The birth of a child is a wonderful, momentous time, but it can be stressful; the right choice of baby cam can help make parenting easier.
Investing in a video baby cam allows you to not only listen for cries during the night, but also to keep an eye on your kids from the comfort of your own bed. Baby video monitors are also particularly important during the first six months of life, when the rates of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other sleep-related issues are highest.
What to look for
The baby monitor is your connection to your children when you’re out of the room or away from home. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:
- Field of view: How much of the room can you see at a glance?
- Night vision: Can you see your children at night through the display?
- Sound quality: Can you speak to your children through a two-way speaker? Can you hear what they’re crying about? Are other noises distinguishable through the speakers?
- Battery life: If the monitor isn’t plugged into the wall, how long will it last?
- Video clarity: Can you distinguish features on the view screen? What resolution is its display?
- Wi-Fi compatibility: is your Wi-Fi connection strong enough to display a clear picture, or will you need to connect via Ethernet cable?
We also considered price and any additional functionality that the cameras may include.
A note on the Wi-Fi vs. no Wi-Fi debate
Terrifying stories have circulated the web recently of baby monitors that had been hacked to produce frightening noises. These stories, in turn, caused many people to choose baby monitors without Wi-Fi capability. However, the risk of your baby monitor actually being hacked is tremendously low; the effort that goes into it is simply too great to yield any reward. In addition, changing your password regularly and practicing smart password policies can safeguard your baby monitor against threats.
|Product||Lorex Sweet Peep||Nest Cam||Philips Avent uGrow||Oco Smart Camera||Motorola MBP36S|
|View product||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon|
|Field of view||50 degrees||130 degrees||50 degrees||120 degrees||Pan|
|Batteries or plug-in||Both||Plug-in||Plug-in||Plug-in||Both|
|Lorex Sweet Peep||Nest Cam||Philips Avent uGrow||Oco Smart Camera||Motorola MBP36S|
|Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon|
|50 degrees||130 degrees||50 degrees||120 degrees||Pan|
#1 Lorex Sweet Peep
The Lorex Sweet Peep is a full security system for your baby. The monitor itself can handle input from up to four different cameras and features a two-way radio. If your child cries, you can talk back to them within a 450-foot range. The Sweet Peep’s batteries last eight hours and recharge rapidly. The Sweet Peep can also be connected to a power adapter if you’re worried about the batteries dying during the night.
The Sweet Peep has built-in lullabies; as a parent, there will be times when you don’t want to get out of bed to soothe your child. Playing a lullaby from the monitor may be enough to lull your baby back to sleep. The Sweet Peep also includes a built-in nightlight whose glow is soft enough that you can see, but not so bright that it bothers your child. At $199.95, the Sweet Peep is comparable to the Nest Cam, but it lacks its crystal-clear clarity and sound quality.
#2 Nest Cam
Nest has risen to a notable level of recognition lately with its thermostat, and the Nest Cam also has a lot to bring to the table. It has fantastic sound and video quality, and you can monitor from anywhere—even away from home. If you have to hire a babysitter one night, you can still check in from time to time to see how your child is doing.
That’s not to say it’s without fault. The Nest broadcasts video in 1080p, which would normally be a selling point, but it requires a huge amount of bandwidth to display the video without lag. It’s also somewhat difficult to set up the camera due to overly complex instructions, particularly when compared to other models.
One selling point is the built-in microphone; with it, you can log in and speak to your baby no matter where you are. Another great benefit is the field of view; at 130 degrees, it’s the largest of any entry on this list and allows you to see more of your child’s room than any other camera. What dropped it to second place is that the Nest was not designed specifically as a baby cam, so it lacks some of the functionality of other monitors on this list (like built-in lullabies).
#3 Philips Avent uGrow
The narrow build of the Philips Avent uGrow makes it easy to slip between books on a shelf for a hidden camera (useful if you have other children who are a bit too curious). It’s also a powerful baby cam and can monitor noise, temperature, and humidity in your child’s room. The uGrow records in 720p with both day and night vision and contains a multicolored night light that you can control.
It sets itself apart from the competition by allowing users to view up to 10 separate cameras through the mobile app, with three simultaneous viewers. However, if you want to have a moment with no viewers, you can shut off the viewing feature through your phone. With a selection of lullabies and a snapshot feature to catch pictures of your children being adorable, the uGrow is one of the most powerful baby cams we’ve seen. It’s priced competitively at $199.99.
However, the primary downside lies in the hardware itself. Multiple reviews mentioned the uGrow would randomly disconnect from the internet, even when the user had a steady and reliable internet connection.
#4 Oco Smart Camera
The Oco Smart Camera is almost a clone of the Nest, with one distinguishing feature: it is significantly cheaper. If you’re on a tight budget, the Oco Smart Camera may be a great alternative. At $78, it’s affordable but includes a variety of features you’d expect in a baby monitor. It streams at 720p video and offers optional 30-day video recording.
One thing that sets the Oco Smart Camera apart is that audio will play in the background. You can turn your phone’s screen off and still hear your baby cry, even without the app running in the foreground. You can also program the app to alert you to preset criteria of your choosing, such as motion in a particular area of your home. The Oco is also self-learning; after a while, it can distinguish when the family pet steps in front and triggers the motion sensor, rather than sending a notification to your phone.
However, the only way to receive online video recording is via a monthly fee, and like the Nest, the Oco Smart Camera was not originally designed as a baby monitor. There are no built-in lullabies. If you’re looking for a camera on a budget, however, the Oco is a good choice.
Oco Smart Camera offers a few paid options:
- 1-day cloud plan: $3.99 per month or $39 per year (Note: this plan is available for free for the first year.)
- 7-day cloud plan: $9.99 per month or $99 per year
- 30-day cloud plan: $19.99 per month or $199 per year
These plans store footage from your Oco in the cloud for one, seven, or 30 days, respectively, and allow you to access it and review it at any time during that period.
#5 Motorola MBP36S video baby monitor
At around $180, the Motorola MBP36S is slightly more affordable than some previous entries on our list. With a 3.5-inch screen, the display is equipped with infrared night vision so you can see your baby clearly no matter how light or dark it is inside. Like many other cameras, it also provides two-way radio.
What sets this baby cam apart is the room temperature display. Not only can you keep an eye on your children, but you can track how warm or cold it is in their room. The Motorola MBP36S monitor also supports up to four separate cameras, allowing you to get multiple angles of your baby or have cameras in different nurseries.
Setup is easy through the free Hubble app (on iOS and Android), and the camera can play five different lullabies to keep your baby entertained. However, the Motorola MBP36S only has a battery life of 3.5 hours and lower resolution than any other monitor on the list. 3.5 hours isn’t enough to last the entire night; the MBP36S has to be plugged in during the night, a fact that can be an inconvenience depending on the setup of your home.
The right choice for keeping an eye on the baby
When determining which camera to choose, the entries on this list are all reliable options. While some may have more bells and whistles than others, the primary goal is to keep your child safe. Take the time to evaluate the cameras, and then dig in to determine exactly which one meets the unique needs of you and your child.