Our reporter took the frugal month challenge and saved $544 during February by forgoing haircuts and new clothes and finding free entertainment.
Baby Monitor Performance
While baby monitor reviews from users and experts are good indicators, baby monitor performance varies widely based on the number, types, and locations of electronic devices in your home. Your home's layout can also play a role in determining which baby monitor works best for you, since some homes simply have more walls between the transmitter and receiver, which can interfere with the signal.
General Performance.Overall, our picks receive high marks in baby monitor reviews. On Amazon, users praise the sensitive transmitter on the Sony BabyCall Nursery Monitor NTM-910, which eliminates extraneous noise while picking up sounds as soft as the baby's breathing. The Fisher-Price Remote Control Musical Audio Monitor is also very popular, although users posting baby monitor reviews on Buzzillions seem just as impressed by the music and light features as they are by the reception. Many reviews say this is an exceptional monitor, especially if you keep it plugged in instead of relying on battery power.
The Graco iMonitor Vibe boasts by far the best baby monitor range of all the models on our list, at 2,000 feet, and is a favorite among users posting baby monitor reviews at Buzzillions for its clear signal and ease of use. In reviews at Walmart, customers give the Summer Infant Secure Sounds 2.4 GHz Digital Monitor high marks for its sensitivity, even when the monitor is set at a low volume.
It's common practice for parents to return monitors that don't work well in their homes. Just make sure you know the store's return policy before you buy. If you receive a monitor as a gift, try to find out where it was purchased. Many retailers will let you return it for a refund or exchange, but only for a limited time. Refund requirements vary greatly from store to store, a common complaint among parents. In general, Amazon receives the highest praise in baby monitor reviews for quick and easy refunds.
Baby Monitor Battery Life.The limited battery life of most baby monitors is a huge source of parent complaints in baby monitor reviews. Monitors with rechargeable batteries and AC adapters help you avoid spending as much on batteries as you do on the monitor itself, but even those monitors face criticism from users. Reviewers at ToysRUs don't like having to plug the Fisher-Price Remote Control Musical Audio Monitor in to keep it charged during the night. Limited battery life is also a downside of the Graco iMonitor Vibe. A parent reports on Amazon that a charge lasts only 10 to 15 minutes. One user posting a review on Amazon says the rechargeable function on the Sony BabyCall is one of its main draws. A parent who bought the Graco UltraClear Analog Baby Monitor on Amazon was surprised to learn that the monitor takes AAA batteries, although the product description mentions rechargeable batteries as a power source. A baby monitor review at TopTenReviews says batteries don't last long in the Safety 1st Sound View Monitor. This monitor also lacks rechargeable batteries, so according to the experts at TopTenReviews, you'll have to replace the 9-volt batteries every few days if you rely too much on battery power, which will multiply the cost of this cheap baby monitor.
Baby Monitor Sound Quality.There's no way to know which model is going to be the best baby monitor for you until you try it out in your home. For every parent driven crazy by static or a poor signal, another claims to be able to hear a pin drop in the baby's room. While buying a digital monitor should help minimize interference, the analog Sony BabyCall Nursery Monitor NTM-910, one of our picks for best baby monitor, also does well in reviews thanks to its large selection of channels. If you encounter interference from other electronics, you can always change the channel to find an alternate one that may work better. The BabyCall also receives high praise in a baby monitor review on Amazon for its voice-activated feature, which allows you to avoid the low hum or white noise associated with analog baby monitors.
The Fisher-Price Remote Control Musical Audio Monitor, our other choice for best baby monitor, relies on digital technology to provide clearer sound, although most users posting baby monitor reviews on Buzzillions are so impressed by the music and light functions on this baby monitor that they don't focus on sound quality. Fans of the Graco iMonitor Vibe aren't too concerned about sound quality either, preferring the monitor's vibration feature, which does not disappoint, according to one review on Amazon. The customer says she especially likes to use the vibration feature while vacuuming or using a noisy blow dryer.
A fan of the Summer Infant Secure Sounds 2.4 GHz Digital Monitor raves in a review on Amazon that the monitor transmits every sound the baby makes. On the other hand, on the Graco UltraClear Analog Baby Monitor -- not the best baby monitor we found -- it's hard to hear the baby crying even with the volume turned all the way up, according to a parent posting a review on Amazon.
Many parents complain about static in reviews of the Safety 1st Sound View Monitor on Buzzillions. But it seems that for every complaint there's a review praising the monitor's sound quality.
Baby Monitor False Alarms.All baby monitors generate complaints about random beeping noises. Although some of these can be explained by interference with other electronic devices that interrupt the monitor signal, the cause behind many of these annoying sounds remains a mystery. If you experience unexplained beeping sounds from your monitor, move either the transmitter or the receiver to see if that resolves the problem. If the sound continues, confirm that the transmitter has not been moved and that none of the units is running low on battery power. Ongoing problems may be cause for return or exchange for a different monitor. The Sony BabyCall Nursery Monitor NTM-910 is a source of frequent complaints in this area, due to what appears to be an overly sensitive (and loud) out-of-range alarm. Fortunately, moving the monitor appears to solve the problem. Back to top »
Under the right circumstances, an allowance can be a learning tool for kids, but how much is right for your child?
After the holiday extravaganza, take our February challenge and make this month a no-buy month. Purchase only the bare necessities and soon you'll see the savings grow.