After having a baby, within few days I realized that being alone brings lot of challenges including the one for watching my baby girl while doing my job activities of work from home! So my office colleague suggested to get baby monitor as a helping hand, and so as usual Bryan had quick task of researching & buying the best baby monitor for my little angel. Recently I upgraded the baby monitor for two rooms, I will speak about that at the end of this post.
The credit of this post completely goes to Bryan, with his hours of internet research as well as checking with family & friends to choose the right baby monitor in a weeks time! Thanks to all friends who provided valuable inputs in selection and budget spending.
Since I learnt things from scratch! The same I would be putting here, including what is baby cam, how it will help, what are the types and budget planning to get a real reliable value for money product serving me at least for next 4-5 years!
First important learning : Baby monitors can be hacked!
Yes, Bryan told me that his research results was that choosing best baby monitor consists of a factor of hacking! The reliability is not only on the performance level but also on the safety of remote controlling the camera via App, which in tern sends and receives monitoring signal via internet (web)
Yes, hackers can control the baby monitor, switch them on or even pan and tilt the cameras to monitor activity in the house!
Just read the latest hacking news published on NPR June 5, 2018, showing baby monitor hacking story from Jamie Summitt from South Carolina, which spells out incident of hacking of baby monitor at her home!
Here are the comments by Tod Beardsley, Rapid7’s director of research (source news) – from NPR June 5, 2018
“After examining number of products, We found that there were, pretty much across the board, some pretty easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities — things that have been already solved in mainstream computing,”
Experts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, examined off-the-shelf internet of things (IoT) devices including the baby monitors at home and quickly uncovered a number of serious security issues.
“Using these devices in our lab, we were able to play loud music through a baby monitor, turn off a thermostat and turn on a camera remotely, much to the concern of our researchers who themselves use these products” study lead Dr Yossi Oren said. (source news) from dailymail.co.uk
So at the end of this post I have included the security tips to be followed after buying a baby monitor, but as on now simply keep in mind that your buying decision shall not only be based on the price factor but also the security & hence safety of baby as well as your home too.
What is a Baby Monitor?
A device which facilitates you remotely monitoring your baby either through audio or video mode is called as Baby Monitor.
Generally it is a transmitter + receiver combination, one being kept in baby’s room and the other stays with the parent. Camera remote control can happen over WiFi or Internet through App.
Most of the baby monitors in market are able to stream HD videos, crystal clear sound (filtering background noises, like traffic) and allows easy control from smartphone App.
And in case you are low on budget and wish to opt for audio monitors, you can choose the one with DECT tech (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) (What is DECT?) which ensures enhanced security by encoding and encrypting the data over transmission as compared to the old audio baby monitors using the 2.4 GHz frequency band. In short, DECT tech prevents baby monitor hackers from spying on baby and/or you!
DECT also improves the sound quality by cutting out an electromagnetic interference from electronic appliances such as phones, tablets, and even microwaves.
What facilities I need in my Baby monitor?
Longer range, multi room capabilities, split screen facility, clarity of video and audio signal, safety against hacking, price, ease of use, battery backup, durability and reliability are things to look for in a best baby monitor. To the extent some vital monitors can track sleep and breathing too!
Well you can get number of facilities in baby monitor, but at some cost! So it is necessary to look for precisely what you need for. Already you are spending money on a big baby list including the diapers!
Keep it simple, select a monitoring system that suits your home & lifestyle needs.
As an example, if you are leaving in a small apartment located in the heart of city, then rather than long range monitor, preference to be given for monitor that can filter all background noises of traffic.
If you have big home and spend time in backyard with toddlers, long range baby monitor will help keeping an eye over the newborn from a distance.
Or if you are a working women and wish to check your baby on the go and want to talk with baby, best is to go for a good video monitor with audio capability allowing conversation with your baby. Also it should have an internet connectivity and good App to remote control the camera angle and zoom.
Further having your baby along-with you on travel may call for a super compact baby-monitor which is light weight, small range but easy to set supported with longer battery life!
The night time activity monitoring is made easy with a night-vision infrared camera, so when you are back home tired and want to have a goodnight sleep, night-vision camera will be the best, not disturbing the baby as well as you in dark.
But if at all your home is super small! that you can always see and hear your baby, then you don’t need a baby monitor! but practically this is one in ten thousand case!! in fact in only a weeks time I direly felt need to have a baby-cam at home (which later helped me for work-from-home)
Very rarely you may like to have baby monitor for two rooms, or two cameras to monitor twins! or two spaces at the same time using single app, or simply a split screen to divide the monitoring responsibility, I will talk about that too in this post.
How to choose a video monitor?
Once you decide that you want to buy a video monitor, choose it carefully, else you may end up with weak & shaky images, poor transmission, unreliable connectivity, poor control over camera and dead camera in few days!
So here are the list of factors that needs to be considered while choosing a best video baby monitor for you:
Video or Audio
- RF (radio frequency) video monitor
- Wi-Fi (or cloud-based) video monitor : Connect over smartphone, latest pick provides 256-bit end-to-end encryption.
- Bare-bones audio-only audio monitors : Cheapest alternative
Out of all three above, best recommendation will be RF video monitors which delivers a clear view of your baby, secure connection, and a dedicated monitor, means your smartphone is not engaged in watching the baby. Also the dedicated monitors are always better, since they are specially designed to do only one targeted function.
If you choose for a WiFi based baby monitor then do keep the following things in mind:
- You should have good Internet speed at home-network to stream HD quality video
- You should have good data plan to support unlimited bandwidth, remember few hours of HD streaming is like watching a movie over internet, eating GB’s of data in few hours.
- Good network operator, else HD streaming to phone will give you only hazy pictures with lagged video/audio! which is practically of no use. Else at least make sure to switch over to low resolution to see the baby.
- Biggest risk is if the internet goes down, you loose connectivity with baby monitor!
However there are certain WiFi baby monitors which automatically switch over within home network when the internet goes down, which means you will still be able to see the baby over home network, say when you are in the backyard. Some examples of such baby monitors are Lollipop or Nanit.
Transmitter : Image & Audio Quality (Located in the baby room)
- Fixed camera : Not portable, pan and tilt control
Useful if your baby room is separate and you wish to wire the camera at room corner. Mostly this will have good & powerful zoom capabilities with pan and tilt remote control.
But means, you can’t use the same camera if you shift the baby outside in backyard (say).
- Portable / Mobile camera:
Good for the function, mostly battery powered. Can be relocated where the baby is sleeping or playing.
- Picture Quality: View the baby well
Best recommendation is to go for highest possible resolution, which allows you to make-out the facial expressions even in the darkness, from some distance.
- Audio Quality: Good low noise transmission
Sometimes while the video transmission is not that clear, at least you should be able to hear the baby. If you select to receive only audio, then make sure that the monitor is able to clearly transmit the noise at lowest volumes.
- Interchangeable Camera Lenses:
Latest baby monitors have interchangeable lenses facility. This allows adjustments with respect to the distance of camera to baby or the room size.
Say, if the camera is positioned close to the baby, like the edge of the crib or on a nearby dresser, use the wide angle lens. But if the camera kept at certain distance, like on a bookshelf on the other side of the room, use the narrow angle lens.
This allows positioning the camera at suitable place in the room.
- Super useful features:
Some of the latest monitor systems do support features like heart rate monitoring, breathing monitoring, and movement monitoring.
Receiver: Held by Parent
- Controls: Ergonomic & Intuitive!
Easy to operate, intuitive and responsive controls.
- Touch screen or buttons? Operate with dirty hands!
Most of the latest monitors come as touch control, still some prefer to have button control which becomes easy to operate even with dirty hands.
- Rough and Tough: Dust & Waterproof!
Yes, if there are any toddlers at home, best is to select tough standing monitors, or even in case you drop accidentally, it should not give away.
- Temperature monitoring:
Seeing a temperature in the kids’ room is a good to have feature in my opinion.
- Screen brightness:
Also the monitor display shall be bright enough to be seen in daylight.
- Misc features: Not that important!
Other misc features that are generally packed like an alarm, nightlight, or playing are not that important.
- Multiple receivers:
Multiple receivers are useful, when you wish to fix one receiver in a room (say kitchen) and other remains portable to take to the backyard or patio. It can also be useful when you wish to share the monitoring duty with someone.
- Display screen size:
All good quality video monitors have displays larger than 3″. Display size becomes important when you use the two rooms camera support with split screen facility, with 2 or 4 camera monitoring.
Finally the monitors which gets connected to your smartphone via App, this provides highest portability, being every modern age women carries a smartphone all the places, all the time. In this case you need not carry separate screen with you. This is something similar to people stopped carrying separate cameras since mobile cameras as more powerful and convenient. Nothing separate thing to carry is the best.
Two rooms support:
There are monitors which can get connected to multiple baby units, what it means is that you can fit separate cameras in different rooms, and get control over from a single monitor unit.
Preferred when you have bigger home, or toddlers around in other rooms.
It at least provides an ability to expand when needed.
The Two room support also includes a “Split Screen” function which allows you to monitor two rooms or two cameras simultaneously. The split-screen sometimes work in a 5-second cycle or some even work on sound activation, means the screen automatically shows relevant feed for active camera.
While the internet allows you to watch your baby from a distance, if facilitated – some monitors allows duel communication in between you and your baby. What it means is that your baby will be able to listen your calming words or even sing lullabies to your baby!
Range: How far?
Audio only monitors have great range, but limited utility.
Video RF monitors have range till 700 feet, which is more than sufficient to gain signal over floors across the house, or while you goto the patio or backyard or driveway.
If you have WiFi connectivity then virtually you have infinite range over internet, to look at your baby across the globe!
Battery life: Portability!
Powerful battery gives you lot of freedom to move the monitor screen around without wires!
The least expectation is that a monitor battery should last overnight charge (equivalent time of 8 hours).
This can be assisted if the screen have auto-power-saving mode feature, which cuts off battery during idle conditions.
Another option is to get charged over a standard USB adapter, this eases out situation of looking for special ports.
So best is to have monitor that can get powered over a standard USB connector, gets reliably charged, and holds it for at least eight hours.
Further it is important to have remaining battery life indicator, even the batteries are powerful, the video feed burns lot of calories! and hence its important that the receiver warns you on Low battery on baby cam.
Wireless encryption: Hack-proof
Hackers can attempt to tap-in the wireless communication in-between the receiver and transmitter live feed.
One way is to go for digital monitors with a 2.4 GHz FHSS wireless transmission.
Most of the WiFi-enabled monitors may be more susceptible to hacking.
Simple way is to secure your home WiFi network, keep password to high strength, change the password once a week (at least) and keep the monitor’s firmware updated. or get on to the latest cameras which have 256 bit data encryption, I have already suggested Nanit baby monitor with this capability.
Quality & Durability:
Reliability of connection between receiver and transmitted, no accidental shutdown or rebooting! drop of signals need to be looked upon, since the basic monitoring function is based on that fact that you are looking at your baby in read-time! if there is lag, it does not have any meaning at all!!
Price: Value for Money!
While the audio only models can be bought under $100 mark, I also got some video options closer to $100 mark, but the best ones fall under $200 mark.
Okay so finally here is the shortlist of best baby monitors, I will take you through each, one by one, guiding you towards my final buying decision.
My Best Picks
Best for Everyone – Infant Optics DXR-8
This monitor tops in my shortlisting, it has whooping 23 thousand customer reviews out of which almost 85% scores 4 and 5 stars! This is not at all easy task for a product to score so many positive reviews.
Best thing is that this baby monitor has easy to extend two room or multi room support, all you have to do is buy additional baby cam & add to the receiver. Maximum you can add 4 cameras to the base receiver unit.
What are the reasons of Infant Optics baby monitor being so famous?
First and foremost reason is the monitor has topnotch quality super intuitive controls, second thing is the strongest battery life, finally it delivers good image quality, with acceptable range. Overall Value for Money Product.
The Infant Optics DXR-8 provides basic but secure RF connection, and ability to pair multiple cameras.
Best thing I observed after testing this camera are
- Exceptional battery life – able to last through the night easily without needing in-between charging.
The company specifies 10 hours battery life with the display off, practically it out-performs than the claims, too good to be true.
Further enhancement of battery life can be achieved, by choosing “Audio Only” mode on a click of button, this will almost double the battery life.
Best thing is that wen the batteries are running low, unit automatically gives an audio alarm! But if that alarm irritates you during night, you can opt to switch it OFF. (But remember that disabling alarm will defeat basic baby monitoring function!)
- It has got provision for charging via a USB connection, this specially I found really great, since many other competition I checked had proprietary DC chargers or even disposable batteries which is completely NO for me.
- Monitor interface:
The parent unit is really basic, functional, intuitively designed unit, which is really what I needed. No gimmicks of complex awkward controls!
Although this do not have touch screen, Its super work by the touch and feel engineers, providing nice operating feel.
Menu text commands are simple and easy to understand, perfect example of Keep It Simple Stupid principal. No confusion occurs while operating the camera from parent unit.
It has simple four button control like most of the standard cameras, allowing you to pull down the menu for operations without even disturbing the image visible on your screen. I saw that some of the competitions has disappearing image & audio during menu operations which is horrible!
Further the display continuously shows the temperature in baby’s room, which is the most important feature for this unit, which differentiates it way ahead than the competition, where mos of them do not have temp display function.
- Two way Talk function:
One more super feature of this best baby monitor is the 2-way talk.
It simply facilitates talking to your baby (or toddler) remotely, helping resolving situations (crying!) helps reassuring the baby before someone reaches near her.
- Pan and Tilt:
Parent unit can control the camera with smaller increments for both Pan and Tilt, this is what is needed for against the competition which provides some maddening and jerky motion control!
While you can mount the camera on a wall, and pan and tilt 270 and 120 degrees angle respectively.
- Operating Range test:
Company has specified operating range of 700 feet in the clear “line of sight”.
So the signal can get weak if you have many walls interfering into the receiver and transmitter units.
This particular model has got good operating range, stretched well before it goes out of signal.
The image quality remains good mostly and the sound picking capability of this particular model is really awesome, it can pick really minor sounds like humming or baby sucking her thumb! even at low sound settings.
There’s an “Out of range” alarm provided, so withing first few days of use you will get judgement on the working effective perimeter of system.
- Multiple camera connection capability: Two rooms support (4 cameras max)
This particular model allows you to add up to four Infant Optics add-on cameras, of-course you need to purchase them separately, When I bought the price was around $100, you may like to check the add-on unit price on Amazon.
But mind it, It’s really easy job to add more cameras to the set, no rocket science at all.
With additional cameras, you can simply set the parent unit to scan between multiple cameras to keep an eye or ear on everybody at once, I think this is one of the unique features that this model possesses over the competition.
- Interchangeable optical lenses: Standard, Zoom, Wide-angle (Three options)
One more distinct feature of DXR-8 model is lens changing capability, you can select a standard lens or zoom lens! or even if you wish to get more area of the room covered in single swipe, buy separately a wide-angle lens. However practically, the standard lens itself provides sufficient zoom capabilities to you.
Further who is going to change the lens so frequently? So don’t worry, if you select this camera, you will be happy with standard lens itself in my opinion.
Infant Optics DXR-8 Specifications
|Type of Monitor||Video; 3.5-inch color display|
|Power Source||Rechargeable battery;|
6 to 10 hours in power-saving mode
|Transmission||2.4 GHz FHSS|
|Mounting||Wall or Table|
What other websites says about Infant Optics DXR-8?
Reviewed.com “It has physical buttons on the parent unit that are more responsive than Samsung’s touchscreen controls.”
PCMag’s Rob Pegoraro has given the DXR-8 a “Good” rating.
He says “What is remarkable is how long the display unit’s 1,200 mAh battery ran on a charge,” Further he mentions “Infant Optics touts 10 hours of runtime with the screen off, but even with periodic peeks I didn’t get a low-battery warning until 12 hours later.”
Very few issues that I found on customer negative reviews on internet:
Although the percentage is low, I must mention it here to show you both sides of a coin. But again as said, the positive reviews are around 85% out of 23 thousand reviews (as on Aug 2018) and hence I can practically neglect the negative talked about.
- Few customers had problems with the display on the DXR-8.
- Few people complained about dead pixels after about a year of use.
- Some of them faced an issue over poor battery life!
- However most of above complaints have shown to be resolved after product replacement by Infant Optics, demonstrating the responsiveness from the company service centers.
Why after few days of use I taped the indicator lights?
Yes, this is something funny I would say, other things being fantastic for the DXR-8.
If you see in the above image on the left hand side you have got the indicator lights stripe, which are bright in the darkness of night! What I mean is that while you sleep with lights OFF, the lights becomes quite irritating to me. Unfortunately you do not have an option to control the intensity of lights and hence finally the most simple solution I tried ! Putting simple opaque tape on the indicator light stripe ! Simple, the issue got resolved!
Infant Optics DXR-5 vs DXR-8 review & comparison –
I also did some exploration on comparing the two models which is already available on main HowzBuy.com website. Read complete comparison review here.
Value for money product: DXR-8
Surely spending about $150 found to be a wise decision, the kind of video results and utility proves it to be value for money product. I feel instead of compromising on video quality or the stability of connection, better to invest only once and get trouble free operation for years.
Or if the budget doesn’t permit to choose this camera, then better to go for simple audio one, else I have one more choice for you, which is in between the audio one and best one, just scroll down to look for the next choice, you can say runner-up.
New High-Tech Pick – Nanit Smart Baby Monitor
(Old pick was Samsung SEW-3043W)
Surprisingly, when I studied and shortlisted cameras, the runner-up was Samsung SEW-3043W BrightView HD , however now there is new version launched which is Samsung Wisenet SEW-3053WN BabyView Wi-Fi Remote Viewing Baby Video Monitoring System. However as on Aug 2018, it scores whooping 46% negative customer reviews (Source)
So here the runner-up recommendation place has been taken over by the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor.
Again why Nanit can’t replace the best baby monitor top one, only due to the fact that it can’t be used for two rooms! Yes, you can use it only for a single child. So it can’t be expanded similar to Infant Optics camera, which can go upto 4 baby cams with single monitoring unit.
JPMA Award winner for 2018 : Tracks, Analyzes and Reports
The main reason for getting this baby monitor into my focus was Nanit received the 2018 Innovation Award for Safety by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), Other credentials include The Bump’s Best of Baby Awards 2018 for the Best Video Monitor.
The birth of Nanit camera happened after study over 100 babies, and 200,000 hours of logged sleep!
So lets look at:
What are innovations in Nanit baby monitor?
The research & development team from Nanit has worked with a team of sleep experts, scientists and pediatricians to understand your baby’s sleep development, and most important thing is all of this happens without any wearable component!
Its assisted with advanced computer vision and machine learning technology, which tracks down how well your baby is sleeping.
One of the out of the box thinking ideas I noted, is the positioning the camera in perfect bird’s eye view, making sure that you are looking at the baby without any interruption.
Simplest output can be like “How many times their baby woke throughout the night?” or it may inform you if your baby’s room was too cold between 2 and 3 am? or if it was too hot?
Post processing includes the number of visits parents or caregivers to the crib, providing a highlight reel and sleep score based on the previous night’s rest.
And it would also inform you about important milestones like the first time a baby falls back to sleep without a your intervention.
You can also designate a motion area around the crib to distinguish between the baby’s movements and a toddler’s playing in the same room.
Hack-proof : Nanit’s data is secured–end-to-end–with 256-bit encryption
Mobile connectivity & the App: iOS and Android
Nanit provides” Insights app” which is all in one App, where you can track events of the day, easy to share videos and digital scrapbooks.
Everyday morning the App shows you last night’s highlight reel with Sleep Score! a simple but very effective reporting technique indeed! What it means is that you are not wasting your time in looking at hours of empty crib footage!
You can even login through multiple parent accounts, so that both mom and dad can keep watch on happenings over internet connection from office or on the move.
Alexa Skills Integration:
“Alexa, ask my Nanit how baby slept last night?”
I think this is the most wanted feature in the modern homes, the Amazon Alexa integration!
Get on hands-free, simply ask Alexa while doing your work, without even looking at the camera, and Alexa would tell you “how your baby slept, what time they woke up, or even how many times you took them out of the crib each night.” Wow! For a work from home mother, this would be a boon.
The camera picture quality is excellent, with 1280 x 960 pixels resolution wide angle lens camera, Nanit provides perfect view of baby in a crib. Powerful 10 infrared LEDs enable crystal clear night vision. Simply zoom the picture with your fingers to get an expanded version of the camera view.
Portability on the travel:
One of the most important feature I liked in the Nanit camera is the portability.
Simply remove and hook up anywhere, its so light in weight, integrated with Multi-stand, quick and so easy, that you can monitor your baby’s sleep on trips too.
Another advantage of the Multi-Stand is to monitor your baby as they sleep in a bassinet, or even anywhere around the house as a portable nanny cam.
Simply the Best at home crib:
This camera can be safely wall mounted near the crib, the long stem allows looking the baby in perfect top view detecting baby sound and motion, assisting night light, humidity and temperature measurement and info management. In case you want to avoid the wall mount, there is an option to buy a floor stand.
Even the night sleep of baby is taken care by indirect lighting system, the light from LED is diffused by directing towards the ceiling! which again has gradual dimming facility, which means your baby will not get light flash but slowly developing baby’s room light. I think the R&D engineering team has worked on every minute details for development & hence making the best baby monitor of the year 2018.
It also comes with a modular cable management system which ensures safely tucking of cords, far away from the curious fingers of toddlers in the house.
Internet down? No worries.
The camera delivers you real-time HD video streaming assisted well with best-in-class night vision system, and advanced temperature and humidity sensors. But what happens to all while the home internet goes down? The innovative tech enables direct communication with your router, hence it continues to live stream even when your internet connection goes down.
What do I need to pay to get this high-tech baby monitor?
Let me tell you that although this is slightly overpriced compared to other baby cameras in the market, this is one of the best for the modern aged parents, you can get closures to the baby development in very less time with tech-gadgets like Nanit Insights.
You get high tech assistance like the Sleep Coach which uses a proprietary algorithm developed in consultation with best sleep medicine pediatric like Lead researcher Prof. Dr. Avi Sadeh. ( Source )
This all innovative sophisticated sleep tracking system is simply breathtaking, I suggest you to give it a try, anyway it is FREE for the first 30 days.
But all this has certain costs involved, you get one-year trial after initial purchase of the camera. which later costs $100 per year subscription to get unlimited access to video and sleep data.
If you wish to get the camera floor stand (which is quite convenient) simply pay $50 more.
Finally my Best Budget Pick: VTech Audio Baby Monitor DM221
Again I purchased a video monitor, however during initial research, audio baby monitor was also one of the thought in mine and Bryan’s mind, later we both decided to drop this idea and spend some budget in going for a video baby monitor.
However not everyone needs a video monitoring and simply going for cheapest audio monitor may be sufficient to meet basic safety requirements for many parents.
So here is the last shortlist pick from my list, VTech Audio Baby monitor model DM221, which is also one of the most popular seller with more than 5 thousand customer reviews scoring good 4 star rating in Aug 2018, it also scores similar levels of high ratings at Walmart, Target, and BuyBuy Baby.
Let me tell you that, the talk back functionality and audio quality are simply great on this model, even better than low budget video monitor in market!
Since it do not have anything to waste on video screens, the battery can deliver continuous operation of about 19 hours in a single full charge!
And the best is whooping range of over 1,000 feet, which exceeds the video monitor which I bought having only 700 feet range.
Remember that super savings are result of sacrificing the video capability, but as said, this audio baby monitor would be helpful may be if its second baby and you are used to understand the behavioral pattern from the first experience, or maybe you wish to use it for the toddler, while you just wish to keep an eye if your kid is crying out during night!
Even most of the parents use it for communication to the caretakers, especially when mother is facing some mobility issues due to certain reasons.
Main reason of selecting VTech audio monitor is the positive reviews, side availability, and whooping range over 1,000 feet. Other reason behind selection with respect to the close competition is the rechargeable power source, wherein the competition needs either AAA battery or a cord. And finally its challenging low price.
Again there is no gadget in market with all 100% positive reviews!
So if you look at some of the complaints from parents, that counts to the connectivity issues, dropping connection resulting a sharp & loud repetitive beep on the parent unit! It might be annoying during night time. But again the percentage of such complaints is almost to lower limit and if at all it happens simply go for replacement.
Now coming to how to be hack-proof for the baby monitor?
First and foremost thing to remember it that once you decide to connect your camera to the WiFi network to access it from mobile App via internet, you are opening a door to hackers.
Mark Stanislav, director of application security at Duo Security, in an interview with The Wirecutter said “The likelihood of someone hacking into your baby monitor is remote, but it’s possible”
I have already mentioned in this post about Rapid7’s research into the vulnerabilities of Wi-Fi–enabled monitors, but my NEW pick of Nanit’s addresses this concern by providing best level 256-bit data encryption with secured–end-to-end–transmission over internet.
Further it becomes more secured while you use good strength password and change it frequently coupled with 256-bit encryption, leaves no chance for the hackers to breach the network.
Take care of not sharing the passwords over SMS or chat messages or emails, using it over an unsecured networks to look at the baby or logging from other persons mobile phone. If you follow these basics, there are very less chances of hacking the baby monitor.
However if you can’t afford to have costly solution of 256-bit encryption, you may choose to go for cameras like the one I own, the Infant Optics DXR-8 which provides basic but secure RF connection. Although this radio frequency communication is not as strong as 256-bit encrypted communication, risk is low since you already are in your house or close to the house while using RF monitors.
Just for info : Stanislav personally uses an RF monitor with his own daughter. (Soruce : thewirecutter)
What can be the makeshift arrangement? Can I use home security camera as baby monitor?
Well, yes even the home security camera can be used or act as your baby monitor, in fact I also thought of doing it for a while, but when I understood that a dedicated baby monitor is designed to do certain tasks which a home security camera can’t I dropped the idea!
I mean many home security cameras won’t stream audio in the background, some can take several seconds to pull up a live feed, some lack ability to monitor the baby sleep quality!
What I mean is that home security camera is a general purpose machine (GPM) and not a special purpose machine (SPM) like a dedicated baby monitor, hence best is to go for dedicated resourceful baby monitors.
If at all you want to try using home security camera, here is my recommendation!
Nest Security Camera (Home security system) – Check how it looks!
Although I have said that dedicated baby cam is a must, if you are tight on budget and want to combine two functions into one, then still you may use a home security camera as a baby monitor!
One of the best option I thought of is a general purpose security camera from Nest.
What are the benefits of using Nest security camera as a baby monitor?
Get 24×7 recordings to the cloud:
DVR function is part of basic features, and all recordings are put on the cloud with 1080p high resolution, works 24×7 day and night.
It provides alerts to your smartphone, with two-way communication.
WiFi video remote monitoring:
It works over WiFi network, so you can simply watch the baby over the Nest system.
However since it is not a truly build for baby monitoring it do lack a Temperature sensor, Pan/ Tilt /zoom capabilities, a Nightlight, Music lullabies, No parent unit display but needs a smartphone or tablet to look at.
So till the time you do not have a dedicated baby monitoring system, you may use the Nest security camera as a makeshift arrangement, but as said its an excellent security monitor but not a dedicated baby monitor. So ….
Which all baby monitors I have excluded after study and why?
Here is an exclusion list of cameras which other websites have recommended! I am not sure why some of the top websites have even recommended these cameras! but since I found them during research, I thought its worth mentioning which all are in my dropped list and why?
VTech VM343-2 Video Baby Monitor With 2 Cameras
This multi room baby cam scores only Three stars rating, with over 51% reviews consisting of 1,2,3 stars as on 7 Aug 2018. Which shows high percentage of unsatisfied users with some of the following complaints
- Bad night vision (customer voice : night vision became purple within a year of use)
- Inaccurate temperature readings ( customer voice : the temp readings are inaccurate)
- Poor build quality (customer voice : unit stopped working in just 6 months)
- Charging issues (customer voice : charging problem persisted even after replacement of unit by the company)
Although some of the users have rated this camera for good quality picture, zoom capability, and wide vision, negatives made me drop camera from best list.
DBPOWER Digital Sound Activated Video Record Baby Monitor
DBPower is well known company, however again for this model they merely score ~270 reviews only (as on Aug 2018) that too only 4 stars, 22% of which are 1,2,3 stars.
- VOX issues : customer voice : VOX mode the screen stays on for 2 minutes with slightest sound even when unit is placed at lowest sensitivity, which annoys during night.
- Irritating red lights : customer voice : the red lights distracts the infant during night.
- Split screen mode issues : customer voice : Split screen always shows 4 ways/quad screen even if you are having only 2 cameras! And you can’t freeze it on one camera, it keeps rotating between all the cameras a 6 seconds interval. And if you put it on the quad screen mode, you can’t see anything (too small screen)
- You can’t see or hear the monitor while using the menu!
- Too short power cord, makes difficult to position the camera in right place.
- No audio only mode, i.e. you can’t turn off video as power saver model
Although it has good points too like good night vision, volume adjustment on camera.
Summer Infant Wide View 2.0 Duo Baby Video Monitor
Again here also you will not find many reviews on famous websites, also the star ratings are not so good.
Issues that people have mentioned are
- No temperature sensor available
- Not WiFi compatible, so not possible to connect with tab or smartphone
- Bad night vision
- Blurry picture quality
- Poor charging life
Although there are some good points like side angle lends, simple setup,
From the desk of Olivia
Bryan is really a good husband and now a dad 🙂
He puts his heart in every small or big task he gets at home or in his company.
In this case the task of selecting the best baby monitor was done meticulously by spending hours of research over internet, speaking to family and friends, visiting them looking at how the baby monitors are being installed and used.
Later he looked on for the best sellers listing on all the famous websites like Amazon, Walmart, Target, BuyBuy Baby, Babies“R”Us, and Costco.
The research continued with recommendation from some of the popular websites like thewirecutter, PCMag, Reviewed, and Tom’s Guide.
Specially the customer reviews posted on Amazon reviews pages gave good site from the parents perspective like the useful features, life of products they got, problems faced during use.
I mean only Bryan can do this! So much love and care for my baby.
During shortlisting and finally buying the Best Hack Proof Baby Monitor, my hunt ended with Infant Optics DXR-8 which provides basic but secure RF connection, but if you ask me today, I would surely recommend to go for Nanit’s baby monitor which provides best level security with 256-bit data encryption capability.
Choice is your 🙂
Let me know which one you chose and why? do put in comments below the post.