Updated on September 28, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
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.
The Best Long-Range Baby Monitors
(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. A nice feature is that you can mute the parent unit, but still see if the noise level at the base has changed with light indicators that change based on how much sound is in the room.
Keep in mind: This is an audio unit only, and does not provide two way talking.
Good for: A simple audio solution with a long range.
(Best camera quality — $$)
Why it’s great: The Infant Optics seems to be a bit of a cult favorite, and with the many awards it’s received it’s no wonder. What is amazing about this monitor is that it has interchangeable lenses. You can have normal, zoom, and wide-angle (not included). Having the ability to change lenses means more flexibility with where you mount the camera, which is a win in our books. The range is a little bit shorter for this monitor, but the picture quality, 8-hour battery life on the parent unit, and superior sound quality make up for it.
Keep in mind: The maximum range on this monitor is 700 feet.
Good for: Advanced viewing and mounting options.
(Best entry level video monitor — $)
Why it’s great: If you want to be able to see what your little one is doing in their crib in addition to hearing them, this entry-level monitor is a good choice. With a 2.4” LCD screen, you’ll be able to see your little one day or night. The screen boasts a night mode where it goes dark to preserve battery life until there is noise from the camera, at which point it lights up again which is a nice feature if you’re keeping this on your nightstand. One of the interesting features of this monitor is that you can set a “feeding” alarm which might come in handy if you’re a deep sleeper and have to keep your little one on a schedule. Like other monitors, it has two-way talk and even has a temperature reading which is a bonus feature.
Keep in mind: This monitor does not operate over Wi-Fi or have an app, so needs to be paired independently
Good for: An entry level video monitor with a small external display.
(Best range — $$)
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 the additional features of ambient noise reduction, in addition to the ability to play white noise or lullabies to sooth baby to sleep.
Keep in mind: This monitor comes with an awesome 3.5” display, which is good because it cannot be viewed via any app.
Good for: Additional range without compromising security.
(Best battery life — $$)
Why it’s great: While this monitor may seem similar to others, the most notable feature is its battery life. On audio only, you can expect up to 24 hours of battery life, and in full video mode up to 12 hours. That’s nearly double most competitors! You can pan and tilt the camera like other monitors, but this one is also special in that it has a 4X zoom function, allowing you to get crystal clear detail of what’s going on in the baby’s room. It comes with a great 5” display, larger than most other monitors, and includes the two-way talk features and temperature reporting that we love.
Keep in mind: The charging cables may be a little bit shorter than others.
Good for: Anyone looking for less charging time.
(Best two way audio — $)
Why it’s great: If you want to be able to talk to your little one, but don’t need a camera feature, then this model is an ideal solution. It has several unique features that we love. Not only does it have a great range of up to 1,000 feet, but it also provides the coveted talk back feature that you usually only enjoy on camera models, making this more of an intercom system than just an audio monitor. It has a five-level noise alert system and you can program which noise levels you want to hear. The base unit also has a glowing display that can act as a bit of a nightlight in a dark room. Overall, this is a great monitor that, because of the talkback feature, will last long after the baby days are over.
Keep in mind: If you want a truly wire free experience, you’ll need 6 AAA batteries for these units.
Good for: A baby monitor that can turn into a household intercom.
(Best comprehensive monitoring system — $$$)
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. Add into that a fabulous camera with a crystal clear picture and Wi-Fi with 128-bit encryption and you get one fabulous monitoring system. Another reason the Owlet is unique is that your phone replaces the need for an LCD, 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: Peace of mind monitoring at risk infants.
FAQs about long-range baby monitors
1. How do I make the right choice?
Picking a monitor is more than just reading reviews. You need to take into consideration how you’re going to be using the monitor. For older children, an audio-only monitor may be a great solution because you just want to hear if they’re up and babbling. For babies, viewing is often a key component of why you purchase a monitor. Take into the consideration battery life of the parent unit, the range, and whether you want to be able to access the monitor via an app.
2. What if I want more than one monitor?
Some units like the Vava, Infant Optics and the Panasonic can use multiple monitors with one parent unit. If you have multiple children in different bedrooms, or even want to put a monitor in the playroom, make sure you check with the availability before purchasing.
3. Can someone hack into my baby monitor?
Some units connect to your Wi-Fi in order to work, like the Owlet. Make sure to read the specifications on the company pages to verify. Most monitors now have DECT technology, which means they prevent frequency jamming (like a cordless phone interrupting the signal) and are encrypted technologies. If the monitor you choose goes over your Wi-Fi network, make sure that your home network is secure by updating your password and accessibility options.
4. I’m not technological. Will I even be able to set this up?
Although they don’t list specifications on installation, almost every monitor on the market today can be set up in less than an hour. Most cameras will pair with the parent unit with no input from you. The hardest part of the installation may be choosing where to place the camera. We recommend trying out a few spots before you screw the monitor into the wall. You also may want the camera closer to the crib in the early months.
5. Why does the baby monitor range matter?
If you love being outdoors year-round, then the longer the range on a monitor the better. While sitting outside on the patio may not seem very far away from the baby’s room, keep in mind that the signal has to travel through multiple walls from the baby’s room to the parent unit. The longer the range rating on the monitor, the better the chance that you won’t encounter any disconnects or interference.
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 parents’ 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.