Top 5 Video Baby Monitors 2017
The baby monitor has long been a staple baby care item for many parents. However, in recent years, its high-tech cousin, the video baby monitor, has started taking over the marketplace. With their real-time viewing capability and convenience, video baby monitors are becoming more affordable and thus more accessible, quickly replacing sound-only monitors as an unobtrusive way to keep an eye on your baby at all hours of the day or night.
There are many video baby monitors with a variety of features available, so we have reviewed the most talked-about models and narrowed them down to our top 5 for you, so you can choose the best video baby monitor that fits your circumstances and your budget.
Below are detailed reviews for each of our top 5 video baby monitors so you can see which models and features stood out enough to make the cut.
The noteworthy feature that makes the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor unique is its interchangeable optical lens, which has a viewing range of 700 feet (not taking into account walls and floors). The interchangeable lens system provides multiple viewing options, allowing you to go from a wide angle view so you can see the entire crib, to zooming right in to baby’s face. There are 3 lenses that comprise the optical system: a normal lens, a wide angle lens which is sold separately, and a 2x optical zoom lens, which you must insert into the camera. It’s impressive to note that no other video baby monitor has this optical zoom feature.
Other useful features of the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor include:
- A large, 3.5” LCD color display which also has black and white night vision functionality thanks to 8 infrared LEDs
- Remote pan and tilt capabilities
- Real time video streaming
- Can be set up with as many as 4 cameras, offering either a 4-way view or a scanning mode that alternates between cameras every 12 seconds
- Sound-activated component that alerts parents to baby’s crying even when the volume setting is set to low, and can filter white noise when baby is sleeping
- Two-way communication so parents can talk to baby
- Temperature sensor that indicates the temperature of baby’s room
- Power cord chargers to use with AC adapter or USB, rechargeable batteries, and a 1-year warranty
- Extensive battery life, averaging about 7 hours of use before needing to be recharged
In summary, the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor is definitely worth considering, due to its interchangeable lens, optical zoom, large display screen, high video quality, excellent indoor range, and overall ease of use. Though its sound quality is a little muffled and its price is higher than most other monitors, the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor has a great variety of desirable features that parents will appreciate.
The Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera is a video monitor that uses your Wi-Fi to stream live video to your computer, smartphone, or tablet, all hours of the day or night. With its 130-degree, wide-angle view and crystal-clear image, parents can easily keep a constant eye on baby from almost anywhere there is an internet connection. Setup is quick and straightforward, even for parents who aren’t exactly tech-savvy; simply plug in the Nest Cam and download the Nest app, following the directions on the intuitive user interface.
The Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera also boasts:
- Built-in speaker and microphone for two-way communication, so baby can hear your voice
- Phone or email alert, including a snapshot, when activity is detected
- Sharp 1080p HD video with 8x digital zoom
- Night vision capability
- Compatibility with both iOS and Android devices
- Rotating, magnetic base and pivoting stand
- Lower price (by as much as $50) than that of comparable video monitors
- Multi-purpose functionality, as it works equally well as a home surveillance camera or nanny cam
Overall, the The Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera impressed us with its high-resolution video quality and its sleek, easy-to-use app. It’s a fantastic option if you’re looking for a live-streaming video monitor with plenty of built-in functionality and some added security features.
From its simple setup to its solid collection of features, it’s no wonder that the Samsung SEW-3043W BrightVIEW HD Baby Video Monitoring System is one of Samsung’s best-selling high-end baby monitors.
We found its video and sound quality to be exceptionally high, even in night vision mode. Other features to be aware of:
- Large 5” color touchscreen display
- Remote pan and tilt control
- Built-in microphone and HD audio for two-way communication
- Consistent 720p resolution
- 150-foot indoor range with alerts to notify you when you move out of range
- Night vision capability up to 16 feet
- Visual display of noise level in baby’s room
- Soothing night light on camera
- 4 pre-programmed lullabies
- Feeding schedule alerts
- Quick and easy settings navigation on the parent unit
- Use of FHSS technology to ensure signals are secure and interference-free
With the large screen and ability to control the view range by scanning with the remote, the Samsung SEW-3043W BrightVIEW HD Baby Video Monitoring System is a solid video baby monitor. We especially love the two-way communication as there are few options like this on the market. Though this is a pricier baby monitor, it really sets itself apart from other monitors due to its solid suite of features and exceptional user experience.
The Angelcare Baby Video Monitor with 5” Touchscreen Display (AC510) combines high quality with reliability and convenience, not surprising for a company that has been in the baby monitor business since 1997. With this unit’s new low-profile design, secure transmission, and innovative features such as room temperature tracking reports, parents can rest assured that they’re getting a modern and feature-packed monitor to safeguard their little one. Included in this model:
- 5” LCD touchscreen parent unit display
- Wide angle lens with 2x digital zoom
- Two-way communication
- Room temperature display and temperature reports covering the past 2 months
- Alerts for room temperature changes, low battery, and out-of-range position
- Night vision capability
- Visual sound level indicator
- Adjustable magnetic mount that allows you to mount camera on a tabletop or wall
- Secure digital transmission
Angelcare is one of the most trusted brands for parents, and the Angelcare Baby Video Monitor with 5” Touchscreen Display is a notable addition to the Angelcare line.
As its name suggests, the Summer Infant WIDE VIEW 2.0 Digital Color Video Baby Monitor offers an impressively wide view of baby’s room, thanks to its wide angle lens camera. This feature, which allows you to see up to 4x more of the room, will come in handy well past the infant stage and into the toddler years. Many parents might also appreciate that up to 4 cameras can be integrated into the video monitor system, ideal for multiple children or rooms. With this setup, you can monitor each room individually or with an 8-second auto-rotation between rooms.
To round out the list of features, this monitor includes:
- 100% digital technology for private and secure viewing
- 5” high-resolution color LCD video display
- Automatic black and white night vision
- Soothing night light which is controlled from the handheld unit
- Remote digital zoom
- Two-way communication via intercom
- Hand-held portability with rechargeable battery for up to 8 hours of use in energy-saving mode
- Sound-activated LED lights which indicate noise levels
- On-screen low-battery and out-of-range notification
The Summer Infant WIDE VIEW 2.0 Digital Color Video Baby Monitor’s user-friendly setup and operation, together with its numerous features and overall convenience, add up to a high-quality, highly-functional unit that has definitely earned its place in our top 5.
Choosing a Video Baby Monitor
What Buy a Video Baby Monitor?
Unless you live in a small space and baby is constantly in your line of sight, then a video baby monitor would probably be a convenient additon to your baby care arsenal. Video baby monitors have become more affordable and thus accessible in recent years, quickly replacing sound-only monitors as an unobtrusive way to keep an eye on your baby 24/7. Though some models can be quite pricey, video baby monitors can be thought of as a valuable investment that will pay off with several years of use and, more importantly, the added peace of mind from watching your baby sleep, safe and sound.
Types of Video Baby Monitors
Today’s video baby monitors can be categorized into 1 of 2 types: dedicated or Wi-Fi. Both types have their pros and cons, and whichever you choose will depend on how you intend to use it, the location of your baby’s room with respect to the parent monitoring unit, or simply personal preference.
Dedicated Video Baby Monitors
The more traditional style that has been around for awhile, dedicated video baby monitors come with a camera to put in your baby’s room and a separate parent device that both link to each other. The parent unit, which has an LCD screen and rechargeable battery, can be carried around with you so you can watch over and listen to baby from any room in the house.
These monitors are simpler to set up and use, and their signals are generally more reliable, since they use 2.4 GHz FHSS communication technology and are not dependent on the internet. As a result, their range and connection are limited to home use, so this type of monitor is well-suited to parents who don’t really need to supervise a baby while away from home.
WiFi Video Monitors
Using newer technology, Wi-Fi video baby monitors stream videos directly from the Wi-Fi camera to your smartphone, tablet, or computer via a downloaded app.
These monitors work anywhere you can access a reliable and reasonably fast internet connection, and thus are great for parents who want to be able to see what’s happening when they are away from home. More recent models have proven to be pretty reliable and easy for even non-tech-savvy parents to use. They also offer a larger signal range than dedicated monitors, and the ability to share video with family members who also have access to internet, while making use of personal devices that you probably already own. On the downside, there may be security concerns that come with using the internet and a wireless router, and the signal strength is dependent on your internet connectivity and speed.
Video Baby Monitor Features
There are a myriad of features to consider when shopping for a video baby monitor, so we thought we’d highlight the ones that would be of most benefit to both baby and parents:
- Visual clarity: Having a video baby monitor is pointless if the video image is unclear. Even if the sound feature works fine, it’s the visual details that can quickly inform a parent as to the reason for baby’s cries, and whether or not the situation is urgent. Night vision is equally important to have, saving parents from having to get out of bed and potentially disturb baby in the middle of the night.
- Sound quality: In combination with visual quality, clear and detectable sound is important for alerting parents to baby’s activities. Equally important is a monitor’s ability to filter out background noise, so that baby’s cries aren’t missed, or muffled background sounds aren’t constantly transmitted to the parent device all night long.
- Range: Signal range becomes more important the larger your house is, or the more obstacles there are between the baby camera and the parent device. Keep in mind that the range often indicated in product descriptions are open-field (or line of sight) measurements, which don’t take into account the walls and multiple levels in a house. Wi-Fi monitors usually boast the longest range.
- Pan and tilt: Once baby becomes more mobile, moving around in their crib, or later, having free reign of their room as a toddler, having remote pan and tilt functionality is a huge advantage. Note that there is a distinction between true pan and tilt (where you can actually move the camera’s point of view around the room from your parent device) and a “mock” pan and tilt (the camera does not move and you are only panning around the original field of view).
- Zoom: The ability to zoom in on your baby’s environment is a desirable feature, but make sure you know the difference between optical zoom, where the the camera lens actually zooms into the subject, and digital zoom, which simply enlarges and crops the image, not really getting you any closer to your subject. Optical zoom gives you a clearer picture, but unfortunately is not included in many video baby monitors.
- Sound activation: This is a good feature to have, since the monitor will only transmit audio when your baby makes sounds, cutting out the annoying ambient noise that would otherwise be constantly heard.
- Battery life: In dedicated monitors, the battery life in the parent unit should last somewhere between 5 to 9 hours before needing to be recharged. Battery life in Wi-Fi models is harder to estimate, as it depends on the type of device being used. Obviously, a longer battery life allows parents more freedom to move around instead of being tied to one location.
- Alerts and notifications: Exclusive to Wi-Fi video monitors, alerts and notifications are sent or emailed to your device to let you know when baby moves or makes sounds. Though these messages could be reassuring for some parents, others may find that them unhelpful or even irritating.
In summary, shopping for a video baby monitor is no easy feat, given the variety of options available. Whether your priority is image clarity or zoom capability, reliability or signal range, simplicity or the latest technology, with enough research and the help of our guide, we are confident that you will be able to find the perfect monitor for you and your baby.