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When it comes to shopping for baby essentials, it pays to do your research. Opting for the best crib in your price range usually means improved sleep for everybody, buying the best travel cot for your family makes for a more relaxing trip away, and choosing a baby monitor carefully will bring peace of mind. But with so many options available, finding the best baby monitor to suit your needs and your budget can be tricky.
Baby monitors are more complex and packed with more additional features than ever, from HD video to smart apps and movement sensor pads to name but a few. When looking for the best baby monitor, there are a host of options, and it helps to work out what’s important to you before you buy. For example:
Do I want or need video?
Is my WiFi connectivity reliable or do I need to think about bluetooth?
Are breathing and movement alerts something I want from a monitor?
Would I like an app to view and control the monitor from?
What signal range do I need?
… and crucially, how much do I want to spend?
The best baby monitors UK: tried and tested by real parents
How we tested the best baby monitors
To help you make an informed decision, we rigorously test baby monitors on an ongoing basis. Our parent testers try out the monitors at home with their own children, in real-life conditions. We score each model based on a number of factors including video quality, ease of set-up, connection and design. We also consulted experts from The Lullaby Trust and spend hours combing the Mumsnet forums to see which baby monitors are recommended as best buys and which come with words of warning according to the UK's biggest network of parents.
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. From the best baby changing bags to the best breast pumps, 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.
Here are the best baby monitors to buy.
Reliable range of up to 300 metres
Two cameras included
Connects to up to 4 cameras
Price on writing: £170 | Video: Yes | Resolution: 1080p HD | Range: Up to 300 metres | Two-way talk: Yes | Night vision: Yes | Sound alerts: Yes | Motion alerts: No | App control: No | Screen size: 5.5 inches
Thanks to its great quality video display and ability to connect to up to 4 cameras, we've chosen the Babysense 5.5” 1080p Full HD Split-Screen Baby Monitor to top our best baby monitors list. It doesn't connect to WiFi, which can be either a pro or a con depending on your perspective.
Featuring a split screen so you can check on multiple cameras at once (extra cameras sold separately), the monitor allows you to sing and comfort your child through the WiFi-free parental unit. It's got an impressive 300-metre range, and there's an alert that sounds if you go out of signal range.
With infrared night vision, you can see what your baby's up to at any time of day or night, as well as being able to tilt, pan and zoom in.
Read next: The best cot mattresses Mumsnetters swear by
Colour night vision
No worries about patchy WiFi connections
Sounds and temperature sensor
Battery life could be better
Needs wall mount to operate 360-degree pan
Price on writing: £120 | Video: Yes | Resolution: 720p | Range: 1,000 feet | Two-way talk: Yes | Night vision: Yes | Sound alerts: Yes | Motion alerts: No | App control: No | Screen size: 5-inch HD screen
Tried and tested by MNHQ: Read our full Leapfrog LF915HD review
Many parents are concerned about the security and reliability of modern, WiFi-connected baby monitors, instead opting for WiFi-free models like this one from Leapfrog. Offering quick and intuitive set-up and great picture quality day and night, we think this is the best video baby monitor at the moment.
With a soothing one-touch nightlight, colour night vision and a temperature and humidity sensor, it’s got all the features you could wish for, all for under £150. Our only criticism is that while it does have 360-degree pan, you will need to install the wall mount (included) in order to get the full range from the camera.
Easy-to-use breathing band or swaddle
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
One of the most expensive monitors tested
Overhead camera feels a little intrusive
Price on writing: £240 | 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
Tested by MNHQ: Read our full Nanit Pro review
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 and the cost isn't an issue, then this monitor is pretty amazing. 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.
Our tester's baby was six months old at the time of testing, so she 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.
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. Then each morning the app also provides baby's sleep stats and creates a time-lapse highlight reel of their sleep. 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.
Mains or battery powered
Extended battery life
Video, audio and two-way talk
Some reviewers were disappointed by the range
Price on writing: £40 | Video: Yes | Resolution: High | Range: 300 metres | Two-way talk: Yes | Night vision: Yes | Sound alerts: Yes | Motion alerts: No | App control: No | Screen size: 2.8-inch colour LCD screen
Tested by MNHQ: Read our in-depth VTech VM3254 review
If you’re looking for a simple baby monitor with good video and audio quality at a great price, look no further. The VTech VM3254 comes highly recommended by Mumsnetters as one of the best baby monitors to choose for those who want the reassurance of a monitor with a camera but don’t want to shell out for the extra features you’ll find on a £100+ monitor.
It has a 2.8 inch colour screen, automatic night vision and a temperature sensor, plus two-way talk and a 3-level sound indicator. For extra peace of mind, it also features a 19-hour screen-on battery life and 29-hour battery in power saving mode.
Alternatively, there's also the VTech VM3263 baby monitor that comes recommended, although we're yet to test this one ourselves.
Endorsed by the Lullaby Trust
Vibration and alarm
Certified medical device
No audio or video function
Price on writing: £95 | Video: No | Resolution: N/A | Range: N/A | Two-way talk: No | Night vision: No | Sound alerts: Yes | Motion alerts: Yes | App control: No | Screen size: N/A
Tried and tested by MNHQ: Read our full Snuza Hero MD review
With an endorsement from sleep safety experts The Lullaby Trust, Snuza Hero is a medically certified portable breathing monitor that clips onto your little one’s nappy and monitors abdominal movements. Priced at £95, it’s considerably cheaper than other breathing monitors such as the Owlet Smart Sock.
It’s free from any wires and is powered by an internal battery, and is set to vibrate and sound an alarm if baby’s breathing becomes weak or stops. Mumsnetters who’ve used the Snuza Hero say it’s really helped reassure them in the early months, and that it rarely gives false alarms, making it one of the best baby monitors for peace of mind.
No wires or charging equipment - plugs straight into mains
Eco mode to reduce power consumption
Highly sensitive microphone with no interference
Visual volume indicator
No two-way talk
Can't be used outdoors as it needs to be plugged in
Price on writing: £25 | 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
Tested by MNHQ: Read our in-depth Motorola AM21 Audio Baby Monitor review
For a bells and whistles-free option, one of the best baby monitors that does the job without the extra features, you can't go wrong with the Motorola Nursery AM21/MBP21. 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. If you have a toddler and just want a straightforward audio baby monitor, Motorola’s Nursery AM21/MBP21 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.
Our parent tester 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. She said she actually used this monitor in her toddler’s room for a couple of years and it’s never let her down, so it's worth considering if you're looking for one of the best baby monitors to keep an ear out for older children, too.
If this model doesn't tickle your fancy, though, there's always the Motorola AM24 Baby Monitor. While we've not tested this device ourselves just yet, it's very similar to the AM21/MBP21 model.
More of the best baby monitors: tried and tested
What is a baby monitor?
A baby monitor is a small electronic device that allows you to keep an eye and/or 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 an extra wink or two.
Most baby monitors come 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 sleep. 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 you use 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 night-time 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.”
Are baby monitors a good idea?
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, one of the best baby monitors 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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
The best baby monitors should be fairly 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.
How to choose a baby monitor
To filter through all the best baby monitors, you first need to consider what you're looking for from your baby monitor. There are five different monitor types on the market: audio, baby movement, video, WiFi and wearable.
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 the best baby monitors for affordability 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, making them the best baby monitors for larger families. Others have in-built movement sensors that alert you when your child is unsettled or awake.
3. Baby movement monitor
Ranked by many parents as the best baby monitors for peace of mind, 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, these can be the best baby monitors if you'd like the option 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 can be the best baby monitors 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.
Read next: The best teething toys Mumsnetters swear by
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 Motorola Nursery AM21/MBP21 Audio Baby Monitor, you needn't pay more than £50, but if you want an all-singing, all-dancing video monitor with super-sharp image quality, expect to pay £200-£300.
How do I choose a good 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 age do you stop using a baby monitor?
There isn't really any official guidance from the NHS or Lullaby Trust as to the 'right' age to stop using a monitor and opinions on the Mumsnet forums tend to be divided. Some parents find them a useful feature for homes with thicker walls, or if their children suffer from nightmares.
What is the best baby monitor to buy?
Thanks to its brilliant video and audio quality, ability to connect to multiple cameras and WiFi-free connection, we've picked the Babysense 5.5” 1080p Full HD Split-Screen Baby Monitor as the best overall baby monitor we think would suit most families.
About the author
Catherine Hufton is an experienced freelance lifestyle journalist and writer based in London. She writes for a wide range of national titles and specialises in fashion, beauty and parenting. She also creates a weekly newsletter called The Freelance Parent.
How we chose the best baby monitors to test
Approximately 400 hours researched
15 models considered
12 models tested
To help you find the very best baby monitors we commissioned Cat Hufton, a writer and mum of two, to research and review the best baby monitors out there.
Cat took a look at the best baby monitors 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 best 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 best baby monitors recommendations list, we scored each baby monitor out of 45 based on eight main testing categories:
Safety and stability
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
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about how we test 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