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 fine.
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 to feel more at ease by constantly scanning the baby’s vital health signs.
They’re different from traditional baby monitors because they don’t just give you a video of your baby.
These 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 2 popular brands of smart baby monitors — Owlet and Nanit. This breakdown will give you all the information you need to make a decision about which device will be best for you and your baby.
- When Should I Use a Smart Baby Monitor?
- Comparison Table: Nanit vs Owlet
- Full Nanit Review
- Full Owlet Review
- Which One is Better, Nanit or Owlet?
When Should I Use a Smart Baby Monitor?
You may be wondering if the “smart” features of these newer baby monitors are right for you. Here are some reason why you might want to choose them over a normal system that only provides video streaming:
You are concerned 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. It will also alert you if it detects any abnormalities in your baby’s health readings.
Your baby has special health needs
When your baby was in the hospital, there were professionals to constantly monitor 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 a great resource for such parents who have babies with more complicated health needs.
You want more information about your baby’s sleep
Smart baby monitors are also useful if you like to have sleep data about your baby.
Many give accurate readings of your baby’s sleep length, patterns, and quality.
This will help you assess if your baby is getting enough rest, and is also useful at the sleep training stage.
Comparison Table: Nanit vs Owlet
The Owlet Monitor Duo offers 2 components to baby monitoring — The Owlet Cam and The Smart Sock.
The Owlet Cam is a baby monitor that streams HD on your phone app with 2-way audio.
The Owlet Smart Sock is 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 Nanit Plus Camera, Breathing Wear, and a smaller Multi-Stand (suitable for travel).
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.
It even has special software to help to assess your baby’s sleep patterns. The breathing wear also helps the camera to monitor your baby’s breathing motions and alert you if there are any abnormalities.
|What’s included (video + wellness bundle)||Complete Monitoring System:
Nanit Plus Camera
Free 1-year Nanit Insights
|Owlet Monitor Duo:
The Smart Sock
|Mounting||Wall-mounted or freestanding||Wall-mounted or freestanding|
|Receiver||Nanit app on smartphone||Owlet app on smartphone|
|What baby health signals do they monitor?||Breathing motion and rate
(Using the Breathing Band)
Sleep quality and duration
Sleep quality and duration
(Using Owlet’s Smart Sock)
|What do the camera’s monitor?||Video
|Additional features||Heat signature map
(you can keep the monitor’s sound on while using your phone for other tasks)
|Price||Full Bundle: $379
Complete Monitoring System (Camera + Breathing Wear + Travel Multi-stand)
Nanit Plus Camera: $299
Breathing Wear: $39.99
|Full Bundle: $399
Owlet Monitor Duo (Sock + Cam)
|Refunds||45-day happiness guarantee||45-night peace of mind guarantee|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty||2 year limited warranty|
|Time to set up||Less 10 minutes||Less than 10 minutes|
|Connectivity||WiFi required||Only works with 2.5 gHz WiFi|
|Picture/sound quality||HD, 960p 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 1,007 reviews from 5 websites||4.3 stars based on 4,000 reviews from 6 websites|
|See More||Nanit Complete Monitoring System||Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo|
Full Nanit Review
Nanit was founded in 2014 by Assaf Glazer. When he had his first child, he was quickly disappointed with baby monitors that were available to him at the time.
They were poorly designed with limited capabilities. 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 hopes that this information provided by Nanit systems will help make the parenting journey easier for many out there.
How does Nanit work?
The Nanit Plus camera
The Nanit Plus 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 upright view of the nursery.
It delivers HD-quality video streaming of your baby to your phone app so there is no need to carry an extra monitor screen. The 2-way audio function lets you hear whatever is going on in the nursery and allows you to talk to your baby as well.
It also has special sensors to monitor your baby’s sleep. You can find out everything from how often your baby woke to the total number of hours she slept.
It also has a temperature and humidity sensor to help you determine if room conditions are just right for your baby.
Extra features like a night light and white noise functions also help with soothing your baby.
Nanit’s breathing wear are swaddles and fabric bands (for older babies) with specially designed patterns that help the Nanit Plus 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.
The Nanit app allows various caregivers to pair with the camera so that grandparents or babysitters can share the account.
The Complete Monitoring System also comes with 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.
What’s great about the Nanit?
Detailed analysis of baby’s sleep
The Nanit Insights through the app is really where this system excels. It provides objective 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 to 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.
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 they just need to use it for the night.
Captures precious moments
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.
High safety standards
The Nanit is great 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 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.
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 which takes a few minutes to download and pair with the camera.
Nanit pricing and what’s included?
Here are the main bundles or products that Nanit offers, and they all include a free 1-year subscription to Nanit Insights:
Nanit Bundle of Breathing Band and Camera: $379
This Complete Monitoring System includes:
- Wall-Mounted Camera
- Swaddle (for newborns) and Breathing Band (for older babies)
- Travel Multi-stand
If you choose to have a floor stand option the price within the bundle the price increases to $449.
Prices when sold separately:
- Nanit Plus Camera (Wall mount): $299
- Nanit Plus Camera (Floor Stand): $379
- Nanit Breathing Bands: $39.99
- Travel Multi-stand: $49
How did other parents feel about Nanit?
Nanit had a rating of 4.5/5 stars based on 1,007 reviews from 5 different websites. Here’s a summary of what reviewers had to say about it:
- A complete monitoring system for tracking baby’s sleep, breathing and environment: Parents liked that it was a one-device solution to baby monitoring. Many were impressed that it went beyond just providing video and audio streaming and helped to track room temperature, humidity, and more.
- Great image quality even in night vision mode: Many were impressed with the clarity of the video.
- Breathing wear helped to assure anxious parents that baby is doing fine.
- 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 to take the guesswork out of tracking the baby’s sleep for many.
- Nanit Insights analysis helped parents understand baby’s sleep needs: An overwhelming majority were impressed with Nanit Insights which provided parents with detailed analysis of their baby’s sleep overnight.
- Insightful sleep training tips from Nanit Insights. Parents loved that the tips were personalised and aimed to help baby to get more sleep at night.
- Parents could check on their child while they were away (e.g. date nights).
- Relatives could pair their phones with the camera for babysitting.
- 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 the cords could be hidden away behind an adhesive cover to prevent baby from playing with it.
- Easy to set up: Many were happy with the less than a 10 minute set up for the Nanit.
- 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 it is in line with the prices of similar monitors.
Here’s a look at what some reviewers had to say:
This monitor is the best! I had no idea how bad my other monitors were until I got this for my second child. The image quality is unbelievable and I love being able to check on our son when I’m away. The sleep tips have been very helpful and now I’m obsessed with checking his results each morning. Definitely recommend to all of our friends and family! Momof2 from target.com
There are many things I like about the Nanit. Picture quality and the aerial view. The ability to check on my baby from anywhere. Plus all the insights and information I get from the sensors and algorithms. The night light is also a nice touch. Perfect color and brightness. Sergio D. from nanit.com
See more about Nanit’s Complete Monitoring System and Nanit Plus Camera:
Full Owlet Review
The co-founder of Owlet, Kurt Workman, understands the worries that parents have about SIDS.
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 as a way to empower parents with the right health information about their children.
How does the Owlet Monitor Duo work?
The Owlet Monitor Duo is a complete monitoring system for your baby so you can see, hear, and know she is safe.
The Owlet Cam
The Owlet Cam live-streams HD-quality video of your baby to your phone app. It also has night vision and a 130° wide-angle lens for clear views of the whole nursery.
The phone-to-camera 2-way audio allows you to hear everything going on in the nursery and talk to your baby through the camera.
A room-temperature sensor is in-built into the camera so you will know if the room is too hot or cold for your baby. All this information gets sent over a secure, encrypted WiFi so you won’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 are also included to make the device child-safe.
The Smart Sock
The other component is The Smart Sock (0-18 months) which is a small fabric wrap with a sensor attached for your baby’s foot. It measures your baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep using pulse oximetry technology.
This data is wirelessly sent to your phone app and a base station which uses different colors and sounds to notify you if your baby is fine 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.
It also does require charging at the base station and can be fully charged within 90 minutes.
Both the Owlet Cam and Smart Sock can be linked to the Owlet app which gives you all the information you need about your baby like oxygen levels and heart rate.
The app can be downloaded on multiple phones so different caregivers can have access to 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.
What’s great About Owlet Monitor Duo?
Detailed health measurements 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.
Easy video viewing 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.
Safe, 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?
The Owlet Monitor Duo includes both the Owlet Cam and The Smart Sock. Here is a look at what’s included for each component:
Owlet Monitor Duo (Sock + Cam): $399
- 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
The 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
What did parents have to say about Owlet Monitor Duo?
The Owlet had a score of 4.3/5 stars based on 4,000 reviews from 6 websites. 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:
We decided to buy the Duo when we were bringing our preemie home from the NICU after 6 1/2 weeks. The first two nights without the Duo, we would wake up with a panic feeling that we missed something. Now with the Duo, we sleep well and are not worried about missing an event overnight. Worth this money for peace of mind! KKBarney1695 from target.com
This is a wonderful product. I am a Registered Nurse so I am very familiar with pulse oximeters as I use these to monitor my patients’ heart rate and oxygen saturation. This product provides me with the same technology to use at home on my newborn baby and it provides such peace of mind while I am sleeping at night. Definitely worth purchasing, especially if you have a premature or NICU baby. 5 star product. Ashley C. from influenster.com
Which One is Better, Nanit or Owlet?
Nanit is a better choice for parents who want personalised sleep insights for their baby, along with breathing monitoring. Whereas Owlet is better for those who want more health data on their baby as it measures baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels too. This can make 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.
It provides parents with more detailed health information using pulse oximetry technology to give you baby’s exact heart rate and oxygen levels. Nanit only monitors your baby’s breathing movements, which isn’t as accurate as the data Owlet collects.
On the other hand, Nanit is a great option for those who want a breathing and video monitor together with in-depth sleep tracking and tips. While Owlet does give some good sleep data, Nanit Insights gives more analysis about what to do with that data.
The personalized sleep tips provide valuable input especially to a parent who is sleep-training their baby.
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.
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.
Whichever system you choose, I believe both monitors are worth their value as they both go above and beyond what traditional monitors can do.