How we test baby monitors
Don't waste money on a baby monitor that won't deliver. We uncover the best baby monitors that won't let you down when you need them most.
Watch the video above to find out what exactly makes a Best Buy baby monitor, and how it will help give you peace of mind while your little one sleeps.
Baby monitor manufacturers make bold claims about range and battery life. Our extensive independent testing reveals the models with the longest battery life and the best signal, and weeds out the baby monitors where the sound quality is so poor or the picture so fuzzy you won't be able to tell if your baby needs you or not.
Our baby monitor reviews answer the most crucial questions about audio and video baby monitors, including:
- Which baby monitor will work best in my house?
- Does the baby monitor have good signal?
- Will the batteries last long enough?
- Is the sound top quality?
- Is the picture crisp and clear?
- Is there anything I should watch out for?
- Should I buy it?
Find out which baby monitors are the best buy with our baby monitor reviews.
Will the baby monitor work in my house?
No matter where you live, you want a baby monitor you can rely on.
We test monitors in an older house, a newer house and a modern house. We test them walking through different rooms and we also test how well they work when going from inside to outside the house.
All this means that you can make an informed decision about the best baby monitor for you.
Does the baby monitor have good signal?
We put each baby monitor's signal through these stringent tests so you'll know exactly what strength you'll be getting:
- Range We test how far the range of each monitor extends in three different environments – in a typical older terraced house, a modern new build house, and outdoors
- Reception 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.
- Indoors to outdoors 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 plan to be out there while your baby takes a nap.
Baby monitor Best Buys – find out which models pass our safety and durability tests and have the best signal strength.
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Will the batteries last long enough?
The last thing you want is your baby monitor running out of battery when you're in the middle of using it, and you won't want to be annoyed by the constant beep of the battery warning in the middle of the night. Despite what the boxes might promise, our tests often reveal that some claims are different from real life use.
- Battery life is tested using Best Buy batteries; we record how long they’ll last before they need changing
- Rechargeable batteries 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.
Are the sound and picture good quality?
A baby monitor is no use if the sound and/or picture quality aren't good enough to actual use it to monitor. We test sound and image in these ways, so you can have confidence in your monitor and know exactly when your baby needs you:
- Quality of sound We assess how clear and distinct the sound is, checking for any crackles, fuzziness or interference from other devices.
- Sound-sensitive lights These lights illuminate when your baby is crying. They are useful when you want to switch off the sound or images for a short time – if you're on an important phone call for example. Our experts check that the sound-sensitive lights are accurate and increase in line with the volume output, so that you can tell the difference between sustained crying and a momentary whimper.
- Video quality Our lab experts scrutinise the video pictures to weed out the models that are blurred or unclear.
16 metresThe worst baby monitor range our tests have shown up
Is there anything else I should look out for?
Our lab experts don't stop at testing the main features, our investigations also check how easy each baby monitor will be to use in your day to day life.
- Simple set up We rate how simple 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.
- Accurate temperature thermometer Parents have raised concerns about the inaccuracy of the room temperature sensors that many baby monitors have as an extra feature. 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.
- Added extras Our baby monitor reviews 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, such as a belt clip.
Baby monitor reviews – find out which ones are the best.
20 hoursHow long a top-performing battery pack will last
Should I buy it?
We analyse the data from our expert assessments and tests to give each baby monitor a total test score, so you can easily see the best and worst and compare different models.
The score we give each baby monitor is made up of a combination of the elements of our tests, ignoring price, and broken down as follows:
- Total convenience..35%
To become Which? Best Buys, audio baby monitors must score at least 82% overall in our tests, and video monitors must score at least 72%.
Find the best baby monitor – head straight to our Best Buy baby monitors.