Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for best baby rockers

Did your parents ever take you for a drive as an infant to lull you to sleep? It’s not just a tall tale — the gentle rhythm of the ride simulates rocking, which helps relax babies to prepare them for a snooze. 

While effective, hitting the road isn’t always ideal when bedtime approaches. We’re here to tell you about a useful alternative: a baby rocker. A baby rocker creates rhythmic vibrations that soothe and calm the child so they can fall asleep.

Many quality baby rockers serve as entertainment centers, too. They may be outfitted with overhead bits or other extras to engage babies before they fall asleep and after they wake up. Some even feature musical components with lullabies or classical music. 

With so many baby rockers to compare, our team created this buying guide to help you choose the best one. Keep reading to learn more and to see a roundup of our top-rated baby rockers. 

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To help your baby fall asleep in their rocker, dim the lights to create a soothing atmosphere.

Key considerations


When it comes to buying anything for your baby, safety is your first concern. Baby rockers are designed to promote a safe sleeping environment. This is achieved mostly through the bassinet, which helps your baby maintain a safe sleeping position with belts and straps. You’ll also notice a reasonable clearance between the overhead toys and your baby to prevent suffocation and choking hazards. 


To sleep soundly, your baby of course needs to be comfortable. Baby rockers feature soft, breathable materials over cushioning or padding. The cradled design offers a sense of security and embrace that mimics rocking the baby in your arms.


Stimulation sounds counterintuitive when you’re trying to get your baby to relax and rest, but it takes on more than one meaning in a baby rocker. For one, rockers have simple overhead toys to engage babies when they’re not sleeping. They also keep a baby’s attention through independent play, meaning they’re able to entertain themselves briefly while your hands are free to complete other tasks.



The bassinet inside a baby rocker is the place where the baby sleeps. Most are egg-shaped to cradle the child in a close and secure manner. A baby rocker on the compact side may have a bassinet with modest padding; often, these products are portable and intended for travel. A baby rocker that’s more developed and luxurious will have plush cushioning; these products are intended for home use rather than travel.

When comparing baby rockers, take a look at bassinet materials. Most are covered with a polyester, microfiber, or cotton shell. Polyester is the easiest to clean of the three, but microfiber and cotton are much softer and cozier.

Some baby rockers have removable bassinet covers for easy washing. You might need to shimmy them off and on the bassinet, but it’s well worth the peace of mind knowing you can do more than just spot cleaning. 

Overhead bits and bobs

The arc above the rocker features bits and bobs, namely toys and mirrors. Simple toys consist of plush characters or plastic keys and rings. Some of them are also textured yet soft and smooth enough for tiny hands to enjoy them. In more advanced rockers, babies can pull on the bits and bobs to activate sounds and lights.

Rocking modes

Baby rockers come with a series of rocking or vibration modes. Basic and compact rockers typically have three modes, whereas high-end models can have as many as 16 modes. Costlier rockers may also come with timers and separate swinging modes.

Musical elements

A baby rocker with music may cost more than one without, but the sound adds a pleasant sensory dimension to the rocking experience. Certain rockers have soundboards with a set number of songs. Others are MP3- or Bluetooth-enabled to play your favorite tunes.

Power source

A baby rocker may run on battery power or electricity through an AC outlet. Those that plug into outlets end up being a bit more cost-effective, as batteries drain quickly. Not every rocker takes the same type of batteries, so check this before you buy. Some run on AAs; others require C, D, or speciality batteries.


Baby detergent: Dreft Baby Laundry Detergent Gift Pack
Keep your baby rocker bassinet cover clean with baby detergent. We like this set from Dreft, which includes a newborn-safe formula and comes with spot-cleaning products and a bonus pack of month-to-month baby stickers.

Onesies: Simple Joys by Carter’s 2-Pack Cotton Footed Sleep and Play
It’s easy to secure babies with lap and shoulder straps when they’re wearing onesies rather than bulky, fussy clothes. We like this neutral set from Simple Joys, which features a charming pair of sleeping creatures. The onesies are 100% cotton and have a soft, protective snap over the zippers. 

Baby rocker prices

Baby rockers cost between $30 and $300. The higher the cost, the more modes and features they tend to have.

Inexpensive: Baby rockers priced $60 and below are simple, offering only a couple rocking modes. Many are lightweight, collapsible, and ideal for travel.

Mid-range: Mid-range rockers sit in the $75 to $150 range. These products tend to have more rocking and vibration modes than cheaper models. Their designs have more developed bassinets, too, and they often have musical components.

Expensive: The most expensive baby rockers cost $175 to $300. These have the most advanced features, including innovating bassinet designs that are more conducive to natural sleeping positions. 

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Lean in when you’re adjusting the music volume. What sounds faint to a standing adult may be overpowering to a baby only a few inches away from the speaker.


  • Take your time during assembly. Like any baby accessory or furniture, baby rockers usually require assembly. In some models, it’s pretty straightforward. In others, it could take tools and a couple hours of your time.

  • Teach siblings to let babies relax. Doting older siblings have good intentions, so encourage them to let their little brothers and sisters get some downtime. After all, they’ll have the rest of their lives to hang out together. 

  • Check the recall list. Before finalizing your purchase, check recall lists to see whether your baby rocker is on it. Keep in mind that an older model isn’t necessarily an outdated or recalled model. A model that has been around a long time has withstood the test of time, which can be a good thing.

  • What suits one baby might not suit the next. Your friend might rave about her baby rocker, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one you should consider. Explore as many models and styles as necessary, and trust your gut when it comes to choosing the best for your baby.

Other products we considered

For a budget-friendly option, we’re big fans of Bright Stars Playful Pinwheels Bouncer with Vibrating Seat. This jungle-themed model has delightful spinning toys and an easy-to-adjust seat belt. The soft fabric cover is machine-washable, making it a top choice among parents who like easy-care baby accessories.

If you’re looking for the Cadillac of baby rockers, we recommend Graco EveryWay Soother Baby Swing with Removable Rocker. This total relaxation station offers 16 soothing modes to lull your baby to sleep. The rocker even has a teddy and tree to keep your baby company. Cozy and soft, you’ll wish you were small enough to climb in yourself.

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If you’d like a baby rocker but the sticker price is a bit high, add it to your registry. Guests can get together and give it as a group present.


Q. Is a baby rocker a staple accessory, like a car seat, or is it considered a special item?
A. Parents of yesteryear will tell you that you can successfully rear a child without the aid of a baby rocker. More than anything, it’s a creature comfort for your baby that adds to their napping or relaxation experience. There are some parents who swear by baby rockers, too; they say it’s a game changer to help babies get some downtime. 

Q. Can I invest in a compact or travel rocker for home use?
A. Absolutely. In fact, if you’re short on space, it’s probably your best option. Other than the pared-down cushioning and simplified details, compact baby rockers are no different than full-size ones. While they may offer fewer rocking modes and features, they’re still plenty effective at comforting your baby.

Q. I feel like the bits and bobs on the baby rocker are too distracting for my infant. Can I remove them?
A. Yes. In most rockers, you just unclip them from the arc. In others, you remove the arc altogether for a more streamlined appearance. It’s not unusual for parents to remove the toys and mirrors, especially since they can overstimulate babies and make winding down a challenge. 

Q. What are convertible baby rockers?
A. Unlike regular rockers, these styles grow with your baby. Once your little one is more independent, you can adjust the rocker to turn it into a toddler rocking chair. These rockers usually accommodate children up to 40 pounds, but it varies between manufacturers.

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