In today’s high tech world we have every conceivable monitoring camera for inside or outdoors. But sometimes you just want audio monitoring. I get it. I like the audio only baby monitors and they save you a lot of money. If the set up of a baby camera will be too stressful and unnecessary, then opt for the best audio only baby monitor that suits your family and lifestyle.
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We review the best options for you and your baby. From the cheapest and most reliable models to the top shelf all-the-bells-and-whistles-included range. The advantage of an audio only monitor is that it’s easy to take with you and use at other people’s houses if you’re leaving baby in another room to sleep. By getting a vibrate alert model you can wear the receiver on your belt and never miss an alert.
Once you start using a baby monitor you realize you’re not going to sit there and look at the screen on a video monitor the whole time your baby sleeps. If you were going to do this you could just sit in the same room and watch your baby sleep. You really want the alert to activate when your baby is crying or awake. An audio baby monitor does this job very well. Obviously you’re not going to be extremely far from your baby so as soon as he or she awakes you will know with an audio only monitor just as well as you would through a video monitor.
Audio vs camera baby monitor
Personally, I found the camera baby monitors were often hard to set up in the correct position to see my babies. You may not have this problem if you’re organized and have plenty of room to place a monitor properly. However, I over-spent on a baby camera and I found that the best audio only baby monitor for me was one that I could walk around with in my pocket or clipped on to the outside of a jeans pocket. It allowed me to get on with things while my babies slept.
Obviously I don’t want to turn you away from a baby camera if it suits your family. I admit they’re a great idea. It’s just that they don’t suit every parent. So, if you want the best audio only baby monitor for your baby, let’s take a look at the reviews…
Best Cheapest Audio Baby Monitor – VTech DM111 Review
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The VTech Digital Audio Monitor DM111 is the best audio only baby monitor for parents who want to hear their baby but only need one way audio. You can hear your baby through the receiver but your baby can’t hear you.
This VTech audio monitor comes with a belt clip to keep it on a belt or pocket. It has 1,000 ft range and works through walls and between two different floors in you home. This unit uses DECT 6.0 digital technology. The digital transmission stops background static noise.
You’ll be able to hear your baby clearly. Also, the transmission in the VTech DM111 is transmitted securely. You’ll use an encrypted signal, so only you will be able to hear you baby with the audio monitor.
How is this baby audio monitor powered?
The transmitter monitor needs to be plugged into a 120 Volt power outlet. The receiver parent unit gives you two choices. You can run it on batteries and carry it around with you. You can also plug it into a power outlet. There’s a low battery light indicator so you can be sure that the device is always powered correctly.
Both the baby monitor and the parent receiver come with power cords in the box ready to plug into the power outlet.
One disadvantage of this model is that if you use batteries in the parent unit it tends to go through them very quickly. If you’re interested in a rechargeable model, see the VTech Audio Baby Monitor DM221 review below.
You can increase or decrease the volume level. The VTech DM111 also provides you with a 5 level sound indicator as shown by a set of 5 LED lights on the receiver. This lets you visually monitor the sound level while having the receiver muted.
This may be handy for different situations with your baby, especially away from your own home. But it’s also great for people who are hearing impaired. The visual indication of sound through the LED lights gives you another way to be alerted that the baby is crying.
Two Parent Unit Receivers – VTech DM112 Review
If you’re looking for the best audio only baby monitor with two parent unit receivers, this model (VTech DM112) comes with the option to get two.
You’ll need to make the decision on this before you buy because if you change your mind later and decide you need two parent units you can’t buy them separately.
To get two you need to buy it as a package deal, all together. Consider your circumstances – will both parents want to carry a parent unit on each of their belts or pockets. In the alternative, does one parent want to leave a receiver plugged in (not on battery operation) in two separate rooms and be able to move freely between both of them knowing that there is a parent receiver unit in each room. You’ll love this convenience. If you move between rooms getting things done while your baby sleeps, this is convenient.
Best Audio Only Baby Monitor with 2-Way Speakers – VTech DM221 Review
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If you’re looking for the best audio only baby monitor with the ability to speak to your baby through the monitor then the VTech DM221 is a very affordable choice.
This baby monitor is immensely popular. At the time of writing it has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon for almost 5,000 reviews.
This baby monitor is very similar to the one above (the VTech DM111) but there are several features which make this one worth the extra cost.
Four of the features really stand out for me
First, the 2-way talk back intercom is great because it lets you speak with your child straight away. Obviously this isn’t a necessity because you won’t be far away from your child. However, if you’re using a baby monitor with your baby upstairs while you’re down, then I find it takes a bit longer to get to the baby and this is when I prefer a 2-way speaker. You can say calming words to your child while you’re on your way to go to them.
Second, the parent unit on the DM211 offers the option of being rechargeable or you can use two AAA batteries in it. If you use the rechargeable feature it will provide up to 18 hours of monitoring time on a single charge. This is a huge advantage of the cheaper model which tends to use a lot of batteries if you’re not plugging it into an electrical outlet. This model comes with two cords to plug the baby monitor and the parent unit into electrical outlets.
Third, the loop-shaped top of the baby monitor transmitter lights up and can be used as a soothing night light for your child. One of my children has always needed a night light so this is a really handy feature. And if you want to pop in at the door to check on your child, the night light makes it easier to see him or her.
Fourth, this VTech DM211 includes a vibrate alert. This means you can be silently alerted to when there is sound in your baby’s room.
What about the basic functions?
All the other great features of the previous model are included on this one. It has the visual LED lights to give you a visual indication of the volume level of sound coming from your baby’s room. It also gives you 1,000 feet outdoors or 160 feet indoors operating range.
The DECT 6.0 gives you clear digital transmission without static. And of course, the parent unit includes a belt clip.
Another great feature on the VTech DM221 is that the parent receiver unit can be set to beep if the link between the parent unit and the baby unit is lost. You can also get it to beep if the rechargeable battery is low. I’m a big fan of safety features in any gadget I use with my children, so I love that these functions are included.
This VTech DM221 includes a backlit digital display panel on the parent receiver unit. This allows you to choose settings. This is an advantage over the cheaper VTech that doesn’t come with a display and has more limited functions.
Best Audio Only Baby Monitor with Temperature Sensor and Lullabies – Philips Avent SCD560 Review
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If you’re looking for an audio baby monitor with all the bells and whistles, this is it. Sure you’ll pay a lot more for it, but you do get more features.
This Philips Avent SCD560 includes a temperature sensor in your child’s room. Babies can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults. With a temperature sensor you can customize it to immediately alert you if there is a change in climate in your child’s room. It can send you an audible alert when the temperature changes.
This super-duper audio baby monitor also provides lullabies and a night light. If you have a baby who finds it hard to get to sleep you might be keen to get this model with the lullabies. There are 5 different songs to help calm your baby and get them to sleep.
This Avent SCD560 baby monitor provides a 2-way speaker to talk to your baby through the monitor. It uses DECT technology to give you digital clear sound. The range is 900 feet.
Is it battery operated?
If the best audio only baby monitor for you is one with battery operated units then this baby monitor is the one for you. You can plug in the parent unit into a power outlet or battery operated or recharged. The baby monitor transmitter is similar. You can plug it in or run on batteries.
This is a big advantage over most baby monitors. In most you can’t use the baby monitor unit without a power outlet. If your child falls asleep in another room you can simply pick up the monitor and carry it to where your child is sleeping and use battery operation. This is also handy if there is a power outage.
There is an alert light to tell you if the battery or recharge power is low. There’s also an alert if you’re out of range for the signal.
There is an adjustment so you can turn the sensitivity down. This is great to get the best results if there’s background noise to deal with.
There’s visual feedback with LED lights to indicate the volume of sound coming from your child’s room.
The parent unit comes with a lanyard to easily carry it on you around the home.
The baby unit comes with a night light which is very subtle and soothing for your child. The only disadvantage of the night light is that it’s not really bright enough to use to check on your child if you look into their room. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your requirements.
If you’re looking for the best audio only baby monitor and you’re on a very tight budget I’d say go with the VTech DM111 which is a basic model but gives you peace of mind to be able to hear your baby clearly.
The best audio only baby monitor taking into account both features and price really has to be the VTech DM221. I really like the extra functions on this model but it’s still really affordable. If I had to buy a new audio baby monitor tomorrow this would be the one I’d buy. It does the job you need it to do and more. I love that there is a vibrate alert to let you know silently when there’s sound coming from your child’s room. The other stand-out feature is the safety of knowing that you are alerted if the link is lost between the baby and parent units.
If temperature is a concern in your baby’s room then you must get the Philips Avent SCD560. Lots of families already have thermostat control and alerts in their homes so this is not needed by everyone. However, if you don’t have an alert system already operating in your child’s room, this audio baby monitor with temp control could be very important in letting you know that their room is at quite a different temperature to your own. I also like the lullaby function for getting your baby to sleep.