When I became a parent, I remember worrying about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after being warned about it at my prenatal class.
It usually affects babies during the first year of life, and about 2,500 babies die from SIDS every year in the US.
For the first few weeks after bringing my son home from the hospital, I had this constant fear that he would suddenly stop breathing.
I remember taking all the necessary precautions, like making sure he was sleeping in his own bassinet. But I would startle awake in the middle of the night between feeds to check if he was okay.
The newborn period is such a delicate phase of life. And if you have a baby that was born prematurely or was in NICU due to health complications, this can lead to even more anxiety.
Fortunately, baby breathing monitor systems can help parents feel more at ease by constantly scanning the baby’s vital health signs.
What do Smart Baby Monitors Track?
Smart monitors are different from traditional baby monitors because they don’t just give you video monitoring of your baby.
Smart monitors can track your baby’s oxygen levels, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. It basically informs you whether your baby is doing alright, so you don’t have to keep hovering over her while she sleeps.
In this review, I will be looking specifically at two popular brands of smart baby monitors — Owlet and Nanit. This breakdown will give you all the information you need to decide which device is best for you and your baby.
- When Should I Use a Baby Breathing Monitor?
- Comparison Table: Nanit vs Owlet
- Nanit Pro Review
- Owlet Review
- Which Is Better, Owlet or Nanit?
When Should I Use a Baby Breathing Monitor?
You may be wondering if the health monitoring statistics of these newer baby monitors are what you are looking for. Here are some reasons why you might want to choose them over a standard system that only provides video and audio streaming:
You worry about SIDS
Newborns are delicate, helpless, and aren’t able to tell us if something is wrong. That’s why SIDS is such a big concern for many parents at this stage.
While they cannot prevent SIDS, smart baby monitors can give you the peace of mind to rest better by providing constant scanning of your baby’s vitals.
They will also alert you if they detect any abnormalities in your baby’s health readings.
Your baby has special health needs
When your baby was in the hospital, professionals constantly monitored your child for you. But once your baby is home, you’re left on your own to assess your baby’s vital signs.
Smart baby monitors are an excellent resource for parents who have babies with more complex health needs.
You want more information about your baby’s sleep
Smart baby monitors are also helpful if you like to have sleep data about your baby.
Many give accurate readings of your baby’s sleep length, patterns, and sleep quality.
This will help you assess if your baby is getting enough rest, and the sleep information they provide can also be useful at the sleep training stage.
Nanit vs. Owlet Compared
(video + wellness bundle)
|Nanit Pro Camera
Free 1-year Nanit Insights
|Camera mount||Wall-mounted or freestanding||Wall-mounted or freestanding|
|Monitor receiver||Nanit app on smartphone||Owlet app on smartphone|
|Baby health signals monitored
(video and wellness bundle)
|Breathing motion and rate
(Using the breathing bands)
Sleep quality and duration
Sleep quality and duration
(Using Owlet’s Smart Sock)
|Camera only monitors||Video
|Additional features||Heat signature map
|Background audio monitoring
(you can keep the monitor’s sound on while using your phone for other tasks)
|Price||Bundle (Camera and Breathing Wear): $379
Nanit Pro Camera: $299
|Monitor Duo (Camera and Sock): $399
Smart Sock: $299
|Refunds||45-day happiness guarantee||30-night peace of mind guarantee|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty||1 year limited warranty|
|Time to set up||Less 10 minutes||Less than 10 minutes|
|Connectivity||WiFi required||Requires 2.5 GHz WiFi|
|Picture/sound quality||HD, 960p video quality with 130° wide-angle lens.
Good audio quality.
|HD, 1080p video quality with 130° wide-angle lens.
Good audio quality.
|Reviews||4.5 stars based on 4,276 reviews from 3 websites||4.5 stars based on 10,000 reviews from 4 websites|
|Special offers||10% off bundles: Nanit Bundle||Best prices:
Owlet US Store
Owlet UK Store
Owlet on Amazon
Nanit and Owlet Bundles Compared
The Owlet Monitor Duo offers two components:
- Owlet Cam: a baby monitor that streams HD on your phone app with 2-way audio.
- Owlet Smart Sock: a sensor that measures your baby’s heart rate, oxygen level, and sleep which can be tracked on the phone app.
The provided base station alerts you if the Smart Sock detects abnormalities in your baby’s vital signs.
Nanit offers a Complete Monitoring System that comes with the following:
- Nanit Pro Camera
- Breathing Wear
- Smart Sheets (for tracking growth)
- Multi-Stand (suitable for travel)
But you can also buy each of these products separately too.
The video camera streams HD video to the Nanit phone app so you can see and hear your baby in her nursery at all times.
The unique software within the camera itself helps assess your baby’s sleep patterns.
The Breathing Wear, when used with the camera, monitors your baby’s breathing motions and alerts you if there are any abnormalities.
Nanit Special Offer
10% off bundles of three or more products: Nanit Bundle Builder
10% off bundles: Nanit
Nanit Pro Review
Nanit was founded in 2014 by Assaf Glazer. When he had his first child, he was quickly disappointed with baby monitors available to him at the time.
They were poorly designed with limited capabilities. So he decided to team up with a group of experts to create Nanit — a smart monitor system that goes beyond providing a live video stream of your baby.
It uses machine learning and the latest technology to give deep insights into your child’s breathing and sleep.
The team hope that the information provided by Nanit systems will help make the parenting journey easier for many out there.
Nanit Pro Camera
How It Works
The Nanit Pro is a baby video monitor that can be set up as a wall-mounted, floor stand, or portable stand camera. Its multi-angle feature allows you to have a bird’s-eye view of your baby or an upright view of the nursery. It has:
- HD-quality video streaming of your baby to your phone app, so there is no need to carry an extra monitor screen.
- 2-way audio function, which lets you hear whatever is going on in the nursery and allows you to talk to your baby as well.
- Special sensors to monitor your baby’s sleep patterns: you can find everything from how often your baby woke to the total number of hours she slept.
- Temperature and humidity sensors help determine if room conditions are just right for your baby.
- Extra features like a night light and white noise functions help soothe baby to sleep.
Nanit Breathing Wear
How it Works
Nanit’s Breathing Wear are swaddles and fabric bands (for older babies) with specially designed patterns that help the Nanit Pro camera to assess your baby’s breathing.
The video camera analyses the movement of the patterns on the swaddle to understand your baby’s breathing.
If it detects any abnormalities in your baby’s breathing motion, it will alert you through the app.
How it Works
The Complete Monitoring System also comes with 1 free year of the Nanit Insights, which you can access through the app.
It gives you detailed tracking information about your baby’s sleep by using data detected from its Breathing Wear and your baby’s movements.
This information is then carefully organized for you as a summary so you can better understand what it all means.
Personalized sleep tips are also provided based on your baby’s age and the data that’s been gathered.
How it Works
The Nanit app allows various caregivers to pair with the camera so that grandparents or babysitters can share the account.
10% off bundles: Nanit
What Makes Nanit Cameras Different?
A few key features set the Nanit Pro apart from ordinary baby monitors.
Detailed analysis of baby’s sleep and sleep tips
The Nanit Insights, accessed through the app, is really where this system excels.
It provides accurate tracking of your baby’s sleep by using advanced sensors to assess when your baby is sleeping, awake, or in a different sleep cycle.
Nanit Insights also helps you make sense of all this information by providing summaries of how your baby did through the night.
You can find out the lengths of her different sleep phases, sleep quality, and tips on how to help baby sleep better.
This personalized, practical advice can be used for sleep training later on, to help your baby get the rest she needs for optimal growth.
Memory book for milestones
The app also has a “Memories” feature that captures special moments like when it detects your baby has achieved a sleep milestone.
You can also manually save video clips that you like to create your own digital scrapbook.
Portable stand for travel
The multi-stand is a smaller stand which is very useful for travelling. Simply unclip the camera from its usual wall mount or floor stand and attach it to the multi-stand.
It’s also a great portable option if baby is staying at a grandparent’s home and you just need to use it for the night.
The Nanit is advanced in terms of digital and design safety. All transmitted information is encrypted using a 256-bit encryption standard which makes it very hard for hackers to access the information.
The design of the actual camera itself is also well thought out.
All materials are provided so that any exposed cables can be securely hidden behind an adhesive wire casing that’s stuck to the wall.
If you choose the floor stand option, all you have to do is attach the camera to the stand and a power source to get started.
The wall mount system requires you to drill 3 holes to install a mounting plate for the camera to attach to.
For either option, set up usually takes less than 10 minutes. And linking the system to the app is also straightforward. It takes a few minutes to download the app and pair it with the camera.
Nanit Prices and What’s Included
Nanit offers a number of bundle options which you can find on their website.
All include a free 1-year subscription to Nanit Insights worth $50.
Nanit Pro Complete Monitoring System: $379 (or $35 a month)
The Complete Monitoring System includes:
- 1 Nanit Pro Wall-Mounted Camera
- 1 Small Breathing Band
- 1 Nanit Smart Sheet
- 1 Travel Multi-stand
If you choose to have a floor stand option, the price for this package increases to $449.
Nanit prices when sold separately:
Nanit Reviews: What Customers Had to Say
Nanit had a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 based on 4,276 reviews from 3 different websites (Amazon, Best Buy, and Target). Here’s a summary of what reviewers had to say about it.
Nanit Pros and Cons
- One-device solution to baby monitoring. Parents like that Nanit provides complete monitoring of baby’s sleep, breathing, and environment with one camera. Many were impressed that it went beyond just providing video and audio streaming and helped to track room temperature, humidity, and more.
- High image quality even in night vision mode. Many were impressed with the clarity of the video.
- Breathing wear helps assure anxious parents that baby is doing fine. The camera picks up on micromovements to monitor the baby’s breathing while wearing the breathing band.
- Detailed sleep tracking was very helpful. Reviewers liked that the device could objectively assess when their baby fell asleep or woke through its sensors. This helped take the guesswork out of tracking baby’s sleep.
- Nanit Insights helped parents understand baby’s sleep needs. An overwhelming majority were impressed with Nanit Insights, which provided parents with a detailed analysis of their baby’s sleep overnight.
- Customized sleep training tips. Parents loved that the recommendations were personalized and aimed to help baby get more sleep at night.
- Remote monitoring options. Parents could check on baby while out of the house (like on nights out).
- Multi-user options were helpful. Relatives could pair their phones with the camera for babysitting.
- Nice extra features. Many liked the extra features like a night light and white noise.
- Peace of mind with data safety features. Reviewers who were fearful of baby-cam hackers liked the 256-bit encryption to secure data in transmission.
- The baby-safe design was a plus. Several mentioned they liked that camera cords could be hidden behind an adhesive cover to prevent baby from reaching them.
- Easy to set up. Many were happy with the less than 10-minute setup for the Nanit.
- A small minority had connectivity problems: The majority stated they had no issues and never experienced any lag or connections suddenly dropping off.
- Price: some families found the price too high, but the Nanit is in line with the prices of similar smart monitors.
Here’s a look at what some reviewers had to say:
The co-founder of Owlet Kurt Workman, understands the worries that parents have about SIDS from his own experience.
His wife has a congenital heart condition, and they were worried it could affect their children.
He didn’t want to take any chances with monitoring his baby’s health and decided better home-care equipment needed to be available for parents like himself.
With this mission in mind, his team created the Owlet Smart Sock and Camera to empower parents with the health information they needed about their babies.
Owlet Monitor Duo
How it Works
The Owlet Monitor Duo is a complete monitoring system for your baby so you can see, hear, and know she is safe.
How it Works
The Owlet Cam live-streams HD-quality video of your baby to your phone app. It also has:
- Night vision
- 130° wide-angle lens: for clear views of the whole nursery
- Phone-to-camera 2-way audio: this allows you to hear everything going on in the nursery and talk to your baby through the camera.
- Room-temperature sensor: this is in-built into the camera, so you will know if the room is too hot or cold for your baby.
- Transmission through secure, encrypted WiFi: information gets sent securely, so you don’t have to worry about third parties accessing images of your baby.
You can choose to have the camera free-standing on a surface — it even comes with a magnetic base.
It also comes with a wall mounting kit so you can have a bird’s-eye view of your baby’s crib.
Cable guards come included to make the device child-safe.
Owlet Smart Sock
The other component is The Smart Sock (0-18 months), a small fabric wrap with a sensor attached that you place on your baby’s foot. It uses pulse oximetry technology to measure baby’s:
- heart rate
- oxygen levels
- sleep patterns
How it Works
This data is wirelessly sent to your phone app and the base station, which uses different colors and sounds to notify you if your baby is okay or needs attention. Any alerts come up on the base station and on the app.
The Smart Sock sensor connects to the base station via Bluetooth and to the phone app through WiFi.
You need to charge the Smart Sock at the base station, but it charges relatively quickly and can be fully charged within 90 minutes.
Both the Owlet Cam and Smart Sock are linked to the Owlet app, which gives you the health information you need about your baby, like oxygen levels and heart rate.
How it Works
The app can be downloaded on multiple phones so different caregivers can access the account.
Along with the base station, the phone app also notifies you if your baby’s health vitals are not within the safe zone.
It also has a useful additional feature that tracks your baby’s sleep trends like total hours slept, number of wakings, and sleep quality.
Heart rate and oxygen level monitoring for peace of mind
The Owlet Monitor Duo is a complete system for you to know your baby is safe.
It doesn’t just let you see and hear your baby through video streaming on the phone app. It provides detailed health information so you can immediately know about your baby’s oxygen levels or heart rate at any moment.
This means you won’t have to make any guesses about whether your baby is breathing fine in the middle of the night.
Video monitoring through the phone app
With the Owlet, you don’t need a separate monitor to see your baby. The camera image gets sent to your phone so this means fewer devices for you to carry around the house.
You can also let your partner or relatives pair their phones to the camera through the app so that they can babysit or see baby’s health vitals.
Low-energy radio waves transmissions
The device radio wave transmissions are completely safe for babies.
The Smart Sock uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transmit data to the base station, which are 20 times lower than the radio waves generated from our phones.
Your child’s vital statistics are securely stored on Owlet servers. However, all information is encrypted in transit and in storage so it’s all inaccessible to third parties. Only you will be able to give others access to your baby’s information.
If you’re choosing to use the Owlet Cam as a freestanding monitor, all you need to do is plug it into the socket and connect it to your app.
Setting it up as a wall-mounted camera is also easy and takes less than 10 minutes. You need to screw in 1 screw into the wall to mount the camera base plate. The cable guards are all stick-on.
For the Smart Sock, you just slide the sensor into the sock and then wrap the sock around your baby’s foot. Plug the base station into a wall socket and the rest of the set up is done on the app.
It’s worth mentioning that although the monitors provide detailed health information, the company states the Owlet Cam and Smart Sock are not medical devices. It’s for monitoring healthy babies and is not meant to be used for diagnosing, monitoring, or treating medical conditions.
Owlet Pricing and What’s Included
Owlet Monitor Duo: (Sock + Cam): $488
- The Smart Sock (3 sizes of soft fabric socks with sensor)
- The Owlet Cam
Prices when sold separately:
Owlet Cam: $149
- Owlet camera and magnetic base
- Wall mounting kit with cable guards
- Power adapter
- USB power cable with temperature sensor
- Owlet App
Owlet Smart Sock: $299
- 3 washable fabric socks (3 different sizes to fit 0-18 months)
- Smart sock sensor
- Base station
- Charging cords
- Power plug converter
- Power adapter
- Owlet app
For UK prices check: Owlet UK
Owlet Reviews: What Parents Had to Say
The Owlet had a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 10,000+ reviews from 4 websites (Amazon, Influenster, Target, and productreview.com). Here are some of the feedback that parents gave about the system:
- Peace of mind for first-time or anxious parents: It gave them peace of mind to have a device constantly checking on baby’s vitals. This was especially so for those who were concerned about SIDS.
- Helpful for premature and NICU babies: These parents felt that Owlet is a helpful aid to replicate the similar type of vital sign readings that would be taken at the hospital. It gave them peace of mind while making the transition from hospital to home.
- Measures detailed health information: Many reviewers liked that the Owlet sock gave specific information about oxygen levels and heart rate.
- Better rest for parents: With the Owlet constantly monitoring the baby’s vitals, parents were able to sleep better as they felt they didn’t have to worry as much about SIDS.
- Different and comfortable sock sizes: Most parents were happy with the way the sock fitted on their baby’s feet and liked that there were 3 sizes to suit a growing baby.
- Actually saved babies with health complications: I read several reviews saying that the Owlet had alerted parents to babies who had stopped breathing because of chronic sleep apnea, or whose heart rate was too high because of a bacterial infection. These parents felt that Owlet may have helped save their baby’s life.
- Great sleep information: Many liked that it recorded data about their baby’s sleep so they could be aware of the exact hours the baby is sleeping and how often she wakes through the night.
- Good picture quality on the camera: Many were satisfied with the video quality delivered by the Owlet Cam.
- Night vision image quality was also good on the Owlet Cam.
- Easy to set up: Many parents said the Owlet Cam and Smart Sock setup was quick and easy.
- The app can be used with multiple devices: Useful for baby with multiple caregivers.
- The app is intuitive and easy to use: Many liked that the Owlet Cam, Smart Sock, and Owlet app all integrated seamlessly with one another.
- Expensive for some: Some mentioned it’s pricey for a monitor, but also added that it was worth the cost for peace of mind. It is one of the very few monitors on the market that offers such detailed health statistics on baby.
- Delayed image feedback: Some experienced image lag, but mentioned it could be because of their internet connection rather than the product itself.
- Some frustrated with false alarms: Some reviewers experienced technical difficulties like the sensor not making good contact with their baby’s skin or having it disconnect from the base station. Some false alarms do happen with health monitors so it’s good to take care that the sock is fitted correctly to avoid them.
Here’s a look at what other parents had to say:
Which Is Better Owlet or Nanit?
Both Nanit and Owlet offer high quality smart baby monitoring. The difference between them is in what exactly you want to monitor.
Nanit is a better choice for parents who want their baby’s breathing monitored along with tips for their sleep and general well-being. This is done through the personalized tips that it gives parents using Nanit Insights – a feature that’s unique to Nanit.
Owlet on the other hand is better for those who want more health data on their baby as it measures baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels too. This makes it a better fit for parents of preemies or babies who have come home from the NICU.
As a parent who was very paranoid about SIDS, I personally found that the Owlet appealed to me a little bit more than the Nanit. Its pulse oximetry technology gives you baby’s exact heart rate and oxygen levels which Nanit doesn’t monitor.
On the other hand, Nanit is a great option for those who want an all round monitoring service. It’s a breathing and video monitor that also offers in-depth sleep tracking and tips. While Owlet does give some good sleep data, Nanit Insights uses the data to give you customized advice as to what to do with baby.
The personalized sleep tips provide valuable input especially to a parent who is sleep-training their baby or trying to find the best routine.
The breathing is monitored by the camera which monitors micromovements in the fabric breathing bands. So no monitoring equipment is worn by baby with the Nanit.
Apart from the differences in these areas, I felt that both were great at helping parents to monitor baby by providing high-quality video and audio streaming.
It’s convenient that both use phone apps as the receiver so you don’t need to carry an extra device around to see the live stream of your baby.
They’re also equally safe in terms of design and the way data is transmitted. The pricing of their complete sets are also quite similar (with Nanit coming in slightly cheaper), so I didn’t see a benefit of one over the other in this respect.
Whichever system you choose, I believe both monitors are worth their value as they both go above and beyond what traditional monitors can do.
Knowing your baby is safe is one of the greatest reliefs a parent can have. And these smart monitors provide the extra set of eyes a tired parent needs especially during the night time.
10% Off Bundles With Nanit:
Or select Nanit packages:
Nanit Complete Monitoring System includes:
- Wall-Mounted Camera
- Swaddle (for newborns) and Breathing Band (for older babies)
- Travel Multi-stand
Nanit Pro Camera includes:
- wall or floor standing camera
- safety covers for cables
- 1 year Nanit Insights
Owlet Offers on Dream Sock Duo
Best price: Owlet US
Best price: Owlet UK
Is Nanit safe from hackers?
Nanit Pro makes your system safer from hackers by using AWS cloud computing whose servers are protected using some of the strongest digital measures.
Does Nanit have music, sound, or white noise?
Nanit is able to play white noise like nature sounds by controlling it through the app, but there is no music.
Does Nanit require subscription?
No Nanit does not require a subscription. The Nanit camera comes with a 1 year subscription to their Insights included, after that you pay a subscription if you want to keep using Insights.
The Nanit camera does not need the Insights subscription to work, but the app provides many more perks when you sign up. For example, you can get more in-depth sleep tips that are tailored to the information it has about your baby, get more video history access, invite more caregivers to the same account, and more.
Can Owlet prevent SIDS?
It’s important to note that Owlet is not meant to prevent SIDS. However, the Owlet Smart Sock does provide parents with extra support in keeping their babies safe by monitoring his or her heart rate and oxygen levels.
Is Owlet safe for babies?
Owlet’s smart sock and camera are safe devices that meet various standards including the ASTM Toy Standard, ASTM Baby Monitor Standard, and more.
The sock strap stays snugly secure onto your baby’s foot. And even if it were to come off, you will be notified on your base station. The cords of the camera should always be tucked away behind cable guards. Your data is also secured by encrypted WiFi.
Alternatives to Nanit and Owlet
The Miku smart camera is the most comparable to the Nanit and Owlet systems as it offers breathing monitoring without the need for any wearables on baby.
You can see how it compares to the Nanit in our comparison here: Nanit vs Miku, Which Smart Breathing Monitor is Best?
You can see how they compare to the Nanit in our article here: Best Baby Breathing Monitors.
Other Baby Products We Love
We also love the SNOO bassinet which has a self-rocking system to help settle baby back to sleep and give new mamas more rest.
You can find out more about this smart bassinet here: Complete SNOO review.