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Baby Monitor vs Security Camera: Which is Best?

Baby cameras and baby monitors help parents keep an eye on their children when they are sleeping or left alone for a short period.

An indoor security camera can be used as a baby camera, and is multifunctional enough to still be of use once a baby grows older. However, a baby monitor cannot be used as a pet cam or home security camera.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between a baby monitor vs home security camera, and which home security cameras are best to use as baby monitors.

What’s the Difference Between a Baby Camera vs a Baby Monitor?

The main difference between a baby camera vs a baby monitor is that baby cameras transmit video footage, whereas traditional baby monitors usually only transmit audio, although you will likely come across products marketed as ‘baby monitors’ that include a camera.

Generally, ‘baby monitor’ refers to a radio device that transmits sounds from the baby’s room to another device, much like a walkie-talkie or transceiver.

Baby cameras instead record video footage of the baby, so the parent can watch over them using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer.

Pros of a baby camera:

  • Enables you to monitor baby sleeping habits
  • Can be used to monitor older kids playing in separate room
  • Gives parents greater opportunities for alone time

Cons of a baby camera:

  • Can cause an obsession with checking in on the baby
  • Can be hacked
  • Unnecessary features that can’t be put to use after the baby grows up

Pros of a baby monitor:

  • Offers reassurance, without causing an obsession
  • Doesn’t require Wi-Fi or mobile data, so won’t impact other internet devices

Cons of a baby monitor:

  • Cannot see your baby
  • Can get interference from nearby radio signals

Can You Use an Indoor Camera as a Baby Monitor?

An indoor camera can easily be used as a video baby monitor. Indoor cameras offer similar, if not the same, features as a baby cam.

Pros & Cons of Baby Monitors vs Security Cameras

Both indoor cameras and baby monitors can be used to reassure parents that their baby is safe.

Cameras that are specially designed for babies may include features a home security camera doesn’t, like humidity monitors and temperature alarms.

While these can be useful features, it means a baby camera has limited use after the baby has grown. 

On the other hand, an indoor security camera is multi-functional. It can be used to monitor a baby, protect a property, and check in on pets during the workday once the baby is grown up. Consider the pros and cons below.

Pros of a Security Camera

The pros of using a security camera as a baby monitor include:

  • Readily available – AlfredCamera gives users the option to create security cameras out of old phones, tablets, and even webcams, so users won’t need to purchase hardware
  • Multi-functional – Security cameras can be used to protect the property or monitor pets after the baby has grown up and no longer needs a monitor
  • Video view – Many baby monitors only supply audio, but all home security cameras offer video as a standard
  • Two-way audio – Indoor cameras commonly have two-way audio, so you can soothe your baby immediately before even reaching their room
  • Cloud recordings – Indoor cameras usually store footage in the Cloud, so you can capture memorable moments on video and keep them forever
  • App features – Most indoor cameras have in-app features, so you can view footage on your phone, experiment with scheduling, and more
  • No interference – Because many baby monitors operate on a radio signal, they get interference, which doesn’t occur with a security camera

Cons of a Security Camera

The cons of using a security camera as a baby monitor include:

  • Can cause frequent checking – Having video footage can lead to excessive checking if used improperly.
  • Only accessible via Wi-Fi/mobile data – Home security footage is only available on a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer connected to Wi-Fi or data

Pros of a Baby Monitor

The pros of using a baby monitor include:

  • Unlikely to be hacked – Audio-only baby monitors cannot be hacked (though video baby monitors could be)
  • Doesn’t require Wi-Fi – Most audio baby monitors operate on a radio signal, so you don’t need an internet connection or data, meaning no downtime

Cons of a Baby Monitor

The cons of baby monitors include:

  • Can get interference – Many audio baby monitors operate on radio signals, so they can get interference from neighbors and other nearby radio devices
  • Can be hacked – Just like indoor cameras, video baby monitors are hackable
  • Can be expensive – Video baby monitors come with additional features, so they can be more expensive than an indoor security camera

What are the Best Cameras to Use as a Baby Monitor?

Since there’s greater benefits and flexibility to using a security camera to monitor babies and young kids, consider using the following as baby monitors. 

1. Old Phone (AlfredCamera)

Key features include:

  • 24/7 live streaming that can be monitored anywhere, from any device
  • Instant push notifications when motion is detected
  • Built-in low light filter (ideal for sleeping babies)

The AlfredCamera app offers a great lightweight solution for parents to test out the use of a camera as a baby monitor before investing in anything more substantial, but is more than suitable for long-term use on an old phone, tablet, or even a computer. 

an old smart phone mounted on a baby crib to be used as a baby monitor.
Security camera footage provided by one AlfredCamera user that turns old phone into a baby monitor.
Security camera footage provided by one AlfredCamera user that turns webcams into a baby monitor.
  • Clearer HD footage and high-quality image resolution (so the baby’s facial expressions are clearly visible on camera to observe any distress)
  • Motion detection zones, so only the areas of the room where the baby is will be monitored (not other areas, like where the cat sleeps on the window)
  • Zoom features (so you can zoom in to view facial expressions)
  • Footage is saved to the Cloud for up to 14 days (so busy parents have longer to view and download footage from the Cloud should there be a cute or funny moment captured)
  • Extended clips available for download
  • No ads

Premium plans start at just $2.95 per month on an annual plan.

2. AlfredCam

Key features include:

  • 1080p HD video footage
  • 130-degree field of view
  • Two-way audio
  • MicroSD card support
  • Powered by USB
  • Infrared night vision
  • 7 days free Cloud storage
  • Person detection (available on a premium plan)

Suitable for tech gurus and newbies alike, AlfredCam is one of the easiest cameras to set up indoors. Busy parents can install an AlfredCam in minutes by pairing it to the AlfredCamera app as they would an old phone. It can then be used alongside an unlimited number of existing paired devices.

AlfredCam plugged into a USB socket
an alfredcam mounted on a wall.

AlfredCam users say:

I was really surprised at how well this camera works and how easy it was to set up. The picture quality is excellent, the other features are nice, but my main use is the camera. I like it and recommend it with two thumbs up.

Once you download the app, it guides you through the quick, at most, 3-minute set up.


Overall, home security cameras are ideal for use as a baby monitor for newborns. They offer similar features to bespoke baby monitors for a fraction of the price.

Plus, unlike a baby monitor (which only has one use), a home security camera can be effectively repurposed for uses as wide ranging as vehicle security and pet watching once the baby has grown up.