How to choose a radio and baby monitor, selection tips and reviews
Radio nanny – a wireless radio communication device that transmits sound and some other indicators (humidity, temperature) from a child to a parent. The baby monitor consists of a parent unit (receiver) and a baby unit (transmitter) with a microphone.
baby monitor – a wireless video surveillance device, which, unlike the previous one, in addition to sound and a number of parameters, transmits an image. Like a baby monitor, this device consists of a parent unit with a screen and a baby unit equipped with a miniature video camera and microphone. The video baby monitor gives more information about what is happening in the children’s room and, accordingly, expands the ability of parents to control the situation.
Important: when choosing a device, pay attention to the design of the baby unit. It should not have easily detachable parts and sharp corners. The safety of the child depends on this.
- baby monitor
- Radio nanny
- Video baby monitor with iPhone output
Principle of operation
analog – models with such a connection are cheaper than devices with digital and simple in design. On the other hand, analog communication has significant limitations – it does not allow video transmission, is quite sensitive to interference and is not resistant to eavesdropping.
Digital (DECT) – better quality than analog. It makes it possible to transmit video, a number of additional parameters (humidity, temperature), and is also resistant to listening and interference. In addition, the signal is transmitted with minimal distortion. However, devices with a digital connection are more expensive than those with an analog model.
The maximum range of the device varies from 3 to 300 m. For an ordinary apartment, a communication radius of 30-50 m is sufficient. A larger indicator is relevant for country houses. If you plan to use the baby monitor as a portable radio, then in this case you should choose a device with a large communication radius.
Number of communication channels
Analog and digital devices may have a different number of channels. There are models with 1; 2; 3; four; 5; 8 and even 120 channels (digital). The more communication channels a model has, the more resistant it is to interference, since such problems can be easily solved by changing the channel. However, the price of such devices is much higher.
Diagonal of the screen located on the parent unit of the baby monitor. The larger the diagonal (size) of the screen, the clearer and more detailed picture it is able to display, which is very convenient for viewing. However, the large screen size significantly increases the dimensions of the parent unit, which should be compact. Most baby monitor screens have a relatively small diagonal.
Important: if there is a need for a large screen, then you can choose models of baby monitors that provide the ability to connect to a TV.
Type of power supply of the baby unit of the device. The power supply of the parent unit – a portable device – can only be autonomous.
Net – powered by a conventional 220 V power supply. Devices with mains power are reliable and relatively expensive. However, they cannot be used outside the apartment.
Battery – well suited for country houses, cottages and other places where there is no electrical network.
Mains/Battery – a universal option that is equally good for an apartment, as well as for giving and other places where there are no sockets. On the other hand, such devices are somewhat more expensive than the previous counterpart.
Important: When connecting the baby unit to a power outlet, do not remove the battery, as power is supplied to it only when there is no mains voltage. In normal mode, the battery does not sit down, and when there is a power outage, it will provide uninterrupted power to the device.
Batteries – power does not depend on the battery: just replace the battery and the device will work. However, keep in mind that batteries run out fairly quickly.
Working hours – time of continuous operation of the parent unit without changing batteries or recharging. This value may vary depending on the alarm frequency, sensitivity, volume and other parameters.
Charging time – time to fully charge the battery of the parent unit. With a decrease in charge time, interruptions in the operation of the device also decrease.
Parent unit attachment
On hand – is made in the form of a bracelet and is found in blocks resembling a wristwatch. In this case, the device is almost always in front of the parent’s eyes, which means that the risk of missing a light signal is reduced. But since the dimensions of the block are larger than those of the clock, such a mount can be inconvenient.
On a belt – clip on the belt or edge of clothing (pocket). This fixation frees the hands, but requires space on clothing to attach the clip. In addition, the clothes themselves cannot be very light, otherwise they will slide under the weight of a heavy device.
On the neck – fastened with a strap. Leaves hands free and does not depend on clothes. But such a mount may not be convenient for everyone.
On the rock – an additional type of fastening, which is used only in combination with one of the three previous ones. As a rule, we are talking about a hole that allows you to hang the parent unit on a nail. This is true if the parent sits in one place for a long time, for example, at a computer.
Important: The wall mount is also an optional option to accommodate the baby unit. It can come in handy if the crib mount for some reason does not fit or the parents do not like it.
Feedback – provides two-way communication – the parent not only hears the child, but also speaks to him. Toddlers with the help of this function can be lulled, and with older children, such a baby monitor can be used as a walkie-talkie in hiking and games.
Camera control – allows you to rotate the camera lens of the baby monitor by giving the appropriate commands from the parent unit. Such a function is relevant for controlling a grown-up baby, who is already able to get out of the crib, which means falling out of the field of view of a stationary camera.
VOX – activation of the “nanny” by voice. Its function is similar to the touch pad: while the baby is sleeping, the device operates in “sleep mode”, but when the child gives a voice, the corresponding signal activates the “nanny”.
The night vision – allows the parent to see everything that happens in the children’s room in complete darkness. In this case, a black and white image is displayed on the screen. This feature eliminates the need to turn on the light every time, which can disturb the child.
Lens adjustment – allows you to set the desired shooting direction.
Connecting additional cameras – increases the area and quality of the video baby monitor. For example, you can install multiple cameras in a room or purchase a camera with night mode. Baby monitors have a similar function: you can connect several baby units to the parent unit in order to hear everything that happens in different rooms.
Music Box – a player with an external speaker that can be used to play lullabies or nature sounds. Can be turned on and off remotely using the parent unit.
Camera video recording – the ability to record video transmitted to the parent unit. The storage medium is usually a memory card. Such a video is useful, for example, for editing a movie about a baby.
Photography – the ability to take a photo that is transferred to the parent unit. This will capture interesting moments in the life of the child.
Parent block search – when you press a button on the baby unit, a signal is heard on the parent unit, which makes it easier to find it.
Energy Savings – in addition to the sensory mat or the VOX function, it is provided with an ECO mode that reduces the power of the baby unit (transmitter). This mode can be turned on if the distance between the two units is small, therefore, high power is not needed.
Light indication of activity – signals a noise in the nursery. Often there may be several indicator lights. They light up depending on the level of noise – the louder it is, the more bulbs glow. Thus, you can turn off the speaker and use the device in silent mode.
Vibro indication activities – signals noise in the nursery by vibrating the parent unit (similar to the vibrating signal of mobile phones). Like the light one, it allows you to use the device in silent mode, but more convenient – the parent learns about the activity of the baby without even looking at the parent unit. Devices with such an alarm are more expensive.
Headphone output – allows you to connect headphones to the parent unit and hear all sounds through them. With headphones, the parent will be able to better pick up signals even in noisy environments, as well as maintain silence if necessary.
Connecting to a TV – allows you to connect the baby monitor parent unit to a TV to display the camera image on it. This is more convenient for viewing than using the small screen of the parent unit. Also, a similar function is useful for video recording, if the baby monitor does not have a corresponding function.
iPhone compatible – makes it possible to use an iPhone (with a special application) as a parent unit. Some devices with this feature may not have a parent unit.
Communication loss – signals a loss of communication with the baby unit. This feature is extremely important, as a silent parent unit will create the illusion that everything is in order in the nursery. The indicator can be both audio and visual.
Battery discharge – indicates a low battery level of the parent unit. Thus, the parent can charge the batteries or change the batteries in time to avoid unexpected device failure.
Timer with reminders – analogue of an alarm clock, which, after a specified time, gives a signal. With this function, the parent will not forget, for example, to wake up the baby.
Volume – adjust the volume of the speaker of the parent unit according to the specific situation. For example, in a quiet environment, you can make a small volume of the speaker, in a noisy room – set it to the maximum.
Sensitivity – adjust the microphone sensitivity according to the specific situation. On the one hand, it is important that the microphone allows the parent to hear well everything that happens in the nursery, and on the other hand, the parent unit should not be triggered by the slightest sound outside the window or the rustle of the sheets. This adjustment provides a balance between these extremes.
Brightness/Color/Contrast – allow you to get an image of optimal quality, which is displayed on the screen of the parent unit.
Touch screen – allows you to control the device by touching the icons on the screen – this is more convenient than using the buttons.
touch pad – reacts to the movement of the child, transmitting appropriate signals to the parent unit. It is placed under the baby’s mattress. Such a rug acts as an additional sensor, and is also used to save energy: while the baby is sleeping, the parent unit is in “sleep mode”, and when it moves, it switches to “active mode”.
night light – the baby unit of the baby monitor can be used as a night light. Such a lamp will help a child who is afraid of the dark fall asleep. Some models allow you to turn on and off the night light from a distance using the parent unit. In addition, video baby monitors may need a lamp for illumination if the camera does not have a night mode.
temperature sensor – allows you to monitor the temperature in the children’s room and transfer this information to the parent unit. Sometimes it is supplemented by an alarm signaling that the temperature has gone beyond the optimal values.
Humidity sensor – allows you to monitor the humidity in the children’s room and transmit this information to the parent unit. Humidity indicators are especially important for newborns. In some models, the sensor is supplemented with a corresponding alarm.
Among the brands of baby monitors, only a few can be distinguished, the quality of which may be in doubt. For example, Orion is not a brand specialized in children’s products. May cost less than other baby monitors, but materials may be more toxic than expensive models. Also, the range does not always correspond to the declared one.
The products of Beurer, Baby Ono, Bambi, Canpol babies, Chicco, Miniland, Motorola, Philips (Avent), Switel, Tommee Tippee, Tomy Digital brands have an excellent combination of price and quality. All of these baby monitors are at least safe for use in a nursery. The most expensive models can be equipped with interesting features, such as WiFi. This affects the cost of the device, but is not mandatory. The main advantages of quality baby monitors are: good signal and clear sound, convenient parent unit and reliable trouble-free operation. The remaining characteristics in this technique are secondary.