Your Guide to the Different Types of Baby Monitors

Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to the Different Types of Baby Monitors

The burgeoning interest in baby monitors has turned these items, once considered superfluous, into an indispensable component of nursery safety. They offer a high level of reassurance for anxious parents who wish to ensure the best possible care and safety for their child while continuing to meet other obligations around the house. With a baby monitor, you can relax and focus on other duties, take a shower, or even make a cup of tea, knowing you can quickly respond to the baby within seconds of his waking up. A baby monitor allows you to listen to your baby's precious gurgles and breaths from the next room; and just imagine Grandma cooing over a yawning bundle on the innovative video baby monitors even while knitting her yet another sweater.

As a consumer, you might find the different types of monitors available confusing, especially when many come with every features tagged as necessary. Making the right choice is easier if you first learn about the different types of monitors, how to know which is suitable for you and for your baby's needs, and the factors you should consider when shopping for one. A few helpful nuggets on buying online on eBay,, which saves you a pretty penny and gets a baby monitor in your hands within a heartbeat, and you are ready to go.

The Need for Baby Monitors

A baby monitor is nursery safety equipment that parents and caregivers use to monitor a baby's wakefulness through the transmission of recognisable sounds and images. Baby safety monitors or baby alarms come as a set of two units working together: one unit transmits the voice or voice and picture signals from the baby's bed; the other, usually with the parent, receives the signals. Some types of monitors have multiple receivers, which are especially useful in large homes.

Baby monitors arose in response to the growing needs of busy parents and their instinctive desire to keep an eye on the baby even when they are not in the room. As pieces of safety and health equipment, baby monitors offer parents peace of mind and a bit of freedom to focus on other duties and children without any guilt or worry. Mother and baby both rest well, without the disturbance of squeaky doors, constant checking in on the baby, and sleepless nights. Baby monitors still require the parent's diligence and watchful eye, however, and are not substitutes for proper adult supervision.

Further Information on Baby Monitors

Parents are the most demanding consumers of baby safety equipment because they want the best care for their child. If happy with a product, they wax lyrical about the features they love and the difference it brings to their lives and recommend the product to all who may listen. Conversely, parents also make the harshest critics and do not easily overlook equipment that interferes with the safety of their child or comes up short under measure. Parent forums and online communities and groups offer a wealth of information for new and seasoned parents alike who need detailed information, reviews, and answers. Consumers with a specific model in mind can read up extensively on the brand's website.

The Different Types of Baby Monitors

There are a host of baby monitors, from the most basic to the models with all the bells and whistles. Baby monitors can be roughly categorised according to the type of signal transmitted or the type of signal received. The types of signal transmissions include analogue and digital; the types of signals received include voice only, voice and picture, and breathing.

Type of Signal Transmitted

The three types of monitors according to the type of signal transmitted are analogue, digital, and digital enhanced cordless technology (DECT). The type of signal transmitted also affects the level of interference a monitor likely receives and thus plays a major role in the sound quality of the unit.


Analogue monitors use radio transmission, which means anyone within range can receive the signal. They are pocket-friendly and widely available; however, the sound quality is poor. Additionally, the fact that analogue frequencies are easily intercepted by radio scanners or other similar wireless units means users have less privacy than with other types of signal transmission.


Digital monitors use power to convert the sound signal into data, making it tricky for other people to receive the encoded signal and allowing parents peace of mind with regard to both their baby and their privacy. Digital monitors often have desirable features such as remote control functions, night lights, temperature displays, and more.

Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT)

These monitors have microprocessors that encrypt the signals between the transmitter and receiver, making them exclusive to your monitor. Unfortunately, this exclusivity comes with a matching price tag: DECT monitors the costliest of all. The table below shows the three types of signals used in baby monitors and their differences.

Monitor Signal Type





Radio transmission

Lightweight, cheap, easily available, several channel option, popular

Poor sound quality, significant interference, insecure transmissions, accidental broadcasts


Converts power signal to data, encodes signal

Strong signal, secure transmission, no eavesdropping

Bulky, costs more than analogue, slight interference from wireless devices


Uses microprocessors, encrypted signal

Strong signal, secure transmission, no interference


Many parents who are in the market for baby monitors just don't know where to start. For these shoppers, learning about the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each type helps in making an informed decision and getting just the right baby monitor for the nursery.

Type of Signal Received

Monitors are also marketed according to the type of signal they receive and this includes voice and voice and picture monitors. Breathing monitors are either voice or voice and picture; as the name suggests, this type monitors the baby's breathing, providing parents with peace of mind.


Voice monitors are relatively inexpensive compared to other options and not as bulky. The best voice monitors are those that have voice and light features and use flashing LED lights to draw attention to the baby in case the environment is noisy. Since they are not as feature-packed as the other types, voice monitors are less of a battery drain.

Voice and Picture

Baby monitors with voice and picture allow parents to see exactly how the baby is sleeping; as such, they are a hit with parents who believe feel monitors are just not enough. With this type of monitor, parents can see every little turn and shift that the baby makes and eliminate the need to run off to check on each suspicious noise, as can be the case with voice monitors. Voice and picture monitors often come at a premium price, in exchange for their many features such as screen sizes, night vision, and panning and zooming.


These breathing monitors keep tabs on the baby's breathing, checking for and sending alerts in case of any changes. It is important to note that, while manufacturers claim that they offer protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), doctors do not put much stock in it, saying that monitors are safety equipment only and not medical devices. However, parents who worry about the baby's breathing can rest a bit easier with this monitor, as it allows them to quickly recognise any changes in breathing.

Useful Features in Baby Monitors

The plethora of features in baby monitors is as varied as the designs and colours they come in. Depending on your needs, you might search out a monitor with water-resistant housing if you tend to shower while the baby naps, one that allows you to turn on music when baby wakes, or one with the talkback feature so the first sound the baby hears when she wakes is Mummy's voice. What you buy or select depends on your needs and whimsies, but amongst the useful features that many parents look for are indicator lights, power options, temperature sensor, the number of receivers and transmitters, and webcam.

Indicator Lights

Indicator lights alert parents when the battery is low or when the receiver has crossed the monitor's range limit, which varies depending on the size of the house and the material used in its construction. This is especially useful for parents who go outside the house and saves them a lot of worry and distress. Some indicator lights work together with an alarm or loud beeps, ensuring that it gets your attention.

Dual Power Option

This feature allows the monitor to easily switch between the mains power and rechargeable batteries so that you are free to either carry it around or to plug it in inside the house. The longer you use the monitor, the greater the power you need handy; thus, a feature that allows you to connect to the mains power is ideal.

Temperature Sensor

Some monitors have temperature sensors that analyse the room's temperature. While some may not consider this a vital safety feature, temperature is something parents worry about as babies' temperatures need to remain constant, not too warm and not too cold. The recommended range for room temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees C.

Multiple Receivers

Those who live in large houses prefer multiple receivers to ensure that they are in range at all times. Often parents fix one as a stationary unit and use the other to carry with them as they move around the house, ensuring that they are never out of range and so never miss a rustle or cry.

Multiple Transmitters for Multiple Children

Most parents of multiple children cannot imagine life without baby monitors, tending to favour multi-unit monitors with multiple transmitter: one for each baby's room. While these are not easily obtainable, they are worth the effort for twins or triplets. When a caregiver uses a different baby monitor in each room instead of a monitor with multiple transmitters, the monitors create a great deal of interference when all are set to the same frequency.


A webcam feature means Grandma can still coo over the baby, even when she is hundreds of miles away. Monitors use the home's existing wireless network to transmit voice and picture signals from the unit in the nursery to a computer or any other device.

Selecting the Right Baby Monitor for You and Your Baby

Now that you know the types of baby monitors and have a sense for the features you like, the next step is to know what to look for while shopping, ensuring that you find one that offers good value for your money. Most of the problems that plague parents who use baby monitors include interference, a limited range, and batteries dying down unexpectedly. A good baby monitor is effective against all this and is well-suited to your family's lifestyle.

Family and Home

Your family, home, and lifestyle influence your choice of baby monitors, with your needs as a parent determining the level of reassurance you want the monitor to provide. An active lifestyle with lots of moving around calls for a portable receiver, while in a large house, monitors with multiple receivers and a powerful range are the best choice. Receivers with indicator lights are useful in noisy environments because you can see the lights flashing even when you cannot hear the noises. Those who are not happy with just listening to the baby find that a video monitor is the ideal option.

Receiver Portability

Fixed monitor receivers are restrictive and unsuitable for the busy mum ever on the move. While they are useful for places in which movement is minimal, such as the bedroom while sleeping, constant movement requires a portable baby monitor receiver that goes with you everywhere, be it the living room, kitchen, or garden. A good sturdy strap keeps the monitor from falling off or wearing down too quickly.

Sound Quality

Volume and clarity of sound are synonymous with quality in baby monitors. Densely populated areas throw more interference at the monitor, which is why many monitors have a number of frequency channels to select from. Digital sound quality is on par with most parents' needs, whereas analogue signals are poor and have a lot of static, making them of limited use.


Range refers to the maximum distance that the signal travels from one unit to the other. Smaller houses do not require a large range; however, if you spend time outside the house, then you need a monitor with a greater range. A good monitor has a range of at least 80 metres.


Audio and video interference from nearby electronic equipment or walls causes buzzing, static, and fuzzy and broken images, with some monitors picking up every signal. No parent wants to hear the neighbourhood gossip on their baby monitor, thus one with in-built security features or a type of signal transmission that minimises or removes interference altogether is a good choice.

Buying a Baby Monitor on eBay

While browsing through the thousands of listings on eBay for every type of baby monitor available, be sure to read over the sellers' descriptions of their items, looking for information on the type of monitor and signal used in transmission as well as its frequency and the power source. Use the guidelines above to help decide on not just a good baby monitor but one that is ideal for you. As with nearly every product, you get what you pay for: More expensive items in good working condition are preferable to bargains that do not work.

On eBay, you have the option of filters such as price, so you stay within budget, and location, which enables you to find the nearest local seller. Some sellers offer free shipping and others same-day shipping on select items, and with an online store that is open around the clock, your baby monitor is likely to arrive quickly. Once both baby and you have tested the monitor to your satisfaction, visit eBay to leave feedback for the seller.


For parents to trust the extra set of eyes and ears that baby monitors provide while the baby sleeps, they need an assurance of the highest levels of safety with that equipment. Baby monitors do this easily as the most pleasant of conveniences to modern parents offering peace of mind, uninterrupted rest for mother and child, and a bit of freedom.

Despite the confusing variety of baby monitors sold in both brick and mortar and online stores, selecting the best baby monitor for you is not difficult if you follow several simple guidelines. Consumers who carefully consider their family and lifestyles as well as the portability, range, and sound quality of the monitor effectively narrow down their choices. A little indulgence with the styles, designs, and features from the cool to the eccentric stamps the monitor with your individual taste. With thousands of baby monitors from which to choose, there is no better place than eBay to do your selection and purchase quickly, safely, and pleasantly.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides