Dad Approved: A Tech Guy and New Dad Reviews the Best Baby Monitors
Guest Post by Eric Anderson of Bee Honest Buttercup
When my wife and I started creating our mile long list of things we would need for our little one, I only had so much to interest. Not because I didn’t want to be involved, but because everything we were discussing was so foreign to me. I mean, butt paste? Bottles that aren’t filled with beer? Baby Clothes? I think the last time I bought clothes for myself was, like, 5 years ago. Baby monitors were about the only thing I could wrap my mind around.
While there are only two standard types of monitors, audio and audio/video the options are endless.
To start, the audio-only models have their place within our household. We went with the vTech DM221-2 which includes 1 monitor for the baby’s room, and two parent units. The beauty of this system is we can leave one unit in our room and the other out in the living room. Both parent units have rechargeable batteries and can be taken with you around the house within 1000 ft of your baby’s room. vTech does make a couple other models, both with a single parent unit and one without rechargeable batteries. The biggest drawback here is this thing can chew through AA’s just about as fast as Amazon can deliver them and the single parent unit made it inconvenient since we are constantly moving around the house and always seem to misplace it.
The next option is what I would assume most parents are looking for: baby monitors with video capability. Each of the monitors I looked at included a dedicated video monitor that paired directly with the camera. Many of them had the capability of using an audio only function so you could still use it at night when you were sleeping without the bright light of the monitor to wake you up. The ease of setup and basic usage would make this the most practical solution for most families, but this is where we chose to go a different route.
I knew we wanted a video monitor, but what I really wanted was one that we could use our iPhones or iPad to view the camera, which none of these Plug and Play video monitors offered. To get this feature we had to look at something more geared towards a security camera than a baby monitor, but they essentially work in exactly the same way. We initially started with the Nest Indoor Security Camera. It has all the features of the other baby monitors (no audio only mode) and we can use our phones and iPad to view the camera. The Nest also has some cloud recording options that would be fun to look back and see just how your little one managed to get turned completely around or how that pacifier made it to the other side of the room. While this camera worked as expected and provided us with everything that we wanted, it was more expensive than the camera we ultimately went with.
The Foscam R-2 camera provided us with all of the same features as the Nest Indoor Cam but at about half of the cost. The biggest drawback here for most people is the setup isn’t nearly as user-friendly, accessing the camera from outside of your house requires some networking know-how and the phone/tablet app is actually created by a 3rd party which ran $5 (Supports Family Sharing on iOS) because the default app doesn’t work very well.
The biggest benefit for using one of these cameras is the ability to use my phone, which I always have on me. It is one less device to keep track of, to find, to break and most importantly to charge. It is also nice that both my wife and I can access the camera from our phones at the same time so we don’t have to reach across the bed to get a single video monitor.
Between the Foscam and the vTech system, I feel this was the best solution for our family as it provided us with everything we were looking for. However, the Nest Indoor Camera would provide you with all of the same benefits but without the headache of anything technical.
Best of luck,
Eric Anderson is a tech guy, new dad, and husband to Sami - the voice behind the blog, Bee Honest Buttercup.