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How to get a baby monitor that’s easy to use

More than 50% of parents want a straightforward audio or video baby monitor, but our tests have found many models fall short

How to get a baby monitor that’s easy to use

You told us that you don’t want a baby monitor that’s frustrating to set up, or one with picture and sound quality so bad that you can barely see or hear your child. But we’ve tested baby monitors with all these problems, and more.

Whether you want a video or audio baby monitor, a wi-fi or traditional model, our tough lab-testing reveals the baby monitors that are worth your money and the ones you’re better off avoiding altogether.

Read on to find out what to look out for if you’re about to invest in a new baby monitor for you and your family.

Best Buy baby monitors – see the models that have aced our in-depth tests

Sweet dreams with the best baby monitors

In our recent survey*, 50% of parents said they bought their baby monitor primarily because it was simple to use.

Convenience was another important buying factor, with 43% saying it was a top priority.

Check the star ratings in the test results page of our reviews to compare ease of use and set up – which was another important factor for parents.

Out of the 61 baby monitors we’ve lab tested, just 13 baby monitors score the maximum five stars for ease of use, including the Luvion Supreme Connect and Summer Infant Liv Cam.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re also impressive in terms of battery life, range and sound. To see if they make the Best Buy grade, join Which? to read our reviews.

Set up… to fail

While no baby monitors have received a paltry one star, 15 scored three stars or lower for how easy they are to set up.

Needless frustration and head-scratching usually starts with the instruction manuals, which can be badly laid out and hard to follow. Text is typically small and diagrams tiny and cramped, meaning you’re left to work it all out for yourself.

With some monitors, important information, such as warnings about the strangulation risk to your baby from power cords, isn’t even included in the manual.

Wi-fi baby monitors are useful as you can view your baby from your smartphone, wherever you are, but these can be a pain to set up.

With one baby monitor that we tested, alongside downloading the app to your phone, you also had to register for an account, then register the camera, before connecting it to your router.

Even for parents that are relatively tech savvy, this would prove to be a time-consuming and rather tedious process.

See the top five baby monitors we recommend for 2020.

Sound quality is key

Regardless of whether they’re using an audio, wi-fi or video baby monitor, 43% of parents put crystal-clear sound quality as the most important factor when buying a baby monitor.

Poor quality models have sound that’s too quiet on lower settings, but if you turn up the volume the audio becomes muffled and distorted – not great if you’re trying to keep an ear out for your baby crying.

If you want a video monitor, 31% of parents said good video quality was a key factor for them. We see monitors with excellent video quality, such as the Motorola MBP36S Digital Video.

However, with others the picture is very disappointing. You’ll be left peering at a fuzzy, jerky and blurred picture of your child, and be left wondering if they are fast asleep or wide awake.

See the best baby monitors for performance, including sound and picture quality in our guides to the best video baby monitors and the best audio baby monitors.


*In March 2020, Which? surveyed 1,325 parents who owned a baby monitor with children under five.

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