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Mom watching baby through baby monitor

How to Choose a Baby Monitor

read these three steps to help you decide

If you’re a new parent, and you’re looking into the world of baby monitors, it can be a daunting task. There are so many brands, and they all do different things.

How do you choose? We’re here to help. We’ll walk you through a quick series of steps to help you figure out which kind of baby monitor you want, and even show you the pluses and minuses for each type, so that you know which monitors are best for you and your little one.

Step 1: To Wifi or Not to Wifi

When parents are trying to figure out which baby monitor they want to buy, they usually fall into two camps: Either they want a camera that connects to Wifi (so they can check on their baby any time, any place through their phone or other device), or they want to have a handheld video monitor that comes with a camera and monitor that displays what the camera sees. Figuring out which one you want may be tricky, so here are the pluses and minuses for both.

Wifi Camera
Pluses:

  • Often has more high-tech output data (such as sleep quality, sound and movement log, etc.)
  • Access to video when you are not home
  • Able to see videos recorded at a different time
  • Don’t have to worry about keeping a monitor with you, just your phone
  • Additional cameras can be added for other rooms/children
  • Software can be updated through Wifi

Minuses:

  • You need to have a consistently strong Internet signal to have real time video
  • Being on Wifi opens your cameras up to being hacked by outside parties
  • If you lose your Internet signal, you lose access to your camera
  • More expensive

Camera With Handheld Video Monitor
Pluses:

  • Secure video feed
  • Good for the technology-challenged
  • A consistent video feed if you want to hear your child at all times
  • Does not require Internet
  • Additional cameras can be added for other rooms/children

Minuses:

  • You can only see video in real time
  • Monitor range can be limiting

Step 2: Ask yourself, “What features matter most to you?”

Now that you see the good and bad of both types of monitors, you need to decide which features are important to you.

Some parents may decide that they want to get all the data about their kid’s sleep, so they need to go with a Wifi monitor. Other parents may decide that they don’t want to deal with Internet connectivity, so a camera with a handheld monitor is best for them.

There are no right and wrong answers here—just drill down and decide what is really important about your monitor.

Editor’s Note: There are a few cameras out there that offer both Wifi and handheld video connectivity, but we do not currently recommend them as they are unreliable.

Step 3: Set up your baby monitor BEFORE the baby arrives.

The reason that there are so many different brands of monitors on the market is because there are a lot of extraneous factors that can affect how your monitor works. If you have extra thick walls, or your bedroom is downstairs and your child’s room is upstairs, your handheld monitor signal may not be strong enough. Or the wifi signal in your kiddo’s room may not be strong enough to support a continuous video feed, and many Wifi monitors need a software update upon plug in.

The point is, don’t wait until you have a sleepy infant in your hands before you set up your monitor. Give it a test run and make sure it’s fully functioning before you bring your bundle of joy home.

Image courtesy of iStock.