Owlet vs Nanit – how do these smart baby monitors compare?
When you bring your new baby home for the first time, it’s an experience equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. This tiny baby is entrusted into your care and you need to keep them safe.
Welcome to new parenthood 🙂
Smart baby monitors are a great tool that can help take some of the stress and worry out of the newborn phase. If you think you’ll be the kind of parent who can’t sleep because you need to stay awake and make sure baby is ok… you should probably (definitely) consider picking up a smart baby monitor for peace of mind.
If you’ve been researching baby monitors you’ll know that two baby monitors, the Owlet Dream Duo and Nanit Plus are at the forefront of Smart Baby Monitor technology.
Trying to decide between the Owlet Dream Duo and Nanit Plus? Read on to learn about their features, differences, and get all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
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- TL:DR (too long, didn't read)
- Do I *Really* Need a baby monitor?
- Owlet Dream Duo
- Nanit Plus Review
- Why Use a Smart Baby Monitor?
- How to Choose Between the Owlet or the Nanit
- Smart Baby Monitor FAQ
Do I *Really* Need a baby monitor?
It’s up to you! Baby monitors have only been around for about 100 years. They’ve really come a long way too – progressing from simple two-way radio, live video feed to the current standard of smart baby tech. Smart baby monitors now include the ability to monitor sleep, breathing, heart rate, room temperature and humidity. They also allow you to track and analyze baby’s sleep patterns! It’s pretty impressive.
There’s no question that baby monitors can be useful – you can see if baby is asleep yet without opening the door and possibly waking them. And it’s great for peace of mind to know that they are being monitored with smart tech, so you can get some sleep.
This makes a baby monitor a must buy item for me!
But which baby monitor is the best buy? Keep reading to learn more about the Owlet Dream Duo and the Nanit Plus and decide if these Smart Baby Monitors are the right fit for your family.
Owlet Dream Duo
The Owlet Dream Duo contains a wearable sock, base station, and video monitor.
Owlet Dream Duo Important Features
Video monitor features include:
- Two way talk so you can soothe baby through the speaker
- 1080P high definition video (including night vision) and 130 degree view
- Temperature and humidity sensor so you know how hot or cold baby’s room is
- Safe wall mounting kit for the camera
- Encrypted connection to prevent hackers accessing your baby’s video feed
- Smartphone app to access your baby’s video feed and data plus sleep recommendations
The Dream Duo features include:
- Measuring baby’s heart rate
- Keep track of sleep quality and total hours slept (it’s logged automatically for you.)
- App for viewing data and video
How does the Owlet Dream DUO work?
The Owlet Dream Duo comes in two parts: the wearable sock, and video monitor.
How the Owlet Dream Duo Works
The Owlet Dream Duo is a ‘wearable tech’ baby monitoring option. It’s not a full sock, simply a vehicle for the contact monitor that sits on your baby’s foot. The sock’s straps hold the contact monitor in place so that it can monitor your baby’s pulse and oxygen levels with pulse oximetry technology.
The sensor relays heart rate and oxygen levels to the base station (which glows green if all is well) and then to an app on your smartphone. If there is a problem with heart rate or oxygen levels dipping below or above the pre-set ‘safe’ levels, both the base station and your smartphone app will sound the alarm.
How the Owlet Video Monitor Works
With crystal clear video streaming (including night vision) to your smartphone, the Owlet Video Monitor is a great option if you want to be able to see your baby when they are napping.
You can even leave the audio playing in the background on your phone so you can hear when baby wakes during the night.
Owlet Dream DUO Pros/Cons
- The newest design (Dream Duo) has a better fit which allows for improved accuracy and fewer false alarms
- The ability to review baby’s sleep quality, heart rate and oxygen levels and note trends.
- Being able to check baby’s status in real time from your phone without leaving your bed which means WAY more sleep for you
- False alarms can and do occur if the monitor isn’t in the correct position on baby’s foot
- Alarms (especially if you’re getting false alarms) can cause parents anxiety
Nanit Plus Review
The Nanit Plus can be mounted on the wall or on a stand and sends a live view of your baby’s crib to an app on your smartphone. It gives sound and motion notifications, and it also communicates room temperature and humidity, has two-way audio and can play white noise and nature sounds.
You can also choose to use Nanit’s “complete monitoring system” by purchasing specialized clothing – Nanit Breathing Wear. This 100% cotton band, swaddle or sleep sack has a unique pattern that allows the Nanit Plus camera to track breathing motion when your baby wears it.
Nanit Plus Features
The Nanit Plus is a full featured baby monitor with plenty of great things to talk about:
- One year of free Basic Sleep Insights ($5/month or $50 per year after your first year). These sleep insights include sleep tracking (how many minutes until sleep onset, time asleep, number of visits by caretakers and sleep efficiency.)
- Breathing Motion Monitoring (when baby is wearing Breathing Wear): Notifications if your baby stops breathing and live access to their rate of BPM (breaths per minute)
- Real time sound and motion notifications, temperature and humidity information
- Access to 7 days Video History with the free one year Basic Sleep Insights plan. You can upgrade your plan for up to unlimited video history.
- Highlight Reels – a fun time lapse video shows you how your baby slept
- 256 Bit Video Encryption to keep your videos safe from hackers
- High definition video and night vision video, digital zoom from your smartphone, two way audio
- Play white noise, soothing sounds and adjust the night light from your smartphone
How the Nanit Plus works
The Nanit Plus camera has two way audio, high definition video and night vision video with a digital zoom you can operate from your smartphone.
When paired with Nanit’s Breathing Wear, the camera uses the unique pattern to track movement and give breathing information.
The Nanit Plus Camera has a 14 foot power cable (cord) that plugs into the wall. It comes with safe cable management (cable cover units) to keep baby safe.
What Is the Difference Between the Nanit and Nanit Plus?
The Nanit Plus looks basically the same as the previous Nanit, however, it has some new features including nature sounds, two-way audio, advanced user permissions for extra caregivers, and the ability to monitor baby’s breathing with the breathing wear.
Nanit Plus Pros and Cons
The Nanit Plus is an excellent baby monitor with many, many good features that you’ll love.
- Basic Sleep Insights – monitor your baby’s sleep trends, get recommendations for better sleep (the Nanit app compares your baby’s data to other healthy babies the same age), generates fun digital scrapbook videos highlighting age and sleep milestones.
- Can zoom in on your smartphone app
- Sound, motion, room temperature and humidity notifications
- Zero touch monitoring – no sensors or electronics required to be in contact with baby
- Plays white noise or soothing sounds to help your baby sleep
- Can add others to your ‘parenting team’ to access the information from the app
- The Nanit App continues to work even if wi-fi is down. As long as you are on the same local Wi-Fi network as the camera, you should still be able to see the monitoring status, get alerts on your phone and start or stop a monitoring session.
- Records data including when baby was put down and every time they were taken out of bed (especially helpful if you have a nanny or a babysitter)
- Tells you how long it has been since your baby’s last sleep (one less thing to keep track of in your sleep deprived brain!)
- You have to buy Breathing Wear separately if you want to monitor breathing, and have to buy more as baby grows
- Sleep Insights require a subscription after one year, or immediately if you want access to more features and longer video history
- Not as portable for travel
- Breathing wear shouldn’t be worn if baby is ill as it could increase their temperature (which is just when you want to keep watch on baby’s breathing)
Why Use a Smart Baby Monitor?
What’s the right baby monitor for you? Do you need a smart baby monitor with all the bells and whistles? Or are you ok with a simple audio or visual baby monitor?
You might want to purchase a smart baby monitor if:
- Baby is sleeping in their own room overnight or away from where you do your daily activities
- You’re anxious over your baby’s safety and health overnight
- You want to track baby’s sleep
You might think about waiting on a smart baby monitor if:
- Baby is in your room and you aren’t anxious
- You have a small space and can hear baby from their napping room
- “Information overload” stresses you out
Audio or Video baby monitors are a useful tool for basic monitoring of your baby. Smart Baby Monitors like the Owlet Dream Duo or Nanit Plus provide a much broader range of information and can give you comfort knowing that your baby is being constantly monitored while they sleep.
How to Choose Between the Owlet or the Nanit
The Owlet Dream Duo and Nanit Plus both provide useful information and peace of mind for parents of newborns. With a very similar price tag when choosing between the two you may want to consider:
- Do I want/need to track heart rate? (Choose Owlet Dream Duo)
- Would I use white noise/lullaby music? (Choose Nanit Plus)
- Would false alarms from wearable technology placement worry me too much? (Choose Nanit Plus)
- Do I want access to video capture for 30 days? (Choose Nanit Plus)
Smart Baby Monitor FAQ
Is it worth buying the Owlet/Nanit?
A smart baby monitor is definitely worth the price for the peace of mind you get knowing that your baby is monitored while they are sleeping.
If you have any anxiety or worries about your baby and sleep, you should consider a smart baby monitor. If you aren’t anxious, you may find a simpler audio/visual monitor is sufficient for your needs.
Do pediatricians recommend the Owlet/Nanit?
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement regarding Smart Baby Monitors. It says, “There is no evidence that the use of infant home apnea monitors decreases the incidence of SIDS and should not be used routinely for this purpose; however, they might be of value for selected infants at risk for apnea or cardiovascular events after discharge.”
Can these baby monitors prevent SIDS?
In short, no. Smart Baby Monitors can alert you to changes in your baby’s breathing or oxygen level, but they cannot definitively prevent SIDS.
The Owlet website states the product is “not as stringent as a medical monitor.” and “Do not use the Smart Sock if your doctor recommends the use of a hospital apnea monitor or hospital pulse oximeter.”
From the Nanit website, “[Nanit] is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or other condition, including but not limited to, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). False positive or false negative readings about your baby’s breathing patterns are a potential risk of Nanit. Nanit should not substitute for the care and oversight of an adult or consultation with medical professionals.”
Will these monitors tell you if baby stops breathing?
The Owlet Dream DUO will notify you if the status of your baby changes.
If you purchase the Nanit Breathing Wear, the Nanit Plus camera tracks the unique pattern on clothing and alerts you if no breathing motion is detected.
Do these monitors give false alarms?
Previous versions of the Owlet Smart Sock were reported to have many false alarms. This led to a class-action lawsuit filed in April 2019 alleging that “the monitors tend to report false alarms, often multiple times per night, that fill parents with fear and anxiety about their babies’ health.” The previous version was also discontinued in the USA after the FDA determined that Owlet was required to register its product as a medical device. Note the current version for sale in the USA has had the oxygen saturation measuring feature removed.
On their website, Owlet says that sock fit/placement is the #1 reason for false alarms. They also cited other reasons the sensors might not work properly including sickness, movement that isn’t the baby (baby swing etc), higher elevation, and baby’s foot temperature. As a mom and Owlet Smart Sock user, I found false alarms to be very infrequent so I didn’t mind too much. I would rather be woken for a false alarm than a missed alarm!
Customer reviews of the Nanit Plus do not show too many false negative reports. But it’s always possible with technology like this.
The Final Word
No baby monitor is perfect, however, there are some GREAT options out there. The Owlet Dream Duo and the Nanit Plus work as a companion to careful parenting and help reduce stress you might feel when your baby is sleeping.
While we love the Owlet Dream Duo, the Nanit Plus used with the Breathing Wear was the better buy as it includes options like white noise and music. This makes it the clear winner in this Smart Baby Monitor comparison.