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All The Gear, No Idea is a regular series from HuffPost Finds where we feature product recommendations for parents, by parents.
Baby monitors have come a long way in recent years, and the sheer volume of products on the market can be mind-boggling.
Whether you’re in the all-bells-and-whistles brigade, or prefer something a little more down to earth, it’s safe to say that a baby monitor is an essential for new parents.
Here’s our round up of some of the best video and audio baby monitors ― to help you keep the remaining sleep parenthood has left you with.
Angelcare specialise in movement sensor baby monitors. This touchscreen model also offers video and audio monitoring, with the only wireless motion sensor pad on the market.
Pop the sensor pad under the cot mattress and it will notify you if your baby hasn’t moved for 20 seconds. This feature can be switched off for the toddler years and you can buy an additional nursery pack to monitor two babies at a time; great for twins or a second child.
It also has a 4. 3-inch screen, two-way talk back and infrared night vision, so you can watch them as they sleep. Additional features like a night light and a temperature display will soothe and comfort babies and parents alike.
There are less fancy models in the range, so if the sensor pad is the real selling point, but you’re not so fussed about video, there are more affordable options you could explore.
Another monitor that allows you to see, hear and talk to your baby from another room. Infrared night vision enables you to watch them day or night. This one is easy to set up and has a clear, large 5-inch screen that tilts and zooms, as well as good sound quality. There are additional features like a temperature sensor, a lullaby function, a feeding timer and a nightlight. It doesn’t have Wi-Fi or a movement sensor, but coming in under £100, you get a lot for your money.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Digital Video and Movement Baby Monitor, Amazon, was £213.99, now £147.25
This one also offers a motion sensor pad, combined with video and audio monitoring. In addition to this, it has digital enhanced cordless technology (DECT), which to you and me means you won’t get digital interference; last thing you need when you finally get to put your feet up is crackling radio waves. There’s a good range on this model (300m) and a rechargeable docking point. The two way talk button, night light and temperature display are nice added extras.
For parents who’d prefer to switch off from screen time, this is a solid, audio only option. It has great range – allowing you to stray 300 metres away, even outside. The sound quality is high and there are also LED sound level lights for when you don’t want any audio – say during a dinner party – but still want to be kept in the loop. An affordable, no frills option that is easy to use and ticks all the boxes.
Philips Avent Digital Video Baby Monitor, Amazon, was £145.57, now £130
This model has a smaller screen than some of the others on the market – only 2.7 inch - but the picture is good, even at night. It loses points on its static camera – no CCTV style tilt and zoom on this one - but there is a wall mount, so you can set it up near your baby. It has an excellent battery life, thanks to its eco mode, as well as some neat little extras, like five lullaby options, a two-way talk back and the connection is reliable. Philips highlight the fact that it is safe and secure with FHSS technology and the no Wi-Fi option means there’s no risk of getting hacked.
This is the one for parents on the move. It’s wireless, so it’s great for camping or travelling. It has a long battery life, with rechargeable lithium batteries and both parts of the monitor will last for 24 hours on one charge. Another plus is its good signal strength over long distances – a range of 300 metres. There are some juicy extras that will delight tech lovers, too, such as a remote control camera, silent motorized technology and voice activation. You can also link it to up to four cameras. With a lifetime warranty, it’s good value for money.
On design alone, with its bunny ears and feet, this is a bit of a winner, and is sure to be a hit with little ones. It is also one of the best monitors on the market in terms of picture quality, boasting 1080p HD. Similarly the night vision works up to 4.5 metres, so you can see your baby’s every move. This one works by synching with your smartphone through a free Arlo app, which is convenient, but the downside is that there isn’t a parental monitor, so you always have to use your phone. You also get sound and motion alerts, two-way talk back and a room temperature and air gage to boot.
Summer Infant Baby Pixel Monitor, Amazon, was £199.99, now £163.09
This one has a lot of kit, like a 5-inch touchscreen monitor, a 360-degree tilt camera, with remote steering, that can pan around the room and amazing picture quality. A nice extra is the virtual sleep zone, which alerts you if your child rolls over too far, or – in the toddler stage -gets out of bed and strays beyond the pre-set, virtual border. Other features include a nightlight, room temperature display, clock and a lullaby function. Overall impressive.
A snip at under £20, this is a great budget option. It’s pretty no-frills, but it does the job, and it does it well. It has a 50m indoor range and lets you know if you’ve wandered out of range. Lights alert you to any noises from baby and it has very good sound quality courtesy of its 1.8 GHz DECT technology. An excellent audio only option.
This one has a crystal clear 5-inch HD monitor, as well as the option to use it on your phone, if you download the KODAK smartphone app. The camera itself can tilt, zoom and pan and the rechargeable batteries and Wi-Fi connection, means that you can easily take it with you on family trips. It has the nifty extras the other models do, such as infrared night vision, two way talk back and sound and motion alerts, but it also offers cloud and SD-card recording. So you can document and relive your child’s antics for years to come.