Best Budget Baby Monitors

Best Budget Baby Monitors

February 7, 2020

Best Budget Baby Monitors

Best Budget Baby Monitors

A baby monitor is one of the most registered-for pieces of baby gear and something that many new parents wouldn’t want to live without thanks to the peace of mind it can provide. And while it’s easy to drop hundreds of dollars on one, it’s definitely not necessary—there are lots of more affordable baby monitors that do a great job of helping you keep an eye on your baby without having to spend a ton.

We’re rounding up the five best affordable audio, video, and yes, even smartphone-enabled WiFi baby monitors that will let you check in on your baby no matter where you are. Most will cost you around fifty bucks (or less!) yet still boast an impressive selection of features and even better functionality.

Great Price, Great Performance

The Scoop
  • Incredibly affordable
  • WiFi cam with live HD streaming, audio, night vision, pan, tilt and zoom
  • Easy to use via the Wyze app
What Our Experts Think

Nope, you’re not seeing things. The Wyze, the home-surveillance-camera-turned-baby-monitor by lots of enterprising parents, is a WiFi-enabled camera with HD video and audio capabilities that costs under forty bucks. And it’s pretty darn great. If that’s not enough to get your attention, we’re not sure what is.

The Wyze cam is controlled remotely via an app and can be shared by multiple family members. When you’re using it as a baby monitor, you can monitor the live stream in real time via the app or set up push notifications on your phone to alert you to motion and sound. (You can adjust the sensitivities of the motion and sound sensors along with what time of day you want them to activate, too.) The camera has night vision and two-way audio capabilities, can record 12-second video clips, and can pan, tilt and zoom either manually or via an automatic preset feature. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant. And have we mentioned that it’s less than a week’s worth of Starbucks’ lattes?

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.

Best Choice for Audio-Only

The Scoop
  • Clear sound transmission and no constant white noise static
  • Two-way intercom
  • 160-foot indoor range and 1,000-foot outdoors
What Our Experts Think

There’s something to be said for a good ol’ audio monitor. While some parents find extra comfort in being able to see their baby’s every move, for others, the thought of knowing what their little one is up to 24/7 can actually have the opposite effect, causing more anxiety instead of less. And that’s where an audio monitor comes in.

The VTech DM221 is everything you’d want or need in an audio monitor and nothing more. It picks up even the quietest of sounds really well, but won’t emit the annoying constant white noise that you often hear from other audio monitors. The monitor also works as a two-way intercom, which we love, especially once those toddler years arrive—we’re all for any feature that saves us another trip into the bedroom. We also like the rechargeable battery and the visual five-level sound indicator on the parent unit so you can visually monitor the noise level 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.

Higher-End Features for Less

The Scoop
  • Good features considering the price point
  • Ability to add a second camera
  • Can zoom, but can’t pan or tilt remotely
What Our Experts Think

If you’re looking for a non-WiFi video monitor option that’s under $50, the Babywise is a solid choice. (And with thousands of four and five-star ratings on Amazon, it seems that lots of other parents agree.)

A few of the things we love the most about the Babywise monitor are the color LCD screen, the compact, easily portable parent unit, the room temperature monitor, the ability to add on a second camera and the zoom feature. These are typically features you’d find in much higher-priced monitors, but with the Babywise, you’re getting them for a whole lot less.

The ECO mode is another thing worth mentioning. It’s a sound-activated power-saving mode that automatically shuts off the parent unit to conserve battery life when there’s no sound detected. Once your baby starts making some noise, the parent unit lights up again, allowing you to see what’s going on in the nursery.

(Keep in mind: if the Babysense has caught your eye, you may also want to check out the Anmeate Digital Video Baby Monitor. It’s a similar price point, shares many of the same features as the Babysense and is also very highly reviewed on Amazon.)

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. They blink when in ECO mode, which can be distracting if you prefer to sleep in a completely dark bedroom.

Popular Brand

The Scoop
  • Good picture quality for both day and night viewing
  • Night light that can be operated remotely
  • Can zoom, but can’t pan or tilt remotely
What Our Experts Think

Summer is a popular brand of baby monitors and the Glimpse, although on the more affordable end of their offerings, is a strong entry-level monitor with more than enough features to get the job done. It’s similar to the Babysense monitor in that it offers an ample display screen, good picture quality, a power-save mode, a zoom feature and the ability to add up to four extra cameras.

What’s different about the Glimpse? It also offers a night light you can operate remotely from the parent unit. It’s a nice feature to have available when you know you’ll need to make your way into your baby’s nursery during the night and don’t want to deal with fumbling around in the dark.

What’s Worth Considering

The Glimpse doesn’t have two-way intercom capabilities, which is a big negative for some parents. There’s also no temperature sensor and no ability to play white noise or lullabies through the monitor.

Highest Price But Extra Features

The Scoop
  • Most expensive budget pick, but comes with helpful extra features
  • 5” LCD color display screen—largest of our picks
  • Remote pan, tilt and zoom and two-way intercom
What Our Experts Think

Motorola’s Comfort75 monitor is the most expensive of our budget picks, but at less than $125, it’s still a really good value considering the extra features that come along with the price.

You’ll get a few higher-end features here that we believe justify the cost. The Comfort75 has the largest display screen of all of the monitors on our list, measuring five inches. (Parents also report that both the day and night vision are really clear.) You’ll also have the ability to pan, tilt and zoom the camera mobily via the parent unit, a feature that comes in handy if you have an awkwardly-shaped or extremely small nursery space and can’t get your baby’s crib in full view. There’s also a temperature sensor, the ability to play lullabies and soothing sounds and compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant.

What’s Worth Considering

While you’re able to add extra cameras to this monitor as your family grows, there’s no split screen option for viewing; the screen toggles between cameras every 15 seconds. Poor battery life on the parent unit is also a common complaint.

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