Nanit Plus Video Baby Monitor is our top pick for best streaming monitor for 2020. It provides the best quality picture and a companion app that actually works well as a baby monitor—which is unusual for this segment.
Readers of our past reviews on the Nanit will note that we were only lukewarm on the original Nanit—the lack of volume, no two-way talk and the expense of the added “Nanit Insights” held back the monitor.
Fortunately, Nanit addressed these flaws with the revised Nanit Plus: the volume level issue is now fixed, there is a two-way intercom feature and now you get one year of Nanit Insights for free. After testing the monitor for a week, we are happier with the revised version.
One quick caveat to the Nanit: like other streaming monitors, the Nanit does NOT have a dedicated parent unit . . . you use your phone (or a re-purposed tablet) to monitor baby. Also: if you have only spotty or slow WiFi, this isn’t the monitor for you.
What we liked:
• Bird’s eye view. The Nanit is designed to sit directly over the crib for a bird’s eye view of baby—this eliminates blind spots common in other monitors designed to sit on a dresser. One hazard to mounting a monitor over a crib is the cord, which could be a choking hazard. But Nanit does a good job with cord management, hiding it in a stand or wall-mounted conduit.
• Excellent video and audio quality. We’ve seen a lot of video monitors over the years—and this one finally lives up to the billing of HD. The picture is excellent. As for the audio, we’d rate this as good—much better than the original Nanit. A big plus: the audio streams even when the app is closed—an advantage over competing streaming monitors like Nest.
• Good sleep analytics. This is where the Nanit shines—sleep tracking, activity feeds and more:
There is also built-in sleep coaching (synched to your child’s age), which is excellent:
Overall, the app is easy to use: the user interface is intuitive, unlike many of the other apps we tried (we are looking at you, Arlo). Another key bonus: Nanit Plus now includes a free year of these “Insights”—before it ran an extra $200 a year.
What we did NOT like:
• Expensive. All this analytic goodness comes at a price: the Nanit Plus ranges from $299.99 with a wall stand to $379.99 with the flood stand. Unfortunately, you can’t buy the floor stand separately—so factor that into your decision.
Example: if you plan to room in with baby (that is, have baby in your bedroom) for the first few weeks, it might make sense to go with the floor stand. That way you don’t have to mount it to the wall (driving holes) twice (once in your bedroom and then again in the nursery). Also, if you plan to travel with the Nanit (taking it to Grandma’s house for a stay), the floor stand is the better bet.
Bottom line: the Nanit Plus is about twice the money as competing monitors—but we still think it is worth it.
• Mounting can be a challenge. Most monitors can be put on a dresser or other piece of furniture in the nursery. The Nanit Plus requires a birds-eye view—while we like that since it doesn’t create any blind spots, it can be a challenge for some folks to mount. Especially if you are in a rental condo where you aren’t allowed to drill a hole in the wall. In that case, you have to get the Nanit Plus with the floor stand—the most expensive option.
Also: you can’t change the camera’s orientation from landscape to portrait.
• Breathing analytics. Nanit has experimented in the past year with “breathing wear,” swaddles and wearable blankets with black and white patterns that helps the camera “see” baby’s breathing patterns. As long time readers know, we aren’t big fans of breathing monitors. We believe they create more panic and anxiety, not less. Of course, you can use the Nanit without the breathing wear.
The Nanit Plus is the best streaming monitor on the market we tested, providing superior video quality paired to an app that is easy to use.