Let’s talk baby monitors.
Monitors with both video and audio are popular today . . . but they can be pricey. And while it is nice to see your baby, what is probably more important is to hear baby!
If the budget is tight, a good audio monitor can be just as effective as an expensive baby video monitor in keeping an eye (or rather ear) on baby.
Don’t take our word for it. That’s the advice we heard time and time again from our parent readers of our book on baby gear: a simple audio-only baby monitor works wonders.
For the best budget-friendly baby monitor with audio only, we’d recommend VTech’s DM111. We tried out several brands of monitors and looked for the best audio clarity, battery life and range. VTech topped our tests—and this simple model does the job.
Here’s what we liked:
What We Liked
• Clear audio. This monitor uses DECT 6.0 tech . . . basically, that keeps the monitor static-free. However, let us point out that ALL baby monitors can suffer from interference (microwaves, WiFi routers, cell phones, etc.). Yes, we see a small minority of complaints about “white noise” coming from this monitor. We’re not sure what causes those cases of interference.
• Sound and lights indicator. You can “see” the baby crying, if you turn down the audio (helpful at night).
• Battery life is good. We measured it at about 6 hours . . . yes, that is a far cry from the maker’s claim of 20 hours. But we suggest using the battery only sparingly. At night, it should be plugged in to be most effective.
What Needs Work
• Range could be longer. VTech claims a 1000 foot range—which we suppose would be the case if you were out in a corn field. In real world testing, we’d say this monitor works well in most average-size homes . . . but more like a 150-foot range is realistic.
• No rechargeable batteries. You must use alkaline batteries (not included) . . . and you can go through quite a few if you frequently use batteries rather than the A/C power adapter.
• No intercom or other special features. Yes, more pricey monitors let you call back and forth between the parent and baby unit (intercom). And some have night lights and lullabies . . . but this one is just basically a monitor. We are happy with that, given how easy this monitor is on the wallet.