Although it appears on many best of roundups, the Graco Direct Connect is not all it's cracked up to be. Experts and consumers who use or test the monitor say that it falls short in both range and reliability. With only handful of positive reviews, very low user ratings overall and many reports of product failure, we advise against this monitor.
Graco overstates the range capabilities. According to product testers and users, the Graco Direct Connect does not approach Graco's stated 2,000-foot range. Independent testers found that the Direct Connect worked at a range of up to 565 feet in an open field and at a range of up to 65 feet behind four walls. Parents who own the monitor concur that that it does not come close to the 2,000-foot range. Some parents say that the monitor offers enough range to meet their needs and are satisfied with it. Other parents report frustration when the monitor falls short of the stated range claims, especially those who chose the Direct Connect for its range.
There are many reliability complaints about this monitor. The Graco Direct Connect Monitor has multiple reports of similar types of product failure that lead us to believe that quality issues are a major concern. Some parents report that they lose connection to the monitor as soon as they leave its immediate vicinity. Multiple parents as well as one product tester report that the monitor will shut off randomly in the middle of the night. Other parents say that the monitor will lose connection at random and begin beeping. For every user who is satisfied with the monitor's performance and reliability, there is another user who describes major issues with its basic performance.
Great features -- when it works. Reviewers and parents who are able to make the Graco Direct Connect work say that there is a lot to like about this monitor. The parent unit has an LCD screen that displays nursery temperature with noise indicator bars when the monitor volume is turned off. The parent unit also has press button controls for volume, talk back and night light control. There are low battery and out of range indicator lights on the parent unit as well. The vibrate alert feature is universally appreciated by experts and parents who say it allows them to perform loud tasks like lawn mowing and still get sound notifications. Another feature parents and experts like is the talk back feature that makes it possible to speak to the baby through the parent unit. The Graco Direct Connect also comes in a dual-unit version (*Est. $80)
One-year limited warranty. The Graco Direct Connect Monitor comes with a standard, one-year limited warranty. Graco customer service is generally known to be responsive to warranty issues.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent The Baby Bargains book and website offer buyer's guides and ratings on a comprehensive selection of baby gear. The authors say they conduct hands-on testing and interviews with parents, manufacturers and retailers before reaching conclusions. Parents posting to Amazon.com say this is the best baby-gear book available, with plenty of current info and lots of attitude, including sections aimed at steering consumers away from unnecessary features. Baby Bargains offers a roundup of top audio and video based baby monitors and provides coverage of specific baby monitors and overall brand performance.
Review: Chapter 7, Monitors, Denise and Alan Fields, Version 9.1, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent While testers at BabyGearLab.com like many of the features included on the Graco Direct Connect Monitor, their range testing proves Graco's 2,000-foot range claim to be inaccurate -- earning the Direct Connect their pants on fire rating. Other tests show that the Direct Connect offers a middle of the road performance and does fairly well where interference was concerned. But BabyGearLab.com finds the range claim unsettling and notes that the monitor's poor user ratings are likely due to this claim.
Review: Graco Direct Connect Review, RJ Spurrier Review Editor, April 3, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Direct Connect earns a position in the reader's pick section of Babble.com's Best Baby Monitors of 2012. Babble says that they were excited to try out the Direct Connect's many features, including the two-way intercom, temperature monitor, night light and LCD interface. However, like most people who have tested the Direct Connect's range, the Babble.com testers found that it fell short of the stated 2,000-foot range. One of Babble.com's testers also said the monitor shut off in the middle of the night.
Review: Babble Best 2012 - Baby Monitors, Michelle Horton, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The Graco Direct Connect Monitor receives an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars based on more than 70 parent reviews posted on Amazon.com. The majority of the reviews are 1-star, with most users reporting major product failure.
Review: Digital Connect Digital Baby Monitor, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
5. Babies 'R' Us
Review Credibility: Very Good In more than 144 reviews, the Graco Direct Connect Monitor receives an overall rating of 1.9 stars out of 5. Owners complain of the signal going in and out, the unit not working and a constant, annoying beep. A few do like the monitor, but they are in the minority.
Review: Graco Direct Connect Monitor, Contributors to BabiesRUS.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Graco Direct Connect Monitor earns an average rating of 2 out of 5 stars based on more than 40 parent reviews. Most users give the Direct Connect 1 star for effectiveness, quality and value. The vast majority of owners say that the Direct Connect is unreliable and unsafe due to many failures.
Review: Graco Direct Connect Digital Monitor, Contributors to Target.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair Editors of TheBump.com select the Direct Connect as the best long-distance baby monitor due to its manufacturer stated 2,000-foot range. However, product testers and user reviews discredit this range claim, throwing TheBump.com's recommendation into question. TheBump.com also like the Direct Connect's vibrating alert option.
Review: The Long-Distance Baby Monitor, Editors of TheBump.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair Parents.com selects seven baby monitors in this online roundup. The piece simply notes the best features of each model. Based on other reviewers who test the Direct Connect's range, it is clear that Parents.com's recommendation is not based on real-life usage. They note the 2,000-foot range as one of the monitor's key strengths and also mention the talk back feature.
Review: 7 Baby Monitors, Jessica Hartshorn, Not Dated