So the recent riding and babies thread got me to thinking that maybe COTHers would have some ideas on the best brand of baby monitor to buy.
I have always kept one in the barn to keep an ear on the horses at night, but it died about the time my daughter was born. I read numerous reviews on parenting sites and decided on the graco because it was supposed to reach up to 5000 feet, or not, try not hardly 500'.
Anyhow, I rely on naptime to get my horse chores done that can't be accomplished with a toddler in tow and I am in desperate need of a good monitor with a long range.
I have an Avent that is decent but still doesn't quite reach the barn, I think, because we have another building in the way.
I have a system that works great, though we "pay" for it I guess. We have a third cell phone (although if your home number is on your list of unlimited talk time numbers that would work too). I call my cell from the house and put the house phone by the monitor downstairs. I have a bluetooth so I can listen from anywhere outside and have my hands free at all times too. Works great as long as you have decent service at your house.
I've gone through a half dozen or so. The digital ones work a lot better than the analog ones for sure. I sometimes have to mess with it, turn it on/off, move it slightly etc to get it to pick up the initial signal. I've had a Grayco now, it's lasted a lot longer than previous monitors. I started out buying the cheap ones, and they just didn't last. I spent probably triple on this one than previous ones, and I'm sure it's lasted at least 4 times longer so far.
If you are on a cell phone or other device in the immediate vicinity it will interfere with the signal.
I can hear the horses peeing though, so it works pretty well I keep it around just in case the smoke detector in the barn were to go off, not to hear them actually pee, in case anyone was wondering....
I was given one put out by "First Years" (RC2 Brands). The parent units (2) are like walkie talkies so you can leave it plugged in in the bedroom or stick it on your belt outside. The range is a few hundred yards depending on terrain and foliage. I can go out to the far end of my field and get a signal, not in the woods, though. Really can't say what sort of interference it picks up...we're in kind of a dead zone here.
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We got a no frills Graco one for our baby shower and it works great! I could be 400 feet away from the hose and unless I was behind the enormous metal corn crib, I had great reception!
Well, that was until they put up huge wind turbines across the street from me. Now, in addition to horrible vertigo and nausea and having to wear a motion sickness patch at home most days... it really has affected my dish, wifi, and telephone reception, as well as making my baby monitor iffy reception, even in the house. My bats that I used to have in the summer are now gone also. Don't even get me started on the noise.
Before that, the Graco rocked! I have no idea if it is digital or not.
How is reception if you've got a steel barn? My cell phone signal is pretty bad inside my barn. My barn is roughly 100 feet from the house with nothing between us and my bedroom is the closest one to the barn, so i'm wondering if that would work...I am able to pick up my house's computer wireless signal from the barn, so probably it would work?
I got a really cheap baby monitor set at my baby shower (it was in the $25ish range if I remember correctly). It worked great to her the kiddos from the barn. My barn (steel) is maybe 200 feet from my house and I would just set the monitor on the edge of the aisleway so that it was a clear shot to the house (it didn't work in the middle or back of the barn). If I had the volume turned up on the receiving monitor I could hear any little noise from anywhere in or around the barn. When I'd go to ride I'd set it up on the corner post of the arena and I could hear it perfectly fine from anywhere in or around the arena.
When that baby monitor died I bought an expensive one ($300+ IIRC) that was supposed to have some majorly long range. I was hoping that I could get one that would work a little further into the barn so I could just wear it on my belt. But the really expensive one was a POS and barely worked anywhere on the property.
An alternative possibility would be an intercomm system. I had a set of these (from Radio Shack I think) that simply plugged into the power lines and used those to transmit the signal. You can lock one to the "on" position and you will then hear anything within its range from the other unit. I used one locked "on" to monitor a pregnant mare with the other set up by our bed in the house.