Are you a new or expecting parent trying to prepare for the massive responsibility of caring for a tiny, developing human? If so, you may have noticed that baby monitors are getting pretty pricy these days.
You’ve doubtless wondered to yourself why that is. Were they this expensive when your parents needed one for you, assuming they used one?
Well, fear not, because these are exactly the kinds of questions we’re going to be answering today, as we look into the price point of modern baby monitors and what that money will get you, exactly.
Here’s Why Baby Monitors Are so Expensive:
The technology has come a long way from the days of the simple handheld receiver, and today’s monitors offer additional features that make them worth the money. Some have more features than others and some come with more accessories than others.
Also remember that corporations exist first and foremost to turn a profit, and to keep growing and expanding constantly.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why any company would steadily increase its prices over time, regardless of the type of product being made.
Baby monitors are no exception to this, and certainly aren’t a special case; the main reason they’re getting so expensive these days is that everything is getting more expensive.
The other side of the coin is that new features are constantly being added to various products, and again baby monitors are no exception to this.
If your parents put a monitor in your bedroom when you were a baby, it was doubtless a lot simpler and less feature-rich than the primary options on the market today.
How Much Should You Pay for a Baby Monitor?
How much you should spend on a baby monitor depends on a lot of factors. How much disposable income do you have? What kind of home do you live in? Which features do you want or need, and which could you do without?
Your personal answers to all these questions will determine what kind of price point you should be looking for.
If you lead a busy lifestyle and are worried about being able to keep an eye on your child after parental leave is over, some of the more expensive features might be worth it for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re a stay-at-home parent, or you have a nanny or relative looking after your child while you work whom you trust completely, then you might not need the fancy bits and bobs, if you even need a monitor at all.
As for actual prices, these days baby monitors run from as little as $10 to $20 USD for very simple audio-only radio monitors (like the kind your parents probably had), all the way to upwards of $300 USD for the most sophisticated, feature-rich Wi-Fi monitor sets.
There’s also a mid-range assortment of products running around $50-$100 USD that includes a lot of monitors which have video cameras but do not use the internet.
Are Expensive Baby Monitors Really Better?
It depends! Depends on what you need from a baby monitor, that is. Many features will be effectively useless for some parents, but essential to others.
Basically, more expensive monitors do usually have more features, but whether those features are worth it or not is a matter of personal need.
For instance, baby monitors with cameras are more expensive than audio-only, but do you really need the camera? It sure can be nice to see your baby’s adorable face even when you’re not in the room, but generally just checking to make sure you hear their breathing is enough to ensure their wellbeing.
Likewise, do you need a feature like two-way talking? Extra features like this will drive up the price point, and it can be handy to be able to calm your baby down when they wake up upset, but if you’re willing to get up when you hear crying through the monitor, you don’t exactly need this feature either.
The takeaway here is that the more you pay, the more features you’re probably going to get. But rather than just buy the most expensive thing and assume it’ll be the best because it was the most expensive, it’s best to carefully weigh which features you do and don’t need, and select a monitor that matches those needs.
Otherwise, you could end up paying through the nose for features you don’t even end up using!
Is it OK to Not Use a Baby Monitor?
Absolutely! After all, parents made do before baby monitors were invented, didn’t they?
With that said, there are some considerations to keep in mind here. If you live in a small home where you’re likely to hear your baby crying from elsewhere in the home, then you might not need a monitor.
Likewise, if your baby sleeps in your room, you don’t really need a device to help you monitor them at night, because you’ll be right there all night long.
Further, if you only let people watch your child who you trust implicitly, then you won’t need a monitor to make sure they’re taking good care of your kid.
However, if you live in a larger home, and especially if your baby doesn’t share a bedroom with you, then it might be good to have at least an audio monitor.
In short, think about your personal situation, and how much a baby monitor would actually help you. If it doesn’t seem like it would, then feel free to go without! Just keep an ear out for your baby’s cries and check on them frequently and you should be just fine, with or without a monitor.
read our blog here about is it okay to not have a baby monitor?
Are Wi-Fi Monitors Worth it?
Wi-Fi monitors have some impressive features and can give you a lot of control over your child’s safety and peace of mind from anywhere with an internet connection.
Some busy parents really value the ability to check on their child from anywhere that a Wi-Fi monitor provides, as well as the ability to let your child’s grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc be able to meet their new family member sooner if they live far away.
On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Wi-Fi monitors are much more vulnerable to hacking attempts, so you could end up paying more just to make you and your child more vulnerable to getting spied on by internet creeps!
So if you do go for a Wi-Fi monitor, just make sure that it does not come with a hard-coded username and password. This is very important, as hardcoded credentials make it very easy for hackers to access your device.
And once you’ve got a monitor that does let you change your username and password, do so immediately, and keep changing it once a month or so for good measure.
With all that said, whether a Wi-Fi monitor is worth it for you or not—like so many of the questions we’re answering today—will depend on you and your personal needs.
If you’re frightened by the chance of your monitor being hacked, or even the corporation who made it collecting data on you and your child, then you’re probably better off avoiding Wi-Fi monitors.
However, if you value their convenience, and you take the proper steps mentioned above to ensure your security, then a Wi-Fi monitor could be worth it for you.
Read our other blog here about how do wi-fi baby monitors work?
What Are Some Cheaper Baby Monitors that Work Well?
If you’re on a budget or just don’t want to pay stupid-high prices for features you won’t use, but you still want a monitor of some kind, check out this handy list of lower-priced options!
- VTech Audio Monitor: Audio-only radio monitor in the $20 range
- Wyze Cam Pan: A Wi-Fi camera monitor that won’t break the bank at the $60 level.
- VTech DM221: The slightly more expensive $30-$40 audio-only monitor also features two-way communication.
- Babysense Video Baby Monitor: If you want an affordable non-Wi-Fi camera monitor, this one goes for around $70.
How Complicated is the Tech in a Baby Monitor?
Depends on the monitor! Audio-only monitors based on radio technology remain pretty much as simple as they were from the beginning—back when they were the only kind available.
They run on the same tech as walkie-talkies.
There are also monitors with video cameras that operate on a local wireless signal. These are also pretty simple when it comes down to it, using similar methods of wireless signal transference as audio-only monitors, but with the addition of a camera.
Finally, Wi-Fi monitors are about as complex as any other device in your home which connects to wireless internet. That is to say, in addition to their camera and microphone, they contain a Wi-Fi receiver the same as your phone, tablet, laptop smart TV, game system, etc, might have.
Read our blog about do baby monitors need wi-fi to work?