Range and Interference
We performed tests for range and interference both in an open field with line of sight and in a typical home with the usual obstacles of walls, floors, and other electrical equipment. Range was tested and compared to the competition to score and rank the products according to how well they stay connected, at what distance they lost connection, and how many walls they continued to work through. You can read more about the tests we performed on both sound and video monitors, in our general Baby Monitor How We Tested article.
Audio and Visual Testing
For audio testing, we used a decibel meter for recording max levels of volume and for the level of white noise that could be heard or adjusted to silent. Tones and clarity were compared in a side-by-side manner monitor to monitor.
Night Time Video Tests
All the video monitors we tested incorporated IR LEDs into their camera to enable automatic night time viewing. For the Wi-Fi enabled monitors we tried to use a variety of supported devices to get an average feel for the kind of images the camera could produce. When applicable we used multiple iOS and Android devices.
Ease of Use
The video products have significant differences in their ease of use in large part due to how easy they are to set up. Most of the dedicated monitors had an average score given how easy they were to plug in and use combined with how difficult and convoluted some of their user interfaces were. Some of the parent units had menus and folder options that required too much effort and guesswork to operate resulting in frustration or avoidance of certain features that were hard to find. Monitors were ranked on how easy they were to operate as well as the initial setup. Some lost points for multiple button pushes to use the zoom features or icons and interfaces that were hard to decipher.
Products received more points for features that increase performance or make the product easier to use. If a feature did not benefit the parent or increase performance it did not receive as many points. Some features, like lullabies, did not receive any points, because while possibly something parents want or think is nice to have, it doesn't help the monitor function better, nor does it benefit parent or baby by creating a better monitor. Sound activation, auto screen sleep and awake, and sound sensitivity adjustments were features that received more consideration, while humidity sensors and nightlights did not. These features might be noted, but they did not add to the overall features score.
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Levels
EMF values were recorded using an EMF reader at approximately 6 inches from the monitors, 3 feet, and 6 feet away. All the monitors were tested in the same location with same ambient EMF recording to eliminate erroneous readings related to external products other than the monitors. The tests were repeated multiple times and in different locations to ensure accuracy of the readings and an average of the readings was determined for the final reported read out.
All product batteries were tested for longevity by using the products in full use mode with the parent screen on, not in sleep mode. If the product did not have the ability to stay on or be set to a constant viewing screen, the screen was awakened every time it fell sleep automatically. Products were tested only after receiving a full charge of over 24 hours.