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What's behind our baby monitor Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 12 models in baby monitors to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall Score is based mainly on Interference and also on Ease of Use Battery Life and Range.
  • Interference
    Interference can vary widely depending on the area in which the home is located and what other electronic devices are within the home or are being used by nearby neighbors. When you buy a monitor, choose one that operates on a different frequency from your cordless phone and other wireless devices around your house.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of Use rates the presence and convenience of features of each device. For video models it also includes the picture quality of the monitor.
  • Battery life
    Battery Life reflects lab measurements of continuous use of the parent unit with new alkaline or fully charged rechargeable batteries, with the loudness of each unit set to the same level.
  • Range
    The distance in a typical home and outdoors that a unit can pick up a uniform signal from the baby's unit.


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Recommended baby monitors

Recommended baby monitors are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Baby monitors are an extra set of ears-and, in some cases, eyes-that allow you to keep tabs on your sleeping baby. Using one can alert you to a situation before it becomes dangerous. If you're looking for information about baby monitors, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ baby monitor reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our baby monitor buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and baby monitor reviews to help you choose the best baby monitor for your needs.

Baby monitor buying guide

A baby monitor can give you peace of mind, letting you move around the house while your little one naps. While monitors can be a blessing, many parents complain about audio interference and batteries that die sooner than expected.

A monitor's job is to transmit recognizable sound and, in the case of video models, images. The challenge is to find a monitor that works with minimal interference--static, buzzing, or irritating noise--from other nearby electronic products and transmitters, including older cordless phones that might use the same frequency bands as your monitor.

Audio interference can take a lot of forms, including your neighbor's conversations (or even their baby's babble). That can make it difficult, if not impossible, to decipher the sounds coming from your own baby monitor.

If you have a video monitor, interference can mean fuzzy reception or, even more disturbing, images from other people's homes (and vice versa).

Overall, baby monitors can be as temperamental as a 2 year old. Interference is probably the biggest complaint, but parents also report such problems as low visibility, a shorter-than-expected reception range, and short battery life. Choose a monitor carefully, and make sure you'll be able to return it if it doesn't deliver.

Babies & Kids News

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