This post is an updated review of Owlet Smart Sock 2. This 2020 update has incorporated the feedback of REAL parents with a FAST-HAND experience using the original Owlet Sock released in Oct. 2015 and the second generation Owlet Smart Sock 2 released in Mar. 2017.
At 10BabyGear, we have prepared detailed reviews of life-saving baby monitors (breathing monitors) that have literally been credited for saving lives.
Remember something like a clothing clip when you were young and the doctor at a hospital had to put it to grip your finger as it took some reading? That’s a pulse oximeter. The current ones are actually very cool.
This technology is very important. It shows oxygen saturation (SO2) level and heartbeat rate and was first discovered by Glenn Allan Millikan, an American physiologist in 1940s. It is even more important for kids who are prone to SIDs and other respiratory-difficulties.
From 1940s and even still today, this technology has been left for doctors to only use it when you are sick yet it is so critical and can be used to better monitor babies prone to respiratory issues including SIDs. You can read more about pulse oximetry here or this summary of how a pulse oximeter works.
In this article, we share the great invention of Owlet’s pulse oximetry baby monitor or the ‘baby foot breathing monitor‘ patented to Owlet We also have some helpful comparison tablets of Owlet vs others such as Angelcare, Cocoon Cam, Miku, Baby Vida, Snuza, and Sense U, among others.
Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor Review 2020
For three years, my baby used Smart Sock as I didn’t look back after purchasing the first-generation Smart Sock in December 2015. My little baby used three socks and several accessories including replacement sock without sensor, batteries for the sensor and did benefit from HSA/FHA as well as Owlet’s warranty. So, I am a total insider when it comes to using Owlet Smart Sock. As of this update, I am probably among the few parents that have emailed Owlet to ask for the release date of the third-generation sock (details below).
I am very happy to share all the critical information you need to know about Owlet Smart Sock as a parent who has used it for probably the longest time. I have also interacted with several mums and have spent over a month collecting data as we made an update to this Owlet baby monitor review. While I strongly recommend Owlet Smart Sock (OSS), I also present this review with a comparison of OSS and other best-rated breathing baby monitors of 2020.
Refurbished Owlet Monitor vs New
A refurbished Owlet saves you $100 and it works perfectly as the new Owlet monitor. In addition, it is backed by the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee which means you can return it and get your money back.
Parents who have tried the refurbished unit questioned why they were referred to as refurbished. Usually, when someone makes a purchase of Owlet and returns it, it is classified as part of the units to be refurbished. Parents have attested that they pass any quality control for a ‘new product’ despite being $100 cheaper.
A refurbished Owlet Smart Sock 2 is available for sale on Amazon for about $200, about $100 less than what the new Smart Sock by Owlet costs. On Jan 2020, Refurbished Owlet was listed for sale on Amazon and on Owlet’s website. However, they were unavailable on the website or on Amazon. You can check it here for availability today.
Below are what some parents had to say about refurbished Owlet on a Q&A:
Q: What is the difference between new and refurbished ? Does it woek differently or what ?Kyle
A: Refurbished is just a returned owlet, repaired if nessicary by the company, and resold at a discounted rate. Mine came with everything it was supposed to and works just as a new one would.
Q: Does it still come in the original packaging with instructions, etc? I want to get this as a gift and want to make sure Its just as good as new.
A: Yes, it is indistinguishable from new.
Below is a table with more details:
|Refurbished Owlet||New Owlet|
|Rated 4.2/5 by 354 parents that have bought this on Amazon||Rated 4.2/5 by 1,795 parents that have bought this New unit on Amazon|
|Come with new box, indistinguishable from the New owlet||New box|
|The refurbished units passed through quality controls to ensure it is certified as good for use||The new units function well and do not need certification of refurbishment.|
|Backed by the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee.||If you don’t like it you can return it within 30 days for a full refund,|
|Cheaper than new units. You can check its availability and price on Amazon.||New Owlet is more expensive than the refurbished Owlet. Check price on Amazon.|
Are refurbished Owlet good?
Refurbished Owlet is as good as a new owlet baby monitor. Below is another review from a parent who attests that the certified refurbished Owlet Sock is worth buying:
Q: How do i know if the refurbished one will work as good as the new one?
A: The refurbished one we purchased is perfect. We have twins and bought a new one, and were borrowing an older model from a family member, but after 7 months, they needed theirs back. So, with a little trepidation, I purchased a refurbished one on Amazon. I would never have known the difference. It obviously went back to the factory, and was checked out, in order to get the certification. It was re-packaged, and we have had zero issues with it. I would absolutely go this route again with this product, if I needed toParent review on Amazon
Unfortunately, there isn’t any refurbished owlet cam. Owlet does not ship any refurbished Owlet cameras. If you are looking to buy a refurbished Owlet baby monitor you can find it on Owlet Care website, in Target or on Amazon here.
Video Review of Owlet Smart Sock 2
Below is a video review of Owlet by Babylist.
Owlet Smart Sock Awards Awards:
As a user myself and as the Editor here at 10BabyGear, we have reviewed diverse breathing baby monitors and spoken to several parents who have used Owlet and other alternatives. I have the confidence to claim that Owlet is the best breathing baby monitor in 2019. Since 2015, parents across America haven’t stopped talking about how great it is and below are some of the awards it has won:
- Best Baby Monitor of 2017 and 2018 by What to Expect Awards
- Best Wearable Baby Monitor of 2018 by the Bump
- A Software/Mobile Apps Honoree 2018 at CES Innovation Awards
- Sleep Monitoring Solution of the Year 2018 at IoT Breakthrough Awards
- Best Breathing Baby Monitor in the 10BabyGear’s List of Best Baby Monitors 2019
As of September 2019, Owlet Smart Sock 2 is number 16th best-selling baby monitor on Amazon and there are reasons why parents have put their trust in this Owlet Sock.
Before we go into details, let’s go through some basics:
What is Owlet Smart Sock
It is a Smart Sock that is tied on the baby’s foot and has a smart sensor attached which uses clinically-proven pulse oximetry technology to give you the baby’s heart rate and oxygen level at any given time.
Owlet smart sock 2 is composed of three socks in three different sizes and one sensor. The sock comes in three different sizes which enable the baby to grow with the device. The recommended period of use is 0 to 18 months, which means you can use the three sizes of socks at different periods until your child is 18 months. If your baby is a preemie, Owlet Smart Sock 2 is a great breathing monitor for your baby oxygen levels and breathing rate. This gadget should be high up on your list.
What does it do?
Owlet Smart Sock monitors your baby’s heartbeat and oxygen level and notifies you when the heartbeat and oxygen levels go out of the set range. The set range and which you should not worry are different for oxygen level and heartbeat rate. The set vital signs range are as follows:
- 80 to 100 for Oxygen level
- 60 to 220 for heartbeat rate.
Owlet smart sock 2 has been regarded as the most crucial gadget for parents with infants or with a baby born prematurely. Owlet recommends the Smart Sock 2 for babies who are:
- Aged between 0 to 18 months or any preemie
- At risk of respiratory failure or,
- At risk of choking during sleep
The option parents had before the Owlet’s smart sock 1 was to take shifts at night to keep an eye on the baby especially if the baby is sick or at risk of respiratory failure. Bad luck for single parents. The challenge of sleeping with the baby and staying awake all night can be daunting to any parent and can cause severe anxiety. For quality sleep and peace of mind, thousands of parents have relied on Owlet’s smart sock since 2015.
How Does Owlet Smart Sock Work? The Pulse Oximeter Baby Monitor
The Smart Sock attached and in contact with your baby’s foot takes the heart rate and oxygen level using pulse-oximetry technology. The Sock relays the heart rate and oxygen levels to the base station and the base station then alerts you if the heart rate or oxygen levels are too high or too low.
Now that you’ve gotten the basic understanding of how Owlet works, let’s go through the key steps of how Owlet Smart Sock can be used to monitor your baby. Specifically, we will focus on how best to use this breathing baby monitor and get it to work so that it relays life-saving alerts to you through the base station and through the iOS and Android Connected Care App.
We’ll first go through how you put on the sock on the baby’s foot after inserting the sensor into the sock and in the second part, we’ll discuss the different notifications that you get with Owlet.
First, you need to learn how to put on the baby’s Sock on the baby’s foot.
The first step is to put the smart sensor in the sock. The Smart Sensor goes into the sock and the Smart Sock goes into your baby’s foot as shown in the picture below:
Once you attach the sensor to the sock, it should appear as shown in the next picture below. Make sure to center the sensors in the holes or sock windows so they can send the LED light to read the pulse without the sock obstructing it.
When you put Smart Sensor in the sock, make sure the sensors(that emits LED light) should be unobstructed as shown below:
The second step is to put the Smart Sock on to the baby’s foot. Remember, it can go on any of the baby’s foot as shown in the picture below. The dome with the sensor just needs to be positioned on top of the right foot (if you use the sock on the right foot) and the dome and sensor need to be positioned on the bottom of the left foot (if you use the baby’s left foot).
Wondering how to put the smart sock on? The Smart Sock can be put on by wrapping the sock with the dome and sensor around the left or right foot loosely as shown in the diagram alongside.
Once the sock has been put on the baby’s foot, you can even have the baby wear pajamas on top of the sock. No problem at all. The Sock can stay all night and you can be assured that the baby will not be able to kick it out of the foot.
The first generation sock (Smart Sock 1) had issues with the sensor falling off and triggering false alarms but the Smart Sock 2 has been redesigned and the sock does not easily fall off.
The Owlet Parts and Notifications:
In this part, we’ll discuss how each part of Owlet is used in the monitoring process. We’ll go through the smart sock, the sensor, and the base station as shown below in its packaging box:
Smart Sock & Sensor
Owlet comes with 3 Socks and 1 pulse-oximetry sensor. The socks come in three colors which you can choose during your purchase and in three sizes that can grow from when your baby is barely a day or a week old to when the baby is 18 months (the maximum recommended age to use Owlet).
A base station receives the signal from the Smart Sensor device that gets attached to the socks. The base station receives information from the Owlet’s pulse readings. On the front, there is a logo and on the side are two micro-USB port to charge the base station and to charge the sock sensor. Please note that this is not a type C micro-USB port.
The owlet base station range is 100 ft. and this means you need to keep the base station within 100 ft from the sock and sensor to avoid receiving false alarms or to avoid the base station disconnecting. This owlet base station distance is limited as it uses Bluetooth to transmit signals from the sensor device in the sock to the base station. You should note that the base station is wired and is powered by electricity and not batteries like the sensor.
You can dim the base station by holding and pressing the middle of the base station.
Here is how to turn the Owlet Smart Sock off:
I was pretty annoyed every time the base station was blinking red or yellow and giving sound alerts and usually wondered how I could turn off Owlet without actually making it stop transmitting the signals. In the second generation model, Smart Sock 2, you just gently pressing the middle part of the base station and it will stop. Well, technically, it will still be receiving the signals from the sensor.
As shown in the GIF below of the base station, the base station can change color into 5 different colors. Below is what each base station color means and what you should do:
Owlet Base Station Colors & Notifications:
1. Grey Light:
When you see the base station showing grey color, it means that it plugged in and charging.
2. Pulsing Green:
When you see Owlet smart sock green light (on the base station), it is a good sign. It means all vital signs are within the set range. When the Owlet smart sock is flashing green, it is your time to set back and relax before the baby wakes up again when in need of your attention. There is no Owlet Smart sock alert or your baby does not need your or you are not being alerted by the base station as the breathing rate and the oxygen level are alright. This means the Owlet smart sock heart rate range is not too high or too low.
3. Flashing Yellow:
Have you seen your Owlet Smart Sock flashing yellow like the one shown in the picture below?
When you see flashing yellow on your base station, don’t worry, the sensor just can’t get an accurate reading, that’s why the circular/ring base station is flashing yellow. It does the chime still – one of the little babies. It is usually because of the smart sock falling off or due to poor placement. When out or range, you may also see the flashing light and the app indicating ‘connecting’. Try to get closer to the sensor or try to remove any thick obstruction that may be blocking or interfering with Owlet signal.
4. Blue Flashing:
You may also this when the base station loses connection to wifi or maybe out of the Bluetooth range of 100 ft. and gives blinking blue with chimes to the tune of hush little baby.
5. Red Flashing and Sound Alarms:
When you see the Owlet Smart Sock blinking red, the readings of your baby’s vital signs are outside the normal range. Owlet Smart Sock red light is not necessarily a bad thing and does not necessarily mean your baby has stopped breathing. Don’t be alarmed to think that your baby may have had SIDs. The Owlet Smart Sock red alarm should, however, get your attention as the heart rate of your baby may be out of range. First thing you do when you see the blinking red on the Owlet’s base station should be to check the reading of the Owlet Smart Sock 2 App. When flashing red, the app is properly connecting to the sensor but the heart rate may be out of the set range.
In the picture above, the reading of 60 may be considered low for a healthy baby and Owlet Smart Sock reading of 220 may be considered too high. The heart rate range parameters of 60 to 220 cannot be adjusted but to give you flexibility, Owlet allows you to adjust sensitivity to different heart rate levels. This allows you to adjust the sensitivity for flashing yellow and flashing blue alerts. The alert for too high or too low heart rates cannot be adjusted as that is what Owlet is meant to alert you for.
The table below shows you the meaning of alerts when the Owlet Smart Sock reading is below 60 (too low heartbeat rate), between 60 and 220 and, 220 and above (too high heartbeat).
|Reading on Owlet Smart Sock 2||Below 60 Beats per Minute (BPM)||60 to 220 Beats per Minute (BPM)||Above 220 Beats per Minute (BPM)|
|What this means:||Your baby needs your attention, the heartbeat is low and you’ll see a flashing red||Your baby is doing great as the heartbeat is within the normal range. You may see flashing green||Your baby’s heartbeat is high and needs your attention as the BPM is out of the normal range. You will see flashing red alert|
The table above has the recommended heartbeat rate for a baby using Owlet at various months. Heart rate or oxygen levels are outside the pre-set range. This is when the vital signs are out of the set normal range – The rings turn red and it rings an alert instead of the chimes to the turn of hush little baby. The heartbeat rate may be low when your baby is asleep. As your baby grows the heart rate also decreases. The heart rate may also go up and may receive the flashing light alert when the baby is feeding.
The Owlet Smart Sock Oxygen level preset range is 80 to 100. For oxygen readings, anything below 94 should be of concern but 95 and above are considered normal. Below 94 may indicate lack of oxygen may be because of blockage in the airwaves or the lungs are congested. Any reading below 80 is absolutely bad and you should attend to your baby immediately.
Normal oxygen concentration in blood is 89% but various conditions may prevent it from going above or below this 89% mark. You should, however, be concerned if it drops below 80%.
The picture below illustrates the color options for different alerts of Owlet Smart Sock 2. Remember the notifications you receive on your phone station so you only receive notifications through the app or through the base stations at different times of the day. If you are that parent who likes to sleep and does not like getting disturbed with phone notifications at night, you can adjust the settings so you only receive phone notifications during the day and base station notifications at night.
Owlet Smartphone App: Owlet Connected App
Which App should you download for Smart Sock 2?
You should get the Owlet Connected App for free on Appstore or on Google Playstore. Make sure you chose the new Owlet Connected App which has just over 10,000 downloads on Google Playstore as of July 2019. The new App is called Connected App and the old one was called the Owlet Care App. The new App is what you need to download as it supports Owlet Cam, the video baby monitor launched by Owlet in 2019. Trying to find the App for Owlet Smart Sock 2? Use the links above to get the Android App that works with all Android devices such as Samsung or download the iOS App for Apple devices. Prior to 2019, the Owlet Connected App was paid (and not free) but there was a lot of pushback that made Owlet remove the fees associated with cloud storage and that’s how we got the Owlet Smart Sock for free, or rather the Owlet Smart Sock App.
The new Owlet app is very simple, easy to set up and by all means very minimalistic. There is one main page that allows you to swipe and get more details on the baby’s breathing rate and the oxygen levels.
Owlet Smart Sock Battery
Owlet Smart Sock sensor that is attached to the sock is powered by a coin-cell rechargeable battery that is included when you purchase Owlet. You should however not confuse that with what powers the base station. The owlet base station is powered by electricity and needs to be plugged in to work. The Sensor’s batteries are similar to those you see in wristwatches and at one point I actually thought they were the same. It takes about 3 hours to fully charge and should last for about 18 hours according to Owlet’s marketing materials. Owlet’s batteries have actually been a disappointment to many parents (read further on the Owlet’s Cons below).
Can I use Owlet for Twins?
Unfortunately, the Owlet smart sock is not really meant for twins as it comes with one sensor. This is despite Owlet coming with 3 socks. Apparently, the sensor in the Sock is the most expensive part in the Smart Sock and they couldn’t sell 3 sensors and 3 socks. If you plan to monitor twins as I do, you should consider buying two units of Owlet Smart Sock 2.
The genius of Owlet smart sock 2 is in the sensor device that is attached to the center (dome) of the smart sock. The device sends red pulses, just like the hospital pulse-oximetry, and reads the baby’s heartbeat and oxygen levels. Each smart sock has two diodes that emit a red pulse into the baby to get the reading that you need.
At the back of the base station, there is wifi and sock LED lights that basically shows if the connection is established between the base station and the sock. When the base station is charging the sensor, the base station light turns to white as indicated above.
Owlet smart sock 2 uses Bluetooth, and not wifi, to transmit signals from the smart sock to the base station. In fact, this process can happen without wifi or Owlet Smart Sock 2 can function without wifi. However, if you want to receive alerts on your phone, you need a wifi connection.
Owlet Smart Sock is only used for infants – below 18 months. There is nowhere in the manual and Owlet has never communicated Owlet smart sock for adults or for people with epilepsy. You should only use the smart sock to strictly and Only monitor your baby’s heartbeat and oxygen levels.
Can You Wash The Sock?
A very common question revolves around if you can wash Owlet Smart Sock 2 and how to wash it. To answer the first part, yes you can wash Owlet Smart Sock 2. Also, you should wash the sock once a week. Your baby can wear the same sock for up to 7 days and when you wash it, remove the sensor first and store it somewhere where it cannot come in contact with water. Put mild washing detergents on a basin and let the sock soak for a few minutes before rinsing it gently using your hands. Rinse it with clean water to remove all the detergents and allow it to dry in the air without putting it in the dryer.
Comparison of Owlet Smart Sock 2 and Smart Sock 1
My friend was part of the group of parents who use the Owlet beta in the Summer of 2015 and we couldn’t wait for the release of Owlet Smart Sock 1 in October 2015. An improved and better-designed Owlet Smart Sock 2, the second generation of the same Smart Sock was released to the market in March 2nd, 2017 and I have used at least 3 sets of Owlet Smart Socks 2. Like many other parents who had enjoyed the first generation, despite its glitches, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the OSS 2. Below is a picture of the improved Smart Sock 2:
As of September 2019, there is anticipation and mothers across America are wondering when Owlet Smart Sock 3 will be released. As per the communications from Owlet, the company behind this pioneering pulse-oximetry technology, Owlet Smart Sock 3 is expected to be released in 2020.
Owlet Smart Sock 2 was released 17 months after Owlet Smart Sock 1 and the major difference between the first and the second generation is design, accuracy and app functionalities. Owlet Smart Sock 2 has a better design and fits well to the baby’s feet without falling resulting in less false alarms. Owlet Smart Sock 1 had several false alarms as it kept falling off the baby’s feet.
The comparison table below has more details on the difference between Owlet Smart Sock 1 and 2:
|Owlet Smart Sock 2||Owlet Smart Sock 1|
|Released to the market in March 2017||Released to the market in October 2015|
|Better design that remains attached to the baby’s foot and less likely to fall off as shown on the picture above||Poor design that was prone to falling off the baby’s foot and it sent several false alerts (yellow notifications)|
|Available for sale in several retail outlets including online stores such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart||No longer available on sale.|
|Can be worn by the baby on either foot||Sock 1 was not universal and each foot worked with its sock|
|Very breathable with open toe||Not very breathable|
|12 times longer Bluetooth range compared to the original smart sock||Shorter Bluetooth range|
|An additional antenae in the base to improve connectivity||No antenae|
|Stronger and sturdier base||Base not made of strong hardware|
|Better App reporting||Poor App reporting|
The video below describes the great features of Owlet Smart Sock 2.
Below is a short video we could find to describe Owlet Smart Sock 2:
Ready for third-generation Owlet Smart Sock already?
Owlet Smart 2 has been on sale in major retail outlets for the past 28 months since its release in March 2017. There were significant improvements in the second generation Smart Sock and expect to see more improvements in the Owlet Smart Sock 3.
Owlet Smart Sock 3 Release Date:
Wondering when the 3rd generation of Owlet Smart Sock will be released? There were earlier indications that Owlet would release the Owlet Smart Sock 3 in 2019 and as of July 2019, it is still not available and the company has not indicated the release date. Below is an email from Carole, a customer care associate at Owlet. The email seems to indicate that the Owlet Smart Sock 3 may be released in 2020 as Owlet is preparing to launch Owlet Pregnancy band in late 2019.
Below is the email:
So, when should your baby stop using Owlet?
The question on when to stop using Owlet can be tricky though. If your baby has any respiratory-related infection or problem you should use Owlet as long as it takes. The 18 months recommendations are for healthy babies. The picture below shows the three color variations available that you can choose from; mint, light purple, and dark mint.
How much does Owlet Smart Sock weigh?
The Owlet Smart Sock packaging weighs 1.3 pounds (~0.6 kg) altogether but the Smart Sock itself weighs less than 0.02 pounds which is an equivalent of 0.009071847 kg (approximately 0.01 kg). This is very light and ideal for an infant and this weight should not worry any parent wondering whether the weight of the sock is too high.
Smart Sock FDA Approval & Reliability/Accuracy of Owlet
So, is the Owlet Smart Sock FDA approved? No. Owlet Smart Sock is not a medical device and does not fall under the purview of medical devices that FDA regulates and approves. While Owlet Smart Sock uses the same technology used by pulse oximetry devices found in hospitals, Owlet is not the same as a hospital pulse oximeter and should not be as a medical device or in place of a hospital pulse oximeter. FDA has not approved Owlet Smart Sock for use in medical settings or applications.
Reuters also ran a story in 2018 with the headline, “Consumer baby monitors may get vital signs wrong”. The article basically described how Owlet Smart Sock had given inaccurate readings. The article quotes a study done by a team led by Dr. Chris Bonafid of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The study compared Baby Vida and Owlet’s performance and showed that Owlet missed sending alerts on 9 occasions.
Below is a quote from Reuters explaining the Owlet Smart Sock inaccuracy”
” The Owlet device missed 9 occasions in which the baby’s oxygen saturation was alarmingly low, accurately caught low oxygen saturation 71 times and falsely sounded the alarm 26 times. The Baby Vida missed 102 occasions in which the baby’s oxygen saturation was too low, but it never sounded an alarm when nothing was wrong. It did, however, often falsely display low pulse rates.”Linda Caroll, Reuters, August 2018
Prior to this article, the American Academy of Pediatrics also came out strongly against Owlet Smart Sock in 2017. As part of their safety guidelines to prevent SIDs, the Academy and doctors who reviewed Owlet Smart Sock warned parents against relying on it to prevent SIDs and even went to the extent of claiming that Owlet Smart Sock is a dangerous device. Owlet, however, has a disclaimer here where they specifically warn:
WARNING: The Smart Sock is not a medical device. It is not intended for use as a medical device or to replace a medical device. It does not and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, alleviate or prevent any disease or health condition or investigate, replace or modify anatomy or any physiological process.
The Owlet Smart Sock is meant for healthy babies up to 18 months of age and the notification thresholds on the Owlet Smart Sock are not as stringent as a medical monitor.Owlet
In 2017, the National Center for Biotechnology published research done by doctors who had reached out to parents of 47,495 newborns who had used Owlet Smart Sock 2. You can read the report here.
The report was made following a study of the newborns over a period of close to two years – It started in October 2015 and ended in May 2017. The report is better summarized with this sentence from the research’s abstract:
“A total of 94% of parents reported a better quality of sleep (because of Owlet Smart Sock). The fast and continuous pace of device adoption and reported experience suggest excellent parental acceptance of the OSS. Prospective studies are warranted to further evaluate its applications in the high-risk newborn population. “Global Pediatric Health, 2017
If you are asking or wondering, is Owlet Smart Sock worth it, you should know that over 94% of parents who have used it reported better sleep and that thousands of parents across America have accepted this clinically-proven pulse oximeter. You are not an exception. Owlet is totally worth it and I personally recommend it to any parent raising an infant.
You can read our SIDs safety prevention tips on breathing baby monitors page.
CBS even ran a story following the research:
Owlet responded with a snapshot of its results of accuracy testing which can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov here.
The snapshot below was presented by Owlet through its CEO who argued that Owlet was reliable and was only meant for home use.
What does this mean and is the Owlet safe? Owlet is safe and even though the Smart Sock may have missed alerting parents on some occasions, it is fair to state that it is far more accurate than the current alternatives in the market such as Baby Vida which missed sending alerts 72 times during the same study. In terms of microwave radiation, the EMF level as indicated below is very minimal compared to mainstream baby monitors. If you are still wondering whether it actually works, you can try to read all the reviews of Owlet on Amazon and hear parents tell of what they like best about Owlet. In brief, Owlet actually works and has been credited to have saved lives numerous times.
The video below shows that there is little variation between Owlet Smart Sock readings from hospital pulse-oximetry which essentially goes to attest Owlet as the most accurate vital-signs baby monitor:
Owlet Smart Sock Alternatives & Competitors:
There are 11 other devices that are similar to Owlet Smart Sock but with variance in features.
Regarding Smart Sock and SIDs, I think it is very important to take all the necessary precautions and not to fully rely on Owlet or any of the alternatives below. As a parent, you should still take the necessary SIDs prevention guidelines to make sure your child is safe. Of course, you can choose to go for Owlet Smart Sock alternatives such as:
Baby Vida baby monitor is an oxygen monitor and a heart rate monitor that most similar to Owlet Smart Sock as it has a Sock design and tracks the same vital signs. It was released to the market in July 2015 and was invented by Mollie Evans, a mom who as worried about SIDs. You can read our comparison of Baby Vida and Owlet below.
Uses a clip attached to the baby’s blanket/swaddle, onesie and keeps track of the breathing It alerts you if the baby stops breathing.
Rated 3.9/5 by over 130 customers
Angelcare Baby Monitor (AC517)
Uses a sensitive pad placed under the mattress and alerts you if the baby stops breathing for 20 seconds.
You can read the whole review of Angelcare
Rated 3.5/5 by over 70 customers
Monbaby Breathing Monitor
MonBaby breathing monitor sends signals over wifi to a smartphone app, every five seconds. It alerts you if there is an abnormal change in breathing.
MonBaby breathing monitor is an award-winning smart breathing monitor with a 4.2/5 rating on Amazon and it works by attaching it to a baby’s clothing. It’s patented snap-on feature allows you to easily attach it to onesies or pajamas. It connects to a smartphone app and lets you know if the baby’s breathing is out of the range.
It principaly works to alert you of the following:
- Breathing movement
- Body positions
- Fall detection/proximity detection
- Real-time stats and long-term sleep cycle graphs
- Ambient Temperature audible alarm
Unlike Owlet, MonBaby alerts you of baby’s body positions and alerts you if your baby is in danger of falling down. A number of parents have purchased it with Cubo AI baby monitor, another smart monitors that doesn’t have breath monitoring.
This is the latest breathing baby monitor. This release which uses computer vision to track real-time baby’s breathing patterns and rate also sends you the video in HD and has complete baby monitoring and not just breathing.
It vibrates three times and before sending an alarm, unlike Snuza Go which just sends alarm without vibrating.
Sends an alarm when the baby’s breathing is out of the normal range
Snuza SE Premium
Miku Baby Monitor
Miku combines computer vision and sophisticated sensors to track the breathing of your baby. It is the most expensive breathing baby monitor that uses advanced sensor fusion technology as opposed to pulse oximetry technology to track the breathing and oxygen levels. Miku was one of the best overall baby monitors of 2019 in BMC review.
While some of the above Owlet’s alternatives may monitor the baby’s breathing and oxygen levels, Owlet stands out and the table below gives an overview of how these other alternatives or competitors of Owlet fair when compared.
Below table summarizes the competitors:
|Owlet Smart Sock||Sock||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Baby Vida||Sock||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Check Price|
|Snuza Pico||Diaper Clip||No||Yes||No||Yes||Check Price|
|Sproutling||Leg Band||Yes||No||No||No||Check Price|
|Nanit & |
|No||Yes with |
|Sense U||Diaper Clip||No||Yes||No||Yes||Check Price|
|Snuza Go||Diaper Clip||No||Yes||No||No||Check Price|
|Snuza Hero||Diaper Clip||No||Yes||No||No||Check Price|
|Miku Baby |
We have analyzed all the above Owlet Smart Sock alternatives and competitors. We also compared all of them in one table on the page with breathing baby monitors and SIDs prevention tips. The above competitors use devices such as clips attached to the diapers or sensor pad placed under the mattress.
To summarize the above table with a comparison of the top 11 breathing baby monitors, Owlet Sock takes the leads as the best breathing monitor. For example, most of the above competitors do not measure Oxygen levels and are used in limited locations as it does not use wifi or Smartphone Apps. Snuza Pico, for example, does not use an App and does not measure the baby’s oxygen levels. Snuza also has a shorter charging cord and may require you to get an extension which may bring strangulation risk at your nursery. Others such as Angelcare, require you to purchase an additional board and do not use an app and therefore does not send you notifications to your phone.
Owlet Smart Sock Vs. Baby Vida Baby Monitor
One of the closest competitors to Owlet Smart Sock is Baby Vida, which is a device closest in make and technology to Owlet. It has the same sock, although with a slightly different design. It was released after Owlet’s pulse oximeter baby monitor.
As of this update in September 2019, it has been rated 2.6/5 on Amazon by over 50 customers. On the other hand, Owlet has been rated 3.9/5 by over 1,100 customers on Amazon.
Below is a snapshot of a picture of a baby wearing Baby Vida sock to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels.
While Baby Vida also uses Smart Sock and tracks the oxygen level in the blood like Owlet, it has several differences that make it comparable but not quite as good as Owlet. See the table below for exact 3 similarities and 4 distinct differences we found while doing this review:
|Feature||Owlet Sock 2||Baby Vida|
|Uses a Smart Sock||Yes||Yes|
|Technology||Pulse oximetry||Pulse oximetry|
|Sock Location||Foot||Foot and ankle|
|Range||100 ft.||60 ft.|
|What it measures||Heart rate and |
|Heart rate and |
|Release to market||March 2017||July 2015|
|Inventors||6 Owlet team members||Mollie Evans|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
You can read a more detailed comparison of Owlet and Baby Vida with details such as accuracy and reliability (Link to a comprehensive BMC review and comparison table)
Owlet Base Station Range
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Pros and Cons:
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Pros
1. Owlet is Accurate and Reliable
In 2008, Owlet got a lot of criticism from the American Association of Pediatrics with claims that it was inaccurate. The Association through a study warned parents against relying on it. This was despite prolonged testing and Sock adjustments to improve its reliability. In another study to test the reliability of Owlet Sock, researchers engaged over 47,000 newborns who were using the Owlet Smart Sock between 2015 and 2017. The result was shockingly impressive! 92% of the parents indicated that Owlet was very reliable.
Like other parents that have found Owlet to be reliable compared to other oxygen baby monitors such as Baby Vida and Snuza, my number one reason to go for Owlet was because of its reliability and accuracy. Some parents that have complained of too many alerts probably don’t care that the cost of not receiving that red blinking or yellow notification could save a life.
2. Owlet Pioneering Pulse Oximetry Technology In Baby Monitors
Owlet Smart Sock uses a non-invasive technology that can get the readings of a heartbeat and oxygen levels. It does so by emitting a red light to the baby’s skin on the foot and the light detects the vital sings, specifically how much oxygen is in the blood and how fast the heart of the baby is pumping blood.
This technology is life-saving and I usually find that it is not stressed enough. Owlet’s pulse oximetry technology has been around since the 1940s and for more than 7 decades, the technology was confined to hospitals. Like most adults, my first experience with pulse oximeter was at the hospital. Owlet became the first company to develop, test a reliable pulse oximeter to be used in a home setting. With this technology, I have been able to comfortably tell with confidence that the baby is doing great. No more worries!
Below is a short video of Dr. Antonio explains what pulse oximetry is:
3. Dual Notification: App and Base Station
You can be alerted by the base station that changes color from green or yellow to red in case your baby needs your attention. You can also receive the alerts on your mobile phone – through the smartphone App – the Owlet App. The second-generation Owlet smart sock 2 has fixed the false alarms and alerts that plagued the old generation smart sock. The smart sock 2 still wraps around the baby’s heel but it also goes over the foot. We’ve used this for over 6 months and our baby hasn’t managed to kick it off and we haven’t had false alarms. The sock design has been improved significantly and should make parents proud that Owlet can be a reliable alerting device in case the baby is in danger or needs care or attention.
Since Owlet is a wifi baby monitor, whatever is happening on the base station, you have the option of being notified on your phone through the Owlet app. When they first released the Owlet app in 2016, it was exclusive to iPhone but they’ve since rolled out the app that works with Android phones such as Samsung.
4. Owlet’s Pulse Oximeter Baby Monitor Has Great Design: Not too tight on the foot & does not fall off
When Owlet announced the release of the second-generation Smart Sock, or the Smart Sock 2, I was among the parents eager to know how the new design would work with my twins. The new design is perfect. Unlike the Smart Sock 1 which easily fell off the baby’s foot triggering yellow notifications, the Smart Sock 2 does not have several false alerts/alarms. This is partly because the Smart Sock 2 is very comfortable and the baby doesn’t even bother kicking it (because it is not too tight and just comfortable). Even for preemies or those babies with little foot, Owlet has step-by-step guidelines on how to make sure the Sock fits the baby and does not fall off. You can opt for the sock recommended for those aged 1 month of lower if the feet are very small. You can also opt for the one recommended for 1 to 3 months old babies and the larger one recommended for 4 to 18 months.
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Cons:
1. Sock Durability: The Sock Needs to be Replaced
There have been complaining and have personally had to deal with Owlet’s customer service as my the sock could barely last 4 months. Coming to think of it now, it might be that all Owlet did the calculation and found that 4 months for each sock should be best if they offer a warranty of 12 months. This is despite the recommended use being up to 18 months. After the 12 months, I am not sure if Owlet expects you to make another purchase before your Infant is over 18 months. This was my biggest complaint and have had to buy Owlet Smart Sock replacements (sock only) for up to $39 including shipping.
Below is a picture of Owlet smart sock 2 replacement and a link to purchase it on Amazon. As pf September 2019, Owlet Smart Sock replacement has been rated 4/5 by over 20 customers on Amazon.
Furthermore, it was very difficult for me to find out how to get the replacement as it wasn’t listed on Amazon. I ended up contacting Owlet who assisted me to get the Sock replacement.
3. Owlet Battery Life is Short and Battery Needs Replacement
Owlet indicates on its marketing materials and on its website that the battery life of the sensor in the sock is 18 hours. However, over 20% of the verified reviews we analyzed were complaining of Owlet Sock short battery life, as low as a few hours and even minutes. Some parents expressed their frustration that they were receiving low battery alert notification after using the Smart Sock for just a few hours. This is very disappointing given that Owlet is not cheap or comparable to some affordable breathing baby monitors. If your Owlet battery is faulty or not holding a charge, you should consider getting a replacement before the one-year warranty expires. One of the reasons Owlet has given for shortening battery life is that when the sensor is out of the base station’s range of 100 ft., it keeps trying to reconnect and it uses more power than the battery is designed for.
As of July 2019, Owlet’s replacement battery is not available on major retail outlets such as Amazon or Walmart and you should contact Owlet if the Owlet Smart Sock battery has any of the following three common issues:
- Owlet battery barely holds a charge or drains/dries fast: If the battery keeps dying, then you should definitely go for a replacement. This is a priority because every time the battery is low and the alarm is triggered, the baby is woken up.
- Owlet Smart Sock battery status not showing or just contact
- Owlet smart sock battery not charging
One last thing you should know about the sensor battery is that it remains powered on or it is turned on throughout as long as it is not plugged in the base station.
Owlet Smart Sock Safety and EMF Radiation
Amidst all the criticism that this home-oximetry device has received after studies such as the one by American Academy of Pediatricians mentioned in the Reuters article above, you may be asking yourself whether Owlet Smart Sock 2 is safe. Then the answer is yes. Owlet smart sock is safe and just like other baby monitors, it has gone through the necessary approvals including the testing of EMF radiation by FCC to ascertain that the radiations levels are within the SAR limits of 4 W/Kg.
Below is a snapshot of the SAR Report that was approved by FCC in 2016. The report indicates that Owlet passed the testing and had EMF reading of 0.735 W/kg.
The reading of 0.735 W/kg is very low, about a quarter of EMF levels emitted by other top baby monitors such as Infant Optics DXR 8 and Vava baby.
You can read the full Owlet’s SAR Report here.
While some parents try to make the EMF level a con/disadvantage of Owlet and they forget the benefits that it comes with. I personally encourage you to get an Owlet if you are expecting a baby or currently raising an infant. The reason why I am not worried about Owlet’s EMF is that its emission levels are the lowest when compared with SNuza Hero and other brands such as and Angelcare. In fact, Angelcare recalled all movement baby monitors with sensor pads in 2013 because of strangulation hazard.
You may be wondering how Owlet Smart Sock EMF level does when compared with other breathing baby monitors such as Snuza and we have a table for you below:
|Owlet Smart Sock||Snuza Go||Snuza Hero|
|EMF Radiation Level||0.735 W/Kg||1.5 to 3.1W/kg||1.5 to 3.1W/kg|
You can read more about EMF radiation, its dangers and how to be safe.
Owlet Vs Other Monitors
While Owlet is interchangeably called the Owlet Smart baby monitor or preemie socks, it has a lot of differences when compared with other traditional baby monitors with a few similarities.
The table below summarizes the differences between Owlet and other baby monitors.
|Owlet Smart Sock||Other Baby Monitors /|
(such as Infant Optics DXR 8)
|Does not support 2-way talk||Have two-way talk|
|Does not play lullabies||Play Lullabies|
|Does not read the room temperature in the baby’s room||Have room temperature sensors|
|Does not have humidity sensors||Have humidity sensors|
|Does not have video viewing or night vision||Have video viewing and night vision|
Owlet Smart Sock Vs Miku Vs Cocoon Cam
The main difference between Owlet and Miku is the technology the two baby monitor use. Owlet uses pulse-oximetry while Miku uses sensor Fusion technology. Sensor Fusion and Computer vision are both AI-based technologies used in top-tech baby monitors available in 2020. Owlet’s tech does not rely on camera while Miku relies on image-processing technology as they are not wearable sensing monitors like Owlet.
Until 2019, Owlet had not released a camera or video baby monitor and in February 2019, it released Owlet Smart Sock that comes with a Camera unit. Wit this, Owlet is now comparable to video baby monitor that tracks breathing and oxygen levels such as Miku. Let however compare these other common competitors that use computer vision, AI and not the pulse oximetry, the clinically proven way of tracking breathing and oxygen levels.
If you want to read the comparison of Nanit Plus Vs Owlet, you can read our detailed guide here.
|Owlet Smart Sock||Miku||Cocoon Cam|
|Technology||Pulse Oximetry||Sensor Fusion||Computer |
|What it Does |
|Monitors oxygen |
level and heartbeat
|Tracks baby sleep |
and breathing rate
|Track breathing rate|
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Manual:
You can download a helpful Smart Sock 2 user manual here.
Owlet Smart Sock Technology & Brief History:
Owlet smart sock was invented by a Brigham Young University (Utah) team of six after registering a company called Owlet Care (link to Owlet Care website). In 2013, the start-up won the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) held in Harvard. The patent to baby monitor pulse oximetry was granted to Owlet in March 2015 and they released the first Owlet Smart Sock for sale in October of the same year, 2015. Owlet is currently based in Lehi, Utah and has been around since 2010.
Below is a picture of the team holding a cheque after winning a start-up IBMC in 2013.
The story of Owlet began with the experience of one of the co-founders who previously worked in a hospital and specifically with the pulse oximetry device. The traditional pulse oximetry in the hospital has a cord that most patients don’t like, despite providing doctors and patients the vital data required to diagnose or to treat certain symptoms. Taner Hodges, the CEO, thought of wireless pulse oximetry – basically a device that can measure the vital signs without cords/wires that regular devices have. Owlet tried selling to nurses and doctors and they failed before they found the baby products niche which they then settled to make a device to monitor the vital signs of babies.
Using the same pulse-oximetry technology, Owlet pioneered a device that can be attached to the baby’s feet to monitor the breathing and oxygen level to prevent respiratory failure. In a home setting, Owlet made the device that allows parents to monitor blood oxygen levels and heart rate and report that to a parent. The parent is alerted in case the vital signs are out of the normal range with the aim of reducing instances of SIDs, the number one cause of infant deaths in the US. For first-time parents, this increases the anxiety of parents a lot. There are about 4 million babies born in the US every year and Owlet stepped up to assist parents to have a better sleep with their innovative device, the Smart Sock.
When Owlet piloted the baby monitor in 2014, 96% of 105 mothers indicated that they’d use the technology and that partly pushed the team to work on the Smart Sock.
Buying Owlet Smart Sock & Its Sale Performance
Owlet Smart Sock 2 is sold by several retailers in the US, Europe, Australia, the UK, and several other countries across the globe. Retailers such as Best Buy, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, eBay stock and sell Owlet Smart Sock 2. Amazon is the preferred retailer by many parents and it is currently number 13 in the top 100 best-selling baby monitors selling on Amazon (As of July 2019). It is also the best-selling breathing baby monitor, ahead of all the competitors such as Snuza, Miku and Baby Vida mentioned above.
According to Helium Data, Owlet is shipping about 5000 units per month (as of July 2019). So next time you’re thinking of trying to find a retailer near you, by searching Owlet Smart Sock near me’, you should opt for Amazon as it is Prime eligible which means you may be able to receive it the next day after you order it if you reside in the United States.
If you are into deals for young parents like me, you can wait for Owlet Smart Sock sale, deal or discount code during informal or formal holidays such as Mother’s Day, Christmas (in December), Amazon Prime Day (in July) or Black Friday (in November). You can also keep checking our page on baby monitor deals and keep an eye on Owlet Smart Sock sale or discount. Who knows, you could come across Owlet smart sock for free.
Owlet Smart Sock’s best price hasn’t been lower than $199. When there is an Owlet Smart Sock 2 sale, parents usually get a chance to save up to $100. In other words, they end up paying $199 instead of its normal price of $299. However, you can get this certified refurbished unit on Owlet’s website for $199. I personally recommend you get Owlet’s certified refurbished units instead of Owlet second-hand units.
Aside from its relatively higher cost compared to its competitors, Owlet’s socks are not durable. You’ll need to occasionally replace the sock at a cost of $40. In fact, you may end up purchasing up to three sets in one year as they are not durable at all. That’s an additional $120. You can contact Owlet using Owlet’s customer service phone number and email below:
Phone Number: (844) 334-5330
Owlet customer service team that is based in Provo, Utah is great and will guide you accordingly on how to get a replacement sock.
Having reviewed all the details of how Owlet Smart Sock 2 works, you can probably agree with me now when I make the following conclusion. My most befitting conclusion for this review is that Owlet Smart Sock is the best technology currently available to track the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. Having compared Owlet vs Baby Vida, Snuza, Miku, Cocoon Cam, among others, this conclusion is based on the fact that pulse-oximetry is clinically proven to accurately track the vital signs of newborns.
You can check the price of Owlet Smart Sock 2 on Amazon here.
Follow the five steps listed on Owlet’s Smart Sock 2 guide above.
Owlet Smart Sock 2 is not in the purview of FDA jurisdiction as baby monitors are not considered as medical devices. It is therefore not an FDA-regulated device.