How To Pick a Baby Monitor & Why Closed Circuit is Better Than a Wifi Security Camera

Boy, I’m really into the parenting stuff lately! Didn’t mean for this to become a mommy blog, I just feel like even if these breadcrumbs help one friend, it’ll be priceless. Hope they do!  

Here’s an email I sent to a friend who was (like I clearly did) over-thinking which baby monitor to purchase. Many pros and cons to consider but here’s my thinking on it:

I’m told you’re in search of the perfect baby monitor. We have the Wirecutter pick, which is the very popular Eufy Spaceview. It’s been pretty good but it has three main drawbacks — I think all of them stem from the fact that this (and maybe all) video baby monitors are forms of security cameras that are slightly repackaged as baby devices:

  • It’s a little loud when you pan/tilt and makes a “click” when the nightvision engages — it very rarely disrupts the baby but sometimes
  • It has this boneheaded LED on the front that for weeks was blasting straight into the baby’s eyes without us noticing it (easily remedied with some opaque paper and tape)
  • It needs a special mount to work with a crib because the camera can’t point itself “down” enough — hard to describe. We jury-rigged it without buying the special mount (see pic attached) and it’s working fine. 

All that said, it’s been pretty solid. I’m nit picking. 

The overall thing I struggled with was… why don’t we just use something like a Eufy or Nest cam? Who needs a specialized babymonitor? There are four things I realized, stemming from the fact that most other options work via wifi/app:

  • INTERNET – When wifi isn’t working, your baby monitor isn’t. Not a regular occurrence but occasional at home and who knows when you’re asleep. Further, when traveling, setting those things up on hotel wifi can be difficult, you’ll have to lug around a base station with it, connections reset, etc.
  • SOUND – You need to be able to let the camera’s AUDIO run in the background… that’s the key. And if your baby monitor app is running in the background or your phone locks, you won’t be able to hear into the baby’s room in realtime which is key, especially at night. To be clear, your nighttime routine is something like: 1) hear baby having a problem 2) check on baby through camera to see if this is a get-out-of-bed type problem.
  • SCREENS – Here’s another problem with using an app in the background: if you’re playing with your phone (lots of that when baby is sleeping) you can’t keep your other eye on the monitor unless you’re constantly switching between apps.
  • SECURITY – And finally, a little part of me thinks that some day a creep could hack into something wifi-enabled and watch my baby. Extremely unlikely but with a closed-circuit, at least I never need to give it a second thought.

That’s my treatise on baby monitors. The short version is I ruled out the wifi options and we’re happy with the Eufy one! Hope that helps. 

UPDATE JUNE 2021: I’m still happily using the Eufy Spaceview even as our little one is now a toddler. We just got back from another couple-day trip and it’s a tremendous time-saver to use that product over the wifi/app equivalent — you have a million things to setup in a hotel room, it’s nice for one to just work. Meantime, I’ve also began using the Arlo Pro 2 cameras around my home for security purposes. Because they’re so easy to move around, I have a mount in our child’s room where I plunk one of the cameras sometimes as a backup or when she’s home with a babysitter. The Eufy is still our “worker” though!

Here’s the picture I attached showing my setup without buying the special Eufy attachment. I basically drilled the mount directly into a nearby dresser:

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