For many parents, baby monitors are essential: they enable you to know when baby’s crying and in some cases, whether it’s a “come! Now!” cry or just something in their sleep.
But baby monitors are not created equal. Some do the basics for a knock-down price, and others can support enough cameras to monitor entire dynasties or double up as home security systems.
Before you reach for your debit card it’s important to think about how you’ll use your baby monitor: if you don’t, you’ll probably find that your first choice doesn’t turn out to be the best choice.
For example, come summer will you want to sit in the garden while baby sleeps? You’ll need something with decent wireless range. If you want to stream video to your phone, what about when you have a babysitter? Will you leave your phone behind, or do you have a spare for the sitter? Are you expecting twins, or need to monitor more than one room? For the former you’ll need a camera that moves, and for the latter you’ll need multi-camera support.Whether you’re on a budget or want more features than you could ever possibly think of, these are the monitors for you.
1. Luvion Prestige Touch 2
It isn’t the cheapest, but it offers a lot for the money
RRP: £179.99 | Display: 7” colour | Video: Yes | Night vision: Yes | Cameras: up to 4
The best baby monitor out there right now is the Luvion Prestige Touch 2. You might not have heard of Luvion, but you’ve almost certainly heard of the Mother & Baby Awards - the Touch 2 picked up the Gold award in 2017 for its ease of use and range of features. It supports up to four cameras with split and quarter screen viewing, has LED lights to alert you when you’ve got the sound switched off, has a nightlight option and preset lullabies to help soothe your child and offers both infrared night vision and room temperature monitoring. The main draw here, though, is the enormous screen: it’s seven inches diagonally, with touch-sensitive buttons below the display and a joystick to control the camera. It’s very easy to use and the supplied camera includes a ceiling mount and fixings.
2. BT Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow
Part baby monitor, part baby entertainment system
RRP: £49.99 | Display: 1.8” LCD | Video: No | Night vision: No | Cameras: N/A
BT’s baby monitors are generally sturdy and reliable if a little bland, but the Lightshow range offers something a bit different: the star and moon lightshow projects shapes onto the ceiling to give baby something to gurgle at. The show can be accompanied by one of 18 different lullabies, and there’s an adjustable nightlight to make sure you don’t fall over anything when you’re popping in to settle your baby. There’s no video but you do get two-way audio and really good range of up to 300m outdoors and realistically around 50m indoors. That and the rechargeable batteries means the BT monitor is a good option for parents who like to enjoy good weather without missing baby’s cries.
3. Angelcare AC1100
Every feature you could possibly imagine in a baby monitor
RRP: £249.99 | Display: 2.75” LCD | Video: Yes | Night vision: No | Cameras: 1
Let’s start with the price first: the Angelcare AC1100 is widely available for much less than RRP - at the time of writing it’s £169.99 on Amazon. While similarly priced rivals may offer better camera features and multi-room support, the AC1100 has something most monitors lack: a pressure sensor for baby’s crib. It needs a flat base, but it works very well through even thick cot mattresses and you can adjust the sensitivity so it doesn’t trigger too often. The idea is that if baby stops moving or rolls off the sensor area you’re alerted immediately. The rest of the AC1100 isn’t bad, but there are a few issues: the screen isn’t the best and users report pretty poor battery life from the supplied AA and AAA batteries.
4. Motorola MBP41S
Heavy discounting makes this Moto worth tracking down
RRP: £119.99 | Display: 2.8” LCD | Video: Yes | Night vision: Yes | Cameras: 1
Motorola makes very good baby monitors, as you might expect from one of the world’s biggest radio companies. The MBP41S is well worth considering now that it’s being widely discounted: it’s currently £79.99 at Argos. For your money you get video and night vision with pan, tilt and zoom from the wall mountable camera, 2-way audio and temperature display, and the range is good for 300 metres outdoors and around 50 metres indoors. The parent unit comes with an adaptor so you’re not munching through AAAs unnecessarily, and there’s a power saving mode for when you’re not running on mains power. If you want a baby monitor with video but don’t want to pay lots for it, this is definitely one to watch.
5. Philips AVENT uGrow
The HD camera that connects to your Android or iPhone
RRP: £190 | Display: n/a | Audio activated: Yes **Video:** Yes | Night vision: Yes | Cameras: 10
We’re big fans of Philips’ AVENT baby monitors, which we’ve consistently found to be reliable and with superb sound quality and noise cancelling. But this is different: instead of DECT audio it’s an HD 720p camera, and you can connect up to 10 cameras for viewing on up to 3 devices simultaneously. There’s temperature and humidity monitoring, two-way audio and camera panning, tilting and zooming, but the big achilles heel is that without Wi-Fi it doesn’t work. If your router isn’t reliable, you’ll need to upgrade that before splashing out on this - although the good news is that once again the RRP isn’t reflecting real world prices. Expect to pay closer to £140, or even less for open-box deals.