The Best Baby Audio Monitors of 2017By TJ Donegan
If you're in the market for a baby monitor, an audio-only solution is an affordable, simple way to get the job done. After testing all the top models on the market, we highly recommend the VTech Safe & Sound DM221. It's available with either one or two parent units, the parent unit runs off either a wall outlet or rechargeable batteries, and it has the best combination of build quality, features, and range that we tested.
As a parent myself, I know just how crucial having some kind of baby monitor can be. Even with all of us on the same floor, it can be difficult to hear from room to room—especially at night with things like fans or air conditioners going. While I personally use and recommend a video monitor like the Samsung BrightView, even a half-decent one will run you at least $100.
Our top audio monitor costs less than $40 for a single parent unit, giving you peace of mind without breaking the bank. Here is how they all shake out.
Updated April 28, 2017
VTech Safe & Sound DM221Best Overall
Though it's only slightly more expensive than the cheapest monitors we tested, the VTech DM221 had by far the best combination of design, build quality, features, and range. It excels as a traditional monitor, and easily covered a 4-story home in our range tests, with no drop-offs anywhere.
For extra features the parent unit has a rechargeable battery, a helpful LCD display, and a belt clip, while the baby unit has a night light. But our favorite feature was the vibrate function; with this setting the parent unit will vibrate when the baby starts crying, rather than broadcast the audio. This way one parent can handle the 4AM feeding while the other (hopefully) gets some much-needed shuteye.
VTech Safe & Sound DM111Best Value
If you just need a no-nonsense baby monitor without all the bells and whistles, the entry-level VTech DM111 is the way to go. It did as well as the higher-end DM221 in our range tests, and you can find it most places for $20 and under.
The biggest knock here is the parent unit does not come with rechargeable batteries, instead relying on either a wall outlet or AAAs for portability. But if you just need something to keep tabs on your baby in the middle of the night and don't mind picking up your own rechargeable AAAs, this is the best, cheapest option.
Where To Buy$34.99 Babies R Us Buy
Motorola Comfort 10
The Motorola Comfort10 is exclusive to Babies R' Us and it performed well in all of our tests. Though it doesn't have nearly as many features as our top pick, it does come with a rechargeable battery in the parent unit.
In addition to a few spotty user reviews that we saw, the main issue here is the price. At $34.99 it just doesn't do nearly enough to justify the cost when you can get the equally good VTech DM111 for $15 less and pick up some rechargeable AAAs on the side.
VTech Safe & Sound DM221-2
The VTech DM221-2 is identical to our best overall monitor, the DM221, except that it comes with two parent units. That's the only difference. While most people will be just fine with the single-unit model we recommend above, this is the best choice if you need two.
It's also worth noting that the price on the DM221-2 fluctuates independently of the single-unit model, and sometimes it's only $5-10 more expensive. If you're thinking about getting two but are worried about cost, then keep an eye on this price.
Summer Infant Babble Band
Summer Infant's babble band is a unique take on the baby audio monitor, with a parent unit that is housed in a rubberized watch band. This theoretically lets you wear the monitor on your wrist without needing to hook it to your belt or carry it around.
The problem? The watch relies on wireless charging, magnetically attaching to the charger built into the baby unit. Our watch simply wouldn't charge, so we couldn't test it. While the user reviews are generally positive, we have to give this one an incomplete for this round of testing.
Safety 1st Sure GlowAvoid
While we tried to give the Safety 1st Sure Glow the benefit of the doubt, the moment we took it out of the box it made a poor impression. The units feel incredibly cheap, the instructions were unclear, and the design is just plain bad.
Though it performed well enough in our range tests and everything seemed to be working, we just can't imagine trusting this in the middle of the night. User reviews back that up, with a whopping 61% 1-star reviews on Amazon. Stay away.