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Nanit vs Owlet: A Comparison of the Leading Smart Baby Monitors


As a new (and terrified) parent, I remember checking on my baby constantly while they were asleep. I just needed to know that he was still breathing!

Today, there are plenty of technologies available to give parents that peace of mind that will get them a good night’s sleep. The Nanit Plus and Owlet Smart Sock and Cam are two of the best baby monitors.

In this article, we’ll take a look at Nanit vs. Owlet, as well as how they compare to some of the other high-tech baby monitors.

Nanit Smart Baby Monitor

What is the Nanit Plus?

Nanit Plus - Smart Baby Monitor and Wall Mount: Camera with HD Video & Audio - Sleep Tracking - Night Vision - Temperature & Humidity Sensors and Two-Way Audio 

When paired with Nanit wear, the Nanit has sleep tracking and breath monitoring technologies. It uses WiFi and connects to your phone, so it uses something you’re probably already carrying around.

Here are some of the features of the Nanit baby monitor:

  • Two-way audio
  • White noise option
  • Movement and audio alerts
  • Easy to use interface
  • Options of multi-stand or wall mount for travel or placing anywhere in your baby’s room
  • Movement map that uses a heat sensor to show you where your baby moves during the night
  • Night vision
  • Talk-back technology 
  • When used with Nanit Wear, tracks your baby’s breaths per minute

The most recent model from this line is the Nanit Plus. In addition to these features, the key difference in the Nanit Plus is the sensors that track temperature and humidity changes in your baby’s sleeping environment. 

What is Nanit Breathing Wear?

Nanit breathing wear is a swaddle sack and belly band that monitor your baby’s belly movements through the night. Since their belly moves as they breathe, the Nanit monitors breaths per minute so you know your baby is breathing through the night. 

You can purchase the Nanit with Breathing Wear or without breathing wear. Without it, you can still track your baby’s sleep and wake patterns using technology and be alerted to movement and audio. 

Owlet Smart Baby Monitor

What is the Owlet Smart Sock and Cam? 

Owlet Smart Baby Monitor Duo (Smart Sock + Camera)

When paired with the Smart Sock, the Owlet monitor tracks your baby’s oxygen saturation so you know they are breathing through the night. The sock also tracks heartbeats per minute. 

The Owlet Smart Sock 3 is the latest model available. In addition to the features already available, the Owlet 3 reports sleep trends like how many hours your little one is getting each night and their waking hours. Here are some other key features:

  • Light and sound notifications for irregular heartbeat or oxygen levels 
  • Different colored lights for different notifications (like blue when the signal is lost and red if your baby’s oxygen saturation or heart rate is too low)
  • Works with your smartphone 
  • Two-way talk
  • Background audio so you can listen while you use other apps on your phone 
  • Clear, vivid video streams to your phone in real-time 
  • Uses smart sock to check heartbeat and oxygen saturation

Nanit vs. Owlet

Both the Nanit and Owlet baby monitors use sleepwear technology to help you ensure your baby’s breathing in the middle of the night. While Owlet makes use of smart socks, the Nanit uses a sleep sack that measures your little one’s movements and their breaths by tracking belly movements. They both also share features like two-way audio, use of WiFi and your smartphone, and clear video streams.

Here’s a look at what makes these baby breathing monitors different. 

Features

When comparing Nanit vs. Owlet, the Owlet sets itself apart because of its pulse-oximetry technology. This lets the monitor and socks track your baby’s heartbeat and oxygen levels. The Nanit Plus baby monitor sets itself apart because it tracks your baby’s movement and breaths through the night using sleepwear. 

The Nanit Plus, on the other hand, is a better choice for parents that want to be aware of their baby’s sleep patterns. You can get information on your baby’s night right in the app, along with tips from leading experts about how to get your baby a better night of sleep.

Both the Owlet and Nanit baby monitors have their benefits- the major difference is what type of information you’re interested in for your baby. The Nanit is great for tracking sleep changes, while the Owlet is better for parents of preemies or that have health problems that might affect their oxygen levels. 

Installation 

Something else that sets these apart is that the Nanit Plus is more flexible in the way it is installed. The Owlet comes with a flat bottom so you can set it on a nightstand or dresser near your little one’s crib. It also has a magnet so it can be attached to any metal surface nearby or you can install using a wall mount. That can be a little more complicated, however, the wall mount gives better visibility of your little one’s crib at night.

The Nanit Plus also comes with a wall mount because visibility is important for tracking your little one’s movement through the night. There is also an option to buy a multi-stand with the Nanit. The multi-stand is great for travel because there is no installation and it works like a tripod so you can set up the camera almost anywhere. 

Accessibility and Ease of Use

As both of these smart baby monitors make use of Wifi and can use an app on your smartphone, it’s relatively easy to access the information you need to safely track your baby’s sleep patterns. The app for the Nanit does score slightly higher according to user reviews in the iOS and Android stores, with the Nanit scoring 4.1 and 4.6, respectively, and the Owlet scoring 4.2 and 3.7.

Both also make it possible for more than one device to be connected to the camera, so both parents, grandparents, or even your child’s sitter can easily monitor them from different devices in your home. Something to note is that the Nanit is only free for the first year and you must pay a yearly subscription to store your baby’s sleep data after that, while the Owlet is free for a lifetime of use. 

Other Top Smart Baby Monitors Compared

Miku Smart Baby Monitor

Miku Smart Baby Monitor - Breathing & Movement Monitor - HSA/FSA Approved - Real-Time Breathing & Sleep Tracking - HD Video & Audio, Night Vision, Two-Way Talk, Sound, Humidity & Temperature

The Miku Smart Baby Monitor monitors your little one’s breathing using contact-less technology. It also tracks the temperature and humidity in your baby’s nursery and has speakers that play lullabies. There is also two-way communication, so you can soothe your little one with your voice when they’re upset. 

Even though this is a little more expensive because of it’s extensive technology and capabilities, there is no monthly fee to use the app. Several users can access the data with permission. Additionally, it tracks sleep patterns, breathing, the atmosphere, and more.

Compared to the Nanit and Owlet, this has more features like sensors that ensure your baby has a comfortable (and safe) atmosphere to sleep in. The fact that it plays lullabies over the installed speakers is also nice. 

Motorola Halo

Motorola Halo+ Video Baby Monitor - Infant Wi-Fi Camera with Overhead Crib Mount - 4.3-Inch Color Screen with Infrared Night Vision and Intercom - Compatible with Remote Viewing App and Sleep Tracker

The Motorola Halo is another smart baby monitor that comes with plenty of features for you and your baby. Rather than using your smartphone, however, this comes with a specific monitor intended to be used with the set. It can also be used with your smartphone, so you have peace of mind inside and outside of your home. You can purchase this with one or two cameras, which is great if you lay your baby down in more than one room of the house. 

This also monitors your baby through the night and lets you check in on them whenever you want to. The Motorola Halo features Sleep Assistant to track sleeping habits. You can also record information about feeding and diaper changes, which helps you closely monitor your little one’s health. However, you will need to pay for access to the app. 

Something else that sets this apart is the way you can soothe your little one to sleep. This has seven different night light colors and a projector. You’ll want to be careful where you position this monitor, as signals from other electronics can interrupt the feed. These connectivity issues make it a little less reliable than some of the other options, depending on where you position the monitor. 

How to Choose the Best Smart Baby Monitor 

Ease of Use and Installation 

You aren’t going to get all the benefits of a baby monitor if you aren’t using it properly.

Ideally, you should choose a model with clear instructions. Additionally, you’ll want something that is easy to install. Some monitors attach to your little one’s crib, while others work with wall mounts or standing mounts. Find out if the hardware you need to set up the monitor is included or if you need a separate purchase. Keep in mind that you’ll need to put the monitor somewhere you can see the baby crib, so it’ll need to sit above the crib if you want to keep an eye on your baby. 

Features

The biggest category you’ll want to look at is the included features. Some smart baby monitors are fairly basic, having just video and audio monitoring capabilities. Others track sleeping patterns or breathing patterns and alert you to movements or noises in the nursery.

There are also models with additional features that are for comfort, rather than safety. This includes two-way talking, lullabies, or a nightlight/projector.

You’ll also want to think about if you want one or two cameras. You usually have to purchase these separately, however, you’ll need an app that is compatible with more than one camera. See more multi-camera baby monitors here. 

Think about how much you’re willing to spend on the monitor and then decide which features are most important to you. The Owlet, for example, is best for parents who need to monitor oxygen levels because their baby has underlying health conditions. The Nanit and Halo monitor sleeping patterns, which make it easier to learn your baby’s natural sleep schedule.

Something to keep in mind is that most of the mentioned baby monitors have more than one generation of products. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their product and you’ll want to get the latest model to have the most updated features.  

Overall Cost 

Most of the baby monitors mentioned are designed to work with an app on your smartphone or the included device. The download is free for some, while others require a subscription to store and track sleeping data. You’ll want to find out if there is a one-time fee for the app or a monthly fee and add this to the cost of the monitor to get the total cost. 

Connectivity and Interference 

As you look at different baby monitors, you’ll notice some come with a parent unit and others are designed to work only with your smartphone. Additionally, some only allow one or two users to access the data, while others have unlimited users. Think about how many people you’ll want to have access to the baby monitor as you choose. If you have someone babysitting your child, you may want to have one with a parent device that they can monitor from in the home while you monitor your little one on your smartphone. 

Some monitors also have less risk of interference than the others. Interference from other devices can interrupt the feed. Some monitors alert you to this problem so you can fix it. This can get frustrating, especially if you are trying to sleep. The best way to find out about the connectivity is to read baby monitor reviews to see if other people have had problems. 

FAQs for Owlet vs Nanit

Do I need a high-tech baby monitor? 

As a first-time parent, I found myself up a lot of nights checking on my little one. We only had an audio baby monitor when my oldest was a baby, so I was constantly up checking on him when things went bump in the night. Personally, I think having at least a video monitor would have made it a lot easier for me to get a good night of sleep. 

The high-tech baby monitors mentioned here are loaded with features that make it easier for parents to have peace of mind. By alerting you to movements or changes in heart rate or breathing, you can keep a closer eye on your baby even when you’re asleep.

Additionally, monitoring your little one’s sleep/wake patterns makes it easier to get them on a sleeping schedule. Having your baby on a sleep schedule is beneficial for parents because it makes life with your newborn a little more predictable. It also helps set your baby’s biological clock and makes planning activities like work, housework, mealtimes, shopping, errands, and other things you need to do easier. 

How long should I use the baby monitor? 

Babies are at the greatest risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in their first year of life. Baby monitors that measure your little one’s breath rate, heart rate, or oxygen levels as some of those mentioned do will wake you if your little one stops breathing in the middle of the night. By alerting you to changes in your baby’s breathing, you can wake them up or seek medical attention if something’s wrong. 

Even though baby monitors are most beneficial in the first year of your baby’s life, many monitors (like the Owlet Smart Sock) come with equipment that can be used up to 18 months. Once your baby enters the toddler years, it also allows you to keep an eye on them if they are in a different room. You can also use it as a nanny cam, especially if you choose a model that works with your smartphone when you’re outside of the house.

Baby monitors have a long useful life, so spending a few hundred dollars on a top-quality model that’s going to last for years is well worth the investment. 

Final Word

As you think about what’s better, Nanit or Owlet, it’s important to consider how you’re most likely to use your monitor.

There are only a few differences between the two monitors. Each of them uses its own sleepwear to help parents keep a close eye on their little one at night. The Owlet works by measuring oxygen saturation and heart rate, while the Nanit works by counting breaths per minute. Both are going to alert you to sounds, movements, or anything that might indicate your little one is in danger at night. 

As you compare the Nanit vs. Owlet, think about what matters most do you. Do you want to be able to watch your baby’s nighttime movements and get expert sleep training advice? The Nanit might be best. If you want to monitor oxygen levels and heart rate, the Owlet will get the job done. Of course, there are plenty of other best smart baby monitors to consider, too.

Hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down the options so you can get a good night of rest knowing your little one is sleeping safely in their crib. 

Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis
Samantha Davis is a part-time writer and a full-time mommy of two boys, Apollo (age 3) and Adrien (age 5). She has been working as a writer for five years and one day plans to run her own writing company. For now, Samantha is content working as a writer and spending all her free time with her little boys. They live together with dad in Ohio and spend their free time crafting, hiking, and baking.

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