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Never miss a precious moment with these great baby monitors

The first baby monitors didn’t deliver much in terms of information to worried parents. If you could sift through the static and decipher the noise, you could maybe tell if your baby was awake or crying. But that was about it.

Well, we’ve come a long way since those first baby monitors. Some of today’s devices deliver a live, 24/7 video stream so you’ll always know what’s going on in your baby’s room. Others can connect to your smartphone, track sleep patterns, and even play music to help soothe your crying baby and help them fall back asleep. You can even get a baby monitor that acts as your personal photographer — well, sort of. Keep in mind that you’ll want to make sure you change default passwords to something that is secure and private.

More: Will Nest’s smart crib replace the baby monitor? 

If you’re planning on bringing a new baby into your home in the near future, you’re probably in the market for a new baby monitor. Here are some of the best products currently available.

Project Nursery 5-Inch High-Definition Baby Monitor System ($300)

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If you want a baby monitor that can do it all, look no further than the Project Nursery Baby Monitor System. Yes, this device delivers crisp, two-way audio. Yes, the 5-inch color display provides a clear picture of your baby’s room. But what really sets this baby monitor apart from its competition is the device’s resounding feature set.

The camera can pan, tilt, and zoom, so you can monitor a larger area. The camera’s 800 x 640 resolution isn’t the best we’ve seen, but the additional 1.5-inch mini monitor is super portable, and lets both parents keep an eye on the baby, even when they’re in separate rooms. The monitor can even play pre-installed lullabies to soothe your baby back to sleep.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

VTech Safe & Sound Digital Audio Monitor ($30)

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While some modern baby monitors come with digital screens, you may decide that you don’t really need all of these bells and whistles. If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable, audio-only baby monitor, you can’t get much better than the VTech Safe & Sound Digital Audio Monitor.

That isn’t to say that VTech’s monitor doesn’t come with some useful features. With a range of up to 1,000 feet and 18 hours of battery life, rest assured that you can freely use this device throughout your home without having to worry about losing contact with your little one. This baby monitor also features two-way communication — giving you the ability to talk to your child even when you aren’t in the room — and a five-level sound indicator that provides a visual depiction of the sound level in your child’s room. Heck, the unit even doubles as a night light.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Nanit Baby Monitor ($279)

nanit

For a few years, the biggest decision you had to make when choosing a baby monitor was whether you wanted an audio-only system or if you needed video. Well, what if you want more? What if you want a baby monitor that can track and analyze your child’s sleep patterns?

The Nanit camera and floor stand give you a bird’s-eye view of your baby’s crib, which you can view on your smartphone or tablet. The device also uses “computer vision” to tell if your baby is awake — even if they aren’t crying — and will send a notification to your phone. The real reason to get a Nanit camera, however, is for Nanit Insights, a subscription service that provides features such as video history and sleep tracking. Our favorite feature of Nanit Insights is the nightly timelapse. Since you likely don’t have the time to watch your baby sleep for hours on end, Nanit creates a timelapse video encompassing the entire night, one you can watch in a couple of minutes. This makes for one of the most advanced systems available (and one of the most expensive). The Nanit Baby Monitor costs a mere $279, but you’ll have to pay extra (between $10 and $30 month) for Nanit Insights.

Buy one now from:

Nanit

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor with Interchangeable Optical Lens ($165)

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Most baby monitors outgrow their usefulness as your baby outgrows its crib. But not the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor. This system comes bundled with a host of interchangeable lenses, which allows the camera to adapt to its environment. When your baby is spending most of their time in the crib, the close-up lens will give you an intimate view of your infant. As your child grows and starts moving around the room, you can switch to an optional panoramic lens ($12)  to see all of your child’s activity. You can also add additional cameras to this system so you can monitor more than a single room.

In addition to the innovative lens options, the Infant Optics DXR-8 also has IR night vision, allowing for a clear picture via the 3.5-inch LCD when the lights are out. The system also features two-way communication, a 10-hour battery, and a temperature display. The monitor also works in audio-only mode and features sound-activated LEDs, so you can always tell the noise level in your baby’s room.

Buy one now from:

Amazon