You’re probably worried about hearing the baby cry at night, right? Wondering if it will wake you up? Bringing home your newborn is an exciting time, but also a scary time.
Most likely, your baby’s lungs are going to be strong enough to wake the neighbors up. But, to give you a little peace of mind, some kind soul invented the baby monitor. Taking that receiver around the house with you could help you feel more secure at nap times.
Have you started shopping for your monitor yet? We know it can be difficult to sift through all the available options out there. We put together this guide to help confused moms just like you to confidently find the best audio baby monitor for them.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Audio Baby Monitor Picks of 2020 Read Full Reviews
Perks of Audio Monitors
The baby monitor market is wide and diverse. There are so many different styles, from audio, video, heartbeat trackers, and more. Yet, there are a few serious benefits with sticking to the classic audio monitor.
In general, an audio monitor is going to be a bit kinder on the budget. You can get a high-quality model for much less than the video counterpart. Also, setting up an audio monitor is usually straightforward.
Another often overlooked bonus to audio only is that grandma and grandpa will be familiar with this style. It’ll be easier for them to look after your little one — no need to learn how to use a fancy video system or smartphone app!
An audio baby monitor allows you to be out of earshot without actually being out of earshot. It can definitely keep you from running to the nursery every two minutes to take a look. Plus, you won’t find yourself glued to a screen watching for the slightest twitch.
Finally, some parents choose to go with the audio-only option because they worry about the possibility of video being hacked (1). It is possible, but there are steps you can take to keep would-be hackers out of your baby’s nursery.
Digital vs. Analog
The first baby monitor was invented in 1937, and it worked pretty much like a walkie-talkie. The audio baby monitors around today are a little more complex, but their main purpose is the same.
While the basic design of the audio-only option is less complicated than a video monitor, things like privacy and interference need to be considered. Let’s look at their primary differences:
- Digital: A digital monitor will make a signal private by encrypting it, but can sometimes pick up interference from the surrounding area. Some monitors include what is known as “DECT,” digital enhanced cordless telecommunications. With this feature, the signal is not only encrypted, but interference is rare.
- Analog: An analog monitor uses a radio channel for transmission. It’s susceptible to interference and the signal is not private.
There are still plenty of analog monitors on the market, and they’re usually budget-friendly. However, due to technological advancements and the need for safety/privacy, we’ve decided to stick with digital or DECT monitors.
Choosing the Best Audio Baby Monitor
With a variety of different types of audio baby monitors to choose from, it can be an overwhelming mission. While there’s no right or wrong to the features you choose, it is useful to understand what’s on the market.
One of the best things about audio monitors is that their relative simplicity and straightforward function make it a no-frills and hassle-free experience. Let’s look at the features these monitors come with, in order to help you choose what’s best for you and your little one.
Some of the models offer a continuous sound coming from the receiver, and some offer a silent function. Choosing between the two is a personal preference, but either way, you’ll want to make sure the sound quality is good.
Good quality sound is crisp and clear. It doesn’t have a lot of static or white noise that interferes with hearing the actual sounds in the nursery. Furthermore, the microphone should be sensitive, but not so sensitive that it picks up sound from outside the house.
While all of these are audio baby monitors and allow you to listen in on the nursery, some also have other alert systems in place.
Blinking lights indicate that sound is coming from the crib, if you choose to put your sound on low or silent when working, or if guests are over.
The vibration alert system is useful for parents who are moving around a lot, or need an extra startle to wake when sleeping.
Safety should always be a top concern when purchasing any product for your baby. Audio monitors are no exception.
For some parents, a little extra reassurance might be necessary. Whether your baby is sick or a preemie, the option to monitor their vitals might be useful for you. Some monitors offer breath or heartbeat monitoring to help put your mind at ease.
Be careful when choosing something to monitor vital signs. If you are not trained in monitoring babies’ vital signs, these monitors could cause undue stress and may not be as accurate as monitors in the hospital. It’s best to check with your pediatrician to see if this type of monitor is necessary.
Editor's Note:Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN
Signal range is another aspect that could be important for some. If you live in a large house or spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, you don’t want to be stuck close to your baby’s room because the signal doesn’t reach far enough.
A temperature gauge could be a useful feature if the weather is extreme or your little one is sick. While it isn’t a common option, some do include this feature.
Two-way talkback is a popular feature among parents who not only want to hear what’s up in the nursery but be able to soothe their baby with the sound of their voice.
Last but not least, portability of the unit, including weight, battery type, and more, should be considered if a parent travels or baby is moved around frequently.
Needless to say, you don’t want to get too caught up in special features unless you know you’ll really put them to use. Choose one or two that feel right to you and stick with that.
The Best Audio Baby Monitors of 2020
Now that we’ve covered privacy, a variety of features and more, we hope you’re feeling ready to dive into our list of best baby audio monitors.
Whether you’re looking for a simple monitor or one that projects planets on the ceiling, we’ve covered it here!
1. Angelcare Sound and Movement Monitor
This monitor has it all, including an ultra-sensitive microphone that can even “hear” the baby breathing, which corresponds to the blinking lights indicating all is well. Plus, it uses a secure digital transmission.
The large, wireless square pad goes under the baby’s mattress, enabling the monitor to detect movement. It can pick up even the smallest of fidgets. An alarm will sound if the monitor doesn’t pick up activity in over 20 seconds.
The lightweight receiver has a cradle for charging. The charger can be put on your nightstand next to your bed — that way you don’t have to worry about the battery failing in the middle of the night.
The two-way talk component is useful for gently soothing your precious one, and the room temperature display on the nursery unit is simple to understand. Three color options indicate your baby’s level of comfort. If you have a preemie, the comprehensive features might make this a good monitor for you.
- Monitors both sound and movement of the baby.
- Excellent microphone.
- Visual and audio alerts.
- A favorite with parents of premature or health-compromised babies.
- Temperature gauge.
- Some found the mat to be overly sensitive.
2. VTech DM221-2 Audio Baby Monitor
One of the useful things about the VTech DM221 is the two-way, talkback feature. You can use it just like you would a walkie-talkie. I would have loved to have a feature like this when my little one was newborn!
For those that get tired of hearing static, the audio on this monitor works a little differently to other models. When the baby is not making any noise, the receiver goes silent. You won’t hear any of the ambient sounds in the nursery.
The receiver comes with a power-saving mode to keep you from running the batteries down when you need the monitor most. Plus, the three included batteries are rechargeable.
The range of the unit is up to 1,000 feet, giving you plenty of room to wander — perfect for busy parents. For parents on the go, the belt clip may come in handy. Last but not least, an instant dim option on the nursery unit is useful, for peaceful nights.
- Super convenient clip for the waistband.
- Monitors temperature.
- Lightweight and easy to set up.
- Good range, works up to 1000 feet.
- Two-way talkback.
- Those that are hard of hearing may find the volume too low.
3. Time Flys Digital Baby Monitor
The sleek-looking Time Flys monitor gives you a continuous digital sound feed from the nursery. Plus, it has two-way talkback action. The range the receiver can travel is pretty far, at 1000 feet in an open space, 150 feet indoors.
There is a nightlight feature on the monitor in the nursery, which gives off a soothing glow. You can turn the light on and off from the portable receiver.
Also, there’s a belt clip to make it easy to carry around, which is a great option if you’re like me and have a baby and an older child to care for.
The battery can last up to 20 hours, giving you nearly an entire day’s worth of listening. Plus, the battery is rechargeable when it runs out of juice. The monitor comes with two USB cables and one adapter, to make it easy to plug in just about anywhere. This adaptability makes it a good travel monitor.
- Continuous sound feed.
- Range up to 1000 feet in open space.
- Nightlight feature.
- Comes with multiple USBs.
- Long-lasting battery life.
- No indicator on the receiver to know if nightlight is on or off.
4. Philips Avent DECT Baby Monitor
The wide range of features on the Philips Avent makes it a popular choice among parents. While it doesn’t have a motion sensor, it does detect the temperature in the room. The talk-back function is also useful for parents that want to speak to their baby.
On the parent’s unit, LED lights indicate the level of sound in the nursery, in case you have friends visiting and don’t want the sound turned up.
Another cool feature this monitor has is the lullaby player. You can have the unit play a lullaby in the baby’s room from the receiver, and leave the nightlight on for some extra comfort for your little one.
The DECT sound coming through the speakers is high quality, with a range of 900 feet. It uses a digitally encrypted signal for transmission, making it a secure option.
It will require AA batteries, which are not included in the packaging. However, it does have an eco mode for battery-saving efficiency.
- DECT technology.
- Lullabies included.
- Two-way talkback function.
- Temperature sensor.
- Battery-saving mode.
- Shorter range than other units.
5. VTech DM222 Audio Baby Monitor
This DECT audio baby monitor also acts as a nightlight. It projects stars, planets, and moons on the ceiling, while it plays a lullaby. You can even adjust the projection to get the best view from the crib. Talk about a fancy way to sleep!
This VTech model has a two-way talkback function with crisp, clear sound. Plus, it has a vibrating alarm feature, in addition to the audio and light alerts. The graphic light bars on the parent unit help you monitor the baby’s cries, even while the monitor’s muted.
If you need your hands for chores, simply clip the receiver to your belt. You can roam up to 1000 feet outdoors, 150 feet indoors.
- Projects stars on the ceiling.
- Good range, can roam up to 1000 feet.
- Light alerts and vibration sound alerts.
- DECT technology.
- Two-way talkback function.
- The lullaby can be heard loudly in the parent’s receiver.
- Lullaby cannot be turned on and off by the receiver.
6. Willcare Audio Baby Monitor
The Wilcare has a private digital connection with a clear audio signal and two-way talkback. The clarity is due to the noise-reduction microphone that filters out a lot of the white noise.
The monitoring unit in the nursery is equipped with a nightlight that can be controlled by the parent’s receiver. I hated having to turn on a light and risk waking the baby — which makes the nightlight a great feature!
This monitor has an option to go into silent, power-saving mode. However, it doesn’t have to be used if you like the comfort of hearing the ambient noise.
The range of the receiver is up to 1000 feet. A rechargeable battery is included and has a life of 21 hours before needing to recharge.
- Clear audio.
- Talk-back feature.
- Nightlight which is controlled by the receiver.
- Rechargeable long-lasting batteries.
- Charging ports can become loose with rough handling.
7. VTech BA7221BL Audio Baby Monitor
Another one from the popular VTech, this DECT baby monitor comes with dual receivers, so both parents can listen for the sleeping baby. Also, the range is up to 1000 feet, so you can clean the entire house while still listening closely.
There are light and vibration sound indicators, which will help you keep tabs on baby. It also has a sophisticated audio system and can filter out white noise. The sound feed is transmitted loud and clear.
The time between needing charges is not exceptional, but it should suffice. Receivers should at least make it through a night without needing to be recharged.
You can soothe the baby with a soft and warm-looking nightlight, which is a lifesaver when you have to find a pacifier in the middle of the night. Use the soft glow of the light to search without having to turn on a bright overhead light.
- Comes with dual receivers.
- Excellent range.
- Light and vibration sound alerts.
- Filters out the white noise.
- Built-in nightlight.
- Shorter battery life than other models.
Making a Sound Choice
Having a baby comes with its own special set of challenges. As a parent, you need all the help you can get from your audio baby monitor. Hopefully, these audio baby monitor reviews will help you to find the perfect one for your needs.
Our pick for the best audio monitor goes to the Angelcare model. I really like the combination of monitoring the vitals and being able to hear what’s going on in the nursery. It just gives that extra reassurance most moms want.
What audio baby monitor sounds best to you? Tell us in the comments below! Also, If you know a new mom who could use this information, please share!