Best Baby Mobiles

Updated April 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
323 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best baby mobiles

Last Updated April 2019

Baby mobiles are designed to interest a baby who can only lay on his or her back.While they don’t always help your baby get to sleep, they can be an important soothing tool as well as a delightful form of entertainment.

A good mobile not only keeps your baby content but can also help with their neuro-development and physical strength as they attempt to reach out and grab the objects above them. Visually stimulating and fun, mobiles can either be very simple with a few colorful objects dangling from its arms or come fully loaded with battery-powered motion, a variety of songs, lights — even a remote control.

Before you buy, check out our shopping guide to help you think through the advantages and disadvantages of various mobiles on the market to make the best choice for your nursery.

Mobiles are more than a decorative item. They can help with brain development and grow your baby’s vision and motor skills as they learn how to reach out toward the dangling objects.

Key considerations

Sleep vs. stimulate

If you’re looking for sleep help for your baby, a mobile is probably not the way to go. While some mobiles play soft music and other sounds designed to soothe baby, this does not mean the mobile will actually help your child fall asleep. In fact, mobiles are designed to stimulate brain and eye development. If your baby is having sleeping problems, it could be that the swirling objects or soft music is too stimulating. Instead, think about a mobile that plays white noise or removing the mobile when it’s time for sleep.

Mobile object orientation

It doesn’t matter how cute the objects on the mobile are or how many of them are flying overhead if baby cannot see them. When choosing a mobile, look at how the objects are designed to hang. The best mobiles will have objects or smiling characters that face the baby, not the parents. For instance, some animal or vehicle mobiles will have baby staring at legs and wheels. Those with objects facing baby will be more likely to keep a baby interested.

Movable or attached?

Most baby mobiles are designed to clip to the side of a crib. They are usually an item that stays in place until the baby outgrows or loses interest in them. Some mobiles, however, are portable — with attachment options to allow you to easily clip them on the crib or take them on the go. By attaching it to either a car seat, stroller, or a pack ’n‘ play, you can use the same mobile to help keep your baby content when you are away from home. This style of mobile can save money and give you an item you will use more often.

Colorful vs. monochrome

While it may seem that a cheerful mobile that matches your baby’s nursery colors is best, keep in mind that newborns don’t see clearly. Many studies have shown that black-and-white images or objects may be preferable to babies who are unable to see well in the first few weeks of life. It’s not believed that babies are color blind, but rather that their developing eyes can see high-contrast images more clearly. Babies will be able to see a full range of colors by about five months of age. But by then, baby is also beginning to move around, pull up, and grab — all indicators they are outgrowing the mobile anyway.

EXPERT TIP

Babies love to bat at the objects above their heads. Once baby can really get a good hold on the objects, the mobile should be moved higher or put away completely to prevent them from pulling it down.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Materials

  • Cloth. Cloth may be more appealing to you because it seems softer, but it can also gather dust and should be regularly cleaned. 
  • Plastic. While plastic may not seem as beautiful as cloth or wood to a parent’s eyes, it’s easier to clean and lasts longer if you plan to use it with your next child or pass it on to relatives or friends.
  • Wood. Wood is a natural and, for some parents, aesthetically pleasing choice for the nursery — though they are less durable. Wooden objects on mobiles most often come either in natural colors or are painted (always double-check that the paint is safe and lead-free).


Manual or motorized

Some mobiles are motorized — often with battery-powered operation. Others either need to be manually wound or are not created with any kind of self-moving function. Before you buy, consider the turning hooks or brackets that allow you to wind or turn on the mobile. They should be sturdy yet allow you to easily remove any hanging objects for cleaning or replacement. Mobiles that do not turn on their own can usually be spun or blown easily with a fan for movement. Some of these static mobiles can transition to toddler life easier than their counterparts designed only for crib use.

​​​​​​​Music

Mobiles that play music can be extra soothing for your baby. The most basic are wind-up music-box mobiles that turn as they play. The disadvantage of these is that they do not turn and entertain very long if you’re not there to wind it again. However, it may be long enough to soothe baby. Other mobiles offer music that can play for an extended period or some other kind of white noise to aid with sleeping. If you want this kind of mobile, we advise you look for a volume control, and choose one with many song options so you and baby don’t get bored.​​​​​​​

Lights

Some mobiles have lights that twinkle as the music plays. These are usually stimulating lights to help with brain development. Some can project lights and images onto the ceiling. The most useful light on a mobile may be one that functions as a nightlight, so you can check on baby with minimal disturbance.

Remote control​​​​​​​

Sometimes you want the mobile to start playing again, but you don’t want your baby to see you — because then nap time will definitely be over. That’s where the remote comes in handy. It typically only comes with high-end models, but the function could be worth the cost.

Some mobiles allow you to switch out the hanging objects as your baby’s eyesight develops or let you choose your own objects.

Baby mobile prices

Inexpensive: The less expensive models in the $8 to $15 range will most likely be static without a self-propelled or battery-operated turning mechanism. However, it may come with a wind-up music-box function.

Mid-range: For $15 to $25, you’ll find wooden mobiles and some mobiles that have a more sophisticated design that parents will enjoy. Some in this range will play music and may have lights, but most will not.

Expensive: High-end mobiles will cost around $30 to $50. These mobiles will have lights and sound and possibly remote controls. Most will be battery-operated.

Tips

  • When looking at a battery-operated mobile, try to choose one with an automatic shut-off timer to conserve battery power.
  • Newborn infants cannot see more than eight to 12 inches in front of their face. You will want to consider altering the height of the mobile as your baby develops.
  • Take a look at the attachment function on a mobile before you buy. Some are more versatile than others. Make sure the one you purchase will actually fit your crib.
  • A mobile in vivid, highly saturated and differing colors, even black and white, will appeal more to your baby than muted pastels and other colors your little one’s developing eyes can’t see clearly yet.
DID YOU KNOW?

Babies lack the same depth perception as adults. They do not develop it until they are about five months old. A mobile with flat images may be as appealing to a baby as one with 3D objects.

Other products we considered

For this shopping guide we focused on mobiles designed to primarily hang over a crib. There are many other mobile types that can hang from the ceiling over a changing table or in the corner of a room to add color and interest to the nursery. If you want something simple and inexpensive that is still well made, try the IKEA LEKA Mobile. It comes at a low price point and features cute high-contrast colored bugs that face baby. The Goki Mobile Dragon Baby Toy is bright and simple. It features cute brightly colored dragons, moves easily, and doesn’t cost very much. They are also not very babyish, allowing you to keep them in the room hanging from a ceiling or a fan as your child grows. The Star Craft Vela Star Mobile can work for a baby’s room but, with its brightly colored star design, could be placed in any room of the house as an eye-catching decoration.

Babies do not have a fear of the dark. Lights on mobiles can be helpful in keeping your baby interested and alert, but they will not likely help your child sleep. The most useful light on a mobile may be a nightlight to help you check in on them.

FAQ

Q. How long will a baby use a mobile?
A.
Mobiles — if properly hung — can interest babies from a few days of age. They can be an important tool to help stimulate your child’s brain and encourage nervous system development. When baby begins to be able to pull up, a mobile goes from being a helpful device to a potential safety hazard. While every child is different, watch for your child’s ability to reach out and grab the objects hanging above. If they can reach the strings, they can get tangled in them. Some of the objects may also become a choking hazard. For most children, the age to put away the mobile will be between four to six months.

Q. Can a mobile be used for more than one child?
A.
Absolutely! A mobile is a baby toy that will not get extended use. After a few months, you will pack it away because your child will be interested in the world well beyond what is hanging right above his or her head. As long as the device is still functioning properly and the hanging items are all firmly attached, the mobile you buy for your first child can certainly work for your second or more.

 

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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