If you’re putting together your registry for the first time, then you’ll notice that everyone says you have to have a baby monitor. Many monitors have different features, like two-way talk, pan/tilt cameras, Wi-Fi enabled, large screen parent units, and the list goes on. How do you know which monitor is right for you? Here are seven of the best long-range monitors that we found, from super simple to very high tech, and some of their best features to help you choose which one will work for you and your baby so you can both get a good night’s sleep.
Best Long-Range Baby Monitors
(Best range — $$)
Why it’s great: If you want a seriously long-range (1,500 feet!) monitor, and to be alerted to room temperature changes, movement, and sound, then this is the monitor for you. This monitor is a game-changer with additional features of ambient noise reduction and the ability to play white noise or lullabies to soothe your baby to sleep. On top of that, this monitor offers clear night vision, even when your baby’s room is completely dark, so you can still see what’s going on in the crib. It also has a microphone and speakers, so you can talk to your baby through it, without having to go to their room.
Keep in mind: This monitor cannot be viewed via any app, but it does come with an awesome 3.5” display screen.
Good for: Parents that want additional range without compromising security.
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: If you’re looking for a super simple way to know what your little one is up to, then this is the monitor for you. While it does not have a camera like some monitors, you’ll be able to hear every squeal, giggle, or cry with this three-part set. This VTech monitor comes with a base and two-parent units, which both have clips, so you can throw it on your belt or clip it to a pocket while you go about your day. The parent units will beep when they’re out of range, so you know if you’ve gone too far from the base. Another nice feature is that you can mute the parent unit, but still see if the noise level in your baby’s room has increased with light indicators that change based on how much sound is in the room.
Keep in mind: This is an audio unit only and it does not provide two way talking.
Good for: Parents that want a simple audio solution with a long range.
(Best battery life — $$)
Why it’s great: While this monitor may seem similar to others, the most notable feature is its battery life. On audio only, you can expect up to 24 hours of battery life, and in full video mode up to 12 hours. That’s nearly double most competitors! You can pan and tilt the camera like other monitors, but this one is also special in that it has a 4X zoom function, allowing you to get crystal clear detail of what’s going on in the baby’s room. It comes with a great 5” display, larger than most other monitors, and includes the two-way talk feature and temperature reporting that we love.
Keep in mind: The charging cables may be a little bit shorter than others.
Good for: Anyone looking for less charging time.
(Best for multiple rooms — $$)
Why it’s great: This monitor comes with two cameras, which is great for getting different views of your child’s room. On top of that, you can pair up to four cameras total, which is ideal if you want to cover different rooms without having to move a camera each time. Plus, the monitor has a 5” HD display, double zoom, and pan and tilt functions, so you can see as much detail as you need. The display screen also has remote controls for the cameras, which makes getting the perfect view easy. It also has two-way audio, room temperature control, and lullaby features that we love.
Keep in mind: The sound quality on the camera isn’t as good as some of the other options, it makes your voice sound a little robotic.
Good for: Parents that have multiple children in different rooms that they need to watch.
(Most versatile — $)
Why it’s great: This monitor comes with your choice of one or two monitors. It has 3 different zoom levels, a 1,000-foot range, and remote-controlled tilt or panning, allowing you to keep an eye on your baby all night long. The night vision quality is great and it automatically turns on the parent monitor screen when it hears your baby make any noise. Plus, this monitor has all the features we love, such as two-way audio, lullabies, white noise, and temperature monitoring. The feature that makes this monitor stand apart from the rest is that it has a SleepZone Virtual boundary that allows you to set a boundary box. Then, it’ll alert you if your baby moves outside of their boundary. This is perfect as your child gets older and tries to climb out of their crib.
Keep in mind: The screen is very bright and turns on automatically with any noise from your child, so you may want to keep it face down on the nightstand when you’re not looking at it.
Good for: Parents that want a quality monitor at a great price.
(Best entry level video monitor — $)
Why it’s great: If you want to be able to see what your little one is doing in their crib, in addition to hearing them, this entry-level monitor is a good choice. With a 2.4” LCD screen, you’ll be able to see your little one day or night. The screen boasts a night mode where it goes dark to preserve battery life until there is noise from the camera, at which point it lights up again which is a nice feature if you’re keeping this on your nightstand. One of the interesting features of this monitor is that you can set a “feeding” alarm which might come in handy if you’re a deep sleeper and have to keep your little one on a schedule. Like other monitors, it has two-way talk and even has a temperature reading which is a bonus feature.
Keep in mind: This monitor does not operate over Wi-Fi or have an app, so it needs to be paired independently.
Good for: Parents that want an entry level video monitor with a small external display.
(Best two way audio — $)
Why it’s great: If you want to be able to talk to your little one, but don’t need a camera feature, then this model is an ideal solution. It has several unique features that we love. Not only does it have a great range of up to 1,000 feet, but it also provides the coveted talk-back feature that you usually only enjoy on camera models. That makes this more of an intercom system than just an audio monitor. It has a five-level noise alert system and you can program which noise levels you want to hear. The base unit also has a glowing display that can act as a bit of a nightlight in a dark room. Overall, this is a great monitor that, because of the talkback feature, will last long after the baby days are over.
Keep in mind: If you want a truly wire free experience, you’ll need 6 AAA batteries for these units.
Good for: Parents that want a baby monitor that can turn into a household intercom.
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This monitor has everything you need at an affordable price. While it reports having a 1,000-foot range, many parents said that they were able to get further than that without losing reception. The picture quality is great and it has night vision, so you can still see what’s going on in the nursery in the middle of the night. It has two-way audio, room temperature sensors, and lullabies to soothe your child when they wake up. Plus, it can be hooked up to four cameras total, so you can monitor multiple kids or rooms with the same system. The cameras themselves can be rotated 360 degrees, so you can position them any way that you need them.
Keep in mind: You’ll need to adjust the sound sensors and keep other noise machines away from the camera, as the automatic sensor picks up every noise and will turn on your monitor screen.
Good for: Parents that need an affordable monitor with lots of range.
(Most unique — $$)
Why it’s great: This monitor is really great because it connects to an app that allows you control over everything. It even lets you connect to the Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, so you can be hands-free and just tell the monitor what you want it to do. The app also allows you to record video and share it, use your phone (or Alexa Show) as a monitor, and has a growth and development tracker and parenting tips. Plus, it has all the normal features that you’d want in a monitor. It has two-way audio, a 5” screen, soothing lullabies and sounds, temperature sensors, and night vision.
Keep in mind: This one is a little more difficult to set up, but with all the extra capabilities, it’s worth it.
Good for: Parents that want a system that can be used on multiple devices.
(Best comprehensive system — $$$)
Why it’s great: If you’ve researched baby monitors, chances are you’ve come across the Owlet sock. Well, now they’ve gone a step further and have a complete monitoring system. If you haven’t heard of it, Owlet is unique in that with one small sock on your tiny baby’s foot, you can monitor their oxygen levels and heart rate. If either reading drops below preset levels, you receive a notification. The peace of mind that it gives parents is unparalleled. On top of that, with this set, you’ll also get a fabulous camera with a crystal clear picture. Plus, Wi-Fi with 128-bit encryption, making this one fabulous monitoring system. Another reason the Owlet is unique is that your phone replaces the need for an LCD screen, meaning that, as long as you have Wi-Fi, you are in the range of the monitor, which is fabulous. You can access the app from home or while at work, giving the ultimate assurance that your little one is safe.
Keep in mind: You must have a smartphone to use the Owlet’s monitoring system as it does not come with an LCD display.
Good for: Parents that need peace of mind monitoring for at risk infants.
(Best camera quality — $$)
Why it’s great: The Infant Optics seems to be a bit of a cult favorite, and with the many awards it’s received, it’s no wonder. What is amazing about this monitor is that it has interchangeable lenses. You can have normal, zoom, and wide-angle (not included). Having the ability to change lenses means more flexibility with where you mount the camera, which is a win in our books. The range is a little bit shorter for this monitor, but the picture quality, 8-hour battery life on the parent unit, and superior sound quality make up for it.
Keep in mind: The maximum range on this monitor is 700 feet.
Good for: Parents that want advanced viewing and mounting options.
The Panasonic Video Baby Monitor with Remote Pan/Tilt/Zoom is our overall top recommendation. It's the highest quality product we have found with the most affordable price making it the best value on our list.
FAQs about Baby Monitors
1. Why do I need a baby monitor?
Baby monitors allow you to hear or see what is going on in your baby’s crib at night while they’re asleep. While you don’t need one, it offers peace of mind and allows you to check on your child, without having to go to their room. It also alerts you when your baby wakes up in the night, so you can get up and feed them when they’re ready. Most new parents worry about their baby and a monitor allows them to stay connected to their baby all night long.
2. How long do you need to use a baby monitor?
This is really up to you. At around 3-4 months old, your baby should start sleeping through the night. At that point, you may not need the monitor anymore. Plus, babies go through different sleep cycles around 4 months old. When they’re in a lighter sleep cycle, they may make noise, which will alert the monitor and wake you up. However, you won’t need to go to your baby if they’re still sleeping. So having the monitor may disturb your sleep more than it helps. On the other hand, it’s nice to have the monitor for naps during the day, so you can make sure your child is safe while you’re doing household chores or taking a nap yourself. And you never want to ignore your baby if they wake up crying or haven’t started sleeping through the night yet at this age. You can continue to use the monitor as long as you feel you need it to make sure your child is safe sleeping on their own.
3. Is an audio monitor good enough or do I need a video monitor?
This really comes down to personal preference. An audio monitor works just fine for the most part. You’ll be able to hear your baby cry or fuss at night. And if you have one with two-way talk, you can try to soothe them back to sleep with your voice if it’s not time for a feeding. The video monitors have the advantage of letting you see your child. That way if they cry, you can look and see what’s going on. Maybe they’ve rolled over or are in an uncomfortable position and they need to be adjusted. Maybe they’re making fussing or crying noises, but are still asleep. With a video monitor, you’ll be able to see this and know whether or not you need to go into the room.
4. Do I need to worry about my monitor being hacked?
This is definitely a concern, whether your monitor is hooked up to Wi-Fi or not. Check out the security features on your monitor and make sure you choose one that has protections in place to prevent this. All the monitors on this list have features to protect against hacking. You’ll need to make sure you follow any instructions for setup and make sure you change the password to something unique. It’s also recommended that you shut off your whole system once a week, so it can download any security patches that may have come available.
5. What features should I look for in a monitor?
Most of the features that you’ll want to look for are pretty obvious. Check for safety and security first and foremost. After that, it’ll depend on your needs. You’ll want to make sure the monitor has enough range for your home and decent battery life. If you choose to go with a video monitor, you’ll want to make sure it has good picture quality and a nice-sized screen. Two-way talk, lullabies, and temperature sensors are also great features to have in a monitor. Convenience is also important, so check if you can move, pan, or tilt your camera remotely, so you don’t have to enter the room to move the camera.
If you’ve read all the reviews and the options and still aren’t sure whether a baby monitor is for you, you’re not alone! Many people assume that they can just live without one, especially since the baby is often in the parent’s bedroom for the first few months. The cost of some baby monitors may also seem excessive, but keep in mind that a camera is a one-time purchase that will last for years. Once your baby is out of their crib and into a big kid bed, having a monitor can create peace of mind during naptime, especially if you have a kid who likes to climb things they shouldn’t (like the bookcase or dresser). You can also set the camera up in a play area for easy monitoring while you’re throwing in a load of laundry or cooking dinner. Your one-time investment can be used well into toddlerhood, so buy a product that works for your family.