The 5 best baby monitors to buy in 2020
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 five best baby monitors to buy in 2020.
Baby monitors often feature near the top of the newborn baby essentials list for parents, but finding the one that best suits your needs and your budget can be pretty tough.
Keep reading as we take you through the best-performing monitors available to buy, as recommended and tested by parents.
Short on time? Watch our video round-up below.
How we chose the products to test
We commissioned Hazel Bosworth, a writer and mum of two, to research and review the top monitors out there. As a parent to an eight- and six-year-old, Hazel has racked up plenty of hands-on experience using a wide variety of baby kit.
Hazel spent 16 hours researching the current baby monitor market. She investigated new innovations, gathered recommendations from the Mumsnet forums, listed online bestsellers from Amazon, Very and John Lewis, and talked to two experts – Kate Holmes, Support and Information Manager at The Lullaby Trust and Emily-Jane Clark, author of Amazon bestseller Sleep Is For The Weak.
Finally, she narrowed down her list of choices to 17 testing candidates from a range of brands and price points. This included audio, video, wifi and movement sensor monitors.
How real-life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique
While all product reviews are subjective to some degree, we want our recommendations to come from months of real-life use and like-for-like comparison. For that reason, we use a single tester who judges one product against another in their own home.
For this category, Hazel partnered with parents Rachel and Bobby, who had an eight-month-old baby and a three-year-old toddler at the time of testing, to put our shortlisted products through their paces over the course of three sleepless months.
Each monitor was used in the family home every day (and once overnight) for at least a week. The products were scored on eight areas: set-up, safety and stability, day-to-day use, cleanliness, signal, battery, aesthetics and value for money.
Five products were then awarded a Mumsnet Best badge – these are the products that we feel offer the absolute best value for most parents.
After collating the feedback and scores, the results are ready. Here are the best baby monitors to buy in 2020.
1. BT Smart Baby Monitor: Best Wifi Baby Monitor 2020
“We have a BT video monitor. It's handy as you can talk to your baby through it.”
The BT Smart Monitor lets you check in on your baby remotely via wifi and ticks all the techy boxes with its easy-to-use Smart Controls app and voice control functions.
It gets the basics right too, with clear audio, long-lasting rechargeable battery and a strong signal – even if our parent testers did prefer to use the app over the lightweight parent unit.
Great for parents who
- Want to be able to monitor their child remotely, eg when working late
- Want a monitor that they can hook up to Alexa or Google Assistant
- Quick and easy to set up
- Smart appearance and intuitive design
- Voice controls
- Can be used with BT's Smart Controls app
- Compact parent and baby units
- Two-way talkback feature sometimes glitchy
- One of the more expensive monitors we tested
- Wifi video monitor
- Range: 250m (50m indoors)
- Key features: Five-inch colour LCD screen with 135-degree pan, digital zoom and tilt; infrared night vision; two-way talkback; reminder alerts; five lullabies; temperature sensor; visual sound indicator; out-of-range indicator and low battery indicator; 1080p HD video streaming via app
- Dimensions: 15.2 × 16.4 × 8.5cm
- RRP: £150 (2.8-inch model also available for RRP £130)
- Price: £119.98 (exclusive discount for Mumsnet users)
2. Babymoov Premium Care Audio Monitor: Best Audio Baby Monitor 2020
“It looks great! Very sleek and stylish.”
The Babymoov Premium Care is a great all-rounder delivering exceptional signal quality, long-lasting battery and crystal-clear sound.
It looks good, too, with a futuristic design and stylish digital display setting it poles apart from generic white plastic monitors.
Great for parents who
- Need an audio-only monitor with excellent signal strength and sound quality
- Want a device that'll look smart in their home
- Would like the option of adding another transmitter, eg to a second child’s bedroom
- Outstanding signal strength and range
- Attractive design
- Battery lasted an impressive 16 hours during testing
- Lifetime warranty
- Instruction manual isn’t particularly clear or user-friendly
- One of the most expensive audio-only monitors we tested
- Enhanced range DECT digital audio monitor
- Range: 1400m
- Key features: VOX (voice-activated technology); Digital Green Technology; two-way talkback function; nightlight; temperature sensor; out-of-range indicator; low battery alert; audio, vibration and visual alarm; charging base for parent unit; belt clip; automatic channel search
- Dimensions: 23 × 20.5 × 6.2cm
- RRP: £100 (extra transmitter £50)
3. VTech DM1111: Best Budget Baby Monitor 2020
“This monitor doesn't break the bank and works perfectly!”
Simple to use and with decent sound, the VTech DM1111 audio monitor does exactly what you’d expect it to do for a budget-friendly RRP.
Its design may be more functional than fancy, but with good signal range, long-lasting battery life and excellent audio quality, this monitor definitely packs a punch for its price.
Great for parents who
- Need an affordable yet reliable option
- Want a compact monitor to take on holiday
- Ready to use straight out of the box – just plug in and go
- Reliable range
- Good audio quality
- Small and lightweight for travel
- Battery lasts around 10 hours
- No two-way talkback function
- Some interference
- Basic no-frills design
- Enhanced range DECT digital audio monitor
- Range: 450m outdoors (50m indoors)
- Key features: Five-level visual sound indicator; out-of-range indicator; low battery alert; power-saving mode; encrypted signal; belt clip
- Dimensions: 4.8 × 11.6 × 6.6cm
- RRP: £20
4. Summer Infant Baby Pixel Monitor: Best Video Baby Monitor 2020
“I really rate video monitors. I loved our Summer Infant one – camera zooms in and pans around, and it has good picture quality and range.”
Easy to use, and jam-packed with extras, the Summer Infant Baby Pixel Monitor offers great video functionality (think remote 360-degree tilt camera, excellent picture quality and a reassuringly large colour touchscreen) without neglecting the fundamentals of clear audio and strong signal.
While its battery life might leave little to be desired and the initial charging time is a whopping seven hours, we love this monitor’s innovative qualities not to mention its sturdiness and design.
Great for parents who
- Need to be able to see, as well as hear, their child
- Want a monitor that does more than just monitor. Extras include a nightlight, room temperature display, clock, lullaby function and virtual boundary alert functions
- Would like the option of adding up to four cameras to monitor multiple children or rooms
- Large five-inch high-resolution touchscreen with remote pan, zoom and tilt functionality
- Reliable signal, audio and picture quality
- Battery life can be disappointing
- Digital colour video monitor
- Range: 240m
- Key features: Five-inch high-resolution colour touchscreen with 360 Tilt™ camera and night vision; sound-activated LED lights; out-of-range indicator; low battery alert; VOX technology; two-way talkback; power-saving button
- Dimensions: 9 × 15.5 × 2.5cm
- RRP: £200 (additional camera £80)
5. Babymoov Yoo-Moov: Best Baby Monitor for Gadget Lovers 2020
The Babymoov Yoo-Moov is a video monitor that we think tech fans will enjoy thanks to its large remote-control camera and silent motorised technology.
Our testers found the Yoo-Moov really fun to use and enjoyed the 360-degree view of their baby's cot afforded by its silent (and remote) pan, zoom and tilt functionality.
Great for parents who
- Want a monitor with innovative tech
- Need a video monitor that offers the full package with strong signal, clear audio and some lovely extras such as nightlights and lullabies
- Silent motor 360-degree camera
- Lifetime warranty
- Two-way talkback very clear
- Good signal strength, even in the garden
- No visual sound indicator
- The price!
- Video monitor
- Range: 300m
- Key features: 4.3-inch colour LCD screen with 360-degree pan, tilt and zoom; night vision; multi-coloured nightlight; five lullabies; temperature sensor; out-of-range indicator; low battery alert; VOX technology
- Dimensions: 21 × 13.5 × 25.5cm
- RRP: £180
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What you need to know about baby monitors
What is a baby monitor?
A baby monitor lets you keep an eye and ear on your baby while you're in different rooms, giving you peace of mind and, in some cases, even helping you to catch a wink or two.
It comes in two parts: one part stays with your baby, eg in their nursery, and the other part stays with you, eg on the kitchen worktop. 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.
“I like the security it gives me and I don't have to go and check on my DS, I can just look at the video."
Why buy 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 probably 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.
“My husband and I found monitors really useful. Usually for telling each other 'It’s your turn!' after we’d spent an hour in the dark trying to get the baby to sleep.”
How much does a baby monitor cost?
This depends on the brand, the extra features and the style of monitor you want.
For a basic audio monitor, such as this year’s Mumsnet Best winner, the VTech DM1111, you needn't pay more than £20, but if you want an all-singing, all-dancing video monitor with super-sharp image quality, expect to pay around £200.
What safety features should I look out for?
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.
Read next: How we tested baby monitors
What other features should I consider?
Baby monitors often come jam-packed with extras. Choose from thermometers that let you see at a glance that the room isn’t too hot or too cold, soothing light shows and lullabies to make bedtime more relaxing, or even humidity sensors and feeding timers for the ultimate tech nursery.
Two of the most underrated extras is two-way talkback feature and the out-of-range indicator – the latter lets you know that the blissful silence you’re enjoying is only because the parent unit is no longer picking up any signal.
The four different types of baby monitor
There are four different monitor types on the market. Choose from audio, baby movement, video and wifi.
1. Audio baby monitors
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 reassure 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.
“On several occasions when DS has stirred, I've been able to sing to him over the monitor and settle him rather than get up.”
2. Baby movement monitors
Baby movement monitors detect movement as well as sound. They come with a sensor pad that sits under the cot mattress to alert you if there’s no movement for 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.
3. Video baby monitors
Video monitors 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.
4. Wifi baby monitors
Wifi monitors use a wifi 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.
Read next: Baby monitors buyer's guide
Why you should trust our reviews
All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust – brands can’t pay to be featured in our articles or win a Mumsnet Best award.
We spend hours researching, speaking to 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 one's we'd recommend to our own friends and family.
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