There are so many video baby monitors on the market these days that when it comes to buying one, it can all be a little overwhelming. What type of monitor should you get, what features are essential, what price should you pay? These are all questions to think about.
To help you choose the right video baby monitor for you, I have put together a short guide of what features and functions to consider, so that you can confidently buy the right one.
Type of Transmission
Video baby monitors are basically a radio transmitter between the parent unit and the camera. Most video baby monitors these days have either analogue or digital transmission and run on different frequencies, usually around 49MHz, 900MHz and 2.4GHz. Analog monitors (usually 900MHz) are cheaper to buy but are more open to interference and the range shorter, up to around 300 feet. Digital, on the other hand, offers a more secure and interference free reception, and a longer signal range, but tends to be pricier.
Something to think about before you buy a video baby monitor, is to look around at other electronic devices you have in your home such as cordless phones, microwave ovens, WiFi or blue tooth devices and try to choose a model that runs on a different frequency band. This is because having devices on the same frequency as your baby monitor can cause interference. Also note that signal reception depends on whether you live in a densely populated area or a more suburban or rural location. If you're close to neighbors who happen to have a video baby monitor or other wireless devices then this can interfere with your signal as well. If you're after a video baby monitor that is totally safe and secure, then you should consider buying one that has frequency hopping and data encryption technology.
Most video baby monitor parent units come with a color LCD screen. Screen size varies from around a small small 1.8 "screen to a large 7" screen. It really all depends on how clearly you want to see your baby, but I think a 3.5 "screen is perfectly adequate.
The Parent unit comes with easy to use buttons to allow you access to the features menu. If you really want the latest technology you can take a look at the Summer Infant Baby Touch video monitor which is the first monitor that has touch screen technology. Of course, being hi-tec means that it's a top of the range price.
Most video baby monitors are extremely portable and are designed to be handed. Many come with a built-in kick out stand so you can place it on a flat surface or with a belt clip so you can attach it to your belt or waistband to be hands free. Some even look like cellphones that you can carry around in your hand or pocket or place in the charging station.
A great feature that most video baby monitors have is automatic black and white night vision capability. From low light to complete darkness, the in-built infrared LED lights on the camera allow you to see your baby up to a certain range. Some monitors allow you to see up to 10ft, but others more than 20ft from camera to crib.
Two-Way Talk Back
Having two-way communication is a really neat feature that parents really love. The two-way audio between the parent unit and camera in your child's room allows you to talk to your little one without you even being there and you can hear them gurgle back to you.
When you buy a video baby monitors most come with one camera, but with some models you can buy two, offering a saving. Many models can support up to four cameras, allowing multiple use through your house. Picking a monitor that allows expandability is helpful if you think you will need to cover more areas of your house, eg if you have or are planning more than one child or have or are having twins.
Motion and Sound Sensors
Another cool feature is motion or sound alert sensors. Most cameras have very sensitive built-in microphones so when your baby starts making noises you will be immediately alerted. This is great at night when your video monitor is turned off and only turns on if voice activated.
This feature is commonly found in video baby monitors. When your baby makes a sound the parent unit sound lights will turn on. The louder the baby's sound is the brighter or more lights will come on, depending on the model. This is particularly useful if you are in a noisy room and can not hear the audio.
Some models offer a temperature sensor that can monitor the temperature in your baby's room. Ideally, the temperature should be between 68 to 72 degrees F. Again this is a useful feature, but be aware that some customers have complained the temperature is not accurate on some models.
Most models come with the ability to control the volume. With some models you have to scroll through the menu to access the volume control which can be a bit of a chore, while others have volume control on the side of the monitor which is easier.
Some video baby monitors come with preloaded lullabies. Some parents really love this feature whilst others reported that the sound quality was tinny and annoying. I would probably not recommend buying a model specifically for the lullabies as you may be disappointed, but if it happens to have this feature then well and good.
In the end, the most important consideration is to buy a model that offers good picture and audio quality, is interference free and secure. Of course it's always nice to have an all singing and dancing model, but the more features you have, the more expensive the unit. I hope this has been a helpful guide.