor

The Scoop
  • Large display offers wide, clear view of your baby
  • Good battery life
  • Super easy setup
What Our Experts Say

Video monitors can be notoriously finicky. Lots lose night vision clarity over time. Many have a battery life that’s less than stellar when the parent unit isn’t plugged in. And some just stop working for no apparent reason, even after a short time of use. But the Vava? It shines in all of these categories and gets rave reviews from Babylist parents across the board.

The Vava baby monitor has a 5-inch high-def display that offers a clear view of your little one—the feature parents love the most about this video monitor. There’s a two- and four-time zoom, as well as a pan and tilt feature, and a seven-level sound volume (plus LED indicators) so you have lots of different options when you want to listen in to what’s up in your nursery. Other features to note include temperature monitoring, two-way audio and a rechargeable battery that gives you 10 hours in livestream mode and 24 hours in audio-only mode.

What’s Worth Considering

While you can connect up to four cameras with this monitor, there’s no split screen viewing option, so you’ll have to toggle between them if you’re using it for multiple kids.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We wanted a monitor that did not use a phone app to view. Great connection with VAVA. Works throughout our two-story home. It was also very easy to install and pans throughout the room well.” -Marissa

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video
Range 900 feet
Power Source Electrical outlet
Transmission 2.4GHz
Mount Wall or table

Best Wearable Monitor

The Scoop
  • Vitals tracker + camera bundle
  • Wearable sock fits babies 5-30 lbs
  • HD video cam and 130-degree wide-angle lens
What Our Experts Say

The Owlet is our pick for the best wearable monitor that tracks your baby’s vitals—heart rate and oxygen—while they sleep and alerts you if something’s off. The Owlet uses a Smart Sock, a comfy sock-like wrap that goes over your baby’s foot, that fits your little one from birth until about 18 months or 30 pounds. (It also works over footed pajamas, we tried!) It tracks sleep trends and history, all which can be viewed via the Owlet app on your phone.

You can use the Owlet Smart Sock on its own, pair it with a video monitor or bundle it with Owlet’s HD camera by purchasing the Owlet Smart Sock 3 & Cam Bundle. Owlet’s camera features a 4x zoom, 130-degree wide-angle lens and a room temperature sensor.

What’s Worth Considering

Though it can alert you to potential problems, this monitor has not been tested to prevent SIDS. Parents who are using the Smart Sock + camera bundle complain that the camera can be a bit buggy. You can also use your FSA or HSA funds to purchase an Owlet.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I love having the owlet for my son, three months. I used to be up several times a night checking if he was breathing, and now I sleep so much better knowing that if there were a problem, I would be alerted immediately.” -Melissa

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Wearable (Wearable + video with camera bundle) via smart phone; iOS and Android
Range 100 feet from sock to base
Power Source Sock: rechargeable battery (charge lasts up to 18 hours), needs WiFi to connect to app; Camera: electrical outlet
Transmission WiFi
Mount Sock: attaches to baby; Camera: wall

Best Budget Baby Monitor (WiFi)

The Scoop
  • Under $40!
  • Live HD streaming + pan, tilt and zoom
  • Easy setup
What Our Experts Say

Leave it to enterprising parents to find a hack for everything. The Wyze, originally designed as a home surveillance camera, is used by tons of parents as a baby monitor. And with its easy setup, live HD streaming and incredibly affordable price tag, it’s a great choice.

The Wyze is controlled remotely via an app and can be shared by multiple family members. When used as a baby monitor, you can view the live stream in real time or set up push notifications to alert you to motion and sound. (You can also adjust the sensitivities on these so you’re not being constantly bombarded with a message every time your little one makes a move.) The camera has night vision, two-way audio, can pan, tilt and zoom and can even record 12-second video clips. And it works with Alexa and Google Assistant.

What’s Worth Considering

You’ll need your phone around (and always charged) to use the Wyze cam, which isn’t ideal if you’re using a sitter and want them to be able to use the monitor. (Although you are able to let them access the camera if they download the app and you give permission.) Some parents also don’t love the cloud-based storage—but there is an option to insert a micro SD card instead and store the files locally.

What Babylist Parents Say

“The night vision is excellent, even in a totally dark room (at night with blackout curtains). The panning ability and motion sensing are handy as well, but the motor that moves the camera is kind of loud so we don’t recommend doing it when baby is sleeping. The two way communication is nice to remotely talk with the baby and the audio/video quality from the camera is great.” -William

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video, via smart phone; iOS and Android
Range No limit if connected to WiFi
Power Source Camera: electrical outlet; Phone acts as parent unit
Transmission WiFi
Mount Wall or table

Best Budget Baby Monitor (Video)

The Scoop
  • Lots of good features for the price point
  • Can add second camera
  • Can zoom but can’t pan or tilt remotely
What Our Experts Say

The V24R from Babysense is our pick for a non-WiFi video monitor that won’t break the bank. Considering the features and the price, it’s a solid choice that lots of parents really like.

The standout features of this monitor include the color LCD screen, the compact (and easily portable) parent unit, the room temperature monitor and the ability to add on a second camera. Typically features of higher-priced video monitors, you’re getting them here for a lot less. We also like the monitor’s ECO mode, a sound-activated power-saving mode that shuts off the parent unit to conserve battery life when there’s no sound being detected.

What’s Worth Considering

You can’t pan or tilt the camera using the parent unit; you’ll have to do that manually. (You are able to zoom, however.) Another common complaint is the brightness level of the LED lights along the top of the monitor.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I really like this baby monitor. It isn’t as expensive as other brands and it works just as fine. I really enjoy its eco mode, where it only turns on when baby cries, this way the monitor lasts the whole night.” -Paulina

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video
Range 900 feet
Power Source Camera: electrical outlet; Parent unit: electrical outlet or rechargeable battery
Transmission 2.4GHz
Mount Table or wall

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Best Audio Monitor

The Scoop
  • Two-way intercom
  • No white noise static, clear sound transmission
  • 160-foot indoor range and 1,000 feet outdoors
What Our Experts Say

Don’t discount the value and usefulness of an audio monitor. Audio monitors are affordable, functional and portable. They can also be a lifesaver for anxious parents who are often overwhelmed by the thought of being glued to a video monitor screen trying to keep an eye on their baby 24/7.

This VTech monitor has all the features you need in an audio-only monitor. It picks up the quietest of sounds very well, but won’t emit the constant (and annoying) white noise you often hear from other audio monitors. It features a two-way intercom, a feature that’s especially useful during the toddler years, and a visual five-level sound indicator on the parent unit so you can visually monitor the noise level even when the unit is muted.

What’s Worth Considering

The biggest complaint about this monitor is battery life; lots of parents say it quickly loses its charge once unplugged from the wall, so you’ll need to keep it plugged in as much as possible when in use.

What Babylist Parents Say

“These are fantastic. Great price, no unnecessary bells and whistles. I have yet to encounter a single dissatisfying feature of this monitor. I’d buy it again.” -Ren

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Audio
Range 160 feet indoors, 1,000 feet outdoors
Power Source Audio base: electrical outlet; Parent unit: electrical outlet or battery
Transmission DECT 6.0 digital technology
Mount Table

Best Baby Monitor for a Large Space

The Scoop
  • 1,000-foot range
  • Large 5” color display
  • Can connect up to 4 cameras
What Our Experts Say

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. It’s the perfect choice if you’re living in a large space and are worried that your monitor won’t cut it.

Other useful features include a five-inch display, 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.

What’s Worth Considering

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.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We have two children under 15 months old, and this monitor is great for checking on both of our girls. It has a good image, and the reception is strong. I love that we can talk to our girls through the monitor, too.” -Jacqueline C.

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video
Range 1,000 feet
Power Source Base: electrical outlet; Parent unit: electrical outlet or rechargeable battery
Transmission 2.4 GHz
Mount Wall or table

Best Baby Monitor + Home Monitoring

The Scoop
  • Indoor security cam that doubles as baby monitor
  • High-def livestream
  • Paid subscription needed for certain features
What Our Experts Say

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 childcare provider), especially when you can’t be at home.

The Nest is a high-def 1080p camera with a 130-degree wide-angle view that allows you to watch live streaming from your smartphone. Mobile alerts notify you when there’s activity spotted, and you can 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, a subscription-based service that expires after a free 30-day trial period.) The Nest also features night vision and a built-in microphone for two-way talk and listen.

What’s Worth Considering

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.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I love being a peeping mom while at work. I can hear and talk to my son.” -Scarlett L.

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video, via cell phone; iOS and Android, requires Bluetooth
Range No limit when connected to WiFi
Power Source Camera: electrical outlet; Phone acts as parent unit
Transmission WiFi
Mount Wall or table

Best Monitor for Baby’s Close-Up

The Scoop
  • Almost 50K positive user reviews
  • Can swap out different lenses for a closer view
  • Expandable for up to 4 cameras
What Our Experts Say

Need a closer look? 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.) The video screen on the parent unit of the monitor is just right in size, not too big but not too small.

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. It’s also expandable with up to four cameras if you plan on growing your family.

What’s Worth Considering

While you can talk to your baby through the monitor, it doesn’t have recorded lullabies. Some parents also report that the screen is a little too small (although other parents consider this a pro rather than a con, as it allows for better portability of the parent unit) and that the night vision deteriorates over time.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I love that the room temperature is displayed on the Infant Optics monitor, and that I can still hear my baby when the screen is off. I also like the option of talking to my baby through the monitor.” -A.W.

Additional Specs
Monitor Type Video
Range 700 feet
Power Source Camera: electrical outlet; Parent unit: electrical outlet or rechargeable battery
Transmission WiFi
Mount Wall or table

Honorable Mention

Here are a few other monitors we love or that have recently hit the market that we’re keeping an eye on.

  • Like a few other video monitors on our list, the Eufy ($159.99) features a large screen (five inches), the ability to pan and tilt, a good battery life, two-way audio and lullabies and the option to connect up to four cameras. It gets solid user reviews across the board.
  • If you’re looking for a smart monitor but don’t want to splurge on the Nanit, check out the Lollipop Baby Monitor ($149). It’s a WiFi monitor that offers sleep tracking, cry detection, a built-in speaker for two-way audio and sounds like lullabies and white noise and a bendable leg that lets you mount the camera almost anywhere or stand it on any surface. It’s also available in a few fun colors.
  • Miku ($399.99) should be your monitor of choice if sound clarity is a must have. It features custom dual Ole Wolff speakers, and also tracks breathing and sleep patterns (among lots of other things) without wires or wearables.
  • The Lumi by Pampers Smart Baby Monitor Plus Sleep System Complete Bundle ($299) tracks movement, activity and more. It connects with the brand’s special diapers so you can auto-track sleep 24/7.
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