buying guide Baby Monitors

safe (& sound) summary.

A baby monitor helps you make sure your little one's safe even when you're in the next room. You'll hear (or see) baby's sleep activity without any disruption from entering the room. And you'll know right away when naptime is over.

the way it works.

Whether audio or video, both types of monitors work the same way. The transmitter stays in baby's room, and one or more receivers (monitors) stay near you. Today's models come with all sorts of handy features, so consider your home and how you'll use the monitor, and make your list of must-haves from there.

safety check.

There's no substitute for your watchful eye. Monitors are a little extra help in keeping your bundle of joy safe and sound. Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions before use.

monitor types.

analog audio monitors.

Just want the basics? Analog monitors transmit sound from baby's room to receiver—like a one-way walkie-talkie. While simple to set up and use, these monitors can transmit static caused by other household appliances, and may occasionally pick up "cross talk" from devices in your house or your neighbors'.

analog audio monitors

digital audio monitors.

These work like analog models but offer more privacy by encoding baby-room sounds before transmitting. That means no cross talk and less interference.

digital audio monitors

video monitors.

With a video monitor, you can see baby snooze. While analog models are available, the more popular digital options encrypt the signal to block interference, and send real-time sights and sounds streaming to a video monitor in another room. Often, additional cameras can be purchased for more views. And many have night vision so you can keep an eye on baby even in the dark.

Always be sure to mount any camera at least 3 ft. from the crib and keep any cords or wires out of reach.

video monitors

movement monitors.

With movement monitors, a sensor pad goes under the crib mattress where baby can't feel it. Sensitive enough to detect the subtlest little sighs, it only alerts you when no movement is detected, instead of at every twist and turn.

movement monitors

wireless network monitors.

Get the ultimate in innovation—and convenience. Wireless network monitors use an app to let you keep an eye on your little one with your computer, tablet or smartphone. Check packaging for monitor compatibility information.

wireless network monitors

functional features.

volume control.

Volume control's a must when you need a quick moment of silence to take a call. Make sure the monitor has another way to indicate sound (like lights). Some units have a function that only transmits sound when there's noise, so you're not bothered by static.

portability.

Most baby monitors are wireless and portable, so you're free to move from room to room. Handy belt clips also offer hands-free movement. Make sure you know your monitor's range, and the distances in your home from baby's room. Keep in mind, walls and furniture can change reception.

out-of-range indicator.

An out-of-range indicator warns you when you're leaving the monitor's range for added peace of mind when you're moving about.

low-battery alert.

Many monitors run on batteries. A low-battery alert lets you know when it's time for a replacement. Keeping fresh batteries on hand means you'll always be prepared.

extra receivers.

How many receivers you'll want will depend on the size of your home. One is fine for a small apartment. But in a larger home, you may want to check in on baby from multiple rooms. Some monitors come with extra receivers, so check packaging for details.

intercom.

An intercom allows two-way communication between you and your little snuggler. Perfect for when baby stirs and just needs to hear your voice before getting back to sweet dreams.