Baby monitors are one of those items than you invariably purchase before your first baby arrives, and as such they fall into the category of things that you buy before you really know what your individual requirements are.
When we bought our first baby monitor we did what I expect a lot of other parents-to-be do, and took advice and guidance from our friends who were already parents. We ended up picking one that our friends used that we liked the sound of, and went out and bought exactly the same model. And it served us brilliantly. Indeed it still is serving us brilliantly, because there are still nights when something bothers the geekdaughter, and the first we hear about it is when we hear her crying over the monitor.
When the geekson arrived I did a little bit of research, discovered that, as happens in three years, model numbers had changed, companies had changed their affiliations and various other changes had happened. But the extent of my research was to try to find the monitor that seemed the most similar to the one I already had, and buy it. And again, it has served us brilliantly well.
A month or so ago, I was contacted by Tommee Tippee who wanted to know if I would like to try their latest digital baby monitor. I leapt at the chance to see if there really was any difference between different monitors. After all, on paper the Tommy Tippee one looks very similar to my existing monitors – it’s DECT which I know is a good wireless technology, it displays the room temperature on both the baby and parent units, it has an intercom feature to allow you to talk back to the baby via the parent unit, and it has a paging function to allow you to locate the parent unit if it goes missing. Indeed on paper the only difference I could see was that my current monitor has the ability to play lullabies to the baby (a feature which we have never used).
When the monitor arrived, the similarities continued. Both parent and baby units were similar in size to my existing monitor. I set the baby unit up next to my existing one, and noticed that both monitors had the same range (easily covering our whole house) and clarity of sound. Indeed the only real difference I noticed during testing were that the Tommy Tippee monitor seemed to have a greater range of sensitivity settings than my existing monitor – you could switch it between “I want to hear every possibly little sound” and “I only want to hear the loudest screams” (and various levels in between).
The only downside I noticed with the Tommy Tippee monitor was that when plugged into the mains for the first time it started up in standby mode, and I had to press a button on the baby unit to switch it on and connect it to the parent unit. Now this wasn’t a problem for the initial set up, but we get quite a lot of power cuts, and it was a bit of a pain. To have to go back into the geekson’s room each time the power came back to switch the monitor on again – once he’s asleep I don’t like risking waking him up if I can avoid it! I believe that you can avoid this by installing backup batteries in the baby unit, which will keep it running in the event of mains failure.
An extra feature that I like with the Tommy Tippee monitor is that you can optionally purchase with it an under-mattress baby monitor, which senses every tiny movement that your baby makes, and sounds an alarm if they stop moving for a certain period of time. I had one of these with both the kids, and it provided extra reassurance, however it was a separate system, and having both audio and movement monitoring built into the one system sounds like a good idea to me.
The Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature digital baby monitor is competitively priced, and retails at around £35 for the basic monitor or £65 for the monitor plus sensor mat. You can buy it at Amazon and many other retailers.
So in conclusion, whilst the Tommy Tippee monitor was very similar to my existing monitors, thus indicating that baby monitors are all basically the same, there were some differentiating features with it. For range of sensitivity and the optional movement sensor the Tommy Tippee is a solid performer, and if you’re looking for a baby monitor I think it would serve you well.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Tommy Tippee baby monitor for the purpose of this review. There are (Amazon) affiliate links within this review, and I will receive a small commission if you buy anything from Amazon after clicking on a link.