VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor: Comprehensive Review

Written By: Megan Svetz
Reviewed By: Samantha Wood

As parents, ensuring the safety and comfort of our little ones is a top priority. The VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor allows you to do so with a minimalist approach. It stands out as a popular choice for those seeking a reliable, audio-only baby monitor without all the unnecessary bells and whistles. In our detailed review, we explore the features, performance, and overall value of the VTech DM221 to help you decide if it’s the best option for your family.

VTech DM221 Digital Audio Monitor with 2 parent units in box

Our Verdict On The VTech DM221 Baby Monitor

The VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor is a solid choice for those seeking a simple, audio-only monitor. It excels in providing clear sound quality and useful features like two-way communication and a night light. However, its absence of video monitoring as well as additional modern baby monitor features may deter some parents.

Our Rating: 8.4 / 10

Summary: Pros and Cons

We like:

We don’t like:

  • Limited battery life.
  • Lack of video monitoring capabilities.
  • Limited features (no temperature or humidity sensors).
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  • Transmission: DECT 6.0 digital technology
  • Range: Up to 1,000 feet outdoors, less indoors
  • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours of monitoring time
  • Features: Two-way talk-back, night light, vibrating sound-alert
  • Price Range: $25-50

P.S. We received a review unit of this product from its manufacturer. We are, however, not paid or compensated for our review. To remain impartial in our tests, we use objective ranking factors and put each product in the hands of real parents for a few months before we publish our review. Read how we test to learn more.

Everything that we review is independently selected by our team. We only recommend products that we use ourselves with our kids. To support our website, we may receive a small commission if you buy something through our links. These commissions come at no extra costs for you. Read our earnings disclaimer to learn more.

VTech DM221 Baby Monitors with Baby Gear Essentials Lion

Overview: VTech DM221 Baby Monitor

Health & Safety icon

Health & Safety

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Range icon


Audio Quality icon

Audio Quality

Video Quality icon

Video Quality

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Features: VTech DM221 Baby Monitor

Infrared Night Vision icon

Infrared Night Vision

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Multiple Camera icon

Multiple Camera

Two-Way Talk icon

Two-Way Talk

Play Lullabies icon

Play Lullabies

Room Temperature icon

Room Temperature

Humidity icon


Remote Pan and Tilt icon

Remote Pan and Tilt

Remote Zoom icon

Remote Zoom

Nightlight icon


Video Recording icon

Video Recording

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VTech DM221 Baby Monitor Parent Unit sideview with two-way talk button and clip

VTech DM221 Hands-On Review: Our Analysis and Test Results

We found the VTech DM221 audio baby monitor to be similar to glorified walkie talkies. It enabled us as parents to pair down our monitoring to the most important aspect of it: audio. We could listen to our baby from downstairs, from our bedroom, or even from outside when we were working in the yard. We loved its clear audio transmission and practical features, and appreciated the simplicity the VTech DM221 offers as it combines core monitoring functionality with ease of use.

When using the VTech DM221 we weren’t concerned with false alarms or being alerted too often, since we could configure the sensitivity settings of the sound, the only thing we were monitoring. After thorough research and hands-on testing, we rated the VTech DM221 across various performance metrics and found it to be the best audio only baby monitor.

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VTech DM221 Performance Comparison

Sound Clarity / Audio Quality

The VTech DM221 shines in its audio quality, courtesy of DECT 6.0 technology, ensuring clear, static-free sound transmission. Voices sound natural, and we found that even some subtle noises, like birds outside our baby’s window, are detectable. There is also a light indicator on the parent unit which shows five lights that light up from red to green to show the sound level.

From the parent device, you can configure if you want to hear your little one all the time or to a certain loudness threshold. This was a great feature when trying to get our little one to self-sooth. We were able to adjust the settings to be alerted for the more necessary times. The parent device also allows you to adjust the baby unit’s microphone sensitivity!

VTech DM221 Baby Monitor Parent Unit front view with buttons, screen, and light indicator

Ease of Use

From the moment we unboxed the VTech DM221 and plugged it in, we knew this monitor was user-friendly. It automatically paired the child unit to the parent unit and could be used instantly. No need to connect to WiFi, download an app, find super specific batteries, charge, or manually pair. Its straightforward controls and easy installation process make it accessible even for the least tech-savvy users — aka Mom’s who are tired.

We also loved the accessibility of specific feature buttons on both devices. The baby unit includes the power button, nightlight button, page, and volume buttons. The parent unit includes the power button, select button, menu button, volume buttons, and two-way talk button. The parent unit also includes a screen which displays range, battery, sound, and if the monitor is linked or not.


During testing, we found the VTech DM221 unobstructed range to be about 1150 feet, just over their advertised range of 1,000 feet outdoors, but indoors we found things to be a little trickier.

My office has a metal door which seemed to impact range performance. We also found obstacles, like walls, significantly reduced the range distance, which might limit usability in larger homes or homes with interesting layouts. Ultimately we found VTech DM221’s indoor obstructed range to be about 100 feet.

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Battery Life

The parent unit boasts an impressive battery life, lasting up to 18 hours on a single charge, making it reliable for overnight monitoring. However, after several uses we saw the battery life decline to about 12 hours of use and we preferred to keep it plugged in, especially overnight. Keep in mind that the VTech DM221’s rechargeable battery takes about 12 hours to recharge.


The VTech DM221’s two-way communication, vibrating sound-alert, configurable sensitivity settings, parent clip for easy portability, and night light are standout features. We were surprised how much we enjoyed utilizing the parent unit clip-on feature: I could easily grab the monitor, clip it to the back pocket of my pants, and have hands-free hearing while getting some much needed household chores done.

We highly recommend the VTech DM221 for light sleepers because of its vibration feature. I cannot express how nice it is to be gently summoned from my slumber by a vibration instead of a loud, harsh screaming. These features add convenience, but can also improve your overall baby monitoring experience.

VTech DM221 Baby Monitor Child Unit plugged in showing green power light and night light


The VTech DM221 baby unit connects to its parent unit through a wireless 1.9GHz DECT 6.0 connection. This means that an electromagnetic field (EMF) will be constantly emitted from the baby unit and the parent unit in order for you to receive an audio feed. We recommend that you read our article on electromagnetic field if you want to understand what it means in terms of health and safety for your baby.

In our testing, the VTech DM221 produced a relatively low average EMF reading of 3.09 V/m at 6 feet away, the minimal distance we recommend when installing your baby monitor. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you limit your exposure toless than 6 V/m, so this is within range. Also, remember the further you place the monitor from your baby, the less EMF they will be exposed to.

Note that the parent monitor also emits EMFs. Most parent will sleep with the unit on their bedside table, but we recommend you move it further away.


The VTech DM221’s design is a little outdated and reminiscent of old-school walkie talkies. Its design has a focus on portability and ease of use, and is relatively compact and lightweight. The design is not sleek or fancy, but does hold up to being dropped multiple times (something I am definitely guilty of).


The VTech DM221 is priced affordably, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious parents who don’t want to compromise on quality. Additionally you can purchase it with one parent unit or two. Depending on the price difference, we recommend the two parent unit option for any families with two living spaces or any family that hates running up and down stairs when things are forgotten.

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Baby Monitor Security

The VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor, like many modern baby monitors, incorporates several technologies to ensure your security and provide private communication between the baby and parent units, including a specific frequency and encryption.

The VTech DM221 operates using DECT 6.0 (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology which operates on a 1.9 GHz frequency, reserved exclusively for voice-only communication devices. This helps to minimize interference from other common household electronic devices that typically operate on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies (like WiFi routers, microwave ovens, and cordless phones).

The VTech DM221 also includes additional security with built-in encryption using the DECT 6.0 technology. It does this by encrypting information when the baby monitor transmits audio data to the parent unit. This encryption ensures that even if someone were to intercept the signal, they would not be able to easily understand it without the specific decryption key, which is unique to each baby monitor set. This feature significantly enhances the security of the device, making it very difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop on the audio transmission.

Lastly, the VTech DM221 can automatically select the best channel from the available five DECT channels to maintain a secure and stable connection.

VTech DM221 Audio Monitor with rechargeable batteries and AC chargers

VTech DM221 Baby Monitor: What’s in the box

Wondering what’s in the VTech DM221 box? Here’s everything that will be included in the VTech DM221 Baby Monitor package if you select the two-parent unit option:

  • 2 x Parent monitor units
  • 1 x Baby monitor unit
  • 2 x Rechargeable batteries (for the parent units)
  • 3 x AC power chargers
  • 1 x User manual
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Common Complaints of the VTech DM221

Some of the most common complaints of the VTech DM221 include interference, range limitations, and battery life. In researching the audio-only baby monitor we found that several users reported experiencing static or interference, which could affect sound clarity. However, this is not something we experienced unless we were far away or separated by enough objects to impact the range.

We did notice range limitations when trying to use the device from outside the home (the baby unit was on the second floor). We imagine you would also experience range issues in larger homes or buildings with dense walls.

Lastly, the battery life of the VTech DM221 initially lasted us almost 18 hours and then slowly declined to 12 hours. This is a pretty common occurrence with batteries and we love that the VTech DM221 includes a rechargeable battery, but can take up to 12 hours to charge.

VTech DM221 Child Unit front and back -- Baby Gear Essentials Best Audio-Only Baby Monitor

Alternatives to the VTech DM221

When comparing the VTech DM221 baby monitor to other monitors, it’s important to consider the type of monitor you are looking for in order to compare across similar features. These features may determine which type of baby monitor will best meet your needs.

  • WiFi Baby Monitors: Require an internet connection and the downloading of an app, but often include the largest variety of features including sleep tracking analytics and breathing monitoring. The Nanit Pro is our favorite WiFi baby monitor because of its incredible monitoring capabilities and sleep tracking features.
  • Non-WiFi Baby Monitors: Are also referred to as “plug-and-play” monitors and are typically easier to use and install compared to a WiFi baby monitor. They also don’t require internet or downloading an app, but instead come with a dedicated parent monitor with video capabilities. Our favorite non-WiFi monitors include the Infant Optics DXR-8 Pro and the Eufy SpaceView Pro.
  • Audio-only Baby Monitors: Offer a minimalist approach to monitoring your little one, unlike both WiFi and Non-WiFi baby monitors which often include a camera with video monitoring capabilities. Like the VTech DM221, the VTech DM1211 also consistently ranks highly for its sound quality but falls short in features against some higher-end models.

VTech DM221 User Manual

You can view the VTech DM221 Baby Monitor user manual here.

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Final Verdict on the VTech DM221 Baby Monitor

We enjoyed reviewing and using the VTech DM221 audio-only baby monitor, which we felt offered excellent sound clarity, ease of use, and essential features at an affordable price point. While it may not boast the advanced features or video capabilities of more expensive baby monitoring units, it stands out as a reliable, budget-friendly option for parents prioritizing audio monitoring. If you are looking for a more simplified, less-stress option, the VTech DM221 is a solid choice for keeping an ear on your baby.

VTech DM221 Baby Monitor: Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does the VTech DM221 baby monitor battery last?

    VTech DM221 what's included in the box

    The VTech DM221 baby monitor battery lasts up to 18 hours on a fully charged battery! The package includes a rechargeable battery that takes up to 12 hours to fully charge.

  • Are audio-only baby monitors safe from hackers?

    Baby Gear Essentials monitor safety radiations

    Audio-only baby monitors are unable to be hacked via your internet connection, but sadly many audio-only baby monitors have the ability to be hacked via the radio frequency they are using. Luckily the best baby monitors take additional security measures like built-in encryption, which would require the hacker to have a specific key to decrypt. Click to read more about baby monitor hacking and security.

  • What is the warranty on VTech baby monitors?

    VTech DM221 back of box

    VTech offers a limited 1 year warranty from the date of purchase on all their baby monitors. Read more about VTech’s warranty or contact their customer service.

  • How do I change the sensitivity on my VTech DM221 baby monitor?

    VTech DM221 Baby Monitor Parent Unit front view with buttons, screen, and light indicator

    To change the sensitivity setting your your VTech baby monitor follow these steps:
    1. Press MENU when the parent unit is idle.
    2. Press ◄ or ► to choose. , then press SELECT or ▲ .
    3. Press ▼ or ▲ to choose the desired sensitivity level, then press SELECT to confirm your selection.


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