Struggling to see your baby in your baby monitors night vision? We were, too! Read on to see how we improved our baby monitors night vision.
After we moved Teddy, our son, out of his crib – we decided to re-arrange the room. His room is dark, very dark (blackout curtains, for the win!). So, we needed a baby monitor that had good night vision for use in his room. Many how-to guides will suggest the Infant Optics DXR-8 Baby Monitor – and we recommend it, too!
However, after we moved his bed – we realized that you couldn’t see him in the room. It was simply too dark and the night vision camera didn’t work very well with the camera so far away.
We tried different things to see if we could see him and improve the night vision of the baby monitor, but we couldn’t. Obviously, the easiest thing to do is to move the camera closer to the bed. We couldn’t do this for a couple of reasons: there was no available plug and the baby monitor was already attached to the wall.
How to improve the night vision of your baby monitor
First, you have to know how your baby monitor “sees” at night in order to improve your baby monitor’s night vision. Baby monitors (and Nest Cameras, etc.) use Infrared Light (“IR” for short) to see at night. Infrared light is invisible to the eye, but it is visible to the camera. This is what you see when the camera uses night vision.
There are then two ways to improve the night vision of the camera: increase the Infrared light or increase the natural light. Increasing the natural light (i.e. a nightlight) wasn’t an option since our kid has slept in complete darkness his whole life.
The other option is to increase the amount of infrared light in the room. There isn’t a way to increase the infrared light on the camera itself, but we did run into several extra infrared lights you could buy. However, they were bulky and ugly!
On top of that, look at the plug. How are you supposed to connect it?
There had to be a better way to increase the night vision of our baby monitor – that didn’t involve complex wiring or an ugly piece of hardware.
The Best Way to Increase Night Vision on a Baby Monitor
Here’s the best way to improve the night vision on a baby monitor:
This looks like a regular light bulb, but it is a lot more! This is the LIFX+ light bulb – a smart light that not only changes colors, but also emits infrared light to improve the night vision on your baby monitor.
Yup. That’s right. This is a regular-looking light bulb that makes your baby monitor night vision better.
What is a LIFX+ Bulb?
The LIFX+ Bulb is a smart home bulb, with an added feature: the ability to emit infrared light when it is dark. LIFX is the brand name. LIFX+ bulbs are their smart bulbs that include infrared light.
Here’s what LIFX says about the LIFX+ bulb:
LIFX+ emits an infrared light invisible to the human eye, yet crystal clear for your camera. Pair with your 900nm – 1000nm infrared security camera (optimal at 950nm).
On top of that, you can use LIFX to do fun colors with different timers and a whole lot more. All you need is Wifi in your home and a smartphone to set up the light bulb.
How to Use LIFX+ To Improve Night Vision on a baby monitor
This took me way too long to figure out, but it turns out that it’s just REALLY easy!
First: put the LIFX+ Light Bulb in the socket. We use a regular lamp (see image below). Second: Download the LIFX App on Android or iPhone and follow the instructions. The LIFX bulbs do need Wi-Fi to work, but you can set it and forget it.
I was looking for an infrared button or setting, but it turns out that all you need to do (after you set up the LIFX Bulb) is to turn it off, like so:
Once the bulb is turned off, simply go into settings (the gear icon) and click on “Night Vision Brightness.”
Once you click on Night Vision Brightness (it may be set as “disabled” to start) and set to 100% or 50%.
We found that 50% was just the right amount of infrared illumination. 100% was too high and (obviously) “Disabled” wasn’t what we were looking for!
How much does the LIFX Bulb actually improve Night Vision?
The difference is remarkable. The best part is that you can’t see the light AT ALL ON in his room. Here’s a photo with the light ON Infrared only. You can’t even tell that it’s turned on.
I would post a picture of the lights out in his room and the infrared light on, but it would just look like a black picture. 🤷🏻♂️No need for that.
Why does an infrared light work so well?
The best part about using the LIFX+ light bulb is that it makes it even easier to tell if his eyes are open or not. That’s because even though the Infrared Light is invisible to us, some of the infrared light reflects back from within the eye (more on why your eyes look creepy in night vision).
Verdict: How to improve night vision on a baby monitor
As we’ve discussed, the easiest way to improve night vision is to simply move the camera closer to the subject. If that’s not an option, check out the LIFX+ Bulb.
We, personally, bought a refurbished one from Amazon to save a couple of bucks. Here’s where we found the best price on a LIFX+ bulb.