As parents ourselves, we clearly remember the enormity of bringing a baby home for the first time. While it’s undoubtedly one of, if not the happiest time of your life, it’s also usually accompanied by a sense of extreme responsibility in looking after someone that’s almost completely helpless and entirely dependant on you as parents. It’s only natural that you want to do your best to keep them safe, and one small part of that is being able to leave them in their cot safely at night.
In the first few months, you’ll most likely have baby in your bedroom with you, but you will still need a monitor to watch over them because you’ll be putting them to bed several hours before you retire yourselves. Those few hours will soon become a cherished time for you, as the rest of the day you’ll have your child with you at virtually every waking moment, with the occasional moment to breathe when friends and relatives can help. That’s why it’s important to put your trust in technology, and invest in a monitor to alert you to baby waking up before they get to the point where they’re needing to scream the house down to get your attention.
Increasingly, new parents are choosing baby video monitors to be their eyes and ears in the bedroom, and there’s two reasons for that. Firstly, and most importantly, they can see what baby is doing as well as hear them (as with traditional monitor systems). This is a massive advantage over audio only, because at times you’ll think you can hear some movement, which is often interference or just an arm moving. Instead of needing to run to the bedroom to check, a quick glance at the screen of the parental unit will put your mind at rest.
On this site, you’ll find lots of information in our reviews about the video monitors that are available on the market today, and what we think of them. Scroll down a little, and you’ll find our handy top ten chart, which will show you which we think are best at a glance. For more information, we then go into more detail about each, and even provide full review pages if you’re really interested in a particular model.
Ready then? Let’s get started…
- 1 Top Baby Video Monitors 2016
- 2 Top 10 Video Monitor Reviews
- 2.1 Number 1: Motorola MBP27T with No-Touch IR Sensor
- 2.2 Number 2: Motorola MBP26 Babysense Bundle
- 2.3 Number 3: Motorola MBP18
- 2.4 Number 4: Ex-Pro EBP37 Complete Wireless Camera System
- 2.5 Number 5: Motorola MBP33
- 2.6 Number 6: Samsung Video Baby Monitor with Night Light
- 2.7 Number 7: Motorola MBP36S
- 2.8 Number 8: BW Baby Monitor Pink Flower Design
- 2.9 Number 9: Motorola MBP26
- 2.10 Number 10: Samsung Tilt and Zoom
- 3 Why Should I Buy Video Baby Monitors At All?
- 4 Top Tips: Factors For Choosing A Video Baby Monitor
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5.1 How Do I Choose From All The Different Models?
- 5.2 Can Baby Monitors Be Hacked?
- 5.3 Can I Use My iPhone To Connect To The Baby Monitor?
- 5.4 Do Apps Replace The Parental Unit?
- 5.5 Can I Use 2 Cameras?
- 5.6 How Accurate Are Range Claims?
- 5.7 Is Night Vision Usable?
- 5.8 How Long Do The Batteries Last?
- 5.9 How Can I Improve Battery Life?
- 5.10 How Can I Get A New Manual?
- 6 Video Baby Monitors & Cot Death
- 7 Where To Buy Video Baby Monitors
- 8 The Final Thought
Top Baby Video Monitors 2016
You’ll notice straight away that Motorola have a bit of a dominance in this market, and if you’ve already been doing your homework, you’ll probably already know that you’ll see the same on the web in stores like Amazon, and also on the high street. We don’t work for Motorola, or indeed have any connections there. We rank these video monitor reviews purely on price, features and what customers have said about the baby video monitors in their review, along with a dose of common sense as parents ourselves and our own experience.
|Motorola MBP27T with No-Touch IR Sensor|
|Motorola MBP26 Babysense Bundle|
|Ex-Pro EBP37 Camera System|
|Motorola MBP33 |
|Samsung Video with Night Light|
|BW® Baby Pink Flower Design|
|Samsung Tilt and Zoom|
Top 10 Video Monitor Reviews
It’s all well and good giving you a run down of our favourite baby monitors that allow you to keep an eye as well as an ear on your baby, but you’re probably going to want to know a bit more about why we like each model too. Next, we’ll give you a more detailed description in our reviews of each product, and a quick link to check the price on Amazon, the one place on planet Earth that always has what you want for a great price! Finally, you’ll find a link to our complete review of each baby video monitor, so you can get every last detail of what you want to buy.
Here’s those monitors again, in the same order, but with more information…
Number 1: Motorola MBP27T with No-Touch IR Sensor
Now that you’ve seen just how many models of video baby monitor Motorola have come up with, it’s probably no surprise that they’re taking over the top of our table. There’s one big reason why they’ve taken the top spot, and that’s the customer reviews. If you take a quick look on Amazon, you’ll see that the vast majority of previous customers who’ve left a review gave it a 5 star rating. One of the things we really like about Amazon, is you can see who the ‘real’ customers are on Amazon as they’re marked as a verified customer, because Amazon know they genuinely purchased the product.
This particular model also includes an infra red temperature sensor which only parents will understand the real value of, there’s nothing like the worry of thinking your little ones might be coming down with something and disturbing their sleep with a thermometer. We all know that no-one wants to wake a sleeping baby, for many parents it’s a battle to get them to sleep in the first place!
The IR technology doesn’t stop there though – the Motorola MBP27T also features night vision. Normally associated with the army in combat, this neat feature will mean you can see baby’s every movement, even in the lowest of light conditions. It may not be immediately obvious, but encouraging children to get used to sleeping in near-darkness can help their sleep routine as they get older, not to mention meaning you don’t need to get used to sleeping with more light than you’re used to!
The parent unit boasts a clear LCD screen, giving you a 2.4 inch image to see what your baby is doing. That’s far more informative while you’re having your evening meal than just hearing movement, wondering if they’re waking up and getting ready to run upstairs. It works up to 300 metres from the base unit that’s next to baby, so unless you own a country mansion and are wandering around at the perimeter of your grounds you should be fine!
Number 2: Motorola MBP26 Babysense Bundle
Motorola’s second placed MBP26 unit is actually one of the most popular on the market. In some ways they should be number one in our baby video monitor reviews with their standalone unit, as this is packaged with a more extensive collection of products to make up the Babysense bundle. We didn’t want to feature the standalone MBP26 as well as the Babysense pack in two of the top three spots, and also recognise that while many parents will want the best for their children, some simply can’t afford this pack and will opt for the next best thing, and that’s why this missed out on the top spot in favour of the MBP27T.
The Babysense bundle comprises the standalone MBP26 video monitor, along with two under mattress sensor mats and the alarm which will sound if there’s a pause of twenty seconds if the mats do not sense movement (i.e. breathing). This serves two purposes, firstly that you are alerted to a potential medical emergency, and secondly that it will disturb baby, which is often enough to trigger movement or wake them so you can instantly see they’re OK.
The Motorola MBP26 baby video monitor works within a range of 200 metres, plenty for most families. It also features a clear alarm if it goes out of range, alerting you to the fact that you may no longer be able to rely on the parental unit to hear your child’s movement or the alarm sounding.
All in all, if you want the maximum protection for your child, this is our highest recommendation. If you’re not wanting to invest in movement sensors to detect your baby’s breathing under their crib or cot mattress, our number one ranking, the MBP27T is a great choice. You can find our complete review here.
Number 3: Motorola MBP18
The top three is dominated by Motorola‘s products, and this is their cheapest entry. We’re keen to cater for all budgets, and while we highly recommend the two higher placed units, this should be your choice if money is too tight to stretch that far. As with so many things in life, you get what you pay for, and that’s reflected here in a much smaller 1.8 inch screen on the MBP18‘s parent unit.
This includes the essentials, including an audible alarm if you move too far (150-200m) from the base station next to your child’s cot. It also encrypts the wireless signal to protect the images transmitted to your screen from being intercepted.
Once again, Motorola have put together a solid unit that works well over long distances, and certainly a wide enough area for a typical family home and out into the garden. Naturally, it’s not going to perform as well as the higher models, but will provide you with much more peace of mind than an audio only monitor as you’ll be able to see a clear image of your child, and is certainly preferable to not using a monitor at all.
You can find the full detail in our Motorola MBP18 review.
Number 4: Ex-Pro EBP37 Complete Wireless Camera System
Our fourth placed entry in our baby video monitor reviews makes a break from Motorola, with the Ex-Pro EBP37 wireless monitor. This choice of unit incorporates some innovative features, most notably support to record to a micro SDHC card. At first, you might wonder why on earth you’d want to record the footage and sounds from a baby monitor, but previous customers have used this for varying reasons, ranging from trying to work out what wakes baby at 2am, to keeping an eye on the child minder or babysitter. We’re not advocating spying on anyone, but some people have certainly found it useful to be sure that their trust isn’t misplaced!
The parent unit on the Ex-Pro EBP37 video monitor features a 2.3 inch colour screen, and also allows you to talk to your child, as well as hear what’s going on in their bedroom. That’s a great feature if your child frequently comes to the surface when sleeping, and can be soothed back to sleep by the sound of mum or dad’s voice. It certainly saves a lot of wear on the stairs carpet and your legs when the tougher times of parenting strike, such as when baby gets a cold and is irritable. Of course, this feature allows you decide when your baby needs you in their room, not replaces a cuddle!
A final point of note is that you can leave a lullaby playing from the camera unit when you leave your child to drift off to sleep, giving them something to focus on, rather than noticing you leaving the room.
Learn more about the Ex-Pro EBP37 baby video monitor in our full review.
Number 5: Motorola MBP33
We’re back with Motorola at number five in our top ten, this time with their MBP33 baby monitor. Featuring a 2.8 inch screen, you get one of the better sized images on this product. It also features a room temperature indicator to keep an eye on baby getting to hot or cold, as well as the more standard features across the Motorola range, including an out of range alarm sounding when you lose contact with the base station from the parental unit (you should be fine up to around two hundred metres).
As with many of Motorola’s other premium monitor systems, this one will support up to four cameras, all of which you can monitor from a single parent unit. This is perfect if you have twins or similarly aged young children, or simply want to be able to see them from multiple angles. One camera is supplied in the package, and you can buy additional cameras separately if needed. Also, from the parent unit, you can remotely control the camera to zoom in, so by making sure baby’s monitor is accurately positioned, you can enlarge their image on the screen, or zoom out to see more of the room with ease.
Here’s our Motorola MBP33 review.
Number 6: Samsung Video Baby Monitor with Night Light
Samsung are up next, occupying our 6th spot. The Samsung Video Baby Monitor with Night Light is a very popular choice due to its large screen. If you like a bigger picture to monitor your child, this will probably appeal more than the higher ranked Motorola systems, as its significantly bigger at 3.5 inches. Like the last entry, it also supports up to four camera units, and is supplied with one in the box. If you choose to use multiple cameras, you can either choose to manually switch between them or automatically cycle through them every few seconds.
Speaking to your child is possible with this monitor via the parent’s portable unit, and the Samsung Video Baby Monitor boasts an operating distance of up to 250 metres between the base station and the parent’s monitoring screen.
As this product falls into the premium price range, we think you can do better for your money (or even spend less) from one of the higher ranking models. It does the basic job well, but it’s hard to justify the price tag (at the time of writing – click the price check button which follows for an accurate price as you read this). Its only real stand out feature is the size of the screen, which will probably be the feature that sways you to this model if that’s the most important factor for you.
Here’s our full review of this Samsung video baby monitor.
Number 7: Motorola MBP36S
Motorola’s MBP36S is yet another variation on features from the models that have already been mentioned. It rivals the previous entry from Samsung by matching the 3.5 inch display. In fact, it’s the only Motorola model that we’re featuring with a screen size this big, as we’re not convinced that it offers a huge benefit over the smaller ones, unless your eyesight requires a bigger picture of course, or you’re planning to place it somewhere that is a little further away than the average user.
Again, there’s a very generous range of 200 metres, which should be enough for most homes. If you’ve got thick walls this will be significantly less, but very few of us live in a house which allows you to be more than 20 metres away, let alone ten times that!
As with a couple of previous entries, this unit features lullabies that can help your child drift off to sleep, particularly good for babies that feel particularly anxious when left alone at bed time.
If you like the wide ranging features of the Motorola products, and also want a bigger screen (and perhaps up to four cameras), this is the monitor for you, and you can learn more about the Motorola MBP36S video baby monitor here.
Number 8: BW Baby Monitor Pink Flower Design
An item of note with this item is that it’s got a tiny screen, measuring just 1.5 inches, so this may be a deal breaker for some parents. It does, however, have a TV connection so that you can use the supplied cable to display the video feed from the flower camera on your TV, but of course you can’t move a TV around quite as easily as some of the other video monitor’s parental units. It’s a nice way to get around the small screen, but doesn’t make up for the convenience of a portable screen.
Here’s our complete review of the BW Baby Monitor with pink flower design.
Number 9: Motorola MBP26
There’s not a great deal to add about this monitor, as it’s the same as the Babysense entry at number 2, except that it’s just a standalone video monitor. Of course, if you’re not looking for a motion sensor to alert you if the monitor doesn’t detect any movement, then this would make a better purchase, as there’s no need to spend the extra money for the Babysense pack.
You can read the review for the Babysense edition of the MBP26 monitor here, just remember that anything referencing the movement pads won’t apply if you buy the standalone monitor.
Number 10: Samsung Tilt and Zoom
Our final entry in the top ten comes in the form of the Samsung SEW3037W, with their Tilt and Zoom camera monitor. Like their other entry in the top ten, this also features a generously sized 3.5 inch parental unit screen, giving a very good image of baby at all times. It’s worth noting that once your child is moving around their cot, the bigger screen means you can move the camera slightly further away, covering a greater area of their cot, and still be able to see clearly what’s going on.
The parent unit features sound volume lights which flash according to noise in the child’s bedroom, so you can use that instead of turning the volume up if you prefer not to have the constant background hum that you often get with baby monitors.
You can use your parental unit with up two four camera units (three of which you’d need to buy separately) and use the microphone on your unit to talk to baby via the base unit speaker next to the camera. The unit in baby’s bedroom also features a night light if you find that you want your child to be able to see a little more than darkness.
Here’s our complete run down of the final entry in our top ten, the Samsung SEW3037 Tilt and Zoom review.
Why Should I Buy Video Baby Monitors At All?
Until the last few years, video monitors were expensive, so few people considered them as a realistic option for their child. Today, the cost has tumbled to a fraction of the price. In fact, if you search around for the best price for your chosen model, you’ll often find that it online, and cheaper than an audio only version on the high street or out of town retail parks.
Due to this huge decrease in price, it’s now past the point of being a choice in our opinion, and at the point where you should be asking yourself whether you’re taking an unnecessary risk when the cost is comparable with a ‘normal’ baby monitor. Very few parents consider not buying any sort of monitor at all, so for the extra few pounds to step up to something like an MBP18, we think it’s a very simple choice indeed.
By choosing a video version, you’re able to see as well as hear your child, and also (with most models) switch off the screen whenever you don’t need to look at it, whether the motivation is to preserve the battery power or to prevent yourself from becoming addicted to watching your beautiful little one sleep!
There are other reasons why the video ranges might make a better choice. For example, as they have become more popular, they’re becoming closer and closer to becoming the norm for parents to buy (if we’re not already past that point!). As a result, manufacturers are starting to invest a greater proportion of their time and effort into the newer models, meaning that it is starting to get harder and harder to get all of the features (other than a screen) on an audio baby monitor. Eventually, we expect the number of audio only systems to decrease. Don’t forget, you can always use the audio mode of a video monitor for the majority of the time, and simply look at the images when you need to.
Top Tips: Factors For Choosing A Video Baby Monitor
You could be forgiven for wondering how to separate out the models above, and deciding on what you really need. In this section we’ll give you a few ideas about why different features are helpful, and that should help you decide which are most important to you.
Fundamentally, as you’re here, you’ve probably decided to go for a video monitor over an audio only version, and you’re not alone. More and more parents are recognising the benefits of video baby monitors now, rather than just writing them out as a fad, or something for overly paranoid parents.
What’s more, compared to five years ago when video monitors really started to hit the mass market, the prices are no longer much more than the audio monitors, so many people are seeing that the added ability to watch over baby gives much more protection than the increase in price might suggest. As we’ve been writing our video baby monitor reviews, we’ve seen some common features crop up time and time again.
So, let’s take a look at those factors…
Quite simply, a movement sensor sits under your baby’s mattress in their Moses basket, crib or cot and detects every slight movement. These pads are incredibly sensitive, and are usually able to give you an indication that they’re working via something light a flashing light. If they don’t detect any movement for a pre-defined period (usually 20-30 seconds) it will trigger an alarm, either on the base station next to baby, or on the parent unit, or both. Don’t worry if it’s the base unit only, as you’ll hear it down the audio channel of the parental unit, and they’re normally loud, so you’ll likely hear it even without that. They’re designed to fulfil two important roles, firstly to alert you that baby may not be breathing (although this is unlikely, and you’re likely to get the occasional false alarm), and secondly because it will wake up your child, and that may be enough to trigger them to start breathing. As with so many parental responsibilities, things going wrong are rare, but knowing you have done everything you possibly can to deal with them ahead of time is priceless for your peace of mind.
Some children get very anxious when you leave them in a darkened room at bed time, especially very young children. A night light built into their monitor can help with that, as it becomes a familiar and recognisable focal point for them in the nursery. If your child is comfortable with that, it can mean you’re able to avoid the stereotypical all night landing lights which can be tough to get used to for new parents, who are used to sleeping in complete darkness. As a side note, if you live in a heavily built up area with lots of street lights and don’t have particularly thick curtains, some children are happy with the twenty four hour light glowing in from the windows, meaning a night light feature is less important.
Size isn’t everything as they say, but you will probably want to avoid the smallest screened video monitors, as you’ll struggle to see detail. That said, the largest pictures probably aren’t necessary either for the majority of parents. Screens in the region of 2.5 inched should be adequate in most cases. While we’re on the subject, almost all video baby monitors today are full colour with very good quality images.
The obvious exception is if you’re lucky enough to live in a huge house with larger than average rooms. If you’re unlikely to be able to clearly see a sub 3 inch screen across the room, then that’s a very good exmaple of when to choose to step up to one of the specialist models with a larger than average screen. Of course, if you can afford a house big enough to have this problem, you’re unlikely to be too concerned about stretching to the extra cost of a more expensive monitor like the Tilt and Zoom from Samsung!
Just like parents for generations have soothed children to sleep singing lullabies, technology has now arrived to play its part. Just as you can get mobiles to put on your baby’s cot to spin and play a nursery rhyme, some baby monitors now provide that function for your child to associate with bed time. Some parents even find that the association is so strong that a particular melody can encourage their children to nod off years later!
Technology has moved on a lot in recent years, and monitors now commonly allow two way audio, meaning that you can press a button to talk to baby from wherever you are in the home. That press button action is important, as you don’t want your children to be hearing you babbling on about your day at work to your partner over dinner – not that they’d understand a word of it of course. The idea is that you can soothe them remotely if they’re a little disturbed, not to hear you’re there at all times. Additionally, its not for times when your baby is upset – that’s still the time to rush to the bedroom and comfort them in person!
The distance between the camera unit in your baby’s bedroom and your parental unit is unlikely to be a problem these days, although occasionally we hear reports of wireless networks or DECT phones interfering with baby monitors. As all parents who’ve experienced it well know, if that interference happens it can sound like anything from a crackle or crickets right up to loud white noise. A great tip is to change the channel of your wireless network or phones, rather than try to work out something to change on the monitor itself.
This is a fairly new option for parents when buying monitors, but in most cases, completely unnecessary! Obvious times when you’d want this function is if you have twins or triplets (or more!) and want to watch them from a single parent unit. Usually, if a video baby monitor supports multiple cameras, it will support up to four. There are exceptions, but its a good rule of thumb.
Where some parents have bought multiple cameras to get different angles for baby, you might find you can get a similar effect from a monitor that has cameras supporting tilting, panning and zooming. Tilt tends to refer to ‘leaning’ the camera up and down, panning is a left or right movement, and zooming creates the effect that you’re moving closer to or further from your child. This control happens remotely from the parental unit.
Infra-Red (IR) Thermometer
There are now a few models available which can detect baby’s temperature from the camera unit. This is particularly good for those times when you’re worrying that your child might be running a temperature and be feverish. Parents are typically guilty of over worrying, and for good reason, so it’s good to have an extra check available when you need it. It’s also common for this to happen in the middle of the night, when it’s tough to be objective, so a quick glance at the monitor screen can work wonders for curing a night of lying awake worrying.
More common in terms of measuring temperatures is a room thermometer built into your unit. You’ll be able to check temperatures, as parents are renowned for making baby’s nursery warmer than it should be. Check the latest recommendations, but typically the advice is to have baby sleep in a room with a temperature between 16 and 20 degrees.
Finally, data encryption is something we’re all more aware of with the news being full of company data being targeted by hackers. A few years ago concerns were raised about baby monitors being hackable by people outside your home, so manufacturers are now keen to point out that they carry built in data encryption. Check whether the monitor encrypts the audio signal, the video or both.
There’s a lot to think about in this section, so remember that you don’t have to get every last feature. In fact, there’s no single model in our video baby monitors review collection that does have every last feature. For example, top top ranked Motorola MBP27T model doesn’t include the under mattress motion pads for detecting breathing, whereas the most expensive MBP26 doesn’t have a room temperature thermometer built in. You really need to understand what all the features mean and are used for, and then use that to create an essentials list to select your shortlist of products that will suit your needs. Then you’re in a strong position to choose the perfect make and model for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Video baby monitors aren’t something you’ll buy many times in your life, and because it’s a relatively new technology to most homes, their are naturally going to be a lot of questions asked about them, and we’ve found that several of them come up time and time again. In this section, we’ll summarise some of those burning issues, and cover the ones that apply to all products in our reviews, or at least will affect how you go about narrowing down which ones to buy. You’ll also find a lot more detail about the individual products on their detailed reviews in our review section, organised by manufacturers.
How Do I Choose From All The Different Models?
While every home is different, we have provided a top ten baby monitor table further up this page to give a general guide to the monitors that we think are most suited to the average home. Of course, you need to think in terms of what your family needs, and your budget. If your budget only stretches to the cheapest Motorola model, fine. Although these are effectively safety devices and you will want to keep your children as safe as possible, it’s better to have the lowest priced model if that’s all you can afford than to have no monitor at all. Remember that many parents still opt for audio only models, so you’re making a choice that allows you to keep more of an eye of them than some others. We know there’s a lot to take in, that’s why we put the site of reviews of video baby monitor together in the hope that we can make the process a little easier for you!
To summarise, if safety is your main concern (and that’s true of most parents), choose the highest ranked video baby monitor in our best choices chart that you can afford and like the look of.
Can Baby Monitors Be Hacked?
From time to time, you’ll see news stories about people successfully hacking into a feed between a baby monitor and the parental unit. These are few and far between, that’s the first and most important point to make. Manufacturers have invested a lot of time and money into making them as secure as reasonably possible, but the reality is they use wireless technology, so inevitably there will always be a small risk. In my personal opinion, writing this FAQ section, I don’t think that there will be many criminals sitting outside of my house trying to hack into the pictures of my child, as there’s some basic security measures built into the units. To put it another way, I think it’s more important to get the benefits of a video monitor looking over my child that it is to worry about what might happen, especially as the chances are so small. Similarly, it may be possible to hack in over the internet if you choose a monitor that uses your internet connection’s wireless network to communicate with the parental unit, but again, with the number of units out there that have been sold, why would anyone be targeting you specifically? It’s a personal choice for your family as to whether you think it’s a significant risk, but I am happy that more fuss would have been made about the technology if problems were likely to arise.
Can I Use My iPhone To Connect To The Baby Monitor?
Following on from the last question it’s a good time to refer to models that have apps for smart phones. If you choose one with these features, then your monitor must be connected to the internet, which will slightly increase the chance of someone else also being able to see the images. We should add that the chance of that happening is still small, but worth mentioning. Not all monitors provide apps, and not all monitors are connected to the internet. We try to highlight this feature as part of our full review if available, as it’s often an attractive option for parents who are rarely home in time for bed time or travel frequently. It’s also popular for mums and dads that frequently use baby sitters, so that they can see that their children are snuggled up in bed and not causing havoc!
As a side note, it’s not just Apple iPhones that support monitors, many Android devices and other makes of smart phone also have apps available, check our reviews and Amazon’s specifications for more information.
Do Apps Replace The Parental Unit?
It’s really important to understand that baby monitors that support apps for smartphones and tablets are rarely (if ever) intended as a substitute for using the parental unit that’s supplied with the baby monitor in the box. They’re supposed to be extras, and in many cases are an additional selling point for those of us that are permanently attached to our devices.
These apps are great if you’re having a night out to get you fix of looking at your little one, now that we’re in a connected world where you can use your phone anywhere to connect via the internet. As you no doubt have experienced, though, it’s all too common that you can’t get a signal in a place that’s usually fine, or you’ve not noticed that your phone’s on silent when someone’s trying to call. For these reasons and more, using the apps isn’t suitable to completely remove the need for your parental unit.
Can I Use 2 Cameras?
If you’ve got twins, triplets (or more) or several children at similar very young ages, you may be looking for monitors that support multiple cameras. Up until recently this was quite a rare feature, but it’s becoming more and more common in our baby monitor reviews. Typically when you buy the systems they only come with one camera, but many do have the ability to add more. A good tip is to remember to check whether those additional cameras are in stock wherever you buy the monitor, and if not, have a look around online before buying if it’s a key requirement. We’ve heard a few stories of people buying lesser known brand monitors, only to find that the extra cameras are no longer available.
How Accurate Are Range Claims?
One of the big gripes about baby monitors (not just the video variety) has been the range that is stated on the box being very optimistic once they’re set up in big houses. In general, consider the figure on the box to be referring to the distance achievable on a good day without obstacles. In other words, you’re not going to get that 200 metre range through closed doors, floors and ceilings. As a general guide, older houses tend to have thicker walls than newer homes, so if you are lucky enough to reside in a big house that’s been around for many decades or even centuries, buy a monitor at the end of the spectrum with the largest range.
Is Night Vision Usable?
Unlike some models from a few years back, the night vision functions have come a long way. If you look at old baby video monitor reviews, there was a time when the pictures in the hours of darkness weren’t much better than simply turning the brightness up on a TV, but today they use infra red light, often from LEDs. This is so effective because it’s not visible to the human eye, so your baby will be unaware that it’s there, but the monitor can convert the image into a useful picture on your screen. It’s not as good as a daylight image, but it certainly gives plenty of detail to keep a watchful eye over your child.
How Long Do The Batteries Last?
Battery life is something that varies a lot between different makes and models of video baby monitors, so the best way to get an accurate idea for the model you’re intending to buy is to check the details on the box. Of course, buying online this could be a little trickier, but a good place to start is by finding the monitor you like in our video baby monitor review section and clicking through to Amazon using the blue button near the top of each page. You’ll usually find a table of specifications on that page where you’ll often find the battery life listed. There are things you can do to improve battery life though (read on!).
How Can I Improve Battery Life?
Following on from the previous question, getting more from your video baby monitor’s battery is easy if you follow a few simple tips.
Firstly, if it’s a rechargeable unit (as most parental units are), then be sure to let it fully charge before you lift it from its cradle or remove the power cord. In general, rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles, so continually plugging and unplugging the unit from the mains may shorten your battery’s life.
Shorten the video time-out if possible. In most cases, the biggest drain on the parent unit is powering the screen. If you have it set to stay on permanently, see if there’s an option to have it dimmed or to switch off until you press a button. Some models even have the option to jump into life when sound is detected, so read the manual and see if you’re using all the clever functions that tend to be built in!
Finally, try not to keep checking the picture unnecessarily. For years, parents had no video option, and managed just fine with audio. We all love checking on our children, but if you do so every two or three minutes, the battery is going to run down a lot faster!
How Can I Get A New Manual?
We’ve all been there, an error code on a device or something that’s not working as you expect. That’s just the moment when you discover that you haven’t put the instruction manual exactly where you thought. In fact, it’s nowhere to be found! Getting a new copy is often easier than you might think.
There are plenty of websites that exist purely as repositories for instruction manuals, and video baby monitors are no exception. Just head to Google and type ‘download’ followed by the name of your manufacturer and model followed by ‘video baby monitor manual’ and there’s a great chance that you’ll be in luck.
For example, for our most recommended monitor in our Motorola MBP27T review, you’d just type ‘download motorola mbp27t video baby monitor manual’ into a search engine, and you should find a link to the User Manual waiting for you.
Video Baby Monitors & Cot Death
It’s never an easy subject to tackle, but a lot of parents spend a lot of time worrying about their child’s safety, even when they’re right next to them. We’ve heard a lot of questions about cot death and whether baby monitors can help cut and associated risks.
Firstly, let’s talk a little more about cot death, and what it is. The proper name for cot death is Sudden Infant Death syndrome, or SIDS for short. It’s still a subject that we know very little about, particularly in terms of why it happens, and which children may be susceptible. There is, however, guidance issued which can help you to reduce the chance of your child falling victim to this tragic situation. Generally speaking, the risk of cot death is limited almost entirely to the first six months of life, and experts believe that the risk can be reduced in the following ways:
- Put baby into their cot on their back whenever sleeping
- Keep your child away from cigarette smoke, and smokers after they’ve had a cigarette
- Regulate your baby’s temperature by keeping room temperature to around 18 degrees celsius
- Position your child at the bottom of the bed
As you can probably tell from those four points, a video baby monitor isn’t going to directly help with any of those, unless you buy a model with a built in temperature gauge. So, why are we talking about it on this site?
We believe that a lot of parents believe they’re doing something extra by buying a baby monitor (video or otherwise) to reducing their child’s risk of SIDS, when in many cases they’re overly relying on the technology. If you want to invest in a baby monitor that will genuinely help in an emergency, you’ll need one like the MBP26 from Motorola with Babysense. These monitors come with motion sensors which sit under your child’s mattress. These alert you if your child stops breathing, so this is where the real protection comes in – alerting you to a medical emergency so that you can act fast. They won’t do much to stop the situation occurring in the first place, but you will know if something goes wrong and your child stops breathing for any reason.
Where To Buy Video Baby Monitors
If you’ve already read some of the detailed reviews on our site or looked at our mini video monitor reviews above, then you’ll have noticed that we direct our users to Amazon to get a price for their video baby monitors. There are a number of reasons we do this, one of which is that we’re paid a commission when we sell one. That said, there are other retailers that would pay us a lot more than Amazon do, so hopefully that will immediately reassure you that we’re not biased just because that’s how we make our money!
Amazon also keep the customer (i.e. you!) front and centre in their business model. If there’s anything wrong with a product you buy from their website, you can send it back to them with the minimum of fuss, and they will usually simply replace or refund without any problems. In other words, it helps you to buy with confidence – they’re not the biggest online shop in the world without good reason!
There’s also the fact that Amazon sell virtually everything you can think of. In case you’re not aware, they allow lots of people to sell the same product, so if one sells out, another steps in, so that drastically reduces the chance that you’ll see an ‘out of stock’ message. It does still happen from time to time, but it’s unusual.
You can turn to the high street, but those companies have a huge disadvantage over online retailers in that their stores or retail park units are extremely expensive, which is why companies like John Lewis position their products for people that are more concerned with the service and experience of buying in their stores. They offer extended warranties to attempt to compete with online stores, but the truth is, you’d expect most electronic devices to last a lot more than a couple of years these days. By all means look for baby monitors in stores, but we consistently find the best prices online, which is why we recommend Amazon for their good prices and impressive range which are almost always in stock to buy with fast delivery.
The Final Thought
You’ve made it through a lot of information to reach the end of this page – congratulations! Before we finish, a friendly parent-to-parent (to be?) piece of advice. We all want the best for our kids, that’s only natural. You can only do your best though, so don’t worry too much about getting everything right, whether that’s buying a video baby monitor or otherwise. The chances are, given you’ve spent this long with us on our site, that you’re one of the good ones. There are a huge number of parents out there that haven’t put anywhere near as much though into their baby entering the world, and the chance are those kids will do just fine. What we’re saying, is recognise you can do your best and no more, and if you’re anything like us, most of it will be muddling through!