Wondering which baby monitor to pick between Owlet vs Snuza vs Levana vs Angelcare? Lucky for you, I’m here to make this important decision a little easier as I love helping new parents such as myself pick the right baby monitor for their needs. The Levana Oma Sense Portable Baby Breathing Monitor comes out tops. Read on to find out why.
New parents are understandably concerned about their baby’s breathing patterns – especially considering that newborn babies often have irregular breathing patterns. But instead of checking in on your baby every five minutes, turn to technology and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
Buying a Baby Monitor? Here’s What You Need to Know
No parent immediately knows exactly which baby monitor to pick which makes deciding on one a pretty nerve-wracking endeavor. These nifty gadgets often appear complicated, which makes the decision even more difficult. But I’ve come up with this short guide to clear up the confusion, allay your concerns and help you make the right pick.
Background: A Bit About the Brands
I’ll start with Owlet. Established in 2013, Owlet is a fairly new company that designs health care monitors that allow parents to track their baby’s vitals in real-time. You’re immediately alerted if any changes in your baby’s oxygen levels, skin temperature and heart rate are detected. Owlet monitors are specifically designed for babies with underlying medical conditions such as sleep apnea. Snuza has been around for a little longer. Founded in 2007, the dynamic company specializes in baby movement monitors that track the breathing patterns of little ones. The brand uses leading bio-sensory technology and was the first company to manufacture the world’s first portable breathing monitor. Levana initially started off as a home security company but ventured into the baby technology market in 2001 by producing its first breathing monitor. The brand is known for prioritizing affordability, design, and durability. Angelcare is the oldest of the bunch. It was founded back in 1997 and has over 20 years of experience in designing breathing detection monitors as well as bath boosters.
Features to Look Out For
It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to go overboard and lace their products with feature after feature in a bid to attract buyers. Feature-flooded products will also cost A LOT more. Now, to avoid paying for features you don’t actually need, I’ve compiled this shortlist of important features to look out for:
- Wearable – Consider where the unit must be placed to successfully monitor your baby’s breathing. Is it attached to your baby’s diaper, as is the case with the Snuza Hero (SE) Baby Movement Monitor or to your baby’s foot by means of a sock such as the Owlet, or is it placed under the mattress like the Angelcare monitor? Different parents feel differently about placing a monitor directly on their baby’s skin for fear of comfort and skin irritations. What’s your take?
- Alerts – How are you notified should any changes in your baby’s breathing pattern occur? Does the monitor sound alarms, emit vibrations or produce lights? The Snuza and the Levana are both designed to begin vibrating if no breathing movement is picked up in order to stimulate your baby into waking up. The Angelcare baby monitor will sound an audible alarm in such instances. The Owlet uses a combination of lights, sounds and app notifications as its alert system.
- Camera – A monitor that allows you to see your slumbering babe will enhance your peace of mind. The Owlet allows you to stream live video footage to your smartphone so you can always watch your sleeping baby. Monitors with cameras are also a long-term investment as they can double as a nanny cam – meaning you’ll be using it for years to come.
- Two-way communication – Models such as the Levana and Angelcare baby monitors offer two-way audio communication. This allows you to soothe your baby remotely via the monitor so you can enjoy a few more precious moments in bed.
- Low battery alerts – It should go without saying that a baby monitor that has no battery life is completely useless. But how will you know if your baby monitor’s battery has run out during the night? That’s why it’s always a good idea to opt for a baby monitor that has a low battery alert system in place, e.g. Snuza Hero (SE).
The Benefits of Baby Monitors
As you can tell, baby monitors are laden with fantastic features that make the life of a new parent easier and less stressful. These devices offer numerous benefits including:
- Monitoring baby’s breathing patterns
- Potentially life-saving
- Gives you peace of mind (which helps you sleep better)
- Minimizes the risk of SIDS
How to Pick the Right Baby Monitor
I know, buying a baby monitor is sounding like a great idea right about now – especially since you know what the benefits are and have a good idea of which features you’d like. But there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before clicking that “Add to cart” button.
- Is the monitor extremely sensitive? The whole point of this monitor is to detect your baby’s sleeping status and breathing pattern so it must be sensitive enough to pick up on even the slightest of changes.
- Does your baby have any underlying medical conditions? Premature babies are often diagnosed with and suffer from breathing problems. If your baby falls into this category, it’s in your best interest to pick a unit that is able to specifically monitor such conditions.
- Is the unit noisy? The only acceptable sound that a baby monitor should produce is an alert alarm to notify you of any changes to your baby’s breathing and movement. Any other noises will interrupt your baby’s sleep.
My Top Picks
- Snuza Hero (SE) Baby Movement Monitor
- Levana Oma Sense Portable Baby Breathing Movement Monitor
- Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Smart Sock + Camera)
- Angelcare Baby Monitor with Video and Breathing Sensor Pad
The Snuza Hero (SE) Baby Movement Monitor is designed to detect even the slightest of changes in your baby’s abdominal movements. The device is small, compact and simple to use. After 15 seconds of no abdominal movements, the vibration stimulus is triggered and after 20 seconds of no abdominal movements, the alarm is triggered. The device is covered by a 1-year warranty while its battery is replaceable.
Who it’s for
You can use the Snuza Hero (SE) Baby Movement Monitor from birth onwards.
Why You Should Buy This
Firstly, it’s affordable. And its battery has been designed to last all throughout the night. You can use this device every night for eight months straight without needing to replace the battery.
- Dimensions: 1.8″ x 1.6″ x 2.8″
- Weight: 0.04lbs
- Detects: Abdominal movements
- Alerts: Vibrations and sounds
- Easy to use
- Incredible battery life with low battery alert
- Replacement batteries are extremely difficult to find
- Many parents report instances of false alarms
The Levana Oma Sense Portable Baby Breathing Movement Monitor is designed to clip onto your baby’s pants. If you’re worried about the possibility of skin irritations occurring – don’t be as there is no need for skin contact. Even so, the device is made from medical grade Canadian materials. After 15 seconds of no breath detection, the device will trigger sounds, vibrations and LED light stimulation to encourage breath return.
Who it’s for
The Levana Oma Sense Portable Baby Breathing Movement Monitor is ideal for usage on newborns until they reach the age of 18 months.
Why You Should Buy It
The monitor is very simple to use and is known for its accuracy. You won’t be getting too many too false alarms from this monitor, that’s for sure.
- Dimensions: 3.6″ x 7.8″ x 5.8″
- Weight: 0.55lbs
- Detects: Breathing movement
- Alerts: Vibrations, LED lights and audible alarms
- Minimal false alarms
- No skin contact
- Bright light may be distracting at night
- The alarm isn’t loud
The Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Smart Sock + Camera) is so much more than a breathing monitor. It’s also designed to track your little one’s heart rate and oxygen levels. It collects and stores this data throughout the day. The sock is machine washable and fits most infants aged 0 to 18 months of age. This BPA free, latex-free and lead-free product is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Who it’s for
The Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Smart Sock + Camera) is ideal for babies who have underlying medical conditions that cause breathing problems. Also, because it features Bluetooth Connectivity if you’re a tech-savvy dad you’ll love this unit.
Why You Should Buy It
Think of this baby monitor as your integrated wellness device that is designed to keep you in constant touch with your baby’s health condition. It has audio and video capabilities so you can check in on your baby remotely via your smartphone. Plus, it has two-way communication so you can soothe your baby from anywhere.
- Dimensions: 3.5″ x 3.5″ x 0.7″
- Weight: 1.8lbs
- Detects: Heart rate, oxygen levels and room temperature
- Alerts: Lights, sounds and app notifications
- Clear audio and video
- Two-way communication functionality
- Vital tracking
- App is complicated to use for non-tech parents
- No vibration stimulus
Last up on my list is the Angelcare Baby Monitor with Video and Breathing Sensor Pad. This device is placed under the mattress to monitor your baby’s breathing and sleeping patterns. It comes with a 5″ LCD touchscreen unit for parents, which is most appreciated. The alarm will sound after 20 seconds of no movement detection.
Who it’s for
This unit can be used on babies of all ages and stages. It’s also a great option for parents who want a contactless baby monitor.
Why You Should Buy It
For parents who don’t want any devices rubbing against their baby’s delicate skin, the Angelcare Baby Monitor with Video and Breathing Sensor Pad is for you. This unit also comes with a camera so you can check in on your sleeping baby at any time of the day or night.
- Dimensions: 3.74″ x 9.87″ x 10.19″
- Weight: 3.19lbs
- Detects: Breathing pattern and room temperature
- Alerts: Alarm
- Includes a parent unit
- Video and audio functionality
- Zero skin contact
- Two-way communication
- Poor video quality
- Baby movement can shift monitor position
- No vibration stimulus
Can you prevent SIDS?
Unfortunately not. There is currently no cure for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, there are measures you can take to minimize its occurrence. As far as possible, ensure your baby is lying on his or her back, keep blankets away from his or her face, and avoid keeping stuffed animals and toys in the crib.
Can fathers suffer from PTSD?
Many parents who have PTSD make use of technology like baby monitors to reduce their anxiety. The general – stereotypical – consensus is that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with women. But research has shown that dads, especially those that are present during delivery, also suffer from PTSD.
It’s now time to pick a winner! In my eyes, the Levana Oma Sense Portable Baby Breathing Monitor takes the cake. To be clear the Owlet, Snuza and Angelcare units are all solid options. But personally, I value the functionality and safety of such units and the Levana’s accuracy and reliability are unmatched. You can expect minimal false alarms, no-contact monitoring and simple set up.
I know it is void of the fancy features such as two-way communication and video functionality but, call me old fashioned, I prefer soothing my baby in person to lessen my own anxiety. Besides, though the Owlet and Angelcare monitors have video functionality, the Owlet is a little complicated to use and the Angelcare’s video quality isn’t the best. But that’s just my opinion, what’s yours?
Last update on 2021-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API