Best Cradles Reviewed and Rated
Are you in the process of becoming a parent? What an exciting time! There is so much to be done before the birth of your child. In particular, selecting the right cradle is an important decision you need to make before you bring your child home from the hospital. If you aren’t sure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. We have put together this ultimate guide that will cover what all the best cradles are, why they are great, as well as other important information you need to know, answers to questions, and more!
Our Top 3 Picks
- BABYBJORN CRADLE
- Mesh Sides
- DREAM ON ME
- Support Pins
- SORELLE DONDOLA
- Fitted Sheet
10 Best Cradles
MESH SIDES- NO BARS
There are plenty of features that make this cradle unique, but most importantly, this cradle is special because it doesn’t contain any metal or wooden bars that your baby could potentially hurt themself with. This cradle is completely made of durable mesh fabric that is safe, and will help keep your baby cool.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 31 inches long, 23 inches wide, 26 inches tall
Mesh sides make it easy to see your baby, keeps them safe, and provides great ventilation
Cradle rocks in a smooth motion that will soothe your baby all night long
Mattress cover and fabric of the cradle itself are machine washable and easily removed
Lightweight design makes it easy to move it anywhere
Foot grips keep cradle in place but won’t damage floors
Use until your baby is 6 months old or 18 pounds
Low height makes it easy to monitor your baby at any time
This is a fairly expensive cradle, although it is not the most expensive by far. Considering the unique features and sleek design, it is a great price and an exceptional value for the money. If you are able to spend a little more, it is worth it to have a cradle as nice as this one.
- Sleek design looks nice and is also very convenient and helpful
- Mesh sides are completely safe and provide great airflow
- Accessories are a canopy and a fitted sheet- it is good to have options that you know will work with your specific cradle
- Lightweight design is very convenient for parents
- Cannot stabilize the cradle, it will always rock even if just a little
2. DREAM ON ME
You can easily use this cradle as a rocking cradle or stationary due to the easy to use support pins on either side of the cradle. Simply push them in place and the cradle will stay completely still.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 53.5 inches long, 33.5 inches wide, 4 inches tall
Wooden design with arches on either end
Rocking cradle can also be stabilized with support pins
4 color options (cherry, espresso, natural, and white)
Non-toxic paint used to give the colored finish
Use until baby weighs 20 pounds or can push up on their own
Comes with a slumber pad
This is an incredibly price and a great value for the money. No matter your budget, you will be able to afford this great cradle. However, even with the low price, it is still a great quality item with all the safety features you would want in a cradle.
- Very affordable
- Simple design goes with any decor and color options give you the option to pick what you want
- Safety features like stabilizing pins and non-toxic paint make you feel safer
- Easy to assemble
- Slumber pad is very thin, need to purchase a mattress to use with it
3. SORELLE DONDOLA
Not only does this cradle come with a mattress, it also comes with a fitted sheet. This is rare and most cradles do not come with the fitted sheet. This might not sound like a huge deal but with mattress sizes varying just slightly, it can be hard to find a sheet that is a perfect fit.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 38 inches long, 22.5 inches wide, 34 inches tall
Comes with both a mattress and a fitted sheet
Wheels attached to bottom of base
Cradle itself rocks or can be stabilized
Meets or exceeds safety standards from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Built from New Zealand pine
2 color options (espresso and white)
This is another moderately priced cradle, it is priced right in the middle. Given the numerous features and sturdy design, it is a great value for the money and likely is a cradle you could use for numerous children and keep in the family for years to come.
- Addition of the fitted sheet is very convenient
- Wheel and rock options which can both be stabilized are very handy features
- Sleek, yet traditional design is nice and won’t clash with any existing decor
- Sturdy design and safety features give you peace of mind
- Can only be shipped within the US
4. GREEN FROG, ANTIQUE WHITE
If you are environmentally conscious, you will love this cradle. For each cradle that is purchased, Green Frog will plant a tree. Because this cradle is made of wood, you can feel better that you are still giving back to the environment.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 39 inches long, 23 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Made from New Zealand pine and painted an antique white
Handcrafted with beautiful wooden molding elements
Can be used as a rocker or still due to stabilizing bars
Use until baby can push up on hands and knees
This is a moderately priced cradle, it is not the most expensive but also not the most affordable. However, for the beautiful craftsmanship involved, the slightly elevated price tag makes sense, and it is still a great value for the money. If you are looking for a more traditional, elegant cradle, this is the perfect option for you.
- Easy to assemble
- Beautiful classic design
- Plenty of safety features, especially the stabilizing bars
- No bedding is in included
5. GREEN FROG, ALLEGRO
DISCREET LOCK FEATURE
This is a rocking cradle that can also lock into place safely, but without sacrificing design. This lock feature is hardly visible, but safely does the job of keeping the cradle in place.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 37.9 inches long, 32.8 inches wide, 6.3 inches tall
Made from New Zealand pine wood
Painted an espresso color with non-toxic paint
Can be used rocking or stable
Use until baby can push up onto their knees
This is one of the more affordable cradles on this list, but given it’s sleek design, it looks like it would cost a lot more. It is a great value for the money and is still an option for parents with a more limited budget.
- Beautiful modern design
- Can use rocking or stable, perfect for getting your baby to fall asleep
- Sturdy construction
- No bedding is included
6. ORBELLE TRADING GABRIELLA
This cradle does not come with your standard canopy that you think of with baby products. This cradle features a gorgeous long cascading canopy that looks beautiful, and will also help your baby sleep better.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 39 inches long, 27.5 inches wide, 7.9 inches tall
Cradle is made of solid wood with a cherry finish
Long full canopy
Includes a fitted mattress
Cradle can rock, but also has anti-rock pin for when you want it stable
Wheels make for easy transport and also lock into place when not in use
This is one of the pricier models, but it is beautifully designed and very unique. It is a great value for the money and if you want to keep this cradle in your family for years, you can easily do so (and you’ll want to as well!)
- Beautiful design with full canopy- only one color option but will work for a boy or a girl
- Sturdy wood construction makes you feel more safe
- Rocking feature and stable feature is convenient
- Wheels help make it easy to move, good for busy parents or single parents who need to be able to move it on their own
- Does not include cradle sheet
- Fairly expensive
7. BADGER BASKET PORTABLE
TOYBOX BASE CONVERSION
What is great about this cradle is that the bottom base has numerous functions. As a cradle, it is located beneath the bassinet and can hold baby’s clothing or other supplies. When your child outgrows the cradle, the base converts into a beautiful toy box that can remain in their room for years to come.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 32 inches long, 24 inches wide, 42 inches high (this is the overall size of the product, just the bassinet itself is smaller, but with base is larger)
Includes an adjustable canopy, mattress pad, and a sheet/bedding set
Bedding is machine washable, and mattress pad is vinyl so very easy to clean
Bassinet can either have wheels for moving it, or be used as a rocking cradle
Use until baby is 20 pounds or when they roll over on their own
Bassinet lifts off from base so you can travel with it easily
Base turns into toy box
This is one of the most affordable cradles on this list, and combined with the numerous features, it has one of the greatest values for the money. Even if you are on a more limited budget, you can likely afford this cradle, and given the numerous features, it is worth the money. You will be able to use this cradle (in various forms) for years to come!
- This item comes with everything- including the mattress and a full bedding set. You don’t need to buy anything else!
- 4 cute color options and styles to choose from
- The multi-functions this product has is great- you can travel with the bassinet, the base has wheels for easy movement, the wheels can flip up so you can use it as a rocker, and the base converts to a toy box!
- You do have to assemble this when it arrives and there are a lot of different features
8. SORELLE LISA
This cradle can be rocked, but it also has a stationary mode for when you don’t want the cradle moving around. This is perfect for once your child has fallen asleep or when you put them down for a nap and don’t have time to rock them.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 38.5 inches long, 27.6 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Made of wood, painted an espresso color
Can be rocked or used in a stationary position
Easy to assemble
This is a fairly reasonably priced cradle, it is much more affordable than some others you will find. Due to its sturdy construction and beautiful design, it is a great value for the money and will make a great addition to anyone’s home.
- Beautiful color will match more traditional style homes, especially if you place this cradle in your bedroom before moving baby into their nursery
- Sturdy wooden design
- Assembly process is easy, good for busy parents who need it finished quickly
- Some people complain the mattress isn’t comfortable/too thin
9. VORY AUTOMATIC
AUTOMATIC ROCKING FEATURE
What makes this cradle unique is that you don’t have to push the cradle to get it to gently rock- it happens automatically! This ensures that the movement is consistent and is proven to result in children falling asleep quicker.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 100 cm long, 69 cm wide, 76 cm tall (this is including the base that rocks the cradle)
Adjustable canopy can be put up, down, or totally removed
Top bar over cradle has two toys baby can reach up and play with
Design options- one for boys and one for girls
Electric cradle rocking feature
This isn’t the most expensive cradle on this list, however it is also not the cheapest. The electric cradle feature makes this a great value for the money, and is worth the investment if you want this great feature.
- Pink and blue designs are both cute
- Rocking feature is incredibly convenient so you don’t have to rock the cradle yourself
- Toys are a nice additional feature to comfort your child
- Relatively expensive
10. ORBELLE LOLA
ANTI ROCK PIN
While it is a great feature to rock this cradle to help your child fall asleep, you don’t want the cradle to continue to move once your child is asleep. Therefore, this anti rock pin is a great feature that ensures the cradle will stay still.
Baby cradle with dimensions: 39.25 inches long, 25.5 inches wide, 40 inches tall
Mattress included with cradle
Anti rock pin to stop movement when not wanted
Completely hand made
Use until baby turns over
This is an expensive cradle and won’t be for everyone. However, if you have the budget and want to have a handmade beautiful cradle, this will be the perfect addition to your nursery.
- Anti rock pin keeps your child safe and secure once they are sleeping
- Rocking feature nice, however, for when you are there helping your baby fall asleep
- Beautiful design and appearance
5 Tips to Make Sure Your Baby Cradle Functions Well
Purchase the proper mattress: Some cradle’s come with a mattress, but you might find the mattress is not comfortable, or you may select a cradle that doesn’t have one. If that is the case, be sure to measure the space and get a mattress that fits perfectly. It can be a safety hazard if there is extra space around the edges that your child can grab or move.
Find the right fitted sheet: This is just as important, if not more important, than finding the right mattress. A loose sheet can come off of a mattress and could possibly be a suffocation hazard for your baby. The fitted sheet you select should be the right size and fit snugly and wrap around the mattress securely so that it cannot come loose during the middle of the night.
Understand the weight or age limit: You cannot use cradles for a long period of time, as they are just not meant for that type of usage. The typical limit is around 20 pounds, and is based on when your child can roll over or push up on their hands and knees. Make sure you aren’t using your cradle past this stage in your child’s life.
Decide about a rocking function: Most cradles are rocking, but the majority have the option to stabilize the cradle. Make sure you know how the stabilization works for the specific cradle you do select so that you are always keeping your child safe.
Inquire about portability: Do you want your baby to start out in their cradle in your room, or are you going to have them sleep in their nursery? Also, do you plan to travel a lot with your baby (say over to grandma’s house or other family?) If so, make sure you are aware of how portable the cradle you select is. Several have wheels which are convenient for moving the cradle from room to room in your home. For traveling, select a cradle that can detach from the base. Traveling with an entire base can be quite the hassle, so it’s best to leave it at home if possible.
Product Criteria of Evaluation
Price is one factor we consider when selecting cradles. Everyone has a different budget, so we always strive to select items that have a wide range of price points. Some cradles are more expensive, but some are also very affordable.
User ratings are important for selecting our list items. The best way to feel confident about making a purchase is to see how other people have reacted. If you see a bunch of unhappy parents, it would be hard to feel confident purchasing that item. We keep this in mind as we develop our lists, especially with items such as cradles, which are so important and are used when a baby is so small.
This is another important factor to consider. Some manufacturers have a better reputation, and in this case, that is something to keep in mind. Items for your child are too important to not pay attention to things like reputation and safety. An unsafe manufacturer is the last thing you need when selecting a cradle for your newborn baby.
Ease of Use
Finally, ease of use is another important factor both for your convenience, and for the safety of your child. Parents, or soon to be parents, are some of the busiest people out there. We understand that you do not have countless hours to put together products, so we try to find products that are listed as being easy to assemble or easy to use. The easier something is, the greater chance you have at installing it 100% correctly, which is important for child safety. Should you ever be unsure of how to install or use any item, including a cradle, always ask for help.
Buying a Used Baby Cradle
Are you trying to save some money as you prepare for the birth of your child? We totally understand. Raising a child (or children) is incredibly expensive, and most parents are on the lookout for saving money wherever they can. A great way to save money is by purchasing or inheriting items from other parents. These slightly used items work the same as a new item, but at a fraction of the cost.
One main item where parents like to save money is with a cradle. After all, a child only uses a cradle for a few months before having to switch to a crib. However, as with any used item you purchase, the safety of your child has to come first. Saving some money is not a reason to sacrifice safety. If you are looking to buy a used cradle, here are some things to look out for as you shop around. If a family member is offering to give you their used cradle, this is no different. While it is a generous offer, you still need to inspect the item for safety.
Check For Recalls
The first thing you should do when considering buying or using an old cradle is to look if there was a recall on the specific product. There have been numerous recalls over the years, and the older the cradle gets, the higher the likelihood that something is wrong with it. There are an abundance of safety standards that manufacturers must meet today when producing cradles and other baby furniture, but going back just a few years, things were different.
Either ask the person who is selling or giving you the cradle what the actual brand name and product name is, or look on the cradle itself to try and find this info. The more specific info you can get, such as a product or serial number, the better. This is an important first step to take because the cradle may look like it is in perfect condition, and it very well may be, but seeing it is recalled is an immediate sign that you need to look somewhere else.
Look Up Reviews
Now that you have already found out what specific cradle you are interested in, do another online search to see how other parents review it. If a bunch of parents are unhappy with the cradle, that is a potential sign it isn’t the right decision. A bad review doesn’t need to be a deal breaker, but if there are an abundance of negative reviews, that is very telling of the product itself. Just because a cradle doesn’t have an actual recall doesn’t mean that it is a fully safe product. If parents complain that it doesn’t feel safe, or that their child has almost gotten hurt or stuck, that should be proof enough that you need to find another cradle.
Ask for Instructions/Find Online
Again, the more information you can have about the specific cradle you are purchasing, the better. Since you are buying the crib used it is more than likely already installed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a need for the instructions manual. Other helpful information could be listed there, and it is also a way to double check that the cradle was installed properly. Ask the person giving you the cradle if they kept any of the paperwork for it.
No luck? Check online! Many brands now put their manuals on their website so you always have access. Try to locate the exact manual for the product you have, and take a brief look at it. If the seller doesn’t have the manual and you also can’t find it online, consider finding a different cradle. If the cradle is that old that there is no info about it online, that is more than likely a cradle that is far too old and potentially unsafe for your baby. Again, it is never worth the risk of your child’s safety when it comes to used products. If any part of you is unsure, trust that instinct.
Inspect For Missing Parts
At some point you need to stop looking online for info about the brand and product and inspect the actual cradle you might be purchasing. It might be a great brand, but if the cradle itself seems to be in bad condition, you obviously need to walk away. Inspect the cradle and see if it appears to be missing any parts. Also feel free to ask the person who is selling or giving you the cradle if any parts are missing.
If you are getting the cradle as a “gift” it might feel rude to ask if it is in good condition, but the reality is that your child’s safety is most important, and any parent should understand that. Take whatever information they give you, along with your inspection of the cradle, and decide if it seems in good enough condition to keep using.
Test the Rocking or Wheel Stabilization
Most cradles come with a rocking feature and some have wheels at the base for easily moving it around the house. These are great features, but ones you need to make sure can still be halted. Make sure that the wheels can still fully lock and test that the cradle stays still even when you push on it. As for the rocking feature, most cradles have a lever or pin or some other way of stopping the cradle from rocking. Make sure you have that feature and know how to work it. Test to make sure it still works and that the cradle is completely still. If either of these features can’t be stopped, find another cradle.
Purchase a New Mattress and Sheet
Finally, if the cradle comes with a mattress or fitted sheet, consider purchasing a new one. It is tempting to save money and use the existing products, but fabric items like these are harder to clean and can pose a safety hazard. At the very least, be sure to purchase a new fitted sheet for the mattress. Most importantly, make sure the sheet fits securely and cannot slip up or off of the mattress. This is a major safety hazard.
When should a baby sleep in a cradle?
A baby can sleep in a cradle starting from when they are first born. This is a perfect initial sleeping situation for even the smallest of newborns. However, they won’t stay in a cradle long. Once they reach about 18-20 pounds and start to move around and roll over, it is time to get them a larger crib. This typically happens around 6 months of age.
Can you decorate your baby’s cradle?
The short answer to this is, no. It is tempting to decorate everything so that your nursery looks beautiful, but when it comes to a crib, you do not want your child to have access to anything they can grab or pull, as it is too dangerous. Instead, purchase a cradle in a style you like, and leave it as is in your nursery. No decorations needed!
Should you get a rocking cradle?
This is up to you, but a rocking feature is a plus for many parents. The gentle rocking motion is soothing to babies and can help them fall asleep quicker. However, you should always know how to lock your cradle in place so that it will not rock.
Why can’t you just purchase a crib for your baby?
Newborns are very small, something you might not even realize if you are a first time parent. A crib is far too much space for a newborn, and most will be more comfortable in a smaller, more cozier atmosphere. A cradle is a perfect solution for that first stage in life.
Can you purchase cradle accessories (mattresses, sheets, etc) from anywhere?
This depends. When purchasing sheets for your own bed you are likely used to shopping anywhere and selecting the sheets you like based on things like style or price. However, you have to take extra precautions when shopping for mattresses or sheets for your newborn. You need the sizing to be exact for these items so that the sheet doesn’t slip off or so that the mattress doesn’t slide or move around. Always check this out before letting your baby sleep on it.
And there you have it! These are the ten best cradles on the market. Base your decision on things like price and style. Each cradle on this list is safe for your child, but depending on your budget and the type of style you prefer or style of nursery you have, that can help you make your decision. Also keep in mind if you want additional features with your cradle, such as wheels on the base, an extra place for storage, a canopy, or more.
If you still haven’t fully decided, here is some more information for you to help you make your decision, including some usage tips, evaluation criteria, and frequently asked questions.