How to Choose a Baby Monitor

How to Choose a Baby Monitor

How do you choose the perfect baby monitor? From features to connectivity, explore our guide to help you make the right choice.

How to choose a baby monitor

Each time you lay your baby down to sleep and tiptoe out of their room, you probably breathe a little sigh of relief. At last, it’s your moment to tackle your to-do list, and most importantly, get some rest of your own. If you also feel a pang of worry, you’re not alone. Many parents find themselves wondering, "Do I need a baby monitor?" to ease those concerns and ensure they can keep a watchful eye on their little one while multitasking.

Luckily, today’s baby monitors let parents watch over their babies just as mindfully as if they were in the same room, tracking everything from breathing motion to sound and more. 

Wondering how to choose a baby monitor that will be an extra pair of eyes as your baby grows? Nanit is here to help; our baby monitor buying guide covers a range of options so that you can make the best choice for safety, security, and reliability. With the best baby monitor camera in your nursery, you’ll be sleeping like a baby, too.

What is a baby monitor?

You’re probably familiar with the classic audio baby monitor—after all, they’ve been in use since the 1930s. In its most basic form, a baby monitor is simply a microphone that transmits sound to a receiver that parents or guardians keep nearby. 

Fortunately, modern baby monitors have come a long way from the one-way walkie-talkie days. Now, you can choose from several updated options, including:

  • Non-Wifi video monitors. Basic video monitors consist of a camera placed in the baby’s room, which provides an audio and video feed to the receiver unit so that parents can see and hear their baby from anywhere in the home.
    • Wifi-enabled smart monitors. Smart monitors connect the nursery camera to the parent’s phone or other device via an app. This allows parents to keep an eye on their baby remotely, even outside the home—a wonderful transitional tool for new parents heading back to work or leaving baby with a new caregiver.
    • Wearable monitors. These monitors typically pair with a smart monitor and app, adding more detailed information to give you reassurance when you can’t be with your little one. They can track breathing motions, growth, and more. 

    Baby monitor features to consider

    When you’re shopping for a baby monitor, certain features are non-negotiable. After all, you’re trusting your baby monitor to help watch over your little one—and you need to know it has the most important bases covered. Here are several key features to consider when comparing models:

    • Wifi vs. non-Wifi enabled. Wifi-enabled monitors offer maximum flexibility, letting you check on your baby anytime, anywhere. On the other hand, a non-Wifi traditional baby monitor only sends video to the included parent unit—you won’t be able to connect via your phone or other devices. 
      • Range. The range you need will depend largely on the size of your home and if you plan to use your video baby monitor from areas like your backyard, porch, or basement. With a Wifi monitor, range isn’t a factor, but non-Wifi monitor ranges vary from 500 to 1,000 sq. ft. 
      • Battery life. The last thing you want is for your video monitor to run out of juice in the middle of baby’s sleep cycle, so take screen battery life estimates into account when making your choice. Typical estimates range anywhere from 3 to 18 hours. How long the battery lasts depends on factors like range, video resolution settings, screen brightness, and so on.  
      • Picture or video quality. Look for a high-definition screen with a minimum of 720p or higher to ensure clear visuals that let you see every detail and expression on that sweet sleepy face. Consider video and snapshot features too—some smart baby monitors allow you to edit and share your videos so that you can easily capture all those one-of-a-kind moments. 
      • Night vision. Look for monitors with infrared LEDs that provide clear imagery even in complete darkness. Nanit offers top-of-the-line night vision that uses diffused light to minimize the distracting red tones other infrared monitors produce.

      What sets Nanit apart

      We’ve covered the most essential features your baby monitor should have, but we know you may still be asking yourself, What baby monitor should I get? To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at what puts Nanit a cut above the rest: 

      • Strong security settings. With Wifi-enabled monitors, security is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a baby monitoring system. The Nanit Pro Camera offers some of the tightest security settings on the market, with dual data encryption, two-factor authentication, and customizable user access controls.
      • Connectivity with or without Wifi. While Wifi monitors are top-of-the-line in most areas, the downside is that they require an internet connection. This isn’t the case with Nanit—once paired, your phone and your Nanit Pro can still connect over your home Wifi network even without an internet connection.
      • Sensor-free baby monitoring. Some monitors use a sensor placed on the baby to track vital signs. However, the Nanit Pro Camera monitors breathing and growth by tracking special patterns on our Breathing Wear and Smart Sheets, respectively. This means you can get all the data you need without sensors, radar, or electronics near your baby’s body.
      • The best view of your baby. Nanit offers a unique bird’s-eye-view, so you can see every inch of your baby’s sleep space without missing a thing. If you're wondering where to place a baby monitor, this type of comprehensive coverage can help you ensure your baby's safety and comfort while they rest.
      • Personalized sleep insights. The Nanit Pro Camera doesn’t just watch over your baby—with detailed sleep reports, it also lets you become your baby’s very own sleep and wellness expert. You’ll receive daily updates on their sleep pattern and movement throughout the night, as well as personalized sleep tips to get you both sleeping better, and insight into developmental milestones your little one achieves.

      Enjoy peace of mind with Nanit

      Choosing the right baby monitor can take some serious worries off your shoulders, so that you can get a better night’s sleep and be the best parent you can be. While parenthood always comes with myriad responsibilities and big decisions, know that you have support in the Nanit ecosystem and Community. 

      Team up with Nanit, and let us help you watch over your little one day and night. With our innovative baby monitoring technology, we’ll make sure your baby sleeps safely so that you can sleep soundly, too. 

      Key takeaways

      • When choosing a baby monitor, you have several options, including traditional audio monitors, non-Wifi video monitors, Wifi-enabled smart monitors, and wearable monitors. The choice depends on your preferences and needs for monitoring your baby's safety and well-being.
      • Key features to consider when comparing baby monitor models include Wifi vs. non-Wifi capabilities, range, battery life, picture or video quality (720p or higher recommended), and night vision with infrared LEDs for clear imagery in darkness.
      • Nanit Pro Camera stands out as a superior choice for baby monitoring due to its strong security settings, flexibility in connectivity with or without Wifi, sensor-free monitoring, bird's-eye-view camera angle, personalized sleep insights, and more. 


      Consumer Reports. Baby Monitors. 

      Safe Wise. What to Look for in a Baby Monitor.

      Victoria and Albert Museum. Radio nurse.

      Nanit is dedicated to delivering high-quality, reliable content for our readers. Our Parent Confidently articles are crafted by experienced parenting contributors and are firmly rooted in data and research. To ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, all articles undergo a rigorous review process by our team of parenting experts. Additionally, our wellness-related content receives further scrutiny from Nanit Lab, our think tank of scientists, engineers, physicians, academic experts, and thought leaders.

      Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

      In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


      Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

      Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

      Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

      Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.