The Best Baby Monitors for 2017 and Beyond

Infant Staring at Video Baby Monitor
Source: blessthisstuff.com

The miracle of childbirth and the joy and excitement of a new member of the family are exhilarating feelings.  However those first, early days of being a parent are also often filled with the stress and anxiety of having such a precious, small baby in the house.

Not wanting to leave their side for a second, but sometimes needing to go to the other room for a second or simply enjoy a meal while the baby is sleeping, a video baby monitor is your best friend.  But which model is the best for your needs?  Most cost effective?  Has the most features?  We’ve gone to the trouble of evaluating several options for you, and you can see the results below:

iBaby Monitor M6T – Rating and Review

iBaby M6T Video Baby MonitorOur top pick for 2017 is the iBaby Monitor M6T.  It is WiFi based, with 360-degree horizontal panning capability.  The model does not come with a handset, because the video and audio all goes through a handy app on your smartphone (iOS or Android).

Features and Specs:

  • Wifi: Yes
  • Range: N/A
  • Remote Pan/Tilt: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 360-Degree H/110-Degree V
  • Temperature Sensor: Yes
  • Humidity Sensor: Yes
  • Screen Size: N/A (Smartphone App)
  • App: Andoid/iOS

The Pros

The iBaby M6T is very feature-rich and offers some very unique extras that go beyond simply watching or listening to your baby.  Including:

  • 360-Degree Camera – Probably the neatest thing we did was to be able to use the mobile app to pan around the room on demand.  The 360-Degree capability of the camera means you can cover the entire room.  It has 110-Degree tilt (up/down) so that you can see a wide birth of the vertical space as well.
  • Temperature/Humidity Sensor – The “T” in the model name (M6T) stands for “temperature”, and its an added feature that differentiates it from iBaby’s previous model M6.  It shows both temperature and humidity readings directly on the app screen, which is an added comfort in knowing that your baby is comfortable and at a reasonable temp.
  • Music – The model comes with 13 MP3 quality songs that can be played automatically via the remote app.  These are high quality songs and not low-fi midi-style beeps that some lesser brands might have.
  • Motion and Sound Activated Recording – You can set the camera to record when there is movement or when there is excess sound.  This allows you to monitor the video for events at night.

The Cons

Any model is not without its downsides, here are a few for the M6T:

  • Smartphone and WiFi Only – As mentioned before, the unit is WiFi based and the monitor goes through an iPhone or Android App only.  This is arguably a reasonable move by iBaby, considering the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and the redundant nature of standalone handsets.Nonetheless it does somewhat limit the usefulness for homes without smartphones or with spotty Internet connections, or those that simply don’t want to rely on smartphones for functionality.For these types of situations we would recommend utilizing an RF (Radio Frequency) Baby Monitor, which does not rely on WiFi capability in order to function.  Our next item, the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor, is just as feature-rich and highly recommended as this one, but is non-Wifi and has a dedicated handset.
  • No Browser Streaming – Another obvious downside is that there is no browser-based video streaming, it only utilizes the app.  Again, everyone is always on their smartphones anyway, but it seems like an easy addition (especially since the competition does offer this capability.)

Overall the M6T is definitely a top of the line product, and unless its specific cons go against your specific situation, it would be a great buy for your household.

Video Review

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor – Ratings and Review

Infant Optics DXR8 Optical Zoom Baby MonitorAs mentioned before, this item is arguably just as feature rich as our top pick, just slightly different in that it does not utilize Wifi or a smartphone app, and instead is based on RF (Radio Frequency).  Depending on your situation and/or preferences, this could be a better choice then the iBaby M6T.

Features and Specs:

  • Wifi: No
  • Range: 600 ft.
  • Remote Pan/Tilt: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 270-Degree H/120-Degree V
  • Temperature Sensor: Yes
  • Humidity Sensor: No
  • Screen Size: 3.5 in.
  • App: N/A

The Pros

What sets the DXR-8 apart from its competition is the quality of its components and features.  When listed on paper, many models will have similar capabilities, but from our view the DXR-8 outperforms them in practice.  For instance:

  • Responsive Handset – Some similar handsets that offer remote panning are not very responsive, leading to a “laggy” feeling of a bad connection.  The DXR-8 is very responsive and offers a smooth pan/tilt of the video for a superb experience.
  • Video Quality – This model offers professional quality video, as can be evidenced by its optical lenses that can be swapped out for different views.  This is especially noticeable at night when utilizing infrared and when using a zoom function.  Since it operates on optical zoom, it does not degrade the image quality as digital zoom tends to do.
  • Wide Angle Zoom Lens (Sold separately) – While it comes with a optical lens included, you can also purchase the wide angle lense, which gives a full 170-degree view and is useful when you have a large area you would like to view (such as a playroom).
  • Temperature Sensor – Just like our other top pick (the iBaby M6T), this model comes with a temperature sensor to help insure your baby is in a comfortable environment.  Unlike the M6T, it does not come with a humidity sensor, however.

The Cons

Every rose has its thorn, and even the DXR-8 has some drawbacks.

  • Battery Life – Some users have complained about the rechargeable battery on their unit, and have mentioned that its quality begins to wane after about 2-months.  Our testing period lasted 4 weeks, so we did not see the issue firsthand.
  • Small Screen – The 3.5 inch screen is smaller than some other models, however this isn’t the end of the world.  The other features, such as remote pan/tilt and temperature monitor certainly make up for this shortcoming.
  • No Wifi – Many models nowadays allow parents to login and view the video from anywhere in the world via an Internet connection.  This model is a more traditional radio-frequency transmitter and transmits to a wide (but not world-wide) radius.

Overall this is an excellent choice for any family, especially those that don’t need or want to rely on Wifi or apps to utilize the monitor.

Video Review

Our next choices may not have made the “top picks”, but they are still very suitable for most households and could prove to be a more appropriate option depending on your families specific needs…

Samsung SEW-3043W BrightVIEW

Samsung SEW-3043W BrightVIEW HD Baby Video Monitoring SystemThis honorable mention is another RF (radio-frequency) video monitor, which means it does not rely on WiFi.  It’s shares many features with out top picks, let’s take a look at the positives:

Features and Specs:

  • Wifi: No
  • Range: 900 ft.
  • Remote Pan/Tilt: Yes
  • Viewing Angle: 300-Degree H/110-Degree V
  • Temperature Sensor: No
  • Humidity Sensor: No
  • Screen Size: 5.0 in.
  • App: N/A

The Pros

  • Wide Screen – The 5 inch screen is wider than our top pick the DRX-8, and by all accounts the image quality is very high as well.
  • Long Range – The RF Transmitter is reportedly useful up to 900FT away from the camera, which is a large difference compared to the 600FT other models provide.  Depending on your situation, this may be helpful.  Smaller homes and apartments probably won’t notice a difference though.
  • Remote Pan/Tilt – Just like our top picks, this model allows for remote pan/tilt, so you can adjust the camera without having to go into the room and disturb the baby.
  • Multiple Cameras (Sold separately) – Up to 4 cameras can be added to the unit, and it can even present a split screen (or an 8 second rotation between cameras).

Seems like it’s all good!  Why didn’t this makeour top picks? Well, the differences were pretty small, but here are the reasons we thought the other models edged this one out:

  • No Temperature Sensor – Unlike our top picks the DXR-8 and the iBaby M6T, this model doesn’t have a temp sensor.  Especially for those parents with newborns, its important to know that the temperature is comfortable for the little one.  It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, especially if you are confident in your homes thermostat to maintain to good temp throughout the day.
  • Audio Sensor on Screen – When trying to save battery life, its often useful to keep the screen turned off and rely on the audio only.  On other models, there are colored light alerts the parent to changes in audio levels without needing the screen turned on.  On this model, the screen needs to be on at all times to see the alerts. It’s a minor annoyance but still significant for a lot of use cases.

Video Review

Our next honorable mention shares much in common with the Samgsung SEW BrightVIEW, and  recieved a similar rating from our reviewers, the Summer Infant Wide View:

Summer Infant WIDE VIEW 2.0

This honorable mention is the second iteration of Summer Infant’s Wide View product.  It’s main standout feature is the 5-inch digital color screen which boasts a wide angle view, allowing parents to keep an eye on a larger portion of a room.

Features and Specs:

  • Wifi: No
  • Range: 600 ft.
  • Remote Pan/Tilt: No
  • Viewing Angle: Wide Angle Available, No Pan/Tilt
  • Temperature Sensor: No
  • Humidity Sensor: No
  • Screen Size: 5.0 in.
  • App: N/A

The Pros

The Wide View 2.0 sets itself apart from other Summer Infant products, here are some of the features it includes:

  • Wide Angle Lens – As mentioned above the main standout feature is the wide angle lens.  It allows a larger view of a room (the manufacturer claims you can see up to 4 times as much room area than a regular lens), which can be helpful when trying to monitor a room with 2 or more cribs, or a playpen areas where children move around.
  • Multiple Cameras (Sold separately) – This model can be connected to up to 4 separate cameras to monitor additional rooms or spaces.  (Keep in mind that cameras are generally not interchangeable between Summer Infant models, which is unfortunate when trying to upgrade from a previous purchase).
  • Large Monitor Screen – No one likes needing a pair of glasses just to make out the image on the monitor screen, and this model takes care of that with its large 5 inch, clear LCD screen.

The Cons

There are a few reasons why this one didn’t make our top picks, however.  See them here:

  • No Remote Pan/Tilt  – While you can do a remote zoom with this model, it doesn’t allow for a remote pan/tilt of the camera.  While this can be somewhat made up for by the fact that the camera angle is so wide (you don’t need to pan much if you can see the whole room), it doesn’t account for times when a camera is dislodged (or moved by a smart toddler looking to hide from their parents).
  • No Temperature Sensors – We must be getting spoiled, but the lack of temperature or humidity sensors is a downside to this model.  With other competition offering it on their monitors, it’s unfortunate that it’s not included in this one.
  • No Music – While does allow for the “talk-back” feature of its intercom, it doesn’t have music or lullabies included.  Many parents don’t utilize this feature anyway, so it may not be a huge negative.

All in all, this is a very solid model that will fit nicely into your routine. It’s a very good option if you have multiple cribs in one room (such as for twins, triplets, etc) and for parents who find smaller screens very annoying.

Philips AVENT SCD630/37

Philips AVENT SCD630/37 Video Baby MonitorRounding out our top 5 this year we’ve got the Philips AVENT SCD630/37.  In terms of its features and functions it shares a little bit from our top picks (the iBaby M6T and the Infant Optics DXR-8) and is about the same price range as those as well (around the $200 range depending on where you shop).

There are a few reasons why this didn’t make our top pick, but it still makes a suitable choice for many homes.  Let’s take a quick look at the breakdown of its features:

Features and Specs

  • Wifi: No
  • Range: 150 Ft Indoors, 900 Ft Outdoors.
  • Remote Pan/Tilt: No
  • Viewing Angle: N/A
  • Temperature Sensor: Yes
  • Humidity Sensor: No
  • Screen Size: 3.5 Inches
  • App: N/A

Not to shabby, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this unit:

The Pros

  • Temperature Sensor with Audio Alerts – One of the key features that this item shares with our top picks is the temp sensor.  Parents (ourselves included) really like this feature, especially when houses have drafty windows or fluctuating heat in the home.  Additionally this has an audio alert when temperature pass a certain range, so you don’t have to have your eye on the monitor to notice the change.
  • Night Light and Lullabies – Another fancy feature that isn’t available on many nanny-cams or security cameras is the night light or lullabies.  Some parents discount the music features of baby monitors, but we really appreciate them.
  • FHSS Connection – It’s worth noting that this comes with a technical feature, FHSS or Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. It is essentially a way to insure that there isn’t any interference with other RF devices (like portable phones, etc). and that the connection is secure enough so no one can eavesdrop.

The Cons

  • No Pan/Tilt – This camera is a fixed camera and doesn’t feature pan/tilt at all.  It is wall mountable, which means you can place it where most of the room is able to be seen, but it’s still lacking a feature that most parents seem to like.
  • Reports of Background Noise – There are some users reports of background noise in the audio.  Video seems to have not issues, however.

As we mentioned before, this shares a lot of the features of our top picks (lullabies, temp alerts), but lacks some others (no pan/tilt). It does stand out with the inclusion of audio alerts, which many parents have reported are a better option then just visual alerts for temperature changes.

All in all, this is a solid buy and could fit well in most all homes and situations.

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