08 Feb Best Baby Monitor 2018 – Buyer’s Guide
It’s hard choosing the best baby monitor for your home in 2018, the choice of baby-monitors available at the moment is astounding. Gone are the days when it was just a microphone by the baby and a speaker near you – now we have wireless video-feeds, temperature sensors, sensor matts that know when the baby is moving, two-way audio so that you can soothe the baby with your voice if she or he has woken up and even monitors that can be viewed using your IOS or Android phone!
We’ve looked at all of the most popular models and compiled our top-ten best baby monitor list for you. As usual we have our feature-table, showing you the main selling points of all monitors at a glance, as well as our detailed reviews where we go into the special features and pros and cons of each model so that you can choose the best baby monitor for you.
Best Baby Monitor 2018
Click a model in the table below to read our review…
|BABY MONITOR MODEL||2 WAY TALK||NIGHT VISION||LULLABY||SCREEN SIZE||TEMPERATURE|
|Motorola MBP36S Digital Video Baby Monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||3.5"||Yes||Check price|
|GHB Baby Monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||2"||Yes||Check price|
|BT Video Baby Monitor 6000||Yes||Yes||Yes||5"||Yes||Check price|
|HelloBaby HB24 Wireless Video Baby Monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||2.4"||Yes||Check price|
|LESHP Wireless LCD Video Baby Monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||3.2"||Yes||Check price|
|Tommee Tippee Digital Video and Movement Monitor||Yes||Yes||No||3"||Yes||Check price|
|BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Check price|
|Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Check price|
|Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Monitor||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||Check price|
|BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 400||No||No||No||No||No||Check price|
Motorola MBP36S Digital Video Monitor – Best baby monitor for pan tilt zoom
The award-winning Motorola MBP36S Digital Video Monitor is one of the best selling baby monitors on the market today.
It features 2 units: a camera unit that is set up in baby’s room and a parent unit with a 3.5 inch LCD colour screen with day and night time modes.
The LCD display has a 320 x 240 resolution with easy to use functions on either side featuring volume controls, video off/on, zoom controls, pan and tilt controls, a sound level indicator and room temperature display.
The camera unit is a set on a sturdy white round base and features a moving rounded head where the camera is set. Be warned, the camera is a cute looking white and black device that resembles a Star Wars robot, so make sure you keep it out of reach from older siblings as they may mistake it for a toy!
The white plastic casing for both units is well built and feels sturdy and robust enough to withstand continuous handling. The parent unit fits nicely in the hand and is lightweight enough to carry around easily from room to room.
The clear, bright colour display of the LCD screen is excellent quality and around the same size as an iPhone. But what’s really great is the infrared night time mode which automatically switches to black and white night vision to allow you to see your baby even with the lights off.
The zoom, pan and tilt functions on the parent unit allow you to control the camera movement so you can get a 300 degree angle of your baby’s room. There is a slight lag between camera image and real time, but it’s only a second, so hardly noticeable.
Audio quality is very good. In fact some may complain it’s a little over sensitive, picking up even the slightest noise. However, you can adjust the volume which is a welcome feature for light-sleeping parents. The lowest setting will still pick up baby’s crying, and there’s a light indicator at the top of the parent unit, to alert you if baby’s crying even with the volume turned off; a handy feature for parents with hearing problems.
Thanks to the 2.4GHz frequency, the MBP36S has a stronger signal and longer range which is ideal if you have a big house or want to go outside. There’s also an alarm which will sound as soon as you move out of range. It also has frequency hopping technology so there’s no security worries about picking up the wrong frequency, and there’s no interference from nearby devices.
Battery life is around 8 hours in power saving mode, however the device comes with an A/D adaptor so you can plug it in overnight when it’s just sitting on the bedside table. There’s also a low battery indicator which lights up when it needs a recharge.
The overall performance of the MBP36S is very impressive, but it’s thoughtful little features that really make it a firm favourite for many parents.
The parent unit has a handy, retractable, ‘kick out’ stand so you can prop it up on your desk or table top. The camera unit can be mounted anywhere, even on the wall, then the zoom, pan and tilt functions can be remotely controlled by the parent unit.
The night mode functions allows you to view your child, even with the lights turned off.
The camera unit has 5 pre-installed lullabies and 4 nature sounds to gently soothe your child. It also has a 2 way communication system so baby can hear your voice.
The temperature display is extremely accurate, allowing you to monitor the right room temperature in the nursery.
The Final Word
The Motorola MBP36S is a great feature-packed baby monitor with excellent video and audio quality. It’s ideal for parents who want to view baby at night and want more control over viewing angles. A fantastic buy and definitely one of the best baby monitors on the market today.
Short battery life
GHB Baby Monitor – Best budget baby monitor
The GHB baby monitor is priced in the lower range, yet offers some great features that will more than satisfy budget-minded parents.
The baby monitor comes with 2 units which are slimline, lightweight and have a sturdy, well-built design. The all-white units are oval shaped, both with an integrated handle at the top which may be a bit small for bigger hands, but can be hooked onto the wall or even hung on a chain to make carrying around easier.
The parent unit also features a neat pop out leg so you can prop it up on a desk or table top. The bases of both models also have non-slip pads for added stability.
The parent unit features a 2.0 inch colour LCD screen which automatically turns to a black and white display when in night mode. Controls at the base of the unit are large and easy to use, featuring a menu button, volume controls and a central microphone button which you press down to talk to your baby.
The screen displays your baby’s image in portrait mode, which is smaller than other models, but perfectly adequate. The outer edges of the screen also display a temperature gauge to check the temperature in the nursery, a music note to indicate when music is playing, a clock, and a battery life bar.
The curvy style of the parent unit feels smooth in the hand and is lightweight enough to carry around. The camera unit has a nice flat back so can easily be mounted to the wall.
Considering the low price, both video and audio functions of the GHB are top notch. There’s no interference or static from nearby devices and the 2.4GHz frequency gives a reliable and strong signal.
The range is pretty impressive and you can easily take the parent unit up and down the stairs and outside without going out of range.
Unfortunately the battery life on the parent unit is not great. It’ll only last about 2 hours, which isn’t ideal if you’re outside doing a spot of gardening. If you’re indoors, then you’re better off plugging the unit in when you’re not moving around.
However, the GHB does have a voice activated VOX function which considerably lengthens battery life. It also has an ECO mode, so the screen will turn black after a couple of seconds of silence, then re-light once noise is detected.
The pre-installed music offers a range of soothing and calming lullabies which baby will love. The 2 way communication feature also works well, with just a slight delay when you speak.
The GHB is user-friendly and ready to use straight out of the box, so is ideal for non-techie parents who don’t want anything too complex.
The parent unit has a handy volume control so you can play lullabies to your baby without having to hear the music yourself. A music note icon is displayed when music is playing. Once baby’s asleep you can turn the music off remotely from the parent unit without having to enter the room.
The camera unit has a long 1.8 metre cable so you can set it up high on the wall or even on the ceiling.
The parent unit has a universal micro USB charging slot, so the device can be easily charged wherever you are.
The VOX function and ECO mode are noise activated and help lengthen battery time considerably.
Temperature monitoring is an essential feature to ensure the nursery is neither too warm or cold, while the night vision function enables you to see baby even with the lights switched off at night.
The Final Word
Considering its budget price, the GHB baby monitor is exceptionally good value for money. It has some great features and is an ideal buy for parents who want an easy-to-use monitor without spending a fortune.
Short battery life
BT Video Baby Monitor 6000 – Best baby monitor video screen
BT is a well-known, respected brand that has produced a fair amount of baby monitors. So does the 6000 video monitor live up to expectations? Lets have a look.
The most notable feature that will attract many buyers is the whopping 5 inch screen on the parent unit, one of the largest screens on the market today.
The controls are down the right hand side of the device and are easy to use. The parent unit is white with a subtle, baby coloured lilac around the edge of the screen. The camera unit casing is white with lilac detailing and a black plastic covering around the camera lens.
Even though the parent unit has a larger than normal screen, it’s compact and easy to carry around the house, much like carrying around an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. It packs away nicely and would be ideal for travelling, although it lacks a dedicated travel bag which would have been welcome.
The units are well built and the parent unit feels solid enough to withstand a few bumps with constant picking up and handling.
The large 5 inch screen is a very welcome feature. Quality-wise, it’s not as clear or bright as a smartphone screen, and can appear slightly grainy, but it wasn’t built for watching movies or playing games so it’s perfectly adequate for watching baby.
One plus is the black and white night mode display which is as clear as the daytime colour display, and allows you to easily watch baby during the night with the lights off.
Audio quality is very good and there’s no interference from other devices in the vicinity. The 2 way communication function also works well with no significant time delay.
The temperature monitor is reasonably accurate and will alert you if the baby’s room is too warm or cold.
One great feature is the motorised pan and tilt function which can be controlled remotely by the parent unit, which is ideal for babies who move around a lot in the cot, as the camera automatically moves with them.
Another welcome feature that really sets the BT 6000 apart from its rivals is the incredibly long battery life, up to 10-14 hours! There’s also a battery saving mode which turns the screen off after a minute or so, then re-lights once noise is detected.
Range is around 250 metres so you can easily take it outside or around a large house without any loss of signal.
On a negative note, the lack of light show features and comforting night light that came with the less expensive 7500 model may be a let down for those upgrading to the 6000. There’s also only 5 lullabies to choose from, while other BT models offer up to 18.
The large 5 inch screen is a definite plus point, allowing you to see your baby even if you’re looking at the monitor from a distance, while the black and white night mode is clear and easy to view at night time.
The parent unit has a set of LED lights that indicate if baby is crying, even with the volume turned down. There are also different coloured lights for each function: red for low battery, blue when the device is on charge and green to indicate the camera is connected.
One of the longest lasting batteries on the baby monitor market – up to 14 hours when fully charged.
The automatic pan and tilt function automatically moves when your baby does so they are always in view.
The Final Word
It’s a pity BT couldn’t have included the light show, comforting night light and range of lullabies, nature sounds and white noise their older models featured. However, the 6000 is still packed with some great features and if you want a bigger screen to see your baby better, this latest BT model shouldn’t disappoint.
Average picture quality
HelloBaby HB24 Baby Monitor – Best baby monitor for multiple cameras
The HelloBaby HB24 Wireless Baby Monitor is as stylish as they come, and with a very reasonable price tag, a popular choice for parents.
There are 2 units which work via an encrypted 2.4Ghz transmission within a range of 300 metres. The parent unit has a rechargeable battery, while the camera unit needs to be plugged in.
The parent unit has a white back and black front with a small, but perfectly adequate 2.4 inch digital colour LCD screen with a high resolution of 320 x 240, sound activated LED indicators and large, easy-to-use control buttons.
The camera unit sits on a solid round base, and the unit can be rotated 360 degrees and tilt up or down to a 60 degree angle.
The HB24 is compact, lightweight and also thinner than many other baby monitors on the market, making it ideal for carrying around with you, as you can easily slip it into your pocket.
The parent unit also has a handy detachable stand so you can prop it up on your desk or on the table and continue to view your baby with ease.
Set up couldn’t be easier. The 2 units are already synced and work straight out of the box. The parent unit is very easy to use, with straightforward, large buttons to easily scroll through the menu. There is also a large button for 2 way communication. Just press the button and your baby will hear your voice.
Slimmer than many other models, the HB24 can be easily slipped into the pocket of your jeans.
The HB24 may have a small screen but the image quality is excellent. The camera also has a pan and tilt mode so you can cover the entire nursery. One slight negative is that the pan and tilt function needs to be set manually, unlike some of the more expensive models which can be adjusted remotely.
The screen will go into black and white night vision mode automatically in low lighting. The night mode also works well, giving a crisp, clear image of your baby at night, although it’s best to turn up the brightness level to high for better viewing.
Sound quality is also very good and doesn’t sound tinny or unnatural. The VOX function is a welcome feature. After around 30 seconds the screen will black out, then automatically switch to video feed if any noise is detected. The VOX function can also tell the difference between music and crying, so it will only activate when baby makes a noise.
If you prefer to mute the device, there’s a handy LED light indicator on the parent unit to indicate when your baby is crying.
The range is a good 300 metres so you can move around the house without losing the signal. And if you do move out of range, a loud beep will warn you.
Battery life is very impressive for a baby monitor. A full charge will last around 8 hours. This can be extended to 12 hours if you keep it constantly on VOX mode.
The 2.4GHz frequency will automatically hop to another channel to avoid interference from other devices.
The HB24 comes with a temperature monitor which will sound a loud alarm if baby’s room temperature goes above or below your desired temperature settings.
You can set 8 separate alarms for different tasks such as nappy changing, feeding etc.
As well as the 2 way communication feature, there’s also a choice of 8 lullabies to help soothe and calm your baby.
The HB24 comes with one camera unit, but is compatible with a further 3 cameras which can be purchased separately.
The Final Word
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a baby monitor but want some top notch features and excellent image and sound quality, then the HelloBaby HB24 is a good choice at a reasonable price.
Short battery life
LESHP Wireless LCD Baby Monitor – Best mid-range all-round baby monitor
The LESHP Wireless baby monitor is a good looking, stylish device that certainly looks more expensive than it is.
The all-white monitor includes a parent unit with a large 3.2 inch colour LCD screen for easy viewing of your baby and a separate camera unit which can be tilted to 60 degrees up and down and rotated 360 degrees for a full view of your baby’s room.
The parent unit has control buttons at the side of the display screen which are easy to use with a simple menu button at the bottom to scroll through.
The camera unit feels sturdy enough and is set on a solid round base. The parent unit is compact and lightweight fitting snugly in the hand and is easy to carry around. It also has a plastic prop stand which can be pulled out from the back of the unit so you can prop it up on a worktop or table.
Considering it’s in the lower price range, the LESHP has a pretty impressive image quality with no notable pixelation or graininess. It’s never going to smartphone quality, but it’s bright and sharp enough to view your baby’s movements easily.
The night vision mode is also very good, providing a clear black and white image of baby at night time.
The sound quality isn’t crystal clear and the built-in lullabies sound a little tinny, but again, considering the price, you can hear clearly enough and it’s more than adequate for a baby monitor.
The range is very good, around 260 metres so you can use the monitor outside in the garden and on different levels of your house without going out of range.
The VOX function gives you extra battery life and automatically turns off when idle and is activated again when your baby makes a noise.
The rechargeable battery on the parent unit lasts up to 6 hours between charges, which is much longer than some of the more expensive models.
The LESHP comes with some great features that you’d usually only expect with a better known, more expensive brand.
The pan and tilt function on the camera unit allows you to view baby’s room from different angles, and you can also zoom in to get a close up view of baby’s face.
The device has a 2 way communication function so baby can hear your voice. There are also 8 different lullabies to choose from which can be played individually or on a continuous cycle. You can also set 8 different alarms.
The temperature monitor accurately displays the temperature of baby’s room and also alerts you if the temperature goes above or below the desired range.
The VOX function saves battery life and will only activate when it detects noise from your baby’s room.
The Final Word
Are there better quality baby monitors out there? Yes there are, but you’ll pay a lot more for them. Image and sound quality of the LESHP aren’t spectacular, but do the job well enough. The large 3.2 inch screen and pan and tilt functions give you a perfectly satisfactory image of your baby.
What the LESHP lacks in image and sound quality, it certainly makes up for in battery life and range, making it a versatile and practical baby monitor if you spend a lot of time in the garden or live in a large house.
The range of features are particularly impressive for a baby monitor in this price range and the overall conclusion is positive. A nice-looking, well functioning, feature rich video baby monitor at a very affordable price.
Long battery life
Tommee Tippee Baby Monitor – Best baby monitor audio
The Tommee Tippee Digital Video and Movement Monitor is one of the most expensive baby monitors on the market, but the added features from this well known brand are worth the expense for absolute peace of mind that your baby is safe and sound.
Out of the box, the device looks rather complicated and will most certainly appeal to gadget lovers, comprising 3 units: the camera unit, parent unit and a flat white sensor pad that fits under your baby’s mattress to detect movement.
The white parent unit is fairly compact with a flip up antenna and a 3 inch colour screen with a black surround which displays the various light indicators, while the device is controlled by a circular menu panel to the right of the screen and a vertical bar to control the zoom, on and off, screen on/off and 2 way communication functions.
The camera unit is a serious piece of technology. Chunky and thick, there’s no way you could call it discreet. Unlike other baby monitors, the unit also has some control buttons including a slider on the back of the unit to control the sensor pad sensitivity levels.
The parent unit is compact enough to carry around easily, but an annoying note is the lack of a back prop stand which many other baby monitors have, so you can’t prop it up on a table top or desk.
The camera unit is chunky and solid. But you can’t mount it on the wall, so you need to sit it on a furniture top near the baby’s cot.
The sensor pad placed under the mattress in the centre of the cot has a long white cable that can be threaded through the base of the cot and attached to the camera unit.
All of the different controls on both the parent and baby unit can be a bit overwhelming, but function wise the baby monitor works exactly as it should.
The sensor pad has had some negative reviews for going off to many times unnecessarily, however this could be resolved by turning down the sensitivity level or simply detaching the sensor pad if you don’t need it.
The screen is clear and both image and sound quality are good, although some reviewers complained that the noise level was too high even on the lowest setting. Night vision mode is sharp and clear, allowing you see your baby at night time.
The range is good, up to 300 metres, although there have been complaints of interference and signal drop outs.
Battery life is impressive, around 8 hours on a full charge. As well as running on mains, the camera unit also works with AA batteries which is a handy backup and ideal for travelling.
The camera unit also has a back lit night light, however it doesn’t play any lullabies and camera movement is limited. It can only be tilted up and down and doesn’t have a pan feature.
Under the mattress sensor pad which will sound an alarm if no movement has been detected after 20 seconds; a particularly welcome feature for parents with a newborn. The sensitivity levels can be adjusted and the sensor pad can be detached when baby gets older.
There’s a temperature display which indicates the nursery room temperature and a gentle night light which can be controlled remotely via the parent unit.
The parent unit also has a handy paging function so you can find it if you misplace it.
The Final Word
The Tommee Tippee Digital Video and Movement Monitor functions well and the additional sensor pad gives another level of reassurance to parents. However, it does lack some desirable features such as panning function, lullabies and prop stand.
If you want the added reassurance of a sensor pad then it’s certainly worth paying more and the Tommee Tippee won’t disappoint.
Sensor pad switch poor
BT Baby Monitor 450 Light Show – Best budget audio-only baby monitor
The BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 450 with Light Show is a very cute looking device which couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than, well, a baby monitor.
The 2 units have a white front decorated with moons and stars and a pretty lilac coloured back. The parent unit is a pleasant curved shape and is wide enough to stand up on its own. The small screen displays the amount of battery left, a lightbulb to indicate the night light is on, a music note to indicate the music is playing and the name of the lullaby playing. The centre of the display shows the current temperature of the baby’s room. The controls below the display are easy to use and navigate through.
The baby unit also features easy to use controls, while the moons and stars patterns at the top of the device project a light show onto the ceiling.
Both units are small, compact and easy to carry.
The baby unit is a well-built, solid device that can be positioned on any flat surface in baby’s room. There’s no need to mount it on the wall, and the cables are generous enough to easily reach a power point.
The parent unit has a nice curved feel and is lightweight and easy to carry around. However, it’s a bit too rounded to fit snugly in your pocket. A clip on the back would have been a welcome feature to allow hands-free portability.
Set up couldn’t be easier and operation is very straightforward even if you don’t like technical gadgets. The device comes with a user guide but the controls and functions are pretty self-explanatory.
Sound quality is top notch with no interference from nearby devices. You can clearly hear all of baby’s noises and the 2 way communication function is loud and clear.
There’s a good variety of lullabies to choose from as well as nature sounds, classical music and white noise. The light show projects a colourful array of planets, moons and stars onto the ceiling, but it might be slightly blurred if your ceiling is really high. There’s also a night light, but it could do with being a bit brighter.
The parent unit has rechargeable batteries and you can still use it while it charges. Battery life should be around 16 hours, but realistically lasts a lot less, so you’ll need to recharge throughout the day. The indicator will warn you when it’s running low.
Range is very good and far more than you’ll need: up to 300 metres. You can take it around the house and into the garden without losing the signal, and it will beep to alert you if you go out of range.
The only real negative on the BT 450 is the temperature monitor which isn’t very accurate, although you can adjust it manually and also keep another thermometer in the nursery for an additional reading.
The BT 450 has 18 lullabies to choose from as well as nature sounds, classical music and white noise.
The moon and stars light show is a delight, projecting the patterns onto the ceiling.
The 450 also has a feed timer which will alert you when baby is due a feed in the early days.
The parent unit also comes with a sound sensitive mute sound option which you only alert you if noise is detected in baby’s room. You can choose between an alert on the screen or a beep.
The Final Word
If you don’t need a video monitor, then you can’t go wrong with the BT 450. Audio quality is superb and the lullabies and light show are fun features. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a baby monitor but want a well-functioning, reliable model from a respected brand, then the BT 450 should more than satisfy your needs, while providing additional entertainment for your little one.
Short battery life
Nest Cam Indoor Security Monitor – Best baby monitor app
The Nest Cam Indoor Security Monitor is a sleek, stylish and discreet camera that can be set up in any room of the house, not just the nursery.
There’s only one camera unit, as the downloadable app on your smartphone works as the parent unit.
The camera unit has a small circular ‘eye’ which sits on a narrow foldable stand and a round magnetic base. The unit is a dark and discreet gun metal grey, unlike the white/baby coloured units specifically used for nurseries.
Above the lens is a small LED light which turns green to indicate that it’s connected to WiFi and recording.
The Nest Cam runs on mains power, not batteries and can be conveniently plugged into a USB port or mains power supply. The magnetic base allows you to attach the camera to a metal surface or simply sit it on a flat surface. It can also be mounted on the wall or fixed to a tripod.
Small and discreet, the Nest Cam is compact, yet solid. It’s lightweight enough to be moved around easily, while the adjustable stand neatly folds up, making it easy for travelling or storage.
The Nest Cam is not a dedicated baby monitor so don’t expect the typical features you’d find on other brands such as light shows, night light, music, lullabies and thermometer. It is possible to buy a Nest Thermostat separately which can be programmed to work with the camera and app though.
Set up is very easy, simply plug in the camera then download the app onto your smartphone. Make sure you have a strong WiFi connection for it to work properly. The free Nest Cam app is easy to use even for technophobes and it’s great to have the convenience of viewing your baby on your smartphone. Just click on the Nest Cam icon and you’ll see live streaming images of your baby’s room right on your phone.
Be aware though that if you want to use all of the Nest Cam features, you’ll need to pay a monthly £8 subscription fee for Nest Aware App which includes a 10 day video history, alert summaries, continuous recordings, cloud storage, and even face detection functions.
What the Nest Cam lacks in usual baby monitor features, it certainly makes up for in image quality. The video is wide angled, 1080p full HD, producing a crisp, clear image that is far superior to anything you’d find on a dedicated baby monitor. The enhanced night vision is also very impressive, much clearer than you’d expect, and turns on automatically when the lights go out.
Although the camera has an 8 x zoom feature, it doesn’t pan and tilt. However the 130 degree wide angled lens can easily cover a large room. There is a motion delay of about 3-4 seconds which is typical on security cameras.
Sound quality is adequate enough but it’s not as sensitive as higher quality baby monitors so it won’t pick up every noise. You will get alerts on your phone when movement or sound is detected though.
The 1080p wide angle camera delivers superb image quality covering the entire room. The night vision video is one of the best on the market.
The free app is easy to use and you can choose to upgrade to the monthly subscription for more features.
The 2 way communication allows you to talk to your baby or another person in the room.
The Nest Cam is compatible with other Nest products including multiple cameras for a complete home security system.
The Final Word
If you’re not bothered about typical baby monitor features but want an exceptionally high quality security camera with a recording function, you won’t find a better model on the market. It is pricey but once baby is older you can use the Nest Cam as an indoor security camera in any room and keep an eye on your home when you’re out and about.
Angelcare AC401 Baby Monitor – Best baby monitor with movement
There’s no mistaking the unique look of the Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Monitor. The baby unit is designed to look like an angel! It has a triangular body base equipped with light sensors, cute little wings that turn the device and the nightlight on and off, and is crowned by a blue nightlight in the form or a circular halo.
The parent unit is white with blue edging around the 1.3 inch colour LCD display which indicates the various features such as room temperature and battery life. It comes with a separate docking cradle for easier charging.
The large, square blue sensor pad is designed to fit under baby’s mattress and is then connected via a long cable to the baby unit. According to the manufacturers the sensor is not compatible with hollow core or memory foam mattresses though.
The parent unit is lightweight, solid and small enough to carry around easily. It also comes with a handy belt clip allowing hands-free portability.
Set up of the baby unit and sensor pad are straightforward enough. The parent unit is more complex and may put off technophobes. Factory settings will need to be adjusted to suit your needs and the range of adjustable functions may be a bit overwhelming. This is one baby monitor manual you’ll need to read from beginning to end.
However, the amount of adjustability does mean you can customise the settings to suit you. Once set up, the AC401 works very well delivering clear, crisp sound, and there’s no risk of missing the unmistakeable alarm.
The sensor pad can be adjusted for sensitivity via the baby unit and is pretty reliable so there’s less chance of false alarms which is a common problem with other models. The 9.5 inches square pad can detect movement across the entire surface of baby’s cot, so is ideal for babies who move around a lot. The alarm is triggered if no movement is detected after 20 seconds.
However, for the sensor pad to work at its best, you’ll need to buy an Angelcare wooden board which is sold separately.
The range is impressive: up to 250 metres outside and 80 metres indoors. There’s also an alert if you go out of range. The AC401 operates on a 2.4GHz frequency and there are 8 channels to choose from to reduce the risk of interference, but they have to be set manually.
The halo night light is fairly dim. A control to up the brightness would have been a welcome addition considering nearly everything else is adjustable.
The parent unit sits in a docking charger and will last between 4 to 8 hours between charges. There’s also the option to use batteries in both units which is handy if you’re travelling or there’s a power cut.
The AC401 doesn’t have video, lullabies or a 2 way talkback function which may disappoint some parents.
The AC401 has VOX capabilities. You can set the monitor for voice activated sound monitoring, so it will only alert you if it detects a noise. You can also set it on continuous monitoring.
Settings can be customised to suit your needs, such as sensor pad sensitivity and maximum and minimum temperatures which will alert you if the room is too warm or cold.
Alerts and alarms can be set to vibrate rather than beep. There’s a tick feature which sounds like a ticking clock to indicate that the monitor is working when the room is silent. This can be turned off if you don’t need it. There’s also a pager in case you misplace the parent unit.
The Final Word
If you hate gadgets and just want a simple-to-use monitor, then the AC401 is not for you. But if you like the idea of customising your monitor to suit your needs and also want the added reassurance of a sensor pad, the AC401 is a well-functioning, reliable baby monitor at a reasonable price.
BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 400 – Cheapest baby monitor
The BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 400 is a highly-compact unit, measuring just 6 x 3.7 x 9.2 centimetres. It’s coloured in a relaxing white and lilac mix, with an almost egg-like shape. The front panel of the parent unit sports a minimalist design, with control buttons for lowering or raising the volume and switching the unit on and off.
The parent unit also has a low battery-power indicator light, as well as a link light, that flashes when the two units are disconnected and is solid when a connection is made, and a mute light that indicates when the parent unit is muted.
At the top of the parent unit there is a sound level indicator in the form of a light that goes from green to red to indicate the sound level from your baby. This is obviously handy if you’re hard-of-hearing or you have the monitor in a noisy environment.
Since this isn’t something you’d carry with you there’s not a lot we can say about the feel of baby monitors. This model is about the size of the average adult hand and has a pleasant curvature to it, being easy to operate with it’s large buttons and clear indicator lights.
This is the cheapest baby monitor in our list but is still great quality and has the basic features you need for an audio-only baby monitor. It’s very easy to set up and the audio quality is very clear. Most buyers are very happy with their purchase of this baby monitor, but a few report that the parent unit loses power intermittently, but having read all of the reviews we think that these buyers didn’t realise that the batteries needed recharging, thinking it could be powered from the mains like the baby unit.
With the usual 50 metres indoor range the unit performs well wirelessly, with an even greater outdoor range of 300 metres. The microphone on the baby unit is very good at picking up sound and, due to BTs proprietary HD sound system, delivers very clear audio of your baby.
Although this is a basic, audio-only baby monitor, what it does it does very well. BT’s HD sound system delivers surprisingly clear audio, so you don’t have to sit there holding the parent unit up to your ear! If you’re in a noisy environment, the parent unit has an LED indicator at the top so that you can see the sound levels.
In terms of operation the unit has a power on/off button as well as plus and minus buttons for volume control. Regarding feedback from the parent unit, it has LED indicators to show that the parent and baby units are linked, as well as a mute indicator on the parent unit and the previously mentioned sound-level indicator.
The baby unit simply has an on/off switch and the microphone on it’s front face and is powered from the mains. Speaking of which, when first charging the batteries this will take 16 hours, so don’t expect to plug-and-play the first time you set the monitor up.
The Final Word
Although it has no talkback or lullaby features this monitor does the basic job very well. This is the cheapest and most basic baby monitor in our list but it’s from a well-respected manufacturer (British Telecom), is well-made and has all you need from an audio-only baby monitor. It’s attractive because of its low cost, easy setup and simple operation but it’s best feature is the crystal-clear audio that many buyer’s have commented on and also has excellent indoor and outdoor wireless performance.
Baby unit plugs in