The Best Smart Baby Video MonitorsSmart Baby Monitor Systems
Baby video monitors are smarter than ever. You’re no longer stuck choosing between audio-only or video monitors. Today’s smart baby video monitors are packed with features, including humidity and temperature sensors, lullabies that automatically soothe your baby when they cry, and high-definition night vision.
What’s more, many of them are smart-home enabled. That means you can connect them with your other smart home devices for even easier baby monitoring. It also means you can check in from an app on your smartphone anytime, instead of being tethered to a physical receiver. All this adds up to more shuteye—and peace of mind—for mom and dad.
What to Look for in a Smart Baby Video Monitor
With traditional baby monitors, the main concern was the range of the device (how far away you could walk from the monitor while still being able to view the footage on the receiver). Most smart baby video monitors completely do away with this concern. Because they connect to your home internet, you can view the live feed any time from your smartphone—even when you’re out of the house.
However, smart baby video monitors introduce many new features, which gives you much more to consider than range. We’ll review the key features below, and you can weigh the pros and cons of each of these to consider how important they are to you. Either way, there are a few gotchas to keep in mind before purchasing your smart baby video monitor:
- Where will you place your baby monitor? You want to place the monitor somewhere in the nursery where you have a clear, unobstructed view of your baby. Smart baby monitors are rechargeable or designed to be plugged in. If you choose a rechargeable monitor, you’ll have more flexibility in where you place it. For plugged in monitors, you’ll need to find a place that’s near a wall outlet, but keeps the power cords safely tucked away so they can’t ever become a choking hazard for your baby.
- How strong is your home internet connection? The footage of your baby monitor will only be as strong—and as clear—as your home internet connection allows. You want to ensure that the WiFi in your baby’s room is as strong as anywhere else in the house they might be (such as a playroom). If you have any concerns about the strength of your home WiFi, it might be worth upgrading to a mesh WiFi system.
- How’s your phone’s battery life? Rechargeable baby monitors will last 10 hours or more on a single charge, so they’ll keep working as long as your baby sleeps. However, there’s no standalone display with smart baby monitors, as you’ll watch the feed through your phone. That means that your phone’s battery life also has to be up to snuff. If your phone dies, you could miss an important notification about your baby. So, keep your phone plugged in at night, invest in an external battery, or upgrade to a newer phone with a better battery.
Best Smart Baby Video Monitors: Our Top 5 Picks
- Best Smart Baby Video Monitor: Nanit Smart Baby Monitor and Wall Mount
- Runner Up: Arlo Baby Monitor
- Best Breathing Monitor: Cocoon Cam Plus
- Best Security: Safety 1st HD Wi-Fi Baby Monitor Camera
- Best Design: Lollipop Baby Camera with True Crying Detection
Best Smart Baby Video Monitor: Nanit Smart Baby Monitor and Wall Mount
Nanit has solved one of the biggest safety risks of baby monitors—tangled cords—with a wall mount that tucks these away and gives you an unobstructed overhead view of your baby. Thanks to night vision, the Nanit offers 24/7 high-definition live streaming day or night. Whenever your baby makes a move or sound, the Nanit will let you know via smartphone notifications. Plus, it tallies up your baby’s sleep stats into a convenient dashboard, so you can track how much your baby is sleeping, and make sure they’re getting through the night. There’s also a nightlight on the top of the wall mount, which softly illuminates the ceiling (instead of your baby’s face), allowing you to tiptoe in at night without disturbing baby.
Price: $239.99 on Amazon. Save with these Nanit promo codes.
How We Chose the Best Smart Baby Video Monitors
Not all smart baby video monitors are created equal. To find the best of the best, we rated them on all the features that matter. See how the Nanit stacked up.
Two-way audio lets you speak through the baby monitor to your baby, allowing you to hush them from the comfort of your own bed. With smart baby monitors, you can do this by speaking into the microphone on your smartphone.
Two-way audio is basically a given with most smart baby monitors, so we recommend looking for extra features here, like included white noise libraries, lullabies, and nature sounds. Bonus points if you can record your own lullabies and play them back for your baby at the tap of a button.
The Lollipop is the winner here, with detailed graphical history of your baby’s noise levels at night. The sound library includes different types of white noise (like “hair dryer” or “vacuum”) as well as nature sounds and soft lullabies.
Both the Nanit and Arlo also include lullabies, nature sounds, and white noise. With the Arlo, you can download even more options or record your own voice.
The Safety 1st monitor is more limited, with basic music options and two-way audio. The Cocoon Cam Plus has the least options. It has a built-in speaker for two-way audio, but no pre recorded sounds are included.
Video quality and night vision
Ideally, a good baby monitor allows you to see everything you need, as long as you place the camera well. However, it can be nice if they offer additional cameras as an add-on if you want to get another angle, or add the camera to another room in your house (or another house entirely, like the grandparents’). You might also have more than one baby to watch. The Nanit app manages multi-camera views the most seamlessly of all the monitors on our list.
If you just stick with one camera, you’ll need at least 720p video quality. However, all but one on our list offer even better streaming quality, at 1080p.
The Nanit and Cocoon Cam Plus both offer a clear bird’s eye view of your baby, with zoom options. The Lollipop is the most versatile of the three, as the wrap-around install makes it easy to place almost anywhere.
On the other hand, the design of the Arlo and Safety 1st monitors makes it tough to get an overhead view. While the Arlo shines for its 8x digital zoom, the Safety 1st has the worst video quality of our list, at only 720p. But, it makes up for it with a 130-degree wide-angle view that captures everything you need without having to pan, plus a 5x digital zoom.
All of the smart baby video monitors on our list include crystal-clear night vision that illuminate up to around 15 feet, which is more than enough for most nurseries.
Noise, motion, humidity, and temperature sensors
Traditional baby monitors are noise and motion activated. Smart baby monitors enhance the safety of your baby, with additional humidity and temperature sensors. These help you turn your baby’s room into an ideal environment for sleep, as babies require a bit warmer temperature for sleep than adults.
All of the baby monitors on our list will notify you on your smart phone whenever there’s achange in sound or movement. The Arlo and Nanit also inform you of changes in air quality. The Nanit has an additional advantage here. Even when you have the app running in the background, you can enable 24/7 audio, allowing you to switch back over whenever you hear something off.
With 96% accurate crying detection, the Lollipop focuses on sound above all, storing noise events in your phone in 30 second clips.
A smart baby monitor appshould be intuitive to understand. You shouldn’t have difficulty figuring out how to pull up the stream or zoom in on the camera. It will also make it easy for you to manage multi-user permissions or save photos and videos for sharing on social media. Beyond these essentials, it’s a nice perk when the monitor offers additional analytics like sleep coaching and tracking.
This is where the Nanit shines. The app’s dashboard shows you at-a-glance metrics related to your baby’s sleep, like how long it took them to fall asleep, number of times they woke up during the night, and how much total sleep they received. It also tracks these trends over time, and shares personalized tips for helping your baby sleep better. For example, the Nanit might advise how you can improve the temperature in the nursery for deeper sleep, based on readings from its temperature sensors. Each morning, you wake up to a video recap of your baby’s sleep the night before, letting you review anything you missed.
The sleep analytics are less advanced with the other options on our list—with the exception of the Cocoon Cam Plus. Its infrared breathing heat map provides many parents priceless peace of mind.
Runner Up: Arlo Baby Monitor
The Arlo Baby Monitor definitely has the cutest design, available as a bunny, kitten, or puppy with a camera for its face. Its night light comes with different colors, too. The Arlo also offers the largest compatibility—with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and IFTTT—so whatever brand your other smart home devices are, the Arlo can synch with them for simple voice commands.
Price: $170.99 on Amazon. Save with these Arlo promo codes.
Best Breathing Monitor: Cocoon Cam Plus
The Cocoon Cam Plus doubles as a video baby monitor and an innovative no-contact baby breathing monitor. You can see your baby’s breathing via the app’s heatmap, without your baby having to wear a wearable device. The camera offers a birds-eye view, like the Nanit, with 1080p HD video and night vision. You can receive alerts when your baby’s breathing changes, as well as when they’ve fallen asleep, started crying, or are about to wake up.
Price: $129.90 on Amazon. Save with these Cocoon Cam promo codes.
Best Security: Safety 1st HD Wi-Fi Baby Monitor Camera
Because they use WiFi, the potential for hacking does exist with smart baby monitors. Safety 1st includes a security chip, for an extra level of firewall protection between the camera and your home network, putting concerned parents’ minds at ease. Rather than incorporating the speaker into the camera, Safety 1st has a separate audio unit that’s noise and motion-activated. This can be a turnoff for people who don’t want to worry about an additional device, but it allows Safety 1st to deliver better sound than other monitors.
Price: $199.99 on Amazon. Save with these Safety 1st promo codes.
Best Design: Lollipop Baby Camera with True Crying Detection
The Lollipop won an award for its unique design. This cordless baby video monitor is installed simply by wrapping it around your baby’s crib or an overhead light, or curling the end into a stand so it can prop itself up on its own. You can also easily unwrap it and move the monitor from room to room, making for the ultimate in portability. The Lollipop comes in 3 colors to suit any home decor, and it’s made from non-toxic silicone, so it’s okay if your baby touches it. At night, you can even turn off your phone screen, and the Lollipop will keep playing live sound through the microphone, allowing you to rest without extra blue light interfering with your sleep.
Price: $149.00 on Amazon. Save with these Lollipop promo codes.