Quest for the best baby monitor: our baby monitor reviews
Our top picks for best baby monitor, some cautionary advice, the best wifi baby monitors, and our full roundup of baby monitor reviews for 2021.
Best baby monitor battle royale
Ah, the baby monitor. Like an expensive walkie-talkie, but you don’t get to talk and the other person doesn’t know you’re listening. It might feel like a relatively modern invention, but the first baby monitor was actually released in 1937. These days, thanks to wifi baby monitors, you can hear and see your baby from across the house and even the other side of the world.
Shopping for a baby monitor can be overwhelming. The sheer number of choices, the endless lists of features, and the fact that this may be your first time using one of these— how do you even know what you want? Welcome. You’re in the right place. Between the two of us here at Fathercraft, we’ve tested and reviewed dozens of baby monitors over the past 7 years across 4 different kids. On this page, you’ll:
- Get our picks for the best baby monitors of 2021
- Understand the most important features you should look for in a monitor, and why they matter (hint: you don’t need soothing light shows…)
- See what you need to know about wifi baby monitors
- Access our full list of in-depth baby monitor reviews
- Baby Monitor FAQs
Please note Fathercraft is reader-supported, meaning, at no cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy after clicking an affiliate link. Learn more. Also, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Our picks for best baby monitor of 2021
Baby monitors have come a long way in the last few years. A number of new contestants that didn’t even exist when our first kids were born almost 7 years ago are now leading the pack.
Baby monitors have come a long way in the last few years. A number of new contestants that didn’t even exist when our first kids were born almost 7 years ago are now leading the pack. Let’s get into the best baby monitors of 2021.
Overall Best Baby Monitor — the Nanit Plus
The Nanit is an intuitive, yet powerful wifi-based monitor. It leverages your phone for great picture quality, and features sleep insights and suggestions that can actually improve your child’s (and your) sleep.
With its snap on/off functionality and multi-stand, Nanit is also our pick for best travel baby monitor. Nanit also wins in the category of best video baby monitor due to an awesome camera.
Coolest Tech — The Miku baby monitor
Using what the company calls “military grade” technology, the Miku features things like breathing monitoring without wearables, an ‘unhackable’ chip, and Dual Ole Wolff speakers.
And you know Wolff with two f's = fancy. But in seriousness, this thing's got some serious tech under the hood.
Best for Parents of Preemies — the Owlet
The Owlet isn’t a traditional baby monitor. In fact, you’ll probably want a video monitor too. Instead, the Owlet monitors heart rate and blood oxygen levels in your baby using clinically-proven technology. Our reviewers who tested with their baby born 12 weeks prematurely were impressed and even compared readings against a medical-grade test administered by a nurse.
Best baby monitor without wifi — the Eufy Spaceview
It’s no secret we think there’s a lot to love about wifi baby monitors. But, they’re not for everyone, so we’ve been testing non-wifi options recently.
And, the Eufy is our pick for best baby monitor without wifi. It’s cheaper than some other options, got great picture quality, and pretty good range.
Best budget baby monitor: the Lollipop Cam
While, at $149, we’re hesitant to give it the crown of ‘best cheap baby monitor’, the Lollipop Cam is relatively inexpensive compared to its wifi-monitor brethren, and it’s still pretty sweet (sorry). We experienced relatively strong connectivity, an easy-to-use app, and an innovative ‘stem’ mounting system that actually works quite well. It’s also pretty cute, if we do say so ourselves.
Best baby monitor with wifi: the Nanit Plus
Hold on you say, Nanit Plus is a double-winner? Yep. Our pick for overall best baby monitor is also our pick for best wifi baby monitor. Why? Well, consider 3 common complaints in wifi baby monitor reviews: 1) finicky connection, 2) latency, 3) smartphone battery drain. Nanit answers all 3. 1) in all our testing, Nanit’s connection was almost always rock-solid, and it features a fallback bluetooth connection. 2) Over years of testing, we’ve rarely experienced latency > 1 second. 3) again, we’ve been using this monitor for years. Battery drain is noticeable, not meaningful, so long as you use background audio, and video feed when necessary.
No clue which baby monitor to buy?
Download our free wifi baby monitor comparison guide.
These are popular video baby monitors, but beware
It feels like there are hundreds of options for video monitors on the market, and nearly all of them claim to be the “best rated” in something, have the highest reviews, top camera, picture quality, or make many other boasts in their marketing materials.
We think it’s important to share a few monitors that might be near the top of the sales charts, but we, along with many others, have had issues with.
Infant Optics DXR-8
The Infant Optics DXR-8 loudly proclaims to be the “best selling baby monitor on Amazon” and does get high reviews. We’ve had a really poor experience with these monitors: we tested 2 review units, both of which ended up permanently losing connection. Image quality is poor compared with wifi-monitors, range is limited. We will note that some reviewers disagree with us, and Infant Optics does allow you to connect 2 cameras. The Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro, on the other hand, is a big upgrade. Notes in our review.
The Arlo Baby
When a monitor is as cute as the Arlo Baby undeniably is, it’s hard to critique it. But, unfortunately we have to. When testing the Arlo Baby, we experienced severe latency issues, pixelation of image quality, and later, app crashes.
We heard similar concerns from a Fathercraft reader, and after poking around on the internet, saw that we weren’t alone.
The Nest Cam Indoor
Let’s cut to the chase: the Nest Cam, while a cool piece of tech and a great security camera with a smartphone option, isn’t a baby monitor. Many people want it to be, but it lacks critical features like background audio that would allow it to be a viable baby monitor.
If you’re considering the Nest Cam, be sure to read our blog post below first and watch the included video!
The most important features in a baby monitor
Click a box to learn more!
How to choose a baby monitor
A primer for new parents – what to look out for, what to avoid, and our top pick for 2021.
Wifi baby monitor reviews
So far, though we’ve used both wifi and non-wifi monitors with our own kids, we’ve focused our efforts on this site on wifi baby monitor reviews. Wifi monitors have an important set of advantages and disadvantages that are important to be aware of. Click a button to learn more.