You’re probably worried about hearing the baby cry at night, right? 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.
We know it can be difficult to sift through all the available options out there. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help confused moms just like you to confidently find the best audio baby monitor for them.
- Monitors both sound and movement
- Excellent microphone
- Visual and audio alerts
- Monitors temperature
- Lightweight & easy to set up
- Works up to 1000 feet
- Continuous sound feed
- Nightlight feature
- Long-lasting battery life
- DECT technology
- Lullabies included
- Battery-saving mode
- Infrared night vision
- Expands up to four cameras
- Feeding clock function
- Light indicator when muted
- Zero interference
- High sensitivity microphone
- Comes with dual receivers
- Excellent range
- Filters out white noise
Benefits of Audio Baby 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.
How to Choose a 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 2021
Here are 7 great audio baby monitors to consider.
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. Goodbaby Video Baby Monitor
Something we love about the Goodbaby monitor is the infrared night vision. It has a clear night vision, so you can see how your baby is sleeping even in a super dark room. Turn off the light, leave them to fall asleep and take the monitor with you to keep an eye on them.
This monitor also measures the temperature in the room, so you can ensure it’s at the optimum level for your baby.
This device has a long list of amazing features, but we also want to mention the two way talking function, that works up to 1000 feet away! You can enjoy two way conversations with your baby, sing them lullabies or soothe them when they cry.
In fact, when they cry, the screen automatically wakes up. You can also set alarms on the device to remind you it’s feeding time.
The camera also has a 2x zoom. So you can zoom in on your baby to check if they’re asleep or awake, and the camera portrays a high quality image!
- Infrared night vision.
- Two way talking.
- Expands up to four cameras.
- Feeding clock function.
- Volume is quite quiet.
You can’t move the cameras with the remote. Must be done manually.
6. HelloBaby Audio Baby Monitor
Baby monitors can be chunky things. But this one has been designed with compact-ness in mind. You can easily fit this in your back pocket as you get some things done while your baby is napping.
It uses DECT 6.0 technology which guarantees absolutely zero interference and clear sound. The high sensitivity microphone can pick up tiny noises, allowing you to hear everything more clearly. This works from even up to 1000 feet away! So it’s suitable for most homes. You can even take it with you outside while you’re taking out the trash or doing some barbequing.
We also love that the sound indicator on the parent unit has a visual indicator level so you know if your baby is making noise even if the unit is muted. There is a set of five LED lights to indicate the sound level. This also makes it a good choice for hard-of-hearing parents.
Parents absolutely love how crisp, clear and high quality the sound is. Some even use this to play music to their baby from another room. For a very budget-friendly price, this is an awesome choice.
- 1000 foot range.
- Zero interference.
- High sensitivity microphone with clear sound.
- Light indicator when unit is muted.
- Three volume controls which doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility.
- Parent unit doesn’t always work unless plugged into the wall.
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.
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.