Baby video monitors come in one of two flavors: Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi monitors. Each has its pros and cons.
Wi-Fi monitors connect to your home Wi-Fi and stream the video to your phone, tablet or other device. These app-based monitors are great for their simplicity . . . since you always carry your phone, why not use it as a baby monitor? Also you can monitor baby’s nursery not just from your house but anywhere you can get a cell signal.
Yet there are some serious downsides to this idea: first, the app software can be glitchy. Connecting the monitor to your Wi-Fi router can be a challenge with some monitors. If you don’t have fast internet, there can be annoying dropped signals and other usability woes. Most folks use a monitor to keep an eye on baby overnight—some Wi-Fi monitors just don’t function well for overnight use (example: they don’t play audio in the background, so the app must always be open on your phone).
Non-Wi-Fi monitors are also called closed system baby monitors. These units come with a camera and parent unit that looks like a mini cell phone. These are more secure than Wi-Fi monitors that can be hacked (as you’ve heard in the news). Since non-Wi-Fi monitors aren’t connected to the internet, they are easier to set up and use. But their range is limited to a short distance in your home (a few hundred feet).
So let’s get things started. Here is our top pick for the Best Monitor with App: Victure 1080P FHD Baby Monitor. It is a good pick . . . as long as you understand its limitations.
What We Liked
• HD picture. Many bargain baby monitors have fuzzy, low resolution cameras. This one has 1080p resolution with a 120 degree wide angle. Here’s what the screen looks like using night vision:
• Good audio. The camera’s microphone provides clear audio—as an option, you can turn on two-way talk so one caregiver can talk with another that has the app open.
• Cloud or micro SD card storage. That’s nice to save those especially cute video moments—first time baby stands, babbles, etc. The first 30 days of cloud storage are free; after that, there is a charge.
• Motion detection.
What Needs Work
• Wi-Fi monitors can be a pain to set up. We found the set up for the Victure camera to be straight forward, pairing with our router. But we know this is a pain point for others. The reasons why pairing doesn’t work or has a poor connection are numerous: incompatible routers (example: the camera only works on 2.4 Ghz, not 5.0 Ghz), poor Wi-Fi signal, interference and other issues that are hard to troubleshoot.
• Hacking. Any time you connect a camera in your house to the internet, it can be hacked. You can take precautions like using a unique, secure password and making sure your router has the latest encryption protocol. If all this makes you nervous, we’d suggest a closed system baby monitor instead of Wi-Fi.
• No sound in the background. You must have the app open to hear the sound from this monitor—and that is major flaw if you plan to use this camera for monitoring overnight. A future version of the app should let you play background audio even if the app is not open.
• Red lights. The camera uses a ring of LED infrared lights for night vision—these are visible in the dark and irked some of our testers. The manufacturer should try to hide these better in subsequent updates.
• iOS and Android apps only.