One of the essential baby items all parents should have is a safe-sleep space for their babies.
For newborns, these can either be baby bassinets, mini cribs, or cradles.
If you want to rock-a-bye your baby to sleep, then a cradle will be your best bet. These can be just as sturdy as cribs, yet be as comfy and comforting as bassinets!
In this article, we narrowed down a bunch of the best baby cradles you can find on the market today!
Our Top Picks for the Best Baby Cradles
1. BabyBjörn Cradle
BabyBjörn is one of our favorite baby brands for a good reason. They make some of the best non-toxic products out there, and this BabyBjörn cradle is a result of another one of their innovative designs!
At first glance, it’s easy to see how stylish, unique, and attractive this cradle is. It has an oval shape like a bassinet, but it has a rocking feature like a cradle.
What makes this product stand out is its easy-to-clean design. You can completely remove the fabric from the legs and clean it easily because it’s machine washable! The mattress is waterproof and removable too, so that’s a plus.
It also has 360 degree breathable mesh sides, which is great for your baby’s safe sleep. This also makes it a great co-sleeper option alongside its low height.
You can use this as a bedside sleeper bassinet and easily monitor your precious one while you’re in bed! It’s a good cradle bassinet that gives you easy access by keeping your baby close by.
On top of that, this is the most portable cradle on this list. Weighing at 13 lbs, this is the lightest cradle you can find! You’ll find this product easy to move between rooms, which is great for some parents.
This cradle gives a gentle yet sturdy swaying motion, and it should be suitable for babies up to 6 months or 18 lbs. It’ll be a good calming tool for the first few months of your baby’s life.
- Easy to clean
- Compact, breathable, and lightweight
- Low height makes it a great bedside sleeper bassinet
- Modern and clean design
- Sturdy base and construction
- The design might not be what you’re looking for
2. Green Frog Baby Bassinet Cradle
Green Frog offers a lot of cradle options, but this one is our favorite. This cradle is one of the most comfortable options on this list!
This cradle has breathable mesh sides, and you have the option to make it a circle mesh window or just a regular mesh side. However, its sides only have partial mesh.
Make sure to position your baby’s head near the mesh while sleeping to avoid any suffocation hazards.
This cradle is also the second lightest on this list, weighing roughly 15.6 lbs. It has built-in wheels on the ends of its rockers too, making it easier to drag around on any surface.
This cradle is easy to move, so that’s a plus for those who are thinking of moving their cradle around the house!
It also comes with a carry bag, making it even better for portability! You can bring this cradle along with you when you go on a vacation or to your grandparent’s house.
This also works well as a co-sleeper cradle because of its low height. Pairing this feature with the mesh, you can quickly inspect your baby while you’re on your bed.
Coming with the cradle is a Premium-Comfort mattress that’s firm and perfect for the safe-sleep of newborns. It also comes with a washable slipcover sheet, but you might want to buy additional ones to stock up in case of bedwetting.
You can pick from a bunch of luxurious-looking color options, and the quilted fabric designs add to its comfortability!
- Carry bag and light frame make it great for traveling
- Low height makes it suitable for co-sleeping
- Durable aluminum base is easy to set up and disassemble
- Comes with a premium, firm mattress
- Luxurious quilted designs and colors
- Sides are not full-mesh
3. Dream On Me Luna/Haven Cradle
If you’re looking for a standard wooden cradle for your baby, our top pick would be the Dream On Me Cradle. This is a #1 best-seller on Amazon too, so a lot of parents love it too!
To start, we want to highlight its contemporary-looking design that would look great in any household! You have seven colors to choose from, and the blush pink variant can be perfect for your little girl!
This award-winning cradle is recognized for its functionality, design, and balance of comfort and safety. It’s entirely made of solid wood, so rest assured that it has a solid, sturdy construction and is made of safe materials.
This cradle gives a gentle rocking motion, and it has brake stabilizers on its feet too if you want to keep it in place once your baby is asleep.
This wooden cradle is surprisingly compact, yet its interior is spacious enough for your baby’s comfortable sleep.
Dream On Me recommends parents to stop using this crib once their baby can push up on hands and knees. This can roughly be anytime between the baby’s first few months (0-6 months) or until he’s a maximum of 30 lbs.
This baby cradle comes with a soft mattress pad that’s still firm enough for newborns. It checks all boxes for being a safe space for your baby!
For such a wonderful cradle, this product is surprisingly more affordable than a lot of other cradles on this list, so that’s a huge plus.
- Solid wood construction makes it sturdy and non-toxic
- Its compact shape makes it easier to fit inside smaller spaces
- Gives great value for its affordable price tag
- Gives a gentle rocking motion that can be stopped with stabilizers
- Its contemporary design will look good in any home
- Not lightweight and portable (23 lbs)
4. SNOO Smart Sleeper Baby Bassinet
High-Tech Cradle Option
When it comes to the best features, the SNOO Smart Sleeper is at the top of the list.
This innovative baby bassinet boasts several high-tech features that make it easier for your baby to sleep.
This cradle bassinet can soothe babies by using rumbling sounds and gentle rocking motions. These automatically adjust to your baby’s cries too when they become fussy or noisy inside!
The rumbling sound acts as a white noise machine, and it becomes stronger when your baby becomes fussy. The rocking motion becomes stronger too. On top of that, you can customize these settings yourself by using their app on your smartphone!
These adaptive features are so effective that the manufacturers claim that this bassinet can add up to 2 hours of sleeping time for your baby. More sleep for baby, more sleep for mommy!
The SNOO Smart Sleeper has breathable mesh sides all around, comes with 3 hip-safe sleep sacks that prevent them from rolling to their sides, a mattress, and a fitted sheet.
The sleep sacks and fitted sheets are made of breathable, 100% organic cotton too. This all-around bassinet checks all boxes and is the only baby bed that meets the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep guidelines.
- High-tech features adapt and help babies fall back to sleep
- Has a mobile app for adjusting features manually
- Stylish and modern design
- Comes with organic cotton sleep sacks and a fitted sheet
- Ensures babies sleep on their backs
- Very expensive
- Not lightweight and portable (38 lbs)
5. Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Bassinet
Cradle + Mobile Option
This is a famous baby brand you probably heard of before. This rocking bassinet has a bunch of additional features that give it a great value at an affordable price tag.
This bassinet has a vibration feature, rocking function, swaying motions, night lights, music, and sounds! You can even choose from bells and whistles.
You can swing the bassinet yourself using your hands or use the soother remote on the side that’s also detachable.
What makes this product stand out from the rest is that it also comes with a mobile attachment. This is a great bonus feature that can give stimulation to your baby’s senses and give more comfort for them when they’re trying to sleep.
Another bonus feature is the storage space underneath the bassinet. You can keep a bunch of baby products in the storage pockets for quick access, like milk formulas, diapers, and baby wipes!
Aside from the storage basket, this bassinet has breathable mesh sides too, so rest assured that this is a great safe-sleep bassinet for your precious one.
This product is suitable for babies up to 6 months old, or when they can already push up with their hands and knees.
- Additional features make it easier for a baby to sleep
- Mesh sides make it safer for babies when sleeping
- Has convenient storage space underneath
- Not the most compact and portable (20 pounds)
- The design might not be what you’re looking for
What’s the Difference Between a Cradle and a Bassinet?
A cradle and a bassinet aren’t so different when it comes to function and purpose. Both are meant for newborns and babies usually up to 6 months old or 15-30 lbs.
These age and weight recommendations can vary, but the best way to know if a baby should stop using a rocking cradle or bassinet is if they can already push up on their hands and knees.
Many of these products are so similar that calling them a bassinet or cradle would still mean the same thing. However, there are still a couple of differences between these two baby products.
A cradle is like a smaller crib that has a rocking and swaying motion feature for babies. Most of these are made of wood, much like cribs. However, some cradles use fabrics to make them more breathable and lightweight.
A cradle is shaped very similarly to a crib, having a rectangular frame and mattress. However, it is much smaller and meant for newborns. A standard cradle also has curved feet, which is the basic design manufacturers use to add a gentle rocking feature.
Other manufacturers also use innovative designs to add rocking or swaying motions. Some of the cradles we listed above make use of vibrations, sounds, and remote-controlled functions besides using the standard hand-powered rocking motion!
One huge advantage that a wooden cradle has compared to a bassinet is how much easier it will be to maintain.
Since a wooden cradle doesn’t have any fabrics, the only thing you have to machine wash or constantly clean is the mattress. You’ll only have to wipe clean the wooden components, and you won’t be doing this as often compared to dealing with fabrics, making it more convenient for a lot of parents.
Moving on to a bassinet, this baby product is also meant for newborns. However, the main difference between a bassinet and a cradle is that most bassinets are more portable, compact, and lightweight.
These factors make a bassinet more suitable for parents who have tighter spaces or want to co-sleep with their little one. One of the best bassinets we recommend is the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper because of its swivel feature.
A bassinet is also great if you expect to move it around your home a lot or if you like to use a changing table. This convenience is something that a heavier and bulkier cradle can’t give you.
You won’t find any bassinet that has an all-wood construction too. If you did, then that would already classify as a cradle instead of a bassinet.
Even if bassinets with fabrics are more high-maintenance than wooden cradles, these bassinets can still be easy to clean because most of them are machine washable.
You’ll just have to detach the fabric components from the base, toss them in the washing machine, and you’ll have a fresh and clean bassinet for your little one!
Whether you go for a bassinet or a cradle, these two are still used for the same purposes. As long as you follow proper safe baby sleeping guidelines, all you have to consider left is your budget, room space, and convenience!
For more best bassinets, check our our article on the 5 Best Bassinets: Small Spaces, C-Section, Tall Beds.
Does My Baby Need a Cradle?
A cradle is an essential baby sleeping space that all parents should invest in. If not a cradle, a bassinet or crib would also do just fine.
The rule of thumb is to never let your baby sleep next to you on your bed, especially when they’re still newborns! It’s recommended that you let your baby sleep in a separate sleeping area.
Your little one should be inside a more appropriately sized space, and there shouldn’t be any loose sheets, bedding, and items lying around.
These are all dangerous for newborns and can become breathing hazards!
But more on that in the next section.
Are Cradles Safe for Newborns?
Yes, cradles are generally safe for newborns. They’re basically just rocking beds for your baby.
However, unlike adults, newborns still have sensitive systems and have developing bodies. This is also why we don’t recommend you let babies sleep in an adult bed. The baby can roll off the bed and get hurt.
You’ll have to take note of what the proper sleeping guidelines are for your baby’s safe sleep.
One of the things you should avoid is putting anything inside your baby’s sleeping space. This includes baby gear like baby bottles, toys, pillows, and blankets.
Other than that, you should also be sure to use fitted sheets for the mattress. Loose sheets can interfere with your baby’s breathing, especially when they roll to their sides.
These factors are important to remember for your precious one. Newborn babies have a low chance of getting Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but you still want to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to reduce these chances even further.
Besides doing these best practices, you should also note if your cradle has a sturdy construction. Wooden cradles are the sturdiest of the bunch, and these probably won’t be flimsy and break apart easily.
For fabric and more lightweight cradle options, make sure that it still has a solid base and legs that will stay sturdy even with its lightweight frame.
Your house pets or older children could accidentally hit these cradles, and you definitely don’t want the cradle to fall over when your newborn is inside!
Choosing the Best Cradle for Newborns
Before buying a baby cradle, new parents should keep in mind a couple of factors before making a purchase.
Once you take these factors into account and mix them up with your needs and preferences, buying the best bassinets and cradles for your baby should be much easier.
If you’re planning on transferring your cradle from room to room inside your house, then a portable bassinet or cradle will be your best choice.
A lightweight cradle and portable bassinet that are mostly made out of fabric will be the easiest to move around. Consider getting the BabyBjörn Cradle if an easy-to-move option is what you’re looking for.
This is the lightest cradle of the bunch, weighing only 13 lbs!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the sturdiest cradles are usually the ones that aren’t portable.
A cradle needs to be sturdy for the safety of your baby. The sturdier the cradle, the less likely it is to be pushed around, break down, and become a safety hazard.
Be sure that whatever you’ll purchase meets the required safety standards. It’s also good to check if it meets the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep’s guidelines.
A wooden cradle will be your best bet if you want the sturdiest construction. The Dream On Me Luna/Haven Cradle is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the sturdiest option!
Most baby cradles already come with their own mattress, but this can be a good thing and a bad thing.
This is a good thing because it can save you money, time, and effort from buying a separate product. It also ensures that the size and shape of the mattress will fit inside the cradle perfectly.
However, this can also be bad because some of these mattresses aren’t made from the safest materials and don’t have the safest construction for newborns.
Your newborn’s mattress should be more flat and firm than it is soft and comfy. This is because firmer mattresses can support your baby’s head and neck better, and they also don’t sink behind your baby’s head, reducing the chances of suffocation risks.
Some mattresses that come with these cradles can also be made of toxic materials. Polyurethane foam, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, and flame retardant chemicals are some of the things you should avoid.
These toxic chemicals have been connected to developmental issues, reproductive issues, and even cancer! Steer clear of these as much as possible for any baby product.
If you really like a particular cradle, but it comes with a toxic mattress, the best thing you can do is to buy organic, fitted bed sheets that will fit them perfectly.
Breathability and air circulation are significant factors for the safe sleep of your baby.
Cradles with breathable sides are the best and safest ones you should consider. These can either be airy mesh fabrics or space gaps on the sides for wooden cradles.
Easy to Clean
Convenience is everything when it comes to parenting. We’re sure a lot of parents will agree with us!
To make your life easier, it would be nice to have a cradle that’s easy to clean and maintain. Wooden cradles are the easiest to maintain because you only have to wipe them clean a couple of times a month.
For non-wooden cradles, some have removable fabrics that you can machine wash, which is convenient too.
The main feature that makes a cradle stand apart from a crib and standard bassinet is the rocking feature.
Gently swaying your little one back and forth gives a soothing feeling that can help them fall asleep easier.
Standard wooden cradles have these features, but there are also non-wooden cradles with unique designs to give this rocking motion.
You can opt for a rocking bassinet too, if a standard wooden cradle isn’t something you’re looking for.
Some manufacturers go the extra mile in improving your newborn’s sleeping experience. The SNOO Smart Sleeper Baby Bassinet and FP Soothing Motions Bassinet are the perfect examples.
These products have features like vibrations, sounds, white noise, night lights, and custom swinging motions that can all help your baby fall asleep better in. the middle of the night!
These aren’t essential, but they could be something you’re looking for, especially if your baby struggles to fall asleep in the middle of the night.
In summary, our top pick in this cradle list is the BabyBjörn Cradle. This baby company never disappoints, and this cradle has a design that’s hard not to love! It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and looks wonderful in any home!
The Green Frog Baby Bassinet Cradle is another great product we recommend. If your baby’s comfort is your top priority, then this cradle is the comfiest one we can vouch for. With its luxurious fabric design and premium mattress, your baby will fall asleep easily!
For classic wooden cradles, the Dream On Me Luna/Haven Cradle is the best of the best. This is a best-seller on Amazon for a good reason. A lot of parents love this cradle, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s sturdy, simple, reliable, and has a bunch of beautiful colors you can choose from.
If you’re looking for more nursery items, check out our Preparing for Baby Checklist.
July 23, 2021 – updated schema
July 22, 2021 – updated interlinking, updated external links