New parents have enough to worry about without wondering if their baby monitor is up to the task. Fortunately, they don't have to — we've looked at more than half-a-dozen mounted cameras that beam live video from a nursery, and the best baby monitor we've tested is the Arlo Baby.
Arlo's baby monitor packs in a number of must-have features such as clear 1080p video, two-way audio and a host of sensors. Everything's easily accessible from a well-organized mobile app that puts the Arlo Baby's controls at your fingertips. Best of all, since we first reviewed the Arlo Baby, many retailers are selling it at a discount price.
People who want an even bigger bargain may prefer the iBaby M6T. Though it's a couple years old at this point and records video in in 720p resolution, it's still a capable baby monitor with night vision, two-way audio and helpful pan-and-tilt capabilities. It's also available for less than the Arlo Baby, with discounts sometimes bringing the price down even lower.
On the other end of the price spectrum, the Nanit Plus Baby Monitor provides a very good camera for checking in on your nursery, but it's the sleep-tracking features that will appeal to parents the most as they'll help you figure out ways to get your child to sleep through the night.
All three of those devices turn to your smartphone to monitor the video feed streaming from your nursery. So does the Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor, but it also includes a helpful portable audio monitor that can let you listen in on your nursery, without having to trigger the camera. It's our favorite baby monitor with a handheld unit.
Camera Range: 110-to-130-degree field of view | Camera Resolution: 1080p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Don't be fooled by its cute looks and adorable green bunny ears: Arlo Baby is a very capable baby monitor that delivers sharp video of your nursery to your smartphone. The Arlo Baby includes features such as night vision, temperature and air quality sensors, a color-changing nightlight and a speaker that can play lullabies. All of this is very easy to manage thanks to a well-designed mobile app.
Cuteness aside, the Arlo Baby is compact enough to fit into even the most crowded nursery; a wall mount is included if you prefer that option. While you plug the camera in to power it, you can also detach the camera and move it into any room where an impromptu nap occurs, though we only saw three hours of battery life when we tried this out.
By default, Arlo Baby records in 720p resolution, though you can switch to 1080p if you prefer. You can also adjust the field of view and fine-tune notifications on what triggers an alert. You do have to position the camera manually, however, and the gap between getting a notification on our phone and actually being able to jump to live video was a little laggy for our tastes. Still, the video delivered by the Arlo Baby was crystal clear, even at night.
A whole host of sensors — temperature, humidity and air quality — can alert you to any change in your kid's room. The versatile app can send you notifications however you want, and we were particularly impressed by an Always Listening mode that streamed audio to our smartphone.
The Arlo Baby delivers just about everything a nervous new parent could want in a package that's easy to manage, making it our pick for best baby monitor. Since we reviewed the camera, Arlo added support for Apple's HomeKit home automation platform and lowered the price on the Arlo Baby.
iBaby Monitor M6T
Camera Range: 360-degree pan, 110-degree tilt | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes / Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Even three years after we first tested it, the iBaby Monitor M6T still offers an impressive array of features at a manageable price. And its price has fallen, making it a great choice if you'd like to spend less on a video monitor.
iBaby's camera offers the sort of capabilities you'd expect — push-to-talk features to soothe a crying child, motion-triggered photo and video capture, and a 720p HD camera. (A newer version, the M6S, ups the resolution to 1080p.) The M6T also boasts a full-360-degree rotating pan.
The M6T streams to an app on your smartphone, and we found the Wi-Fi-enabled video streaming to be clear, even in low light. The two-way speaker offered above-average audio in all conditions, and we like how we could play lullabies preinstalled on the iBaby mobile app to lull a child to sleep.
Nanit Plus Baby Monitor
Camera Range: 95-degree field of view | Camera Resolution: 960p | Handheld Monitor: No | Monitor Size/Weight: N/A | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: Yes/Yes | Video Recording: Yes
Bleary-eyed parents who just want their baby to sleep soundly through the night will appreciate the insights that come from the Nanit Plus Baby Monitor. In addition to letting in you check in on your sleeping child from the comfort of your smartphone, Nanit's camera also monitors activities so that it can provide you with detailed analysis of your child’s sleeping patterns and quality of sleep.
Over time, the Nanit Plus recognizes your baby's sleep habits and uses that information to summon up articles and advice for you on ways to improve your baby's sleep. That's a subscription service and the first year is included with your Nanit Plus purchase. Since our review, Nanit has added compatibility with the Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot to let you see the video stream through an Alexa display.
As for the camera itself, you can expect videos in 960p resolution with an aspect ratio optimized to fit in your baby's crib. We found the images clear and the camera pretty easy to set up. You'll have to pay up for the Nanit Plus and its sleep tracking features, especially compared to other top baby monitors, but for parents who just want a good night's sleep, the extra cost may be worth it.
Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor
Camera Range: 130-degree viewing angle | Camera Resolution: 720p | Handheld Monitor: Yes (audio) | Monitor Size/Weight: 3.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches/2.5 ounces | Mobile App: Android, iOS | Temperature/Humidity Sensors: No/No | Video Recording: Yes
You'll get great video quality and an easy-to-setup system with the Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor. But the real reason to consider this device is a helpful portable audio unit you can carry with you that lets you hear what's going on in the nursery without having to notice and respond to push notifications on your phone. There's little delay when you use the two-way audio feature, and the portable unit will even flash when the camera detects motion for a helpful visual cue to launch the companion app.