When L was born, I pooh poohed the idea of having a video monitor. We had a small enough house, we could keep the door to her room open and look in if we needed to, and I had an audio monitor so I could hear her – who needed to see her?
A few months later, I was cursing my decision. The audio monitor I had picked was analog, not digital, so it picked up signals and interference from our neighbors, and I couldn’t count how many times I was running up and down the stairs to see if she *really* needed me when she cried in her sleep (and how much effort it took to have her avoid seeing me.) I realized the video monitor wasn’t just the province of overly watchful nervous parents, but also a matter of convenience.
Luckily, I was pregnant with Baby J and soon to move into a new, larger, house, so I needed a monitoring solution that would cover two babies. With that, I gave myself permission to look into video monitors.
But which one? As usual, the choices are endless, and the technology is forever changing.Whenever I buy a new product, my first attempt at paring down the choices involves going to Amazon, typing in “video monitors” or whatnot, and then sorting by user reviews. However, for the purposes of this article, let’s check out expert(ish) rankings available on the internet.
First up is parenting favorite Babble.com. They have their review separated by Best Overall, Best Value, etc. Many of their selections are from the Summer Infant line. I have to admit I don’t know from what year their ranking is, because there are some glaring omissions.
Next, there’s Baby Bargains, the guru of bargain-hunting new parents.
These are their recommendations:
Best Bet: Infant Optics DXR-5 ($99)
– FHSS technology helps avoid interference
– 2.4″ display
– simple set-up
– voice activated mode
Runner-Up: Samsung BabyVIEW SEW-3036WN ($180)
– 3.5″ display
– time display
– zoom feature
Best Bet: Samsung SafeVIEW SEW-3037W ($230)
– voice activated option
– remote nightlight
– 3.5″ display
– very good night vision
Runner-Up #1: Summer BabyTouch Digital Monitor ($190-$260)
– touch-screen parent unit
– 3.5″ color display
– intercom feature
Runner-Up #2: Motorola MBP36 ($200)
– similar to Summer BabyTouch
– “clunky” interface to navigate when changing settings
– poor night vision
Best Bet: Summer Peek Plus Internet Baby Monitor System ($350)
– 2.5″ display with fixed camera
– internet router enables viewing online or via apps
Runner-Up #1: Dropcam ($150)
– fixed camera
– 60 second set-up
– can view via Dropcam website or app
– no parent display unit, have to re-purpose an old iPhone or iPod Touch as viewer
Runner-Up #2: Withings Smart Baby Monitor ($250-$300)
– streams to phone
– no parent unit
Lucie’s List also tackles the video monitor issue. She asserts the Summer Infant babyTouch Color, the Samsung Wireless Pan/Tilt and the Motorola Wireless Monitor with Infrared Vision are good quality and about the same.
She also points out an IP camera or an iPhone app can do the trick. The most well-known IP camera for these purposes is the Foscam. However, it generally takes someone more tech-savvy to set it up.
We have the Motorola MBP36 with two cameras and love it. Please nite, unlike the MBP33 recommended by Lucie’s List, the 36 has pan and tilt. Believe me, this is invaluable.
Second, there have been advancements since the website recommended the Foscam as an IP camera. There are the ones mentioned by Baby Bargains, and there’s also the Motorola Blink. If the Blink had existed when we needed a baby monitor, we would have looked into it, especially as we could have linked it to our iPads. However, check out the Amazon reviews for more details, including whether the Foscam is still a better choice.