Vtech Safe & Sound Digital Audio Baby Monitor Review— A Good Audio-Only Option?

Vtech offers a variety of audio and video monitors spanning a wide range of features. The company’s Safe & Sound Audio Monitor is fairly basic and retails for around $40 (but can often be found on Amazon for around $30). A very long battery life and the ability to link two parent units to one baby unit are standout features of this monitor.

Setup

The Vtech Safe & Sound Audio Monitor (model DM221) has a very simple setup. All you need to do is plug the battery into the parent unit, charge both units, and the system is ready to go. Though most baby monitors say to charge before using, they typically come with at least half a charge. This monitor, however, had no charge at all, so be sure to plan ahead. After a quick scan, the parent unit links with the child unit and indicates “Linked” on the LCD screen.

Testing Notes

The design of the body of both units is created in a way that makes the units very comfortable in your hand. The hard plastic loop at the top also gives users another way to easily grab the parent unit (on the child unit this hard plastic loop doubles as a night light that can be controlled manually or with the parent unit). The clip on the back is also a welcome feature that makes toting the parent unit around easier. Another fun but simple feature is a page button on the baby unit that helps you to find a misplaced parent unit that still has its charge.

While other monitors that I’ve reviewed have the two-way talk function, this one, as strictly an audio monitor, feels much more like a walkie-talkie than the rest. It may even have a life after crib monitoring as a walkie talkie for family members who are in other parts of the house or yard.

The product description claims a range of up to 1,000 feet outdoors and 160 feet indoors, allowing users to move about with confidence. During testing I had no problems with range issues or issues with the link between the monitors dropping. However, some users complain that the link will drop, and the loud alert would awaken parents as the unit reconnected.

Without a video screen drawing battery power, as you might expect, the monitor has a long-lasting battery. During one battery test the parent unit lasted more than 13 hours before I eventually had to turn it off. The product description of this monitor claims up to 18 hours of battery time. When the battery finally does run low, users are notified via a flashing battery indicator on the display.

While many baby monitors allow for linking additional baby units to spread monitoring across the house, the Vtech Safe & Sound Audio Monitor allows users to spread out the monitoring responsibilities by giving users the option of up to two parent units. The two-parent unit set only costs around $10 more, so it might be worth it to grab the set with two units.

The monitor uses DECT technology, which eliminates background noise and prevents interference. You’re able to control the sensitivity level of both the child unit, and the parent unit’s volume — this lets users find the audio “sweet spot” for monitoring their child.

In addition to audio alerts, the top of the parent unit has five LED lights that range from green to yellow to red to visually indicate noise level. Users can also turn on a vibration alert that allows users to place the parent unit on mute.

Accessing the menus through the parent unit wasn’t readily clear or necessarily intuitive (even after reading the User’s Guide), but once you figure out where the controls are, they are easy enough to cycle through. Hitting the Menu button once takes you to the Sensitivity option and opens up the menu. From there, users can scroll through the volume controls to make adjustments to features (control the night light, vibration alerts, sound alerts, etc).

Security

The Vtech Safe & Sound video uses DECT 6.0 technology to transmit what the company claims is a secure, encrypted signal.

Who This Might Be A Good Fit For

  • Users who don’t need or want video monitoring
  • Users who want long battery life
  • Users who are looking for a basic, affordable way to listen to their baby
  • Users whose children sleep in cribs and bassinets

Who This Might Not Be A Good Fit For

  • Users who want or need visual monitoring

Conclusion

The Vtech Safe & Sound Audio monitor is a simple baby monitor that does a good job at what it promises. Obviously, if you’re interested in video monitoring, this won’t be an option. But if you’re looking for an affordable audio monitor with a few unexpected features, this is a great choice.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

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