If you are in the market for a baby monitor then you are likely to encounter tons of varieties to choose from. These varieties generally fall into two main categories, the wifi, and the non-wifi baby monitors. If you have never used a baby monitor before, choosing one is likely to turn into a hassle, and in this article, I’ll explain which one is best under which situation.
In summary, WiFi baby monitors rely on 2.4GHz DHSS WiFi and a few also use the 5GHz frequency band. On the other hand, non-Wifi baby monitors rely either on FHSS or DECT technologies that utilize 2.4 GHz and 1.9 GHz frequency bands respectively. To make it easy for you to easily distinguish those that rely on WiFi and those that rely on other non-Wifi technologies, I have done an in-depth review broken down the major differentiating factors using a table.
Wifi Vs Non-Wifi Baby Monitors
|WiFi Baby Monitor||Non-WiFi Baby Monitor|
|Requires Wi-Fi, either 2.4 GHz Wifi or 5 GHz Wifi||Does not require Wi-Fi|
|Can easily be hacked if it does not have robust security protocols||Very difficult to hack as most of them use frequency hopping spectrum (FHSS)|
|Longer time delay- up to 10 seconds||Unnoticeable time delay|
|Unlimited monitoring distance as long as you have internet connection||Limited monitoring distance of up to 1500 ft.|
|Most of them can record video and audio clips to the cloud or locally. Read our reviews of baby monitors with recording feature||A few non-wifi baby monitor brands such as DBPower have a recording feature but most of them do not record.|
|Uses two frequency bands, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz||Uses either 1.9 GHz (DECT) or 2.4 GHz (FHSS)|
|Uses smartphone's screen as the display||Uses a dedicated screen that measures 2.4 inches to 5 inches|
|It comes with a smartphone app||Does not come with a smartphone app as they are not connected to the internet.|
|Have better quality videos and images, some having 1080p HD and even 2k resolution||Most non-wifi monitors have low quality images and videos as they utilize Video Graphic Array (VGA). However, recent models such as Infant Optics DXR 8 Pro and Eufy Spaceview Baby Monitor have 720p HD resolution|
|Some can integrate with smart home ecosystems such as Google Home, Alexa Home or Apple Homekit||They do not integrate with smart homes|
You should get a Wifi baby monitor if you are looking for a monitor that can allow you to use your phone app to view your baby’s images, videos, or to listen to audio whenever you have an internet connection. On the other hand, if security is your top priority, get a non-wifi baby monitor as they are known to be almost unhackable. The biggest difference between these two baby monitors is that Wi-Fi baby monitors are connected to the internet and they use a standard and open protocol, i.e. Wi-Fi, while non-Wi-Fi baby monitors are localized therefore they don’t require Wi-Fi.
Below are other outstanding differences between non-wifi and wifi video baby monitors:
Wi-Fi baby monitors require a router since they operate using Wi-Fi while non-Wi-Fi baby monitors are localized so they don’t require Wi-Fi or internet connection. Non-wifi baby monitors are most suitable for you to monitor your baby within a limited distance of up to 300 meters or up to approximately 1000 ft. A few brands, however, exceed this transmission range and can transmit signals up to 1500 ft.
In summary, get a Wifi baby monitor if you want to monitor your baby without limitation of distance. On the other hand, get a non-wifi baby monitor if you are only interested in localized video and audio monitoring that will not exceed 1500 ft.
Privacy & Security
Non-Wi-Fi baby monitors handle data transmission via frequency channels that are non-static so they are theoretically speaking unhackable hence more secure. Wi-Fi baby monitors, on the other hand, use Wi-Fi which is open to hacking by anyone with basic hacking skills.
Get a non-wifi baby monitor for guaranteed privacy and security. If you decide to go with a Wifi baby monitor, go for those that use the most advanced encryption standard, AES 256-bit encryption.
Wifi baby monitors rely on your smartphone app to display videos of your baby. On the other hand, non-wifi baby monitors come with dedicated screens of sizes 2.4 inches to 5 inches to display the videos of your baby. It is important, however, to note that non-wifi baby monitors do have smartphone apps as they are not connected to the internet.
Range of Transmission
The transmission scope of both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi baby monitors falls under 2.4GHz as stipulated by international standards. But, in general, Wi-Fi baby monitors which utilize DSSS (see below) usually have an unlimited range of transmission as compared to FHSS models and DECT models which do not exceed 1500 ft.
Non-wifi baby monitors do not have a noticeable time delay in transmission since they use peer-to-peer mode. Wi-Fi baby monitors, on the other hand, transmit the feed to the cloud before transmitting it to routers and other wifi-connected devices such as your smartphone app or computer. This results in a wifi baby monitor experiencing lag in the transmission that can last for up to 10 seconds.
Wifi & Non-wifi Baby Monitors Transmission Technologies (DSSS, FHSS, DECT)
Wi-fi baby monitors are excellent for unlimited-range transmission and if you use a smartphone, you’ll appreciate wifi baby monitors as they allow you to view and listen to your baby over the app. On the other hand, wifi baby monitors are known to have a lag in transmission of audio and videos, a lag of up to 10 ft. In addition, they can be hacked if you get a baby monitor with poor security settings or with no encryption. If you decide to get a wifi-enabled baby monitor, get one with robust security settings with at least AES 128-bit encryption. Some of the latest baby monitors such as Miku Pro, Nanit Pro, and Cubo Ai have AES 256-bit encryption which is bank-level secure.
Non-wifi baby monitors are excellent as hack-proof alternatives to wifi baby monitors but they do not have smartphone apps. They mostly come with dedicated screens. You will, however, appreciate the fact that non-wifi baby monitors barely have any lag in transmission, unlike wifi baby monitors.
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at Motherhood HQ (formerly 10BabyGear). I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at email@example.com.