How To Choose A Baby Monitor (Step by Step Guide)

September 3, 2023

Are you a new parent or expecting a bundle of joy soon? Choosing a baby monitor can be overwhelming with all the options available on the market. From video monitors to audio-only monitors, the choices seem endless. But fear not, because this article will guide you through the process of choosing the perfect baby monitor that will help keep your little one safe and give you peace of mind as a parent. With factors like range, battery life, and additional features to consider, we’ll break it down into simple steps to ensure you make the best decision for your family. So, let’s get started!

What is a Baby Monitor?

A baby monitor is a device that allows you to keep an eye on your baby or young child while they are sleeping or playing in another room. It consists of a transmitter and receiver, and the transmitter is usually placed in the nursery or near the child, while the receiver is carried by the parent or caregiver. This device helps parents monitor their child’s safety and well-being, providing them with peace of mind.


A baby monitor is an electronic device that consists of a camera and/or microphone to transmit audio and video signals from the child’s room to the parent’s receiver device, typically a monitor or a smartphone app. It enables parents to observe and listen to their child remotely, ensuring their safety and alerting them to any potential issues.


The main purpose of a baby monitor is to allow parents or caregivers to monitor their baby’s activities, even when they are not physically present in the same room. It provides a sense of security, as parents can check on their child’s safety, sleep patterns, and any signs of distress without constantly entering the room. It also enables parents to continue with their daily tasks while keeping an eye on their baby.


There are various types of baby monitors available in the market, each offering different features to cater to the specific needs of parents. The three main types of baby monitors are:

  1. Audio Monitors: These monitors only transmit sound, allowing parents to listen to their baby remotely. They typically consist of a transmitter with a microphone placed in the child’s room and a receiver carried by the parent. Audio monitors are a cost-effective option and suitable for parents who primarily want to monitor their baby’s sound activity.
  2. Video Monitors: Video monitors, as the name suggests, provide both audio and video monitoring capabilities. They include a camera that captures video footage of the child’s room, which can be viewed on the receiver’s screen or smartphone app. Video monitors are popular among parents who want a visual confirmation of their baby’s safety and also want to visually observe their baby’s activities.
  3. Smart Monitors: Smart monitors are the latest innovation in baby monitoring technology. They combine the features of audio and video monitors with the added functionality of connecting to smartphones or other smart devices. These monitors often include features like motion detection, temperature sensors, and the ability to play lullabies or white noise remotely. Smart monitors offer convenience and advanced monitoring options for tech-savvy parents.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a baby monitor, several factors need to be considered to ensure it meets your specific needs and preferences.

Audio vs. Video

The first decision to make is whether you prefer an audio-only monitor or one that includes video capabilities. Consider your comfort level and whether you want to see or just hear your baby. Video monitors provide an additional visual element, allowing you to visually check on your baby’s well-being, while audio monitors are suitable if you primarily rely on hearing your baby’s sounds.


The range of the baby monitor determines how far away you can be and still receive a clear signal from the baby’s room. Consider the size of your home and whether you need the monitor to work across multiple floors or outdoor areas. Look for a monitor with a range that suits your specific needs to ensure you can monitor your baby from anywhere in your home.

Battery Life

Consider the battery life of the baby monitor, as it affects how long you can use the monitor before needing to recharge or replace batteries. Opt for a monitor with a long battery life to ensure it lasts throughout the night or during your daily routine without constantly needing to charge or replace batteries.

Screen Size

If you choose a video monitor, the screen size becomes an important consideration. A larger screen allows for better visibility and makes it easier to observe your baby’s activities. However, a larger screen may also mean a bulkier monitor, so choose a size that suits your preferences without compromising portability.

Night Vision

Night vision capability is crucial for monitoring your baby in low-light or dark conditions. Look for a monitor that includes infrared LEDs, as they provide clear visibility even in complete darkness. This feature ensures you can monitor your baby without disturbing their sleep and provides peace of mind knowing you can still see them at night.

Two-Way Talk

Some monitors offer a two-way talk feature, allowing you to communicate with your baby through the monitor. This feature can be useful for soothing your baby with your voice or providing reassurance when you are not physically present in the room. Consider whether this feature is important to you and choose a monitor that offers it if desired.

Extra Features

Different baby monitors come with a range of additional features, such as temperature sensors, motion detection, lullabies, and white noise options. Consider which additional features are important to you and whether they align with your preferences and needs. Remember, additional features may also affect the price of the monitor, so prioritize based on what is most essential to you.

Choosing the Right Type

After considering the various factors listed above, it’s time to choose the right type of baby monitor based on your specific needs.

Audio Monitor

If you mainly need to monitor your baby’s sounds and prefer a budget-friendly option, an audio monitor may be the right choice for you. Audio monitors allow you to hear if your baby is crying or in distress without the added feature of video monitoring. They are simple to use and do not require a screen or smartphone app.

Video Monitor

For parents who want both audio and visual monitoring capabilities, a video monitor is the ideal choice. Video monitors provide a real-time video feed of the child’s room, allowing you to see your baby’s activities and check on their safety visually. They are available in various screen sizes and offer peace of mind by providing a clear picture of your baby at all times.

Smart Monitor

If you are tech-savvy and want advanced monitoring features, consider a smart monitor. These monitors connect to your smartphone or other smart devices, allowing you to access the monitor’s feed from anywhere using an app. Smart monitors often offer additional features like temperature sensors, motion detection, and the ability to play lullabies or white noise remotely. They provide convenience and enhanced monitoring options for parents who value technological integration.

Audio Quality

When choosing a baby monitor, it is essential to consider the audio quality to ensure you can clearly hear your baby’s sounds.

Sound Clarity

Look for a monitor that provides clear sound transmission without any distortion or interference. The audio should be of high quality to accurately hear your baby’s cries, babbling, or any other sounds. Read customer reviews and consider models with positive feedback concerning sound clarity and minimal background noise.

Noise Filters

Some monitors offer noise filters or sound-activated technology that filters out background noise and only transmits sounds when the baby makes them. This feature can prevent unnecessary alerts or disturbances, allowing you to focus on hearing your baby’s important sounds without irrelevant background noise.

Video Quality

If you opt for a video monitor, the video quality is essential for a clear and detailed image of your baby.


Choose a monitor with a high-resolution camera to ensure a sharp and clear video feed. Look for monitors with at least 720p or higher resolution for optimal image quality. A higher resolution provides more detail, making it easier to observe your baby’s movements and facial expressions.

Camera Pan/Tilt/Zoom

Some video monitors offer the option to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera remotely. This feature allows you to adjust the camera’s angle and view different areas of the room without physically entering it. It can be handy if your baby moves around the room or to get a closer look at your baby’s face or surroundings.


Consider the range of the baby monitor to ensure it covers the areas you need to monitor.

Indoor Range

For most households, an indoor range of 100 to 150 feet is sufficient to cover the distance between the nursery and other areas of the home. However, if you have a larger home or multiple floors, consider a monitor with an extended indoor range to ensure uninterrupted signal reception throughout your house.

Outdoor Range

If you want to monitor your baby while they are playing in the backyard or sleeping on the patio, consider a monitor with an outdoor range. Outdoor ranges can vary significantly, so choose a monitor that offers the desired range to monitor your baby effectively when they are outdoors.

Battery Life

The battery life of the baby monitor determines its usability and convenience.


Many baby monitors come with rechargeable batteries that can be easily charged when needed. Choose a monitor with a long battery life that allows you to use it for extended periods without frequent recharging. Look for monitors with energy-saving features or extended battery life modes to conserve power and ensure the monitor lasts throughout the night or your daily routine.

Replaceable Batteries

Some baby monitors use replaceable batteries instead of rechargeable ones. Consider whether you prefer the convenience of rechargeable batteries or the option to replace batteries as needed. Replaceable batteries can be useful if you have long power outages or need a monitor that will not lose functionality due to battery degradation over time.

Screen Size

For video monitors, the screen size directly affects your viewing experience.


Smaller screens, typically between 2 to 3.5 inches, are compact and portable, making them suitable for on-the-go use. They offer decent visibility and are often more affordable. Small or medium-sized screens are convenient if you want to carry the monitor with you or have limited space for a larger monitor.


Larger screens, ranging from 4 to 7 inches or more, provide a more immersive and detailed viewing experience. They offer a clearer image and make it easier to observe your baby’s activities, especially from a distance. However, larger screens may be bulkier and less portable, so consider your preferences for screen size and portability accordingly.

Night Vision

Night vision capability is crucial for monitoring your baby’s safety and well-being during nighttime.

Infrared LEDs

Look for a monitor with infrared LEDs, as they provide clear visibility even in complete darkness. These LEDs emit light that is invisible to the human eye but can be detected by the camera. With infrared LEDs, you can monitor your baby without disturbing their sleep, ensuring they are safe even when the room is pitch black.

Visibility in Darkness

Consider the visibility range of the night vision feature. Some monitors have a more limited range, making it difficult to see your baby if they are too far away from the camera. Opt for a monitor with a night vision range that suits your needs, especially if you have a larger room or want to monitor your baby from a distance.

Safety Precautions

When using a baby monitor, it is essential to follow safety precautions to ensure the privacy and safety of your family.

Secure Connection

Choose a monitor that offers a secure connection to prevent unauthorized access to the video or audio feed. Look for monitors with encrypted signals or password-protected access to ensure that only you have access to the monitoring feed.

Proper Placement

Place the baby monitor in a safe and secure location that provides a clear view of the baby and minimizes the risk of any hazards. Ensure that cords or cables are out of your baby’s reach and secured properly to prevent any strangulation or entanglement risks. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for optimal placement and positioning of the monitor to ensure maximum safety and functionality.

In conclusion, choosing the right baby monitor involves considering factors such as audio vs. video capabilities, range, battery life, screen size, night vision, and extra features. Determine whether an audio, video, or smart monitor suits your needs and preferences. Pay attention to the audio and video quality, range, and battery life to ensure a reliable monitoring experience. Consider the screen size and night vision capabilities for optimal visibility, and always follow safety precautions to protect your family. With the right baby monitor, you can have peace of mind and keep an eye on your baby’s well-being, even when you’re not physically present in the same room.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.
Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

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