Best Baby Monitors Review

Best Baby Monitors Review

Product Recommended
Arlo Baby Best overall
Nest Cam Best security camera
Infant Optics DXR-8 Best RF model
Samsung BrightVIEW Best display
VTech DM221 Best audio monitor

Overview

Baby monitors have come a long way from the screechy handsets you might remember. Now, baby monitors can do everything from play lullabies to put on light shows, all while keeping an eye (or rather, a camera) on your sleeping baby.

But with so many options, it can be hard to know which monitor to choose. We’ve gone through the top models on the market to find the best types of monitors for your house and your kids, whether you want a full-on baby sleep center or just a multi-purpose indoor camera.

Tech spec comparison

ModelResolutionNight VisionConnection typePan and TiltLearn More
Arlo Baby1080pYesWi-FiNoView on Amazon
Nest Cam1080pYesWi-FiNoView on Amazon
Infant Optics DXR-8640 x 480 (VGA)YesRadio frequencyYesView on Amazon
Samsung SEW3043720pYesRadio frequencyYesView on Amazon
VTech DM221N/ANoRadio frequencyN/AView on Amazon

Best overall — Arlo Baby

The Arlo Baby packs basically every nursery feature you can think of into a single HD video baby monitor—and it’s pretty cute, too

Features:

  • 1080p HD recording
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • Sound identification
  • Built-in night-light
  • Built-in lullaby/white noise player
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Multiple mount options
  • Google Home, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Stringify compatibility

Netgear’s Arlo Baby was an easy pick for first place because almost every feature you want or could want is built into this one small package. It’s not just a baby monitor—if you also need a white noise machine, a nightlight, or a temperature monitor, Arlo Baby has you covered. The only thing we don’t love about Arlo Baby is the price.

What we like:

The customizable camera

First things first: the camera. Arlo Baby has an excellent camera that lets you keep an eye on your kids from your smartphone. The Arlo Baby’s camera has everything we like in a regular indoor cam: it records in 1080p resolution, gives you a wide 130º field of vision, comes with night vision, and lets you both listen and talk to your baby using your phone.

Arlo Baby also takes things a step further by making its camera extra customizable. While the camera can record in 1080p, you can lower that resolution to 720p or even 360p, which is great if you don’t want a single camera to eat all of your internet bandwidth.

Even the field of view is adjustable. You can have the Arlo Baby record in as wide as 130º or limit the field of view to 90º if you want to see only the crib in your baby’s nursery. Plus, you can mount the camera almost anywhere or just set it on a flat surface.

Baby-centric features

Arlo Baby doesn’t stop at the camera. Netgear has built a bunch of features  right into the monitor that benefit both you and your baby.

Arlo Baby’s nursery features:

  • Nightlight
  • Lullaby/white noise player
  • Temperature sensor
  • Air quality monitor
  • Character outfits

If your baby likes to watch a light show while they fall asleep, you can turn on Arlo Baby’s color-changing nightlight. You can also play a lullaby to sing your baby to sleep, or sing them to sleep yourself with a recording of your own voice.

Arlo lets you dress up the monitor in a few different character outfits: puppy, bunny, or kitten. So if your kiddo has a favorite critter, the Arlo Baby can match.

Get money Get money

Tip:

Tip:

Arlo Baby comes in a bunny character outfit by default. If you want to switch things up, each additional outfit costs $20, which we think is a bit much.

Our personal favorite feature is the temperature sensor. You can check on your baby and check the temperature in their room at the same time. The air quality monitor is a nice touch, but it’s not super informative. It tells you only  if the air quality is “Normal,” “Abnormal,” or “Very Abnormal.”

The monitor’s air quality monitor can detect carbon monoxide, but Arlo says not to rely on it as your sole CO sensor. If you really want to watch for carbon monoxide, we recommend using a dedicated CO detector. You can choose from multiple options on Amazon, like this one or this one.

7 days’ worth of cloud storage

Arlo gives you seven days’ worth of free cloud storage for the Arlo Baby—or up to 1 GB. That’s better than the Nest Cam, which gives you only three hours of stored history.

If you want more than the seven days Arlo gives you, you can subscribe to one of its monthly plans.

Arlo plans

Plan namePriceCloud storageLearn more
Premier$9.99/mo. OR $99/yr30 days (10 GB)View on Amazon
Elite$14.99/mo. OR $149/yr.60 days (100 GB)View on Amazon

What we don’t like:

The price

There’s no way around it: Arlo Baby is expensive. It might be packed with features, but you definitely pay for them. That said, it’s less expensive than a high-end indoor camera like the Nest Cam IQ Indoor, and it’s the same price as the regular Nest Cam.

You can definitely find a cheaper indoor camera that’s just as good as the camera on the Arlo Baby. A regular camera won’t have all those extra baby-specific features, but you can buy separate devices for those too and still pay less for them combined than you would for a single Arlo Baby monitor.

For example, if you want a camera that can pan and tilt and look around the room, then the Amcrest ProHD on Amazon is cheaper than the Arlo Baby. Amazon also has affordable white noise machines and night-lights galore.

But we love convenience, and we like having one easy device (and one easy app) that has all the features we need. The Arlo Baby is a jack-of-all-trades, and everything it does, it does well.

Best security camera — Nest Cam

If you want an indoor security camera that can also work as a baby monitor, the Nest Cam’s mount options make it a good choice.

Features:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Night vision
  • Two-way audio
  • 130º field of vision
  • Multiple mount options
  • Person alerts

The Nest Cam is an indoor security camera, not specifically a baby monitor. But it can definitely function as a baby monitor if you want something that can do both.

Overall, Nest Cam wouldn’t be our first choice for a dedicated baby monitor because it lacks a lot of nursery-specific features, like always-on audio. But as a multi-use camera, it works pretty well.

What we like:

Multiple mount options

One main reason for choosing the Nest Cam as a baby monitor over other indoor cameras was its mount options.

You can put this thing almost anywhere:

  • Metal surfaces
  • Flat surfaces
  • Tripods
  • Wall mounts

You can even remove the Nest Cam’s camera head from its stand and put it somewhere discreet if you want to use it as a nanny cam.

Image quality and functionality

The other reason why we chose Nest Cam to work as a baby monitor is its quality as an overall camera. With 1080p recording, its image quality is crystal clear, and its audio and talk features are loud enough to hear easily.

Plus, the Nest app is intuitive and easy to use—and if you use other Nest products like the learning thermostat, the Nest Cam fits right into your existing system.

What we don’t like:

Lack of baby-specific features

While the Nest Cam is a great indoor cam, it’s not ideal as a dedicated baby monitor. The camera notifies you about movement and sound inside your house, but you can’t have the camera’s audio always playing, like you’d need with a baby monitor—especially not if the app is closed or your phone is locked.

You can get push notifications that let you know if your baby moves or makes noises, which is great if they’re just taking a nap. But if you want something that will wake you up at night when your baby cries, a push notification probably won’t cut it.

Nest Aware Pricing

Nest Aware Plans

Plan namePriceCloud storagePerson detectionMotion zonesCustom alertsLearn more
5-day$5/mo. OR $50/yr.5 daysYesYesYesView details
10-day$10/mo. OR $100/yr.10 daysYesYesNoView details
30-day$30/mo. OR $300/yr.30 daysYesYesYesView details

The Nest Cam itself is a bit pricey, but where things really get expensive is with its Nest Aware subscription plans.

If you want access to Nest Cam’s top features, like motion zones, then you have to subscribe to a Nest Aware plan. And if you’re using the Nest Cam as a baby monitor, then you definitely do want motion zones. They let you specify which areas to watch for movement, like your baby’s crib.

Nest recently introduced a $5-per-month option, so Nest Aware is more affordable now than it used to be. But it’s still asking you to pay extra for features that other cameras (like the Arlo Q) include for free.

Best RF model — Infant Optics DXR-8

If you want a baby monitor that doesn’t use Wi-Fi, the Infant Optics DXR-8 gives you a radio frequency monitor with a decent display and an optical zoom lens.

Features:

  • 640 x 480 (VGA)
  • Night vision
  • Pan, tilt, and zoom functionality
  • Two-way audio
  • Temperature sensor
  • 135º field of vision

If you’ve heard horror stories on the news about hackers breaking into Wi-Fi baby monitors, then you might prefer a monitor that doesn’t use your Wi-Fi network at all. The Infant Optics DXR-8 operates on radio frequencies, giving you a more secure connection than a Wi-Fi monitor can.

Aside from its security features, the Infant Optics DXR-8 is a decent little device. The camera can pan and tilt, and most impressively, it comes with interchangeable lenses and an included optical zoom lens. The monitor also gives you a pretty good (albeit small) display, with temperature sensors and easy controls.

What we like:

Ease of use

The Infant Optics DXR-8 definitely has the user in mind. The monitor uses a micro USB charging port, so you can recharge it using any micro USB cord you have lying around and not just the specific cord that came with the monitor.

This monitor’s display is also super easy to use. There are intuitive buttons that let you move the camera around so you can see every inch of your nursery, and the nursery’s temperature is clearly displayed at the top of the screen. Infant Optics also includes a mounting bracket so you can put the camera on a wall if you don’t have a handy flat surface near the crib.

Lens options

Like we said, the camera comes with an optical zoom lens included, which is great if you want to get an up-close view of your sleeping baby. You can also order a super wide 170º lens for $11.99 if you want to set the camera in a single corner of a large room and still see the whole space.

What we don’t like:

Battery life

The Infant Optics’s display struggles a bit with battery life. It actually lasts pretty long, but the charge can be unpredictable. Our battery still said it had a quarter charge left when the display died, so you don’t really know when the battery’s low and when it’s empty. That’s not ideal if you put your kid down for a nap and suddenly the portable display dies.

Monitor display quality

The monitor display works well for its purpose, but it’s not the best image quality we’ve seen. You can see the baby clearly, but the display is pretty small, so you don’t get every tiny detail. If you want an ultra clear picture we’d go with something like the Samsung BrightVIEW.

Best monitor display — Samsung BrightVIEW

The Samsung BrightVIEW gives you a secure radio frequency camera with an excellent monitor display.

Features:

  • 720p resolution
  • Pan-and-tilt functionality
  • Night vision
  • Two-way talk
  • 300º pan, 110º tilt field of view

Just like the Infant Optics DXR-8, the Samsung BrightVIEW works on radio frequencies, not Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to worry about hackers invading the privacy of your nursery. And unlike the Optics DXR-8, the Samsung BrightVIEW has a pretty stunning little monitor display.

That said, it’s called the BrightVIEW for a reason: its display is 70% of the appeal. But if what’s most important to you is a secure monitor and seeing every detail of your baby’s sleeping face, then the Samsung BrightVIEW works pretty well.

What we like:

Display quality

The Samsung’s camera itself records in 720p HD and has full pan-and-tilt function, so you can look up, down, and around the nursery without leaving your bed. But the real star of the show is the monitor’s display. At five inches wide, it’s bigger than most baby monitor displays, and you can clearly see your baby, even in night vision mode.

What we don’t like:

Touchscreen controls

Sadly, while the display is the star of the show with Samsung BrightVIEW, its touchscreen controls are not. The touchscreen is not super responsive, so you have to press multiple times before it will select the button you want, and it’s just generally clunky to use.

The settings menu also gives you childish icons instead of clear labels, which is probably meant to be cute but just ends up being annoying. Your kid will probably never look at the settings menu, but you will, so it would be nice to have everything designed for adults.

We also wish the Samsung BrightVIEW included a temperature sensor, like the Infant Optics DXR-8 does. Overall, though, the Samsung works fine for parents who want a non-Wi-Fi monitor with good image quality.

Best audio monitor — VTech DM221

If you’re on a budget and you don’t care about video, then the VTech DM221 is the best audio monitor for your money.

Features:

  • Up 160-foot indoor range
  • Two-way talk
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Built-in night-light
  • Sound alert

Audio monitors will almost always be cheaper than video monitors, so if you want to hear every sound your baby makes without spending over $100, then the VTech DM221 is the way to go. We love the crystal clear sound quality and the two-way talk function, although we wish the range was longer.

What we like:

Two-way talk function

The VTech DM221 might not give you a video view of your sleeping baby, but it does give you one feature most cameras have: two-way talk. You can use the VTech like a walkie-talkie to talk to your baby without actually going in the nursery.

We like that the two-way talk function gives you an easy way to soothe your kid without waking them up more by going into the nursery. And the sound quality is clear both on your end and the nursery’s.

What we don’t like:

Range (or lack thereof)

VTech says the DM221 has a 160-foot indoor range, but we weren’t able to get more than about 100 feet without the connection getting choppy.

We wish the VTech had a longer range, but it does at least have an out-of-range alert so you know if the monitor is having trouble reaching the nursery. And if you have a super open floor plan without a lot of walls between you and the baby, the monitor will likely perform better.

Recap

  • If you want a baby monitor that can give you a video feed of your kid on your smartphone, plus a bunch of extra baby-friendly features, and you don’t mind the cost, then the Arlo Baby is an easy choice.
  • If you want an indoor security camera that can also work as baby monitor, then we recommend the Nest Cam for its versatile mount options and high-quality images.
  • If you want a secure, non-Wi-Fi video monitor with a dedicated image display, then the Infant Optics DXR-8 has easy-to-use controls and a decent camera.
  • If you want a super clear image display with a secure, non-Wi-Fi monitor, then Samsung BrightVIEW is your best option.
  • If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and you need only audio, then we recommend the VTech DM221 for its clear sound quality and two-way talk feature.

Do you use a baby monitor in your nursery? Tell us about your experience in the comments!