There are lots of reasons you might want a baby monitor or Wi-Fi security camera to watch your baby, kids and/or pets. You need peace of mind that the kids are playing safely and want to keep an eye on baby during nap time … or you’re trying to figure out who took the last cookie from the jar. (Plot twist: it was Dad all along!).
Before you buy, consider the baby monitor and pet cam features that will meet your needs and discover how to choose the right camera for your home.
How to choose a home camera for babies and pets
Like most things in life, different needs mean different cameras are “best” in certain circumstances. For example, if you’re trying to prevent home burglary vs. aiming to determine if the dog or kids are knocking over the garbage can, you’re going to look for different features.
That being said, there are some general questions you’ll ask in all scenarios, for pets, babies and children:
- Do you need to store the video recordings? If yes, where and for how long?
- What kind of video quality do you need?
- Do you need audio? One-way or two-way? (Two-way audio might be needed for talking to the kids, for example.)
- Do you need to record at night?
- Is it a Wi-Fi camera system or do you need a hardwire connection?
- Is there a companion mobile app? What about other devices and apps?
- What power source does it use?
- Where will you put the camera? Hidden or in sight? Do you need to move it around?
- Does it need to be water-, weather- or dust-proof?
- What’s your budget?
Digital security is another top consideration, especially for home cameras connected to the internet. To make sure you keep your information secure, buy from a reputable company, choose a strong password and look for two-factor authentication. If you can’t do any of those things, consider using it as an outside camera so you don’t give digital intruders permission to view what’s going on inside your home.
Special considerations for baby monitor cameras
Because home cameras for babies are often meant for watching your little one while they sleep, night vision is a must. You also want a high-resolution video with a narrow range of vision, so you can get a clear shot of the crib. The camera should be mountable on the ceiling, wall or crib.
If you’re spying on baby in the playroom or looking after kids of all ages throughout the house, this might change. In the living room, for example, you might want something with a wider field of vision.
Other features for baby:
- Temperature and humidity sensors
- Two-way audio to coo them back to sleep
- Music or lights for a soothing environment
- Zoom function
- Ability to live stream
Important: If you’re using the baby monitor or Wi-Fi home camera to keep an eye on the baby or kids when you’re not at home, be sure you’re not illegally recording any caregivers. While nanny cams are legal across the U.S., some states have limitations regarding what, how and when you can and cannot record without consent. Check your local legislature.
Special considerations for pet cameras
Pet cam features include:
- Treat or food dispenser
- At least one-way audio — so you can give them commands
- Motion detection and tracking
- Laser pointer
- Mountable so pets don’t knock it over
- Barking notifications (specifically for dog cameras)
- Option for pets to press a button and notify owners
Moving forward with home security
Securing your home with technology is easier than it’s ever been before. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to protect your home, loved ones and devices.