Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby monitor ratings has seen VTech, Uniden, Oricom and Angelcare compared on their value for money, reliability, power source, image quality, features, sound clarity, ease of use and customer satisfaction.
Being a parent often means you need eyes in the back of your head in order to make sure your children aren’t getting up to mischief and staying safe. As much as we don’t like to admit it, sometimes our kids can get away from us, as well as tire us out, so an extra pair of eyes and ears is a blessing for all parents. While friends or family can give you a break during the day, baby monitors give you those extra eyes and ears often where they are needed most – in baby’s bedroom.
Baby monitors allow mums and dads to keep an eye and ear on their sleeping bubs, through either a visual or audio unit, or both. The peace of mind means you can get on with your evening without having to duck your head around the door to check up on your little one – potentially disturbing their sleep! But not all baby monitors are the same, with many features, capabilities, camera types and numerous other factors to consider. How do you know which baby monitor will be best for your specific requirements? That’s where Canstar Blue’s annual ratings come into view.
This year, we surveyed more than 300 parents who have recently purchased baby monitors, with their thoughts and preferences forming our ratings. Think of our ratings as like asking 300 of your mum and dad friends from the park of childcare about their experiences with baby monitors, so you can make a better-informed decision about which to buy yourself.
This year, VTech took out the top spot, with multiple five-star ratings, including for overall satisfaction.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby monitors review saw four major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
With VTech taking out top spot, last year’s winner Uniden was joined by Oricom on four stars for overall satisfaction, with Angelcare rated three stars. Both Uniden and Oricom scored multiple five-star ratings, with Uniden the only brand to score the top spot for power source.
Read on as we explore what each brand has to offer, and what you should keep an eye out for when it comes to buying baby monitors.
VTech is a global supplier of electronic learning products, in addition to cordless phones and baby monitors. Offering both audio and video models, the Hong Kong-based company has plenty to offer Australian parents. Its introductory audio model, the BM1000, operates on DECT technology, with the baby unit operating on mains power, while the parental unit can operate for 14 hours on batteries, with recharging capabilities. Other features include multiple volume levels, with alerts for low battery and out-of-range warnings.
Other monitors, such as the BM2150, include additional features such as lullabies, temperature sensors, night lights, as well as two-way communication between baby and parent units, while the BM2000-OWL model allows the baby monitor to blend into the room through its owl-shaped design. If you’re more interested in a video monitor, VTech provides a number of models, all with full colour display units. The range begins with the BM3200, which includes a VGA camera capable of vertical angle adjustment and night vision, in addition to temperature sensors with a split-screen mode for the parental unit.
VTech’s top of the line video model, the VM9900, includes a 5inch touch screen display, allowing parents to control the 720p HD camera through gesture-control technology. Compatible with the VTech app for remote viewing and recording, the VM9900 also allows parents to record to an SD card.
Uniden is a Japanese wireless communication company with a global reach, manufacturing radios, scanners and cordless phones, along with a variety of baby monitors. With both audio and visual options available for parents to choose from, Uniden’s baby monitors are available at most electronic retailers in Australia.
Uniden’s audio range includes the BW 120 and BW 130 models, each coming with a parent receiver, baby unit, rechargeable batteries and AC adaptors. The difference between the two audio units is the BW 130’s functionality, boasting an LCD display that comes with additional room temperature alerts, allowing mums and dads to keep a closer eye on their little one’s comfort during the night.
Uniden offers a wide selection of video monitors and cameras, available for separate purchase and packaged deals, allowing parents to select what they want or need. Uniden’s range starts with the BW 3001 model, which includes a 2.3inch display with a camera, and a “Walkie-Talkie” function, in addition to night vision. Other video models, such as the BW 3101R, give parents a larger 4.3inch colour screen display, with the ability to monitor via the Uniden app. Other features include a temperature display, night light and a selection of lullabies to help put your child to sleep, with night vision and multiple camera capabilities ensuring that parents can keep an eye on their child at all times.
Uniden’s top of the line video model, the 3451R + 1, includes two cameras, with an additional clamp camera that can be mounted on most surfaces, allowing parents to achieve the optimal angle for close up monitoring. The 3451R’s second camera includes Zoom, Pan & Tilt functionality, which can be wirelessly controlled via Uniden’s Baby Watch app, allowing for full control while your child rests.
Australian-owned brand Oricom has a wide range of audio and radio products, including a wide variety of baby monitors, whether you’re after an audio only model, or looking to set up a video monitor. The company’s products are available in baby stores around Australia, although it’s best to check with your local store before you make the trip.
If you’re after an audio monitor, Oricom offers five models from the Secure range, with the introductory model coming with features like talk back functionality, a night light, plus rechargeable batteries. Other monitors, such as the Secure320, include additional functions like a mute feature, as well as volume control and a longer battery life. Oricom’s top of the line audio model, the 520, comes with features such as lullabies and white noise tracks, as well as functions such as feeding alarms, temperature monitoring and a torch built into the parenting unit.
For those leaning more towards a video monitor, Oricom gives parents plenty to consider through the Secure range, offering a number of different monitors and cameras to suit your needs. The series begins with the Secure710 and Secure715 models, each including features such as night vision, lullabies and parent talk back capabilities. Oricom also has larger baby monitors, with a 3.5inch and 4.3inch display available with the 850 or 860 models. Both monitors include a larger range of camera movements, as well as room temperature display and alert for increased safety. The 860 comes with a touchscreen unit, which has more options and features for a better night’s sleep for both you and your newborn.
In addition to audio and video units, Oricom provides Breathing Movement Monitors, which include the parenting monitor, as well as the Babysense2 unit, that monitors the breathing movement rate of your sleeping child. Intended for use for those with sleep apnoea, the Babysense2 will alert you if your baby’s breathing falls below a certain rate, or cannot be detected, allowing both parents and children to have a safer, better, night’s sleep. Each model comes with a parenting unit, camera and Babysense2 monitor, with features like talk-back functionality, infrared camera and volume control all available across the range.
Established in 1997, Angelcare offers a variety of audio, video and movement monitors, in addition to a number of accessories, including adaptors, charging cradles and extra cameras, with Angelcare products available at both baby stores and electronics retailers. While focussing on movement and video models, Angelcare also offers an Audio model, the AC110, which includes features such as two-way talk back, a low battery alarm, as well as temperature control to ensure your bub is as comfortable as possible.
For those after a video model, Angelcare’s range is a bit more extensive, offering either pure video models, or models with movement-sensing capabilities included. The AC320 is a pure video model, featuring a range of 250m, with a touch LCD screen for easy use and compatibility with two additional cameras for those looking to cover a wider area, or just make sure you’ve got a specific spot in view.
Movement models include the AC327, AC337, AC527 and AC507 units, each with a movement sensor pad, parent unit and nursery unit to ensure that you have more than just your eye on your little one. Additional cameras, sensor pads and units can be purchased, allowing you to tailor your set up to your needs and room size.
While the following brands may not have received the minimum sample size to be included in this year’s review, you may still like to consider them as an option:
D-Link is a global provider of network technology solutions, with a range of baby monitors also up for grabs. Its Wi-Fi Baby Camera features interchangeable accent colour rings, whether you’re into blue or pink. Expect 720p HD video quality, night vision with infrared LEDs and a temperature sensor to inform you if the room becomes too hot or too cold.
It has in-built sound and motion detection to alert you of loud noises with a two-way audio functionality, so that you can hear your baby and respond. Similarly, to other brands, it features pre-recorded lullabies to help your little bub fall asleep. You can also use the camera to save photos and video clips directly to your phone for easy sharing.
D-Link states that even when an internet connection isn’t available, you can connect your phone to the camera’s wireless network for local monitoring. In addition, it’s designed with 4x digital zoom, plus day and night vision, allowing you to keep an eye on your bub with up to 16 feet of visibility in the dark, according to the brand.
Known for its telecommunication branch, Motorola has diversified into a range of electronics industries, including baby monitors, offering a variety of audio and video models. Available at local baby stores and electronics retailers, Motorola gives parents plenty of options when it comes to monitoring nap time.
Motorola has a number of audio baby monitors, whether you’re looking for a basic model, or something with plenty of features. If you’re more inclined for a simple audio device, the MBP160 monitor may suit your needs, including features such as volume control and battery alerts, whereas other models such as the MBP161 include activity timers, as well as two-way communication and room temperature display. Motorola’s other audio model, the MBP140, includes additional features such as a night light and power saving mode.
If you’re leaning more towards a video model, Motorola has you covered, with additional cameras also sold separately for those looking to lock down all angles. The video models begin with the MBP25S, with a 2.8inch display screen and camera with 300-degree viewing range. Other models, such as the MBP360, include two cameras, one for inside use while the other can be used for outside, providing a 360-degree vantage point. It also offers the Smart Nursery video baby monitor, which includes a 7inch touchscreen and pre-installed baby care apps to make life easier. It features two-way communication, infrared night vision and temperature and humidity monitoring, with notifications sent to your smartphone via the Hubble app.
The Project Nursery brand is claimed to feature a selection of the most coveted nursery design and décor products, alongside its baby monitors and smart sound soothers. Its range is available through various baby shops, as well as online.
Its Video Monitor unit with Wi-Fi connectivity (PNMDUAL5) features a 12.7cm touch screen monitor. You can use the Project Nursery app on your smartphone or tablet to check in while you’re away, plus record and take snapshots. Additionally, multiple people can view from different locations. Expect temperature sensors and push notifications for sound, motion and temperature alerts.
The Project Nursery Video Monitor with Amazon Alexa (PNMSA2) gives you the ability to control the unit with voice command, so you can add items to your grocery list, play lullabies and children’s audio books, receive reminders and alerts all from the comfort of your couch. Other features include audio recording and two-way communication, plus infrared night vision.
Aside from finding out which baby monitor brand parents are most satisfied with; our research also revealed the following drivers of parent satisfaction:
Baby monitors aren’t cheap, with the average spend on a new unit being $168, according to our survey, so it makes sense that value for money is the most important driver of satisfaction for mums and dads. It was followed by reliability, power source and image quality. When spending the big bucks on a baby monitor, you’d expect it to be reliable and offer the quality you’re looking for.
Here’s what else our survey revealed:
In addition to a number of brands to choose from, parents also have a choice of what type of baby monitor to choose. Survey respondents were asked what type of baby monitor they most recently purchased:
What type of monitor you decide to install and use in your home will come down to your personal preferences and situation, as well as how much of an eye, or ear, you want to keep on your little one. While an audio, video and movement monitor will give you the most peace of mind, they’ll likely cost you more at the checkout, meaning your budget and parenting habits will also play a part in which type of baby monitor type you choose.
Baby monitors can be a useful gadget for parents, allowing you to tackle the household chores, or catch up on some relaxation, while also keeping a close eye on your sleeping bub. But with plenty of options to choose from, finding one that will suit your needs could lead to a few sleepless nights.
Purchasing a baby monitor will be unique to your situation, with household size, preferences towards audio or video, as well as how many bundles of joy you have to look after, all factors to consider when browsing your options. With brands offering plenty of additional extras, doing your research before you walk into the shops may not only save you a few headaches when it comes to tackling the technology, but also save you time and money down the road.
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a baby monitor in the last 2 years – in this case, 325 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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