Best video baby monitor buyers guide image - angelcare monitor with buyers guide written across it

Best Video Baby Monitor: A Buyers Guide

I am here to guide you through your options and help you to make a buying decision that suits you. This information will help you to choose the best video baby monitor

picture of the best video baby monitor, the angelcare ac1120When looking to buy a video baby monitor you obviously want a model that is reliable, it also needs to be suitable for your requirements and within your price range. It is important that you prioritise the features that you feel are best suited to your needs and choose your monitor based on these. Once you have whittled down your choices, your final decision on which model to buy can then be based on either your budgetary requirements or by comparing any additional features that may be of benefit. A good video baby monitor does exactly what you want it to do, the best video monitors do just that plus a little more. I would recommend reading through this list of features and choosing 2-3 (max) must have features. You can then use the comparison table to help you to identify the model that is best suited to your requirements.

What are the main features that I need to consider?

The main features that you need to consider when researching products are:

RangeSignal Range Icon

Every video baby monitor has a recommended maximum signal range (the furthest distance the monitor can be from the camera), these vary from model to model and can also differ depending upon the thickness of your walls any other physical obstructions that may between the two units. If you have experienced signal problems in the past with previous baby monitors or with other wireless digital devices (wireless digital tv transmitters) then you may want to consider looking for a video monitor with a much greater signal range than what you actually require, the same should be said if the parent unit (monitor screen) and nursery unit (camera) are separated by more than a couple of walls (such as if you are in a town house or in a particularly large house). During the summer months you may want to relax in the garden in the evenings, if this is the case then signal range should be high on your list of priorities. The signal range of popular digital video baby monitors is between 150-300 metres.

Screen sizeIphone 5 image to demonstrate 3.5

Bigger doesn’t always necessarily mean better but it does usually mean more expensive. There are generally 2 sizes of LCD monitor screen available at present, these are 2.8″ or 3.5″. As a rough guide, the iPhone has a 3.5″ inch screen. My personal opinion is that as long as the screen is clear enough for me to see my baby on it then I am not too worried what the physical size of the screen is (2.8″ is plenty big enough).

Room temperature display

In the past there have been accuracy problems with these readings as the heat generated from the camera resulted in a false reading. If you are going to rely on your monitor for temperature readings then you should look specifically at user reviews both positive and negative to determine if any accuracy problems have already been identified, if however, you are going to use or are using a separate room thermometer then you can put this feature to one side and prioritise other factors that will help you get the most out of your video monitor.

ZoomZoom in image icon

This feature is useful if you have the whole bed in view but aren’t able to see close up features such as if your baby’s eyes are closed. The zoom function is digital rather than optical so may result in some pixelation if used to the maximum level. A monitor with zoom doesn’t always have the pan option but a camera with pan always has zoom.

Pan and tilt

I love the pan option and feel that this will be a standard feature on new models (not just the best ones). Panning means being able to move the direction the camera is facing, you will need this feature if your baby tends to move around in her bed quite a bit, if you would also like to be able to view your baby/toddler during the day (such as when he/she is playing) then you should be looking for a camera that has a 360 degree pan to guarantee the largest coverage. There is also a tilt option on some cameras, this is handy if you have you have your camera positioned against the same wall as your baby’s bed and at such an angle that the whole the bed isn’t in full view (pan wouldn’t help as you need to move the camera up and down rather than left to right). Consider where your baby’s bed is positioned and where you would like the camera to be positioned, wall mounting is always the best option for fully utilising both the pan and tilt features.

Additional camerasAdditional camera for MBP36

If you have twins then this would be essential, if you are thinking of having another baby (or are considering this possibility) in the near future then it is definitely worth having this feature near the top of your essentials list. When looking to buy video monitors that have the option to add additional cameras (usually up to 3 additional but sometimes 2), check the viewing options of these, some are able to be viewed in split screen mode, some scan the cameras for a set period of time and some spring into life when a noise is picked up. It is always worth doing your research and thinking about what would best suit you if you are planning on using additional monitors.

Viewing options

As well as being able to view the video on the monitor screen, there are options available that allow you to also watch on your tv, on your laptop etc and also on additional monitors.

Power options

All necessary power cables and rechargeable batteries are supplied. LCD monitor screens can also be battery operated (for portability) and some camera have the option to be battery powered. The most common function when in portable mode is to have a 5 minute viewing period each time the view option is manually selected. This is to save battery power. Battery life can vary and will dramatically decrease if permanently used in video mode.

Operation

All monitors are designed with ease of use in mind, the buttons are easy to press and menus should be easy to navigate. There are also touch screen monitors available if you would prefer. The position of the volume button is something that you may want to consider – for some you have to navigate the menu whilst others have physical volume buttons.

Charging Dock

This really comes down to ease of use, consider where you are going to place it and if it will be difficult to reach for the appropriate power cable each time you need to charge it/plug it in for the night. A charging dock makes life that little bit easier for busy, tired parents.

If you are still unsure as to which monitor to buy, check out my comparison table and best baby video monitor reviews