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A baby monitor is an essential purchase, in our opinion. With our first born, we used it every single day from the day he was born to keep an eye on him as he slept so we knew when to go in and soothe him back to sleep. Since this article was written, we not have a daughter and will be using this for a few more years yet.
Now he sleeps a little more independently, we use the monitor to keep an eye on him, but more to give us a little respite in the evening and stops us from wondering if every single bump in the night is him walking half asleep in the house, or if he has fallen out (unlikely since we use bumpers now).
There are a few baby monitors in the UK market from cheap and cheerful to expensive and feature rich. Which one is best depends on you so we’ve created this handy list to hopefully make that decision a little easier.
Best baby monitor reviews UK
Motorola MBP30A Video Baby Monitor
We’ve started with this one because it’s the one we’ve got the most experience using and have been using it for well over a year without complaint.
It’s a self contained baby monitor which means it doesn’t use Wi Fi and has its own dedicated parent unit so you don’t need a smart phone to use.
The screen is small but you can see everything you need to inside of it, the picture is not HD but its clear enough to see all movements easily, there’s no squinting at the screen wondering if you saw what you think you saw despite being only 3 inches diagonally.
The screen is in full colour and can see in the dark during night time which means it has 24/7 coverage. We love our rooms pitch black here and can easily say it’s crystal clear when our boy’s asleep in there.
The parental unit has a fair few buttons, it can make the camera pan and tilt, go left and right and up and down. Our little one is a wriggler in his sleep so we do use these features a fair bit.
A feature we never use but is included is the two way voice. We can hear the noises pretty clear but have always found that if we talk back from another room it actually scares him and certainly not soothes him.
Because it doesn’t use WiFi it can be used anywhere there’s a power outlet, you won’t lose your smart phone while it’s in use and it’s great for holidays.
Now for the drawbacks- the parental unit’s battery capacity after a charge is very poor. When fully charged it will last around 3 hours max before it turns itself off. 3 hours is still a decent length of time, though, but when it’s been on charge all day it does seem a bit low. This means that it will likely be plugged a lot of the time.
The second drawback is that there is a delay between what the screen shows and what’s happened, we’d estimate it to be 2 seconds or so. This means if your child is heard crying on the parental unit then your child has probably already been crying for a couple of seconds. This is not a design fault and we’re totally fine with it and now that we know it exists we know to just react quicker.
Overall, this is one of our favourite baby monitors with parental units. It’s somewhat on the expensive side as WiFi monitors tend to be cheaper but our WiFi monitor at the time really let us down due to dodgy WiFi at the BnB and we’ve n ever looked back.
Nooie Baby Monitor WiFi Dog Pet Camera
Nooie offer one of the most complete and cost effective WiFi baby monitors in the UK in a world where most of the products are copycats of each other. WiFi cameras do tend to be a lot more feature rich than a dedicated wireless channel, and this is no different.
First and foremost, it connects to all major smart phones which instantly enables multiple users and the convenience of being able to use any phone or tablet in the house. The battery life on smartphones is usually much higher than parental units.
The feed is richer, full of colour and closer to high definition (HD). The size of the picture depends on the size of the screen on your phone. Night vision is also included, which is essential. If picture quality is what matters to you, then Nooie ticks all the boxes.
Next, the Nooie camera is very manoeuvrable and can turn and tilt at the full 360 degrees. Not only can you use the Nooie to watch them sleep but you can use it just to watch them play in their room when awake, too. This is a very nice feature for busy mums and dads who may have several children to look after.
Motion and sound detection is available so if you’re not glued to the screen then you’l’l get an alert if anything happens. Can be annoying at times when they turn over or cough but this may be a deal maker for some.
It’s easy to set up, the app works well but it does need good WiFi. If the WiFi signal is poor then so will the performance be. If there’s no WiFi at all then it will not work. That’s rare but it can happen.
The Nooie is one of the best baby monitors we’ve been able to review and one we would certainly recommend for people who don’t want a parental unit on its own and want the full suite of features such as HD video and 360 degree vision. WiFi baby monitors can be cheap and this one is a great deal at under £40.
Lollipop Baby Monitor with True Crying Detection
For parents looking for design excellence and possibly one of the few products which could genuinely claim to be the ‘best baby monitor’ then it’s the Lollipop baby monitor. This is the Ferrari in the video baby monitor world and to be honest, it worked exceptionally well with a design and features head and shoulders above the rest. Let’s dive in.
This is a WiFi smart baby monitor which means there’s no parent unit and you will need a smartphone which uses iOS or Android as its OS. There is clear picture quality advantages from this and it’s pretty close to HD along with a fantastic night vision mode. Multiple devices can also stream the feed to share the load at nap time or sleep time.
The camera is designed using non-toxic silicone with a ‘leg’ which allows it to wrap around something such as the side of a cot, or be bent into a circle so that it can sit on a flat surface. This gives it an unique advantage of being a cot camera and a standard table camera. This is a huge feature for parents who have their babies sleeping in a cot bed and have found flat surface cameras to not be able to get a clear picture through the panels. They are also coloured in nice pastel colours which is a good bonus to have.
In addition to these, the Lollipop video monitor comes with a decent crying, sound, movement sensor built in which sends alerts to the receiver(s). Just make sure to enable notifications. These are bonuses to us personally as we have always just watched the feed and not relied on the notifications. Some users praise these to no end and others say they are unreliable. We found them very reliable so we think positioning, light, room type and WiFi strength play a part here.
Sleep tracking is also a feature which is virtually non-existent in the UK audio monitor and baby monitor market. And a tricky one, too. Babies tend to have random sleep patters by design so to have something try and label it in black and white is a little bit risky.
That said, as an overall package, this baby movement monitor is certainly up there in quality, aspects of it such as the design itself is unrivalled. But, there’s a hefty cost to it. We’d really love your thoughts on this due to this cost – did it work for you? Were the notifications accurate enough to give you peace of mind? Were the sound and motion sensors reliable. Let us know in the comments!
BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 400
We think a video monitor is essential for babies but not so much for older children who have a regular sleep pattern, have slept on their own for a while and are not unwell. An audio baby monitor can give peace of mind for parents and will alert them if they’re having nightmares or generally in distress. When you go down the route of audio only you want to get the cost as low as possible but reliability as high as possible which is why we’ve picked the BT digital audio baby monitor for this category.
There’s not much to say about this one, it’s a dedicated channel audio monitor which is interference free, has a massive range and crystal clear. This monitoring system is reliable and has great battery life.
It has a sound detection which can be adjusted so you won’t be alerted to every rustle and only when the sound is so loud that you might need to intervene or just check in on them. Easy to hide away in your baby’s room as well since you only want the audio. Sometimes a camera can be a distraction and can delay baby’s sleep as they stare at it. Not the case with this.
It’s very simple and featureless, there’s no temperature sensor, temperature display, night light or two way talk to soothe your baby so bare that in mind.
Due to its simplicity, the rechargeable battery life on the parent unit can last for around 3-5 days when used for 2 hour stretches. We love this baby monitor because it’s very reliable and solid, it’s as simple as that.
Tommee Tippee Dreamee Video Baby Monitor with Camera, Night Vision, 4.3-Inch HD Display, Two-Way Audio, CrySensor, Movement Sensor Pad
Drum roll please. Our final baby monitor in this UK roundup post is the one which ticks ALL the boxes of what it takes to be the best baby monitor. It’s super expensive and packs a punch which is why we’ve included it last. Quite frankly, we just don’t think our readers have the budget to spend on a product like this. But for those who are lucky enough to have a bit of bounce lying around here it is.
First of all, the camera. It’s a dedicated video baby monitor using a dedicated channel with a generous 4.3 clear parent unit which produces high definition video complete with night vision from the baby’s room. The sort of picture quality that rivals any smart monitors which use an app. This is no mean feat as Wi Fi baby monitors best USP is the picture quality.
The camera has complete 360 movement for peace of mind in bigger rooms and the parent unit has a massive 300m range which should mean it can be used everywhere around the house with pan and tilt. This is really impressive for a non-wi fi baby monitor with sensor pad. You won’t need an app on your phone while cooking dinner. It can pick up sound and motion with two talk. Does not have a night light projector.
The crown jewel of this baby monitor is the sensor pad and temperature sensor which is placed underneath the mattress, which picks up on the movements of the baby in fine detail and feeds back to the parental unit. This can offer peace of mind for parents of newborn babies who may have concerns above and beyond the normal. We think it’s overkill but for some parents it might be just the ticket.
To be fair, it works really well and does help pick up on silent restlessness. But, children and babies do move a lot during the night and most of it is perfectly normal so you will get the false positives from the crying and you’ll get it from the movements. However, for parents of children who may have been premature or suffering from any illness this can offer some extra peace of mind and that’s the best we can describe it.
The price is eye watering but the product is absolutely solid – a video baby monitor with HD video without the need for wi fi, night vision, temperature sensor, a really solid parent unit without the need for an app on your phone, the list goes on. It’s as good as baby monitors come. If you can afford it.
Best Baby Monitor Buying Guides
What is a baby monitor?
A baby camera is a two way device. There’s a camera on one end and a parent unit or receiver on the other end. Basically a web cam. By positioning it where the baby sleeps, parents, babysitters or guardians can literally watch their little ones safely from a distance and without the need to disturb them. The picture from baby cameras can be black and white or full colour and the feed is usually live, as in, it is happening right now. Most cameras will also come with sound and others may be able to send audio to the camera unit for two way voice.
A baby monitor is exactly the same as a camera except it is audio only. It’s a lot more inexpensive with fewer features but can do the job for babies and toddlers who use audio cues to let parents know they need some soothing.
Do I need a baby monitor?
Strictly speaking, no. You can keep an eye on your child perfectly fine without one but you’d need to physically peek in to do it, or simply keep the house silent to hear their calls. A monitor, however, makes life significantly easier and takes a lot of stress away.
Once you have put your child down for a nap or a sleep you can turn on the camera to keep an eye on them without worrying about missing a cry or a call out.
That’s essentially the biggest benefit of a baby monitor – peace of mind and an extra pair of eyes and ears in the house.
One negative that we’d mention from personal experience is that it can create some mild anxiety at times because babies and toddlers can often make noises and roll around. When they do this you can find your heart racing a bit as you wonder if they’re just about to wake or just go back to sleep. Despite this, we still think it’s a price worth paying.
What is the difference between WiFi baby monitors and dedicated baby monitors?
These two types of baby monitors may end up doing the same job but they have some clear differences in terms of pros and cons and how they operate.
WiFi baby monitors use your existing router as a gateway between the camera and the smartphone/tablet. They don’t connect to each other directly. The pros of these are:
- Faster connection resulting in a better quality picture, usually HD
- Cheaper product as no parent unit included or extra technology to create a dedicated signal
- Can use any smartphone or tablet
- Record video and audio
- Stream the video from a much larger distance (do not need to be on the same network)
- Longer battery life on smartphone vs parent unit
- Multiple people can view the same stream
- Multiple cameras can be used in the same app – great for parents of multiple children
- Motion and sound detection alerts so you don’t need to stare at the feed
But it does have its drawbacks
- No WiFi means it doesn’t work at all
- Weak WiFi results in weak connection
- If you only have one smartphone it can take it away
- Alerts can be intrusive
Does a more expensive baby monitor make a difference?
We’ve reviewed a few best of the baby monitors in this list with a wide range of prices and it’s difficult to slap the word best baby monitor bar none on any of them due to the different budgets and needs of each family. To answer the question directly – no, a more expensive video baby monitor or smart baby monitor is not necessarily the best baby monitor. That’s because all you need, in our opinion, is something that has a clear picture, night vision, a decent screen and audio capabilities. Of all the baby monitors available these are the only things that matter.
However, the most expensive ones do a better job of the important jobs. They can have a clearer picture, bigger parental unit and a few other extra tools such as room temperature and humidity sensors, a pad to measure baby’s heart rate, alexa and google assistant link, night light, two way talk and even lullabies to but baby to sleep. None of which are essential.
Exploring the different types of baby monitors
Wi Fi baby screens have audio & video connectivity. Video monitors are often sold because of cameras. These will also provide the parents with access to their child in realtime. The use of audio and sound baby monitoring typically allows just to hear your baby’s voice. Some monitors that work as audio only use lullabies or voice the baby via the monitor in a pair of directions. Video baby monitors sometimes feature night photography digital zoom and memory for videos and pictures. The best screen to keep you or baby in a different place is a color display. The monitors can store video files via cloud storage or a mobile app for reviewing.
Dedicated channel baby monitor
A monitor which doesn’t use wi fi created its own connection between the monitor and the parent unit. Usually a 2.4gHz channel, this channel is more secure and stable and means you don’t need to use a smartphone – whether that’s a benefit or a drawback is up to you.
However, creating your own channel can be taxing on on battery life so the parental unit will need recharging and can drain quickly, as we’ve experiences ourselves. This isn’t exactly a big deal but it is an advantage of a wi fi smart baby monitor.
Due to the signal used, a wireless audio and video monitor system like this have reduced video quality and probably not HD. But, if we’re being honest you absolutely do not need high definition video to put baby to sleep or to see if they’re awake again – the picture quality and night lights are more than high enough for it be obvious if you see your baby is in need of intervention. High definition video is not necessarily the answer to get a good view of your child.
In addition, features such as pan tilt and zoom, wide angle lens, motion sensor, temperature and humidity sensors, sound sensitive lights, two way talk to hear your baby can all be seen in these types of monitoring system so you’re not missing out.
But, these types of video monitors can be, on average, more expensive due to the more technical hardware inside both the camera and the parent unit. Buying a baby monitor can be a little frustrating but if it’s reliability and robustness is what you’re after then perhaps dedicated channel baby monitor best suits you.
Baby monitor FAQs
What can I use instead of a baby monitor?
Keeping the door ajar and peeking in is the classic method of watching your child, the use of a night light can make them more visible. Other parents have said that two way walkie talkies work well but they tend to cost the same if not more than an actual smart baby monitor. For others, co-sleeping is the obvious way to keep an eye on them and it also means the room can be dark.
Are baby monitors safe?
A camera unit and parent unit are safe to use – they don’t leak any radiation and don’t overheat. The only danger could be the loose wires if they’re placed inappropriately. Always place them out of reach, on a flat surface and in a well ventilated room.
What is the range of the best baby monitors?
A smart monitor has a range which is dependent of the strength of the router in the home as it uses the router as a hub. A dedicated 2.4gHz monitor can have a range of up to 300m but tends to be stronger and more reliable due to a lack of interference and changes in the bandwidth.
Do you need wifi for a baby monitor?
Not necessarily, there are two types of monitors – those which connect using an app on a smartphone to the wifi box and others with a parent unit which connect directly to each other.
Can a wifi smart monitor be hacked?
As long as your Wi Fi connection is secure, it’s extremely unlikely your monitor will ever get hacked. It’s likely to get hacked as any other of your smart home devices.