An Expert Guide to Baby Monitors that Don't Require Wifi

Baby and Toddler Expert Robbie M. explains how non-wifi baby monitors can be a better option for many parents and lists a few of the top monitors!

A mother and two kids looking at an iPad while sitting on a couch.

Photo by Alexander Drummer

When we first moved our son into his own room, my wife and I were glued to our baby monitor’s screen for several hours making sure he was still breathing. A year and a half since, we still use our son’s monitor every night for peace of mind to ensure he’s doing okay in his nursery. There have been many a night where our “Leo-vision” has provided us entertainment as we watch our little angel sleep, babble, or play in his crib.

A baby monitor is a must-have item for new parents. It allows you to be able to check in on your little one without having to go into their room—saving you time and potential sleep interruptions.

Types of Baby Monitors

A parent using the The Motorola VM36XL.

The Motorola VM36XL

There are three main types of baby monitors: wifi video, non-wifi video, and audio-only baby monitors.

Wifi Video Monitors

Wifi video baby monitors offer the ability to check on your child from anywhere using your cell phone, as long as your camera is using wifi connection. These monitors tend to have better video quality due to the higher pixel counts that cell phones provide and often offer options to record video for playback. Utilizing apps on cell phones also enables notifications to be sent to your phone or smartwatch, making you incredibly connected with your baby monitor.

However, wifi baby monitors have one big flaw: they can be hacked, allowing someone to not only see into your home, but also talk through your monitor. However, this can be avoided as long as you have a strong wifi password for your home network. My wife and I were most worried about this disadvantage and opted instead for a non-wifi baby monitor.

Non-Wifi Video Monitors

Unlike wifi-enabled monitors, non-wifi baby monitors use different transmission wavelengths along with frequency hopping synched between camera and monitor instead of internet connection—making these monitors nearly impossible to be hacked. Non-wifi video monitors are also typically much simpler set up out of the box; they’re a good choice for people who don’t consider themselves to be “techy.”

Not relying on wifi also has another perk: non-wifi baby monitors are almost real-time, whereas their wifi-connected relatives tend to have some level of a delay. In the event your wifi goes out or you have issues with your provider, your non-wifi baby monitor can still function.

The added security does come with a few tradeoffs when compared to wifi-enabled monitors. All non-wifi baby monitors come with a standalone receiver to view video and hear audio from the camera (or cameras) set up on a wall mount in the baby’s room. These receivers tend to have a lower-definition screen, poorer video quality, and typically don’t offer recording options.

Lastly, non-wifi monitors have a set range due to the frequencies they use. However, this range is still typically good enough to reach just outside your home or down several levels, allowing for evening beverages on the porch after your baby goes down for the night (from my wife and my personal experience).

Audio-Only Monitors

For many years, audio-only monitors were the only option available for parents wanting to keep an eye (or ear) on their kids. These relatively simple monitors do still exist and are available for purchase with the major downside of not being able to see what’s going on in your baby’s room. However, audio-only monitors tend to have much larger ranges when compared to their video counterparts, along with longer battery life for their receivers. Lastly, audio-only monitors tend to be much cheaper than video monitors, making them good solutions for parents on a budget or looking for a cheap alternative for travel.

Features of Non-Wifi (and Wifi) Baby Monitors

Non-wifi baby monitors typically come with a camera and receiver device combo paired (or easily pairable) to one another along with a receiver charger. Most cameras have the ability to zoom, tilt, and pan the camera around your child’s room, allowing you to not only find your kiddo but also re-setup the camera if you decide to take it with you for your travels.

Another helpful feature many of these cameras offer is night vision, allowing you to still watch your baby sleep at night (which is generally when you want to keep an eye on them). Many also have a thermometer or temperature sensor which reads out on the receiver.

Finally, the cameras have a microphone and speaker built in—allowing for two-way audio, so you can hear your baby and even soothe them with lullabies from your receiver. Some cameras have different camera lenses, such as a zoom or a wide-angle lens. These extra features go a long way in giving parents the peace of mind needed for a good night’s sleep.

The wireless receiver generally features camera control buttons (tilt, pan, and zoom), volume adjustments, and some level of charge indicator as most have rechargeable batteries. Many receivers also show visual alerts using lights along the side of the receiver when your baby cries, allowing you to “see” when they need you in the event your receiver unit is muted. Along with the video screen, the receiver units also have a speaker with adjustable volume levels. Kickstands, which are also fairly common, allow you to set your monitor on a surface and easily see the screen.

Examples of Non-Wifi Baby Monitors

One thing to note: not all baby monitors are created equally. Different manufacturers include different features in their setups which all come at different price points. It can be helpful to list which features are must-haves for you and your family before shopping for a baby monitor. With that being said, here are some of the best video baby monitors that don’t require a wifi connection.

Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro

The Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro Baby Monitor.

One of the most popular non-wifi baby monitors, the Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro, is simple to use and packed full of features. Its camera can tilt up, down, left, and right, and is easily mountable on a wall. The receiver pairs easily to the camera and has a large screen which is color during the day and black and white at night. The zoom lens allows for six-times zoom, making checking on your child easy. A unique feature of the DXR-8 Pro is Active Noise Canceling, which can filter out white noise machines or fans in your baby’s room, allowing you to hear just them in the event they need you.

Motorola VM36XL

The Motorola VM36XL Baby Monitor.

This baby monitor comes with two cameras and a receiver, making it a good option for parents who want different views of their child’s room. One of the cameras is battery powered, which can be useful for trips away from home or naps from outside of the nursery. Another useful feature of the dual-camera system: the receiver can be split-screened—great for twins.

VTech RM5766HD

The VTech RM5766HD Baby Monitor.

Having one of the best zooms available at 24 times the normal view, the VTech RM5766HD receiver also features a large 5in screen. A 360°, horizontal pan is another unique addition to this baby monitor, which is very helpful for large rooms. Finally, this monitor can be used with or without Wifi, making it a great option for parents who aren’t sure which type of video monitor they would like to own.

Hubble Connected Nursery View Pro

The Hubble Connected Nursery View Pro Baby Monitor.

A fully-loaded monitor, the Hubble Connected Nursery View Pro is a cost-effective option. An ultra-long range parent unit allows you to be on the other side of your home or outside and still be able to check in on your baby. With similar features to other non-wifi monitors at a lower price point, the Hubble Connected Nursery View Pro can be a great choice.

Final Thoughts

The best baby monitor is the one that meets the most of you and your family’s needs. Whether it is wifi-enabled or not, a baby monitor is an excellent piece of tech to give you peace of mind about your baby when they’re in their own room. If you have any questions regarding baby monitors or any other type of baby products, be sure to reach out to me or one of our Baby and Toddler Experts at Curated. We’d be more than happy to help you find the perfect baby monitor for your own home.

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Written By
Robbie M
Robbie M
Baby & Toddler Expert
Since being promoted to Dad in 2020, I have leveraged my engineering background to do plenty of research on baby products to ensure we had the best fit for our kiddo. Living in Minnesota, we face both hot summers and freezing cold winters, and after more hours than I'd like to admit of researching b...
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