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12 best baby monitors to buy in 2022

Want to keep an extra eye and ear on your baby while they sleep? After three months of research and parent-led testing, here are the best baby monitors to buy right now.

By Catherine Hufton | Last updated May 25, 2022

baby sleeping and baby monitor

Baby monitors often feature near the top of the newborn essentials list for parents, but finding the one to best suits your needs and your budget can be tricky.

What is a baby monitor?

A baby monitor is a small electronic device that allows you to keep an eye and ear on your baby while you're in different rooms, giving you peace of mind and, if you're lucky, even helping you to catch a wink or two.

It comes in two parts: one part stays with your baby, e.g. in their nursery, and the other part stays with you, e.g. on the kitchen worktop or on your bedside table while you have a quick nap. The baby unit sends sound and images in the case of video monitors to the parent unit so you can hear (and see) what's happening.

When should I start using a baby monitor?

From HD videos to movement trackers and breathing bands, baby monitors now come with more safety features than ever before. So how do you know which type of model is best for you and your baby, and when is the best time to start using a baby monitor?

We asked Kate Holmes, Head of Support and Information at The Lullaby Trust for her expert advice on navigating the first year of a baby’s life and the best time for introducing a monitor.

“The Lullaby Trust advises that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for day- and nighttime naps until they are at least six months old. This doesn’t mean that you can’t leave the room to make a cup of tea, but for the first six months it’s advised that you keep baby close by while they sleep. When you do leave the room or decide to move your baby into their own one, a baby monitor is useful for still keeping an eye – or ear – on baby. However, there’s no pressure to move them after six months. It’s up to you to decide when the right time is for you and your baby.”

When you do decide to move your baby into their own room, it’s important to use a baby monitor that you feel totally comfortable with. Whether that’s with a simple camera or audio-only device, or one that comes with a movement sensor, built-in temperature gauge, and breathing monitor, your chosen baby monitor should give you peace of mind in between checking in on your baby regularly.

How comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique

To help you make an informed decision, we spent three months intensively testing 12 different monitors, after narrowing down an initial shortlist of 15. Our parent tester had a six-month-old baby at the time who had just transitioned to having naps and bedtimes in his nursery. We scored each model based on a number of factors including video quality, ease of set-up, connection and design. 

At Mumsnet, all of our shortlisted products are tested by the same family. This makes it more accurate for comparing the pros, cons and features of different models so that we only recommend those that really outperform their competitors. 

After collating the feedback and scores, the results are in. Here are the best baby monitors to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall baby monitor: Spear & Jackson BM1760 Video Baby Monitor

Spear & Jackson video baby monitor

Price: £69.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The Spear & Jackson BM1760 Video Monitor is our overall favourite due to its good-quality design, ease of use and great value for money.  

Puritans at heart, we were looking for a reliable, parent-approved monitor that we could trust and one that wasn’t overly complicated for grandparents or other caregivers. We used this baby monitor throughout the Christmas period, so it travelled well and was easy to set up in a couple of different locations, including in an old cottage.

The video quality is exceptional with a clear picture on a generously-sized screen in both day-and- nighttime modes. The BM1760 monitor comes with a range of in-built features such as a temperature gauge, lullabies, an out-of-range indicator and two-way talkback.

We had to place ours on a shelf so that we got more of an overhead view, taking care that the charging wire was far out of baby’s reach. You can also control the camera’s tilt, pan and zoom manually using the intuitive handset. Sound quality is decent and we didn’t experience any interference or lagging during testing.

We really enjoyed using this monitor and had no issues with it apart from the signal cutting out on a couple of occasions. The price also falls well below the £100 mark, offering everything most families looking for a standard video monitor at a competitive price will need. 

Pros

  • Good-quality HD video
  • Compact handset
  • Remote pan, tilt and zoom camera
  • Anti-hack encryption for reassurance

Cons

  • Loses signal intermittently

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: Not stated
  • Range: 250 metres outdoors, 50 metres indoors
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: No
  • App control: No
  • Screen size: 5-inch LCD screen

2. Best budget baby monitor: BT Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow

BT Audio 450 Lightshow monitor

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

"Some products are able to pay lullabies and let you communicate with your baby within a specific distance. The BT Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow is an example of such a monitor." (Recommended by Mumsnet user AmyOb)

At just around £40, the BT Audio 450 Lightshow is one of the cheapest monitors in our line-up but a firm favourite with experts and Mumsnet parents alike. 

As the name suggests, the main hub has an easily adjustable nightlight that projects a soothing stars and moon light show, as well as playing a range of relaxing lullabies - 18 to be exact.

This device also goes one step further than our other favourite audio-only option (the Motorola Nursery AM21 Baby Monitor - see below) as it has sound-sensitive LEDs for a visual alert, two-way talkback, an LCD display and an integrated temperature gauge. 

One great feature of this monitor is its robust design and long battery life which we found lasted for around 24 hours. 

While it may not be the most stylish or modern of monitors we tested, if you want a low-cost and reliable option, we don’t think you can go far wrong with the BT's 450 Lightshow.

Pros

  • Sound sensitive with visual alerts
  • Long battery life
  • LCD display
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Audio only
  • Only available in one colour
  • Occasional interference
  • Temperature gauge may be a bit hit and miss

Key specs

  • Video: No
  • Resolution: N/A
  • Range: 300 metres outdoors, 50 metres indoors
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: No
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: No
  • App control: No
  • Screen size: N/A

3. Best app-connected baby monitor: Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor

cubo ai plus baby monitor and app

Price: £289 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have the Cubo Ai and love it.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MKCH)

The Cubo Ai Plus boasts an aesthetically-pleasing design and top-of-the range technology that offers everything from HD night vision and true-cry detection to danger zone alerts and sleep analytics.

The picture quality on the video is crystal clear, as is the sound which picks up every shuffle and cough when you're in the app. When not in the app, you get notifications that your baby is crying or has turned on their tummy. The wide-angle camera also sits over the cot for a bird’s eye view (both figuratively and literally) and we caught our baby smiling at the friendly bird camera a couple of times. 

All of this information is available via the handy Cubo mobile app which we found intuitive and simple to use. It also comes with lots of small touches like a tweeting noise when it wants to alert you to movement, a covered face or crying, and the option to go back and look at recorded video snippets and snapshots of your baby in their newborn bed whenever you need to. 

One really brilliant element of the app was that we could see our baby remotely. This came in handy when our tester was out with her older child and her partner was struggling to settle the baby. We could still use the talk-back feature to soothe them and control the lullabies. 

The app also has the option of sleep analytics where you can view caregiver visits, see how long your baby has slept that day, baby’s longest sleep and the average time it takes for them to fall asleep.

We didn’t use this all that much in day-to-day life and didn’t find it entirely accurate, but it was useful when a babysitter looked after our little one and when we were too sleepy to remember what time we’d woken up to feed baby in the night. 

You can also play music and white noise through the app, and we liked the various options of rain forest sounds, birds, classic lullabies and electric fans. Turns out that birds were our baby’s snoozing sound of choice. 

One of the major bonuses of this monitor is its easy overall assembly and various set-up options including a weighted floor base, crib attachment and mobile stand. This only adds to its longevity as it’s designed to be used in your child’s room until they are age five.

This versatility also makes it easy to take away with you for family visits and holidays. It’s an expensive bit of kit, granted, but if it’s within your budget, we think it’s well worth the investment.

Pros 

  • Multiple camera assembly options
  • Customisable real-time cry alerts and baby zone guards
  • Sleep analytics
  • Compatible with Google Nest Hub and Amazon Alexa
  • Family sharing
  • Two-factor authentication and enterprise-level security for peace of mind

Cons

  • One of the most expensive app-enabled monitors we tested
  • App sometimes gives inaccurate notifications such as baby out of crib
  • Requires very fast internet

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • Range: WiFi-dependent
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: N/A

4. Best audio baby monitor: Motorola Nursery AM21/MBP21 Audio Baby Monitor

Motorola Nursery AM21 Audio Baby Monitor

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

“We got the cheapest possible - the Motorola audio monitor. It was an excellent decision since we have dropped and broke two of them and left another one behind in a holiday rental, so replacing them hasn't been too annoying or expensive. We never felt we needed anything fancier.” (Rated by Mumsnet user DappledThings)

If you have a slightly older baby and just want a straightforward audio baby monitor, Motorola’s Nursery AM21/MBP21 baby monitor will fit the bill. It has a 300-metre range indoors, high-sensitivity microphone and a simple design that’s ideal for visits to grandparents, holidays and for general day-to-day use. 

This is a great monitor for those that don’t like complicated tech as it plugs straight into the mains, so there’s no wires or charging to worry about. We also found that it picked up the sounds of baby’s movements clearly and had a good reception even in older houses with beams and low ceilings. 

We’ve actually used this monitor in our toddler’s room for a couple of years and it’s never let us down. 

Pros

  • No wires or charging equipment - plugs straight into mains
  • Eco mode to reduce power consumption
  • Highly sensitive microphone with no interference
  • Out-of-range alarm
  • Visual volume indicator

Cons

  • No two-way talk
  • Limited functions
  • Can't be used outdoors as it needs to be plugged in

Key specs

  • Video: No
  • Resolution: N/A
  • Range: 300 metres indoors
  • Two-way talk: No
  • Night vision: No
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: No
  • App control: No
  • Screen size: N/A

5. Best video baby monitor: VTech RM7767HD Smart Video Monitor

VTech RM7767HD Smart Video Monitor

Price: £200 | Buy now from Argos

After spending weeks testing baby monitors, it was immediately obvious that VTech’s RM7767HD crystal-clear, high-definition LCD colour display was hands down the best of the bunch. 

We like the large screen size of the handset (seven inches), and the remote tilt, zoom and 360-degree pan function of the camera which was very responsive. We used the monitor mainly with the handset but it can also be used via the VTech app if you prefer to view baby on your smartphone. 

This monitor also boasts a host of great functions such as two-way talk, baby noise notifications, infrared vision, temperature sensor, lullabies and white noise, and a very soothing red nightlight which we found really helped settle our baby.

One niggle we did experience with this camera is that it sometimes failed to connect once it had been turned off. We couldn’t work out the cause of this but simply turning it on and off seemed to do the trick.

You can gain remote access to the camera when you use the app which is ideal if you’re leaving your little one with a babysitter or nanny and want to keep an eye on them while you’re not there. The camera on the app can also zoom in ten times closer than the handset so it’s definitely worth downloading. 

Pros

  • Crystal-clear colour video
  • Remote pan, tilt and zoom camera function
  • Excellent 360-degree view
  • Can be used with WiFi or local connection (handy if your WiFi drops out)
  • Out-of-range indicator

Cons

  • Battery only lasts for two to three hours when unplugged
  • Camera stops working if placed on top of a warm radiator
  • Intermittent connection problems

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: 1080p colour display
  • Range: 300 metres outdoors, 50 metres indoors
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: No
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: 7-inch colour LCD screen

6. Best baby breathing monitor: Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor

Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor

Price: From £239.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“We have a Nanit which is brilliant but pricey. You get sleep tracking analytics free for the first year which is pretty cool. The picture is great, you get notifications on your phone when they wake up or make a substantial noise, it can play white noise through its integral speaker, and you can pair it with your Amazon devices.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user TheCraicDealer)

The Mumsnet Rated Nanit Pro Smart baby monitor may be one of the most expensive baby monitors on our list, but if you’re in need of extra reassurance then this monitor offers it in spades. 

App-connected and recommended by 89% of Mumsnet testers, it comes with an overhead camera that can be wall-mounted or used with a stand to provide a bird’s-eye view of your baby.

The app offers two-way talk, sound and movement notifications, and temperature and humidity information, as well as breathing measurements when you use the Nanit swaddle or wearable breathing band. Both of these need to be bought separately or as part of a larger bundle

Our baby was six months old at the time of testing, so we used the band to test out the breathing sensor. The band is designed with a unique black grid pattern that the camera very cleverly reads to provide baby’s breathing statistics without any electronics, wires or batteries touching them.

We were slightly put off by the substantial suffocation warnings on the band and wondered if we were creating a hazard ourselves, but the app has very clear videos on how to use it safely and, if you really don’t feel comfortable, it isn't essential. 

The Nanit Insights app also provides baby's sleep stats each morning and creates a time-lapse highlight reel of their sleep. You can then watch their entire night in seconds and share with your loved ones. 

Of course, not everyone wants this kind of detail but you can’t fault this monitor for its technology. If you’re reassured by stats and analytics, it’s worth spending the extra money or keeping an eye out for a deal. 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use breathing band or swaddle
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Sleep statistics and expert sleep guidance through Nanit Insights app
  • Nature sounds and white noise
  • Local or WiFi connection (works over WiFi even when the internet goes down)
  • Compatible with Alexa

Cons

  • One of the most expensive monitors tested
  • Overhead camera feels a little intrusive

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: 1080p HD (bird's eye view)
  • Range: WiFi-dependent
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: N/A

As well as our independent testing, 28 Mumsnet users took part in a product test of Nanit's Pro Smart Baby Monitor. 89% said they would recommend it to a friend or family member.

7. Best baby monitor for reassurance: Owlet Smart Sock Plus Baby Monitor

Owlet Smart Sock Plus monitor

Price: £339 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“This sock is great. She was a NNU baby, so we got used to being able to check her stats. Downside is you have to remember to charge it every day as the battery life isn’t great, but we had no false alarms.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Lou573)

Like Owlet’s flagship product, the Smart Sock 3, the Smart Sock Plus allows you to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. The Plus comes with three different sizes of sock that fit children up to five, along with the Smart Sock sensor and base station so you get extra longevity of use. You start by choosing the right size sock for your baby (may be easier said than done with a wriggly child) and then charge it up on the base station. 

It’s designed to be used alongside the Owlet app (the standard set-up unfortunately doesn’t include a camera) and, once the sock is secured on your baby, you get real-time heart-rate readings and oxygen levels.

The app has lots of useful guidance like a demonstration of applying the sock, which was much-needed, as well as a demo of the sound it makes to alert you to a problem. It also measures sleep trends which we found useful when trying to get our baby into a sleep routine. 

While the sock wouldn’t solely be enough, it does offer extra reassurance in addition to a regular baby monitor. We think this would be particularly useful during periods of sickness, or for babies born prematurely or at low birth weights. 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use app
  • Comes with three different sizes for extra longevity
  • Real-time heart rate and oxygen readings
  • Immediate notifications if oxygen drops
  • Measures sleep trends

Cons

  • Pricey and still needs to be used alongside your own monitor or purchased with a cam bundle if you want a visual
  • Sock is quite tricky to secure to the foot of a wriggly baby
  • We experienced some connectivity issues with connecting our smartphone to the base station

Key specs

  • Video: No
  • Resolution: N/A
  • Range: Approximately 30.5 metres
  • Two-way talk: No
  • Night vision: No
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: N/A

8. Best smart baby monitor: Bluebell Vision 8-in-1 Smart Baby Monitor

Bluebell 8-in-1 monitor

Price: £249| Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

Bluebell offers a range of different bundles, and the 8-in-1 comprises the main charging hub, clip-on sensor and camera. The pricier 9-in-1, by comparison, also includes a smart parent wristband. We found it a little overwhelming initially and thought it might be very complicated, but after a quick scan of the instructions and a couple of false starts, we managed to sync the hub to the Bluebell app and were ready to go. 

Bluebell was designed by a dad who struggled to find a baby monitor that gave him the reassurance he needed when his son was born and, as such, it covers almost everything you could worry about as a first-time parent. Perhaps in some ways it covers a little too much, but that’s down to personal preference. 

The sensor clips on to the front of baby’s vest or babygrow and provides real-time updates on their breathing, temperature and position. The sensor will stay charged overnight but we did need to charge it again each morning.

You can tweak the number of notifications you receive and the particular metrics you want to track. The hub is used to charge the main sensor and also has a nightlight and in-built lullabies which comes in handy for nappy changes and feeds in the middle of the night. 

If you’re feeling particularly anxious in those first few months, we think this monitor is a really helpful way of giving you the reassurance you need. Our top tip: practise putting the sensor on before your baby is tired as ours did get annoyed when we struggled to get it right the first time. 

Pros

  • Exceptional image quality
  • Clip-on sensor which doesn’t bother baby
  • Tracks baby’s movement, breathing and position
  • App supports multiple log-ins so can be used by other family members
  • Full secure encryption

Cons

  • Lots of notifications but the sensitivity can be adjusted
  • Requires high-speed internet
  • Might be a bit too techy for some

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: N/A
  • Range: 20 metres (baby monitor and smart hub)
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: N/A

9. Best baby monitor for movement tracking: Tommee Tippee Dreamee Sound Video Baby Monitor

Tommee Tippee Dreamee Sound baby monitor

Price: £135 | Buy now from Amazon

"I had the Tommee Tippee video monitor with movement sensor mat. The sound/video is good (and still works four years later)... The sensor mat is great if your baby sleeps relatively still but we had a wriggler so had lots of alarms every night!" (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user codenameduchess)

Tommee Tippee’s Dreamee Sound baby monitor and motion sensor mat is one of the best value movement-tracking devices we tested. It comes with a 4.3-inch HD colour video monitor, 360-degree night vision infrared camera and movement sensor mat so you can keep a close eye and ear on your baby at all times. 

The sensor mat is very sensitive so you’ll likely need to adjust the settings so it’s not going off every other minute, but the monitor’s interface is easy to use and not overly complicated. This makes it ideal for grandparents and babysitters to use as well. 

We really like the CrySensor feature that listens out for baby’s cries and soothes them with your choice of music, and we found it settled our baby back down quite quickly. It also doesn’t require WiFi, so this is a good option if your internet connection isn’t fast enough for some of the app-connected monitors but you still want that extra bit of reassurance. 

Pros

  • Doesn’t require WiFi connection
  • Infrared night-vision camera
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Energy-saving mode
  • In-built thermometer and out-of-range indicator

Cons

  • CrySensor mat is very sensitive
  • Interface on monitor is a little bit clunky

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: Not stated
  • Range: 300 metres
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: No
  • Screen size: 4.3-inch colour display

10. Best versatile baby monitor: Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud Video Baby Monitor

Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud baby monitor

Price: £157 | Buy now from Amazon

Hubble’s Nursery Pal Cloud monitor was voted our most versatile option as it can be used on its own (with the camera and handset) or with the Hubble mobile app. We used this mainly with the app as we found the picture quality to be much better than on the monitor. 

The app also offers lots more features such as recording, different coloured nightlights for sleep training, music, motion detection and an option to create a sleep schedule. You can also share camera access with other caregivers. 

If you don’t want those extra features, however, the main monitor is really easy to set up and use, and you can keep an eye on your baby with the extra-large five-inch colour LCD screen. It also comes with the essential functions such as a remote pan, tilt, zoom and night vision that you’d expect from a mid-range monitor. 

Pros

  • Lots of extra features available on the app
  • Infrared night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Shareable access
  • Remote camera control

Cons

  • Picture slightly grainy on the handset
  • Functions on main monitor quite limited
  • App may drain phone battery quickly

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: Full HD 1080p
  • Range: 300 metres
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: 5-inch diagonal colour screen 

11. Best baby monitor for a hassle-free set-up: Babysense 7 V24R Baby Monitor

Babysense 7 baby monitor

Price: £99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Babysense is considered one of the most trusted brands for monitoring your baby’s breathing, and the V24R comes with a video monitor and under-the-mattress breathing monitor to help you do just that. 

It’s very straightforward to set up which we always find a relief (especially when monitors come with extra kit like sensors) and we barely had to refer to the instructions as the whole design is very intuitive.

The handset is also simple to use, while being compact enough to pop in your pocket when you’re moving around the house. You can also operate the lullabies and white noise remotely which we found really useful if baby became unsettled while we were downstairs.

The two sensor pads allow you to get coverage of movement around their cot: flashing green when everything is OK and red when movement has stopped. It also alerts you when breathing has slowed to unusual levels.

We were a bit confused as to what we were being alerted to at times, as the sensor is very sensitive, so you will need to play around with the settings to suit your needs.

The main thing to mention here is that the sensor pads are only suitable for large cots as opposed to Moses baskets or bedside cribs. As such, this wouldn’t be the right choice for monitoring very small babies in those early months before they go into their own room. 

You’ll also need a hard, rigid surface so, if your cot has a soft or spring base, extra wooden board (plywood) needs to be placed under each sensor pad.

Pros

  • One-time, easy set-up of sensors
  • Good sound quality
  • Full-bed coverage
  • Alarm sounds if no movement is detected for 20 seconds
  • Hack-proof technology and requires no internet connection

Cons

  • Sensors are very sensitive and lots of alerts
  • Battery life of monitor when not plugged in only seven hours
  • Sensors not suitable for Moses baskets or bedside cribs

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: Not stated
  • Range: 290 metres in open space
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: No
  • Screen size: 2.4-inch LCD display

12. Best portable baby monitor: BT Smart Baby Monitor

BT smart monitor units

Price: £129.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“It has a good picture and good night vision, and I can view it from the app on my phone. It also has a temp gauge and all sorts of other features but the main thing for me is that it’s robust. When I’m fiddling around in the night or my son has taken it and smacked it on the floor, it’s survived everything." (Rated by Mumsnet user Peachee)

The award-winning BT Smart Baby Monitor is a favourite among parents for its reliability and portable design. It took us just five minutes to start using after setting up a BT account and multi-factor authentication as there’s also a free Smart Controls app that you can install in addition to using the handset.

While it boasts a five-inch screen, the monitor is still easy to carry around in your pocket, and it has two-way talk if your baby becomes unsettled and you want to sing them back to sleep. 

It’s also compatible with most Android and iOS devices, and the app (which we preferred over the handset, particularly for image quality) offers fun features like recording and saving videos and snapshots to your device. This is a good solid option if you travel and visit family a lot and need a monitor that’s reliable and uncomplicated to set up.

Pros

  • Strong signal
  • Free app on Google Play or Apple
  • Works with iOS and Android devices
  • Long-lasting, in-built rechargeable battery

Cons

  • Slight delay on two-way talk
  • Range of movement on camera not huge
  • In-built lullabies not the nicest sounding
  • Image is clearer via the app

Key specs

  • Video: Yes
  • Resolution: 720-pixel
  • Range: 250 metres outdoors, 50 metres indoors
  • Two-way talk: Yes
  • Night vision: Yes
  • Sound alerts: Yes
  • Motion alerts: Yes
  • App control: Yes
  • Screen size: 5-inch colour video screen (2.8-inch version also available)

Do I need a baby monitor?

The main reason parents buy a baby monitor is for extra reassurance. Whether you’re worried you won’t hear your baby while you sleep, have hearing difficulties and need a visual indicator to show you when your child is stirring or crying, or want to see what your toddler is up to without having to go to their room, a monitor can let you see and hear what's going on.

You may decide that the size and layout of your house don’t warrant a monitor, or perhaps you’re a light sleeper who hears every gurgle. That said, do bear in mind:

  1. An extra audio or visual aid can still be useful – you might want to binge on Netflix without pressing mute every few minutes to check that that sound wasn’t your baby.
  2. A monitor with a decent signal range means you can spend sunny evenings in the garden while your baby’s tucked up in bed and still be able to hear them if they need you.
  3. Even a basic audio-only product means you’ll be able to hear your baby, even if you need to close their bedroom door to keep pets out.
  4. If you have thick walls or a sound-proof house, then you’ll likely find a monitor essential – but always err on the side of caution and go for a device that claims a longer signal distance than you need.

Are baby monitors safe?

Most baby monitors are solid pieces of kit, designed to withstand knocks and drops from tired parents and boisterous toddlers. As with any electronic product, make sure you keep cords and spare batteries well out of reach of children.

WiFi monitors are sometimes associated with hacking and privacy concerns and although the jury’s out on how much of an issue this actually is, it’s sensible to follow good online practice such as enabling security software updates and two-step authentication, changing the monitor's default password to a new, strong password (and updating this regularly), and only using WiFi connections that you trust.

Baby monitors are also designed as an addition to checking in on your baby in person, so be sure to also keep an eye on their temperature, movements and breathing yourself and not rely solely on equipment.

What type of baby monitor is best?

There are five different monitor types on the market. Choose from audio, baby movement, video and WiFi.

1. Audio baby monitor

Made up of a parent unit that stays with you and an audio sensor that goes in baby's room, audio-only monitors are generally an affordable option and are simple to set up and use. They let you listen in on your baby so that you can hear them snuffling as they drift off to sleep or crying when they’ve woken up.

Two-way monitors do this too, but they also let you chat to and settle your baby from another room.

Consider a model with sound-sensitive lights so that you can see if your baby is stirring, for example if you’re hard of hearing or just like dancing in the kitchen with the volume turned up loud.

2. Video baby monitor

Video monitors are comprised of a camera with sound to let you see what your baby is getting up to, giving you that extra bit of reassurance without having to open the door to check on them and risk waking them up.

A HD colour screen and night vision (so that you see your baby in the dark) often come as standard, with some models also including remote control camera functions that let you zoom, tilt and pan (useful for spotting where your baby has wriggled to in the cot) and record footage (useful to confirm that your babysitter meant it when they said your toddler had behaved angelically).

Some video monitors allow you to connect additional cameras, meaning you can keep an eye on children in different bedrooms. This is particularly useful for larger families. Others have in-built movement sensors that alert you when your child is unsettled or awake.

3. Baby movement monitor

Baby movement monitors detect movement as well as sound. They usually come with a sensor pad that sits under the cot mattress to track movements and breathing, and alert you if there’s no movement for a short period of time - usually 20 seconds. 

Although the sensitivity setting can be adjusted to avoid false alarms, some parents can find this type of monitor more anxiety-inducing than reassuring.

4. WiFi baby monitor

WiFi monitors use a wireless internet connection to sync the baby unit to your phone. This means that you can say goodnight to your baby while you’re at work or watch them as well as talk about them on date night (just us?).

Some WiFi monitors let you save clips, hook up to Alexa or Google Assistant and come with Cloud storage too.

Concerns about security can deter some parents from this type of monitor and others find a digital connection more stable day-to-day. However, if you have a decent WiFi connection and take reasonable safety precautions, they offer a way of checking in on your child remotely.

5. Wearable baby monitor

Wearable baby monitors are smart devices that clip onto baby's clothing or can be worn around the feet (in the case of the Owlet Smart Sock Plus), allowing you to track movements, heart rate and even oxygen levels. Data is then delivered in the form of sleep analytics via an app. These are particularly handy for first-time parents in need of extra reassurance or those who want to be able to learn about their child's sleeping patterns to create a sleep routine.  

VTech and Cubo Ai Plus baby monitors

Real-life set-up in our tester's home of the Cubo Ai Plus and the VTech RM7767HD Smart Video Monitor

How much does a baby monitor cost?

The cost of a baby monitor will depend on the brand, the extra features and the style of monitor you choose.

For a basic audio monitor, such as the BT Audio 450 Lightshow, you needn't pay more than £40, but if you want an all-singing, all-dancing video monitor with super-sharp image quality, expect to pay around £200.

How to choose the best baby monitor

  • Type: Decide whether or not you want an audio monitor, a video monitor, a movement monitor, a wearable monitor or an app-connected device.
  • Connection: If you’re thinking of buying a WiFi-connected monitor, check to see if your current internet speed will support it. You'll also need to ensure that your internet connection is secure and password-protected. Any smartphone apps used should be set up with two-step authentication for added security.
  • Camera and video quality: Not all monitors are created equal when it comes to video quality, so be sure to compare and contrast models to find the best in your budget. Look at whether the monitor has decent night vision as well as day vision, and whether the lens offers a bird's-eye, 360-degree view of your baby's room. 
  • Audio quality: You need to be able to hear your baby clearly while they are in a different room, so the sound quality of your chosen monitor must be high enough to meet your needs. Look for a decent volume range and a monitor that promises no signal interference or lagging.
  • Ease of use: If other caregivers will be looking after your baby, consider if they will be able to use it easily. Will you require remote access and additional cameras?
  • Breathing and movement alerts: Think about whether a breathing and movement monitor, complete with a sensor mat, will reassure you or make you unnecessarily anxious.
  • Range: Will the monitor’s range reach your garden in the summer months? Most baby monitors have an indoor range of at least 50 metres. This is how far you can take the parent unit away from the baby unit (i.e. your baby's cot) so that the monitor can still function as it's supposed to. Consider wall thickness and the size of your house as this will affect the range and signal.
  • Portability: If you travel often, will the monitor be easy to transport and set up?
  • Extra features: While most baby monitors have standard, in-built features such as lullabies, two-way talkback and white noise (meaning you can forgo an additional baby sleep aid), some come with added features such as video clips, sleep analytics, cry alerts, breathing trackers and movement sensors.
  • Power supply: All monitors need some kind of power source such as mains-powered or battery-operated/wireless. Think about what will work best for your home set up and also how long the battery lasts when not on charge. Video monitors will usually need to be plugged in constantly, so consider where yours is mounted so as to keep any wires safely away from your baby's cot.
  • Battery life: According to Which?, the average battery life for an audio monitor is 13.5 hours, while a video monitor's is just seven. Think about how long you'd need the battery to last as most baby monitors will need recharging daily. 
  • Wall mount or floor stand: Most monitors come with a wall mount or stand (sometimes both) and which one is best for you will depend on the position of your cot and the space around it. 

What is the best baby monitor?

We think the Spear & Jackson Video Baby Monitor is the best baby monitor due to its affordable cost and safe, high-quality design. While this monitor isn’t the most sophisticated technology-wise of all the models we tested, it does offer everything you need to keep a close eye and ear on your baby including exceptional video and audio quality, remote pan, tilt and zoom functions, and a decent range.

family testing baby monitors

Tester using the Bluebell Vision 8-in-1 Smart Baby Monitor

How we chose the products to test

  • Approximately 400 hours researched
  • 15 models considered
  • 12 models tested

To help you find the very best products we commissioned Cat Hufton, a writer and mum of two, to research and review the top baby monitors out there. 

Cat took a look at the market as a whole and researched which devices were considered to be the best in terms of value, design and innovation, taking into account consumer feedback and expert guidance from the likes of The Lullaby Trust and Which? to determine which products were worthy of our consideration. She also took a deep dive into the Mumsnet forums to see what other parents had to say in terms of their favourites. 

She then drew up a final shortlist of 12 baby monitors and got to work testing them all over a three-month period when her youngest son was just six months old.

How we tested

We comparatively tested the baby monitors over a period of three months. We used the monitors for daytime naps and nighttime sleeps, and also transported them on weekends away too. We also assembled everything ourselves (even the more complicated models) to give us a complete experience of each monitor. Each model was tested for a minimum of a week.

When testing each product, we looked at video and audio quality, safety and stability, set-up, range and connectivity, screen size, battery life, features such as lullabies and two-way talkback, aesthetics, cleanliness, and how easy it was to use day-to-day. Crucially, we also considered whether the device offered good value for money.

How we chose our final recommendations

To draw up our carefully selected recommendations list, we scored each baby monitor out of 45 based on eight main testing categories: set-up, safety and stability, day-to-day use, signal, battery, cleanliness, aesthetics and value for money. 

Each tried-and-tested product was then offered an award based on where we think it performs best for different needs and situations. We especially made sure to include a breadth of baby monitors to suit a variety of families and budgets, leaving no stone unturned.

Why you should trust our reviews 

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust so all Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents and experienced parenting journalists with years of first-hand experience.

Our intensive research and testing process is designed to cut through the noise and help you narrow down your choices, so we spend hours researching, speaking to other parents, analysing data and listening to experts before we test out the products on our shortlist.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about how we tested the products we recommend. We won't always recommend the cheapest products, or the ones with the most extra features. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones we'd recommend to our own friends and family.

There's no incentive for us to be lazy with our research or in our testing process. There's no reason for us to respond to pressure from retailers or brands trying to promote new products. It's actually quite the opposite and we think it's a good system, one that keeps us focused on making parents lives' easier.

All prices on this page correct at time of writing