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The best baby monitors in 2023, tried and tested

May 22, 2023

A baby monitor can take some of the stress out of being a new parent, but with so many options on the market it can be challenging to pick one that doesn't add a little anxiety. From simple audio-only units to smart video systems with mobile apps and sleep trackers, there are so many ways to keep an eye on your little ones — so before you put one on your registry of baby shower gifts, you’ll want to do a little research (or read through ours, of course).

We tested leading audio, video and Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitors to see how they performed, what rewards they offered (and what risks they posed) and talked to experts to find out what features they considered essential. We focused on devices that were easy and secure to use, cost effective, and reliable, and found some of the best baby monitors out there to help you keep an eye on your little one.

With clear, detailed video and dependable audio and flexible placement, the local-video only Eufy Space View Pro had the best overall performance of any baby monitor we tested.

While the VTech doesn't match the Eufy Space View's overall performance, it's half the price and gives you a dependable view of your child's space that should put you at ease for less.

If you don't need video, the VTech DM221 is an affordable way to listen to what's going on in your child's space, and it makes a great household intercom.

If you really do want a Wi-Fi baby monitor, the affordable, configurable, easy to use and good-looking Lollipop is our recommendation.

This Eufy Space View Pro video monitor was the best all around performer in our tests. It does the basics well and isn't burdened with unnecessary features. The 5-inch display and 720p camera offer a clear and detailed image in both daylight and night-vision mode. Audio is clear, with minimal lag, and as a local-video unit there's no Wi-Fi connection, just a radio link between the base unit and the satellite camera or cameras, so you shouldn't be adding any additional security concerns as you ease your parental worries.

The camera delivers smooth panning with a 330° horizontal range, with a 110° vertical tilt. With a zoom mode offering 2x magnification, you can still get a good view even if you can't place the camera directly by the crib. Adjustments are made from the parent unit, so there is no need to touch the camera and potentially disturb a sleeping baby.

Setup was a breeze. Charge the parent unit fully and plug in the camera and you are basically up and running. Of all the units tested, this video monitor was easiest to use. The onscreen menus are simple and intuitive. The screen does not display a lot of information—only helpful stuff like time, battery level, signal strength, and room temperature.

The system allows you to connect up to four cameras, for multiple angles or rooms (additional cameras are available for $100 each) With its 1,000-foot range, we had no trouble using it across multiple rooms and floors. The tilt and pan features get a little sluggish at the edges of range, but otherwise the Space View Pro gives you plenty of freedom to move around and monitor any part of your child's room.

The battery will comfortably last you through the night, or longer with less frequent use. The parent unit puts itself to sleep and wakes up without sluggishness. Both units — screen and camera — charge with a micro-USB connector, as opposed to a proprietary plug, making cables and chargers easy to replace.

The buttons and control pad feel robust and both the camera and parent unit appear to be quite durable. Based on user reports, it seems the Space View Pro can withstand a beating, including being dropped multiple times. Unlike its smaller sibling, the Space View, the Pro's parent unit is a bit too large to fit in most pockets. On the other hand, it stands up on its own and doesn't require a flimsy kickstand.

If you want a decent local video baby monitor but don't want to shell out for the Eufy, the Vtech VM524 is a good option. Like the other local-only models we tested, the monitor and camera connect directly via radio, so setup is simple with no app pairing or network connection required. The build quality seems sturdy enough to take a few lumps, though as with other models, a rel;atively flimsy kickstand is a potential problem spot should you knock the device over.

The VTech VM5254 has a 5-inch display and 2x zoom, like the Eufy, as well as basic features like two-way intercom, temperature monitoring, and lullabye mode. However, the camera itself is not as high quality as the Eufy's, nor does the camera mount offer as many useful features.

The VTech camera's resolution is only 480p and the difference is noticeable. Unlike the Eufy, it can't pan and tilt, offering a more limited field of vision. This means you have to be more careful with placing your camera in the room, and that you will not be able to adjust the camera's position to see other parts of the room. Nor is there a wide-angle adapter available, unlike the Eufy Space View. As a result, your view is limited pretty much to the crib area alone. This won't be a problem with an infant, but might be a drawback for use with an older child if you want to keep an eye on them as they move around the room.

The base doubles as a pleasant night light with seven different color options. You can adjust brightness and control it with a timer. Battery life only runs about 7 hours of continuous use but, since the parent screen turns itself off when all is quiet, it's enough to make it through the night.

The VTech doesn't offer quite as much as the Eufy, but at less than half the price, it's a good-enough choice for people on a budget.

An audio-only monitor like the Vtech DM221 is the most basic available, but it does its job very well. While some parents may miss the ability to see their child sleeping, the audio feedback from this monitor makes it easy to set up and use, easy to monitor while doing other things, and potentially less anxiety-inducing to check on your child. Audio is crisper than in any of the video monitors we tested. The DM221's battery also lasts almost twice as long as most video models. The range is excellent and easily exceeds 1000ft. Among its very few additional features is a nightlight and a lullaby mode.

The unit includes a series of LED lights that represent volume levels. But with crisp audio and good volume, even this visual feedback is only a nice-to-have. When the unit loses connectivity — which some users have reported repeatedly, while we didn't encounter it often in our testing — it lets out a sharp beep that can be unsettling even if it does immediately alert you to the issue.

Otherwise, there is very little to complain about with this robust but simple device. If you want an effective monitor at the lowest possible price, with minimal distractions or hurdles, this could be the way to go.

In general, the Wi-Fi-enabled models we tested — at least those in the $200 and under range we focused on — did poorly by comparison with their local-video relatives. They all had significant performance issues, and by and large we felt that, along with the potential security issues that face connected devices mean that most parents should choose a local option.

Still, for some people, those additional features that come with Wi-Fi models — most significantly the ability to monitor from outside the home — are appealing enough to offset the issues. For those users, we recommend the Lollipop, an attractive option with a fantastic camera, albeit with some major drawbacks. But the combination of price and usability make it a reasonable choice for users who really want what Wi-Fi monitors have to offer.

The fashion-forward Lollipop doesn't look like any other baby monitor: the camera is encased in silicon with a bendable neck that allows for multiple positioning options (and can be twisted into a stand so that you can place it on a flat surface, though it takes some effort to get it balanced and stable). Because aesthetics are clearly a priority here, the unit comes in three soft colorways: turquoise, cotton candy, and pistachio. There are multiple options for mounting the camera, including a wall mount and a clip for attaching to a crib. There is also a floor stand that can be purchased separately for about $110.

The Lollipop does not have a parent unit; it only connects to a mobile app, which works with any device that supports Bluetooth. The 1080p camera is exceptionally clear and compares favorably with the best units we tested. The night-vision mode however, produced a less detailed image than the Eufy Space View Pro.

The setup process felt complicated and fussy compared to the local-only monitors. Our phone paired easily enough with the Lollipop camera, but this was not enough to get us up and running. During setup, the camera was confused by our patterned bed cover, though it was able to work when our subject was placed on white sheets.

The app is fairly intuitive, with the video feed showing in the top half of the screen with additional information displayed below. You can pinch to zoom on the image, and the high definition of the camera gives you a clear image even when zoomed way in. The app can be set to always-on audio, which is a rare feature at this price, which allows you to hear sound from your child's room even when you are not using the app. This ability to play audio in the background is a big plus, as users are likely to use their phones for more than just monitoring. The app can also be connected to Amazon Alexa.

The app sends you notifications when it detects noise, based on sensitivity levels that you can adjust to taste. At the most sensitive, we found that the microphone picked up noises from outside and the alerts became too frequent. At a lower level, it does a good job of distinguishing between meaningful noises and non-meaningful ones.

Like other Wi-Fi-enabled models, the Lollipop requires an additional subscription to unlock many of its features. In particular, the amount of footage saved is limited by plan. The free tier allows you to save 30 second video clips of "events" (like sound or movement alerts) for seven days. Paid subscriptions allow you to save clips for 30 days. There are currently four tiers of subscription, from Basic (free) to Elite Pro ($240/year). At the top level, you can record continuous video that is saved for 30 days.

The top tier also includes a service called "Snap Cute," which purports to capture the most important moments of your child's day. Lollipop promises that Snap Cute will capture and preserve milestone moments, such as "your baby's first kick, first time rolling over, and first step." We were not able to test the veracity of this claim, but we’re not sure we’d leave thatkind of thing to an automated system in any case. Other monitoring features — temperature monitoring, which is standard on many models, is only available with an additional sensor, which can also measure air quality and humidity.

While most devices offer some kind of lullaby mode that plays soothing sounds for your baby, the Lollipop's options are better than average. You can select pieces by Mozart, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, as well as a variety of environmental sounds. The playback compares well to other models we tested, which tend to sound like early-2000s ringtones.

User reviews are somewhat mixed, with many happy customers and a sizable minority who are less pleased. Some reviewers note that the unit struggles in areas with spotty internet, though this is a problem inherent to Wi-Fi-enabled devices. While we did not experience connectivity issues, they are commonly enough reported by users.

The biggest drawback to the Lollipop — as with all the Wi-Fi-enabled models we tested — is security. The user account setup lacks modern security measures like multifactor authentication, which requires a user to present more than one credential to log in. According to our experts, this is a major dealbreaker. Some users online have also complained about trouble installing updates, another essential security practice, since difficulties like this mean you’re less likely to install updates, meaning you may miss essential security patches.

If security is a concern for you (and we think it should be!), we recommend you make a different choice. Still, given the limited Wi-Fi options at this price point, some may still want to consider the Lollipop.

Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitors are smart-home connected devices that give you the ability to monitor their cameras from your smartphone even when you are not home, save footage for later, or track sleep habits. Using your phone as a display, there is no need to carry another parent unit around the house. These attractive features come at a price: the most robust Wi-Fi-enabled models can run you up to nearly $400 and require expensive subscriptions to unlock full functionality.

As with all so-called smart devices, there is an element of risk involved when you transmit private information over the Internet. Web-enabled devices are vulnerable to hackers, who have been reported to hijack video feeds for nefarious purposes. While millions of people use smart devices without incident, the risks are real, and many people understandably feel an extra level of vigilance when it comes to children and nurseries.

There are steps you can take — multi factor authentication, strong passwords on all of your devices and the network itself, regular updating of all devices and your router — to make your smart devices and network more secure, but some people might be more comfortable sticking to local video monitors to avoid the extra hassle, cost, and concern. That said, none of the Wi-Fi-enabled monitors we tested in our price range performed as well, and none of them met the security criteria our experts recommended.

For that reason we and many other reviewers recommend local-only monitors. Local-only baby monitors do not connect to the Internet. The camera and monitor connect via a private radio frequency, and can operate only within a limited range, typically under 1,000 feet, which will be adequate for most people but doesn't won't let you check on the feed from work or vacation — so if you really need the ability to check on your child's room from out of the house regularly they may not be for you.

Given the simplicity and security of such devices, they may be the best choice for most people. Setup is usually quite easy and you don't have to deal with subscriptions or extra features you might not need. For these reasons, our top picks are local video models. And since you don't have to connect to a network, you can use them anywhere you can plug in, so you can pack one along with your travel crib.

With the vulnerabilities associated with Wi-Fi-connected smart-home devices, we wanted to know what precautions would be necessary to keep your devices and information secure should you want to use such a connected baby monitor. We spoke to several experts to better understand the security and health implications of choosing a baby monitor.

According to Lisa Plaggemier, executive director of the National Security Alliance, "You don't have to go live in a cave or return to 90s technology; you just have to do the basics." By following some best practices and performing routine maintenance, you should be able to limit (but not eliminate) the risks to your privacy. "While Big Tech can always do more to protect us from ourselves, your devices are only as secure as your home network," Plaggamier adds.

Valecia Stocchetti, senior cybersecurity engineer at the Center for Internet Security, notes that "in a world driven by technology, avoiding all connected devices isn't realistic." With so many smart home tools already in use, "it's about balance and doing your research."

So what are the basic steps one should take to keep devices and networks safe? Here are a few as outlined by our experts:

While our security experts reassured us that smart devices aren't too dangerous to use, given the right vigilance, Stochetti noted her own experience with baby monitors: "I switched from a Wi-Fi-enabled monitor to one that was not Wi-Fi enabled. That's the choice I made for myself."

We also spoke to pediatrician Rachel Moon, professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and author of a paper on sleep safety for infants for the American Academy of Pediatricians, and. Dr Moon says that traditional monitors are "fine and often helpful. They can offer peace of mind and make it easier for the parents." But Dr. Moon points out that the FDA classifies smart devices as lifestyle products.

"Nobody would expect your fitness tracker to prevent you from having a heart attack," she notes. Similarly, the information gleaned from smart monitors — such as heart rate tracking — will not prevent a baby from SIDS. The causes remain unknown, and establishing safe sleep practices is the best way to reduce the risk — not monitoring. There is no evidence that these devices are tracking anything clinically significant. Moon adds, "I don't have a problem with people using them, I just don't want people to use them as justification to not practice safe sleep habits."

After carefully studying features and reading reviews online, we set some basic criteria and assed the baby monitors in our pool on the following criteria:

The Eufy Space View is very similar to our top pick, the Space View Pro. It's about $10 cheaper than the larger unit, and we think the Pro is worth the small upcharge. The parent unit has a slightly different profile. It is slimmer than the Pro version, so it is more likely to fit in a pocket for carrying around the house. There is also a wide-angle camera adapter, which is not available for the Pro. If those minor differences make the Space View more appealing to you, you will find the same reliable performance and durability (except perhaps for the flimsy kickstand that stands up the Space View; the Pro is designed to balance on its own). The biggest difference between the two models is battery life. The Pro can last about four hours longer than the Space View.

The Leapfrog is an intriguing example of a Wi-Fi/local-video hybrid monitor, which can be used in both connected and non-connected modes. This gives you the option, for example, to use the monitor over a radio-frequency connection locally while at home, but still check in via app from the road. Wifi can also be used to enhance connection quality. It comes in both 7-inch and 5-inch screen models (we tested the 7-inch version).

As a local-video/radio transmitter model, it has some nice features that compare well with our top model. The camera is 1080p, versus 720p on the Eufy Space View series. The pan and tilt are similar, with a 360 degree pan and 110 degree tilt. Helpfully, the camera offers an 8x zoom, versus Eufy's 2x zoom, which gives you extra flexibility when placing your camera in the room. The color night-vision mode is visually appealing, though it doesn't deliver any more vital information than the black and white night-vision mode used by most systems. Sound and motion detection work well, sending alerts when your baby moves or makes noise, with adjustable sensitivity levels.

Setup in local mode is fairly seamless, as the camera and parent unit pair in seconds. Connecting to Wi-Fi was easy enough, but connecting the app took way too much effort. For security purposes, you must pair the app directly to your camera. After creating your online account, you must scan a QR code on your phone with the camera unit. This took multiple tries to get it working, as the camera was repeatedly "not found." This made testing the unit's full capabilities a serious headache, so much so that we can't recommend it for daily use.

The Hubble Nursery Pal Dual Vision, a dual-camera version of the company's Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud, has two cameras to give you multiple views. One camera is designed to give you a direct view of your child while the second has a wide angle lens that lets you see the entire room. The two views are presented in a split screen view on the parent unit. This is a nice feature that probably should be more common, but there are serious problems with the execution here.

Online reviewers have been especially harsh with these models. On Amazon, a full 30% of reviews for the Dual Vision are one star. Users complain about connectivity issues, poor battery life, durability issues, and general poor performance. Additional security and performance concerns lead us to advise that you stay away from these Hubble models.

The Philips Avent Premium has a 3.5-inch screen, which makes it quite a bit smaller than the rest of the models we tested. We think this is a good-enough reason to pick a different model, especially since the Philips is relatively expensive. The range is not as good as our top pick, rated at 900 feet. The digital zoom and pan are not comparable to the models that tilt and swivel freely. Generally speaking, we don't see this model as a great value option, given what else is available on the market.

This audio-only monitor may have limited appeal, but it does its job just fine. We preferred the more robust VTech DM221, which seems to have a durability advantage and a better track-record with online reviewers, but this is also a capable unit. If you want to go the audio-only route, you won't be too disappointed with this model from Philips.

, Choose devices with multi-factor authentication: Keep up with security updates Change default passwords Keep your router up to date: Good video and audio quality Security standards Battery life Ease of setup Build quality Cost: