When we were registering for baby gear, finding a baby monitor was a little overwhelming. (Actually - registering for everything was sort of tough since there are 100 different brands/types of EVERYTHING and you have to pour over recommendations and safety reviews and prices; it's a lot to take in.) But anyway - the monitor part was tricky.
Do you go with the video monitor, which everyone loves but is EXPENSIVE? Do you go with a normal, sound-only monitor? Or do you go with one of the motion sensor monitors, which alert you if baby doesn't move for 20 seconds (ie, breathe)?
Our house is only one story and Bates' nursery is about 10 feet from our bedroom, so I thought getting a video monitor seemed unnecessarily expensive. In my mind, if we needed to see him, we could just walk 10 feet to his room. Also, I knew he would sleep in our room for awhile. But I was also terrified of SIDS (since there's sort of a scare campaign going on with new parents about putting your kid "back to rest" and what not), so even though it was a little more expensive than the sound-only one, I wanted the motion-sensing monitor (which still cost a lot less than a video monitor).
We moved Bates into his room at 5 months and to sum things up, the motion sensor caused us so much trouble! The alarm would go off all the time because he moved around so much in his crib (thus moving away from the sensor pad). But when you would make the sensitivity of the pad more intense, the air conditioner was enough to trigger movement, so if he stopped breathing we wouldn't know because the wind of the A/C was telling the monitor there was movement.
We ended up turning off the sensor feature after about a week of sleepless nights from the alarm going off so much. What this did though was make me constantly nervous he would stop breathing while asleep. So I would go into his room to check on him multiple times a night. And as you can imagine, this also killed my sleep. We needed a solution and as much as I hated to buy another one, I knew the solution was a video monitor.
We went with the Summer Infant Baby Touch, which is cool because you can have multiple cameras that feed into the base unit, so if you have more than one kid, you can see them both on the same unit. (Well, actually, it's cool for a lot of other reasons, too: good night-vision camera, easy-to-use touch screen, good sound quality that can also be muted, movable camera, zoom feature, 2-way talking [ie I can talk from the base unit to Bates in his room], etc.)
The day this came in the mail felt like Christmas, no joke, because I knew I would finally be able to sleep a whole night in my room without getting out of bed to check on the baby. And seriously, we've had it now for almost 2 months and I still think it is one of the best pieces of baby equipment we own. I'm soooooo happy we overlooked the price tag and decided to get it.
Here's my advice to soon-to-be parents: register for a video monitor! You will want one, even if you don't think you need it. And if it's on your registry, a) someone might buy it for you, or b) if no one does, you can at least get 10% off when you complete the registry.