It’s the middle of the night and you’re groggily browsing the internet with bleary eyes, desperately seeking a remedy for your baby’s inability to sleep. One possible solution: the Nanit Plus Smart Baby Monitor ($299, plus a $50/year subscription fee; the first year is free). In addition to its camera function, Nanit’s Insights program provides the information caregivers need for transitioning crying babies to restful sleepers.
Your peace of mind (and quiet) may come at a higher cost than most other top baby monitors — Nanit costs twice as much as the top-rated Arlo Baby goes for these days — but for sleep-deprived parents, the price may be worth it.
The Nanit Plus monitor looks sleek: a simple white head and neck mounted on an adjustable base. For the features to work properly, the camera must be placed precisely with a bird’s eye view of the crib, meaning that you’ll need to put some holes in the wall for mounting,or shell out an extra $80 for a floor stand. For $49, you can purchase a multi-use stand that lets you place the camera on additional surfaces, but this eliminates Nanit’s ability to provide valuable sleep insights.
The camera is 3.5 x 3.5 x 1 inches, and must be plugged-in to use. Because the device needs to be placed in a conspicuous spot above the crib, this may put a damper on parents' decorative enthusiasm. Then again, Nanit’s offerings may be worth giving up some otherwise valuable real estate on your baby’s wall.
Nanit’s companion app is available for Android and iOS, and handily guides users through a short setup process. I had the monitor connected to my phone in less than 5 minutes and began receiving alerts immediately.
|Camera Range||95 degree field of view|
|Handheld Viewer Size/Weight||NA|
|Mobile App||Android, iOS|
|Video Recording||Yes - 7 days with Nanit Insights, 30 days with Premium, and unlimited with Insights Unlimited|
|Subscription||Free Insights for first year, optional plans start at $5/month or $50 annually|
Camera and Audio Quality
The Nanit camera offers a 130-degree diagonal field of view, with an extra 30 degrees of tilt on the wall mount. Both streaming and playback are in 960p resolution, which is optimized for the aspect ratio of a crib. You’ll be able to see the tiniest details on your baby’s bedding and zoom in to see her little nose twitch while she sleeps. The sound quality is fantastic, with about a half-second delay.
If you have the basic Insights subscription ($5/month or $50/year), videos will be stored in the cloud for seven days. (A one-year Insights subscription is included with your Nanit Plus purchase.) If you opt for the Premium Insights subscription ($10/month or $100 for the year), videos will be saved for 30 days; an Insights Unlimited subscription ($30/month or $300 annually) will let you save videos indefinitely.
The Nanit app is simple to navigate, with the camera feed and most recent activity listed on the landing page. The monitor connects to your phone within 2 seconds, comparable to the top-rated Arlo Baby. You can invite multiple users to use the app, with an admin determining access levels for each. So if Grandma is spending the night, you can allow her to hear live-stream video without seeing your history — and you can shut off access when she leaves.
There are five tabs on the app, allowing you to toggle between a live feed, activities, dashboard, inbox and settings. The Activity page pinpoints moments such as when the baby fell asleep, was taken out of bed, or attended to by a caregiver. The dashboard lists activity by day, allowing users to drill down and view charts and graphs that display activity over chosen time periods. The main page of the dashboard describes the current day, including time spent in the crib, time asleep, number of naps, and last wake-up time. Additionally, videos display moments such as the baby falling asleep, waking up and getting caregiver visits.
There is also a graph that provides a visual representation of sleep activity and any disruptions. Face emojis (happy, neutral and angry) are displayed on previous days’ data to indicate the baby’s quality of sleep. Larger graphs are available to show sleep quality and patterns over longer periods, such as weekly or monthly. The Inbox lists suggested Insights articles based on the baby’s patterns, and the Settings tab contains your profile, camera information and subscription.
Nanit’s most valuable feature is its superior activity-tracking capability, which goes beyond alerting parents when the baby is awake. Nanit recognizes specific activities, such as the little one being placed in the crib, falling asleep and being attended to by a caregiver. Individual video summaries are provided so that you can watch the relevant moments without searching through hours of feed.
In addition to showing users specific moments, the Insights program provides a detailed analysis of your child’s sleeping patterns and quality of sleep. Users can easily view data from a selected day, including how long it took the baby to fall asleep, how much total time she spent asleep, and how many times she was visited by a caregiver or removed from her crib. Insights also indicates how efficiently your baby is sleeping, dividing time spent asleep by the time spent in her bed. Data are presented both visually (colorful charts detail different types of activity) and numerically (such as the amount of time spent on each activity). You can view information for a single day or compare it against previous nights, to spot any trends.
Over time, Nanit picks up on your baby’s habits and delivers articles to your Inbox, tailored to help improve her sleep. When Nanit recognized that my daughter woke up hungry multiple times, I received an article titled Cutting Down on the Night Feeds. Similarly, Nanit knows that my daughter’s regular wake-up time is 5:30 a.m.; so on mornings when she’s just happily babbling to herself at 3:30 a.m., Nanit understands that she’ll eventually soothe herself back to sleep and doesn’t send an alert. As a working mother who’s already surviving a drastically reduced amount of sleep, this is a very welcome feature. Of course, any caregiver who would like to receive notifications for every toe wiggle and coo can adjust the app settings to high sensitivity.
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Since we completed our testing, Nanit has introduced an add-on product called Nanit Breathing Wear, available in either a patterned band or swaddle that your baby wears. The Nanit camera uses the patterns to more accurately monitor breathing, but the $25 to $49 Breathing Wear isn’t necessary for Nanit to track your baby’s sleep.
Nanit has a high initial price compared to our other top-rated baby monitors, and the additional subscription fees may be off-putting to someone who is simply looking to remotely watch her baby. However, the superior video quality and Insights program may be worth the extra cost to parents who are looking to better understand their child’s sleep patterns, or gain useful tips on getting a full night’s sleep.