From night vision to two-way audio to no Wi-Fi options, there are a ton of options for baby monitors. Here are our top picks and what you should consider before buying a baby monitor.
Updated Nov. 3, 2023 3:23 a.m. PT
Nasha Addarich Martínez
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission.
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Karisa LangloSenior Editor
Karisa Langlo has been writing and editing professionally for over 12 years, joining CNET with two writing degrees and bylines in Milwaukee Magazine, Louisville Magazine and The Masters Review. She started on CNET's mobile team before expanding to all tech and now works across categories to optimize the performance of all CNET advice and storytelling, from Wellness to Money, News and Culture. Karisa also manages strategy for CNET's Tips franchise.
Nasha is a Senior Editor for health and wellness at CNET. She is a nutrition, mental health and sleep science enthusiast. Her passion for mindful and holistic practices transcends her personal life and profoundly influences her editorial approach, as she weaves evidence-based insights with practical advice to inspire readers to lead healthier, more balanced lives.Throughout her career, she's covered various topics including financial services, technology, travel and wellness.
ExpertiseSleep, mental health, personal care and nutrition.Credentials
Sleep Science Coach Certification from The Spencer Institute.
A baby monitor has one job: to keep tabs on your kid when you're not in the same room. But the baby monitor field is a crowded one, with devices that take on much more than their original function. You can now purchase a monitor to track your baby's heart rate, breathing and sleep, replace your nightlight and sound machine, record photos and videos, alert you of temperature and humidity fluctuations and more. And the tech behind popular baby monitors has improved over time, with high-definition video, noise-canceling capabilities and smart alerts meant to eliminate some of the guesswork that comes with taking care of a baby.
The Nanit Pro tops our roundup of best baby monitor due to its blend of innovative features and great performance. This baby monitor offers high-definition video streaming, night vision and two-way audio. It even provides insight into your baby's sleeping patterns.
If you're looking for high-quality audio and video, lots of bells and whistles, add-on accessories and an overall high-end experience, the Nanit baby monitor is a good place to start. With a sleek design and several mounting options (sold separately), the Nanit Pro is a great choice for style-conscious parents. The Nanit Pro is a premium baby monitor, with a price tag to match. Many of its features are more nice-to-have than must-have, but if money is no object, it's a solid baby monitor.
Sleep tracking data is available with a Nanit Insights subscription, the basic level of which is free for the first year. Every morning, you'll receive a sleep report that breaks down stats about the baby's night, much like many fitness trackers do, and some cool (but potentially useless) reports like a heat map of the baby's position in the crib and a time-lapse video of their night.
Setup and mounting: No Wi-Fi monitor is going to be as easy to set up as an analog video monitor, but the Nanit baby monitor makes the process as smooth as possible. Of the Wi-Fi cameras I tested, the Nanit had the least trouble connecting, even when I moved it to different outlets or networks. The monitor comes with a wall mount, or you can upgrade to a floor stand for $80. You can also purchase a table mount for another $49, which will be necessary if you want to take the Nanit on the go. Both mounting options take a fair amount of effort, but I found them easier to construct than other models I tried.
Audio and video quality: Nanit's video and sound quality are also a leg above the competition, though most people don't need iPhone-quality videos or Bose-level sound from a baby monitor anyway.
The Miku Pro is one of the best baby monitors available because of its real-time breathing monitoring, which appears as a waveform atop the live video feed, alongside a live respirations-per-minute readout. Unlike its competitors, the Miku Pro measures your baby's vitals without any wearables, using a technology the company calls SensorFusion. No wearables means no laundry, no charging and no worrying about middle-of-the-night dislocation. And you don't have to buy any peripherals either. Miku's approach adds convenience to peace of mind, making it a truly premium experience -- with a premium price tag to match.
It differentiates itself from the Nanit Pro by offering cloud storage free, no annual subscription fees required. This is a big deal, and a major consideration if you're looking at smart monitors and plan to use one for more than the first year. (Nanit's most basic subscription is free for a year but then costs $50 annually.) The Miku will record events (sound, movement and so forth), and clips are saved for seven days, or you can download them to your device for posterity.
Setup and mounting: The Miku Pro baby monitor packaging is as premium as its array of features, and each monitor includes everything you need for wall-mounting. Yep, even the screwdriver. But the floor stand is $99 extra, which is a pretty hefty upcharge for a product that already retails for $399. (Then again, you do save money on wearables and cloud subscriptions.)
Audio and video quality: The Miku's 1080p HD video is as clear as its competitors', and you can toggle between low, standard and high video quality in the app.But despite its many competitive advantages, the Miku Pro stumbles when it comes to the app itself. I found the alerts and recorded video snippets a little inconsistent, and on my Android phone, I experienced issues with a spotty, laggy feed and had to reset the connection. Even once it was fixed, the app takes a few seconds to load the feed every time I open it, and the audio cuts in and out, which is impossible to sleep through. All the features in the world can't compete with a reliable video feed.
Best baby monitor with artificial intelligence features
Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor
As its name suggests, the Cubo Ai monitors your baby with more than just a video feed: It uses artificial intelligence to alert you when your baby rolls over or has their face covered. The camera is bird-shaped, with various cheeps and chirps when the device boots up or pairs with your Wi-Fi, and the whole aesthetic gives the product a bespoke feel. This baby monitor would blend right into a well-designed nursery, nixing the whole surveillance vibe that most cameras bring. Where the Cubo Ai really stands out is in its photo and video capture. The app will automatically save photos to your "Moments Wall" every once in a while, and you can manually save your own photos or videos, too. And with 18-hour video playback, you can scroll back in time to see what happened at any point in the night. Creepy or cute, you be the judge.
Setup and mounting: Of all the Wi-Fi monitors I tested, I had the most trouble setting up the Cubo Ai. It was really tricky to connect, and I had to go through the setup process multiple times before it took. Even once it was connected, the camera would lose signal halfway through the night and shut off without alerting me. Outside my apartment, I still experienced issues connecting to Wi-Fi, but the camera stayed connected once it was paired. The base package comes with a wall mount that requires a moderate amount of effort (and a drill) to install. For $60 more, Cubo Ai sells a three-pack of mounts: one for the crib, a floor stand and a tabletop mount for traveling.
Audio and video quality: Cubo's video and audio quality are both decent, compared to other Wi-Fi baby monitors I tested, but the feed is laggy at times and it lacks the noise-canceling feature of other models, making background noise a small irritation.
For Wi-Fi monitoring on a (slight) budget, check out the Lollipop baby monitor, which stands out with its unique design and three fun color options. Though I found the app to also be less intuitive than its competitors, it's still chock full of cool features. For a Wi-Fi baby monitor with lots of bells and whistles, you can't beat the price. The Lollipop is the Goldilocks Wi-Fi baby monitor, and a great value for the budget-conscious who still want a few extras.
Setup and mounting: Unfortunately, I also experienced Wi-Fi issues with the Lollipop baby monitor at more than one location and had to delete the app from my phone entirely one night to get the alarm to stop ringing. But mounting was a breeze. Shaped like its namesake, the Lollipop camera comes on a bendable silicone stick, which can be attached to a crib railing, molded into a table stand or wrapped around… pretty much anything. This makes it ideal for traveling because you can get creative about placement without sacrificing view (or breaking out a drill).
Audio and video quality: The Lollipop's picture and sound were as expected for the price -- not the best, but could be worse. The picture was a bit too washed out, with a short delay in the feed, and the camera had some trouble switching between night mode and color. The audio was fuzzier than other models, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
The Lollipop's built-in sound machine includes a selection of classical lullabies and white noise options. Weirdly, temperature and humidity tracking is not included with the Lollipop camera, but you can get a separate sensor for an additional $55. This would bring the total cost of the Lollipop closer to its competitors.
Active Noise Reduction is the feature of note for the Infant Optics baby monitor, which is largely considered the gold standard of non-Wi-Fi baby monitors. ANR filters out background noise from fans, humidifiers and so on without silencing your baby's cries. This feature is especially welcome on the Infant Optics, which seemed to have the most trouble with interference of any of the analog monitors I tested. After one night of staccato secondhand white noise from an intermittent signal, I was eager to switch to ANR mode. (Notably, Infant Optics doesn't actually recommend ANR mode for use with white noise machines. The result is a bit of an alien-like warble, but I still found that more tolerable.) As with Wi-Fi baby monitors, interference with an analog monitor will largely depend on your particular home, the position of the monitor, and how many competing signals are nearby.
Setup and mounting: The Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro monitor is plug-and-play: Plug the camera into a wall outlet, plug the parent unit into a wall outlet (at least until the battery charges), and you're good to go. Infant Optics also has one of the simplest mounting solutions, a single screw that connects to the base of the camera unit.
Battery life: The parent unit has 6 to 10 hours of battery, depending on how often the screen is turned on. I found that it's a bit risky to leave it unplugged overnight (it'll wake you with an annoying, but welcome, beep when the battery is low), but it's sufficient for evening use.
Audio and video quality: The Infant Optics has a dedicated volume control button on the top of the parent unit, and its loudest setting was much louder than the other units I tested. Audio was a bit more distorted than the Wi-Fi models but the clearest of all non-Wi-Fi monitors. Video is displayed in 720p resolution, which is more than sufficient, but not quite the best quality I've seen.
Better known for its security cameras and robot vacuums, Eufy offers a flagship baby monitor that lives up to the brand's standards and delivers a high-quality monitoring experience that will accommodate most parents' needs. But it lacks the upgrades and special features of some of its competitors, which keeps it from standing out from the crowd. The camera itself has a standard orb-like design, and the parent unit is surprisingly hefty, by far the heaviest of any I tried. Instead of a flip-out kickstand, the Eufy SpaceView Pro is wedge-shaped and freestanding, like an Echo Show. Its heft makes it less ideal for traveling, but it does lend the device a premium feel. The menu options on the parent unit are well organized and easy to navigate. Overall the Eufy SpaceView Pro is a great video baby monitor, but it's a bit pricey for what it is.
Setup and mounting: Eufy includes a wall mount kit that can be placed in the corner for monitoring a whole room, or flat against the wall for a view of the crib. Either way, setup requires only two screws. Pairing the camera with the parent unit took only about a minute.
Battery life: Eufy promises the longest battery life of any unit I tested: 30 hours total, or 12 hours with continuous monitoring. I had no trouble keeping it unplugged through the night.
Audio and video quality: Where the Eufy SpaceView Pro stands out is in video quality. Its 720p resolution is crisp and noticeably more detailed than even the Infant Optics', especially in daylight. One small annoyance, though, is the lag between switching the display on and starting the feed. It's only a few seconds long, but that makes a difference when your baby's crying. What the Eufy gains in video, it loses in audio. The SpaceView Pro's audio output was surprisingly quiet and fuzzy. Its VOX mode works like a hybrid of the Infant Optics ANR and the Wi-Fi models' push notifications: Turn on VOX and the monitor will go completely silent when the display is off, until a sound (with adjustable threshold) wakes it back up. This is a great solution for parents with noisy babies, but I found I became mildly anxious when I didn't have any audio at all.
The Hellobaby Video Baby Monitor will do what a monitor is supposed to do, and it's significantly cheaper than most other models. Its no-frills approach means you're not paying extra for features you won't use. Small, lightweight and a little outdated-looking, the Hellobaby monitor is a cinch to set up and would make a good non-Wi-Fi travel monitor. Compared to its competitors, the Hellobaby baby monitor has a tiny screen -- only 3.2 inches, compared with the average 5-inch display. And unlike the other non-Wi-Fi video monitors I tested, Hellobaby doesn't have remote pan or tilt, so what you see is what you get.
Setup and mounting: Hellobaby is plug-and-play at its finest, and mounting only requires a single screw that attaches to the base of the camera. It doesn't get any simpler than that. Because there's no remote pan or tilt, however, you'll have to get the camera in a good position when you mount it, not after your baby hits the hay. This was the Hellobaby's biggest drawback for me.
Battery life: Hellobaby doesn't specify a battery life, but the parent unit lasted overnight with power to spare.
Audio and video quality: Of the monitors I tested, Hellobaby's had the lowest-quality picture -- especially in the dark, which is probably how you'll use it most. Similarly, the audio output is quieter than I'd like, though Hellobaby is by no means alone in this. Still, both the audio and video quality were good enough for the price, in my experience.
When you only need audio, VTech DM211 is the baby monitor of choice. VTech hits all the marks here: Easy setup, low price, portability and, most importantly, decent audio output. While the lack of a camera is an instant deal breaker for a lot of parents, team audio-only will love the few features that VTech's monitor does include. This monitor is basically foolproof, which makes it a good choice for traveling or backup.
Setup and mounting: Since there's no video component, there's no need to mount the VTech DM221. And since there's no Wi-Fi and no apps to download, setup is as easy as plugging in the baby unit and the parent unit and placing them near enough to link, which they do automatically.
Battery life: VTech says this audio monitor will last up to 16 hours on a charge, and I had no trouble keeping it unplugged all night.
Audio quality: I wouldn't want to listen to music through the VTech speaker, but as a baby monitor, it accomplishes its purpose. The audio was a little quieter than I'd prefer at max volume, but the unexpected audio features more than make up for that.
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What type of baby monitor is best?
Wi-Fi baby monitors
Wi-Fi monitors are great if you want to be able to check in on your baby from anywhere. "Range" is not a concern with Wi-Fi monitors, because you can tap into the feed from your phone wherever you get an internet connection. When testing Wi-Fi monitors, I was able to spy on my son from the airport as I prepared to leave on a work trip before he'd woken up for the day. Wi-Fi monitors also tend to have more bells and whistles, with smartphone apps and sleep-tracking capabilities that will appeal to data geeks.
The downside of using a Wi-Fi monitor, besides the potential for a security breach, is connectivity issues. When I tested these models, I lived in an apartment building with lots of competing Wi-Fi signals and was at the mercy of my building's AT&T contract when it came to broadband strength. I experienced a lot of trouble setting up the Wi-Fi monitors I tested and once online, several of them lost connectivity in the middle of the night, leaving me with no way to see or hear my son. However, when I tested the same monitors in a large house (with a stronger signal), I experienced no issues. Your mileage with Wi-Fi monitors will vary depending on the density of your living situation and the type of internet connection you use (DSL, fiber and so on). Individual monitors also perform better or worse depending on the quality of their Wi-Fi radio.
Because of my internet connectivity issues, I prefer a baby monitor that transmits via radio frequency. Another benefit of this type of monitor is the ease of setup -- many are plug-and-play, with no need to download an app or pair anything. A dedicated parent unit frees your phone for whatever else you want to use your phone for and your risk of hacking goes way down. Non-Wi-Fi models also tend to include remote pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, which allow you to adjust the positioning of the camera and get a view of different parts of your child's room without actually entering it. None of the Wi-Fi monitors I tested could pan or tilt remotely.
The audio and video output of the non-Wi-Fi models did tend to be slightly lower quality than the ones that feed to your smartphone and several of them were just too quiet, even at the loudest volume. And of course, range is a concern with a non-Wi-Fi baby monitor. The ones I tested all promise up to 1,000 feet, but if your house is large or the signal has several walls to traverse, you may still experience a spotty connection.
Wearable smart monitors and audio-only baby monitors
Wearable devices that monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, breathing, sleep patterns and other metrics bring an added layer of peace of mind, but experts caution that they should be taken with a grain of salt and shouldn't supersede safe sleep habits. The wearables I tested were bundled with their own video monitor. Smart monitors tend to be expensive and sometimes unnecessarily complicated, but they just might help you get a little extra sleep yourself.
How we chose the best baby monitors
For this roundup, we considered the following criteria:
Price: The best baby monitor will have all the basic features you need at the right price point. Baby monitors with additional features usually come with a higher price point. Determine what features you absolutely need and choose one within your budget.
Video and audioquality: More affordable options typically mean the video and audio quality won't be as great as more expensive baby monitors. However, all of the options on our list have decent quality and have been tested by in-house staff members.
Installation and mounting: Baby monitors should be easy and seamless to mount. Most of the baby monitors we chose can effortlessly be installed.
Special features: We considered all of the bells and whistles a baby monitor can have like temperature monitoring, motion sensors, two-way audio, crying detectors and any built in sounds like lullabies and white noise.
Things to consider when buying a baby monitor
When purchasing a baby monitor, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your child. Consider the following factors:
Type: Think about whether you want you want a video baby monitor or an audio only one. Video baby monitors offer live video so you can visually monitor your baby. On the other hand, audio monitors only transmit sound. Some of the most popular models offer both audio and video for comprehensive monitoring.
Range and signal length: Ensure the monitor you choose has sufficient range to cover the distance between your child's room and the common areas you want to monitor from.
Stand out features: Some monitors offer special features like night vision, two-way audio, temperature sensors, noise and motion detection and built in lullabies. Some of these features can provide peace of mind and added convenience, depending on your preferences and needs.
Budget: Determine the right balance between your budget and the features you need or want. While you may be drawn to ones with the most bells and whistles, , it's important to asses your actual needs and how those features align with your lifestyle. A higher price point doesn't always guarantee it's the best baby monitor for you.
Battery life and power source: A reliable battery life is essential, especially for portable baby monitors, while rechargeable batteries or plug-in power sources can affect the monitor's utility in case of a power outage.
Baby monitor FAQs
Which baby monitor is best?
Nanit Pro Camera topic our list of best baby camera because of its innovative features and smooth setup.
Why are baby monitors discouraged?
Baby monitors with motion sensors can give false alarms which can concern parents. It's always best to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
When should I start using a baby monitor?
You can start using a baby monitor once you decide to move your baby into their own room.
Should I keep my baby monitor on all night?
Ideally, you should keep your baby monitor on at all times while you're not physically with your baby.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.