Made with breathable mesh material. Features removable and machine-washable fabric and waterproof mattress cover. Easy to set up. Made without harmful materials and chemicals. Has a 17-pound weight limit.
Cradle may shift when baby moves.
Strikes a hard-to-beat balance between a cradle and a crib. Can be rolled from room to room with wheels attached. Wheels can be removed for rocking or locked for stationary use. Comes with three adjustable mattress positions to grow with your baby. Non-toxic finish.
Removing and replacing the wheels can be a hassle. Included mattress is on the thin side.
Sturdy solid wood construction with hidden stabilizing bars for safety. Two solid end panels and slatted sides. Features brakes for use in stationary mode. Non-toxic finish. Mattress included.
A few complaints of scratches and uneven paint application.
5 motion settings, 4 white noise sounds, 5 speed options, and timer. Features mesh on all sides. Comes with mat and sheet. Height is adjustable. Smartphone-enabled. 25-pound weight limit.
May fail to work after a few months.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Babies should sleep in the same room as a parent or caregiver for the first six months of their lives, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but fitting a full-sized crib in your room isn't always practical. A cradle is an excellent alternative for your little one. Halfway between a crib and a bassinet, a cradle takes up about half the space of a crib but is slightly larger than a bassinet and therefore lasts your baby a little longer before they need a larger bed. The other factor that sets cradles apart from bassinets is their gentle rocking motion, which can help soothe babies to sleep.
When purchasing a cradle, you need to decide between a classic cradle and a contemporary pod style. You also need to think about construction materials, the rocker, and the style and appearance of the cradle. We've put together this detailed guide to teach you more, plus we've listed our five favorite cradles on the market.
Classic cradles tend to look similar to wooden cribs, but on a smaller scale. They have wooden or wood-effect slats on two or four sides and stand on long legs with rockers at the bottom. Pod cradles look more like contemporary bassinets. The mattress sits within a fabric pod which is made from a mesh material or has mesh inserts, so you can easily peek in at your baby. The difference is mainly aesthetic, though pod cradles tend to be lighter and more portable.
Hopefully your chosen cradle has a mattress included. It's vital that the mattress fits the cradle exactly with no gaps in which your baby could get caught. Since there's no universal size for a cradle it can be hard to find a mattress that fits properly if one isn't included. Unlike bassinets, cradles don't usually include bedding as part of the package, so find a mattress sheet that fits correctly.
The majority of cradles have traditional rockers at the bottom of the legs, but some feature an alternative mechanism near the basket, allowing it to be rocked or swayed gently. Some cradles rock back to front, while others rock side to side. Ultimately, any rocker type does the same job, so which one you choose isn't hugely important unless your baby has a preference for a particular direction of motion to lull them to sleep.
The color of your chosen cradle won't affect how it works, but it's nice to choose one that goes with your room's decor. If choosing a classic cradle, there are stained or painted wood or laminate/wood veneer options. If you like the look of stained wood, choose a shade that matches other wooden furniture in your room, otherwise it may look out of place. Pod cradles generally give you a handful of color options for both the frame and the fabric pod. Many people prefer to choose neutral colors, either to avoid buying a "gendered" color or to fit with a range of colors.
Would you prefer a contemporary looking cradle or one that wouldn't appear out of place in a nursery from 200 years ago? Whatever your style preferences, you should be able to find a cradle that fits the bill.
Consider what kinds of rocking options your chosen cradle offers. Does it simply rock back to front or side to side, can you change the direction of rocking, or switch between rocking and gliding? A greater number of rocking options gives you more ways to soothe a fussy baby, but you may find you only need one kind of rocking motion to get the job done. Check whether or not you're able to turn the rocking motion off, as you may find your baby doesn't enjoy the rocking, or you might want the option to disable it once your baby starts moving more independently.
If you're happy with a basic cradle, you can find some simple yet solid options starting at $80 to $100. These are generally made from plywood and feature little embellishment or extra features.
Mid-range cradles cost between $100 and $200 and include some solid wood cradles and basic pod cradles.
High-end cradles are priced between $200 and $400. For this price, expect to get a premium solid wood cradle which may be ornate, or a top-of-the-line pod cradle.
A. A modern baby cradle that meets JPMA and CPSC standards is just as safe for your infant to sleep in as a bassinet or a full-sized crib. However, you should still follow AAP safe sleep recommendations, including always laying your baby to sleep on their back, using a firm mattress with fitted sheet of the correct size, and avoiding putting your baby to sleep with any loose bedding or soft objects.
A. If you feel relatively confident about assembling flat pack furniture, you shouldn't have any trouble putting together a cradle. Pod cradles tend to require far less assembly than traditional cradles, so they're ideal for the DIY-averse.
A. Your baby needs to move from a cradle to a crib once they’ve learned to roll over independently or once they’re physically too large to fit comfortably inside (but the former usually comes first).