Summer is best known for its video monitors, but the company does have a couple of offerings in the audio only category. Both models offer digital transmission for privacy.
The Baby Wave Digital Audio monitor ($26) is a basic model with rechargeable batteries, digital transmission and sound/lights. A deluxe version of this monitor ($47) adds temperature monitoring of the nursery (with an on-screen read out on the parent unit), as well as an intercom and nightlight feature.
Reader feedback has been sharply divided between fans who like range and battery life—and critics who hate the range and battery life. The deluxe version gets better marks than the basic model, which is savaged in reviews for static and limited battery life.
We wonder if some of the issues with these models are caused by the lack of DECT technology. While the digital transmission of these models insures privacy, DECT is better at preventing static and interference.
New for 2016, Summer has introduced what could be the most interesting new audio baby monitor we’ve seen in years—the Babble Band ($50). Instead of a parent unit, you have a parent band that you wear on your wrist. How come no one thought of this before? The band has both sound and lights and an adjustable wristband makes it easy to fit. The band’s rechargeable battery lasts for eight hours of continuous use, says Summer. Our readers say it is more like four or five hours. And then it takes five to six hours to charge, which seems to long to us.
The Babble Band has only been out for a month as of this writing, so we don’t have much reader feedback yet. Early reports are positive, but a few glitches mar the Babble Band. The parent wearable can only be charged on the baby’s unit . . . it would be nice if there was a nightstand charger so it could be used overnight. A few parents complain the sound volume is too low. And the wearable monitor has one other major drawback—if you are wearing the monitor and walk into the baby’s nursery, you’ll get a loud squeal of feedback. You have to remember to silence the unit when you walk into baby’s nursery, which may be hard to do when you are sleep deprived and on the 4am feeding shift.
Bottom line: Summer’s audio monitors are only average performers. For every reader who says it works great for them, another reports the monitor was a bust—static, interference, durability issues, etc. The Babble Band is interesting, but suffers from a few bugs, so we won’t recommend it at this time.