Best Budget Baby Monitor 2020

VTech DM1111 review

Simple to use and with decent sound quality, the VTech DM1111 Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor does exactly what you'd expect it to. We reckon it’s the best budget baby monitor to buy right now.

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Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Enhanced range Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT) digital audio monitor
  • Its design may be more functional than fancy, but with good signal range, battery life and audio quality, this monitor packs a punch for its price
  • Small and lightweight, so a good option for taking on holiday

Pros

  • Reliable range
  • Good audio quality
  • Excellent value for money
  • Portable

Cons

  • Basic appearance
  • No two-way talkback function
  • Occasional interference

What are the key features?

  • DECT 6.0 digital technology
  • Visual sound indicator
  • Out-of-range indicator
  • Five volume levels
  • Encrypted signal
  • 120 channels
  • Power-saving mode
  • Low-battery indicator
  • Belt clip

What are the specs?

  • Range: Up to 450 metres outdoors and up to 50 metres indoors (parent unit must also be a minimum of two metres away from the baby unit)
  • Warranty: One year
  • Dimensions: 4.8 × 11.6 × 6.6cm
  • RRP: £19.99

What’s in the box?

  • User manual
  • Parent unit
  • Baby unit
  • Power adapter
  • Two AAA batteries

How easy is the VTech DM1111 to set up?

Our parent testers, Rachel and Bobby, gave the VTech DM1111 full marks for ease of assembly.

With no overnight charging or extra tools required, the monitor is ready to plug in and use right from the get-go, which is a huge plus point when compared to other baby monitors we tested such as the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Video Sensor Baby Monitor (10 hours of charging needed), the Angelcare AC527 Baby Movement Monitor (eight hours) and the Summer Infant Baby Pixel Monitor (seven hours).

As well as being a great budget choice for everyday use, the ease of set-up also makes the VTech DM1111 a great emergency or holiday buy.

While our testers actually found the instructions more distracting than useful, thanks to the monitor’s intuitive design, full instructions (with helpful pictures) are included if you do get stuck – and you can also download these online.

In addition to step-by-step instructions, the manual includes troubleshooting FAQs, tech specs and the usual safety warnings. VTech also offers a one-year warranty and provide a telephone helpline and online contact form should you need to get in touch.

How good is the audio on the VTech DM1111?

Overall, audio quality was pretty good. Rachel and Bobby did experience a little interference, but the sound was always clear enough for them to hear their eight-month-old baby crying out for them.

The monitor has five volume settings (the default being level three) along with a visual sound indicator. This not only shows the volume level when you use the volume setting but also shows the sound level detected by the baby unit, which our testers felt was accurate.

One thing to note is that the VTech DM1111 unfortunately doesn’t have a talkback feature. This means that, while you can hear your child if they're crying or in need of some soothing, you can’t try to settle them from another room by singing or chatting back through the monitor. Considering the VTech's price tag, though, this may not be that surprising.

How about the signal?

Rachel and Bobby were particularly impressed with the signal range (450 metres outdoors and 50 metres indoors) which meant that they could use the monitor in the back garden while their baby was napping.

The VTech also boasts an out-of-range indicator which beeps three times every 30 seconds when out of range and flashes a green light. However, our testers found that this lagged behind the actual sound being lost by about a second or two.

Although the signal remained strong throughout the house, both upstairs and downstairs, it did seem to be affected by wall thickness. Bobby discovered that the monitor didn’t work inside his neighbour’s house, two doors down, but it did on the street outside his own house.

How long does the battery last?

Our testers timed how long the rechargeable battery took to run down without being plugged in, and found that the VTech DM1111 lasted a good 10 hours. This should be more than enough to last you throughout the night – unless, that is, you’re lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps for 12-hour stretches.

A low-battery alert flashes red and beeps every 10 minutes to let you know when it needs charging, but the monitor also has a power-saving mode should you need it.

To charge the VTech, you’ll need to plug it into the mains as there’s no USB adapter or alternative charging method, which could be off-putting to parents who want a more travel-friendly option.

This monitor doesn't break the bank and works perfectly!

How does it look?

Frankly, no-one is going to rave about the DM1111’s functional appearance. It’s white, it’s plastic and it’s plain, however Bobby did liken it to a sleek Dyson fan so, overall, it could well be a matter of personal taste.

But while this monitor's basic design is more cheap and cheerful than Insta-worthy, it’s inoffensive, simple to use and it certainly won’t look out of place in your baby’s room either.

All in all, the monitor is fairly unobtrusive – Rachel and Bobby's eight-month-old baby didn’t seem to notice the monitor or find it distracting in any way. However this couldn't quite be said for their three-year-old toddler who did find it entertaining by pressing all the buttons.

What’s the monitor like to use day-to-day?

Crucial to a monitor's charm is just how well it fits into everyday family life and the VTech DM1111 does not disappoint.

Rachel and Bobby described it as “incredibly simple to use – even our toddler was able to do it”. It has a straightforward design, which makes it a good choice for less tech-savvy users, and comes without a menu – in its place is three very visible and responsive buttons which allow you to turn on the power and turn the volume up or down.

In terms of size, the monitor is lovely and compact, and it comes with a belt clip so you can wear it on your belt or pop it in your pocket while you move around the house.

Because it's so small and lightweight, the VTech is also a great choice travelling. The only limitation is that you’ll need to be near a plug socket to plug the baby unit into the mains.

Are there any extra features?

Nope. The VTech DM1111 is a no-frills audio-only baby monitor.

But its simplicity is a huge part of its appeal and, at less than 20 quid, we’re certainly not complaining.

Is the VTech DM1111 baby monitor safe?

Made from white plastic with rounded edges, the VTech DM1111 may appear a little minimalist, but it certainly isn’t unsafe.

No parts are likely to cause injury to you or your child, and safety instructions are included to remind parents to keep the device away from water and out of reach of curious little fingers.

While the monitor did survive our drop test, which involved a flight of stairs, the belt clip did, however, snap off when our testers' toddler got involved in testing.

This may have knocked a point or two off the VTech's final score, but we think its more than sturdy enough for its price. And, being an audio-only device, you won’t have any concerns about Wi-Fi security or potential hacking risks either.

How easy is it to clean?

As the monitor is made from plastic, it’s easy to keep clean with just an occasional once-over with a wet wipe, duster or soft cloth.

The manufacturer advises that you don't immerse either the parent or baby unit in water, clean them under a tap or use cleaning spray or liquid cleaners. The units must also be dry before you connect them to the mains again.

Is the VTech DM1111 good value for money?

In a word, yes. We awarded the VTech DM1111 the 'Mumsnet Best Budget Baby Monitor' badge as it offers excellent value for money, does what it says on the tin box and is affordable for the majority of parents too.

Final verdict?

It may not be beautiful, and it may not come with many – or any! – bells and whistles, but this monitor delivers a solid signal range and crisp audio just as well as some of the more expensive models we tested, such as the Babymoov Yoo-Moov and the Summer Infant Baby Pixel.

Plus, it’s easy to carry around, making your life easier whether you’re using it at home or on holiday.

About Mumsnet Reviews

All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing – this includes recommendations from the Mumsnet Talk boards. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Read our how we test page to find out more.

For more information about what to look for when buying a baby monitor, check out our buyer's guide.

All prices correct at time of publication

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Awards

  • Best Budget Baby Monitor 2020

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