Baby monitors: How we test baby monitors

When choosing a baby monitor, the basic features you'll need are good reception and good quality sound and/or video. Sound-sensitive lights are also a good option if you don’t want to rely on the sound.

Our experts test all these features in our labs so you can make an informed decision when choosing your baby monitor. You can see full test results for the dozens of baby monitors we've tested in our baby monitor reviews.

Video guide: what makes a Best Buy baby monitor?

Watch our video guide to find out more about the lengths we go to when testing baby monitors.


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Video transcript

In testing baby monitors we ask parents what is really important to them so that we all of those elements into our testing.

We know that some parents want to hear their babies every single breath.
So, we make sure that every baby monitor sound is clear and distinct. And we found there are some real differences between a good one and a bad one.

We also know that sometimes parents want to meet the sound completely so if the monitor has sound sensitive lights. We check that it accurately reflects the sounds that your baby makes. If it's a video monitor sure you will be able to see your baby clearly by day and by night. Most parents want a baby monitor they can use reliably all around the house and in the garden.

Our test check the signal strength in every room of a victorian house, which tend to have thicker walls, and a modern house.

We then take the parent unit
outside so we can see how far we can get. Some baby monitors only make it about four and a half meters outside the house where as others you can hear your baby's sound hundred meters or more away.

We also know that our members have reported problems with interference from other devices such as their mobile phones, laptops, and even other the baby monitors. So we test all the baby monitors near a variety of electric devices.

Battery life is really important
and we found some real differences between a good one, lasting twenty hours, and a bad one that lasts only one and a half.

An over complicated monitor can turn using it from a pleasure to a pain. So our experts judge how quickly you can start using it straight from the box as well as looking at features such as the stability of the docking station usefulness of the belt clip and quality of the instructions. And because your monitor is going to experience some inevitable knocks and scrapes, we drop both the parent and the baby unit from a two meter height to see if anything breaks or falls off.

Remember you don't have to spend a lot to get a good baby monitor. We found Best Buy audio ones under seventy pounds and Best Buy video ones for one hundred and thirty. So take a look at all of our reviews at

Baby monitor reception and range

We test how far the range of each monitor extends in three different environments - in a typical Victorian terraced house, a modern new build house, and outdoors.

With the baby-unit part of the monitor in a bedroom, we check the reception in different rooms upstairs and downstairs, recording the quality of signal until it is lost altogether.

We then take the parent-unit part of the monitor outside and keep walking until the quality of reception and range declines, or is lost - useful if you have a large garden and are out there while your baby takes a nap.

Baby monitor

Baby monitors are tested to see how good the reception and range are in a house.

Quality of sound and video  

A monitor not only needs good reception and range, it also needs good clarity and volume, so that you can clearly hear when your baby needs attention.

We assess how clear and distinct the sound is; checking for any crackles, fuzziness or interference from other devices. 

We also asses the quality of the picture on video baby monitors and check the sound-sensitive lights to make sure they’re accurate and increase in line with the volume output.

Baby monitor battery life

There’s nothing worse than the worry that the battery may run out on either part of a baby monitor and you won’t hear your baby, or that the batteries will run out in the middle of the night and then bleep annoyingly until changed.

Battery life is tested using Best Buy batteries; we record how long they’ll last before they need changing.

If the monitor uses rechargeable batteries, they are fully charged in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. We then test how long they last before they need recharging.

We often find that manufacturer claims are different from real life use. You can find the baby monitors that score best for battery life using our compare baby monitors tool.


Some baby monitors play lullabies to soothe your baby

Which baby monitors are the easiest to use?

We provide ratings on how easy baby monitors are to set up and use straight from the box, including how easy the instructions are to understand, and how stable any docking stations are.

We also list the range of helpful features such as out-of-range alarms, intercom option, lullabies, paging (to help find a lost parental unit), lights which can be turned on or off remotely, or more practical aspects like a belt clip.

Temperature thermometer

Parents have raised concerns about the inaccuracy of the room temperature sensors that many baby monitors have as an extra feature. So, we record the temperature that each baby monitor reads alongside a calibrated thermometer. 

If there's a large discrepancy, we let you know in the review, although this doesn't make up part of the test score.

Total test score

The total test score is made up of the following:

  • Performance 55%
  • Total convenience 35%
  • Features 5%
  • Durability 5%

Best Buy audio and video monitors

Whether you’re looking for an audio monitor, or you fancy a video monitor, we’ve got Best Buys of each to recommend.

Audio monitors have to achieve a score of 82% or higher to earn a coveted Best Buy award, while video monitors have to score 72% or above. 

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