A baby monitor gives you peace of mind and freedom by letting you keep tabs on a sleeping child while in another part of the house.
- An inexpensive, no-frills baby monitor will provide audio only, have an on/off switch and volume control. They get the job done, but you might get more static and interference from other cordless devices, such as phones.
- Mid-range models have better sound quality and a sound-activated light on the receiver, so your can keep the volume on the receiver low but still see if your baby is making noise. This is handy if you're on the phone, watching TV or just having a chat.
- High-end baby monitors may use digital technology, which means clearer sound, limited interference and greater range than older style analog models. You can also choose models that come with video cameras and monitors, some of which even have LED illumination or night-vision settings so you can always see what baby is up to. And some monitors include an intercom function so you can talk to your baby.
Overall, a higher price tag usually equals clearer sound, less static and more features.
While baby monitors are great for listening to your baby, you may also hear some unwanted sounds. Static interference from cordless phones or wireless Internet activities can be an issue. Plus, analog models that use radio frequency can sometimes pick-up near-by cordless phone conversations or even other baby monitors. Choosing a model that has a multi-channel function can let you switch your monitor to a different frequency if you find you're hearing your neighbours' phone calls. Or you can buy a digital monitor which nearly eliminates interference from cordless devices.
Most monitors talk about their frequency technology in their product description. Here's how to make sense of it:
- 49 MHz - analog transmission of up to 400 feet. Good for urban settings where you think there might be a lot of interference from neighbours' cordless phones or other baby monitors. May also prevent neighbours from hearing what's being transmitted on your baby monitor.
- 900 MHz - analog transmission of up to 1200 feet. Provides better sound quality and range and is more suitable for suburban or rural homes where interference isn't a concern.
- 2.4 GHz - analog transmission of up to 1500 feet. Offers excellent sound quality and nearly eliminates interference.
- DECT - Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication. This is a dedicated bandwidth that offers zero interference and high-quality audio transmission.
- H.264 Technology - video compression technology. Delivers excellent video quality across entire bandwidth spectrum.
- rechargeable receivers save time and money since you do not have to buy or hunt for batteries
- low-battery indicator on receivers
- additional receivers are good if you don't always want to be carrying one receiver from room to room
- belt clips or lanyards for when you do want to take the receiver from room to room
- multiple channels let you switch frequencies to find the best reception
- pager feature helps you locate a missing receiver