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Baby Monitor Features (continued)

Before you begin your quest for the perfect bargain baby monitor, decide which features are most important to you and which ones you can do without. The first decision to make is whether you're OK with an analog monitor or prefer the privacy of digital baby monitors.

Take an inventory of the electronics in your home and find out which frequencies they use so you can find a baby monitor that won't interfere with other devices. Look for a monitor with more than one parent unit and indicators to alert you when you're out of range or running low on battery. Range is crucial but highly variable depending on the layout of your home and the other electronics you have. Finally, multiple power options add versatility and reliability.

Analog vs. Digital Baby Monitors.

First, you'll need to decide whether to go digital or analog. The principal difference between analog and digital baby monitors is that digital baby monitors encode the signals sent from the transmitter to the parent units, which keeps you from overhearing your neighbors' baby crying and your neighbors from hearing yours. Digital baby monitors also tend to be more expensive than analog models, but they can be a good value if you live close to other homes with baby monitors.

Now, before you decide to risk hearing a few random coos from the baby next door, keep in mind that your neighbors might also overhear conversations that take place near your transmitter -- conversations you want to remain private. Digital baby monitors are also excellent at minimizing interference from other electronic devices such as cell phones, cordless phones, and wireless computers.

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If you don't live close to other homes with babies, some analog models still deliver excellent sound quality for a good price. The Sony BabyCall Nursery Monitor NTM-910 (starting at $40 for one receiver, $60 for two), for example, offers an impressive 27 channels to choose from, so you can easily select the channel that provides the least amount of interference with other devices in your home. The BabyCall NTM-910 also effectively minimizes background sounds while providing excellent sound quality, according to users posting reviews on Amazon,who praise its sensitivity.

If you want to eliminate privacy concerns, consider one of the digital baby monitors on our list of best and good cheap baby monitors: the Fisher-Price Remote Control Musical Audio Monitor (starting at $50 with one receiver, $90 with two), the Graco iMonitor Vibe (starting at $45 for one parent unit, $90 for two), and the Summer Infant Secure Sounds 2.4 GHz Digital Monitor (starting at $65).

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