How To Choose a Baby Monitor That Will Work For You

By John Cruz

Last Updated:

Buying a monitor for a baby can be a complex operation due to a large number of products available.

It is especially complicated for the first-time parent since it isn’t obvious what to look for in terms of features and pitfalls to avoid.

There are many types, and they all come with different price tags.

Some are battery-operated, and some come with a charger.

Some allow you to see your baby, and some only allow you to hear them.

Whatever the case may be, there is a baby monitor that will suit your needs, so read this post, and I will show you a thing or two when choosing a baby monitor.


Which Type of Baby Monitor: Video? Sound? Movement?

That question alone makes me want to pull my hair out.

And honestly, I used them all.

I was terrified something would happen to my child (like SIDS) while I was sleeping.

My wife has to forcibly put me to sleep (NyQuil) because I will stay up all night monitoring him.

Insane, I know.

Well, my mother-in-law caught on to my crazy new dad tendencies and told me about using baby monitors.

Oh, how my world was enlightened.

But, the choices were overwhelming, to say the least.

So, I did what any sane parent would do.

I got 1 Video Monitor, 1 Sound Monitor, and 1 Movement Monitor.

Very Unnecessary but educational.

Here’s what I learned.

Sound Monitoring:

In practical use, it is the sound capability of the monitor that you’ll mostly rely on.

Sound prompts you to wake and listen for further details.

Without sound, any kind of monitor will be virtually useless for sleeping parents.

Being able to see what baby is up to or knowing when baby stops moving as predicted are definitely nice perks to consider, but the first thing you should think about is sound.

Video Monitors:

Video can play a key role in helping you determine whether to make an immediate trip to check on the baby. Sometimes your baby just wakes up briefly and then self-soothes back to sleep.

The ability to look in on baby and see what is going on in the crib can be very helpful in determining that nothing serious is happening.

With a sound-only monitor, you need to listen for clues or open the door to the nursery room (which will often fully awaken your baby).

For this reason, we love the ability of a video monitor, or what some call a “baby cam.”


Movement Monitors:

A new parent can’t help but contemplate the worst-case scenarios; what if the baby stops breathing?

Some monitors go beyond sound and video and attempt to alert you in the unlikely event that baby stops moving.

These types of monitors usually have movement sensing pads that you place under the crib’s mattress. 

The detection pad is sensitive enough to notice the small movements a baby normally makes when sleeping.

If the movement stops, an alarm will sound after about 20 seconds.

One Parent Unit or Two?

The next major choice will be how many units you’ll need.

Most parents just use one and move it from room to room.

But for larger homes, I certainly recommend having more than one.

Also, if you know you will keep your unit off the charger for long periods, just go ahead and spring for a second unit.

This way, there is no hassle, and you know your unit will be working at all times.

Distance – How Far Can it Go?

All baby monitors are different.

They all have different options and they all have a different range that they can pick up.

So when choosing the right baby monitor for you, always consider the size of your house.

Depending on how close baby is to where you plan to be, you need to choose one that can pick up the range you plan on being away from your baby.

I remember my first baby monitor and how it couldn’t go far at all. The minute I was even 20 feet away from the baby, it would get static.

Then again, you get what you pay for, right?

I like to say yes and no.

In the baby monitor world, just because something costs some ridiculous amount doesn’t mean it will be your best bet.

Choosing By Price

These days, baby monitors range from as low as $15 to $300.

Depending on your budget can always make your final decision.

So if you are constantly around your baby, you might not need one with a video because we all know that these ones are going to cost a lot more.

You can do just fine with one that monitors just your baby’s sound.

I like to look at this as the “old school” baby monitor.

These work just fine and won’t break your bank.

If you can’t afford an expensive baby monitor, then please don’t get it.

We are all Consumers

Just like how says that expensive baby monitors give false reassurance, I, too, find that to be true.

Being normal consumers, we tend to drift towards a more expensive item because we think we are getting something of the best quality.

One thing I’ve learned is that the ones in the middle price range are usually the best ones to get.

As far as safety is concerned, don’t think that just because a baby monitor costs $300, it will watch your baby for you.

I don’t care what the price is, that will not determine how safe your baby will be.

You still have to do your part and actually monitor your own baby.

Always try to save more money, but remember never to compromise safety.

Conclusion – Choose a Baby Monitor That Works For YOU

When choosing the right baby monitor, there are many variables to consider, but it honestly boils down to (1) finances and (2) preference.

Of course, there are better brands than others, and that’s where the reading reviews will come in.

Also, consider range (according to how large or small your home is) and battery life.

Like I said, if you choose one unit, then you’ll want a good range with good battery life.

Hope this helps!!


About the author

With four humans of his own, John is our parenting expert. He loves being a dad, and when he's not trying to work on his golf game, you'll find him at his kid's soccer games or at the mall with his kids.

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