Top five baby monitors for 2019
By Alison Potter
A top-scoring baby monitor won't lose signal or run out of battery quickly. We reveal the best – and worst – video and audio monitors you can buy in 2018.
When the safety and wellbeing of your baby is at stake, you don't want to risk buying a baby monitor that cuts out when you need it most, or is lacking in basic security to keep strangers from hacking into your images and audio.
Whatever kind of monitor you’re after, whether it’s a smart wi-fi baby monitor that connects wirelessly so you can monitor your baby from your smartphone, or a more traditional audio or video baby monitor, our top picks will ensure you get the most for your money.
The five monitors below all have excellent signal strength, a battery you can rely on and crystal-clear images and sound. And, if you're worried about stories you've read about baby monitors being hacked, you'll be relieved to hear that we test wi-fi baby monitors for security as well.
The good news is that safety doesn't have to come at a price. One of our top baby monitor picks below is less than £25. Below our top five we’ve also included three baby monitors to avoid, which are not only disappointing to use, but are expensive, too.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.
Best audio baby monitor
The price is above average for an audio monitor, but it’s by far the highest-scoring audio monitor we’ve tested in the past few years. The range and battery life are both excellent, and it’s a very user-friendly baby monitor that has a handy temperature display, lullabies and a nightlight.
Best video baby monitor
This feature-packed video monitor is surprisingly easy to use. It has impressive range, excellent battery life and good enough picture and sound quality to make it a Best Buy. It also has automatic infra-red for night-time viewing, as well as remote-controlled lullabies.
Best smart wi-fi baby monitor
This baby monitor is versatile as you can use the supplied parent unit, or a smartphone or tablet to view the camera feed. The battery life is great, sound is clear and the signal range is decent. The picture quality in a light room is detailed, although it's a little fuzzy in night vision mode.
Best cheap baby monitor
If you're looking for a great audio-only baby monitor that doesn’t have any frills, but does all the basics well, without breaking the bank, then this could be the monitor for you. The sound quality is impressively clear and consistent and it's cheap as chips too.
Baby monitor with best battery life
This baby monitor is the best when it comes to battery life. It out-performs all others we’ve tested and can last for a whopping 23 hours before needing a charge. The volume clarity is good and it has a decent range, although it’s a bit complicated to set up and use.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct in July 2018.
Not found the product for you? Check out our baby monitor reviews to see the full range of baby monitors we’ve tested.
Don't buy these baby monitors
We’ve found that these baby monitors are seriously flawed, which is why we wouldn't recommend putting any of them on your shopping shortlist.
Three to avoid
It’s not a Don’t Buy, but this baby monitor is disappointing in terms of range and the battery life isn’t that great, so it will barely make it through one evening. It’s also complicated to use and there are much better baby monitors on offer, so we’d advise steering clear of this one.
Considering the price, it’s surprising how poor the sound is, and the video picture isn’t much better. It takes a while to set up and is fiddly to use, plus our experts have given this smart wi-fi monitor a poor rating for privacy after finding a number of security vulnerabilities.
This baby monitor was initially a Best Buy, after sailing through our tests. But feedback from members about the corresponding app and software no longer working led to us contacting the manufacturer. It confirmed that this model is ‘end of life’ which means that it's no longer being made and once the current stock sells off there will be no more of these baby monitors. For this reason we’re no longer recommending it to parents.
Avoid a baby monitor with bad battery
When we asked parents to tell us about the mistakes they made when buying a baby monitor, and what they wish they'd known, good battery life came up as a key concern. One of the parents we interviewed described frantically trying to change the batteries of the baby monitor while simultaneously attempting to soothe and feed their crying child.
Keeping an eye on a restlessly sleeping baby is stressful enough without having to deal with a dud baby monitor that runs low on battery barely a couple of hours into the night. Make sure you’re getting one that will last the distance, because we’ve found that a lot of them won’t.
We’ve examined the baby monitors we tested over a four-year period and discovered that nearly a third – 32% – were rated average or poor for battery life. An average baby monitor will only last about two to four hours before giving up, and we found one that will struggle to reach the one-hour mark.
Baby monitors that lack staying power
You want to be able to rely on your baby monitor to let you know if you need to attend to your sleeping child. But more than one in 10 – roughly 13% – will run out of power after two hours, which is not very useful if you’re also trying to get some sleep, or if you want to take your baby monitor on holiday with you without having to constantly charge it or pack loads of extra batteries.
To make sure you’re getting what you pay for, consult our Best Buy baby monitors, because you can’t always rely on manufacturers’ claims.
For every baby monitor that we test in our lab, we assess its battery life using Best Buy batteries (unless they come with their own rechargeable batteries) and we record how long they last before they run out. This means that you can know precisely whether the baby monitor you’re considering is worth getting, or if it will be spending more time on charge than actually in use.