The Willow is one of Levana's new monitors for 2016. It features a 5" touch screen parent unit and PTZ camera. You can add additional cameras to monitor more than one room at a time.

The Willow is one of Levana’s new monitors for 2016. It features a 5″ touch screen parent unit and PTZ camera. You can add additional cameras to monitor more than one room at a time.

Canadian-based Levana is the baby monitor division of Svat, which makes security cameras. Levana has an affordable line of video monitors (mostly sold online) that are closed systems—they include a camera and parent viewer (no WiFi needed, no online streaming).

Levana offers 14 models, with a mix of both fixed and point/tilt/zoom models.

New for 2016, Levana has just rolled out six new models.

Three of the new models have fixed cameras: the Alexa, Shiloh and Amara. The least expensive Alexa ($150) features a five-inch monitor and basic resolution, while the Shiloh adds a higher definition camera with five-inch monitor for $200. For an extra $50, the Amara ($250) features a bigger seven-inch screen.

Levana Alexa LCD Baby Monitor

Levana Alexa LCD Baby Monitor

If you’d prefer a point-tilt-zoom camera, Levana’s 2016 offerings include the Willow ($250) and Mylo ($250) with five-inch monitors and the Aria, ($300) with a seven-inch screen.

Levana’s blizzard of models is rather confusing, so let’s cut through the haze by discussing Levana’s overall quality. We’d rate these monitors as middle of the road. On the plus side, we like the affordable prices and extensive features (intercom, temperature monitoring). One way Levana keeps the prices down is to have non-HD cameras on their most affordable units. That works well on smaller screens, but some folks are disappointed with the lack of resolution.

Even when Levana touts “HD” monitors in the 2016 line, the cameras themselves are 640 x 480 resolution. That’s stretching the definition of HD, which usually means 1280 x 720.

Battery life on Levana monitors is decent—we like the power-save mode that keeps the screen dark until baby makes a noise. Levana claims a 12-hour battery life in this mode and that matches up close to real-world experience.

Range, however, is an area of concern: many readers say their Levana monitors’ range was much shorter than the touted 150 feet. To its credit, however, Levana does use a “private direct signal” (digital FHSS) to prevent eavesdropping. You’d think the 2.4 GHz signal would travel further than 150 feet, but in the real world, parents complain the range is less than they hoped.

We’d rate Levana’s software as better than average—the touch-screen parent units let you activate lullabies (on the newer models) or watch two cameras at once in split screen view.

Most concerning, however, we see quite a few complaints about long-term reliability of Levana baby monitors. A $200 Levana monitor will work great . . . and then die after six months, say readers. Yes, Levana has decent customer service and replaces units under warranty, but is it too much to ask that a $200 monitor last more than half a year?

Bottom line: there are better choices in this category than Levana. Rating: C