One of the hardest decisions I had to make, and one that took me the longest, was which baby monitor to use. I scoured online forums, reading stories of poor battery life and even video units that were visible outside of the home without parents knowing. After analyzing for a few weeks, I settled on a Sony BabyCall, and found one with two parental units on eBay for $30 (shipping included).
When the BabyCall monitor set arrived, we put one parental unit in the bedroom and one in the den. Since they are able to stay plugged in, it gave us entire house coverage from one end to the next. We usually left the volume down if we were in either room as the indicator lights would make enough of a movement for us to notice baby was crying. If we wanted to walk outside, we found that the parental unit had great range all around the house.
Last month, Graco reached out and offered me the chance to start reviewing their products. As I am a big fan of their car seat and stroller, I was excited to take the opportunity. So Graco provided me with their new Secure Coverage Digital Baby Monitor free of charge and asked me to share my honest opinion on the product. I had been completely satisfied with my Sony BabyCall, so I wasn’t sure how this new monitor could make me replace the old one. Here are my findings:
- Both the Graco nursery and parent units are smaller, and the parent unit’s belt clip is much easier to use. This is also an added benefit if you travel a lot to make for easier packing.
- The parent unit will vibrate when baby cries, a great plus if using at a grandparent’s house that is hard of hearing.
- Just like the Sony BabyCall, the Graco parent unit works while plugged in to AC or with the rechargeable battery pack.
- Distance wise, I had full coverage throughout my house and outside, and it got a few feet further than the BabyCall before being out of range.
- Took me almost 20 minutes to set up and required both a flathead and a small phillips head screwdriver, and for the first time, I had to actually read the instructions to get it set up.
- Although I liked that the parent unit vibrates when baby cries, I much preferred the Sony BabyCall parent unit’s setting that allows you to hear all sounds in the nursery or voice only, although the Graco parent unit does allow you to turn the volume all the way down and be alerted just to the vibration.
- When I went to unplug the nursery unit after testing it for the weekend, I noticed I would have to once again get a screwdriver to take out the batteries in order for the unit to actually shut off.
All in all, I think the Graco monitor is a great product, especially for the price. I purchased my Sony BabyCall for $30 used for the nursery unit plus two parental units. Brand new, it would have cost $69 (or $49 if you get just one parental unit). The Graco monitor retails for $44.99 with one parental unit and $64.99 for two parental units, making it a pretty good price match with the BabyCall. I think if I had found the Graco monitor first, I would love it just as much as I do the BabyCall. That said, we may actually switch to the Graco monitor for the primary reason that the parental unit is easier to carry around while getting house work done or spending some time outdoors.