Baby Monitor Features - Baby Monitor Buying Guide

Last updated: October 2020

In this guide:

Baby monitors are always coming out with new features. Below is a list of all the features a monitor could possibly have. Take a look and get a sense of what's possible. Then decide what's a must have vs. nice to have.


Baby Monitor Connection Types

  • Transmission type: The way the monitor transmits information determines what specs to keep an eye on. If you’re looking at an analog, digital or DECT monitor, check the frequency and range to make sure it meets your needs. If looking at a WiFi connected monitor, you may be interested in the enhanced security features to ensure a secure connection.
  • Frequency: The frequency channel that monitors transmit sound on determines how much interference or static the monitor might get. Check step 3 above for more information about transmission types and their frequency ranges.
  • Range: How far the monitor can transmit sound is extremely important especially if you live in a larger home. It’s important to check both the field range (how far it can transmit in an open field) and obstructed range (how far it can transmit in a home with walls).
  • Security: For WiFi connected devices, it's important to look for SSL/TLS encryption for securing data being transmitted and AES encryption for securing data on the device or cloud. Some higher tech devices even have crypto chips for enhanced security.


Baby Monitor Components

  • Playback device: Monitors either have a dedicated device you can watch your little one on, or an app you can download on your smartphone. A dedicated device is nice if you want to use your phone while also watching your LO. An app is nice if you don’t want to carry a separate device around the house or if you want to access the monitor when you’re not at home.
  • Power requirements: Some monitors must be plugged in at all times, others need regular or rechargeable batteries. As you think about how you plan on using the monitor and playback device, it’s important to consider what power needs it has and the total cost to own it (i.e., a cheaper monitor may require regular batteries, which could end up costing you more in the long run compared to a more expensive monitor with a rechargeable battery).
  • Easily transportable: The playback device is almost always portable, since you’ll likely be roaming around the house when your little one is sleeping. If you’re planning to monitor your LO in multiple places throughout your home or during an occasional trip to grandma’s house, it’s also worth looking for a monitor/camera that can be easily moved around vs. permanently mounted to the wall.


Baby Monitor Audio Features

  • Two-way talk: The ability to hear sound and speak through both the monitor and the playback device.
  • Background audio (for apps): One downside of using your smartphone as the playback device is that you can’t see or hear anything when you’re using other apps. To solve for this, some apps offer background audio so that you can hear your baby while you’re using other apps.


Baby Monitor Video Features

  • Picture quality: Some cameras will capture dark and grainy images, while the best ones can capture your little one in 1080p HD. Check the specs to ensure you’re getting the video quality you expect.
  • Camera pan and tilt ability: It’s important to know how wide the camera angle is. The wider the angle, the more the camera can capture in the room. The best cameras on the market have 130 degree camera angles. Some cameras also have the ability to tilt and move so you can scan the room if you need to.
  • Night vision: You’ll most likely be watching your little one while they’re sleeping in a dark room. Good quality night vision is important if you want to see the details of your moving baby.
  • Zoom capabilities: For extra peace of mind, it’s nice to have the ability to zoom in on your little one. Whether it’s to check if their eyes are open or to swoon over a sleeping smile, it’s important to think about when you might want to use this feature and if you need it.


Baby Monitor Notification Features

  • Sleeping notifications and analytics: Some smart baby monitors can also determine when your baby is sleeping. With that ability, these monitors can create sleep reports you can access and some even go as far as offering sleep training recommendations.
  • Movement detector and notifications: Instead of listening for every noise, smart baby monitors can determine when a baby is moving and send you notifications.
  • Safe zone notifications: Taking movement detection one step further, some monitors allow you to identify danger zones and notify you when your little one is getting near it.


Baby Monitor Extra Features

  • Sensory-driven video capture: High tech monitors can also record video snippets when it senses movement so that you never miss a moment.
  • Ability to save memories: Want to save that cute sleeping position? Well some apps even have scrapbook-like features that allow you to add stickers and save fun memories.
  • Lullabies and sounds: Ability to turn on lullabies and sounds like white noise to help soothe your baby and eliminate the need for separate white noise machines.

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