The Nest Cam Indoor is a popular choice for people who want something more versatile than a dedicated baby monitor. In tests, we’ve found it to be a totally adequate baby monitor, as have many other parents. If you already have a Nest, give it a go before you buy anything else. For a new purchase, we recommend the Arlo primarily because it’s notably easier to use overnight.
In many ways the two products are similar: With either, you’re going with an established company with a proven track record of reliable product support. You also get great image quality, very strong night vision, and the ability to check the video feed with your phone while you’re home or away (an ability that comes with drawbacks, as we noted when recommending the Arlo). The Nest has a convenient way of noting the time of events on the video, which is handy for tracking nap and waking times (this is a feature the Arlo lacks). But the main drawback to the Nest is that you can’t hear its audio while the app is in the background, which means if you want to use it overnight you’re stuck streaming video—other monitors, or the Arlo, can go audio-only much more easily. It’s harder to keep one eye on the monitor while you relax, too, because if you even swipe to a different app, the Nest audio is gone. For more information on how the Nest performed for us as a security camera, please see our guide to the best indoor security cameras.
The Samsung SEW3043 BrightView HD used to be our runner-up. It had a bigger screen and better video quality than the Infant Optics, but its touchscreen was clunky, its controls were annoying, and its battery life was weaker. It has since been discontinued.
The iBaby M6S was a former recommendation for a Wi-Fi–enabled monitor, but it falls short compared with the Arlo. It shares a few positive aspects—access from your phone anywhere, no need to worry about keeping track of a separate dedicated monitor, and the ability to record the camera’s footage. However, as we noted in long-term tests (and confirmed in the iBaby’s negative reviews), the app is pretty poorly done, and lost connections are a persistent problem.
At a fraction of the price of our main pick and half that of our audio-only pick, the audio-only VTech DM111 offers basic functionality, but you’ll end up spending much more for batteries or have to recharge batteries if you want to move the parent unit around: Dozens of reviewers say that this model drains batteries in just a few hours.
About a third of the reviews for the inexpensive HelloBaby HB24, an Amazon best seller and one of the models we tested, are negative: The monitor can only pan once the camera is zoomed in, tilting is manual, and night vision is poor.
Despite ranking among Amazon’s top-selling baby monitors, the Motorola MBP36S and MBP33S have as many negative reviews as positive ones. Many reviewers complain about poor battery life and deficient quality and durability. BabyGearLab also gave these monitors a low rating, citing the “disappointing images and sound on a hard to use parental unit.”
Poor quality and durability plague many baby monitors. Scores of reviewers on Amazon and other sites report that the HelloBaby HB32; Motorola MPB854Connect, MBP36XL, MBP33XL, MBP41, and MBP843Connect; Infant Optics DXR-5; Summer Infant Dual View, In View 2.0, and Sure Sight 2.0; Levana Jena, Ayden, and Astra; Philips Avent SCD570 and SCD630/SCD637; and VTech VM342-2 and VM343 don’t deliver on promised functionality and start to fail in some critical capacity within a year—often in much less time.
Looking at other Wi-Fi–enabled models, we don’t recommend getting the Ezviz Mini O, the Palermo Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor, or the LeFun C2, all of which Amazon reviewers report have connectivity issues, among other problems. We dismissed another Wi-Fi monitor we tested—the Evoz Glow Smart Baby Monitor—for being harder to set up than the iBaby monitor, our former recommendation, and for not being notably better than the iBaby in any other way.
Another prominent Wi-Fi–enabled monitor is the Withings Home video monitor, which we dismissed without testing. The most notable drawback to the Withings is that currently more than a third of Amazon reviewers give it two or fewer stars (out of five), citing problems similar to what you see on most other Wi-Fi video monitors: bad connectivity, a bad picture, unreliable air-quality sensors, and issues with overall quality and durability. In reply to some of the negative reviews, Nokia stated that it was looking into making improvements to this model. The rebranded version, the Nokia Home Video & Air Quality Monitor, shows a similar negative pattern in its reviews (the app also has poor reviews).
The Babysense Video Baby Monitor seems to be popular—although Fakespot rates its reviews a C—and it has a smaller video screen than our pick. The battery life may be a little lower as well (the manufacturer doesn’t offer a claim on battery life, and many reviewers say they either keep it plugged in or get acceptable battery life on an audio-only eco mode). It shares many other features with our pick, including two-way talk-back, pan/tilt/zoom options, and a temperature display.
Summer Infant’s Wide View 2.0 doesn’t have some of the important features of our main pick, including tilting and panning or a temperature sensor. Although the company’s Panorama model does have these features, numerous Amazon reviewers say the picture quality of both monitors is bad, especially at night.
The Levana Alexa doesn’t tilt, pan, or zoom, which makes its relatively large 5-inch screen of limited use.
The Anmeate Digital Video Monitor, Amcrest AC-1, Beleef Video Baby Monitor, and Homyway Digital Video Baby Monitor have received high ratings on Amazon, but Fakespot has given these listings an F for their unreliable reviews.
A number of Amazon reviewers say that the newer version of the audio-only Philips Avent DECT lacks some of the key features of the previous model, including rechargeable batteries and long range.
Reviewers of the Project Nursery PNM5W01 report problems with range, signal loss, and battery charging. Though it costs more than our pick, the Eufy, there is little evidence to suggest it’s a better performer.
The Cocoon Cam’s standout feature is its ability to monitor a baby’s breathing. It sounds appealing—most parents worry about this with newborns—but our reluctance to consider this item goes back to two details that set the Arlo apart from other Wi-Fi options. First, the Cocoon app has weak reviews, and second, there’s less evidence that this company can keep your data more secure than you can expect with Arlo, maker of a widely adopted security camera platform.
We dismissed the Safety 1st HD WiFi Baby Monitor without testing it for the same reasons as the Cocoon Cam—even worse reviews on the app, and no reason to believe that the company can do an equal or better job than Arlo at maintaining the product or securing your data.
The Owlet Smart Sock 2, though technically a baby monitor, is outside of the scope of this guide, as it monitors health data and is not providing just a simple video or audio view of your baby.
The MoonyBaby Monitor has a large 4.3-inch display, but we dismissed it because the camera can’t pan or tilt throughout the room. The company does offer a model with a pan/tilt function, but with few reviews so far we can’t recommend either without a longer record of reliability.
We dismissed the Willcare Video Baby Monitoring System because the camera can’t pan or tilt, and it doesn’t have enough reviews to prove that it is established or reliable enough to replace our pick (which it closely resembles, at least in the design of the parents’ monitor).
The Nanit baby monitor has some of the same features as an Arlo, plus an app that offers more analysis of your baby’s sleep and development, in addition to the basic video feed. However, it costs more than the Arlo, lacks the robust support and security of the Arlo app, and shares the same issues with connectivity that plague all of the other Wi-Fi–enabled monitors we’ve seen.